I didn't know
"Battleworn" posted recently on the Forum
I want to point out a few things that I didn't know when I was a Bachur. I hope others will benefit from my experience.
1) The struggle is not a problem but rather a gift from Hashem to make us grow. Although we must always avoid nisyonos (tests) as much as possible and we daven every single day "al tiviaini lidai nisoyon", but when Hashem in His infinite wisdom and infinite love gives it to us, we must realize that it's exactly what we need.
2) Every bit of effort that we invest to be misgaber (hold ourselves back), is immensely important in the eyes of Hashem.
3) We don't always have Bechira (free choice). We can never know what is expected of us. So we always need to try our best - not one drop less, and we may never ever give up. But after the fact, there is no reason to assume that we could have done better. So don't ever get down from a fall.
4) Perhaps my worst mistake of all was that I concentrated all my effort on not masturbating (often trying to stop at the last second.) I was not at all aware of the damage I was doing to myself by not guarding my eyes and my thoughts. In fact, I had never learned about the importance of shimiras einayim at all. I think that this alone is a fatal error.
5) Hashem doesn't expect us to go it alone (This is one of the main yesodos of the Baal Shem Tov, and by now it's accepted by everyone.) You need to belong to a system/community/Yeshiva/Chasidus etc. A tzibur is much much stronger than a yochid. And you need to ask for help if you're in trouble.
There is no question at all that my life would have been very very different had I known these things. But of course it is all for the best, and I hope that through my suffering, many others will be spared from sinning and suffering.
For MORE great Chizuk from this Battleworn Soldier in Hashem's army, see here.