Correspondence with a Great Warrior
I am a 25 year old college student struggling with viewing internet porn and, quite recently, relations with a non-Jewish ex-girlfriend from before I was frum. B''H I have been able to cut off contact with said woman, which is something I tried hard to do for months. I now haven't seen her in a couple months, and have not responded to a few of her attempts to contact me. Also, B''H due to a new living situation and WebChaver on my laptop (which is REALLY effective and worth the negligible $3.95 per month), I have stayed away from internet porn almost completely. I also haven't masturbated in about 3 months. So I've seen some success in this area lately B"H.
The problem is, I've dropped off on a lot of mitzvos I used to do when I was struggling more with the addiction. My relationship with Hashem has suffered, and when I do happen to be in shul and everyone else is davening, I can't bring myself to do it because it feels so disingenuous. I can't face Hashem, and somehow I think He won't notice me if I don't speak to Him, which is what I want, because if He does notice me, He'll Judge me, and that would be embarrassing. And anyway, the voice in my head says, "You haven't davened all week, and now you find yourself in shul and you think you can suddenly start muttering words that you don't mean, and you think Hashem will appreciate that?"
Aryeh, holy Aryeh... Forget the davening in shul / not davening / guilt / hypocrisy, etc.. these are all killers! The Yezter Hara wants us to believe we are too far gone, that we are hypocrites, he makes us feel guilty always, etc... This is all lies. We need to learn how:
- To speak with Hashem as if he was a friend right here with us in the room...
- To realize Hashem loves us even when we make bad mistakes.
- To internalize that He only has our very best interest in mind at all times, no matter how bad things seem to be.
- To live with constant gratitude, even for the little things...
- To internalize how much Hashem values a real relationship with us... (so much so, that when we are distant, He sometimes causes us suffering and pain just to get our attention... It therefore follows, that if we live with constant gratitude and awareness of Hashem's closeness and love, we will save ourselves much pain down the line, because He won't need to get us to come "running to Him" just when things are bad...)
These things are the FOUNDATION of recovery.
Guard, perfect timing. I've been having such a rotten day and feeling more and more worthless that I was just about to give up and go to a computer where I can act out. But I checked GYE first and saw your post and I feel that it must be hashgacha pratis that you posted these inspiring words. I think I can make it through tonight without acting out because of your post.
Your words also reminded me to get out my copy of The Garden of Emunah. I will spend some time reading it before bed. I've already read the book once and I've started to read it a second time. When I feel like I'm headed down the drain, I've found that the most effective remedy is to read/listen/speak/connect in some way to something spiritual. What got me through last week was listening to a shiur by Esther Jungreis in my car. How easily I forget the yesodos of emunah unless I keep on reminding myself.