250 Days Clean
So what does it feel like to pass 250 days clean? BH super. It's not a magical number of any sort and we all know that the correct approach has to be one day at a time, but it does feel good. Are there rough times? Yes. Are they similar in severity to the challenges of the past? No. Would I still look forward and enjoy that warm cozy escape from real life called masturbation? You bet it. Do I have the resolve to say 'NO!' and stay in control? Yes. (I know some call this white knuckling and don't approve of it, but hey, it works for me.)
Recently I had to attend a simcha where I knew the tznius would be lacking and unfortunately people would be dressing in a highly provocative fashion. In general, I avoid department stores and other locations where triggers are present. However, I had no choice but to attend albeit for a few minutes. I davened to Hashem to protect me and removed my glasses. The situation was worse than I expected - some were barely clothed. I did not focus on anything I unfortunately saw and just kept on moving. Of course, I wish I would have seen nothing, but I think I can say I came out unscathed. And that is thanks to GYE and all of you.
Of course, what works for one does not necessarily work for others, but I will share what has BH so far been helpful for me. Top of the list - Speaking to people I have met from GYE. What used to be a high anxiety secret of being a hypocritical rasha and loser living a double life, is now a challenge that I see is shared by a lot of wonderful normal yidden who are trying so hard to be erlich. I finally met in person the chaver from GYE who I speak to almost daily and that really cemented that concept. As an aside, I have spoken and chatted with so many normal people that it almost appears that everyone struggles with this and that there are just two groups of people in our communities - GYE chevra on one side and masturbators/pornography viewers on the other. Of course, I know this is not true and there are many many people who are BH clean from all this - it's just the feeling you get from reading all the new posts etc. The reality, unfortunately, is that whatever the numbers and percentages are, too many fine people are suffering immensely from this inyan. Back to the point - I have who to share my struggles with, receive chizuk and advice - and I don't want to disappoint them. Through GYE I have BH been able to help others get up and onto the road to success, and I most definitely don't want to disappoint them either.
Next on the list is the constant chizuk emails GYE sends out. There is always something to read and learn. Along with that are the forums and chatrooms, also full of new ideas and opinions. They also connect me with many fellow chevra. Next is the constant updating of the 90-day chart - it keeps me focused. TaPHSiC helps remind me to "not even get started" and avoid all triggers as much as possible in the first place.
We daven every day "V'lo liyedei nisayon". Anyone who can, should switch to a simple "not smart phone". More and more people here at GYE are saying that is their best tool for avoidance. And of course, heeding the directive of Gedolei Yisroel, all computers should have the strongest filters possible. Whitelisting is the safest for those who can do that. BH I am able to have a "not smart phone" and have a whitelisted computer. Is it inconvenient? Sometimes, but it is well worth it. And the Gedolei Yisroel assure us of more brocho in our homes for listening, and that is definitely worth the sacrifice (for those who can).
Personally, I have not spent much time on the 12 steps, but through the forum and conversations, I have definitely noshed some of the concepts for better living that 12 steps provide.
I have had the opportunity to speak with The Guard and with Dov and listen in/participate in some phone conferences. Also very helpful.
Basically, I have benefitted from all of the GYE programs. As I have written in previous entries, I cannot imagine the gan eden reserved for the founder and financial backers of this organization. It is incredible that all those tools I listed above are completely free for anyone and everyone who needs.
I wish everyone out there to feel the peace of mind 250 days brings. Do I know for sure that I won't fall chas v'sholom? Definitely not. But these 250 days will always remain mine and iyh there will be many more. May Hashem give everyone hatzlocha and may He blow a ruach tahara across the world and help us all reach the levels of kedusha that our Nation of bnei melochim aspire to.