Open your real eyes
For today's e-mail, I want to share an inspiring story that someone sent us. (By the time I had finished reading the story, I was crying).
I first discovered masturbation at about age 15, when a fellow yeshiva student showed me smut. Before hand I had never even considered it at all, I had never even thought of women. This went on for years, and every Rosh Hashana I would swear that I would stop. When I got married I was certain that I would find salvation, but I became even worse, convincing my wife that she could even help me masturbate (when she was ASSUR to me, or didn't want to be intimate) and that she was saving me from AVERAH by the fact that she was involved (so it was "love"). This came after a point when the Yetzer had already convinced me that there was no possibility of abstinence, and I was sure that it was an impossible test made up by some Rabbis, based on an obscure passage in the Torah. I only used the computer to finish the job.
My Torah life, which was very dry and had no connection to Hashem, slowly started to come alive through the very medium that all the Tumah was coming through, and slowly Rebbe Nachman entered my life. Both me and my wife loved hearing shiurim together and I was slowly becoming a better person, husband and father, but I was still was living with the conviction that masturbation was inevitable.
Then one Shabbos, a friend of mine taught me about HITBOBEDUT (Torah 25 in the second half of Likutai Moharan) and he admitted to me how he had once spent time in front of the computer doing forbidden things. "You too?!!" I asked. "But you're a big Tzadik!" He told me how he had been religious on the outside but his inside was totally devoid of Hashem. He had gone to Uman and begged to be cleaned, and at the point of our conversation he was clean already 10 months.
I took this to heart and realized what was missing. I HAD NEVER EVEN CONSIDERED ASKING HASHEM FOR HELP, I WAS TRYING TO FIGHT MY YETZER WITH A PEA-SHOOTER. Over the next 3 days I cried out to Hashem until I felt that I had nothing left in me. I called my friend and he said that I should try learning Torah 282 (Likutei Moharan). After learning it, the excitement was immense. I couldn't sleep till 3 AM, I had never felt so high or positive in my life. At that point, I started to see incredible help from above. I felt that I could beat it hands down. When I was working on the computer and the pre-urge came about, I would leave the computer and do Hitbodedut or make myself coffee. When I came back to the computer, the urge was gone B"H.
I have since been trying to keep my eyes and thoughts clean (not easy), and as both my wife and I become more connected to our Neshamos, we have decided only to be intimate on Shabbat. It's not easy, but B"H it has been already a year now.
Somehow though, I knew that the struggle would continue. I have been abroad lately for over 3 weeks on matters of Parnasah. Hashem has taken all parnasah from me and I am unfortunately returning home with nothing for my family. At one point I discovered a certain fashion publication (underwear) at the home of my hosts, and due to my Ye'ush (hopelessness and despair) I found myself ready to go! I even started touching myself, when I realized what I was doing! I would be cheating on my wife (it doesn't matter that most people don't see self-pleasuring as cheating, IT IS), and I would be cheating on Hashem, destroying a year's worth of hard work for a second hand pleasure that would bring to more Ye'ush the moment I cleaned up. I don't know what miracle saved me, but I have since not allowed myself to be alone until I return home tomorrow.
From my humble experience, as a BENONI, we have not yet destroyed this urge. It is only in check, and the more Torah you learn and the more you keep away from it, the easier it becomes. But the best medicine is LE'HIYOT BE'SIMCHA TAMID (to always remain happy) and connected to Hashem Yitbarach. And if you are, the Yetzer Hara can't even get within your Dalet Amot (4 cubits).
Be sure about one thing. Hashem always loves you and his people are always around, just open your real eyes and you'll be OK.