The Addiction Was all About "Me"
About 9 months ago, in the throws of the addiction, I woke up one morning feeling that I no longer recognized myself. I don't know what it was, but a terrible sensation tore through me and hit me at the very core. "What happened to me?" I thought. "Where did the old me go? And who is this guy who's taken over? He scares me!".
All my relationships were broken. It wasn't that people didn't try to lovingly reach out to me. It was me, throwing away my family and friends! I didn't let anyone in! I barricaded myself into my own life, my own mind, caring nothing about anything that had no relation to me. I was so preoccupied in seeking out my own gratification that it didn't occur to me that there were other people. The vibes I gave off shouted out loud: "Get out of my way! This is all about ME!". And that's exactly what people did. They gave me my own space!
Though I had always prided myself being very studious, my interest in learning Torah was rapidly deteriorating. I'd get up sometime late in the afternoon, switch on my computer and start my day. Within minutes, I'd have dozens of porn sites open in front of me, in front of which I'd sit for the remaining part of the day. Since I had effectively chased everyone away, my room became my own personal space where I could act out for hours undisturbed.
Acting out for hours at a time, I left no time in my day for G-d. Davening didn't happen! For an entire year, I didn't ever daven a full davening, let alone an entire Shmone Esrei. I'd grab my tefillin minutes before sunset, quickly throw them on, and mumble bits and pieces of the Shema. My tefillin would be off before you could even say "Boo!", and so that I could quickly get into the next porn video, I wouldn't even wrap my tefillin up. I'd throw them on the side, where they'd wait until the next day. Sometimes I was so caught up in what I was doing, that I'd look up at the time and realize that it was already night and I hadn't even put on the tefillin. Sadly so, nothing meant anything to me anymore! To me, the Shulchan Aruch was nothing but a book! There was nothing left but the addiction! And it had robbed me of my life!
It's not that this all happened suddenly. I mean, I did see the digression. But it didn't occur to me that it would be this way. I've always looked at it as something very external to the real me, and that with work, I'd be able to make it go away. I never had a problem representing utmost frumkeit when I was in public. But here I was, having gone through scores of Mussar and Chassidus seforim, and even self-help books, and I remain the same! I'd made vows, kept a journal, wrote a 5 year life plan as well as a mission statement, but nothing had ever helped.
In despair, I took out a pen and wrote a letter to my Rebbe and mentor (in the World of Truth), the Lubavitcher Rebbe:
"In tremendous pain I write to you about my present state. I don't recall a time in my life where I have ever sunk to such great depths. In my present state I am completely absorbed in bad things - and in a constant way, growing and continuing by the day. The days of old are no longer!
I write to you in concern to matters pertaining to my learning, to my davening, in keeping Shulchan Aruch ( - simply keeping halacha), in regard to my personal character, and in matters of which I relate to my fellow man.
Even if I do manage to pull myself out of this terrible state and to focus my energies in good things, I feel as if nothing is able to effect me in an internal way, and everything remains superficial.
Not too distant from the time of shidduchim - a new stage in my life, I am completely distraught and in search of guidance.".