The Wisdom of Recovery in One Email
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1349  
In Today's Issue
Announcements: Heads Up!
Editor’s Note: The Greate Debate - What's the use?
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Links: Link of the Day
12 Step Attitude: This is what you start with...
Daily Dose of Dov: We Need a Psychic Change
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Heads Up!

12-Step Big Book Study Group night call is at 9:30pm this cycle, instead of 10:20pm which it was until now.

Editor’s Note
The Greate Debate - What's the use?

Dear GYE Family,

In the last three issues we brought you a debate between two respected therapists on the subject of sex addiction. The following comments came from our readers:

"I really hope this debate is not going to lend any credibility to the junk that is being espoused by David J. Ley. It's funny that he mentions the influence of morality and religion as a factor behind the labeling of sex addiction. It's the exact opposite of those views and a liberal mentality that wants to see an end to any basis for sexual morality. The fact that sexual addiction exists somehow threatens his sick view of life. 

Sorry but this guy really angers me and he is dangerous. 


"Interesting, but I'm not sure how this debate will help people's recovery...


"I think there are reasonable arguments on both sides, but before I get to that, I find the last part unbelievable. It reminds me of people who think the media has a pro-Israel bias. If there is any bias on the part of therapists, it is in a pro-promiscuity/pro-self-abuse direction. (BTW, the removal of the perversions from DSM V was widely understood to be a political decision.) Not everyone who is troubled by SA is troubled for religious reasons.

That said, it seems to me that this is substance abuse, but the substance is the hormones in our brains. I've come to realize that the hormones actually affect my logic... 

On the other hand, if the brain scan evidence holds up, then perhaps this model is incorrect, and perhaps it really is just lack of self-control. (That doesn't really change the solutions.) 


"I'm trying to understand why bring up a debate if sex addiction exists?
SA doesn't force anyone to enter the rooms, it was the people that were so desperate after falling again and again after so many promises [who started SA].
Bringing up the idea that this is still a debatable issue can do more harm than good, it is toxic for some who struggle with their step 1 or for anyone that even had success in recovery.
If one person will leave the rooms [of recovery] because of this article, how will you ever justify yourself?
Thanks for allowing me to share my concern.


Our general thoughts on the issue are as follows:

"In the preface to the first issue, I clearly stated where GYE lands on this subject, namely, we firmly subscribe to the addiction model. However, I think our members are big enough to decide for themselves, hence my decision to publish this. Incidentally, is run by Robert Weiss, so if he felt it worthwhile to give Dr. Ley forum, I think we can follow suit.

Personally, I don't mind him saying that self-identification with sexual addiction comes from a religious view. What matters is, that I feel compelled to do something (act out) which contradicts my moral and religious values and I CAN'T STOP! What is it if not addiction? If someone is happy about their porn habit, they are obviously not addicted. So even though I  believe that Dr. Ley is wrong, I don't think it's dangerous to hear him out.

As far as one person leaving the rooms of SA because of this debate:

1. Just like we're not responsible for getting someone to come to the rooms, we're not responsible for keeping him or her there. Our primary purpose is to carry the message. This publication carries the message.

2. If someone needs a way out of the rooms, they will find it (with or without our help), and if they can get help with Daivd Ley's model, what's wrong with that? As long as another person is helped, I don't care how it happens. Just because SA worked for me doesn't mean it's for everyone.

3. Publishing this gives GYE an objective and independent position. We are not recruiters for SA. To those who critique GYE for pushing people to identify as sex addicts, we say: "We present all opinions, you decide what works for you." It is no secret whose side we are on, we hold strongly that addiction model works best, but we are not closed to any and all solutions to this heinous problem.

4. How about those who feel that Torah, chassidus and mikvah is enough? What if their opinion pushes someone outside of the rooms?

Mimo Nafshoch: as long as the human being in question gets help, it doesn't matter, "harbeh shluchim laMokiom", and if someone is resisting help, than nothing we can offer them will be the silver bullet.


Having said that, what do YOU think about all this? Email me.

With best wishes for continued recovery - no matter how you are going about it -


Image of the Day

An old-time GYE member comes back with some new wisdom (and humility). Lots we can learn from this thread:

Link of the Day
12 Step Attitude
This is what you start with...
By All Addicts Anonymous

You start by learning a special technique with your alarm clock: You set it one hour earlier than usual, and when it rings you get up.

Read more
Daily Dose of Dov
We Need a Psychic Change
By Dov

Someone wrote on the forum:

"I feel drained right now. I feel like I've been fighting the whole entire day. I just hope and pray I come out victorious. But it aint over till it's over. Please daven for me. I wanna get over this thing so badly. I feel that if I can get past the hard times, it will only get easier. But I never can get past them. So here I am holding on for dear life, literally. I can use chizuk right now. I'm starting to tear, it's so hard. AND I WANNA MAKE IT SO BADLY!!! HASHEM PLEASE!"

Below is Dov's response:

(Note: you might want to read this two or three times - it's so beautiful and deep!)

Quote: "I feel drained right now. I feel like I've been fighting the whole entire day."

Ok, Airbag and seatbelt time.... uh-oh.

Either the outer environment needs to change, or the inner environment does. One of them has to go. If you believe it's from inside you, I do not understand how anyone expects to "beat" a mental illness. Just go and ask any crazy person, maybe he'll tell you.... Now, if it's really just "a ta'ava", then I understand - fight, fight, fight. But if:

Quote: "I feel that if I can get past the hard times it will only get easier. But I never can get past them."

... as you put it, then perhaps, maybe, it's time to give the entire fight up to Hashem. To me, that means (step 1) admitting to Him exactly what you want to do [i.e. pursue the lust], (step 2) asking Him to help you just let go of the entire idea, to give it up completely and trust in Him fully. And then (step 3) to take the actions of letting it go, like getting busy with something else; preferably finding some way to give or love someone: people, or lehavdil, Hashem, (or even ourselves... if we really know how to).

And also, to me, it means agreeing to never take the credit for "winning" again. As long as you admit you are nuts, and you admit you have no other hope but His help, and you do what you can to make going about His business your priority right now, then it's His business if you succeed or fail, not yours.

Sound crazy? Well, I think busting one's head against the wall for the 15,000th time with the same losing derech - (only harder this time) - yet expecting things to be entirely different this time - is pretty crazy, too :-)

Quote: "But it aint over till its over."

And when is that? Won't there be a next time? Yes, for those who let go of it each time, it does get easier over time. But for those who just distract themselves from it to get over it, I believe there is a residue from each struggle, that may not go away. A feeling of, "well, I gave up that nice one, I deserve a consolation prize" or, "poor me, I lost out on so much fun," or, "woohoo, I can control this stuff, after all! So maybe I can use and enjoy it - and just stop it as soon as it starts to get out of hand, no?". Those natural thought patterns would build up in me over time until... you guessed it. And no wonder it's a tidal wave then! (And then we act as though it's such a surprise!???)

I have no other explanation than the above for the very common phenomena of the guy (like me) who could "go for a month, or so, until the pressure builds up", or whatever. Or so many of the well-meaning folks here with 23 days, or 33 days, over and over again for five years... you know what I mean. How else can anyone explain that? Please let me know, will ya?

What people like me need is a psychic change. Not improvement, but a new derech. Let Hashem figure out if it's called teshuvah or not. It's gotta be a different fight, or else.

On a good day, I let the fight be His business, and my job is to do His work... and when lust ideas occur to me, I admit to myself that I am not just another yid with "a ta'yva", but rather, that I am "cracked" in the head. I have an allergy. I am not able to lust like others can, and control it. They can perhaps, but not I. So no wonder I need a Higher Power. I avoid it like fire by closing my eyes or my brain and doing something else. I make a call to a friend and admit exactly how sick I am. Then I go happily from there, completely free.

I don't need Hashem's power to help me "beat" this Yetzer Hara. I need him to remove the lust from me. I need His help to get myself out of His way. I need to go about His work, period. Not fight any battles.

A huge problem here is that if you just extract the surrender and trust in Hashem, the whole thing still looks like some kind of winning. Some folks will totally mistake the "closing of the eyes" or the "making a call to another addict" as the way we fight it.It's not. It's just the actions we take to give it up. As many addicts who actually use the steps will attest, the total freedom from the nutty lust comes during the dialing of the friends phone number, or during the prayer itself. Like when I say, "G-d, whatever I am looking for in the image of that woman walking by, let me find it in You, instead." Ahhhh. By the time I get up to the second half of the word G-d, we feel the whole thing evaporating.

It may not work perfectly all the time, but we stay sober from the bottom line behavior this way, no matter what. And over time, our heads change. The struggles are surrendered. There is no more pressure build up. If there is, then we take an honest look at our first step, perhaps with a friend, and go on from there.

Quote: "I can use chizuk right now."

Well, I don't know if that constituted chizuk, but sometimes we don't need encouragement, rather we need someone to remind us that "I have no one to rely on but myself" (as in the story in the Gemara of the sex-addict, Rav Elazar Ben Drudya), by holding up a mirror. I hope you see that Hashem is in there right next to you, no matter what.

Do you think you may have a porn addiction?

Do you have a problem with obsessive and compulsive porn use? Have you seriously tried the tools on GYE and feel that you are not getting better? Maybe it’s time to consider joining a 12-Step program.

Porn Anonymous (PA)
If you’re compulsively acting-out with pornography and masturbation we suggest you explore joining Porn Anonymous (PA). If you need help deciding whether to join PA, call Michael at 347-699-2368, or email to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit (Hebrew: / Yiddish:

Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
If your compulsive acting-out has progressed beyond the screen (with other people, paid sexual services, etc.) we suggest you explore joining Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). To figure out if SA is for you, call Dov at 917-414-8205, or email Dov at to schedule a time to talk. For more information visit

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