Mazal Tov to "Me" who reached the 90 day milestone!
Here is "Me's" very inspiring e-mail to us (edited for clarity). There is much to be learned from it:
B"H, tonight is my 2nd arrival at 90 days.
The first time, I was running fearfully from the Yetzer Hara until I ended up falling.
The second time around though, I used a different approach and "practically" had no nisayonos. The approach I used, was focusing on building and forging a relationship with the Ribbono Shel Olam. I spent my time trying to build myself and see where my emotional flaws were, so that I could repair them. I came to believe that by fixing myself, I would no longer need my "fix" of neuron manipulation to cover up my emotional pain. (Webmaster insert: See this article by Rabbi Twerski for a similar message).
I will admit though, that I am starting to feel some trials coming my way. In fact, just 3 days ago I was in someone's house and I was helping them set up their internet in their home with their new router. (My computers at home have been practically "hermetically sealed") and so I had basically forgotten about surfing freely. All of a sudden I was by myself in a room with their computer and internet (and even though they may have had some filtration - I don't know for sure), Mr.Y"H came for a quick uninvited visit. He told me, "wow, what an opportunity... finally you are alone and you can just do a quick search and see how 'safe' this computer really is." Now, all of us here know that the addiction doesn't care too much that we are in someone else's home and that they can walk in at any moment. There is only the addiction. In a matter of about 60 seconds, he continued to talk to me about this great opportunity to be taken advantage of, and I could feel that if I didn't do something quickly... who knows? So I put the computer down, closed my eyes and immediately made a neder that "I will NOT do anything with this computer", and that was the end of that.
And although for most of the 90 days it was easier, lately I am also feeling more vulnerable when I walk down the street and I find that I once again have to be mitchazek in order to control my eyes.
But I believe that it is NOT just due to the Y"h attacking me but rather because of much "loftier" ideas, such as the fact that we are now in the sefira days which are an amazing time to cleanse and to be mitaken, so it stands to reason that we are SUPPOSED to be feeling this way. After all, if we didn't feel weak sometimes and have to be mitchazek on our own, we wouldn't have the ability to fix what needs to be fixed each day ...
Also, I once wrote on the forum what I saw in L'kutei Hamoron (25) that when a person is metaher themselves, they go up to a new level and must subjugate the klippos on that new level. So it is natural to feel some difficulty... It is not the difficulty of still being on the bottom rung, but rather the difficulty continuously "going up".
And this is what Tzadikim go through their entire lives; going up... fighting the new klipos, and then going up again, and once again conquering the new ground.
Well, B"H, after finally "coming out of mitzrayim" and living the way I wish to live, and after finally feeling what true freedom really is, I can say that I am finally beginning to feel like "ME"!
What "Me" writes above is one of the corner-stone Yesodos of this struggle. We can be doing well for a while and then suddenly it gets hard again out of the blue. And we ask ourselves: "Have I not made any progress? Why do I feel like I'm back at square one?" But this is really a sign of Hashem's love for us!
Precisely because Hashem had so much Nachas Ruach from our previous successes, he wants to give us the opportunity to jump to a completely new level. So he removes our "excitement" about being "pure", and he sends the Yetzer Hara to us again for a whole new round of battle. Suddenly we are struggling again to guard our eyes on the street, suddenly we get attacks of lust and aren't sure that we will be able to hold out, suddenly it doesn't feel so "special" anymore to be fighting this battle...
But that is where the true test lies. And those are the situations that truly make a man great; his his ability to continue the battle even when he feels no thrill, even when it seems he isn't making as much progress as he had hoped, and even when it seems he's going backwards instead of forwards!
So let us all learn from "Me" - this valiant soldier of Hashem - and follow in his footsteps!