A BIG Mazal Tov to Yakov Schwartz for reaching half a year clean!
"Ykv_schwartz" (not his real name on Earth, but probably the name he will be greeted with after 120!) started his journey to sobriety (with us) on Feb. 5, at the Levaya of Rav Noach Weinberg z"l. He reached 90 days and joined the "Wall of Hashem's Honor" during the Seffira on the day of "Yesod She'binetzach". Yesod represents Shmiras Habris, and Netzach means FOREVER!!
And what better and more appropriate day could there be for hitting half a year than on Tu Be'av, one of the greatest Yomim Tovim; a day that combines the concepts of Renewal, Joy, Teshuva and Forgiveness. On Tu Be'Av Chazal say that the women danced dressed in white - like on Yom Kippur - and they danced in a circle - be'Machol, which is a lashon of "forgiveness" (see the Beis Ahron on how this day is a bechina of Yom Kippur!).
The name "Ykv_schwartz" has become synonymous with GuardYourEyes. Who doesn't know and LOVE Yakov, this passionate, sensitive and spiritual soul? He's posted close to 300 posts on our forum in the past half a year, many of them long and elaborate, putting his whole soul into inspiring others and making them feel good.
And there is even more to Yakov than meets the eye. I've never mentioned this before, but today is a good day to let everyone know so we can show our deep Hakaras Hatov to him. The recent upgrade to the "90 Day Chart" with the new sign-up page, login page, profile page and the whole new automated system - was (and is) being programmed and developed by Yakov for GuardYourEyes, free of charge!! Thank you Yakov, your schar is unfathomable!
In honor of Tu Be'Av - a day that shares many inyanim of Yom Kippur - and in honor of Yakov's half a year and his selfless work on the 90 day chart, who ever has not yet begun the journey to 90 days, TODAY is a perfect day to sign up on Yakov's new sign up page!
Here are Yakov's two amazing posts in honor of this great day. They bring tears to the eyes!
To my dear and holy brothers and sisters,
Today I am celebrating six month of sobriety. It's the first time since the start of my journey that I am allowing myself to celebrate sobriety. I will explain to you why.
For 15 years, I actively tried to stop myself from this addiction. I went through constant ups and downs. When I was down, I was really down. My addiction saw no boundaries. Even the fear of getting caught and losing my job never held me back. I visited some of the darkest places on this earth. I saw gehinnom with my own eyes. My self esteem dropped to the bottom.
The following letter (written in summer 2007) portrays my emotions at one of my moments of misery:
"Internally, I am a broken man. I am under constant Depression. I am really a failure to society. I fool the world. I represent spirituality to many people, but inside I am of the most corrupt of beings that walk this earth. I am shining on the outside and dirty on the inside. I am confused about my own self. I sometimes wonder if I have demons inside of me. I feel like Jekyll and Hyde. I am two people in one... I am a hidden man to my family. I am living a lie to my wife. I feel horrible with myself. I fill my wonderful head with junk. I am crying inside. I have contaminated the vessels that hold my spirituality. Every year I hope for a Yom Kippur where I will do a true vidui to Hashem for my PAST aveiros. But comes Yom Kippur, I am still holding on to them..."
And when I was up, I was way up. But I usually could not maintain my "up" for longer than a few weeks.
However, last year (2008), for the first time in my life I was finally able to resist the temptations and break free. I learned a few very important lessons. I realized how much I hate this addiction and stopped my activity immediately. The temptations melted away. I was amazed at my progress. I thought a new era in my life has finally arrived.
But six months later, on Oct 28, 2008, I fell again. I was in disbelief at the time. I was devastated. I lost six months in one minute. For the next three months, I wallowed in misery as I continued in my addiction, digging myself deeper and deeper in. I became numb to life and to spirituality. I continued my life externally as usual. I tried to keep my spirits high; as I convinced myself that I would pull out. But it continued. I began to finally admit that I am addicted and powerless. But at the same time, I began to fear that there is no hope for me. If after six months I could not maintain myself, then I must have some internal incurable disease. I thought the only way would be with professional help. The future looked bleak...