"Eden" wrote a poem & asks a question:
Once I indulge in my vice, I transform. I become cold & unresponsive Completely dependent on continued escapism. It becomes as necessary as food. I think of nothing but escaping. People, my goals, my ideals, G-d, they all fade away. My stimulation, my escapism, I make it my g-d, as I submit to my lust completely. I become an ardent worshiper of the stimulus. Once I indulge in my vice.
My brother recommends specifically the support and raw honesty of the face to face meetings and urges me to look up local SLAA meetings or SA meetings, as that was what lead him to sobriety for his addictions (alcohol and drugs). I am nervous though, is this really the best place to go for a lust and escapist addiction?
Dov Replies on the forum:
Dear Eden, Thanks for your deep and heartfelt posts. My experience was that I needed the face-to-face meetings for the reason your brother seems to be implying: There is a unhealthy "cushion" that "virtuality" – even by phone – provided me with. Many addicts tell the same story. They seem to get a jump-start from getting caught(some do not need it at all, though.) I believe that by inviting (in their cases unintentionally!!) an objective, other, real person into my little world, brings the real me face-to-face with the fake me much more effectively than I ever could on my own. And the two of them need to be forced into the same room in some way, you know. I don't know how old you are, but this idea reminds me of the two captain Kirks (or the two Dr Whos) from different time dimensions – if they ever met face to face, the universe would rip apart! Anyway, getting caught, or inviting other – safe – people into our world, usually rips that wacky universe apart. And that's good. It seems to be necessary for many of us. Those who really do need it can get it the easy way (joining groups), or the hard way (getting caught)… Anyhoo, the SA White Book sounds pretty much up your alley (though I now gain more from the big book of AA, myself), and know nothing about SLAA or any other group out there. I'm straight SA, I guess. Love and happy Chodesh to you and yours, reb Eden! Dov P.S. Incidentally, getting caught helped me, but it wasn't until about a year later that I got the help I really needed when I started going to meetings out of my own desperation and surrender. It wasn't pretty, but it worked and is working so far with Hashem's help. (Editor: 11.5 years!)
Someone posted this comment on Aish.com's recent article about addiction to inppropriate materials which mentions our network. I am so thankful to Aish.com for this article. I have been in recovery for about a year and it has changed my life. My story was very similar to the writer's, but while I was in active addiction I thought I was all alone. I struggled for years trying to stop myself; crying every Yom Kippur and swearing "never again!", but I kept going back. The harder I tried the worse it got. I fell deeper and deeper into guilt and shame. I was a frum family man on the outside but a real addict in my "other life". For the addict, it is a physical, emotional, and spiritual disease, and all three must be healed in order to recover. Now that I am in recovery, I have a deeper and more profound relationship with HaShem and with everyone around me. There is hope. I am a member of SA and when I walked into my first meeting I was shocked to see it full of other frum people like me. It literally has saved my life. B"H I was "only" addicted to viewing inapproriate materials,, but others in the room were much worse off, and many started where I was and progressed to far worse places and active terrible sins. This is such a huge topic and can literally save thousands of frum people's lives and marriages. I would be happy to speak with anyone who is struggling. I remember years before I found help I would e-mail rabbis I found online for help because I was too ashamed to speak with someone face to face. I'm sure you have and definitely will receive many emails of people looking for help. If I can be of any help, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org. What a way to enter Elul. Thank you again.