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The Three Second Rule

GYE Corp. Monday, 13 February 2012

The "Three-Second Rule:" If you see something inappropriate, implement the "three-second rule." Doing so involves three steps: alert, avert, and affirm. The first step is to realize that you're seeing something inappropriate. That's the "alert" stage, and it may take a second or two. The second step is to close your eyes or look away. That's the "avert" stage. These two steps should take place within [about] three seconds. The third step is to give yourself a mental "pat on the back" thinking something like, "I saw that by mistake, and I quickly looked away. I'm still clean and, b'Ezras Hashem, I'm going to build on that, one day at a time." That's the "affirm" stage.

Adhering to the three-second rule appears to be fully consistent with what the Halacha requires, and will also prevent any "slips" within rule #8 of the GYE Wall of Honor Rules. This is crucial because as addicts, it's often the first slip that does us in ("just as an alcoholic needs to avoid that first sip, a lust addict needs to avoid that first slip").

This "rule" has got to make it into the next edition of the GYE Handbook. I've been on a high since I heard it.

Many times, people on the forum say things like, "I looked away, but maybe I waited a drop longer than I had to". Then the Yetzer Hara makes this poor soul feel guilty when he's done nothing wrong at all, and that can lead to slips and falls, c"v. The "three-second rule" recognizes that it may take a second or two to realize that something is amiss, and only then are you expected to look away.