Recipe for a truly broken heart
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1398  
In Today's Issue
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Practical Tips: The Science of Habit Change
Personal Stories: When G-d does for us what we cannot do for ourselves
Daily Dose of Dov: All I really needed to recover was a broken heart
Practical Tips: The Problem of Pritzus on Legitimate Web Sites
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Same goes for forgiving ourselves, too...

Practical Tips
The Science of Habit Change
Part 12/14
By the.guard

Click here to listen and/or download this article as a professionally recorded AUDIO BOOK (45 minutes).

In closing: How can we apply the lessons above to lust addiction?

Scientists have studied the brains of alcoholics, smokers and over-eaters and have measured how their neurology – the structures of their brains and the flow of neurochemicals inside their skulls – changes as their cravings became ingrained. Particularly strong habits seem to produce addiction-like reactions so that wanting evolves into obsessive craving that can force our brains into auto-pilot, even in the face of strong disincentives, including loss of reputation, job, home and family.

A porn addiction often becomes a person’s source for escape, comfort, and focus, so it cannot simply be stopped, leaving huge gaps in all of those areas, without being replaced by something else. Regular porn usage changes the chemistry of the brain by requiring more and more of the feel-good chemicals, dopamine, to be released to feel the same level of excitement as when the user first viewed porn (Porn Changes the Brain, n.d., and Hilton, D., & Watts, C., 2011). When kicking a porn addition, the brain must rebalance itself to return to a normal release of pleasure chemicals. Creating new habits is crucial in this rewiring of the brain.

The first step is to recognize which cravings are driving the behavior. AA and other 12-Step groups have identified certain triggers which are the main causes of the addict launching into his addictive routine.


R.I.D = Restlessness, Irritability, Discontent

R.I.D is usually caused by: H.A.L.T = Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired

Stress and boredom are also common triggers.

Once we recognize the cues and triggers, we need to identify the rewards that we have come to anticipate, which fuel the habit loop:

The rewards from the addictive acting-out are usually C.A.P = Control, Alive, Pleasure.

CONTROL: When the world feels overwhelming and out of control, the self-soothing addictive behaviors put us back into the “driver’s seat” and make us feel in control again.

ALIVE: When we feel apathetic, lazy and dead inside, the fast pulse and the high of the chemical releases that the acting-out brings makes us feel alive (much like the reason some people like riding roller-coasters).

PLEASURE: The self-soothing / self-medicating behavior brings us pleasure, which solidifies the reward circuitry in our brains, ingraining the routine into a powerful habit.

With the recognition of the triggers and rewards, we can work on attacking the various elements of the habit loop:

Removing Triggers

When triggered by R.I.D, we can learn to change the routine of acting out and instead train ourselves to do another action that brings similar feelings.

Firstly, since R.I.D is usually triggered by H.A.L.T, we need to make sure that we aren’t hungry, angry, lonely or tired.

Also, although the world is full of triggers, we still need to try and remove the obvious triggers as much as possible. It’s easy to associate habits with the times and places where they are used, so removing those triggers is essential. If you find yourself watching porn in the privacy of your room, remove internet-enabled devices from your room. Be sure to make all internet-enabled devices safe by placing filters on them to block pornographic content.

To be continued...
Personal Stories
When G-d does for us what we cannot do for ourselves
By GYE Member

Last night was my close friend's birthday so he decided to go out for a meal and then to see a certain film in the cinema. I had a look at the parental guide of the film, and decided that it's definitely not for me, and it will definitely not benefit my recovery...However, if I didn't go, I would be home alone (which can be even more dangerous for me).

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Daily Dose of Dov
All I really needed to recover was a broken heart
By Dov

Chazal ask why "the earlier generations of yidden would remove their shoes to begin a fast and were immediately answered with rain, while we fast and scream all day and still suffer with droughts?" They do not answer that the earlier generations learned more or did more mitzvos. They just suggest that the ingredient yidden had in the old days was Mesiras Nefesh. MN is translated literally as: "giving the self". The word "nefesh" is typically understood as referring to our self-ness, or personal desire (as in: "im yeish es nafshechem = if you desire/want").

I believe that Mesiras nefesh is the sacrifice of ego. It's my "leiv" (as in "levavchem" - all our personal desire) - the "me" that we hold onto so tightly that it can't breathe. It seems that for an addict it needs to break to ever get better. For an addict, the "me" is intertwined with the addiction, and lust has become the very air he or she breathes. No? Well then why can't the poor fellow just go without it? hmmm... It fills our ego and even takes G-d's rightful place as our prime motivator. Chazal refer to that state as having: "El zar" - a foreign god (in the heart of man - Gemara).

OK so far?

"Zivchei Elokim ruach nishbara - Leiv nishbar v'nidkeh Elokim lo sivzeh" (Teh. 51)

Gm' Sanhedrin 43b: RYb"L said "in the old days people would bring different korbanos and have different s'char for each one; but one who "da'ato shfeilo olov" (holds himself/his concerns to be very low) is considered as if he brought all the korbanos! As it says: "the sacrific es Hashem prefers (zivchei Elokim) are a broken spirit/will (ruach nishbara). Not only that, but Hashem attends to such a person's prayers, as it says (in the rest of the posuk): "a broken and beaten down heart will not be despised by Elokim"." (btw, see the beginning of that piece where RYb"L talks about the person who "sacrifices his Y"H and admits his wrongdoing"... apropos here).

As far as my recovery is concerned, it seems to me that all I really needed was a truly broken heart. Not sad, but broken. By which I mean, to give up on my will: My will to be able to keep using lust and yet remain in control. My will to get better the way I wanted to - by "doing teshuvah". My will to finally be a "winner" against this problem. I couldn't have any of those dreams. That's how I experienced "hitting bottom": Bankruptcy.

So to me, the broken heart is simply finally giving up and growing up - and staying that way. Living with the steps means nothing more or less than being aware of my true place and my dependence on Hashem because of who I am - not in spite of it. And thankfully, Hashem never makes my heart unbroken ever again. He helps me keep it broken, lest I die in my addiction/insanity. And He helps it be broken with joy!

Just to end this megillah with a vort from R' Simcha-Bunim of P'shischa about this broken heart:

In the second Halleluka we say each day: "Harofey l'nishberei leiv - He is the One who heals the broken-hearted". He asks: Why heal them? A broken heart is so precious! R' Simcha-Bunim answers with the end of the pasuk: "um'chabeish l'atzvosom - and (or by) tending to their sadness" and explains that Atzvus - sadness, has nothing to do with shivron leiv at all, but we are only human and sometimes confuse our own broken-heartedness with tragedy and feel sorry for ourselves. Sadness poisons a broken heart because feeling sorry for ourselves returns us to even deeper isolation and self-centeredness than before! That's when Hashem, the best doctor, steps in and removes the sadness, leaving the sweet, broken heart - "um'chabesh l'atzvosom"! He saves us from our selves!

Practical Tips
The Problem of Pritzus on Legitimate Web Sites
Part 2/2
By Other

A note about ImgLikeOpera, ImgLikeOpera makes browsing much, much quicker. Takes a few days to get used to it, but once you do, you will find yourself much, much more productive. It should be used by everyone (There's a reason it comes with Opera)

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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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