We all want to stop. Whenever we think of the “big picture”, both spiritually and physically, we realize that sooner or later we HAVE to stop. But we often feel like two different people. After each fall we ask ourselves: “What repercussions will it take to finally stop me? Do I have any hope? How can it be that I am a frum Yid in all other areas besides for this? Do I have Yiras Shamayim – or don’t I? “
The following tool has worked well with many Frum addicts, in helping them stop these destructive behaviors completely. It may not work for high-level addicts or for people with no Yiras Shamayim, but for most frum addicts, this method has worked wonders and has freed many people from the obsession.
What Doesn’t Stop Us?
The first thing we need to do is to face the truth about ourselves.
“Abstract” spiritual repercussions don’t generally stop me, even though I believe that:
- This is one of the most serious aveiros.
- I am destroying my soul.
- I am creating other destructive souls.
- I am losing Siyyata Di’shmaya in all of my life (as the pasuk says, “ki yireh becha ervas davar veshav me’acharecha”).
- I am cutting off my connection with Hashem.
- I am desensitizing myself to spirituality.
- I am making it ever harder to do Teshuvah.
- It is making me feel like a hypocrite in all other Mitzvos I do.
- I am destroying the “Yesod – foundation”, of my entire spiritual structure.
- My kids and wife can likely ‘sense’ that I am not sincere in my Yiddishkeit, overall.
- These behaviors may likely spiral into worse aveiros.
- I am/will likely end up cutting myself off from the World to Come.
- Moshiach is coming soon; how will I face him?
In spite of the above, my Yiras Shamayim will generally NOT stop me from:
- Looking at shmutz
- Being Motzi Zera Livatala
- Even if I would make a shvuah to stop/avoid it, I’ll end up breaking it sooner or later; the desires are just too powerful.
Don’t feel bad that your Yiras Shamayim is not strong enough to stop you. It doesn’t mean you don’t have any. When Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai blessed his students before he died he said, "May your fear of heaven be equal to your fear of man". And his students asked him: "Rebbi, is that all?". And he answered: "Halevai!". And even Rabbi Akiva wasn’t able to stop himself when faced head-on with a powerful lust. See Kidushin 81/a where the Gemara tells how Rabbi Akiva started climbing up a tree to sin – until the Satan himself had to stop him from sinning. Imagine! This is the same Rabbi Akiva who cried ‘Shma Yisrael” with joy as they combed his flesh with iron combs! (See principle 2 of part 2 of this handbook for more on this idea).
The non-spiritual “SHORT TERM” repercussions don’t stop me either, even though:
- It makes me depressed.
- I lose time from work.
- I lose sleep.
- I lose money.
- I lose a close connection with my wife.
- I feel distant from my children.
- I don’t have time for anyone but “me”.
- My whole life revolves around my next “fix”.
- I feel like a slave to my desires.
The non-spiritual “LONG TERM” repercussions don’t stop me, even though:
- My behaviors may be found out.
- I can lose my good name.
- I can lose my job.
- I can lose my marriage.
- I can lose my children.
- My children may have a hard time with shidduchim as a result.
- My children may need therapy one day for the trauma they may go through.
- My behaviors will likely get worse.
- I can end up in jail.
- I can catch diseases.
- I can end up suicidal or dead.