It's the First Drink
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1759  
In Today's Issue
Personal Stories: Do I really want to begin again?
Torah: Mishna for 12-Steppers
Sayings: It's the first drink that gets you drunk.
Daily Dose of Dov: For me, the "first drink" is pikuach nefesh
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Personal Stories
Do I really want to begin again?
By "proudjew2015"
By GYE Member

Hi, I've been a hardcore addict for as long as I remember myself. I'm technically still married but in divorce proceedings. B"h, I have 3 beautiful boys whom I love dearly. My journey into recovery started in 2015 when my wife got serious about divorce. I always knew I had a problem but could never face it. I checked myself into a rehab in Israel (Retorno) but I knew that it was too late for my marriage. After being there for 3 months, I came back home for about a year and then moved out because my wife was determined to go through with the divorce.

I have come to the following conclusion: My sickness is a daily struggle, all day long. Yes, it gets easier with time but I have to be on guard all the time. I'm, B"H, free of masturbation and porn for the past 9 months, which is the longest time ever in my life. I'm going to meetings and I'm working the Steps (I admit that Step 4 is something I am struggling with, but with Hashem's help I'll get through that, too). The most important thing for me in staying sober is the filter on my smartphone. If I don't use one, I'm lost. Maybe not on the same day, but the moment of truth will come.

Today, I had payment issues with the filter company and for just a few hours I didn't have a working filter on my phone. Trust me, I was about to view forbidden pictures and fall all the way but with Hashem's mercy, I was able to stop before anything happened. What helped me were these thoughts: "Do I really want to begin again? I'm in a good place now. It's so not worth it. It gives me pleasure for 10 seconds and then depression for days. IT'S NOT WORTH IT!" And so I got up and went to shul and Heaven even had a minyan prepared for me.

GYE is super essential to my life. The chizuk emails and Whatsapp messages remind me daily what I need to do and what my life is all about. It makes life much easier. Thank you GYE!!!

Mishna for 12-Steppers
By M.S.
By GYE Member

רבי אומר, הסתכל בשלושה דברים, ואין אתה בא לידי עבירה

Read more
It's the first drink that gets you drunk.
Daily Dose of Dov
For me, the "first drink" is pikuach nefesh
By Dov

My wife and I were sitting and schmoozing last night. It was very nice, and we agreed that we need to do it more often. One of the topics we talked over was why I believe that my addiction is deadly to me. "Like, really...what do you really mean? How can you possibly be serious?" she asked.

So I spent about ten minutes telling over how one thing leads to another, and how looking at dirty pictures and reading dirty stories would have to graduate to calling women on the phone and that would have to graduate to meeting them in 'honorable' establishments, and that would certainly progress to unsafe...ummmm...'intimacy' in less honorable establishments, and how that would certainly ruin me as a person, introduce both of us to diseases, and ruin the family. She agreed.

I talked of how, when I coast and am not in active persistent recovery, my problem only gets worse, never better. And of how in active addiction I violated every single 'red line' I was sure I'd never cross - it was always just a matter of time for everything to eventually go. I took risks and jeopardized my health, job, standing in the community, my marriage, children, you name it. And most guys looking at porn on the internet are doing the same, and many have lost jobs already. The pain and shame of that is rarely enough to stop the habit for very long.

And I talked about how it used to be so, so very hard for me to accept that it wasn't the last, really bad, 'drink' I took that was the one that got me into so much trouble - but that it was the first 'drink' that was the destructive one. All I had to learn to do was how to not take the first drink, and I knew I'd be safe...but it took me so many years to really accept that the first 'drink' was a real danger; that it was sakonas nefoshos for me. I always used to cheshbon away that seriousness - and got into trouble, over and over.

And I explained why all my hope of recovery and safety is based on my full acceptance of that very nekudah. And how as long as I didn't accept that and truly see things that way, I was doomed to slip and fall.

So for me, the "first drink" is real pikuach nefesh. Even to the extent that I'd rather make a phone call on Shabbos to a goyish SA member than act out, and I'd rather make a phone call on Shabbos than intentionally fantasize, or touch myself in a sexual way, or look up porn on the internet. No contest. Whether Hashem does or doesn't want me too do those things is completely irrelevant, boruch Hashem.

I say "boruch Hashem", because that distinction (i.e. the recognition that it's pikuach nefesh for me) is the only reason I can come up with that He helps me stay sober, at all. I have admitted that I cannot afford to do those things - whether they are asur or not - and ask Him to save me from them. Mixing in whether it is assur or not is the only sure-fire way I have known to cause a 'fall'! Once my little frum brain starts to try to get me to stop specifically because it's assur or because I think it's just plain wrong, I am toast. For I will eventually figure out how it is somehow not 'that' wrong! (Just ask that poster from long ago who asked exactly what is actually ossur about looking at goyishe women in pictures....gevalt. That's what na'aseh lo k'heter means.)

For me, I need to see the end-game: where following my lust will lead me (based on my track record), and then I need to have faith - true emunah - that my slip has a very good chance of leading me down that very path to the bitter end. Like running down a dark hallway or closing my eyes for ten seconds while driving. It might not get me killed, but it probably will - so I do not do it, period. Hey, the stakes are quite high.

And anyone who tries to start foolishly nitpicking whether a deoraisa is docheh an abizrayhu d'arayos or whether me looking at dirty pictures is a true abizraya, and if one aveira is 'worth' doing to stop another aveiro is not on the same boat I am stuck on.

Until I stopped trying to be sober to be good and to serve Hashem, I kept 'drinking'. That's why I do not accept any credit for being good no matter how many decades of sobriety He gives me - the credit goes to Hashem, not to me, for I am working a program for selfish, self-serving reasons: I simply do not want to destroy my life. Maybe Hashem gave me that ratzon and in some way that is 'avodas Hashem"...but that'd be back to the useless cheshboning game again.

Boruch Hashem shelo osani philosoph!

One sweet posuk in Mishlei (16:3) "gol el Hashem Ma'asecha - v'yikonu machshevosecha". In other words, even with Hashem's help, we cannot think ourselves into 'right-living'. Rather, we can only surrender the fixing of our minds and out our main focus on living right - then he will take care of our thinking and make that right, too.

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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