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Kedusha and Sanity
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A platform of recovery for Jews who find themselves struggling with addictions to pornography, masturbation or other sexual problems. Post anonymously about your struggles without fear of anyone finding out who you are. Ask questions, post answers and be inspired! Get tips and guidance from the experts who moderate this forum, as well as from fellow strugglers.

TOPIC: Kedusha and Sanity 15347 Views

Kedusha and Sanity 02 Aug 2013 21:48 #214817

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Dov
I hope you remember that the real problem here is not lusting, but lying. Few here get it. Most think this is some sort of religious kedusha struggle or something. It's really just being a real human being. Derech Eretz kodnmah laTorah. Once we have sanity, all the rest falls into place. Hatzlocha getting some and keeping it. It's certainly not a thing you are mesugal for doing successfully, so this will be a miracle - as it is with me.

Love,

Dov


skeptical
Lying/not lying is also a religious kedusha struggle, or something.

Derech Eretz is Torah.



Dov


skeptical wrote:
Lying/not lying is also a relgious kedusha struggle, or something.

Derech Eretz is Torah.



It may make you feel nice to see your own struggle to remain honest and real, as falling under the rubrick of Torah and avodas Hashem, but do you see how the connection of this struggle in any way to Torah, Teshuvah, and Kedusha is poison for so many people? And if yes, do you see then that trying to be 'menachem' a person that "yes, your recovery is still Torah/kedusha," can really tempt them to run right back into the very 'holy' mentalities that have been fueling their porn and masturbation habit from day 1, 2, or 3?

Those are questions, not rhetoricals, nor attacks. Just questions.

And have you read my post about "The Nuclear Reset Button"?



mayer
The answer (or rather my answer) to all of the above questions is yes, yes, and yes.
That being clarified at the outset (I have a sneaking feeling that this is gonna be a long hijacking ), wouldn't it be fair to assume that the above mentioned "poison" is a distorted view of what Torah, Mitzvos, and Avodas Hashem are all about? They (Torah, Mitzvos, and Avodas Hashem) are NOT about MY oh so exalted levels of ________ (fill in the blank -Torah, Teshuvah, Kedushah, Chassidus, Mussar, etc.); that grain and perspective of humility, is game-changing. A more accurate, less "me-focused" perception and angle of Torah, etc. is indeed a (the?) (by)product of sobriety, no?
All Mr. Skeptical is saying, (I think) is that, if one truly has (something of the) the right perspective vis-à-vis Torah, etc., there is a way of looking at this endgame during the game, that's all; not removing it from the scope of Torah, without having his Avodas Hashem defined by masturbation.
As the saying goes "If the shoe fits, wear it!" Conversely, if it doesn't, (and if it's "poison", it certainly won't,) don't!


Dov
Yes, yes, and yes, Mayer. But my point is that if so, then WHY DON'T ALL THESE 'CORRECTED' JEWS HERE JUST KEEP THEIR ZIPPERS UP AND LEAVE THEIR PENISES ALONE!

But they do not.

Why?

Some of these good people (and I mean that 100% sincerely) are still searching for porn, still worshipping it, hot women, and sex with their wives, with devotion and mesiras nefesh that would be high madreigos in avodas Hashem, and are still keeping it private - so they can safely keep doing it (hiding it and using fake names even n recovery here on GYE).

And if they are now enlightened and 'get the Torah right"...when did that sudden enlightenment occur? Did they undergo any real inner change that is a total revamping from the 'Torah' they knew and accepted back in the day (last week?) when they 'were still sinning regularly'? Or was it just a few posts they read that showed them a nice vort or chizzuk of some sort and 'now they've got it all right'? How can I have faith in quick sincerity-fixes rather than see them as gimmicks.

I have seen so many guys insist that they now 'get it', so many speeches from newbies still masturbating their brains out, spewing what they feel with their whole heart is sincere: about how "if you just trust hashem and do xy&z things, you will beat this thing!" And they 'fall' so badly they disappear in shame. This happens over and over. GYE helps a lot. But so many more than it helps, are lost to the denial of religious enlightenment.

Sorry for the rant here. But it hurts.

How is what you are saying any different than that? I just don't get it - please explain it to me, chaver.


MendelZ
Dov is just keeping us real, as he is wont to do. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dov for his super-valliant efforts to help us all realize that unless there is some serious paradigm shift occurring in the way we see life itself, we can be pretty sure that we've got a lot of work to do. Not to discourage us, chas v'shalom, but real recovery requires real realization. The misguided Torah lives we all live/lived is not the real Torah. We live/lived it because we thought it was about us. Its not. If we could see that as true, more true and real than whatever pleasurable feelings we had when we acted/act out, we would be able to make a little more room for the true and real Torah to have its glorious and uplifting effect on our lives.


mayer
Dov wrote:
Yes, yes, and yes, Mayer. But my point is that if so, then WHY DON'T ALL THESE 'CORRECTED' JEWS HERE JUST KEEP THEIR ZIPPERS UP AND LEAVE THEIR PENISES ALONE!

But they do not.

Why?

Some of these good people (and I mean that 100% sincerely) are still searching for porn, still worshipping it, hot women, and sex with their wives, with devotion and mesiras nefesh that would be high madreigos in avodas Hashem, and are still keeping it private - so they can safely keep doing it (hiding it and using fake names even n recovery here on GYE).

And if they are now enlightened and 'get the Torah right"...when did that sudden enlightenment occur? Did they undergo any real inner change that is a total revamping from the 'Torah' they knew and accepted back in the day (last week?) when they 'were still sinning regularly'? Or was it just a few posts they read that showed them a nice vort or chizzuk of some sort and 'now they've got it all right'? How can I have faith in quick sincerity-fixes rather than see them as gimmicks.

I have seen so many guys insist that they now 'get it', so many speeches from newbies still masturbating their brains out, spewing what they feel with their whole heart is sincere: about how "if you just trust hashem and do xy&z things, you will beat this thing!" And they 'fall' so badly they disappear in shame. This happens over and over. GYE helps a lot. But so many more than it helps, are lost to the denial of religious enlightenment.

Sorry for the rant here. But it hurts.

How is what you are saying any different than that? I just don't get it - please explain it to me, chaver.


There is but one difference (and although it mat be dismissed as mere semantics by some, it drives others up the wall) and that is the insistence that for some people who are deeply mired and entrapped in porn, masturbation, etc., Torah is NOT the (an) answer.
Yes - certainly, their Torah ain't - real Torah is. I think we all agree on that one.
The point of divergence is whether one can begin to live that while still entrenched in the dirt. Just as saying "I'm powerless", without truly recognizing it is merely a lesson in self-delusion, so too is the " sudden enlightenment" of "get the Torah right"; Torah is not a lesson in mental gymnastics or enlightment, but in action. Just as any other mode of recovery is a process, so too is this. One must be honest - difficult, very difficult.
Last Edit: 02 Aug 2013 21:50 by skeptical.

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 02 Aug 2013 21:56 #214820

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Dov,

My biggest issue is that you tend to say that our issue with porn is the most sincere element to us while our Yiddishkeit is only a facade. I majorly disagree with that. To me, Yiddishkeit is my most sincere element (essence) and every one of my struggles has its root in Torah.

We need to be careful about lying to ourselves and others? That's a struggle in Torah - Midvar sheker tirchak. It's not about common sense. It's about following Torah. Yes, many mitzvos make sense, but that is not why we do them. We do (or don't do) them because Hashem commanded us to do (or not to do) so. Period.

For whatever reason, we got sucked into porn and it's not easy to get out of it. It is really really hard. But not one of us on here is proud of our obsession with porn. We are proud of our Yiddishkeit. We wish and strive to thrive in Yiddishkeit though we are not yet there.

Don't say that Torah is leading everyone astray. It's not true. That we're having a hard time applying Torah to our lives properly is one thing. But it's not Torah that is at fault. Figuring out how to apply Torah to our lives so that we can live life properly is a journey. It is us who is the problem, not the Torah approach. Throwing in the towel because I haven't been able to make it work in one area or another is not the right way.

If someone wants to do the 12-Steps, I'm happy they made that decision. It helps many people and as Rabbi Dr. Twerski
If I had to formulate a program for recovery from addiction based on sifre mussar, it would be word for word the 12 steps.


The problem I have is that I know a few people who are working the 12-Step program for some addiction(s) or another and the feeling I get from some of them and (sometimes) from you is that in 12-step recovery they try to strip a person of anything they've known till then. Don't try to be religious, don't try to be holy - just try to be sane. Get back to basics. Here's your new bible. Make sure to learn all the 12-step catch phrases and when someone says they're trying to be a good Jew interject and say that you're just trying to be sane. Your Yiddishkeit? Reinvent the wheel as you see fit, as it makes sense to you, after all, it's all just common sense.

My point is don't throw in the towel on Torah. We need to grow. That is what life is about. If the 12-Step Program is what you need to do so, go for it. Take that inventory, be honest and open, re-establish your relationship with Hashem, and ask Him to please take away your struggles. Obviously we all need to do this and if the 12-Steps gives you the structure to do it, great! But obviously behind it all should be my relationship with Hashem and striving to do what is in His Torah to my utmost ability.
Last Edit: 02 Aug 2013 23:37 by skeptical.

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 02 Aug 2013 22:26 #214831

Git gizoogt, skepty.

MT

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 02 Aug 2013 22:38 #214833

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I don't think that what dov is saying and what you are saying are that far apart. I think what drives dov nuts is people coming to fight a holy war for Hashem to vanquish the yetzer hora. Meanwhile, they are deluding themselves and destroying their family (or future family) and themselves in the process. Instead of taking an honest look in the mirror and saying I need help. I can't do it alone.

Yes, honesty is a Torah value, but somehow, we can keep lying to ourselves and others until finally the consequences of our actions smack us in the face hard enough (for those of us who are lucky). If we spend countless hours looking for porn, fantasizing, masturbating, etc., how can we say that what we "really" want is a close relationship with Hashem? ok, maybe deep down we do, but our daily actions contradict that. We are lying to ourselves.

Dov has said many times, derech eretz kadma latorah. Well, derech eretz is a Torah value too - no?

We need sanity, and yes, again, sanity is a torah value. We are insane when we act out (aino choteh... ruach shtus).

Yes, I do think some of it is semantics, but many can't give up their "holy war" without giving up the Torah jargon as well.

I hear where you are coming from, but in dov's experience, keeping things in a Torah framework tends to hold people back. He has seen it countless times.

I think it also may be part of another machalah which is intelecualizing. I am very guilty of this. I want to "understand" addiction. The 12 steps is about action. Again, so is yiddishkeit, but we try to be so sophisticated and in doing so, we miss the basic obvious truth.

To me, 12 steps is about regaining some basic honesty, and basic emunah and bitachon. Unfortunately, it is often buried under a mountain of nice sounding lomdus.

Sorry for another ramble. Oh, and sorry for speaking for you dov. Feel free to hit me over the head and tell me that I'm wrong.

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 02 Aug 2013 23:44 #214841

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I know that Dov and I agree on many things, probably even most. There are just a few nuances that sometimes get on my nerves. Had to get it out of my system is all.

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 03 Aug 2013 23:43 #214852

skeptical, just wanted you to know that i agree with you and that its refreshing to not be as insane as i thought or at least not alone
i used to look back all the time saying "oh no! what have i done! Hashem help me erase the past." and i never heard a response.
finally i started looking forward saying "Hashem i'm leaving the past to you and i'm forgetting all about it. help me have a good future. help me from here and on be the person You want me to be." and that's where i realized Hashem had been waiting to help me all along

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 04 Aug 2013 09:22 #214883

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Dov wrote:
I never said that Torah was the problem, period. Ever. But in part 2 i will be"H show precisely in what ways our yiddishkeit fueled some of our problems, and some reasons why we who are versed in Torah still fail and continue failing.

I'd much rather have this discussion on the phone, so can we please set up a conference to talk this out? We could use the same number the DC's call and the Desperados' call use for their phone meetings, and get this done far more efficiently and honestly than here with the fake names and the hiding voices. This topic is huge, and very real. So please consider doing it with a bit more realness. Just let me know and we can arrange it for as many people that r interested.

OK. But here we are. Be"H, I will express some ideas as succinctly as I can. Amen. (More like, hal'vai!)

A disclaimer: (already?!)

There are people who may be unable to understand what I am writing because it does not apply to them at all. And some who it does apply to will keep seeing things through their rose-colored glasses and hope for the frum-sounding party-line. And some are in so much denial that they will say 'apikores'. So good luck to whoever reads this. And if you walk away thinking I am an apikores, I respect right to your opinion, disagree, and seriosuly wish you good luck.

None of what I am writing applies to the typical guy (Jew or non-Jew) who discovered that when he rubs his penis he gets a pleasant feeling, or that nudes are fun to look at, and does so - struggling with his religion and values every time, sometimes winning, sometimes losing.

What I am writing applies only to the fellow (or gal) who has really lost the battle, but just pretends to himself that he (or she) is still 'struggling'. He sincerely thinks that he is fighting because of his religion or allegiance to Hashem (because it's an aveiro). He often sees himself as a tragic figure, with just too much yetzer hora. He may see himself as an '(as yet unholy) very holy man'. He may keep thinking that Teshuvah is the answer for him...yet discovers himself doing Teshuvah and getting worse and worse over the years. He may see his swings from extreme goodness to extreme out-of-control-evil-ness getting more intense. He may see his very deep religious feeling as proof of his basic OK-ness - he just has 'a problem'...maybe he will open up to his Rebbi about it one day. He may see that his religious feelings are actually intensified by the pain of the adventures he is having running after the porn, or after the sex he is having with himself (or with others). His wife...well, he usually sees his wife as seriously undersexed and is often struggling with feelings that he married the wrong woman. That pain and doubt is terrible and best dealt with using the only thing he can really trust to distract himself from deep pain...you guessed it: sweet porn and risky sex adventures. When he does open up to someone (or even here on the anonymous and virtual forum), he may only do so partially: "I struggle with zera levatola," or "with the internet." [...he is really spending desperate times masturbating himself in a mirror a few times a week, watching porn with shallow breath and stolen minutes saving the precious images for after the bedtime Sh'ma, fantasizes intensely about specific pretty women habitually, goes through his sisters clothes when he visits home and masturbates - [i]but he can't tell the Rebbi that!![/i] So he calls his issue, a problem with tayvos, or the internet. Blames it on Hashem (for the yetzer hora He gave him), or on Al Gore (for the internet he made ). More obfuscation due to shame. Nu. No wonder he doesn't get very far.

OK. So. I am referring to addicts, not stam to what Chaza"l and the sforim call the 'yetzer hora'. I believe that they have the answer to the Yetzer Hora, as RMCh"L writes "hein", only through Torah can we be freed from the YH and achieve true yir'as Shomayim. But Chaza"l were clearly not speaking of addicts. And many guys on GYE are not addicts! (as I have written many times before) They simply need to open up honestly and explicitly to their Rebbis, and stay doing so. As the Tzetl'e Koton says, in #13 - "without hiding a single thing out of shame." Read it carefully - R' Meilech is surely not talking about addicts! He writes this for every yid. And he surely did that eitza for himself, perhaps with his brother.

The fact that our behavior of sex-with-self (masturbation) and consumption of porn are issurim, is an irrelevant detail. The pattern of behaviors is the same as alcoholics. When a broken and beaten-down sex and lust addict like me reads member stories in the book AA, or speaks to a bleeding alcoholic or heroin addict (as I have many times), he sees himself! It's quite chilling.

Once a person sees that his pattern corresponds almost exactly with that of a heroin addict or alcoholic, where issurim and religion are not factors, he will know that he is not a "struggling Yid"...he is just a drunk. Or more accurately, a pervert.

"Ooh, if I take a name or label to myself, I will get even worse! Slabodka teaches "we need to focus on the gadlus ho'odom"! The Rebbes tell us "a person is where his thoughts are"! So I gota think positively. If I call myself an addict or even worse a pervert, I will lock myself into the bad behavior forever!"

Sounds very dramatic and politically correct. But is the guy a mess, or not? What will it take for the regular habitual masturbater to recognize that he has lost? Is it only the divorced who are a mess? The arrested? The dead? Who? Does he need to find himself a bochur at the age of 30 (because he is 'waiting until he has this YH under control before starting shiduchim' as the Rebbi advised him?) before he admits "This crap is ruining my life!"? Or maybe 35? 40? Or does he need to do really, really baaad aveiros to 'qualify'? What will it take? I see and hear so many guys calling me with wreckage. Wreckage. Why didn't they call a year or five years ago, when they were not caught yet? Answer: shame. Where did they get the shame from? Who told them to keep on fighting, that it is just the Yetzer hora, that Torah must be the answer, that "meshaneh mipnei haShalom is mutar, so hide it!"? Not me, b"H.

Do you hear me so far, at all?

Part 2 tomorrow iy"H, about religion and how it often relates to our acting out problem. My wife and I going for another late-night walk now...

Good night and Gut voch all.
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Re: Kedusha and Sanity 04 Aug 2013 19:11 #214916

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Dov, I read what you wrote here and just want to ask one or two things. I'm not arguing with you, I really don't know so I haven't got an opinion on the matter, I just want to ask if I may.

''What will it take for the regular habitual masturbater to recognize that he has lost? Is it only the divorced who are a mess? The arrested? The dead? Who? Does he need to find himself a bochur at the age of 30 (because he is 'waiting until he has this YH under control before starting shiduchim' as the Rebbi advised him?) before he admits "This crap is ruining my life!"? Or maybe 35? 40? Or does he need to do really, really baaad aveiros to 'qualify'? What will it take?''

1-- I want to ask you where you think i am. I have been working on this problem consistently for about 18 months. I was watching porn and masturbating every day and now I tend to go about 3 weeks without porn or masturbation before i fall. (Why i keep falling at all is very much on my mind but not relevant to this topic. or maybe it is?) My wife doesn't know, nor does my Rav or parents. I wasn't caught, i didn't do anything particularly shameful to make it click. It was something that i had felt guilty about for years and years and at some point I made the decision to work on it. I suppose there was something that made me do that but nothing drastic, no escalation of the problem or what it was doing to me. Maybe a suddenly clear realisation?

So where do you think that puts me? Am i a strange case? Was i ever a real addict? Was it yiddishkeit that gave me the sudden realisation? Which would help me more, 12 steps or shaarei teshuvah?

2-- You ask how bad does it have to be to be a problem. I've got a shameful secret to admit, yesterday on shabbos I tore off a piece of dead skin from my hand. It's not the first time either, it happens a lot of shabbosos. You're absolutely right that no amount of masturbation is OK, but of course no amount of chilul shabbos is either. So am i addicted to tearing off dead skin on shabbos? Clearly even if a slight transgression is a transgression, there is still a point that's called addicted and a point that's simply called sinning?

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 04 Aug 2013 21:24 #214927

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I think the phone conference to discuss this is a great idea, but at the same time, having it in writing here would help lots of people who for whatever reason will not be on the phone.

Can we do both?

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 05 Aug 2013 00:10 #214951

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All in favour of skeptical's motion, say "aye".

AYE!!
אלא יש לו לייחד כל מעשיו לשמו הגדול לבד, ולא ישתף עמו דבר אחר
That's the goal. The key to everything. Working on it, bs"d.

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 05 Aug 2013 00:23 #214954

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when is the next phone conference please?

thanks
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Re: Kedusha and Sanity 05 Aug 2013 03:36 #214974

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Dr.Watson wrote:
...I have been working on this problem consistently for about 18 months. I was watching porn and masturbating every day and now I tend to go about 3 weeks without porn or masturbation before i fall. (Why i keep falling at all is very much on my mind but not relevant to this topic. or maybe it is?)... Which would help me more, 12 steps or shaarei teshuvah?...You're absolutely right that no amount of masturbation is OK, but of course no amount of chilul shabbos is either. So am i addicted to tearing off dead skin on shabbos? Clearly even if a slight transgression is a transgression, there is still a point that's called addicted and a point that's simply called sinning?


1- An addict is just as responsible for his behavior as a non-addict. That's poshut. Playing the 'I am an addict' card is not a way to avoid guilt for wronging another or for sinning, at all. As far as I am concerned, it is irrelevant to my wife, to G-d, and to anybody I may have hurt. This is poshut. Odom mu'ad l'olam is for real. It is part of what makes us human.

12 steps recovery is actually 100% based on acceptance of self-responsibility. We choose recovery because we admit only we are responsible for ourselves and nobody else can be - not even G-d. Not our therapists. Nobody. We are alone with ourselves forever...we can invite G-d in, but that too, is up to us (as the Kotzker used to say). It is what Rav Elozer ben Durdaya (one of the rare cases of an addict in Chaza"l or in any sefer at all) meant when begged the mountains, sky, and earth to save him - and they all refused. He finally said, "ein hadovor tolui ella bee", and cried himself to death. That's recovery: completely up to me and dependent upon my choice to surrender to the truth and to G-d. It is dying to self, a bit. Giving up lust for today certainly feels like dying, to us. I do not mean thinking about it - that's fun philosophizing and we frummies love that with a geshmak rav Dessler and a hot chocolate...

But to actually do it. Give it up just for today. It's like dying. Terrifying. I know. But no one can recover for us - no one can surrender for us.

In this respect and others, 12 step recovery is completely different than (how I understand) Christianity in its doing away with the responsibility of keeping the mitzvos and of the batei din process, in general - and so much akin to (how I understand Yiddishkeit) for keeping them both. I believe that saying that a man died for our future sins, ultimately absolves one of personal responsibility for his actions. On the other hand lhavdil, Torah teaches we surely can be forgiven - but that life is about accepting personal responsibility and behaving the right way (the mitzvos and jurisprudence). No one can do Teshuva for me, any more than they can live right for me! Besides, doing Teshuvah is a priveledge and I would not want anyone to do it for me...

And so, the 12 steps are based on acceptance of my own ultimate responsibility to: 1- do whatever it takes to get and keep sobriety for I cannot survive without it (step 1) (none of the 12 steps can be worked to good effect unless I am sober); and 2- taking the actions of recovery to accept sanity (steps 2-10) and get a spiritual experience (steps 3-12) by learning to live with my own G-d (as a Jew must say: "Elohai" - my G-d...not just 'G-d').

Does any of that make sense to you? I hope it was helpful.

[Now, I know there are gentiles, including religious Christians, reading this forum. If your understanding of your religion is very different than mine, I respect your opinion, and we can talk about it, but that discussion does not belong on the forum. I merely wanted to help the frum guys who have this idea that the 12 step program is somehow right in line with typical Christian ideas - so it can't be kosher, and they end up never using it. I appreciate your extreme tolerance.]

********


2- You are right - your question of "why do I keep falling at all?," is very important. I do not believe that insight and clarity about ourselves brings us to sobriety, at all. Rather, I know that it is sobriety that brings us to insight and clarity in ourselves.

So I would suggest that clarity about what's really going on with you and your relationship with your fantasy life (and private parts), will come as a result of being clean for a time. It will probably take about six months to start to see it. See, our porning fantasizing and masturbating are not 'the problem of our lives' (though many good religious people might try to convince you of that, cuz it 'feels nicer'). Rather, our porning fantasizing and masturbating are our solution to our lives. It is something (or things) about living that we find unbearable, sickening, unacceptable...and we cope with it by sexing out. It's just the only thing we really trust to 'make it feel OK'.

That's why you run into a wall at 3 weeks. Something gets exposed and needs to get covered up with either sex - or with the struggle against the 'aveiro' of sex. Same drug, really.

4 weeks will not 'do it'. You will need much more time than that, and lots of tefilloh, as well.

***********


Regarding the dead skin on Shabbos issue:

Is the real reason you need to stop having sex with yourself that it is an aveiro? Or is it because it makes you meshugah and you feel like a 5 year old and an animal doing it. That you know you will keep doing it past the ages of 50 and 60. That you see this is just plain nuts?

Or is it l'Shaim Shomayim?

Seriously?

If it is, then Shaarei Teshuvah should be all you need, maybe, but still rebbe Elimelech was right - honesty with self comes from honesty with another human being. G-d is surely not real enough to you and I, becs if He were, we'd never masturbate ourselves with desperation the way we do right in front of him.

Remember my post abt Raban Yochanan ben Zakai and his talmidim?
Admin put these lines here cuz he likes 'em:
"The heart needs to be broken when will-power is not enough"
"Get off the 18-Wheeler and onto a tricycle!"
"The heck with me, what can I do for you?"
"I do not particularly care exactly which "lav" suicide is. I'm not interested in it for other reasons!"

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 05 Aug 2013 12:11 #214992

  • Watson
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Dov, thank you for your post. Thank you for taking the time to post, it is always appreciated. I agree with what you're saying. I wonder if my problem is that i can't identify myself to it. Here's what i mean:

1. I didn't say i was an addict, I'm still not sure i am, despite the numerous falls I've had. I still have the mindset that I just need to control my yetzer and that's where it is. Even though i fall i still think i'm making progress and getting better at fighting my yetzer each time.

A person might masturbate once or twice and that's just called doing an aveirah. There's a point at which this behaviour is out of control and he might be called an addict. Equally a person who used to masturbate every day and now does it only once in a while is not really an addict anymore. I mean, he is because it can easily slip back to what it was, but his behaviour is not out of control, he's just doing an aveirah.

I'm really not sure where to put myself on this scale. I'm not sure it's relevant because I don't want to do any aveirahs at all. One masturbation is too many, and to me that's because of the aveirah not because I would feel like my behaviour was out of control just because of one masturbation.



2. I've read this a lot but I've never identified with it. I've tried to think about what's wrong deep down that makes me masturbate and I haven't come up with anything. B''H I have a good life. I have a loving wife, a nice family, nice in-laws, enough money for what I need, a promising career, i learn and daven. The things that bother me are not learning enough, not getting to minyan enough, maybe i could have more friends, but overall I'm a very happy, content person. I just can't get my head around why i keep falling except maybe i fell for another of the yetzer hora's tricks.



3. I'll give you the honest answer. I don't know what my motivation is. I can't say I'm such a tzaddik that I'm doing it l'shem shomayim. At the same time, if it was just out of control behaviour i was worried about, i think i would be happy with where i'm at now, and i'm not.

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 05 Aug 2013 19:01 #215041

  • skeptical
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Dr. Watson,

I think you've pinpointed Dov's problem.

An addict is one whose mind is consistently preoccupied with his drug of choice. We may see something, hear something (clip clop), or smell something, and that urge is there. We can't take our minds off it. We're so wrapped up in it that when given the chance, we're all over it, or desire to be all over it. We may give ourselves time limits, but time kind of disappears once we start. Before we know it, hours have passed and our close family and friends are neglected by us while we waste our lives away.

I can be clean for a long time, but if I slip up and let my mind go the wrong way, that same strong urge will overtake me. There is no allowing myself to do it just once or twice, because once I do that, I want more and more. I need to search for more, I can't let it go. I. NEED. MORE.

I think what Dov's problem is that although we keep falling into this trap over and over, rather than admitting that we have a problem - no matter how many times we try and fail - we insist that we just need to keep fighting the Yetzer Harah, harder and stronger.

I don't think this is a Torah issue at all. It's an addiction issue. People generally don't want to have problems associated with them, especially not an addiction.

When I was a kid, I was allergy-free. As I got older, we realized that I had seasonal allergies. I didn't want to have allergies. I felt broken. It's kind of silly, but that's how I felt. But I had to accept it, because this is what the doctor said and the doctor is smart about these things, so I took whatever medication was given and it helped me.

So, we in the Torah community call it a battle with the YH. Non-Jews may call it willpower. This is not a problem with the Torah approach. It's a problem with an addict not wanting to admit that there is a problem that he can't handle alone. So he goes into battle against his desires, could maybe hold out for a bit, but if his mind is still preoccupied with the desire, it's only a matter of time until he's going to give in. It just simply can not last.

The word "Powerless" scares us off, because powerless means that there's something I can't control. But what it's really saying is, "I've tried so many times to stop in the past and no matter what I've tried, it hasn't worked. I need help. I want help. I can't do it alone."
Last Edit: 05 Aug 2013 19:08 by skeptical.

Re: Kedusha and Sanity 05 Aug 2013 19:45 #215047

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Interesting, you're saying that people don't want to be labelled addicts because they don't to be associated with problems, while Dov's saying that people like to label themselves addicts because that somehow makes their behaviour less bad in their eyes, like it's not their fault, it's the illness.

So is this a machlokes acharonim as to whether i'm an addict or not?
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