Dov's Story - and the Deep Lessons He Learned
The issue of "addiction" vs. "Yetzer Hara, Aveiros and Teshuvah" has been discussed many times before on GYE, with me as a participant, too.
I love these issues, as they touch on the core of recovery for me and what it has done for my life, my wife's life, and the lives of my children.
I am absolutely convinced that if I had not surrendered to the facts about myself, I'd have continued down the exact same useless and deadly path I was on, for yet another 20 years or so, until I'd have died from it. And on the way, the lives of my wife and children would have been irrevocably damaged. That would mean another few generations of severe pain and chilul Hashem, too.
I became frum over the years of my adolescence, as do many. My parents are not what you'd call "really frum", but are traditional. Nonetheless, I chose to learn in a post high school yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel and continued after that in an unpaid kollel arrangement for about 3 more years after getting married, then went to school and am now working in a profession, learning (Torah) quite a bit on the side b"H, and helping raise a family.
That is what you'd have seen, had you seen me as a neighbor, in shul, yeshiva, etc. My wife knew me pretty much as that guy, too.
The truth was, that I was busy trying to get in as much lusting and acting out as I could - to remain comfortable, while doing all those "real life" things. Not that I was really seeing it that way. My attitude was that I was preoccupied with trying to stop!! Ha.
My inner preoccupation was not about tosfos, RMB"N, loving my wife and kids better,kiruv and doing for klal yisroel, or making a nachas ruach for my very Best Friend (Hashem, of course), at all. My struggle was in finally beating this damn yetzer hora that was torturing me. I was reading mussar seforim to try and overcome it, and I would cry in the shower after acting out almost every time. And my acting out drove me extra crazy, knowing in my heart that I'd never honestly be able to expect the non-frum yidden I was trying to be mekarev to give up their cheeseburgers, girls, and other "freedoms", as long as I was still using my favorite diversion, pleasure pill and stimulant, lust. I just couldn't seem to stop, and I knew that it made me a hypocrite. I was inescapably a hypocrite.
I read the Yesod Yosef that the kitzur suggests to use to stop from doing lust activities, searched many library stacks for articles in frum psychology journals on the yetzer hora and such, memorized much of messilas yeshorim, fasted occasionally, and cried in davening, especially in Eretz Yisroel while davening at kivrei tzadikim. I was into d'veikus (not just the album...) and expected to be close to Hashem, yet I felt confused and frustrated that I was continually "falling," as folks like to say it here.