Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Power of Confession

Part 1/2 (to see other parts of the article, click on the pages at the bottom)

I had built-up a very close kesher with my rebbe who knew everything about me, for better and for worse. Although I was a very good bachur, I still had my quirks, and I hid nothing from him. Except for one secret. There was a whole side to me that I had never revealed to anyone. It was my secret; I had to live with it alone, and could never reveal it to a soul. I was a p**n junkie, and I mas***d so often that my body's production couldn't keep-up with my 'bathroom breaks'. But my rebbeim respected me, I was a top bachur, and I was known to be shomer einayim. Just a week prior, I had mentioned to my Rebbe (in passing) that with all my extended visits to his home, I didn't (and don't) know what his older daughters look like!

How could I afford to lose all of that?

But Hakadosh Baruch Hu backed me into a corner, and the only way to decide on the next stage in my life required me to fess-up. But I couldn't! I had made an ironclad decision to never reveal it, and I wasn't about to change my mind. So I tried a weak admission at first, that "I have a hard time on off-Shabbosim. Between the trip home and newspapers/circulars lying around the house...". But my Rebbe didn't think that was enough of a reason to justify the issue we were discussing. So I had no choice,"No, Rebbe", I continued... "normal bachurim, when they fall, they fall this low [I motioned with my hand to shoulder level], but when I fall.... (hesitant blush...), I fall this low [I motioned to knee height]". He looked at me cross-eyed, not exactly sure what to make of the distance between my hand and the floor, in practical terms.

So I had no choice, I took a sip from the cup in front of me and offered him one too, but he was interested in nothing but the confession which was apparent that I would make. I mentioned the Gemara of "kol ha'gadol mechaveiro, Yitzro Gadol heimenu"(who ever is greater than his friend, his Yetzer is greater than him too), and that some good bachurim watch 'not kosher' movies, and... I couldn't get the words out... "Internet"... My voice was cracking and quivering, and I was on the verge of tears. I took a deep breath, looked away from my Rebbe, stared hard at the floor, and I realized that I would say it now... once and for all. But he saved me the effort, it was obvious enough. "You look at p**n**phy...". The words burnt through me, I merely nodded, utterly ashamed.

My Rebbe thought I was a nebach, breaking down with the confession of a rare and short-lived aveira. So he comforted me that I wasn't the worst guy on earth, and sure it's a bad thing, but "you don't have to break into tears". It wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. I realized that I'm gonna have to convince him that I am absolutely addicted to p***. Once the conversation was started, I had to come-out fully, once and for all. I was definitely NOT interested in doing this again!

He gave me the opening... "When was the last time you watched it?" I don't know what he was expecting, but definitely not this. "The last time I was home for an off-Shabbos"... So he's thinking 'big whoop'... "And the time before that, I spent three whole days glued to the computer.... until I got TIRED of it....". I was already utterly ashamed, so I didn't mind clarifying the situation more: "I used to be 'a junkie', then I came to this yeshiva, and lost internet access. But when I got a 'smart phone' I would watch every time I went to the bathroom". His face was changing colors and expressions. "Then I hit rock bottom in the middle of first year Beis Medrash, and started to turn around. I found a book 'The Magic Touch by Gila Manolson' and found out about the concepts of shomer negiah and girlfriends being assur. So I checked up the Igros Moshe, and learned that assur meant "Yehareig velo Ya'avor". That's when - and why - I started being shomer einayim. My addiction lessened over the years in Yeshiva (as I got over my depression), but I am still fully addicted."

He was blown off his feet. His top bachur (who can spend days in a house with girls his age and not know what they look like!!!) is addicted to watching the most graphic n***ity available! And he had thought he knew everything about me and my life, inside out...