Mazal Tov to "ClearEyes613"
Upon reaching 90 days clean and earning his place on the Wall of Honor
ClearEyes posted today:
"Happy 90th clean day to me. Thank you Reb Guard, Group #3 and all the holy members of GYE for making this dream a reality. Thank you all for saving my life!!!".
ClearEyes has been clean since the day he found GuardYourEyes (as indicated in a post he made on day 39):
"I'm working on day 39!! That's 39 days since I found GYE. Without it, I would have been as successful as my last 100 tries to stop (not very). Thank you GYE!!!"
A few months ago, we started something called "Accountability Groups" where a group of struggling members join and try to reach 90 days together. Although they keep their own 90-day counts separate, they also have a "group count", which is reset if one of the members of the group falls. This adds more accountability, and also encourages the members of the group - who post in a special "group thread" - to give each other Chizuk, much like a "virtual SA" group.
The "Accountability Groups" idea took a while to take off. Group #1 and #2 didn't really get off the ground, but when we started Group #3, we struck gold. A bunch of great guys got together, and they've been posting such amazing chizuk to each other for the past 3 months or so. One of the biggest players in this special group is ClearEyes613. He joined this group after being 30 days clean, and his inspiring posts and commitment to the group is incredible to watch.
This was ClearEyes613's first post on the group:
"I am 28, married with kids. I live in Brooklyn and have been addicted for the past 13 years. Yesterday was my 30th day clean. I am scared of going back".
Today's Chizuk e-mail is dedicated to ClearEyes, and we will bring a few of his powerful and inspiring posts, which include lots of great tips and Chizuk that we can all learn from.
Mazal Tov ClearEyes. May you continue to inspire group #3 and ALL of us on the forum, for many years to come!
ClearEyes describes the "Areyvus" of GYE:
The Torah writes "Hanistaros L'Hashem Elokeinu"... I do not punish you for "hidden things", for they are for Hashem. But the "revealed" are for us and for our children to remove from our midst.
Rabosai, maybe 10 years ago the problem with the internet was hidden. But today, can we possible call it hidden?? So it takes place alone in a room. Come on, we all know what's really going on. These are lives we are talking about. People, spouses, children, even jobs are being destroyed by the internet. This is not a hidden event.
Rashi says that the 'areyvus' (mutual responsibility of one Jew for another) did not start until Bnei Yisroel left the desert and entered into Eretz Yisroel.
While we were wandering in the desert, we were responsible for ourselves. Only after we have left the desert into Eretz Yisroel were we responsible for one another.
Anyone who is reading this has left their personal desert by crossing over to GYE. While walking blindly in our addiction, what could we possibly do? But now we are part of GYE. We have crossed over onto the path of recovery. We are all now responsible for one another - and for all of k'lal yisroel.
You may ask, "what if I'm not ready yet? I still struggle with my addiction!" It doesn't matter. The obligation of "areyvus" did not wait until Bnai Yisroel conquered and settled Eretz Yisroel (as many other mitzvos did), but rather it began once they left the desert and stopped wandering. Once they were on the right path, the path towards Hashem, the path of GYE!!!!
May we all be zoche to continue on the right path, of 'returning' (which is the real meaning of Teshuva) to our Tatte is shamayim, along with all of Hashem's children.
The eyes are the gateway to the mind. If we've stopped looking at the p*rn, the Yetzer Hara tried to gain entrance by feeding our urges outside in the street, and then by clicking on banners, ads, or whatever... He tells us "just peek, its not that bad".
Outside is so dangerous because we let our guard down. My commute to work is on the train, and a full block in the city. I can transgress "lo sosuro acharei aynechem"("do not stray after your eyes") 100 times during this time, and I am sure I have in the past. Now, I keep my head in my sefer and walk without my glasses. It was hard at first, but it is getting much easier. Three weeks later, my glasses are in my hands before I even think about it. And now I spend that city block walking with Hashem, and I am less aware of who is or may be walking next to me each passing day.
The pleasure of looking is great, but on occasion, the pleasure of not looking is even greater. "What?! How can one get pleasure from not looking?!" Well, it's happened to me. After making it unscathed through a trouble spot and putting my glasses back on, a huge grin appeared on my face. I was experiencing true joy. This resulted from accomplishing a tremendous feat, and for maintaining control over myself.
Though this joyous feeling does not usually happen, deep inside of us we all experience more joy by not looking.
Over the past few weeks I have seen a huge change. I still want/enjoy watching movies like I used to. 'Before GYE', watching movies seemed harmless compared to all the other crap I subjected myself to. But post-GYE, I do (or am trying) my best with shmiras einayim. I've become more sensitive and began turning away from the screen. When I see a trigger, I look away. And boy I can tell you that the screen is full of triggers. And this applies even to non rated R movies. If the female star of the show would pass by me in the street, I would (hopefully) look away. So how can I stare at her for 90 minutes straight? Its against everything I'm trying so hard not to do.
But I didn't just decide, ok- no more TV/movies. It was self-evolving. Like the change in our attitude. Hopefully this new phenomenon I'm experiencing with movies will happen to all of you, as you continue working on "v'lo sosuru acharei eneychim.
Another post from around Day 40:
I had the same Elul experiences for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I would start earlier, sometimes later. I'd fall before Rosh Hashanna, after Rosh Hashanna, before Yom Kippur. I don't know if I ever made it to Succos. But this Elul is already different. Why? Because I have GYE. My Elul is already different. But the real question is, "How can I make this Tishrei different than every other Tishrei?" (Isn't that the point of Elul?). We need to stick with the cure. I guarantee anyone who stays with GYE thru Tishrei past and Yom Kippur, will experience the Elul they always wanted, and more importantly, they'll have the year and become the person they always wanted!!
I carry GYE around with me, literally in my pocket. This, for me, has been instrumental in fighting my addiction.
"Shvisi Hashem l'negdi tamid" - the principal idea is the first thing brought down in the shulchan aruch for a reason. When I acted out I would consciously or subconsciously push, hide, or ignore Hashem. How else can we view those images on the screen for hours on end? Today, I may not be at the level of "shevisi Hashem" but I can tell you that "shevisi GYE l'negdi tamid" has been a lifesaver.
ClearEyes Gives Chizuk to a Fellow Member on Day 52:
1- Take it one day at a time. You only need to worry about today. Not about making 90 days.
2- Give it over to Hashem. Realize we have no control over our addiction. Tell Hashem your problem, your lack of control, and that any control is really from Him, and ask if He could switch this desire - which would move you away from Him - to a desire to move closer to Him.
3- Nu, you have an urge, so what? We can't possibly reach 90 days without any urges. We may have days of feeling above the addiction, but most days it will be there. We do our best to avoid all triggers, the rest just "is". Just because an urge is building does not mean we have to act on it.
Hope this helps. It just helped me.
I recently experienced a fear of going back. I do not feel the same level of fear anymore, but I do remind myself daily of how I am not the one in control, but Hashem is. Anyway, during this fearful time I would say, "Hashem, please help me not go back". After a few minutes of this, I got more scared and I started to cry out tearfully, "Nooo! Hashem, I can't go back!!!!!! Please don't make me go back!!!!!!", over and over. (I wasn't interested in "help" or "trying", I have fallen so so so many times in the past already, I was sick to my stomach. I was done going back. DONE).
A positive state of mind is very important, but I've recently learned not to have any expectations. "Expecting" to feel a certain way and then not feeling that way, leads to depressed feelings. A few weeks ago, I thought that being clean makes you feel holy. This is 90% false. Nothing good comes from this. You will occasionally feel good about yourself for being clean, but this feeling does not come often and can not be relied on. We don't control our emotions. I found that removing this expectation of "feeling good about myself" has helped me tremendously in my battle.
Every Yomim Noraim I would ask Hashem for life and the good things that come with it. And of course I told Hashem and myself how bad I feel, and how this year I will be clean.
This was not working so well for me, and after doing it for so many years I was getting sick of it.
Last year I prayed differently. I was sick of my yo-yo life. Up - down, up - down, up - down. Day after day, week after week, and year after year. And before long, decade after decade. I knew that no matter how hard I davened, no matter how much I cried, no matter how honestly I felt that I would not go back, it would not last, like every year before.
So I cried and cried some more. 'lechayim Tovim' - Good Life?! What's this?! hmmm... to be written down for a good life this year. Well, there was only one thing I could think of that would make this year a good year. And it wasn't winning the Lotto. It was to break free of my life-long addiction, to put an end to this yearly predictable ritual during the high holy days.
So I begged and I begged.
Hashem, I don't need life, what for? I am screwing it up anyways. You want to keep me around another year, fine, but on one condition, You give me a good year. Hashem, I am sick and tired of these bad years. I can't live through them anymore. I can't. Hashem, I want; no... I need a good life. I need one. Living with this addiction is not life! Please, please, please, I am begging You, write me down for a good life!!!!
Ten months later. Months of struggling. Months of ups and downs (with a lot of downs). Hashem answered my prayers. I certainly forgot what I asked for, but Hashem did not. He answered me. He sent to me His loyal servant Reb' Guard along with his holy army on GYE.
Thank you Hashem!!!! Thank you for the gift of life!!!! Thank you for making it a Good life!!!!! Thank you for 60 clean days!!!!! Thank you!!!!
It's not about fighting the Yetzer Hara head on and winning all the battles. It's about living a better, more connected life with Hashem.
Last night during maariv I almost started to cry. Yom Tov was over. The days of Elul - "ani l'dodi v'dodi li" are over. Aseres yemei teshuva is over. Succos is over. Shimini aseres is over. Simchas Torah is over. The days when Hashem is closest to us are over. I felt like a person in recovery learning how to walk with the help of crutches, and now, without warning, those crutches were kicked away!! The days of special siyata dishmaya are over!
In the past, feeling like this may have gotten me down. But not anymore. I have changed so much since I started. I feel like a new person. Instead, I realize how lucky am I to have this feeling of worry after Simchas Torah! Oy vey to me if I left Yom Tov feeling confident! How can I expect to enter the long winter months being overly confident and expect to stay clean? Obstacles will come. B"H that I have a healthy fear that keeps me grounded in recognizing my constant need for Hashem.
So how will I manage this year? I don't need to go far for that answer. After Elul, Rosh Hoshana, Aseres Yimei Teshuva, Yom Kippur and Succos - Hashem says don't leave just yet, stay for ONE more day, a special day 'lachem - for you' before taking your leave back to your 'regular life'. And what do Chazal do with this final day? We celebrate, Simchas Torah. What are the lessons of this "one last day" that we can take with us into the winter? I clearly see three important lessons:
1) When Hashem tells us to stay for one more day, he is giving us an attitude to take with us for the whole year: Take it ONE day at a time:
How do we take this close relationship that we attained during the holidays with us throughout the year? We leave our succah's, put aside our arbeh minim. How do we make this impression last? Hashem imparts this lesson to us by telling us to spend ONE more day with Him. We are being told to take it ONE day at a time. This is the valuable lesson of shmini atzeres.
2) The gift of giving:
Hashem gave us shmini atzeres to be a holiday - "lachem" - for us. A day of parting that we are to enjoy. But what do we do? We give this day to Hashem by dancing and celebrating with His torah. We make a Simchas Torah. True enjoyment does not come by taking, but by giving. Can you imagine a Shmini Atzeres without a Simchas Torah? All the giving that we do, is what makes the Yom Tov so great.
If we want to have an enjoyable year, we need to stop focusing on "me, me, me". By focusing on others and by giving, we are on the path to a happy year (and beating our addictions!)
The need to learn Torah every day! The last thing we do before starting our year is strengthening our love for the torah. "Barasi y"h, barasi torah tavlin". Torah keeps the Yetzer Hara at bay. A day without learning, and the Yetzer Hara will be on top of you. Torah will always be part of the cure, no matter what society we live in. If we want to continue our connection with Hashem, we can't forget His Torah even for ONE day!