Thursday, 16 August 2018

Personal Story

Personal Story

I will never forget it. I was 30 years old and I had just celebrated “one year clean” — the first time in my life that I had a clean slate for such a long period of time. I accomplished it through pure determination and willpower. I made myself a private celebration, just me alone. I stayed out late that night and learned an extra few daf Gemara, as my way of thanking Hashem. I remember so clearly my wife being upset that I came home so late that night. How I wished I could tell her my cause for celebration.

Two weeks later, out of the blue, bang! I was back to exactly where I had left off — and this time it progressed even further. I was not able to tell my Rav about my falls; even though he was the only one person I had ever discussed this with, I was just too embarrassed. I had told him I was fine now and to be honest, I had never told him the whole picture, just that I was struggling with shemiras einayim.

The next few weeks were like living in Gehinnom. Here I was — learning, giving public Torah talks and shiurim, being a great husband and father — while in private I felt disgusting, guilty and bad. My reputation, my family and my job were all at stake, but I couldn’t stop. What was wrong with me?

By the way, I am your “standard guy.” I had a stable upbringing, a loving family, did well in school, went to mainstream yeshivahs in Gateshead and Eretz Yisrael, and stayed in kollel for many years after my chasunah.

Out of sheer and utter desperation, I called up some Rabbanim in town, saying I had an important matter to discuss. When one of them said to come over straight away, I went and just broke down and cried and cried. He looked at me so calmly and said, “Relax, we have Guard Your Eyes.”

That night I discovered the most beautiful website ever. For the first time in 30 years I was able to connect with people who related to me, who were not judgmental, and who gave sound advice from their own experiences. The options on the website are endless and available any time of day and night. The chizuk emails are powerful, the forums are so informative, the 90-day chart, phone conferences ... it goes on and on. From Guard Your Eyes (GYE) I went on to discover what the best route for me was in recovery. I started chatting with people anonymously, in the GYE chat rooms and when I once arranged to speak to someone on the phone, I could not believe my ears: It was my morning chavrusa! He had been struggling, I had been struggling, but we had both carried on our lives putting on a great show. Boy, was that a shock!

I can’t find the right words to thank GYE, who do this avodas hakodesh. GYE gave me hope and a new lease on life.

From the depths of my heart, thank you very much!