The Discovery that I was Capable of Restraint
"SilentBattle" is one of the most active and inspiring members on our forum for the past half a year or so. In honor of his recent engagement, he sent us his inspiring story about his journey to recovery. Besides for being able to learn a lot from his story, we all need to learn from his selfless dedication to helping others. He literally spends hours posting chizuk to other struggling members almost every day!
Thank you SilentBattle, and a big MAZAL TOV! May you build a true Bayis Ne'eman bi'Yisrael.
I grew up in a frum family, relatively Yeshivish, though I did watch movies occasionally. I went through standard adolescent turbulence but turned out OK, boruch Hashem. I learned in Yeshiva for a bunch of years, and enjoyed learning. However, from the time I was young, I had a major issue with being mz"l (masturbation). When I was younger, I would buy magazines, and more recently, I used online porn.
Then, a few years ago, things got worse. Much worse. With shidduchim not going well, and most of my friends married, I felt very alone, and I actually began meeting live women to satisfy my emotional and physical "needs." This went on for a while. I knew it was wrong, it went against everything I knew; everything I wanted to be.Occasionally I would stop. I'd delete my email account, erase all the numbers of the women I'd known... but it only lasted for a while. There was a part of me that wished I would get caught, because I knew that despite the suffering and embarrassment that it would cause, it would be worth it if it got me to stop this terrible behavior. However, I couldn't actually bring myself to say anything to my Rebbe. I couldn't even bring myself to daven for my Rebbe to find out.
But I guess Hashem heard my heart's prayers, even if I couldn't articulate them. My Rebbe did find out, and he confronted me. He recommended that I use GuardYourEyes, along with therapy.
My first goal was to put an end to my unhealthy relationships, which I did immediately. When my therapist recommended though, that I practice complete abstinence, including masturbation, I wasn't sure. After all, that wasn't the main problem, and I honestly didn't think I'd be able to handle it. For years, I'd never been able to stop my practice of being mz"l for any appreciable amount of time. But I figured I'd try it.
I signed up for the 90 day chart, a bit skeptical. I started keeping a journal on the forum of my thoughts, my progress and the tests I was facing. I read about other people's tests on the website and forum, and I began learning different approaches to this battle. Perhaps most importantly, I felt part of something special. Here was a group of people, possibly the only one in the world, fighting against this. When I had a victory, there were people who rejoiced along with me. When I was having trouble seeing things clearly, there were people to help guide me. When I was feeling down, there were members of the forum that encouraged me, let me know that they cared, let me know they were there for me. And slowly, slowly... it worked. I showed up by my next therapy session and realized that I'd been clean for a week! The weeks passed, and I'd been clean for a month! I was shocked!
I'd learned something important - I was capable of restraint. Masturbation was NOT something that I needed to be happy. In fact, I found myself feeling happier, more satisfied and more fulfilled without it. And whenI shared this with everyone on the forum, they celebrated along with me in this too.
The months passed, and I learned more about myself. Looking back now after being clean for more than half a year, it's truly incredible. I've done things I never thought I'd be able to accomplish. I've completely stopped all my lust-motivated behaviors! And in retrospect, I feel that maybe Hashem put me into the situation I was in, so that now, I could end up even healthier than I was before; with the capacity to truly feel good about myself, without feeling any hypocrisy, and without having my own self-pleasuring and fantasies get in the way of real relationships in my life. And most of all, to finally be able to connect with Hashem in a true way. I don't think it's any accident that my learning has improved so dramatically since I got clean.
I put all dating on hold, while I worked on getting clean. After being clean for several months, I began dating again. B"H, the very first girl I dated, I became engaged to. This was partially due to my new, healthier outlook, both towards life in general and towards myself. But I am absolutely certain that it was also Hashem's immediate response to my Teshuva.
I also have no doubt that I would not be where I am today without the help of all the amazing people on GYE. I can never fully express my thanks.