Addicts' Wives Need Help, Too
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1354  
In Today's Issue
Announcements: New Sunday Call for Spouses
Image of the Day: Make Your Recovery About You!
Torah: Letter to the Wives From Miriam
Q & A: Fleeting beauties
Q & A: How much sex is too much sex?
90 Day Journey
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New Sunday Call for Spouses

Miriam will be doing a call for spouses (of addicts) every Sunday at 2pm EST and 9pm Israel time.

This is to enable women in Israel to join as well (since Malka's calls are too late for people living in Israel).

For more information, see this page or contact Miriam at:

Image of the Day
Make Your Recovery About You!
Make Your Recovery About You!
Letter to the Wives From Miriam
What is your personal Akaida? And what lesson do we learn from Avraham Avinu about the Akeida?
By Miriam GYE

Avraham put aside his own nature of Chesed and did what Hashem asked him to do and did that without any question or hesitation. He did something that was totally against his essence - totally against what he was preaching to his friends and people who knew him. And yet Hashem asked him to bind his son, his only son, the ONE that he loved most, and bring him as an offering to Hashem.

One may ask, how is that relevant to a woman who is married to a man who has an addiction to Sex?!

What does it have to do with the wife who feels cheated, feels that she was wronged, and most of all feels that she cannot compete with those women he looks at on the computer or on billboards at the side of the highway?

When I married my husband, I did not have a clue that my purpose in marriage was to support my husband, to be all that he can be. Actually, I came into marriage for rather selfish reasons - so he could provide for me a good life, where I can travel to many places and see the world, be in America and hit good sales and eat well, not worry about money and make a living much easier than what Israel was offering to young couples who just got married. Oh and yes, I thought I loved him....

When Sarah Emanu died after the akeida, Chazal wonder why she died. Many commentaries say that she died because she felt that she accomplished her mission to this world as her son and her husband did the ultimate Kiddush Hashem. She finished her Tikun.

With this notion in mind, as I learned more about my husband's addiction - which I sure didn't bargain for, the more respect I had for him. Now that he is taking on the SA program and working the steps, the more I feel that the life that I am leading with him is a life of truth.

Sure it is easy to label our husbands as "Sex addict." We live in a society that likes to label anything and everything. From your diets, the Zone, North Beach - to our children who need less or more attention ADD, ADHD - to our generation of X or Y or Me.

I do not like to be labeled. I invite you ladies to get out of putting a black mark on your husband and see them as humans - who are trying to have a deeper experience with Hashem. And sometimes, the only way they know how to get out of the pain of being disconnected is by medicating with Sex, Food, Gambling, Work, Alcohol or Drugs. That is, until they find the Program that teaches them the source of their pain and how to bring light to it, rather then shame it or ignore it.

When they find the Program, they find freedom; they find fellowship, telling them they are not alone. They find answers to what brought them to self-pity and distraction. And as their wives, we can be here to support them – to let them know they are not alone and give them the feedback that they are on the right track.

No, we are not here to check on them and see if they failed with their steps or obsess over them. We need to give them the freedom to BE, and pray to Hashem to bring them to their potential.

Because of my Journey, I decided to join the CODA Program and to "be of service" and run the call for you ladies. And hopefully, we can shed the label of a "spouse of an addict" (even though they use this title on the GYE site) and be proud that your husband is working on his yetzer. He is being proactive and doing something about it, rather then bury it and slipping every now and then without a program.

And to those of you whose husband is not in the Program yet, I would like to support you through the 12 Steps and help you find hope with the re-program of CODA.

This Program gives you tools on how to keep your side of the street clean, practice boundaries, surrender, acceptance, courage and freedom.

So what does all of this have to do with the Akaida and with Sara's death??

Once I decided to make the commitment to my marriage in spite of the fact that I found out that he was acting out sexually, I went to therapy. There I learned to take care of myself and find out “what do I want, what do I feel, what do I think?”

Then I started to go to meetings of CODA. There I learned more about how to set boundaries and how not to obsesses over him and what he would do next. This supported me to learn more about my own ‘acting out’, as I would have bouts of rage, control, denial of my feelings, and obsessiveness over him or others. I also found out that I expected too much of my husband to build my dreams, rather then working together to make our mutual dreams come true. And most of all, I learned more about myself.

It took 10 test for Sarah and Avraham to pass, and in each and every one of us we carry the DNA of these 10 tests. Whether it’s in parnasa (famine), raising kids (Isaac and Yishmael), relationships (Hagar, Avraham and Sarah), moving (Charan, Cnaan, Grar), health (barren), and Akaida - life purpose.

And so I realized that my personal Akaida - like Avraham, was to change my nature and to give up on my "need to control." And in doing so, I learned that my husband's struggle is not about his acting out (that is the result of pain) but rather that he is longing to connect to something higher and acquire the tools to do so.

So now my purpose has changed and I see myself as his “Aizer” not just his “Kenegdo” - as his support; not as one to point out his faults but rather to see his potential.

So from who did I learn this from?! From Sarah.

I hope that Hashem will grant me a long life to see the fruits of my labor - not only with my husband but also with my children.

Ken yehi Ratzon!

Q & A
Fleeting beauties
Are single guys allowed to gaze at women?


I was reading your website and discovered that is forbidden to gaze at women and admire them for their beauty. Does this to apply to non-married men also?

Read article
Q & A
How much sex is too much sex?
By Scott Brassart on May 13, 2015

Please note that links in this article will take you to sites outside of GYE network, which may contain potentially triggering imagery. Reader discretion is advised.

For copyright issues, see this disclaimer.

I am fairly open about the fact that I am in recovery from sexual addiction, not only writing about it but talking about it in my other 12-step recovery programs when appropriate. (I have more than a decade of sobriety from both my chemical and sexual addictions.) As such, I am approached relatively often by people who are worried about their sexual behaviors, and whether they too might be sexually addicted. Usually they have two primary questions:

  1. How much sex do I have to have before I qualify as a sex addict?
  2. Does being sexually sober mean that you are celibate?

The latter question is relatively easy to answer. No, sexual sobriety does not mean perpetual celibacy; instead, sexual sobriety (similar to recovery from an eating disorder) is about learning to be sexual in healthy and life-affirming ways while eliminating compulsive, problematic and shame-inducing sexuality. (I will write an article on this topic in the near future.)

Answering the first question — how much sex is “too much”? — is more complicated, because there is not really an answer. In other words, there is no set amount or category of sexual activity that qualifies a person as being sexually addicted. Sexual addiction is not an issue of quantity or type. Rather, it’s determined by quality of life. To be blunt, asking how much sex or what sort of sex makes a person sexually addicted is a little bit like asking how many drinks or what kind of drinks makes a person alcoholic.

In reality, addiction (of all types) is determined by the following three factors:

  1. Preoccupation to the point of obsession with the substance or behavior. With sexual addiction, sexual fantasies and/or behaviors have taken over the person’s life, becoming the most important thing to that person, pushing other thoughts and activities to the side.
  2. Loss of control over use of the substance and/or behavior. With sexual addiction, this is typically evidenced by failed attempts to curtail or quit the sexual fantasies and/or behaviors. Often, sex addicts are able to stay away for a few days or even a few weeks, but then they feel stress or some other form of emotional discomfort and they return to sexual fantasy and activity as a way to “numb out” and not feel.
  3. Directly related negative life consequences. With sexual addiction, this typically involves some combination of the following: disintegrating relationships (romances, friendships, family ties); trouble at work or in school; declining physical health; issues with depression and/or anxiety; diminished self-esteem; sexualized shame; isolation; loneliness; financial issues; legal issues; loss of interest in other activities, etc.
    If a person’s preoccupation/obsession, loss of control and negative consequences are present related to his or her sexual life (including fantasies), then he or she may be sexually addicted — regardless of how much sex he or she is (or is not) having, and regardless of the type(s) of sex that he or she is (or is not) having. In other words, if obsessive/compulsive sex is ruining a person’s life, then he or she is probably a sex addict. It doesn’t matter if that sex is solo or with other people, online or in-person, or whatever. In fact, for many sex addicts their “sexual activity” is purely fantasy — taking place entirely online and/or in the mind, with very little or no real-world sexual activity.
    It is important to understand that addiction (sexual or otherwise) is not about partying and having a good time; it’s about escaping from life. Addicts drink, use, gamble, act out sexually, etc. not because they want to feel great, but because they want to feel less. In other words, the purpose of addiction is to not feel stress and emotional discomfort. Sometimes addicts start out seeking a good time, but by the time addiction sets in, the landscape has shifted and escape is the goal. Sex addicts call this state of disconnection either “the bubble” or “the trance,” fully recognizing that the purpose of their addiction is not to have an orgasm, it’s to avoid the experience of life on life’s terms.
    In truth, orgasm often ends the dissociative high of sexual addiction. As such, actual sex (with self or others) is generally put off by sex addicts for as long as possible – sometimes for days on end. Knowing this, we can clearly see that SEXUAL ADDICTION IS NOT ABOUT THE SEX. Instead, as with other addictions, it’s about emotional and psychological escape – the preoccupation and fantasy that keeps the addict from feeling and experiencing his or her emotions. As such, sex addicts can have a lot of sex or very little sex and neither is definitive in terms of diagnosing the addiction.
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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