How can I do Teshuvah for the worst of sins?
I think I have a bit of a dif. problem then a bunch of u guys… I’m a 19 year old kid and always have a smile on my face and just love speaking to people, and for some reason, it just gets me into major trouble, I mean MAJOR! I have a laptop in yeshiva and don’t feel an urge to watch inapproriate material and stuff online, but I’m struggling with by far harder probs. For example, how in the world am I meant to tell a married woman who first just starts talking casual to me and then slowly open up and gets really close and, and, and… to go away…. And it’s not like it happened only once and I fell into a really dark hole. I just know that when it comes round to it again, I will fall again… What’s the best way not to tell her to go away but rather for me to have a self assurance that when something like this arises ill be able to say, “sorry I’m not into that”?
Welcome to our community. There IS help and hope for you!!
Have you ever heard of SA? For someone in your situation, this may be the best bet for you. Rabbi Twerski has consistently sent people to these 12-Step groups – and many of them have recovered. In SA you will find a community of people just like you, and begin to really turn your life around.
To someone who wrote to Rabbi Twerski about similar problems, here was his reply:
"Your case is not unusual. I say this because I can tell you what works and what does not work. Lust compulsions come in a variety of ways, but the common denominator is that the person has a compulsion which he finds it very difficult to resist. He tries all kinds of ways (like you did) but nothing works, including marriage. This kind of compulsion is essentially an addiction. The only thing that works, in my experience, is participation in a 12-step recovery program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is called SA. They have meetings everywhere, including Israel. You should be able to locate a meeting via the internet.
There are many excuses for not attending meetings. What happens if someone sees me? The bottom line is, if a person wishes to be cured from cancer, he'll do anything. If one wishes to overcome a destructive lust addiction, nothing should stand in the way. Psychotherapy is the frosting on the cake, but the 12 step program is the cake. When you attend SA meetings, you may be able to find the name of a competent therapist. Many psychiatrists and psychologists have not been trained in addiction.
The particular type of compulsion does not make much difference. A beer drinker can be as alcoholic as a whiskey drinker. The core problem is the inability to restrain oneself from doing something that one knows he should not be doing but appears powerless to control it. A number of religious people have been able to do with the 12 step program what they were not able to do with mussar (religious ethical texts). Perhaps this is because of the group support. We may learn mussar together, but we don't practice it together, which is what happens in a 12 step meeting. Read the books. There is a book "12 steps and 12 traditions" which describes the 12 steps. It's worth reading. Although it was written about alcoholism, one just substitutes the particular compulsion in place of "alcohol."
For SA meeting inquiries see this page. Call the numbers there and they will call you back. When they do, tell them you are a religious boy, but you find yourself doing the worst things and need help badly. (Because if they aren't convinced you really need help, they might not get back to you).
Also, there's a great frum SA therapist who is not expensive and who deals with cases like yours. His name is R’ Shraga Shlachter. Call him at 052-6923065. You can speak to him for free on our hotline. He can help you a lot too.
Like I suggested, SA groups and a good SA therapist like Reb Shlachter are probably your best bet. You see, the issue here is not Teshuvah. For such aveiros, Teshuvah in the normal sense may not even be possible. But as I saw in the Nesivos Shalom today, that is only if you stay the same person and try to do Teshuvah. But if you become "a new person" completely, as the Ramba"m says about real Teshuvah, then your Teshuvah will truly help. And one of the best ways to become a NEW person is through the 12-Step program. It rebuilds the man from scratch. You will come out of recovery a different person. And the program is simple enough for anyone to understand. It is a program of "action" and honesty, and anyone can do actions. And almost anyone can be honest.
You see, we can't think ourselves into a new way of living, but we CAN live ourselves into a new way of thinking.
I believe you would benefit a lot from reading the translations we did on Reb Shlachter's book called "The first day of the rest of my life". Download it here.
There are two things I want to tell you meanwhile, to get you started in recovery even before meeting Reb Shlachter or joining the SA group.
1) Once you are talking to the woman, it is too late. You will be basically an oinus. The enemy outside, needs to stay outside. Once we let him in through our eyes, he is then inside our very own hearts and it's almost impossible to beat him. As they say in AA, it was the first sip that got us drunk. Why? Cuz once we start to taste the lust, we are powerless. There is no way to even begin recovery unless you make yourself strong fences in Shmiras Ainayim and in not talking to women. Once we get into conversation, or even let ourselves see too much, we are powerless over the addiction.
2) Make yourself a battle plan. Conquer one territory at a time. Once that territory is secured, you can make progress in other areas too. For now, make your red line: No married women for 90 days. Period. No matter what. Everything else, is Ok. If you're gonna fall, you can fall, but NOT there – no matter what. Once that territory is secure, you can move on. Deal?
Hashem loves you, and we are all here for you. But virtual support is not enough in your case. After all, the acting out wasn't just virtual, right? And the same thinking that got us into the addiction, won't get us out. We need a whole new way of thinking. And that you can get from SA and from Reb Shalchter.
Hashem put you into this situation because he knew you'd come out much stronger and with a much closer Kesher to him, at the end of the day. You have it in your hands now to use this addiction as a spring board for spiritual and mental growth that you never dreamed of!
You are fortunate to have reached out for help and found us while you are still young – and still unmarried. Leaving this unchecked could completely destroy your life in this world and the next, not to mention your wife’s life too one day. Marriage does not solve the problem of addiction at all.
I have confidence you will get back up and become the person you know you can be.