What Worked For Me
Today is 100 days clean for me, and I would like to try and describe how I got to this point, and how I think I have changed over the past 3 months.
I am a thirty something professional living in a large North American city. I attended several yeshivos over the years and was in yeshiva until I got married. I had been struggling with these issues from adolescence and on. Obviously, the creation and popularization of the internet throughout the 90's and most recently the availability of high speed internet on hand held devices this decade, was a huge challenge for me. I actually had some years of sobriety immediately after getting married, but I did not have much success these past few years.
What's interesting is, that since finding GuardYourEyes.org in August (thanks to an article on aish.com) I have not slipped or fallen at all.
I am going to try and share some of the items that I think played in a role in my reaching my initial goal of 90 days.
First and foremost, while I have not read all of the GuardYourEyes attitude handbook, the one thing that I read that I found very helpful is that this yetzer harah is a challenge that Hashem has sent specifically to me in order to have me work hard to refine my character. Whenever I am tested, I try to internalize that Hashem is challenging me and that if I am successful at this moment, then that the success will be mine forever, regardless of what happens the next time I am challenged.
One item I was extremely diligent in, was in guarding my eyes while walking in the street, supermarket, shul. etc. While there are stimulating images that present themselves on a regular basis, I was always careful to avert my eyes as soon as I glanced at something and made sure not to take a second look. When I am in doubt about something I catch in my peripheral vision, I assume that it is the worst of the worst, and I try to imagine the reward for passing this most difficult of test. I firmly believe that in this merit, the inadvertent viewing of these images did not impact me as much as they might have in the days where I would take a second and third look.
And here's one more change that I have tried to incorporate into my life that I believe has had a positive influence in my battle.
While in the past, my hand-held device has been a tool of my addiction during times of boredom, I have been using it instead for good. I have been using the device's MP3 player to play shuirim on a regular basis. We are taught that nature abhors a vacuum and that the yetzer harah will rush in when there is empty space or time. We are also taught that Hashem created a yetzer horah and created Torah as the opposing force. It has been much easier to guard my eyes while in the super market as I listen to a shiur on shmiras einayin. It is easier to guard my eyes in the street as I listen to a shiur on Parshas Hashavua, and it is easier to to guard my eyes during while commuting, as I listen to a shiur on Hilchos Shabbos. There are literally thousands of shiurim posted on line (many of them for free) and searching for the ones that interest me the most (as well as scanning the GYE site) have been ways for me to use my down-time in a constructive manner.