Monday, 16 January 2017

The Magnitude and Root-Causes of Today’s Kedusha Crisis

Part 5/12 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)
What is the magnitude of the problems that have arisen as a result of digital technology, and how can we address the core roots that lead to these problems?

by Yaakov from GYE (See all authors)

Dov from SA (mentioned previously in the article) weighs in to the discussion:

I would bet that the majority of people on GYE are not addicts and probably never will be. But that leaves a large number who are, certainly hundreds out of the thousands who are getting the daily emails and perusing the forum etc, are addicts.

But the numbers business is a bit misleading, here. I recall the great Rosh Yeshiva who gave a shiur klali with tremendous enthusiasm even though only a couple of bochurim (or only the one?) who showed up that day. The talmid asked him how he could do that so well with only one kid there! And the Rosh Yeshiva responded, "I do not see you here. I see your children and children's children who will be affected by the shiur I am giving with you. I see hundreds of Jews sitting here today." So the hundreds I refer to above is just for today - in five short years from now there will be thousands of kids (who today are oblivious and sweet 10-year-olds) who will then be starting a life of shame stealing looks, sneaking their precious porn and saving it up to eventually masturbate, setting them ever further inside themselves, lost and eventually living the double life as marrieds. So I see tens of - maybe hundreds - of thousands. I know askonim need to understand the realities of demographics, but for me it's really hard to do that.

Re the SA guys coming in from GYE, I know nothing about Israel's scene but know a bit about USA's and elsewhere, bH. I speak to a lot of GYE guys every month, maybe 5 end up leaving GYE and starting 12 step meetings each month. Some are helped into therapy first (and those among them who are addicts often end up in 12 steps anyhow). Some of those who call me end up joining the Desperados call. Of those who join our call, about half end up in meetings - that's about 10 per year. These numbers add up.

The other factor here is that many of these are in other countries:

1- The fellow who started the Golders Green SA meeting in London was a die-hard Desperado guy. Now the meetings there are feeders for all people and the frum community has a new hope for the many still suffering alone. These London meetings that we helped jump-start, have many dozens of attendees now and has spun off into Manchester and other areas.

2- Two weeks ago I Skyped into the 1st SA meeting in South Africa outside of Durban along with the first three members; two gentiles and the Desperados member who started it. There was nothing Jewish about the meeting, bH - that's how all SA is and must remain. And I am sure the South African's will have an explosion of membership soon, as well (after all, their country's initials are SA, right?) So this stuff is exponentially growing world-wide and by next year iyH there will be more access points for people in frum areas because of the existence of established meetings in more and more frum hometowns. While growth has been an SA-reality since SA started, it has been more relevant to gentiles than to yidden. But because of GYE this is becoming a reality for Jews as more meetings start in frum areas.

Now, I love GYE. But if GYE was a viable recovery solution for most sexaholics, none of what I am observing would be happening. It is davka because GYE alone can't save most people, that they seek out SA, etc. GYE - as it is today - is entirely based on secrecy: "I will tell you the truth about what I do because you cannot figure out who I am." And that is of course its main draw. In contrast, 12 step recovery offers anonymity only outside the group. As the TED talk that Yaakov sent out a while ago clarified, the solution of 12 steps recovery is based on real relationships. GYE can offer secrecy so that terrified loners can come out of isolation from themselves. SA offers anonymity outside the group, so that those same folks can get out of isolation from others. They are completely different. Incidentally, this is why I feel that as long as GYE sticks with what it's good at, its success will continue. The success of GYE is astounding and its leadership have big plans to make it even better with G-d help (see their recent hour long board-meeting presentation here). But if people insist GYE itself provide real online recovery for addicts... it will fail and then רווח והצלה יעמוד ליהודים ממקום אחר, etc.

There will always be Rabbonim and other yidden who are insulted for k'vod haTorah that AA's 'goyishe' 12 steps would be used by yidden, or that will have other complaints with SA-type recovery. The friendlier ones will just try to remake the Program in their image. Many have tried to use GYE to do this over the years. Boruch Hashem they have failed, and the credit goes to Yaakov and company, too. My 2 cents on that.