Thank you everybody here on GYE for changing my life
Till the age of 18 I was masturbating and viewing porn 5-6 times a day. I had no idea what I was even doing to myself, I never thought it was that bad. By 18 I came to realize the severity of my actions and I got on the roller coaster of Teshuva and depression.
I got married at 20 and I thought my troubles were over. For the first 6 months of marriage I had no falls. Then we got high speed Internet and slowly but surely I slipped right back into the web. My marriage overall is good, but there were many issues that were directly related to my struggle (although my wife has no idea) and whenever I fell, my shalom bayis fell right with it.
Before I found GYE I was actually moving in the right direction, armed with "The Garden of Emunah" and a fierce determination. I was managing 3 week stretches of being clean, but I was still lacking something and every fall always triggered huge depressions. It felt like the longer I was clean, the worse the depression. Then Hashem sent me GYE and my life hasn't been the same since. I started reading the daily chizuk e-mails about 9 weeks ago and I've been reading and applying the handbooks, and the struggle is not the same anymore. I think, for me, the best information was in how to view myself as an "addict" and how to stop the depression after a fall. I am now B"H 6 weeks clean from porn and masturbation, and while I still have some tough struggles, my defenses are stronger then ever. Thank you everybody here on GYE for changing my life.
Hi Jeff, you mentioned that before you found GYE you were "moving in the right direction - armed with The Garden of Emunah", but that it wasn't enough on its own to prevent you from getting depressed after a fall... Did you see in this holy sefer (that has sold over 1 million copies), where Rav Shalom Arush says:
"When you are faced with a struggle of the Yetzer or whatever.... before you fall, you must know that you are obligated to do anything and everything possible NOT to fall (as the Torah commands us)... This is before the fact.But, after you have fallen, then you must attribute it to "min hashamayim", they wanted me to fall... it was for my own good. This will help to remove the yetzer's, "you're no good, look what you did ..... etc, which will eventually lead to anxiety, sadness, and the depression which will once again lead to the next fall."
How can it be, you will ask yourself,: that I fell, I did an aveira,, and it was planned in shamayim?! Answer: Through Hashem's love for us, he sees what we cannot. It could be that this fall will actually help us in the future, and will strenghten us. A "nefeila l'tzurich Aliya". Or, sometimes a person thinks they are very righteous, and so as a chessed he is thrown down. This will give him some of the anievus that he needs.
For someone to berate himself, and say, "how could I have fallen? Look at me, how could I have done such a thing?" Well, we MUST say this BEFORE we fall, i.e. (How can I DO such a thing?.....) But, if nonetheless, we fell, then, it is GAIVA to say to myself, "how can I have fallen?". Do we hold ourselves to be such great Tzadikim that we can't/won't fall? EVERYONE, including Gedolim fall.
Thanks "Me", I did notice this, but until I started with GYE and saw that real people were struggling with what I was and they were fighting off the depression, it was all very theoretical - and I even found myself arguing this point (of Rav Arush). GYE is what gave me the strength to take the lesson and apply it to my life. My current 6 weeks clean is only thanks to my last fall after I found GYE, and for the first time picked myself up immediately and started again without depression.
Unfortunately, what you wrote and experienced (that it was all "theoretical") is perhaps the global chisaron that many of us "frum Yidden" have today. Often, everything that we practice and are still learning, Torah, middos, hanhagos tovos, etc. seem to stay at the "theoretical" level. This is why Rav Shalom wrote this sefer. When you read the sefer, you see clearly that even the Emunah P'shuta is far, far away from us. We have not been living this way, even though we learned about it in Yeshiva...
We here at GYE, MUST put the "theoretical" into "action". There is no other way for us to succeed. AND, if we are successful in doing this, then we can see that our falls were all for our good in the end. For hopefully they will have brought us to true Emunah, B'poel - L'maaseh!