It's not about Teshuva
  Breaking Free Chizuk #1773  
In Today's Issue
Video of the Day: Overcoming Challenges
Practical Tips: Personal Sobriety
Daily Dose of Dov: It's not about Teshuvah, it's about being alive
Torah: Eat, Drink & Be Merry!
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Video of the Day


Overcoming Challenges
Practical Tips
Personal Sobriety
In response to article in issue #1708 "It's not just about not acting out," GYE member writes:
By laasos ulkayem

Here is my response to the statement below:

"I am going to have bad days, days when I slip into anger, resentment, and self-pity. Days that I may even scream at wife and kids but I have not lost my sobriety for that. BUT, if I act out, I am basically back to the starting line. I cannot emphasize enough how important not acting out is for me. It keeps me positive even when experiencing challenging days."

I appreciate this person's opinion and see where he's coming from, but I don't think it a universal truth because I don't think it applies to me - assuming he is using the euphemism "act out" to refer to masturbation.

For whatever its worth, I perceive myself as losing my sobriety as soon as I start using escapism methods. It doesn't even have to be lust. If I start watching a TV show or reading a secular novel for the purposes of escaping (and for the last few years there's almost no other possible motive for me to want to do those things), I've already lost my sobriety because I've stopped living life and started cowering and hiding, living in the world of denial and zarus. If I remain in that world it's possible I might end up using lust as an escape in a variety of ways, but my internal sobriety will have been lost long before that particular external manifestation of it.

For this reason, I suggest that GYE provide two separate sobriety counters - one for the official GYE sobriety rules, and the other for my personal rules, knowing what works for me.

Thank you and please keep those chizuk emails coming.

Daily Dose of Dov
It's not about Teshuvah, it's about being alive
By Dov

Someone asks:

The RAMBAM asks, who is a real baal teshuva? One who is in the very same position, same circumstances, same desire, but this time he controls himself. So let's say a person starts to have a fall (really slipping) and in the middle he stops himself, what does that fall under? Is it the same concept of the RAMBAM's baal teshuva?

Dov Responds:

I respect you a ton for your honesty and openness and your desire to get better - against all odds, given the 'enemy'. But what is the significance of whether Hashem considers us ba'alei teshuvah gemurim, or not? Is it because it's nice to know if we are forgiven? So, if we are not....then what? Do you think He doesn't have enough room in His storehouse of Chessed Chinam to help out the people he doesn't yet forgive? Besides, who else is his Chessed for if not for yidden who are not yet ba'alei teshuvah gemurim?

Last I checked, I was still in Olam Hazeh, olam hashekker. There is no schar here, only more mitzvos (s'char mitzvah=mitzvah)....or more aveiros. Life....or death. It is the Olam of our Avodah, not reward or gain. What our status is has no relevance to our avodah.

It's not a gayva thing. It's just an irrelevant thing. Of course, some will tell you that the big danger with concerning ones-self with this issue is that we might put ourselves into such predicaments - in order to 'prove' ourselves by finally 'doing a teshuvah gemurah'. I don't worry about that too much. The only people who intentionally put themselves in predicaments are those who end up acting out, anyway. They are still experimenting.

Like: Q: For whom is the web filter not 'strong enough'?
A: For the one who tests their filter.

Same thing. As far as I am concerned, if I am are really interested in surrendering and being free, then wondering about teshuvah is just as self-centered and deadly to me as wondering about trying the next porn site is.

You said it best, quote:

"I can't live with this; it is messing up my life. It makes my life unlivable. It makes spirituality very hard and it's not just something we've been told, I really feel the difference....and I just can't live with it. And I can't push it off until later. It's now. I have to get rid of it."

It is not about teshuvah - it is about being alive today. If Hashem considers that under the rubric of teshuvah, then that is His Business, not mine.

Eat, Drink & Be Merry!
“If there is a G-d, He certainly hasn't done anything for me!" (BB pg 56)
By Duvid Chaim

"For tomorrow we will die!" (Isaiah 22:13)

והנה אנכי הולך למות ולמה זה לי בכרה

"And Esau said, Look I am going to die, so of what use to me is a birthright?"

What was the mindset of Esau that he could have so easily sold his birthright for just a pot of lentils? After all, Esau was the firstborn son of Isaac and the grandson of Avraham - he knew he was next in line to inherit this great Spiritual Legacy! Rashi comments that basically, Esau had given up, he had lost any sense of self-worth - he knew that he had done so many sins and neglected to observe his service to Hashem that he concluded that his actions were punishable by death.

This isn't the only place in Tanach that this mindset is expressed. In Isaiah Chapter 22 - the Prophet was speaking to the people of Jerusalem criticizing the way they had turned away from G-d, and the downfall of the Holy City was underway. Hashem had declared that the people should cry and lament their impending doom. Instead, they partied without any restraint like New Year's Eve and declared, "Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

We see further in the Tanach, in Kohelet-Ecclesiastes Chapter 8 during the reign of Shlomo HaMelech-King Solomon - at the time in his life where after accumulating great wealth, tasting every delight on the planet and enjoying many many wives he famously declares:

"So I praised enjoyment, for man has no other goal under the sun but to EAT, DRINK and BE MERRY!"

How many of us live our lives as if this is one of the 613 Mitzvahs/Commandments?! And we do this with such enthusiasm and celebration! We find no limits in our ability to taste and experience every single sensual pleasure - as if this is the last day of our life! Don't worry, we conclude that since we are dressed tzniusly/modestly in designer apparel, our wives are wearing their Chevy Wigs, we are eating at the finest Kosher Restaurants or flying first class on El Al or on the Top Deck of a Kosherica Cruise, we are entitled to eat, drink and be merry!!

Let’s consider what the Parsha can teach the addict...

Just take a personal and honest moment to think about our past or current actions. Perhaps how far we may have fallen into the depths of our addictive and lustful behaviors - whether it's food, drink, sex, internet, smartphones, shopping etc. We may be just like Esau, as Rashi explains who had simply and thoroughly given up any sense of self-worth or hope that we can change - that we can Recover!

But there is a big difference between us and Esau!! For you, me and all of the Jewish People, no matter where we are holding with our Recovery and Sobriety - are SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF YAKOV! That we have a Spiritual DNA in each of us that knows that there is a World even beyond this awesome one - that there is always hope - that no matter how many sins we may have made or how far removed we are - that there is a Higher Power that is always waiting for us to "turn our will and our lives over to Him!"

As we read in Chapter 4 - We Agnostics (BB pg 55)

"Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman and child is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp and worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. "

Let us all use this message that we inherited from our Ancestors - to also learn from our past "mistakes" - and to not let ourselves be imprisoned by them! Yes, we may be in the mindset of "What's the Point of even trying." But NOW is our opportunity to use our past as a springboard to a future of Humility, Fearlessness, and Honesty!

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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