6 years sober on GYE!
I am both happy and humbled to announce that today, I am 6 years sober B"H.
I am so fortunate and grateful to have support from so many sources, from my wife, my rav, my friends here at GYE, and from the RBS"O who gives me all these belssings.
Thank you all who have helped me, whether you welcomed me when I was new and very nervous, wrote encouraging words, listened to me, taught me a thing or two, or made me laugh out loud at work. I could not be sober today without your help.
I know it is dangerous to single people out, but there are a few that I need to mention. Guard of course, for nothing would have been possible without GYE. Dov, because many of the lessons of recovery that I try to use, I learned from him. Zemiros, because he was one of the first to welcome me, and we still stay in touch, and have even met a few times, and of course for making me lol quite a bit. Alex Eliezer, many of the newcomers don't know him, because he doesn't post that often any more, but he was one of the first I spoke to on the phone and really shared our stories and struggles in depth. We still keep in touch as well. There are many more, and I thank you all, but I don't want to try to thank everyone individually.
I acted out in various ways for over 20 years, more than 10 years of it was after I was married. I did not know how to break free. One of the best (and worst) things to happen to me, was my wife catching me 6 years ago today. It started me on a difficult road to recovery, but a wonderful one as well.
For 2 years before I found GYE, I managed to stay sober, but at times, I felt like I was white knuckling, and I was still missing many of the tools to acheive long-term sobriety.
When I found GYE, so many things clicked into place. It was not easy, but I came to many realizations, and found many tools and attitudes that made sobriety easier to achieve.
I learned that the enemy was lust, not the aveirah of histaklus, or shichvas zera levatala. I learned that fantasy in the context of marriage fed my lust just as much.
I learned that half measures don't work. I have an allergy to lust, and taking a "sip" leads to a binge - guaranteed. "Sipping" includes fantasy, and it even includes fantasizing about my wife.
I learned that fantasy, and acting out is a form of escape. I learned that much of the reason that I needed an escape boiled down to gaivah, wanting to run the show, rather than "letting" Hashem run the show. Jealousy, fear, resentment, and anger all stem from putting myself in the center rather than Hashem. As it says in Dov's signature - "the heck with me, what can I do for you". Internalizing that one attitude alone can transform a person.
I learned that I need to get off the 18 wheeler and get onto a tricycle. I need to accept my imperfect reality, rather than to try and outwardly portray perfection. I need to accept where I am, not where I wish I was.
Finding GYE enabled me to speak openly and freely for the first time about a problem that is private and embarrasing. I tend to be a closed person. I found opening up and being able to talk both humbling and therapeutic.
My life has gotten immeasurably better since joining GYE. My overall happiness and contentment in all aspects of my life, especially my marriage and my family life, has dramatically changed for the better. GYE has affected me in so many positive ways. I really cannot say thank you enough. Being controlled by lust is hell. It's not a way to live. GYE gave me my life back. I am grateful beyond words.
THANK YOU ALL! KOT! NEVER EVER GIVE UP!