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TOPIC: Dov Quotes 36516 Views

Dov Quotes 03 Nov 2011 14:42 #124072

  • gibbor120
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Dear fellow GYEers,

Dov has some great posts, and it's hard to go around finding them when you need them.  I started to gather them under my "links" thread, but today I finally reached the max for the length of one post. (Apparently, the limit is 50,000 characters.)

I think it makes sense to start a thread dedicated to those dov posts which many of us find so powerful.  I would appreciate if we could keep this thread free of other stuff so as not to dilute it.

I suppose we could also discuss dov's posts here, but refrain from shmoozing about cholint, monster trucking, possums... The forum has special and fun places to discuss all that stuff.

P.S. I Just added a dov quotes thread to the Married Section.

I think the need for an index is loooong overdue. So.... without further ado:

1. Captain Kirk
Nuclear Reset Button
Why we need "recovery" (not more eitzos)


2. Taking Responsibility to "Surrender"
Self-Knowledge vs. Self-Honesty
On Meeting Real People
Dov's Longes Post
Getting Honest
Captain Kirk
Avodas Hashem Gone Awry
On Pride
Actions not Thoughts
You Are Thinking Too Much
Ratzon Alone is Not Enough


3. No Choice But to Stop… Now What???
4. I'm a Stinker
Waiting to Explode


5. Objectifying Myself???
6. The 1st Step, The Evidence is Overwhelming
7. Do You Want Recovery
8. Be Honest With G-d, Period
9. Is it Lust?
10. Don't get Complacent
11. The Groups are a Mirror
12. On the 12 Steps and How They Work (or Don't Work)
13. We Have a "Living" Problem
14. I'm Happy Just Being Me
15. How do I Grow?
16. Don't Ever Get Complacent
17. Get Out of Isolation!
18. Truth & Humility
19. 12 Steps as Derech Eretz Which is Kadmah Latorah
20. What Would You Tell a Drug Addict? TAKE ACTION!
21. Accepting Imperfection
22. A Bracha from Dov
23. Make the Phone Call
24. Chat = More Fakery
25. Do we Look Down Upon or Worship Naked Shiksas (or Both)?
26. 1. One Day at a Time - Not Just a Nice Motto and… 2. The Dumb Farm Boys Have it Easier - Giving it up to Hashem
27. Draw Back the Battle Lines
28. We Need to Get Willing, Open, and Honest (and We Need to "Stay" There)
29. The Essence of KOT
30. "the worst day I have sober is better then the best day I could have being drunk"
31. You're Thinking WAY Too Much, JUST LET GO!
32. True or False: My Whole Problem is Shmiras Aynayim
33. Patience
34. Reaching for Gold While Sitting in Excrement?
35. Can I do Teshuva?
36. The Ikkar
37. Don't Count Days
38. 1. Connect to People/Get out of Isolation 2. Don't Think Too Much 3. Don't Worry About Perfection 4. Don't Take Unsolicited Advice From Strangers ;)
39. Forget Madreigos, Just Humbly Serve Hashem
40. It's Not About Self-Knowledge or Self-Control (notice the word self in both of those), It's About Accepting our Limitations and Getting out of G-ds Way
41. Do I really need the 12-Step program?
42. Addict vs Non-Addict - Different Approaches
43. Definition of Addict [according to dov]
44. What do You really Value the Most?
45. I Need My Problems
46. Get Yourself a Group of Friends You Can Call
47. Highlights of a Loooong Post
48. Friendship - Our Closeness to Hashem Depends on it!
49. We Give 'Them' the Power
50. The 12 Steps are Just About Being Real With Ourselves
51. GYE Forum is Only Virtual Recovery
52. Only Share What Works Please
53. Why I Daven for the Lady I Lusted For
54. Calling for Help From Behind the Safe Walls of an Impenetrable Castle
55. The Lies We Tell Ourselves
56. Don't Wait Until It's Too Late to Open Up and Ask for Help
57. Precious Communication Tools
58. Are There Levels of Addiction?
59. Who is an Addict? Do I Need the 12 Steps?
60. I'm Going to Change Starting Today... For Real
61. Keep Your Mind on a Short Leash
62. Rock Bottom - Stop Trying to do it "My Way"
63. Acting Out is the Solution, NOT the Problem
64. Learning Surrender
65. Letting go of our Da'as
66. The Steps are About Honesty and Dependance on G-d
67. Make The Call
68. Do You Want to Stop?
69. What Real Steps are You Taking
70. Don't Tell Your Wife About All the Wacky Stuff That Goes on in Your Head!
71. We do NOT Beat the Y"H - We Surrender
72. What Language Does Your Body Understand?
73. Should I Tell My Parents?
74. What Does Powerless Mean?
75. The Answers Rabbonim Give Us
76. Wet Dreams
77. Am I an Addict and Do I Need SA Meetings? A Conversation With Dov
78. Understanding is Useless in Recovery (It's just masked ga'avah)
79. I Didn't Choose to Change… I Had no Other Choice
80. Masturbation is Evil... But That is Quite Irrelevant
81. Get Real
82. Giving up: Why the First Step is so Important
83. Live in the Solution... Let go
84. We Need a New Derech, AKA Don't Fight, Give it up!
85. We've Got Nothing to Rely on... except Avinu Shebashamayim!
86. Feeling close to Hashem or BEING close to Hashem
87. Tefillah
88. The Nuclear Reset Button
89. HASHEM LOVES US!!!
90. Tikunnim
91. Recovery and 12 Steps - Not Synonymous
92. Lashon Nekiyah???
93. Surrender
94. Self-Development: A Self-Centered Endeavor
95. Recovery: A Painful Surrender of Self-Will
96. We Hide From Those Who Are Closest To Us
97. Open Up: Don't Let the Y"H Mug You
98. Don't Hold Your Breath
99. Great Definition of Addiction and 'unmanageability'
100. Addiction MUST be self diagnosed
101. Give up Fighting and Call for Help
102. Definition of Lust
103. Do I need to "Figure it Out"? - The Role of Character Defects in Addiction
104. The Failure of Self-Centeredness in Making Life Work
105. The Problem is Lust, The Answer is Love
106. Nuclear Reset Button
107. Tolerating Imperfection
108. We Need "Real" People to "Get Real" With G-d
109. Acceptance - Being at Peace With the Facts
110. Dating and Addict vs. Normal Yetzer Hora
111. What is a Sobriety Date?
112. Understanding Does not Bring Sobriety, It is Sobriety That Brings Understanding
113. Two Meanings of Powerlessness
114. Sobriety is Breathing, Recovery is Living!
115. The Battle is Opening Up... and it Remains the Battle
116. Women at Work: Surrender Vs. Struggle
117. Marriage Can be Lonely
Last Edit: 24 Dec 2015 18:56 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov 03 Nov 2011 14:43 #124073

  • gibbor120
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The Captain Kirk post is a classic, I'm moving it here to make it easy to find. It's a good introduction to "dov quotes".

I'm also adding "Nuclear Reset Button" at the end since dov mentions it often.

Finally: Why we need "recovery" (not more eitzos)

Captain Kirk:

OK, so you are making a point that divulging all aspects of our identity is the only way to make a full disclosure of self and be truly honest with others.

But we all know that is not true. We all know that we do not have to tell a friend all about us, in order to be close with him. There are other ways to get truly intimate.

So you are trying to be docheh my words with straw. Intimacy is not what I am talking about here, at all.

Please bear with me and I'll tell you about Captain Kirk in a minute.

First, I will share that I have seen dozens of guys who have had the hardest time just saying their right name on a phone call. I have heard the hesitating, quiet voice on the other end of the line finally admit that "yes, my name - the one the real people in my everyday life know me by - is Pinchas". It is a terrible strain for some - and I hear myself in their trembling. That same hesitancy - fear mixed with shame. It's mine, too. It's just that in my case it is behind me - in theirs it is still in front of them.

What is really going on here?

I have seen frum guys finally drag themselves into live meetings and start off the first few meetings using a 'fakish' name - their English name that no one who knows their frum persona really uses. Only to later change their names in the meetings to the Hebrew name that their wife and friends use - cuz they began to see the perverts in the room are like they are, that they need what the guys in the room have been given just as desperately as they do. No difference in that respect. That is when the walls go down and the real juicy work can finally begin. Until then, they are still unattached to what goes on in the meeting, for on some level it is not really Pinchas who is sitting there, but 'Robert' (the bad guy who is subject to porn worship).

How to bring them together?

Which brings me to Captain Kirk.

There was once an episode of Star Trek in which there was a time travel shtick, and the Kirk of the present, went 10 years into the past. Now, there was another Kirk then, too, right?

That was a big problem. The scientists told him that normally two of the same people cannot coexist. It just does not happen. But as this was an exception (it was a TV show and they were getting paid $15,000 per episode) as long as the old Kirk did not actually meet the present Kirk, all would be fine. However, if they actually met each other, the entire Time-Space Continuum would be 'ripped asunder' (chas veSholom). Under no circumstances could they be allowed to meet!

I do not remember what actually happened to Mr Shatner, but everything turned out OK for there were another few seasons of the show (and also we are all still here, no?). But my point is just this:

How does a frum guy get all drawn into his very private porn, admitting by his actions its awesome, sweet power for him, and privately have sex with himself (masturbate) with such intensity and imaginative pleasure and power? OK, so he has shame, self-loathing, and sadness afterward. But how does he do both tefillin, teaching Torah, being mekareiv and really davening for others hard and really crying for the churban, and really working on his middos....and masturbating himself with a fantasy that could only mean he (secretly) also worships the beauty and power of those naked shiksas and the act of sex? How does such a contradiction survive in him?

How does it survive in us?
My answer to myself is simple. We learn to lie a little. We lie to others and we lie to ourselves. We'll quit really soon. We won't do it any more when we are twenty....or fifty. Never on Shabbos. Never with masturbation. Etc. All lies, to ourselves. And over time, we learn to lie more and more without even noticing it, just as you cannot see yourself grow.

When we are being good, we feel good about ourselves and we wish we could forget the bad stuff we did last night - we call that a hirhur teshuvah. Really it is just so we do not hate ourselves so badly, but that's OK. We learn not to face it right now by pretending that we are 'forgiven' by Hashem. That way, one persona does not invade the other so much. It gets put off till the next time, if we are lucky.

When we are being 'bad', we wish we could forget how devoted we are to Hashem and His Torah and to our wives and children and to honesty with society - because it just feels so good to do the porn and we really see no way out of it. We know we need it and do not in a million years believe there is really an alternative for us, in the end. We end up 'ignoring' our kedusha during the act. That is lying to ourselves, and again, one persona does not see the other simultaneously. Pretending we are really rotten to the core is a much more comfortable way to act out. Nu. Who wants to hurt so much?

We walk about for years and are tortured inside, for we know the dichotomy we are hiding - we are the dichotomy. But we do not really know what to do. We fight to make one side gain mastery over the other and call that hisgabrus al hayeitzer. And we fall. Then we assume we are horrible Jews, and assume that Hashem agrees with us about that. That mistake is a hard one to shake...(see step 2)

So now about the time-travel dilemma.
When we open up to others under a username (or fake English name in a meeting) and share the entire truth (which most rarely do) about our addiction, we are still hiding our 'good' persona - the real me. It's OK to let them know the horrible dirt - yeah, all of it - as long as they do not know the 'good' persona too well. The two are just incompatible.

Thos who got caught by their wives or children know exactly what I am talking about. They understand why they getting caught was so effectivbe for a time - the desire to use the porn left them as a result of getting both personae dragged into the room at the same time. The horror of getting caught with my pants down by a co-worker, son, daughter, or wife is truly intolerable to anyone who has experienced it. Why?

Because the hypocrisy is mercilessly forced to come to a bitter end. The Time-Space Continuum has ripped asunder. We look frantically for a place to bury ourselves. It's hell.

It is the two Kirks being forced to see eachother by a third party - and only a party who knows both personae can possibly do that. Till that happens, we are all players. Lying a bit about the 'real us' to ourselves and to others.

Some of us insist on solving our problem without bringing the two personae together. Perhaps they are just avoiding the terribly painful end of their hypocrisy, perhaps not. I do not know what is best for another. But in my own case, I got caught, and it still didn't help. After a few weeks I was back at it and it got worse and worse until I couldn;t take it any more. i was begging for someone to rip off my cover and get me real! My wife could not do that, for she does not understand what I am talking about when I describe the desperation to get the sweet porn in my mind and heart and does not understand the allergy to it that I have.

So I needed real meetings - with real addicts. Perverts for decades who chose the path of sobriety because they had no choice. Just like me. People who can hear both sides of me. And I use my real name, wear my normal Jewish outfit, and talk with them freely about my real life.

And that flows out into being real with everybody else in my life, whether they know about my problem, or not.

And that is why so many of us are OK with goyim in meetings, but shrink into a corner when they meet a frum yid. There is a common strong desire to avoid and evade. And I do not blame them, for I had that, too. Here is a guy who can bring them even closer to the true full self! It's more pain to go through. But more healing, too.

Interestingly, I have seen newly recovering program-guys meet people from the meeting in public places just 'out of the blue' and totally ignore them, as if they didn't know them at all. Those guys did not remain sober. I think they may have been shocked by the cross-over from their 'meeting life' into their 'real life'. They were not willing to smile discreetly and say a polite "Hi" to the other guy. Instead, here was trouble - "so get away from me quick." Oy vavoi.

This is precisely why AA has a strong tradition of real anonymity. We do not reveal the identity of anyone else we meet in the rooms to non-members. Ever. But it's not about shame, at all. It's because sharing the secrets of others will not help their recovery at all! Only the truth that they want to share will help them.

Those who just get caught and stay clean out of fear of further humiliation never, ever stay better. Getting humiliated into sobriety does not work, until there is some humility added. Humilty (in hachno'oh to the truth) is the underpinning of the steps.

And that is why 'accountability groups' are nice but will ultimately fail, as long as they are based on avoiding shame - which they can easily become all about.

And that is why opening up to the wife (and remaining consistently open with her) is so very powerful - when done at the right time. It is powerful medicine for my recovery and powerful medicine for the marriage. Honesty there removes yet another layer of hiding from ourselves that has to go to the boards for true freedom.

Sharing my credit card number and address would not do any of these things for me, and neither would pulling up my pant-leg. It's not about compromising my security, nor my anonymity. It's not about getting hurt nor for the sake of being punished for all my wrongs until I can finally be good. This is not Teshuvah and it is not sigufim. It's all and only about being the real me with everyone that I can be, to the extent that I can be without violating the health of my family and others. We do the best we can in that, and ask Hashem to make it work right. And it works, period.

Nuclear Reset Button

The "Nuclear Reset Button" idea is about how we unfortunately thrive on that very honest state we do feel after masturbating ourselves, and that no matter how holy we feel in that state, it is all part of the same sick cycle. It suggests further, that since we sincerely crave feelings of pure kedusha and hate the feeling of struggling with lust, we end up masturbating ourselves in order to get out of the struggle and into that holy, connected and honest state we often feel after masturbating. It's one of the only ways we know of that practically guarantees plugging into kedusha and teshuvah (with a 'v') again. A dirty cycle in which t'shukah (with a 'k') for avodas Hashem and kedusha leads us to end up masturbating again for years and decades.

Why we need "recovery" (not more eitzos)

dov wrote on 03 Nov 2011 01:27:

Dear "Avraham613",

You are are an advertisement for GYE already, whether you realize it or not, I think. It is impossible to give eitzos on the forum, really. You are still quite a stranger to anybody here, so far. And each person is holding somewhere else! General eitzos are always good, but still, everybody is different...so:

Can you, where you are right now, share a bit more (or a lot more) about yourself here (or elsewhere) and get anything you are hiding about your insides, 'out'? There is no question that the 'details' we hold onto as the most precious secrets, are the greatest poison we possess. And if since using this site has been helping you so far, that's great! Just consider that if you are now having a hard time, this means something. It means that staying in the same tools is not good enough any more for you now. It is the way it always goes. People find something that works for them, but when it stops working, they flop, and are shocked and disappointed.

But how does it make sense that recovery does not grow? When I use porn it always progresses, either in intensity or style - the old schmutz eventually stops doing the trick, and I need a bit 'more' to get the job done.

Recovery is the same, lehavdil. You have grown, sir. That means you have changed. If you are a little different, certainly what you now need is different, as well.

Too often well-meaning people get a bit liberated from the same old porn and shtuyot. They find some relief...and what an awesome mechayeh it is!

But to be so foolish as to think that we are done now? The goyim of AA were gifted with enough humility by Hashem to have discovered long ago, that today's sobriety guarantees NOTHING for me tomorrow. Nothing. There is no real momentum, in the long run. If we do not continue growing up, then we will eventually fall. 100% guaranteed. We can rest on our 'laurels' - for a time. But eventually, we will be made fools of by our compulsion again. Dotage is always a possibility waiting around the corner for us - just as big fools as we were made before we started to grow.

It is actually quite shocking to us. There is no difference between my totally slave-like devotion and trance-like compulsion to search through wickedly shocking porn for hours and hours (or much worse) if I'd do it today vs. what I used to do fifteen years ago. Same pathetic fool. Same sweet, good man. Same powerlessness once I take the first drink.

Posting here is a big step! But what do you aspire to accomplish? The world is actually open up for you, in recovery....it is closed for us when we do what we used to do. Posting here means you are peeling away yet another layer of isolation, of doing it your own way, of going it alone. It was our trip till now -all of us, especially since we are frum. The terrible isolation and shame that a masturbating ben-Torah feels is indescribable to others. This move of yours now, to reach out here, is huge!

Please do not wait around for lust to catch you. You must either continue to grow, or lose. Not grow in yir'as Shomayim - you tried to grow in that before and yet you still ended up in all this trouble. Then you started to open up and and face the truth about yourself and your behavior...and you have 4 months of clean time!

Yet by the same token, running away from lust is not the real answer - a good tool usually, yes. But not the answer. Pretending it is the answer is destructive, cuz it distracts me from the real answer, c"v.

Having desires and feeling compulsions to look at schmutz (or to do whatever it is that you are you are referring to) is to be expected. Humility says to me "what do I expect from a guy like me? It's so great that Hashem has helped me till now....what can I do to get with Him and stay on the right path today?"

Freaking out about it is a big mistake. It is the kind of thinking that got us so screwed up in the first place. ("Oy! How could I ever have such a disgusting desire now?! A guy like me? Clean for four months! I should be far, far beyond such things already! After all :, I only spent ten years staring at porn - with the devotion of 'kriyas Sh'ma'; focused on my fantasies and masturbation - with the focus of shemoneh esrei; and hid things and worked hard for a decade or more already to produce sweet little opportunities to engage in my sexual gratification in the bathroom - with the yichud hama'aseh of the kohen gadol lifnai v'lifnim." It's a nutty expectation, after our record, no? Nutty and stupid.

Nu. Such silly expectations are gayvoh, plain and simple. Poshut not sane. In fact, the 12 steps of the program do not even mention lust (or whatever drug brings us here) after the 1st step! Zip. Cuz the steps and recovery are not at all about controlling lust! They are about learning sanity, period. If we are working on sanity, Hashem takes care of us and we remain free from needing to act out our lust for this day.

Now you tell me: is it sane to expect that I will have no desires and no slips? Me? May Hashem save me from my own gayvoh today, so that I will succeed at honesty rather than more hiding, recovery rather than 'conquest', and giving rather than taking! Amen. 

You are so fortunate so far! It's really beautiful. You are beautiful. Keep doing what works, and please don't get fooled into using the well-intentioned things that got you into the bottomless of your problem in the first place.

Continued Hatzlocha Chabibi!!
Last Edit: 05 Feb 2014 02:21 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov "Quotes" 03 Nov 2011 17:04 #124124

  • gibbor120
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Oh yeah, here's my old stash of quotes.

GREAT QUOTES FROM DOV

Taking responsibility to "surrender"
dov wrote on 02 Nov 2011 00:07:

Yeah, it's a head-spinner, this "facing that the responsibility is entirely and totally our own - to let go completely and let Hashem run the show for us," thing.

But the funny thing is: It works.

Surrendering the nisayon completely, works for a time. But eventually, if continue to be honest with ourselves (for those who work the steps that comes naturally, whether they intentionally try to be or not), something funny happens:

When we stop analyzing and start doing - writing out our stepwork, sharing the stuff we are told to share with others, and taking the actions that recovering people before us took, things change all over the place! We discover that figuring everything out is just another lust obsession we have. Taking action that is not always easy or comfortable is the way things get better.

Or we can just continue to suffer worse stuff...

As the novi once said to us, "Kir'u levavchem, v'al bigdeichem."

May I also always remember that.



Self-Knowledge vs. Self-Honesty (from daily dose)

The 12-Steps typically shy away from engaging much in deep analysis of what our deep motivations are in our acting out. To me, such study is likely to be mental 'self pleasuring' (sorry for being crass) and often just another righteous attempt at being independent of G-d, again... just like we were while were acting out. During early recovery I believe it is particularly silly and even toxic.

Over the years, I have seen many people give up recovery completely just to satisfy their desire/need to hang onto (what I believe their pride considers) "their right to do only what they understand," and to be able to take credit for their recovery. 

As far as I am concerned, the various 'self-help routines' promoted out there might work fine for many people - but not for me. So that's what I share.

And I see the work behind the 2nd and 4th steps as very different than such analysis. As Bill wrote in AA (where he introduces the steps), "we discovered that self-knowledge was not the key to recovery" (I paraphrase) - rather, it is self-acceptance and self-honesty that we needed. And the depth of the knowledge is irrelevant. It is the simple acceptance of the unadulterated truth about ourselves that is the only thing that matters, for it helps us give up and become dependent upon Hashem, for a change.

So why the self-analysis in step 2 and 4?

Because it is not analysis and understanding that we are after, it is honesty and facts. While it may seem semantics to some, it works for me, while the old way did not. In the 'good old days' my 24/7 inner occupation was self-understanding - learning maseches "me" - so that I could beat this thing... really so that I could finally control it rather than to be truly rid of it. It was always supposed to have been my buddy. I always craved having the power to use it without it using me. That was my true goal. When you boil it down, I still just wanted to lust - but without paying the price. Like my many attempts at enjoying masturbation - without actually spilling seed, 'chalilah'. Oops! Too far... That way never ever worked. It was all about finally figuring it all out. It was playing a game and lying to myself. It was just another sick part of my addiction, nothing more.

Nowadays, rather than trying to figure everything out, I need to simply face facts about myself and about reality. I am told by recovery people that admitting the truth about myself and my situation will open the door to getting better. I am a sick person getting better.

We need to accept that there are sick values, attitudes, and thought processes that are driving our addictive behaviors. Everyone I have met who is in successful recovery, admits more and more that they are sick - meaning that they come to see that their thinking and attitudes are perverted. Addiction demystified. OK, maybe it must remain a bit mysterious - we do not really gain control over ourselves just because we understand how sick we are. Rather, accepting the true extent and manifestations of our own ill-ness helps us do one precious thing: give up on our own ability to beat it. To rely totally on Hashem to enable us to succeed. Much as we are supposed to in parnossah.

As long as it was just an aveiro that we did, it was a 'pet project' of ours - and we failed miserably. But once it became a disease, we saw that we were the problem, not the girls in skimpy dresses, nor the yetzer hara, nor anything else. We need fixing, and we need it badly.

We had - and have work to do.

Taken from the Captian Kirk post. (very relevant to me)
dov wrote on 21 Jul 2011 23:21:

Those who just get caught and stay clean out of fear of further humiliation never, ever stay better. Getting humiliated into sobriety does not work, until there is some humility added. Humilty (in hachno'oh to the truth) is the underpinning of the steps.


On meeting real people:
dov wrote on 28 Oct 2011 04:04:


Dear Yossi

Not sure where you are going with this. Are you bashing GYE? I hope not. We agree that a virtual forum has many weaknesses as a comprehensive soultion (I mean solution ) to true addiction. I feel that insisting upon doing my recovery work b'chashai (secretly) is a tom-fool of a way to expect to outgrow a lifestyle of secret sexual adventure. As Chaza"l put it so nicely, "ein kateigor na'asoh saneigor". For many reasons:

1- Doing it that way puts me just where I want to be: in the driver's seat, defining myself based on my own research and offering myself my own favorite solutions. [Hey, that's exactly what all we frum liars have been doing all these years: trying our guts out to stop by gimmicks and compromises that "seem right for me". Who we are kidding eventually becomes clear...]

2- By never having another real person to face who isn't us, we never end up really having to face ourselves. [Convenient, no? Ask Captain Kirk, he'll tell you all about it. ;)]

3- By never admitting it all to another person, we never really admit it to Hashem. [Say, haven't I been davening shacharis, mincha, and ma'ariv all these years? Doesn't He really know everything about me anyhow? Well, apparently he is not that powerful a personal force in my life if I can still hide in the bathroom on my knees and masturbate to my sweet goddesses of schmutz... Nu.] 

4- By never meeting real people face to face who have been there, done that, and are making it through life without acting out with lust today, I never actually have to face the fact that it really is possible to live without it. We all keep on doing it precisely because we believe in our hearts that we cannot live without it. Period. That's why we keep doing it. [Phew! Saved by the bell again.]

5- By hiding behind a username and never peeping out from behind it to meet and create real relationships with real, sober people, we are doomed to forget. A friend of mine says "this is a disease of forgetting."

Far from bashing GYE - my point is that GYE is great as a 'gateway' medication for addicts. Good things start here. Friendships in person and by phone, and lots of other things become available to those who want them. GYE can also be also a great help to non-addicts who are swimming in desire and despondency. But again, a certain degree of 'coming out' is the price we all must pay for real friendships. One can pretend his 'friend's' name is really "Taikwondo613Help!" for only so long. Eventually it just gets stupid saying the fake name even just in writing, kal v'chomer on the phone. But some folks are just not ready to take that step. It's a kichsak'l self-imposed 'prison', if you ask me.

I did not get clean and sober on GYE. The recovery I have been given so far, Hashem is giving me through SA. IN SA I am a bit anonymous. The frummies I know there from my home town know where I live, and most of my identity, of course. Hey, I just met a guy there three nights ago who I have been davening next to for two years! One might say that only now do we really know each other.

But to all the majority of the members in the SA meetings I attend, nobody knows my whole identity. All they know is that I am a recovering pervert and that my name is Dov. Funny name. Maybe they think it is "Taikwondo613Help!" in Hebrew!  ;D

Anyway, we in SA are mostly anonymous, and it still works. Why? Because we are physically present. That is real enough. 'Virtual' is a bigger limitation than it seems to be.


Dov's Longest Post (a good one too)dov wrote on 24 Oct 2011 03:38:

Agree 100% with everything you wrote, Serene, and see no stirah with anything I wrote.

And here is a three-day long post, by far my longest, and quite preposterous. It was fun, so enjoy!

Al derech avodah, I might be able to explain where the fuzziness lies here. I know too many sweet and good chassidishe/yeshivishe and otherwise frum guys who are sex addicts. They are (as am I) completely unable to stop, and are very confused. The fact that what they are doing is assur makes no difference in their struggle - it could be assur, it could be mutar - either way they do not stop even though it is endangering or even destroying their family life, their integrity, their olam habo, their olam hazeh, their sanity, whatever...

The insistence that a Jew learn the derech to recover davka from Torah is a major block to many of these guys. Major. The reason I call it a block is not simply because it has not worked for them till now (which is also true). But rather, the reason I call on them to davka take a secular approach to recovery is this:

Most of us learned how to use porn, fantasy, and to masturbate ourselves WHILE we were defining our relationship with Hashem and WHILE we were defining what Torah means to us. This is why what they (we) have often felt so sure was destined to be our answer repeatedly failed as a working way out for us. Absolute devotion to Hashem and His Torah with hisbatlus gemurah simply did not work for many of us. For if it did, why are half of us even here at all? Hey, I am not a ba'al kichsatah on this and am not asking for anyone to agree with me on anything. I am simply reflecting the experience of many, and spelling out what many simply fear to face. If you see it in you, don't give up - seek for the truth about yourself, instead of more truth about Torah, Hashem, or other people. Self-honesty has been the missing ingredient for us all along. Of course, hiding from others and faking to get by has been poisoning us, too.

Yes, yes, yes, of course Torah is the answer. Because Torah (and Hashem's Will) includes derech Eretz. And Torah is His Tif'eres, the mitzvos are shaife' d'malkah - the Zohar haKadosh calls them kevayochol "limbs of Hashem's Malchus". So what of 'secular recovery work'?

The approach is key here, not the content. Sure the content can be found in Torah - but we don't find it! Only addicts do! This is why for many, the 12 steps work succeeds where the best shrinks and 'recovery programs' fail! The content that is actually needed, is just not the stuff that the 'oilem' typically focuses on in Yiddishkeit. Certainly not normal people in the oilem.

No matter what Rav Twerski writes, Torah authorities cannot speak undiluted program concepts from the pulpit. The Torah community must uphold a standard, and should not naturally cater to the truly spiritually sick people. A rov cannot speak of many of the things that I and others share about, even though it saved my marriage and my life - simply because they are not the typical Torah derech. They would irreversibly damage the normal people by sending them the wrong message.

For example, if your personal experience in the steps is one that you believe a goy could not possibly understand, then you and I have very different steps. Humanity and self-honesty is included in Torah values, I believe. And the steps are about self-honesty much more than anything else. And a goy can be as honest with himself as any Jew, if he needs to be. So, they can recover.

I have, b"H, very close relationships with so many frum Jews in recovery over the past ten+ years and it seems to me that, ironically, we frum yidden in recovery typically have a much harder time being honest with ourselves than the average goy does, in recovery. We often love cheshboning ourselves into a pretzel, driven to interpret Torah ideas to explain us and the entire recovery thing, and thus we complicate the simple. Elokim boro es ho'odom yoshor, v'heim bikshu cheshbonos rabim...

I read parts of Kuntress uma'ayon mibeis Hashem, by R' RaShaB, zt"l. Nu. Perhaps you have, too. Perhaps we could compare notes on that sefer, which touches on this issue a bit. But still, it would not change the facts of what I keep seeing guys experience. The ones who keep trying to do it in a way that seems to them like the Torah they are familiar with, get complicated to pieces, and fail. But the ones who accept simple principles in a secular (that means spiritual but not religiously dogmatic) context make it, over and over. And they stay frum and grow in all aspects of avodas Hashem. Not just from being clean - but from being honest with themselves, with others, and with their G-d.

And the goal of any frum yid's recovery is usually to live a real life of an ehrlicher Yid, and nothing else! But then why are we driven to lust and act out our lust? Why are we all here? The addiction confuses so many here to see it differently than they view alcohol or drug addiction simply because zera levatola happens to be assur! It turns out to be practically irrelevant, in the end. The real problem is that we are out of control and can't stop. That sickens and frightens us, makes us lie, and ruins our relationships with Hashem and with people, especially with the ones we are 'closest' to. It is the difference between the guys who are just ba'alei tayvoh and masturbate cuz it's fun, and those sad ones (like me) who do it habitually and compulsively, while it takes over little parts of their thinking and their lives. One is quite normal, while the other is sick, sick, sick.

And the recovery that I am familiar with is based completely on the acceptance of the fact that even if porn-viewing and compulsive sex (with myself or others) were mutar, I still have no other option but to stop...even though I can't seem to stop. And all the yiddishkeit I have is on a wishy-washy foundation. No Tatty wants that for His child.



As far as Torah describing the addict clearly in a few select places, that may be so - but that was not my point. Sure, aspects of the thinking and process of addiction and recovery are all over the place in Torah. So? Where is it all put together? And who uses it? I went to rabbonim and to shrinks - and none of them had any idea what my problem was! Cuz none of them were addicts - only one had the guts to tell me I was very messed up and need professional help of some kind. Nu. So two years later I got the help...

My point is that the word "teshuvah" applied to an addict is vastly confusing for a good yid who happens to be a sex or lust addict. Azivas hacheit simply does not happen for an addict - we become "periodics". The hachno'oh needed to really give it up completely just does not exist because there we have too much mental and emotional pain when trying to give up our sweet addiction! What, after all, can Torah promise us in return for such a sacrifice? To an addict, all the platitudes of Olam haBoh, madreigos, and the glory of conquest l'Shem Shomayim, fall on deaf ears - or deaf hearts. We realy believe there is no substitute for it. And we all know that giving it up is the only way, and that takes a gift from Hashem. The White book of SA puts it nicely: "When we prayed, it was always, "Take it away G-d, so that I do not have to give it up!""

And Charotah has no context, at all. What charotah do I really have if the truth is that I , poor guy, still want to use porn, fantasy, and masturbation again more than anything else in the world?! The addict knows that he will feel just as crazy for it again in a day, a week, a month, maybe a few months...off to the races again....how can he talk of 'charotah' or of 'kabolah al ha'haboh'?

And vidui? Puleeze. How weak is a vidui that a guy feels he is only willing to do if he can keep his head deep inside a paper bag? That's what "SpunkyTeshuvahbrovah" is: a paper bag over my head in a virtual setting. Ooh, so safe. So 'safe' from everyone but ourselves.

Here we are among others who know exactly what it means to see your tztzis dragging on the floor while masturbating on the bathroom floor and fling them behind us so we don't see them in the act....who know just what it is like to sneak a peek at porn on the internet (during bein hazmanim only, of course). We are fellow frum yidden! And yet so many are of us are still hiding behind usernames! OK, some use them because it's the style on forums, I know. But I also know that most guys (not all) are deathly afraid - some viscerally unable - to actually admit their real names here. Heck, posting at all is such a hard thing for many to do. And of those few who can or do post with their real first names (see my Captain Kirk thingy if you still can't fall asleep yet), most of them would still not consider actually meeting another recovering yid in their community to talk of the truth about themselves with...that's why I say this vidui has 'short legs'.

Besides being a mitzvah, vidui is a powerful tool to help a person let go of his current sickness and get free of his past mistakes. The Tzetel Kotton speaks of it, and countless addicts the world over use it properly as one of many program tools. Yet some frum guys bring with them a RMB"M that says that speaking out my mistakes or my ills to another person is assur if they are only bein odom laMokom! It's a busha to the King to publicly admit my transgressing of His Will!

Ashrei sh'bo v'talmudo beyodo? They will come to Shomayim and say "I couldn't get free of my addiction to prostitutes, schmutz, or masturbation because the tools were assur! So here I come with my 15,000 sins - and a RMB"M! Then they'll tell him that the RMB"M was not talking about addicts!

Ashrei sh'bo vetalmudo beyodo, indeed.

My life was drek punctuated by 'religious victories', my wife and children were fooled, and I never realized that the RMB"M was not referring to addicts in the first place! He was not referring to a person who is sick in the head.

Ooh, but admitting we are idiots or nuts is just too insulting. "Hashem, what do You expect from me? To even let go of my self-respect for recovery?! Heck, it'd be  chilul Hashem, for I am a ben Torah and known in the community! (And RBs"O, if You are not sure of this, please just see Ch 5 of Hilchos Deyos.)"

Ein milim.

Does any of this address the issue?



Finally, I will share two Torah thoughts about recovery and addiction, be"H. Some may not like them.

The Sfas Emes describes (via the Zohar that refers to No'ach as "Shabbos") that Noach was a tzaddik who needed syu'ah. He walked with Hashem, cuz he could not walk before Him. He needed direct Divine assistance to be a tzaddik, says the Sfas Emess.

Avraham Avinu (even though the initials on his briefcase were AA! ) was different. He could walk before Hashem, and did in his lifetime.

Now, I admit I cannot approach a real havonoh of Noach, and what he did with the drinking after the mabul and what tikkunim he was trying to achieve for the b'riyah after the eitz haDa'as, and it's nutty to say he was an addict of any kind! But...

Noach's derech, I see as a model for the recovering addict. Yes, I can be a tzaddik - but dependent on Hashem. Passive, like Shabbos. Relying on kedusha from above, like Shabbos. Nukvah, like Shabbos. Naturally 'Osah Retzon Ba'aloh'....like Shabbos - it's naturally 'kidshoh vekaymoh'. And when an addict relies on his own da'as, he soon ends up drunk and naked in a tent somewhere (if he is lucky).

This is upsetting to some, who say it's unfair. They are not willing to 'just' be a tzaddik like Noach. Nu, he was sort of like a goy, no? They feel it'd be an abrogation or failure of their very Jewishness. (Even though the Sfas Emess refers to contemporary tzaddikim in this bechinah, as well!) Well, to this I say that these people are not ready for recovery anyway. They put their 'madreigo' first, and their hachno'oh second. That might be avodas atzmi, not avodas Hashem, anyway. Basics, basics.

Second vort for anyone interested (and awake :):

I see the analogy of yetzias mitzrayim applying to Hashem taking us out of the house of slaves, as most do. But with one difference that few choose to talk of:

I see the comparison of the addict (that means me) most closely to what Hashem did for Par'oh, rather than for the B'nei Yisra'el. Par'oh promises over and over again that he'll let go. But he holds on. He even swears that Hashem is 100% right, and that he is dead wrong, yet then hangs onto his beliefs that the Jews can't possibly be given up!

He makes a bankrupt fool of himself over and again, with every makkoh....and still doesn't just let go! How much he suffered! How unmanageable his life and kingdom became! Yet he just could not accept it.... this is my story, and that of most addicts I know. We are exactly the same. "Es asher his'alalti bemitzrayim" - "how I played with/made fools of mitzrayim" We were deep into dotage. It is disgusting, really. How I am 100% devoted and running after seeing the right picture of a selfish and shameless prusteh shiksa and feeling myself to my orgasm - it all becomes so precious and beautiful to me, even with the lying and fakery it usually entails, not to mention my little mess on the floor... How debonair.

Then Par'oh seems to finally hit bottom. He suddenly realizes that he cannot afford to keep holding onto his precious Jews! He runs to recovery. "Go! Go! Get out of my hair now!"

This time he is really contrite. He takes action, puts on a filter, tells his wife all about it, starts going to meetings, a shrink, whatever.

But it does not last long. As soon as he sees the first glimmer of freedom, he interprets it in the funniest way:

"I am cured! Maybe I was a bit ill before, but now, finally, I see things rationally and I am in control!" We see that Par'oh felt cured of his Jew-fetish! So...how did he react? The RaMBa"N points out, "what kind of fruitcake lunatic (OK, so I paraphrase a bit) would surge forward into a miraculously split sea after his quarry? Did he actually think it was split for him, to catch them?!" What does this mean? It means he was reduced to an idiot and a fool. A Captain Ahab crazy with 'Jew-fever', he was.

How did that happen? Didn't he just 'let those people go'?

Simple. He decided that if he were no longer sick - if he was actually able to let go of his Jews, that proves that he is no longer powerless over his lust to keep Jews. He has truly learned his lesson. So now he can recapture them and not fall prey to insane suffering - if they cost him too much next time, he'll just let them go! Just like the smoker: He says to nagging relatives who say, "Harry, you're addicted!" that he "could easily give smoking up at any time! So shut up!" Hmm. Touchy, isn't he? Then he coughs his guts up one night too many and decides to test himself. And behold! He gives it up for a whole week! Will this guy quit? Maybe. But if he is truly an addict, he will most likely take a lesson from his success that he can now control and enjoy it like a gentleman, like everyone else. Just a single smoke after dinner, once in a while. Of course, soon he is back at the races chain smoking again, and his 'control' phase is a distant memory a raspy year or two later.

Par'oh ran after his Jews as soon as he saw he could let them go! "If I can let them go, then why quit!? Control and enjoy it!"

Get it?

This is my story, and I am not alone.

Par'oh ends up in Nineveh, helping the horses (and people!) do teshuvah of some kind - and here we are on GYE helping addicts  (and lots of non-addicts, too) learn that it was never the last drink (schmutzfest) that got them in trouble, but it was always and only the 1st one! We - if we are indeed addicts - are powerless to control the first drink we take. That takes a lot of humility (or humiliation) to admit. Admitting we are actually powerless over the first drink is not normal. Normal people (even normal yidden!!) can take a drink of lust without ending up in the toilet bowl. Not me. That is the 1st step of a long, slow, and beautiful recovery.

Have a nice day!


Getting Honest:
dov wrote on 09 Oct 2011 03:35:

Just wrote this to a guy. It may be relevant here, cuz "living mussar" sounds easier than it really is, as I am sure you know. Heck, we have been failing at doing just that doe years, most of us....But what is it? Maybe this is the the first step to finding out:

Getting honest with someone else is important for everyone, for only by getting honest with another person can we ever have a chance of finally getting honest with ourselves and with Hashem.

The real reason our desperate and heartfelt tefillos have not bee working when it comes to this stuff (as many peiople have reported here), is that we are lying most of the time. Lying to ourselves, and hence, lying to G-d. That obviously can't work. We do not even know we are lying! But that is no 'loophole' - the tefillos are not really real. HaOdom yir'ah lo'einayim - vaHashem yir'eh laleivov. Tzoreif kilyoseinu....this is precisely what we just finished asking Him for.

Go for it. Let's use each other!

So it's a process and takes time, but mostly practice.



Captian Kirk:
dov wrote on 21 Jul 2011 23:21:

OK, so you are making a point that divulging all aspects of our identity is the only way to make a full disclosure of self and be truly honest with others.

But we all know that is not true. We all know that we do not have to tell a friend all about us, in order to be close with him. There are other ways to get truly intimate.

So you are trying to be docheh my words with straw. Intimacy is not what I am talking about here, at all.

Please bear with me and I'll tell you about Captain Kirk in a minute.

First, I will share that I have seen dozens of guys who have had the hardest time just saying their right name on a phone call. I have heard the hesitating, quiet voice on the other end of the line finally admit that "yes, my name - the one the real people in my everyday life know me by - is Pinchas". It is a terrible strain for some - and I hear myself in their trembling. That same hesitancy - fear mixed with shame. It's mine, too. It's just that in my case it is behind me - in theirs it is still in front of them.

What is really going on here?

I have seen frum guys finally drag themselves into live meetings and start off the first few meetings using a 'fakish' name - their English name that no one who knows their frum persona really uses. Only to later change their names in the meetings to the Hebrew name that their wife and friends use - cuz they began to see the perverts in the room are like they are, that they need what the guys in the room have been given just as desperately as they do. No difference in that respect. That is when the walls go down and the real juicy work can finally begin. Until then, they are still unattached to what goes on in the meeting, for on some level [b]it is not really Pinchas who is sitting there, but 'Robert' (the bad guy who is subject to porn worship). [/b]

How to bring them together?

Which brings me to Captain Kirk.

There was once an episode of Star Trek in which there was a time travel shtick, and the Kirk of the present, went 10 years into the past. Now, there was another Kirk then, too, right?

That was a big problem. The scientists told him that normally two of the same people cannot coexist. It just does not happen. But as this was an exception (it was a TV show and they were getting paid $15,000 per episode) as long as the old Kirk did not actually meet the present Kirk, all would be fine. However, if they actually met each other, the entire Time-Space Continuum would be 'ripped asunder' (chas veSholom). Under no circumstances could they be allowed to meet!

I do not remember what actually happened to Mr Shatner, but everything turned out OK for there were another few seasons of the show (and also we are all still here, no?). But my point is just this:

How does a frum guy get all drawn into his very private porn, admitting by his actions its awesome, sweet power for him, and privately have sex with himself (masturbate) with such intensity and imaginative pleasure and power? OK, so he has shame, self-loathing, and sadness afterward. But how does he do both tefillin, teaching Torah, being mekareiv and really davening for others hard and really crying for the churban, and really working on his middos....and masturbating himself with a fantasy that could only mean he (secretly) also worships the beauty and power of those naked shiksas and the act of sex? How does such a contradiction survive in him?

How does it survive in us?
My answer to myself is simple. We learn to lie a little. We lie to others and we lie to ourselves. We'll quit really soon. We won't do it any more when we are twenty....or fifty. Never on Shabbos. Never with masturbation. Etc. All lies, to ourselves. And over time, we learn to lie more and more without even noticing it, just as you cannot see yourself grow.

When we are being good, we feel good about ourselves and we wish we could forget the bad stuff we did last night - we call that a hirhur teshuvah. Really it is just so we do not hate ourselves so badly, but that's OK. We learn not to face it right now by pretending that we are 'forgiven' by Hashem. That way, one persona does not invade the other so much. It gets put off till the next time, if we are lucky.

When we are being 'bad', we wish we could forget how devoted we are to Hashem and His Torah and to our wives and children and to honesty with society - because it just feels so good to do the porn and we really see no way out of it. We know we need it and do not in a million years believe there is really an alternative for us, in the end. We end up 'ignoring' our kedusha during the act. That is lying to ourselves, and again, one persona does not see the other simultaneously. Pretending we are really rotten to the core is a much more comfortable way to act out. Nu. Who wants to hurt so much?

We walk about for years and are tortured inside, for we know the dichotomy we are hiding - we are the dichotomy. But we do not really know what to do. We fight to make one side gain mastery over the other and call that hisgabrus al hayeitzer. And we fall. Then we assume we are horrible Jews, and assume that Hashem agrees with us about that. That mistake is a hard one to shake...(see step 2)

So now about the time-travel dilemma.
When we open up to others under a username (or fake English name in a meeting) and share the entire truth (which most rarely do) about our addiction, we are still hiding our 'good' persona - the real me. It's OK to let them know the horrible dirt - yeah, all of it - as long as they do not know the 'good' persona too well. The two are just incompatible.

Thos who got caught by their wives or children know exactly what I am talking about. They understand why they getting caught was so effectivbe for a time - the desire to use the porn left them as a result of getting both personae dragged into the room at the same time. The horror of getting caught with my pants down by a co-worker, son, daughter, or wife is truly intolerable to anyone who has experienced it. Why?

Because the hypocrisy is mercilessly forced to come to a bitter end. The Time-Space Continuum has ripped asunder. We look frantically for a place to bury ourselves. It's hell.

It is the two Kirks being forced to see eachother by a third party - and only a party who knows both personae can possibly do that. Till that happens, we are all players. Lying a bit about the 'real us' to ourselves and to others. 

Some of us insist on solving our problem without bringing the two personae together. Perhaps they are just avoiding the terribly painful end of their hypocrisy, perhaps not. I do not know what is best for another. But in my own case, I got caught, and it still didn't help. After a few weeks I was back at it and it got worse and worse until I couldn;t take it any more. i was begging for someone to rip off my cover and get me real! My wife could not do that, for she does not understand what I am talking about when I describe the desperation to get the sweet porn in my mind and heart and does not understand the allergy to it that I have.

So I needed real meetings - with real addicts. Perverts for decades who chose the path of sobriety because they had no choice. Just like me. People who can hear both sides of me. And I use my real name, wear my normal Jewish outfit, and talk with them freely about my real life.

And that flows out into being real with everybody else in my life, whether they know about my problem, or not.

And that is why so many of us are OK with goyim in meetings, but shrink into a corner when they meet a frum yid. There is a common strong desire to avoid and evade. And I do not blame them, for I had that, too. Here is a guy who can bring them even closer to the true full self! It's more pain to go through. But more healing, too. 

Interestingly, I have seen newly recovering program-guys meet people from the meeting in public places just 'out of the blue' and totally ignore them, as if they didn't know them at all. Those guys did not remain sober. I think they may have been shocked by the cross-over from their 'meeting life' into their 'real life'. They were not willing to smile discreetly and say a polite "Hi" to the other guy. Instead, here was trouble - "so get away from me quick." Oy vavoi.

This is precisely why AA has a strong tradition of real anonymity. We do not reveal the identity of anyone else we meet in the rooms to non-members. Ever. But it's not about shame, at all. It's because sharing the secrets of others will not help their recovery at all! Only the truth that they want to share will help them.

Those who just get caught and stay clean out of fear of further humiliation never, ever stay better. Getting humiliated into sobriety does not work, until there is some humility added. Humilty (in hachno'oh to the truth) is the underpinning of the steps.

And that is why 'accountability groups' are nice but will ultimately fail, as long as they are based on avoiding shame - which they can easily become all about.

And that is why opening up to the wife (and remaining consistently open with her) is so very powerful - when done at the right time. It is powerful medicine for my recovery and powerful medicine for the marriage. Honesty there removes yet another layer of hiding from ourselves that has to go to the boards for true freedom.

Sharing my credit card number and address would not do any of these things for me, and neither would pulling up my pant-leg. It's not about compromising my security, nor my anonymity. It's not about getting hurt nor for the sake of being punished for all my wrongs until I can finally be good. This is not Teshuvah and it is not sigufim. It's all and only about being the real me with everyone that I can be, to the extent that I can be without violating the health of my family and others. We do the best we can in that, and ask Hashem to make it work right. And it works, period.

Do you get what I am talking about? 

(Really I know you were just playing devil's advocate, YosefhaTzaddik, but I humored you to get it all out there be"H. May it be helpful to someone, Amein.)


Avodas Hashem Gone Awry:
dov wrote on 27 Sep 2011 17:02:

Look at how many of the beautiful and essential aspects of a proper avodas Hashem, I use in my addiction for my lust and sex:

1- tzniyus (kept it private, hidden);
2- t'midus (consistency and regularity);
3- kavonah (focus - and what focus/kavonoh we have while searching and finding the sweetest porn we can and then using it for just the right fantasy!);
4- Yichud hama'aseh (putting real life, the kids, job, wife, all on 'hold' once I start to plan the evening's escapades - that is true yichud hama'aseh [misused, of course] - see Chovos haLevavos);
5- Mesiras nefesh (taking so many risks for it - I endangered my job, marriage, respect of the community, chillul haShem, and even my bodily safety and often overlooking or tolerating tremendous physical discomfort just to get my fix, many, many times);
6- kana'us (I'd get resentful at those hindering my attachment to my sweet, loving, porn women [ie, my wife and kids] and often lash out at them);
7- Deveikus (being attached to it as to a chain, it eventually takes over my thought, context of living, relationships and motivations for living); and more...

and...
dov wrote on 27 Sep 2011 17:02:

Hopelessness is the only hope we have.


On Pride...dov wrote on 07 Aug 2011 05:24:

...we may admit that we have so much pride, that others must be idiots, unworthy of our trouble, and unfairly demanding on us. We need desperately to learn how to connect and be useful, rather than see everyone else as 'competition';

...we may admit that the main reason we feel we are such failures in past, present and future, is because (in our pride) we cannot accept that we are in fact mediocre in many ways! We put expectations on ourselves that Hashem never intended - then we find we cannot live with ourselves - cuz we are living as someone else! We cannot get comfortable in our own skin, because we insist on wearing someone else's! Perhaps we heard a mussar schmooze - and misused it, got yelled at by a raging parent and internalized it, whatever. Oohh, those things may be hard to die. We'd rather blame ourselves for moshiach not coming yet, for our parents' marriages falling apart, for our wives unhappiness, for not being an outstanding guy in the beis midrash or the respected talmid chochom we 'should be already' or the posek ha'ir yet... We'd rather fantasize that we really should be those things  or that we have all that power, livro olamos ulhacharivon...just what the nochosh tempted us with back in the garden. Nu.

Pride destroys us on the inside - and they told us we needed more self-esteem to 'feel better'. How wrong. What we needed was to get right-sized. To really accept Hashem's Will for us (step 3). Our biggest obstacle was and is our pride, not our failures themselves. Hashem forgives aveiros and mistakes - He does not have much sympathy for pride, as the sforim tell us. Many of us have pride in spades, and we do not even know it. And for prideful people like me, there is no pleasure like the pleasure of getting right-sized, and knowing who I really am and being reasonably sure about what Hashem really expects from me today.


Actions not Thoughts...dov wrote on 14 Aug 2011 23:28:

It sounds nice, but it is all just theory and useless, thinking and cheshboinos - until it is out into real action.

Enough theory. Thinking about the problem is poison. It has its limited place - but this feels to me like trying to figure it out and beat it with new insight....it doesn't work for any addict I know.

We need to take the actions and the feelings and thinking will follow, as a gift. That is the experience of most people I know. And I spent a decade learning about this and only got sicker and sicker. It was disgusting and silly.

What real actions can you take according to your idea above? Now. Today.

Go to it, man. And quit figuring it (you) all out. It is a waste of more time and just mental masturbation. In my experience.


You are thinking too much...
dov wrote on 11 Aug 2011 18:26:

Yeah. You are thinking too much, as you are always doing (if you are anything like me), and you are convinced that you need to 'understand' something in order to succeed at getting better.

Make in-person friends with another person in successful recovery from a problem like yours and speak daily with that person at the beginning of the day (before or after davening or breakfast) and then again near the end of the day sometime. It doesn't need to be every day, but most days would be great.

Love yourself, take good care of yourself, and stop burdening your poor self with the weight of the world. Nobody really understands all the stuff you are struggling to gain mastery over. Least of all, you.

Learn what to do, not what to think.

You cannot think yourself into right living. You can only live yourself into right thinking. (emphasis mine) Hashem will give you the gift of right-thinking. But it will be a gift that you will be able to hold onto only after you take the right actions without needing to understand.

Na'aseh venishma is not a mitzvah anywhere in the Torah, but it underlies everything.  Especially recovery.

Trust G-d, period.


dov wrote on 28 Aug 2011 04:15:

A filter is not recovery. It doesn't even come close to anything like recovery. If anyone who really has a chronic problem "works on their problem" just by putting on a filter, they are kidding themselves.

In that way, putting on a filter will actually perpetuate their problem and mess up their recovery completely - they will think that putting on a filter is all the real action they need to take.

"Phew! I had an alligator in my basement that would sneak up at night and bite my leg. Then someone gave me a great idea and I finally shut the basement door! Finally I can sleep at night."

This alligator-fellow is a weirdo. Who wants an freaking alligator in their basement?! Eventually it will chew through the door, and everybody knows that. Gotta get it outta there.

A filter is only as strong as my acceptance that I cannot afford to test it. Once I test it, I might as well not have it at all. My alligator will eventually get through, guaranteed.

So I say, get any decent filter (I like K-9), and throw away the key, give it to your mother, wife, brother, anybody. Then realize that the filter is just a reminder, nothing more. Evidence to myself that I do not want to screw up my life with crazy obsession with porn and sex with myself, any more. Nor with the struggle against it - which is just as poisonous. (emphasis mine)
Recovery is my main work now - not learning, not my marriage, not my davening or anything else - just recovery. For it is obvious to any ba'al seichel that if an addict does not get deep into real recovery and take real steps and do real recovery work, he will not have any of those important parts of life anyhow! 

In other words, either I will learn how to use a relationship with G-d to save me, or I am finished. 


Ratzon Alone Is Not Enough
dov wrote on 27 Mar 2011 21:15:

Dear 'Nafshi',

You wrote that you have had trouble since sixth grade. Would you care to elaborate on exactly what the 'trouble' was? I find it very hard to believe (and don't you, too?) that any effort or sincerity on your part can sensibly be expected to overcome a decade of wrong thinking about sex. For crying out loud, if you have been making a god out of porn and orgasm as many of us have since around that age - and exercising worship of sexual power by regular masturbation....how do you expect to "beat this"? With sincerity? Whose sincerity? Your fox is watching your henhouse, my friend.

If you can elaborate, great. Then I believe you can begin to consider that ratzon - no matter how sincere - is not nearly enough. Hey, anyone can punch the waves. You are going to need some kind of a real plan of action, if you want results. And if you are anything like me and others I know, you may also  need to start getting something quite the opposite of the 'privacy' (ie., secrecy) that you have been getting till now: openness and help.

Hatzlocha - and much love to you,

Dov 

If you are uncomfortable with doing that on the forum, you can PM me (or anyone else OK with that, for that matter).
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 04 Nov 2011 18:16 #124325

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No Choice But to Stop... Now What???

dov wrote on 04 Nov 2011 18:08:

It's the Chazon Ish's kichsatah against Mussar yeshivos. The avodah itself creates the basis for middos correction.

So in sobriety for an addict, he or she comes to the point where there is no other option but to stop (and not start up again)...though he knows that he cannot stop! So he stops thinking so much and takes one day at a time, gives the entire struggle to his real G-d by explicitly opening up to other people about it, and stays sober by a miracle.

As the days go by, this often messy thing called "life" starts to happen. It starts happening in a more and more real way, too...cuz he is no longer hiding physically and emotionally inside his old fake porn or sex habit (and 'valiant' struggle for 'kedushas bris ham'or'). The sweet distraction is gone! It sucks, doesn't it?

His wife is a pain (and boring), his kids are a pain, everybody is a pain...except maybe the 'hottie' at work....OK, but he knows he does not have the ability to go there any more, so what to do, what to do....

He remembers the steps and that the guys who seem to be doing well are the ones who talk about them (though what they say usually makes little sense to him). And he starts to work them by taking direction from others, instead of just try to 'understand' : them well enough to start. (finally)

This fellow soon discovers that it is by surviving through real life that he learns how to be a normal person. A normal person deals with real life and does not react to fear, resentment, and desire, by running to his mommy-god of nudes and orgasms. Nor does he react to them by raging or blaming. The steps point the way for addicts to face real life. But those who know operand conditioning theory know about this little thing called "extinction burst". Right before a real change, the 'homesickness' for the good-old (sick) way is extremely strong. Painful, actually.

But if he reacts to the pain without hope and trust and just goes and has sex with himself (masturbates) or is inappropriately sexual with someone else, he will again slip real life under the rug. There will be no growth and he will remain a seven year old...for now. That's why they call try to call it "adult entertainment"...it is a joke, really.

So it is the pain of staying sober that makes the growth have to happen. One little step forward at a time that adds up to shockingly major changes. We are surprised by how we have changed. Then by how much we are still the same. Nu. KOT, right?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 06 Nov 2011 14:57 #124396

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I'm a Stinker:
dov wrote on 06 Nov 2011 06:41:

With respect to the old mental trick of "I am such a disgusting stinker that I might as well do worse and get it over with," I have a surprise for you. You will discover it yourself when, c"v, you "finish off the aveirah and move on," as you put it. The secret is that you will not 'move on', of course. We are not books. Everything we do has a reaction that is real and stays with us, no matter what. 'Finishing the aveirah' is not a finish of anything, but actually a start! It will 100% guarantee a new need within the person, instead of 'satisfying' him. This is just the way it is.

Waiting to Explode:
dov wrote on 06 Nov 2011 06:41:

Ironically, this is the other side of very same trick that people like me fall for when we just hold our their breath! I mean when we are not really giving anything up, but just postponing it. Gevalt. The more days we 'tzaddikim' are clean for, the worse our situation grows - the stronger our belief that we have 'sacrificed', and deserve a break...so eventually we must explode. Waiting to exhale.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 06 Nov 2011 15:59 #124408

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not allowed to daven or learn whithin four ammos of a stink, so lets keep our shteeble smell free
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 06 Nov 2011 16:00 #124409

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its fell shmell, not fell smell
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 07 Nov 2011 18:14 #124659

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Objectifying Myself ???:
dov wrote on 07 Nov 2011 18:08:

Which reminds me that when I think of a women as an object, I am really thinking of myself as less of a person and more of an object: A sexual pleasure-being rather than a real human-being.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 07 Nov 2011 18:28 #124667

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The 1st Step, The Evidence is Overwhelming: (From Today's Daily Dose)


The nuance of the 1st step written and shared, is that it brings some people to the conclusion that there is no evidence that they will ever "get better". Even given more time and more effort. For me - I'm not speaking for you - the idea that "I should have not abused my sexuality so," might not be as relevant as the fact that it was done, "again and again". When I ask myself "how is it possible that I could do that?," or, "what's wrong with me that I feel I gotta have/do that?" The answer I am comfortable giving myself eventually became, "because I am an addict, and that is what addicts do." In fact, it is the most valuable response. The deep stuff is nice, but never got me free. Accepting the fact that I lost against lust allows me to finally really get dependent on G-d for a change - it changes the playing field so I get out of His way.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 09 Nov 2011 05:25 #124921

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Totally priceless. And worth every nickel of it!
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 09 Nov 2011 14:54 #124947

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Do you want recovery???dov wrote on 18 Oct 2011 22:44:

No one can put you in recovery. Meetings, maybe, but not recovery. Either you want it, or you do not. If you do, anyone can take it, and so can you.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 09 Nov 2011 15:06 #124948

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Be Honest With G-d, Period .dov wrote on 09 Nov 2011 01:00:

Just as an aside, if you have not used the word "masturbation" in your personal bakoshos in sh'moneh esrei yet, I submit to you that you are not taking this stuff seriously. G-d knows, and using fake terms like "coming lidei zera levatola," or "aveiros chamuros" is pretending that Hashem is yeshivish, frum, or some other silliness. He is G-d, period.

I must say that this is one I try to do.  When admitting what I did wrong, using the acutal term masterbation etc rather than a hebrew word or euphamism makes it more real. (I have found that even in casual conversation, saying "thank you" rather than "shkoyach" somehow feels more real to me.)

While I was still on my nefilah aliyah roller coaster I tried to keep a journal of my progress.  I had a very difficult time just writing the words "I masturbated".  (I was also afraid someone would find my journal and I blotted it out.)  I have become much more comfortable not just writing, but saying those words to a live person.  It is quite liberating!  Maybe insted of saying "I watched porn", I should say "I watched naked people having sex" cuz that's what I did. (I hope no one is triggered by this)
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 09 Nov 2011 19:44 #124991

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gibbor120 wrote on 09 Nov 2011 15:06:

Maybe insted of saying "I watched porn", I should say "I watched naked people having sex" cuz that's what I did. (I hope no one is triggered by this)


I think that is a great idea.  to our messed up mind it does not sound that bad Oh, i watched porn again..  but if you get in to detail its actually reviling how idiotic this addiction is.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 10 Nov 2011 12:08 #125026

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Gibor- I totally identify. Calling a spade a 'well defoned gardening tool' just don't cut it. Call it what it is. A spade's a spade,
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 10 Nov 2011 15:36 #125042

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or maybe, "I watched the most deppresing people acting with the most superficial happy face's"
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 10 Nov 2011 17:20 #125062

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Back on Track wrote on 10 Nov 2011 12:08:

Calling a spade a 'well defoned gardening tool' just don't cut it.

Like  ;D.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 11 Nov 2011 15:18 #125218

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Is it lust?
dov wrote on 11 Nov 2011 06:57:

If this desire or behavior screws me or somebody else up in some way - and I want to do it anyway, then it is lust.

If it has nothing really to do with my love for the other person, then it's lust.

If it's sneaky, then it is lust.

If I can't stop taking it, then it's lust.

If it causes a fight then it's lust.

If it kills love, then it's lust.

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 17 Nov 2011 22:45 #125944

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From Today's Daily Dose: (It seems to be the theme of the day)

Don't get Complacent:


Slip = Sobriety Loses It's Priority

Someone wrote:

Although I am clean just three weeks, I feel like this whole tumah thing is a million miles away. Like it was just a bad dream. I try to imagine it and I think to myself, "what, I did such things?". So I guess I am ripe for the Yetzer Hara to catch me of guard . Please advise.

Dov replies:

It never ceases to amaze me how my entire perspective - my entire reality - can change drastically, should I lust. There is no regard for how long I may have been sober, nor for how "sober I feel"... It can all change in a shocking way.

"Slip" stands for Sobriety Loses It's Priority. The priority doesn't change just because I seem to be better.

It sounds like you do not want to be a korban on the mizbayach of "the recovered". I say, "Good for you!" I have seen enough well-meaning guys lose it all after getting smug, and I wish to have no part in it.

Practically speaking, this little guy advises: Consider working the steps with a sponsor, if that is the derech you choose. If not, then at least adhere to whatever derech you want, but for G-d's sake, do something, and do it all the way. And keep it "one-day-at-a-time.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 18 Nov 2011 14:50 #126001

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The Groups are a Mirror (from the Daily Dose)


Ultimately, we all live with ourselves. There is no escape from ourselves - even by suicide, I believe. The discomfort we all feel being surrounded by real people in recovery (in SA groups) is just having a mirror shown to us, as the Ba'al Shem Tov taught us. We sense our own ugliness, but we "see" only theirs.

I take advantage of every opportunity I get to admit openly, in a safe environment, that I am a sexaholic, that I naturally gravitate toward using lust, that I am allergic to it, and that my disease is progressive, chronic, and guaranteed to be fatal should it progress enough c"v. Doing this frees me to let go and be free of lust's power. It gives me life, and it gave new life to my family.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 18 Nov 2011 18:53 #126043

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On the 12 Steps and How They Work (or don't work)

dov wrote on 18 Nov 2011 17:24:

This post is probably going to sound particularly judgmental, pig-headed, closed-minded, and will not be understood at all unless the reader can stop being judgmental of me, first. Good luck:

ShemiratEinayim an Old friend wrote on 18 Nov 2011 10:12:

Sobriety is one thing, but sober-sex is impossible for me!!!

...however, for me SEX is the crux of the problem. And until i can have sober-sex, I will  not give up on this issue. My marital obligations forced me to relapse, and they denied me sobriety these last 4 months.

I cannot wait a few years without perfecting this. sorry. (Don't worry, as of now It seems to me that the 12 step attitude is the only way to solve the dilemma)


So I bolded the words that hit me the hardest in your post. Maybe I am reading too much into them. I know that I am not attacking you, or anybody - only trying my best to help by sharing what did not work for me and what does. So be"H, here goes:

What gives you (me) the idea that you (me) - a guy who fantasized and masturbated his own way into this mess - has the ability to solve this problem with any tools?

You use the words, "the 12 step attitude" - what about "working the 12 steps" in your life? When you write "attitude", it makes me think that attitude is the sole thing you need to change - and that you can do that. It makes me think that you are a really good man who is trying very hard to use your own mind to change your own attitude so that you will be fixed and your problem solved.

But this is not the program I know, at all.

It is not even the way I can see the steps being read. Seriously. The words say G-d does it, not our efforts. That either really means something, or it means nothing. The program is not like our yiddishkeit is: we go to work, but say we have bitachon that Hashem sends all the parnossah and our hishtadlus is ultimately just motions we are going through for Him to do the whole thing....just words. The party line. Empty, really.

That is not where recovery is. We do not get healed from our problem with that same old parroting.

I know the 'self-help' method (with G-d's 'help', of course ) is the program many talk of, particularly the more psychological, religious, or cerebral types. Frankly, all the recovery I have seen tells me that these folks speak this way because they simply refuse to take their personal credit and power out of the equation.

The book (at the start of Ch 5) says dependence on G-d (and not on ourselves) is what makes all the difference. It says letting go of old ideas that didn't work (like needing to perfect my sex in order to be free of the pain of lust; like being the one who can fix myself, like believing that Hashem can't love me like wild unless I am fixed, and many other mistakes) is necessary. It says that letting go absolutely (not trying like crazy) is what is needed.

And it also says that taking action (not figuring it all out clearly) is the only thing that works.

So I ask you, what behaviors have you undertaken for the sake of letting go of your sexual lust that changes a beautiful brocha (sexual deveikus - as the Torah refers to it - with your wife) into torment? What action-steps have you undertaken so far to be one with her - to love her - so that the sex will make sense?

If you already have that clear, or can get that clear, then it will also become clear that even if we take these steps, they cannot work at all unless G-d does it all for us, when all our efforts at giving up our ego and power are over.

Hakol tzafui - G-d does it all, yet v'hareshus nesunah - it's up to us (ein hadovor tolui ella bee); ubatov ha'Olam nadun - everything He does is always to do Good and he always loves and gives; yet - v'haKol l'fi rov hama'aseh - humans must take action to allow His Will to flow through and work in us (lo hamirash ha'ikkar, ella hama'aseh). As the Kotzker put it, "G-d is only found where we let Him in!"

Taking action may be to learn how to love your wife while the two of you agree to let go of sex for three or four months and learning how to enjoy holding each other and loving each other without the sex. Just to come to know in your very bodies that it is the truth. We have done this as have many. It helps tremendously. We both need to grow up quite a bit. That's recovery.

Maybe the action you need is to really work these 12 steps instead of just 'seriously thinking them through'. Too many talk about the steps, study them, and 'work on them' - but take no comprehensive and consistent written and practical action on each of them in order. I have done that a lot, and think that's a pity. Most of the 12 steps are not just attitudes, but actions. They need a few days of real work, cannot be skipped around to our convenience, and most need a sponsor to allow us to truly let go of our ego. Holding up a mirror is useless for stepwork - one friend of mine says "the most important qualification my sponsor has that makes him the most useful, is that he is not me." It is partly why meetings are so popular in 12 step fellowships.

Maybe you need therapy to take the right actions and help you grow up, as we all are in recovery.

Maybe you need medication with some of these things, simultaneously.

Maybe you already have been doing all these things!

I do not know you. I just read a few words you wrote, that's all. But please, please forgive me if I misread you. I do not look down on you or have any reason to attack you at all.

Hatzlocha,

Dov
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 22 Nov 2011 18:17 #126355

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We Have a "Living" Problem:
dov wrote on 22 Nov 2011 05:33:

Kedusha is right, of course.

And what are you doing to live better? Just 'not looking' is no plan at all. Sure, it will not work at all if we reach for our drug, but the AAs discovered long ago that 'negative sobriety' (just not drinking) does not work. It's almost like holding our breath and waiting till we screw up again, hoping against hope that it'll be a very, very long time from now....lo zu haderech. The way AA puts it (and the White Book ch 4 makes this point very clearly), if all we needed to do was stop drinking, then life would be grand as soon as we quit drinking! But as every addict will attest, life starts to get messy because we stop drinking! Our drinking (lusting, fantasy, porn use, and compulsive sex with ourselves or others) is nothing but a coping mechanism to our real problem: Life, on Life's (Hashem's) terms. That is why none of the steps is about stopping drinking, at all! They are about sanity and accepting G-d as my Trusted Leader. No mention of not needing to drink... though that's what happens!

In other words, for the addicts among us there is an uncomfortable truth that runs contrary to the call of the Gedolim on behalf of GYE, the mussar sforim on shmiras habris, and all the shmiras einayim slogans in the world: Our real problem is not lust or sex or fantasy. Our real problem is sobriety(emphasis mine) - that is, living without those things to medicate us and make life bearable for us.

Until this is admitted and faced, no non-addict can understand why a great guy, frum, with a nice loving wife, nice job, nice kids...would be sneaking tons of porn and masturbating on his knees in the bathroom so often. Just like those sneaking liquor or heroin. Stupid, no? Well, that's me! I do that. I am an addict. But I'm one of the sober ones today by Hashem's Chessed (Grace).

So you wonder how you'll handle sobriety. Well, at least you are taking it seriously!

But first of all, who says you can't do it again for the rest of your life? That kind of goofy thinking is what got people like us in trouble in the first place. One day at a time is simply reality - there is no such thing as "ever again" right now. It just doesn't exist except in fantasy-land. And that is the same exact land that all those nudes live in....

Oh, so then am I saying, "go ahead and act out your lust"? No. And anyhow, whether you go ahead and use porn, fantasy and sex with yourself, or not, is not my business, at all. Kol Yisrael areivim and hocheyach tochiach certainly do not apply to addicts. For addicts do not ever quit because others tell them to. This is poshut. We quit when we are ready to quit, not before. 'Inspiration' will stop us once in a while for a time, but does not save us in the long run. Only a real, personal relationship with our own G-d does that - and that is the only thing that the steps are for. It creates integrity.

But first we need to have sanity. And "forever" is just not sane, cuz it isn't even real...till it happens. And 'forever' only happens when this trip is over.

So take it easy, amigo. One day at a time is not just a slogan, or to break things into manageable pieces. It is the truth. Something we who have faked so much to ourselves for so long (fantasy) have a hard time recognizing.

We need Hashem to help us see it. Only our G-d can restore us to sanity.

So take it easy. You can live without having sex with yourself today, and that's all that matters. Today is the best day to be sober of all. Not just a slogan, but the honest, simple truth.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 22 Nov 2011 19:30 #126366

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At the request of a couple of friends, I created a new dov quotes thread in the married section www.guardyoureyes.org/forum/index.php?topic=4796.0 .
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 22 Nov 2011 21:53 #126395

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I'm Happy Just Being Me - from today's daily dose
I'm Just Me; Hashem's Little Guy
Someone posted about his progress - and struggle - on the forum:

You'd think I'd be HAPPY that certain urges are going away and my ability to walk away from certain aveiras is strengthening. But I've realized-- er, um, I'm NOT.

Why not? Because for so long I had been wearing my challenges on my sleeve.

> As a badge of honor for how "different" I was and how "amazing" I've been for conquering so much for so long.

> As an excuse to avoid all kinds of growth in my frumkeit.

> As a convenient tool for avoiding certain flavors of emotional (not physical, emotional) intimacy with my wife.

> As a way to feel special, different, deserving of G-d's love as compensation for the challenges He gave me.

> I could go on and on.

What a bunch of ego, ego, ego mess to have to tackle. Yuck.

The bottom line is, if I'm no longer going to be able to "define myself" in terms of certain sexual orientations, preferences, fantasies, whatever... then maybe I'm scared I've lost my uniqueness, my excuses, my... ahdunno, I gotta think about it.

Just when I thought I'd have an easy time of this work for a few weeks.... Darn.
 

Dov Responds:



That post was a shocker. Not just for it's plain realness, but for how true it is for me, as well. I wrote about it to someone else, once, crassly saying that the way it felt to me years ago was that if I couldn't be recognized as the next gadol of the generation, "could I at least be a porn star?" Yeah, it's sick. But that's the way I really was before recovery: Desperate for something outside me to give me Reality. And schmutz - being my drug of choice - felt very real, and vital. Those acting-out moments seemed larger-than-life... till they almost killed me.

And like you shared, in recovery there is a temptation to remain struggling to get people's attention, to get G-d's attention, and to stick with what our gut feels is the only thing that "works". It's our comfort zone. That struggle defined my relationship with Hashem. In fact, the only way I could see myself being able to approach Hashem at all, was as a guy who just did horrific things! "Take me back! Iv'e sinned terribly! Please take me back!" Hey - what nice god could resist that?! The idea that He just loves me like crazy no matter what, and living with that all the time, was - well - crazy!

Somewhere along the way early on, an absolute need for something outside me had infected my very core like a virus.


I really needed that image, that woman, that [imagined] warm approval, that exact pleasure, or else. For some folks it's $1 mil, acid, Blue Marlins, TV, whatever. For me, it was a feeling, a trance, that I could secretly tune into using a part of my body and my imagination - whenever I wanted to. Kind of hard to run away from. Probably everyone here knows exactly what that's like, and that's why they are here. After a while it doesn't work any more, but we still feel we really need it. That's insanity and blindness.

So, Recovery held out the promise of 'self-discovery'. Of actually growing to be comfortable without anything outside me - with just being me. Even w/o "being" anything important to anybody else. Just me. Hashem's little: guy. And at first, that idea seemed like the stupidest thing I had ever heard. I didn't want it. I didn't believe it, either. And maybe that was a good thing... I shudder to think what it would have been like to actively "work" on that! It had to happen naturally for me, like most gifts of recovery, and kind of bite me on the behind. Like: "Surprise! So, you are not a useless piece of crap after all!" - that kind of subtle discovery is nice.

The way it is turning out, the self-discovery is happenning slowly. And the person I am getting to know is pretty, and ugly; impressive and pathetic. And it's kind of cool. Lust never offerred me that - it taught me I was just a desperate guy running somewhere. Either from something or to something. "That's all there is, buddy!", is what my disease would say if it could talk.

So take it easy, and consider not working on the outcomes so dang much. Or maybe not at all. Outcomes are Hashem's. (Sounds like it should be a possuk somewhere...) It does say in Mishlei, "birtzos Hashem darkei ish, gam oivav yashlim itto!" - When the ways of a man are approved-of by Hashem, then even the man's enemies make peace with him! Does the man do that? Apparently not. Hashem does it. It all works out cuz G-d makes it work out when the time is right.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Nov 2011 19:13 #126519

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How do I Grow?:dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

I was sleeping, why'd you wake me up? What kind of friend are you anyway? You call this.....oh....wait a minute. I was having a dream arguing with my wife there.....

OK, so instead of writing a speech about mushy stuff, I'll keep it really practical.

If you feel you are not in trouble, then why are you searching for anything at all? What are you? I only do things when I am forced to do them, for example, when I see that if I do not do something I will slip and drown, then and only then do I start doggy-paddling faster. Are you some kind of mentch, or something?

OK, so that was a big tongue-in-cheek. But seriously, I am suspicious of the entire business of being interested in "growing higher in kedusha and marital bliss", for sex and lust addicts. It so often descends into a mess of self-centered self-aggrandizement, and the payoff of kavod poisons the entire affair. It is great for normals, but if being a recovering person, I see it as something that I need to use 1st gear for. Madreigos are best left to those more qualified to handle them, just as the 12&12 describes righteous indignation.

This may be a disappointing attitude to have for some folks, because so many apparently come to GYE with great and high hopes of winning and being catapulted up to the heights of Torah and yir'as Shomayim as a result of their clean time...in fact, people have already told them that "those like you, who are attracted to this schmutz, are often deeply spiritually sensitive people and have great, great potential - and that is precisely why the YH is trying to 'get you' so badly!"

And I do not disagree with the facts of any of that stuff. It's just that they are nice selling points - but spell only trouble, in real recovery for addicts like me. Simcha shel mitzvah is the secret, as Bardy will tell you any day - and "heichereh madreigosshcaft" is not a place of simcha, for most addicts. It's lonely at the top, you know.... That's where ma'alos lead....and lo sa'aleh b'ma'alos al mizb'chi (asher, etc.,) never was better applied than to a drunk like me!

So. Back to earth. Why do you want to grow more? If what you have is working, and you are clean, why mess with it?

Are you just restless? That is not good, chabibi. Time takes time, real improvement takes patience. Keep working what you have so far and the fruits will come be"H. Just stay clean at all costs one day at a time till you die. That is good enough for me, is it good enough for you?

I mean, bishlomah, if you have thrown yourself into a program, then you have the steps to work, and that means a bit of writing, sharing and some more writing, more sharing, and more practical work, etc....till you are using those tools in your every day life and life becomes much, much easier and better.

But you are not giving yourself to any program - and that's fine!!! But then, what is the rush to do x, y, and z? You are living a full life as a frum Jew! Is there not enough real work for you to do?

On the other hand, if you feel you are stagnating and it really bothers you to no end, then work is in order. You will not like yourself and you will not like your life and you will eventually not like the people you are with,and they will eventually not like you much either, and then...you will certainly act out.

So if that is where you are, then you have work to do. Though I have no idea what to suggest, for I am not an expert, as you figured out so well, only sharing my experience.

I suggest you pick and choose what to work on from wherever you wish, try it out for a month or two with earnest, and then see what happens, reassess, and move on.

That sounds nice to me. I just do not know what else to say.
Last Edit: 23 Nov 2011 19:16 by .

Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Nov 2011 19:14 #126520

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gibbor120 wrote on 23 Sep 2011 18:50:

dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

If you feel you are not in trouble, then why are you searching for anything at all? What are you? I only do things when I am forced to do them, for example, when I see that if I do not do something I will slip and drown, then and only then do I start doggy-paddling faster. Are you some kind of mentch, or something?

Just because I have been sober, doesn't mean it has been easy.  There were times that without the fear of having to fess up to my wife, I surely would've fallen.  I know all too well that one fall leads to another and it's difficult to get back up.  I'd rather not tiptoe on the edge of that cliff.  Before I came here, I was certain, that without my wife's help, I could not stay sober.  It would just be a matter of time.  Now, B"H I am meeting some people here, talking on the phone some, and even met one person (you know who you are).  I can not do it on my own.  I need people.

dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

I am suspicious of the entire business of being interested in "growing higher in kedusha and marital bliss", for sex and lust addicts. It so often descends into a mess of self-centered self-aggrandizement, and the payoff of kavod poisons the entire affair.

"been there, done that". Just never realized it, until I came here.

dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

in real recovery for addicts like me. Simcha shel mitzvah is the secret, as Bardy will tell you any day - and "heichereh madreigosshcaft" is not a place of simcha, for most addicts.

(nodding my head).  Here's a good example of an idea, but how is it done lemaaseh?  It's not just going to happen by itself.

dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

So. Back to earth. Why do you want to grow more? If what you have is working, and you are clean, why mess with it?

I think I answered above.

dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

I mean, bishlomah, if you have thrown yourself into a program, then you have the steps to work, and that means a bit of writing, sharing and some more writing, more sharing, and more practical work, etc....till you are using those tools in your every day life and life becomes much, much easier and better.

Here is where I think I can gain, but wish there was a way to do that without SA meetings.  Not because I'm afraid to face people.  It's hard, but I can do it.  I just don't think I need the whole 12 step package.  Maybe I just want something that doesn't exist.  I don't mind meeting people, writing, sharing, working etc., but again, I need a plan lemaaseh.  I can't beleive that all the 12 step tools are useless outside the context of a full blown program.

dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

I suggest you pick and choose what to work on from wherever you wish, try it out for a month or two with earnest, and then see what happens, reassess, and move on.

That sounds nice to me. I just do not know what else to say.

You've said quite a bit. Thanks!

I think I need to make recovery more concrete.  Not just hearing great ideas.  How can I implement them?

Here's a try.
1) Speak on the phone to someone from GYE at least once a week.  Even if it's just a hello.  Staying connected to someone (or someones) that I can share my feelings with without fear of being judged will help a great deal.

Maybe that's where I should leave it for now.  Any other idea that I think of, smacks of what you said above...
dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 16:27:

It so often descends into a mess of self-centered self-aggrandizement, and the payoff of kavod poisons the entire affair.

Great quote!

Thanks again!

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Nov 2011 19:15 #126521

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dov wrote on 23 Sep 2011 21:42:

gibbor120 wrote on 23 Sep 2011 18:50:

Here is where I think I can gain, but wish there was a way to do that without SA meetings.  Not because I'm afraid to face people.  It's hard, but I can do it.  I just don't think I need the whole 12 step package. Maybe I just want something that doesn't exist.  I don't mind meeting people, writing, sharing, working etc., but again, I need a plan lemaaseh.  I can't beleive that all the 12 step tools are useless outside the context of a full blown program.


Is there such a thing? Yeah. It's called real friendship, and we humans have been using it successfully for thousands of years. It's where GYE needs to lead (for addicts), or I think it's all a joke. Yeah, there will be plenty fellows who will not need it, and the chizuk is enough. You are apparently setting yourself into the category for whom the chatting is not enough, who need more, for one reason or another. I salute you! (salute)

GYE has PM system just for this purpose. Lots of guys get to know eachother better that way, without pesky noseybodies like me posting all over their threads. They even trade phone #s, and I know more than a handful who have taken the plunge and actually met each other! You may know one or two yourself .

Yes, your plan sounds great. Agreeing to daven for each other every day is another thing that helps, and yes, written journaling and written and unwritten stepwork will help you a lot, too. SA has a text called "Stepping into Action" which is sort of a workbook on the steps. Stay away from long, mushy checklists that shrinks and the folks who are dying to be in every addictions 12 step group there is love. Keep it simple, in writing, and share it with your friend. Make it doable and regular. Oh, and none of it really gets as far unless we keep our zippers up, except when needed for health care functions. (details, details... )

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 25 Nov 2011 14:29 #126759

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Don't Ever Get Complacent!
dov wrote on 24 Nov 2011 04:02:

Megillah Alert Warning Will Robinson:  :

Along those lines, a famous story:

There was a poor man. he was so destitute and suffered for so long until he had a turn in business and got a decent job. One thing led to another and to the joy of his wife and children he became a partner in a growing business. Life was a lot better and no longer were the kids going to bed hungry, wondering how much worse the morning stomach ache would be.

His business was thriving and after a few years he was a wealthy man!

But every year on the day he got that first job, he celebrated with a se'udas hoda'ah and dressed funny for the occasion: he wore the last threadbare shmatess that covered his body that first week on the job. He dressed completely as a pauper in the comfort of his own home at the table with his family and friends, and ate.

They asked him, "mai hai? Why the old clothes?"

He said that he knew in his gut that would he ever forget where he came from, he'd start to believe that he is intrinsically a wealthy person. That he deserves to be rich - that somehow, his being rich is one of the things that is 'right' with the universe.

But none of that would be reality. We are all blank slates without Hashem's Will that we be wealthy (or poor) at this very moment. Nobody must be rich. Just as easily as he is wealthy now, he really could be that same poor guy again.

We are not G-d.

He understood that gratitude isn't just 'being nice' or 'good middos' - it's just plain sanity.

My sponsor told me that no matter how long I have been sober or how long it has been that a fantasy has crossed my mind, I ought not ever say, "when I used to act out, I did thus-and-so..." Rather, he suggested that when sharing my sexual acting out history to help another addict open up, I should always say, "when I act out, I do thus-and-so..." Pretending that I am immune and fixed now, is prideful and irresponsible. It may be true - but I am no one to judge that. Sadly, too many good people like us have been 'surprised' and lost it all after years and years of sobriety and recovery.

And here is another interesting an application of this idea: When I see a pretty woman and become aware that I could feel the real desire to stare and take her into me deeply (like mountain air) and use her in my mind...some would whine, "Gevalt that's so tomei, it's evidence that I am a shkotz. How could I still be having those thoughts?! It's the first day of Pesach and the seder was so uplifting! Yet here I am with this trash?" But I do not do that, cuz my sponsor taught me by example. He reacts to the deep disappointment he is tempted to feel over a stray desire (no matter how vivid), with this: "Well, what do you expect from a sex drunk, and addict?! From a guy who lied to everyone for decades, desperate for sex with himself or others whenever he could, for years and years? Nu. It's amazing that I am still sober, at all! Boruch Hashem!" ...and to let the lust and regret over the lusting all go. Drop it humbly. Who am I to be prideful now and cause myself to become sad, c"v. Madreigah pride is terrible for addicts. Walking humbly with my G-d as someone who doesn't deserve to be counted, at all - now that works for me.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 25 Nov 2011 15:34 #126775

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GET OUT OF ISOLATION!
dov wrote on 25 Nov 2011 14:36:

This is a bit harsh, and I hope you know that I have no ulterior motive in this - I purely wish to help and want the best for you cuz i respect your openness and your honesty, see your pain, and know the frustration you write of very well. So I will try to share with you exactly what I need to be aware of, OK?

Here goes, be"H:


You find it therapeutic to speak to anyone....you feel trapped...you find yourself alone again and again...

From your post, and those of SSBT, one thing rings truest to me:

you both make being as isolated as possible your #1 priority.

Sure, when the pain gets bad enough from self-loathing, you reach out a bit - to a rebbi (who is not free of a masturbation habit because as far as you know he doesn't have one to begin with) or you 'reach out' virtually, here on this faceless forum.

Staying as isolated as possible is so important? Why not really reach out? Why not study in a library or with another person? Why not meet face to face with other guys who masturbation problem as you do and are trying to give it up, too?

Nope, gotta use charts on my wall with 'x's that only I know what they mean, reading my old journals to understand myself better, chizzuk to remember who I really am,
just need to dive back into a pool of emunah. but i feel like there's a layer of ice preventing me from doing so.

trying to find myself again by reading my old attitudes
. To hell with you and finding yourself. Instead of jumping into a pool of emunah, I think you need to jump into a pool of real live people. Any people. As long as they are not you, it's good. If you are anything like me, right at this moment you seem to be your own worst poison.
 
I am full of shame, full of gayvoh, and full of lust for self-awareness and self-esteem. It gets me nowhere, so I have something else to fix me. It's called "my G-d". I was taught how to use it by addicts.

Rav Twerski told me 5 years ealier to go to them to learn how to use this thing (G-d)...but I was too afraid and too ahsamed. Five years of suffering for me that I can't describe to a non-addict. Five years of suffering by my wife that I can never fully understand. Nu. Finally, in 1997, I came to the addicts to teach me recovery and my life, our life, my relationship with my G-d (Hashem) is completely on a different footing. Life is good.

So I ask you: What are you so ashamed of? Of meeting yet another man who admits that he likes unzipping his pants and masturbating to porn so much that he eventually does it again - and again? Why the fear? G-d is already watching you full in the face while you are sneaking the looks at the sweet porn (and it is very, very sweet and he knows that, too); He is in your zipper when you pull it down; He hears your thoughts as if they were being spoken out loud mamesh, always - He always has and always will. So? He has not struck you dead, has He? He pardoned Kayin who murdered his own brother with rocks till he bled to death - you are worse? No matter what the sforim say, you have not murdered your own brother. You are a tzaddik'l trying to be good, and He knows it and loves you enough to create an entire world just for your sake. Even while you are on your knees masturbating He feels this way, for sure. So he wants yo to have the good life, not the trash of self-loathing and porn slop.

Contrary to the nevi'ei shekker of your comfortable isolation tell you, you have no evidence at all that He is actually disgusted with you. For all you know, He still loves you like crazy. So?

What is this shame? Why the preservation of the isolation?

I can suggest an answer, but only for those who really want to hear one. I can keep a secret, in the meantime...
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 25 Nov 2011 16:47 #126789

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Truth & Humility: (from yesterday's chizzuk email)



To Thine Own Self Be True 

Rabbi Twerski shared with GYE today:

Every so often there is a news item that research shows promise of a drug that can cure alcohol or drug addiction. Thus far, nothing like a cure has materialized. The possibility of a drug that will cure behavioral addictions such as compulsive gambling or sex addiction is even more remote.

But I have come across something that holds promise for all addictions, and it is surprisingly simple: TRUTH! I believe that if an addict commits to absolute truthfulness and adheres to this, and will not lie under any circumstances, not a white lie nor a lie of any color, he can beat the addiction. No rationalization can justify a lie, and one must be willing to be truthful even if it hurts. One must know that any lie constitutes a relapse.

Lying is an integral component of addiction, just as coughing is to pneumonia. Unfortunately, lying in addiction is so habitual that the addict may not be aware that he is lying, and it requires great alertness and total honesty to live up to the commitment. Of course, one cannot lie to G-d or to oneself. I have found that it may be more difficult for an addict to abstain from lying than from his addiction.
       
Because of the propensity to lie, addicts cannot have sincere relationships. The latter require trust, and there can be no trust in absence of truth.

I would like this to be put to the test. I have high hopes that it can work.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We responded to Rabbi Twerski:

Thank you for this insightful advice.

I just want to point out, that even if the addict decides to tell only the truth from now on, he will probably find it almost impossible to stop lying to HIMSELF without group support and working the steps. I think that what the Rav wrote should be incorporated into the 12-Steps groups (and in many cases, it is). They tell you that every time you feel like acting-out you should pick up the phone and call someone. In the same way, every time an addict feels he's about to lie, he should pick up the phone and call someone (or his sponsor). And if he catches himself having told a lie, he should tell his sponsor as well.

If he works on his integrity in the context of the group and in conjunction with working the program, this can increase his chances of success in a big way.

Dov (who is sober for 14 years in SA) once said that sobriety really all boils down to integrity. First with others, then with one's self. As they say "To thine own self be true."

Thank you for sharing this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rabbi Twerski responded to the above with two words: "I agree".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 



Daily Dose of Dov

Integrity Yes, Beating it No.

Dov responds to Rabbi Twerski's idea above:

Thanks, the Rav's words are so yesodiosdig to me, too. So thanks for reminding me how important it is for me to tell the truth to myself and everyone else today!

But there is something I want to share with you and the Rav.

At the very beginning of Ch 5 of AA Bill wrote that the only way out of this disease is self-honesty. Period. He posits that the only reason people fail this program is that they are not honest with themselves. Period. So the Rav is saying what Bill wrote at the beginning.

But it seems to me that Bill would not have written it the way the Rav did. The phraseology the Rav chooses here implies personal victory: "I believe that if an addict commits to absolute truthfulness and adheres to this, and will not lie under any circumstances, not a white lie nor a lie of any color, he can beat the addiction."

This "beating" thing - it is not written anywhere in the "Promises" after the 9th step. Sure, it is attractive to the newbie - promises of grandeur, being in the winners circle one day... but there's gotta be a reason that it's not the attitude of the AAs I know. "Beating it" is exactly what the newbies all over GYE love to hear, but I feel it does not serve the average newly recovering addict well.

It is attractive lingo to a despondent, still-masturbating frum yid - the promise that he will finally be able to flex his bechirah-muscles again! He'll be a bit of a tzaddik - finally! Hey, and how many times have people with this problem called me a tzaddik so far? (If I had a nickle for every time...)

They do not know, or believe, that us drunks are just trying to live, period. For the non-addict it is so much easier just to live. They need s'forim and Rabbonim's fiery shmuessin to motivate them not to just live, but to strive for higher madreigos! And it's funny how many of them see an alkie's not drinking as 'a madreigo'. I figure they just do not know what it means to be thoroughly beaten. And by the same token, it is not 'brave' for a drunk to finally, finally admit that he is a drunk - his drinking lifestyle has beaten him to a pulp and now he has no choice but to face the music! Like by giving Haman the ring, G-d did for us what we could not do for ourselves. And He does this right in the drinking. He hides the bottle and starts to beat our ego right out of us right from there. A funny example of z'donos na'asim zachuyos!

And the addicts who keep referring to it as a "battle" and to the sober drunks as "tzaddikim" have missed the boat. And it is no wonder when they don't get sober.

The recovering addicts I know, are beaten - they do not beat. Sober no matter how many years, they are drunks - drunks who do not drink. And it is a daily reprieve by G-d, allowed by the drunk - if he recognizes that he is beaten today, too. That is the way it works for me and others I know. Of course, to a non-alcoholic/sexaholic person, that attitude does not seem to 'shtim' with self-esteem, and it is not very attractive.

To the layman, a drunk or a pervert living thirty-five years and dying a sober man is called "beating the addiction". It sure seems beaten, no? I understand that - it's really the way the scorecard reads, of course. But it seems to me that the reason the Alkies do not talk of 'winning' or 'beating' is that it re-invites the ego. And letting go of my ego was what the entire journey was all about! We may as well drink a l'Chayim to celebrate thirty-five years sober! The premature l'Chayim is the most dangerous thing I see people do, and it happens over and over. As Chuck C the alkie joked, "the only thing worse for an alkie than bad fortune, is good fortune!" Making the difficult calls to people and to G-d (that Guard referred to above) and really opening up to another, working these steps faithfully, learning to really depend on my G-d rather than just being 'religious' - they are all a diminution rather than a feeding of the ego. At least this is the program I have absorbed from my sponsor and friends.   

I have not yet met a recovering member of SA who said "I used to act out." The victory feels like it is Hashem's, not mine. Sure, if I am zoche to die a sober man, it will technically be in the 'win column'. But I cannot see it as my win, at all. All I do is suffer enough to allow him into the room, as the Kotzker would have put it. 

If I get there sober after 120 and they hoist me up as a victor in Shomayim, I hope and pray that I hop right off the pedestal onto the floor and just bow low to Hashem...and stay there.

Respectfully,

Dov
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 25 Nov 2011 18:25 #126812

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12 Steps as Derech Eretz Which is Kadma Latorah:
(from today's daily dose)


Perhaps the 'problem' inherent in the 12 steps for frummeh yidden is the fact that the steps imply that one can have complete success with living even though he believes in a false god. I believe that is the real reason that the 12 steps are placed outside the framework of Torah by many frum yidden.

I deferred using them many times over the 15 years of progressive acting out, too.

To me, the sad thing about that is that many of us very same frummeh yidden defer the 12 steps while we are serving a false god, ourselves! We are completely given over to the image and awesome power of young, attractive females with perfect, beautiful bodies. It is more than a desire - it proves itself as a 'need' by our track record of cyclical, repetitive use. In our bodies and minds we feel the tremendous power these images and women have, and perform - for the sake and in the service of our lust - many of the things our religion demands:

Tomid - regular cyclical service; 'lishkod al dalsosai, yom yom'...

D'chilu uR'chimu - we all know how our hands tremble and hearts race in excited anticipation of a juicy, really dirty schmutz site, the fruits of our desperate searching. The dryness of the mouth doesn't lie. It proves a powerful devotion that we have to it and obviously comes from our intense love and desire (r'chimu) plus our awe of and fear of losing (d'chilu) the precious, hard-won images and very real lust pleasures;

Tzniyus - very private porn use and sex with themselves (masturbation);

Kavonoh and Yichud haMa'aseh - there is no focus like the single-mindedness of our trance in search and use of our lust objects;

Emunah - faith in it actually working for us even though it may have failed many times before - we keep on trying and never give up;

Mesiras Nefesh - the money spent, embarrassment taken, the tolerance of excruciating pain of our own hypocrisy and physical discomfort. Many of us remember these things endured in the desperate search for our fix;

These values, bastardizations as they are, are no less 'Torah' values than are the 12 Principles of recovery. They are the values - not the Rules of Torah, and are forever independent of the Mitzvos. They are the property of all people, not just yidden. I call that Derech Eretz. Derech Eretz includes the tools for keeping the Torah successfully. That is why these values must at least be accepted 'kodmah laTorah'. And every lust addict I have ever met has excelled at living by these very same values - for their lust.

We already have demonstrated that we have the values. Recovery is called 'recovery' precisely because we are recovering the ability to use the values we already have to live real life, not the fake one. We are being restored to the sanity we once had... maybe as children.

That is why I agree with R' Twerski that the 12 steps are a great tool to use for living. It's just that I have not seen many non-addicts have the motivation to actually use these principles. Frum perverts-in-recovery like myself are a strange lot: the lowest form of human life in disease - and yet the very luckiest people in the whole world in recovery. (Reminds me of Chazal on "k'chochvei haShomayim  - vs - chachol asher al s'fas hayam" - the extremes of Klal Yisroel.)
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Nov 2011 04:01 #126914

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What would you tell a drug addict? ...  TAKE ACTION!
dov wrote on 27 Nov 2011 07:07:

rebdovid wrote on 22 Nov 2011 20:38:

Just slipped.

I truly hate it seven days clean, I guess I managed to slip through my k9 filter and google pictures.

Please daven for me, this is death.

I realize then physical feeling that I experience in my mind, it's just like drugs.
If you truly believe that you are like a drug addict, then what would you say to a drug addict who begged you to help him quit?

Would you say "hang on for five more minutes - if you can do that, then you can hang on for five more!"? Or would you say that he cannot sit on his behind and wait till he plotzes, but that he needs to do something about it. Something different, cuz waiting and fighting it till you can't any more is exactly what he has been doing for ten or fifteen years already!

What are you doing that is actually an action for your recovery from this crazy compulsive behavior? Would that be 'good enough' in your opinion for a drug addict, or not?

Hatzlocha, chaveri!!
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Nov 2011 14:57 #126952

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Accepting Imperfection (From Daily Dose)


Dov, I read the Big Book and 'the 12 and 12' on the 3rd step. I was also on the call this morning but couldn't talk because I was with other people... I have a difficulty with step 3 when trying to put it into action, perhaps you can help: The third step says: "We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him". Doing Hashem's will 24/7 is a really really high madreiga.  As a frum Jew in a very Yeshivish affiliation of Judaism, this means learning every spare minute, no bitul zman, learning halahcha, mussar etc.  davening 3 times a day with a minyan, from brochos all the way through to the end, etc.  My point is, that right now, I do none of those things, I can hardly get up for shachris, and to all of a sudden do G-d's will 24/7 with the way I understand G-d's will to be, is kind of impossible. So I'm stuck with not doing G-d's will. I hope you get my point.



Dov Responds:

My pride takes all those motivational 'mechuyav shmuessin' and beats me over the head with shame! Shame - not the Torah - tells me that it's either perfection, or I am a rasha. That sounds extreme, but hey - that is what is really going on inside many of us. It is part of the typical addict tendency: all is either black or white. 

If you have any shaychus to kiruv, you'd never tell a ba'al teshuvah that there is no room for imperfection in this religion, would you? So why can't we understand our own development in the same way? Why do we bash ourselves? I think it is a combination of being typical perfectionist addicts - and because we grow up in yeshivah hearing well-meaning shmuessen that tell us we need to tow the party line and live up to a standard of greatness, at all costs. Chumrah and halocha are blurred, for a standard must be upheld. And they are right, of course, for there is a place for that in a growing person. Chumrah can become more precious than halocha itself (see B'nei Yisoschar in a few places). But that just doesn't work very well for the addict. He just doesn't shtim. He is busy with the K'tzos, the Reishis Chochma... and with sex videos, and lusting his brains out. He may call his involvement with the latter, "struggling" not "using" or "being occupied with" them. That makes the stirah tolerable. Somehow his big, very overworked brain strikes a deal - a detente - between the two lives he lives. Eventually, though, the game must end when it no longer works. 

Recovery was the (unpleasant) time for me to finally stop running and begin choosing between:

1 - absolutely insisting upon being the man I wanted to be (perfectly frum and naturally respected in the popular yeshivish environment, adored by Hashem, my fellows and my wife in every respect, and powerful) - and masturbating (cuz they apparently inexorably go together)

vs.

2 - accepting my limitations and being the man G-d (the real One, Who is smart, realistic, loving, and patient) wants me to be - and sober!

Choosing #2 means I will need to give up the madness of living a double life without any real intellectual resolution to all my years of struggling to understand why I do this mishega'as. Giving up all my research?!!

But I lost, no? That's step 1. So it's time for shlach al Hashem y'hov'cha and let Hashem.

And that huge job requires me to learn how to be honest with people and with my very own G-d. That is where the 'steps' come in. It also means trying to be open to learning His Will for me and asking for His help to do it imperfectly. Cuz I will always do every mitzvah imperfectly. Even the mitzvah of emunah! I am a man, not a sefer. And a man of G-d is always ready to learn and change, and grow, with his Best Friend's help.

The third step helped me accept that G-d was really interested in me, no matter what I have done - even more than he is interested in the Shulchan Aruch. Yup. The Torah - His Will and Way of Life - is for me. He gave it to me to use it and grow close to Him, not to destroy me. And it is a process. And he knows that. The sefer doesn't, and neither do some learned yidden.

Maturity - growing up emotionally and spiritually - is the main fruit of my Program, besides sobriety. Grown up yidden understand that when they wrote in Pirkei Avos, "never see yourself as a Rasha" they were even talking to Tannaim! Even they were not perfect. Even they could be subject to the temptation to fall into black-and-white thinking and look at themselves as resho'im, c"v, just because of a davar meguneh in their character or over a personal failing. Just because we are not very good in our yir'as Shomayim doesn't take away our beauty in Chesed. Just because we are resentful, fearful, prideful, and lazy, does not mean we are not getting better - and possibly on the very best path of avodas Hashem possible for us (Rav Dessler talks about the nekudas hab'chirah - but we often have too much pride to apply it to ourselves, and only apply it to others!). We can be as close to being tzaddikim as we can be right now, even though yennem is doing so much more. We need to appreciate that in ourselves, and know that Hashem is on our side! (Rav Tzvi-Meyer Zilberberg Shlit"a talks about this n'kudah very often, davka in our imperfection.)

But to us, that is usually not nearly good enough. We say we accept our imperfection, but in our hearts - where the truth is - we do not. We do not allow ourselves any greyness, the room to be imperfectly doing His Will, even though we are just humans - and addicts yet! I feel that our gayva is really quite shocking. We believe b'emunah sh'leimah that Hashem expects us to suddenly be getting to shacharis every day, on time, and with proper kavonoh, this week. We do feel that.

It's nutty. And the Torah is not nutty. So what's sanity? We reach for it using the 3rd step decision.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Nov 2011 15:42 #126968

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A Bracha From Dov

dov wrote on 27 Nov 2011 05:36:

... may Hashem protect you from righteous finger-shakers, personal criticism and from goofy chizzuk to 'keep fighting for the glory of beating the YH!'
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Nov 2011 15:46 #126969

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Make the Phone Call

dov wrote on 27 Nov 2011 06:48:

Hey, taking that step forward is awesome!

But for SSBT's point, I will highly recommend starting a regular relationship on the phone with at least one other sincere guy who is as stupid as I am when it comes to porn and masturbation. Lots of us qualify here on GYE. I know many who have such relationships that make all the difference for them. It's relatively painless, makes the fact that we are doing something about our problem all the more real to us, and always helps.

It is amazing what that'll do for you - it truly is a game-changer. Of course, our resistance to taking that step is proof of the it's power as a 'medicine'. We are often shocked to learn that our overwhelming desire for privacy is actually the most powerful tool to protect our ability to keep using our dirty little secret friend and all the imaginary starlets that come with it.

Go for it. Pischu li pesach kechudo shel machat - just start that little phone call with a real voice of a real recovering person on the other end, and see what happens.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Nov 2011 15:47 #126971

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Chat = More Fakery

dov wrote on 28 Nov 2011 05:16:

Chatting misses the point completely, unless it to create a more nearly real relationship (like on the phone or in person). Why do you think sex-talk is so incredibly popular in chatrooms? It's cuz we are still fake and using a fake (therefore very imaginative and not shameful at all cuz it can be fake) persona. More fakery, we don't need.

No breaking out of comfort zones, no gain.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Nov 2011 19:40 #127006

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Do We Look Down Upon or Worship Naked "Shiksas" (or Both)?

dov wrote on 28 Nov 2011 18:12:

gibbor120 wrote on 28 Nov 2011 15:17:

dov wrote on 27 Nov 2011 22:21:

Calling them prejoratives like "shiksah" right at the outset, belies your attitude to them as being subhuman

dov, I have a kashe.  You frequently refer to looking at porn as looking at "naked shiksas".  Is that not pejoritave?  Am I missing something?  I'm not attacking, just wondering what's the diff?

I write that in order to point out that a frum guy who considers himself normally a rather holy person - but with a porn problem, is actually playing a little game. He is looking up to and even worshipping people that he'd probably never even want to talk to, feeling they are the lowest of the low. Now, I do not consider them low personally. They are trying to make a living and misguided, I believe. But that's not the point here.

How many guys have I met who want to play the game of looking down on these nudes or badly dressed women - and yet put them on a high pedestal, valuing them enough to be l'hutim achareihem? Many. I played that game for years. It is a game that perpetuates the addiction. It is one example of kol haposeil bemumo poseil, looking at the nudes as low and disgusting people - while still using them with such temidus and mesiras nefesh. Their images are precious to us! That's why we want them so much! So, struggling not to stare at them in the street, while saying they are 'disgusting' to me is a lie and a silly game. And ultimately, it allows people to keep staring at them and using them. It's very sad. I want people to be sopber, and that is the only reason I am pointing this out. 

I am not judging - hey, I know and tell anyone in recovery that I am a recovering pervert. That I cannot do it without a daily reprieve from none other than G-d Himself - cuz I do not have the madreigo/moral fortitude/yir'as Shomayim to resist temptations, and particularly for sex. I have no superiority at all over you or anyone here, even over a guy who is still masturabting daily. That could be me - and should be, by all rights, as far as I can tell.

Here, I am only hoping to rip the hypocritical cover off the game some good guys are playing. My cover is already ripped off today, I hope.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 30 Nov 2011 20:02 #127259

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1. One Day at a Time - Not just a Nice Motto and...
2. The Dumb Farm Boys Have it Easier - Giving it up to Hashem


dov wrote on 30 Nov 2011 19:17:

startingover13 wrote on 29 Nov 2011 02:45:

Oy.  I hadn't realized how difficult this would be...It's like I feel like my day is not complete until I do that and now I feel this literally constant fight inside of me to resist...Already feeling completely discouraged in terms of looking/acting. Looks like it's gonna be a looonnng road ahead:-(

Gevalt. You may be suffering from what I and others here and everywhere suffer from, at times:

1- the belief that the motto "one day at a time" is smart, sweet, nice, and encouraging - but not really reality. That is is a gimmick.

That's too bad. See, there is no looong road ahead. There is only today. As long as we smile wryly when we hear that, and pretend to agree to just focus on today - just cuz it makes things easier - we still don't get it. Gimmicks do not make for a new life. There are no gimmicks in this business.
Only confrontation with reality.

and perhaps also,

2- that belief that "distracting myself from desires is what it's all about."

Too bad. That derech is truly fine for some people, many of them ba'alei madreigoh and serious b'nei Torah. But for me and many other folks with chronic lust problems, it means it's all still all about me, me, me. King baby still rules the day. And sof davar, it doesn't work. Cuz when I feel like being really good (cuz deveikus feels great!), I'll serve myself up some great 'avodas Hashem' experience - and when I don't feel so good, I'll take a sweet serving of porn.

And that's exactly what we do.

I know people like to imagine that we are far more l'shem Shomayim than that, but methinks we overestimate ourselves...especially we of the predictably masturbating crowd. "Vayigbah libi b'darkei Hashem" is not an excuse for sticking our heads in the sand...

Well, that path of salvation - fully relying on the game of distraction to prove I am doing something about my problem - is probably 100% fine for most frum yidden out there - but not to addicts. It's too little, too late.

Perhaps it's a question of focus. For an addict, focusing on being a ben aliyah seems to be just plain stupid - for the simple reason that we'd be putting the cart before the horse (as usual). But there we go again, imagining that hechereh madreigos is what we really need! Ignoring the faoundation is just too tempting and too easy. No bedrock of true G-d-awareness, a wish-washy honesty (that has been tolerating being two-faced for years!) at best, and immaturity galore? No problem! "I'm busy crying real tears of d'veikus in the middle of L'cho Dodi right now, so please leave me alone!" That's too easy. Before we know it we are back in the toilet....

Rather, living with Hashem is never defined by 'being good'. Being good results from it or helps lead us to it - but it is not it, itself. It happens in the mind, where nobody can see. As they say in AA about recovery, "it's an inside job."

So it's a paradox. On one hand there is no way to think ourselves into right living - we can only live ourselves into right thinking. But the actual recovery is a state of mind. Of surrender to G-d by way of surrender to the truth, one little step at a time.

It's about being a little more real, a little more honest, and a little more focused on Him than on myself. Sounds like a madreigah, but it's not. Plenty of goyim do it - most of the sober drunks and drug addicts (and sex addicts) out there eventually get it to some degree, and that's how they stay sober for the rest of their lives. It's G-d who does it, not them. But simultaneously, "ein hadovor tolui ella bee!" I am the only one who can surrender to Hashem and let Him in to take care of me. And I can't learn how to do it by myself. I needed to learn how from other drunks on recovery, and still do. I forget so, so easily.

And frum Jews have a harder time than most in doing this. We lust to understand it, to retain some mental control, to not seem idiots - even neged Hashem. Of course, as any of us will agree, porn and masturbation make total idiots of us all. Nu. So it bleibs a kashya.  :

And the dumb farmboys surely have it easier. Nebach for them...?

Some 'madreigo', huh?

May Hashem bless us all with protection from all mistakes and with at least a tiny bit of joy in the truth, no matter how it looks or feels.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 01 Dec 2011 22:14 #127457

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Draw Back the Battle Lines

dov wrote on 01 Dec 2011 20:53:

The battle lines must, must, must be drawn back. Further and further back every day. It takes patience, but really has gotta happen.

I am not one for struggling at all, and feel it is not what recovery is about. But if I must struggle (and I sometimes do, indeed!), then I need to struggle with the abizrayas rather than the arayos. For example, if lusting is what I see as the problem I am concerned about, then that means that touching myself in a sexual way is no longer an issue for me - I do not even wonder of struggle with it. If looking at myself or at my privates is my concern, then I will not be even thinking about touching myself ina sexual way. If concern for others is what I am really trying to do, then using their images by staring at them and undressing them with my eyes is not a thing I will be struggling with as much...etc., etc.

If I struggle with the same thing that is the sign of not being in recovery. My battle lines either draw back, or I have not really accepted that anything is out of bounds for me, yet. That means I still believe that I can afford to use it, cuz I really still think I can control and enjoy it. And that is stupid (besides being not true).

If I cannot be clear about exactly what my uncontrollable sick behavior habits are, then I will never even get close to this.

And if I cannot admit them to another safe person, then chances are that I have not really admitted them to myself yet, either.

Blah, blah, blah....
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 02 Dec 2011 14:30 #127506

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Officially, the Shortest "dov" post:

dov wrote on 02 Dec 2011 11:55:

Yup.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 02 Dec 2011 14:57 #127513

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We Need to Get Willing, Open, and Honest (and We Need to "Stay" There)

dov wrote on 02 Dec 2011 03:28:

Wow, the things you wrote which hit me the hardest:

aamallen wrote on 01 Dec 2011 16:29:


Needless to say my intimate life with my wife suffered from all of this in more ways that I can explain - predominately becuase I always saw the time that we spent together - as what was coming to me

In the last two years some very heplful rabbanim especially Rav Shalom Arush and the Garden of Peace have helped me to understand how vital it is that I put and end to this addiction - or at least start to treat it with more respect.

Triggering ourselves over and over again even on a " low level" just sets us up for failure. More importantly my mind is in the gutter even if I am not actually swimming in it.

Of course these "low level" offences set me up for the big fall....the fall manifested itself in every aspect of my life - professionally I suffered - financially I " all of the sudden"  found myself in overdraft.  And the worst and most humbling I found myself unable to "perform" in the bedroom.

My wife realized that this could only mean one thing.  My embarassment was so great and yet I almost went down the path to solve my issues with pills and bandaids (literally) rather than treating the source of the problem. 

My brilliant wife said to me - Hashem is sending you a message do you really want to ignore it by taking a pill and pretending you didn't hear the sirens ??

I realized some important things:

1. Although I had not reached rock bottom, I was getting close.

2. There was no way I could "solve this problem on my own.

3. No other challenge in my life was as important as this one - nothing - no professional issue - nothing.

4. Hashem loves me so much he gives me direct messages and gentle knocks on the door when I step out of line - I am so lucky to be sitting in his beautiful succcah of Shechinah!

5. There is nothing about quitting an addiction that can be part-way - just like alchol or smoking - one cigarette or one drink is WAY too many!

6. My life had reached a watershed - either I was going to live it the right way or I was going to flush it down sink.

I pray I can keep the faith and emunah that has guided me this far and keep the demon buried - I know it will always be there and that I am truly an addict - but I also know that Hashem loves me and wants me to succeed

May we all be zocheh to live life as it was meant to be lived!!!!


My what beauty. You are such a fortunate mentch! What you write is full of diamonds far more beautiful to me than any mussar shmooze could be. This is real experience rather than just well-meaning. Y'karah hee mipninim.

My tefillah for you, chaver, is that you continue to grow in the things you have been given as gifts through your bitter experience thus far. If you use this gift as a 'bank account',c"v, you can draw from it for some time safely....but it will eventually run out.

If there is any value at all to me remembering that I am an addict even though I be clean, it is that accepting that allows me to accept that I really need to keep swimming in the things that got me sober in the first place: honesty, openness, and willingness. Getting caught helps us get willing, open, and honest. Staying in recovery-living allows us to stay willing, open, and honest. I hope we never again need the humiliation in order to choose humility.

I believe we deserve to live life as it was meant to be lived, too!!

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 04 Dec 2011 05:21 #127584

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The Essence of KOT

dov wrote on 04 Dec 2011 05:13:

You are describing Keep On Trucking, I think.

I have accepted for many years that one of the worst michsholim to staying clean is the guilt and going nuts over messing up a bit - and even over just seeing a schmutzy woman in the street or having a lust desire. What gayvoh it takes for me to be so stupid to expect anything near perfection for myself! What an insult to Hashem is it for me to assume that he is c"v oblivious enough to expect me not to have lust desires, give my attention to half-naked women that I pass in the street, and screw up a bit once in a while! Hashem is very, very smart.

He knows I am a guy who tends to porn my brains out and masturbate. That it is ingrained in me and that every day that I am free of it is a miracle and wonderful thing.

Sadly, all it takes is for a real good frum guy (with a masturbation habit) to go berserk inside over having seen a very pretty woman or one dressed half-naked, to get all focused on it and eventually guarantee that he'll need to resort to some sex with self.

Add to that a little broken 'kedusha' and 'tahara' fantasy, and you have a recipe for unbearable guilt that will keep the poor guy focused on his lust for hours and days.

Add to that shame, and you have a guy who can't even bring himself to admit it - being such a shanda! - and will not let it go!

And paradoxically, it is absolutely clear that the first drink is the one that always got me in the toilet, not the drink I took that brought me to orgasm! So that first drink is the one I need to avoid. The guys who are always struggling (and continuously 'falling' as a result hear this and get even worse, because they become convinced that super-vigilance is the power by which they will finally smash this yetzer hora! Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

As you point out so simply, your main inner hanhogah with respect to lust is 1- ignoring it and 2- not getting angry at yourself for noticing she's pretty!
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 04 Dec 2011 05:27 #127586

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"the worst day I have sober is better then the best day I could have being drunk"

dov wrote on 04 Dec 2011 01:47:

It makes perfect sense to me.....maybe you should really start worrying, now?! 

Exactly my experience, and it has been getting better and better, each year a deeper appreciation for Torah and Chassidus (my chosen path, though not a chosid [yet]). And the emess of recovery has opened up sifrei Emess to me, b"H. My shrinking duplicity is allowing growth of all the Emess in my life. And it is slowly recreating all the relationships in my life. Our house has transformed, the way I feerzoch with the wife and kids is transformed...where is this leading? Life is spontaneous now, interesting, and actually beautiful.

Before, it was the same predictable crap (excuse me), with the same, predictable dang (excuse me) cycle and the same predictable porn and 'adventures'. My existence was shifting from one crisis to another - here and inner crisis, there and chitzoni one. The only really exciting part of living was all the new and interesting ways I'd get in trouble for what I was doing ! Aside from the anxiety, life out of recovery is just boring. In fact, having fun and being anxious were hard for me to tease apart for the first few years sober.

This is what some addicts mean when they say that "the worst day I have sober is better then the best day I could have being drunk". It's not the drinking that is the problem, but the stupid thinking that feels so natural. It always kept me apart from real faith in G-d and connection with others.

It took a year or two for me to start learning that I really can approach Hashem as neither a grovelling 'rosho posheya', nor as a high-flying 'm'vutal liRtzono' - but as 'just me'. For reasons only known to Him, we - as we are right this second - are good enough to have a relationship with Him! We all are, though most of us really don't believe that, and deep down inside we tend to only believe that we are really good for having a relationship with nudes and porn, and stuff like that. No wonder we kept trying that over and over....but you and I are past that today. Boruch Hashem!!

I pray you (we) keep taking it just one day at a time.

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 07 Dec 2011 18:27 #127983

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You're Thinking WAY Too Much,  JUST LET GO!

dov wrote on 07 Dec 2011 18:15:

Your thinking is exactly how you ended up this screwed up. It is not your friend. You think too much. Let it go. Arguing is not the derech. I do the same thing. So I need to be like Chushim ben Dan. Do you know how he responded to his uncle Eisav at m'oras hamachpeilah?

He was deaf.

So while the other Shivtei Kah (all great tzadddikim, greater in many ways than Rav Elyashiv and the Chofetz Chayim) were standing around and "dealing" with Eisav and his arguments in a mature and sensible way....Chushim who could not hear, saw it all for what it was: nothing but more BS from a rosho.

He took up his weapon and knocked Eisav's head clean off.

Problem eliminated.

The only humble way to deal with it.

If you are an addict like me, then most arguments (especially the ones in our heads) do not need to be won and most problems do not need to be worked out. Surrendr is the way. Letting go and leaving such discussions to those more qualified than me, is what I need to do.

It takes some humility rather than pride, and some ability to tolerate a touch of discomfort rather than being a baby. But hey, I can use some exercising of those good muscles as much as anyone does!
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 08 Dec 2011 20:52 #128149

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True or False:  My Whole Problem is Shmiras Aynayim

dov wrote on 08 Dec 2011 20:03:

last try(hope) wrote on 07 Dec 2011 22:54:

i know  i know i know it is all about 'shmiras eynayim' but that is the big problem. i don't know how i could do very good on it. i work with people....it is like working in a brewery >..... i am afraid to talk to my wife about it.


1- You certainly are afraid, a bunch. So am I and everybody else. And only by continuing to move through that fear (as your efforts here show you are starting to!) do we get anywhere, it seems. And we need to keep moving through our fears if we are to keep growing. Hoping you continue to get support and learn how to use Hashem and how to use people. Virtual is very nice and may be enough for some, but you may discover that you need some real relationships with real people - you know, the kind you do not know only by a fake name like "Nisayon613", etc...

The real relationship you have with your wife is obviously not working for you as a recovery tool (it rarely works for us, so don't feel bad!). It sounds like the time to grow some real, real relationships for your recovery from this obsession and problem. Let her be, don't explain it to her - just grow out of your obsession and become a better husband. You can do that in many more ways than watching movies with her. Walks are nice. So is listening a lot. So is washing dishes, coming home on time, and being real good friends with her.

Not looking at schmutz is just the startof life as it should be - it does not even come close to defining it. Get me?

Go for it.

2- Yeah, I know, those 'pesky' women who don't seem to realize they are dressed inappropriately, and do not seem to realize how powerful they are....!! Really? Is this the truth about what we think of them?

I think not.

You are saying they are endowed with power, right? They have an effect on you. You see them as a danger to you. But they are not sitting on you, are they? You are the one looking at (and up to) them, right?

Face it, when we drool after them - or desire to, but struggle not to - we truly harbor a worship of these people. Voluptious means powerful, to us. Face it. It's a pity, it may be seen as "ossur", but that is actually irrelevant. We see them as powerful people - otherwise, they would not vex us so. 

Blaming it on "the yetzer hora" is just childish and dishonest. Only once we accept our tendency for what it is - the giving away of great power to people with just the right image - are we aware of what our problem actually is.  And as Sun tzu said: "know your enemy"...it helps to know your real problem, if you want to know what to do about it. Of course, further study to try and beat it - the decades long proccupation of many a good frum sex and lust addict - is fruitless. We all know that one, right? Learning teshuvos on what's really assur and really mutar, doing 'teshuvah', tikkun keri...all eventually levatolah (pun intended).

In that vein, I'd like to suggest that you may be making a mistake when you say
i know  i know i know it is all about 'shmiras eynayim' but that is the big problem.


Of course Alexeliezer is 100% right: without shmiras einayim, we will get nowhere! But it is not your eyes that are your main problem. The core of the issue is that we want to see them and connect with them so badly! As long as we still hang onto our long-standing and deep-seated faith that they are powerful (because they have the right, perfect, beautiful image), we will be toast.

Recovery is not about knowledge of the truth, but only about acceptance of the truth - and then, the acceptance of new ideas. This is what AA refers to in Ch.5: "we tried to hold onto our old ideas, but the resut was nil...till we were ready to let go absolutely."

These very things I am referring to are some of those ideas we so badly want to hold onto. First, we want to use fantasy and sex to get what we believe we need. Then, we struggle with it, but though we really wish we'd stay stop masturbating and using porn and fantasy - we still hold onto our faith, believing as we do, and still see women (and sex) as we always have. Unfortunately, our first goal is always to change or surrender as little as possible. I see this in myself all the time. This will not work, at all. It is "white-knuckling". My 'philosophical comfort' is so precious...and talk is cheap: as long as the new ideas remain in theory, all is OK - we can say we agree with anything. And this is where much of our yiddishkeit is laying (or lying!). As soon as it means lemayseh giving something up or changing a behavior and to act as we believe...look out! Gevalt. Truth is chosamo shel HKB"H, no matter how ugly it may be.

As for me, I cannot survive unless I 1- see and accept the unvarnished truth about me (steps 1,2,4,5, and 8), for that makes me become willing to: 2- open my mind to discover new truths about me and new options (steps 3, 4 and 5 [again], 6, 7, 10, and 11) and then to 3- humbly beg for G-d's help to live by it just for today and  4- take simple, simple, simple actions to accept His love, His power, and His help (steps 5 and 7 [again], 9, 10,11 and 12).

And though it is truly impossible for me to succeed living by it, there is a real G-d in the world, as the Rebbe R' Elimelech used to like reminding (frum) people. And with a real miracle, one day at a time, I can....and do live by it. Imperfectly, but here I am. Life has never been better. Just like so many other hopeless addicts do all around the world(and 95% of them are goyim, so it's clearly not on the condition that we be tzaddikim!).

Maybe it comes as a chiddush to us that these pesky women are not so pesky after all. That they are dragging themselves to work as we do: to make a living, put food on the table, and to just 'get by' - and not to be sex goddesses, at all? Maybe they are as frail and troubled as everyone else and not really powerful, at all? Maybe Hashem loves them as deeply and meaningfully as He loves us? Hmmmm, that's new...

I needed to hear all that, thanks.

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 08 Dec 2011 20:55 #128151

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Patience

dov wrote on 08 Dec 2011 20:21:

Oooh, one more thing regarding all these deep changes in us:

Some start to occur rather quickly and suddenly, while some take many months, sometimes years to really progress. As long as we stay sober for today while we grow, one day at a time, and exercise patience for G-d....life will change to the better and better.

The 90-day conversion idea might be true for the breaking of a habit. But that is a far cry from any real change. Change is on the inside, not the outslde, and ho'odom nif'al achar p'ulosav is not on our timetable, but on His.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 12 Dec 2011 16:28 #128365

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Reaching for Gold While Sitting in Excrement? (From Daily Dose)




I really want true d'veikus and I know that I can't have that d'veikus without breaking free of this addiction.

If you had a choice to finally get free of this stuff even without the deveikus, would you agree to that? Or would you still hold out for better - while simultaneously acting out?!!

Some innocent, well-meaning folks here are blinded by the light of Torah and d'veikus. They need to stick a pair of sunglasses on their noses to see that they are tenaciously holding out for gold while sitting in excrement! Is this acceptable? This is where a Jew belongs? Get out of the excrement at all costs, I say! A lifestyle of acting out with lust and lying to our loved ones (and everyone else) is just no place for a Neshomaleh!

After we are out, there will be time for madreigos, on the condition that we remember that it's good enough just to be out of the excrement. Lusting after d'veikus can also be a mistake if the timing is wrong.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 12 Dec 2011 16:29 #128366

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Can I do Teshuvah? (From Daily Dose)



I have asked gedolei Torah if there is teshuva from this and they have said yes, but let me ask you, my new friends... as I begin this journey... is there teshuva from b'ilas zona? Will Avrohom avinu block my entrance to gan eden? If so, maybe there is no point. Maybe I am lost forever?

Is there teshuva? Have you read the opening of Chovos Halevavos on Teshuvah? He basically says there that teshuvah is just going from doing your own will against His, to doing His Will (or even just to doing His Will better than before). It sounds to me that you are equating "Tikkun" with Teshuvah. You want to get rid of the horrible guilt, I understand. But I ask you how you know that it would that be a good thing at all for you to lose that guilt before you are on the derech of Tahara that you desire so much?

Perhaps the Tikkun will have to come many years hence, and till then you (not any person, just you) will need to retain some of that guilt in order to remind you of the pain and stupidity of acting out so that the next time it strikes (later today) you might get help rather than just isolating and falling again. Is this a possibility you can entertain?

Finally, I'd like to share with you that dumping our guilt, doing "teshuvah" and being accepted again into the life of Tahara, etc., can be a purely self-centered pursuit - just like the screwing around we did before. That has been my experience.

True, getting a filter and the other stuff you mention below is the only way to really exercise commitment, but if you really want to change, then I'd ask you to consider keep working on changing your motivations, rather than mainly on changing your behavior. Looking at the number of days we were sober is silly. It's great, but not a proof of anything. "It is an inside job", they say, and pointing to externals can be a way for us to remain far away from the real problems we have that screw our lives up. And the main motivation many of us share is total self-centeredness. The fact that it's for kedusha or tum'ah is irrelevant, in the end.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 13 Dec 2011 15:23 #128425

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The Ikkar (From Daily Dose)


Bombarding this problem with energy often just gives it more power. The ikkar might be in remaining busy in being useful to Hashem, His people, and yourself. Focusing on not focusing on the aveiro is probably the silliest thing we can do.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 13 Dec 2011 19:08 #128454

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Don't Count Days (From Daily Dose)



If I Look Down, I'll Fall and Die

Counting the days we are clean can be wonderful for some, but I hope you realize that it can also be - deep within our hearts - a counting of how long we can actually tolerate the (inevitable) buildup until the next time we act out. I believe this is very frequent. It is exactly like climbing up a ladder. I am afraid of heights. If I look back down as I am climbing, once I get to an impossibly high height, my hands and feet begin to shake. I know that I would fall.... so I never climb that high! How high do you want to climb in sobriety? If you are looking back, you will not get very high. We all know that being sober 5 years in a row is just plain impossible... for each of us, the last barrier is the "impossible height". Sure it's BS, but our feelings do not care about sechel very much. It's our Reality, so why pit ourselves against so powerful an adversary?

Instead, my experience in sobriety is like that of a guy walking across an abyss on a 2x8. Now, I have no trouble at all balancing on a 2x8 if I see it's on the floor! But if I see that it is suspended between two high buildings I will certainly panic, lose my balance, fall, and die. Looking down is just plain ossur. So I don't. And I do not count.

For about three years, I didn't mention my starting date in the groups. I'd just introduce myself and say , "...and I am grateful for today's sobriety"... till my sponsor suggested I start saying my starting date (Feb 28th, 1997) in order to encourage newbies that it really is possible.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 13 Dec 2011 22:15 #128476

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1. Connect to People/Get out of Isolation
2. Don't Think Too Much
3. Don't Worry About Perfection
4. Don't Take Unsolicited Advice From Strangers


dov wrote on 13 Dec 2011 21:00:

OK, so I think I rarely do this, but here is some plain old advice:

1 - Get far, far more connected to people than you are right now, SG. This will take time, but it starts right this minute. You are way too isolated though you may not see it.

Funny thing, being married actually creates more loneliness for us types, rather than feeling more connected. For we chronic masturbators know and love isolation and mis-connection only too well. In marriage, the differences between us and our spouses that may have seemed insignificant while we were going out and engaged - get progressively clearer to us as we are married for longer and longer. Sexually, our spouses are always more different than us than we'd like to think. And that's really the tip of the iceberg! The monetary, philosophic, religious, and familial differences between us become more apparent with time. And they are real.

Welcome to real life! Marriage is about how we deal with differences, not about whether they exist.

Marriage is supposed to be a new connection. A connection that leads to what Chaza"l say, "ein ish meis ella l'ishto, v'ein isha meisah ella l'ba'alah". Heck, it is created by a monetary connection, legal connection, or sexual connection (kesef, shtar or biyah) and consumated by the most intimate of connections, sex. But after watching total strangers having sex with total strangers - in front of cameras used by total strangers - for years, as we have...the relationship and intimacy associated with sex is all but reversed! But that's sick, not the truth about sex. And the detachment we cultivate in our own marriages by hiding and faking, is not the truth about marriage, either. It's poison.

If we are normal, we work life's natural problems out with whatever help we can get. We talk about them with our spouses, we go to a rov, friend, parent, and/or shrink and we work on it - whatever we need...and it remains OK to be alive. Sometimes it is even fun!

But if we are addicts, we have this handy-dandy set of tools that are always ready to be used for immediate, fake relief from 'pesky' real life. And we have been running to our fake best friend for years and years! We have one of the tools on our bodies every morning in bed. We have other tools inside our minds from the second moment in the morning till the last moment before we fall asleep each night. We discover other tools when we walk out of the house and see real people on the street or in the office. We discover well-honed tools made out of our resentment, fear, and obsession in shul, the beis midrash, work, our families and in our own homes. These 'bad' tools only multiply - they never get fewer or shrink...until we start to recover from our craziness and self-centered way of seeing everything.

So you have nothing to lose by confronting more and more things that you prefer not to communicate about, not fewer. And that means really connecting with more people in your life, and banishing isolation and self-pity. They suck. And then life will get easier, not harder. It's all about relationships.

Along those lines, I suggest your mornings to be spent with a chavrusa as early as possible for a few minutes before shacharis in the same shul every day so you have a routine. Davening with the same group of guys so you can daven for them is very, very helpful. The nameless, faceless minyan factory is almost as bad as the closet, for me. The connections early in the morning help people like us, a lot. I have a short chavrusa with another recovering pervert in the morning before shacharis. It's a good thing. And we actually learn (when we are both there at the same time!) :.

2- Minimize the time you spend thinking. Mulling things over while you drive, daven, walk places, talk with someone else, are going to sleep...is usually a bad idea. We are never more alone and isolated than when we are deep inside our our thoughts. And they are usually just obsessions, obsessions, obsessions. Replaying stuff, worrying, gnawing thoughts about matters we are not yet willing to actually do antything about....

We need to have something else to do than think our useless and obsessive thoughts. Praying to and talking to our own G-d and really talking to people, are therapeutic. Even thinking about what it is that I am doing right now is a great alternative to the usual stewing and gnawing obsession, that is so typical for us. They say that someone once asked the Kotzker what he should be willing to actually give his life up for. The Kotzker told him, "Whatever you are doing right now." Real life should be one in which we are connected to (that means loving) what we are doing - cuz it is supposed to be precious to us. Right now.

Obviously, any guy (like I can be) who can be on the way to the supermarket, see a pretty woman and go and follow her like it is real important, drooling - does not appreciate the value of going to the supermarket and buying food to eat. Any guy (like I can be) who can be studying for a test and get distracted by a thought of "Hey, wonder who is really pretty on the internet, right now?" and just go check it out...back at athe races - does not appreciate the value of studying for a test. It's precious! What we are doing is precious. There is eternal value in it - Rav Noach, zt"l always talked about how that is just basic yiddishkeit, not 'madreigas'.

That's also the fruit of recovery. For an addict, it is just the entranceway in the lobby - the bottom floor. It's part of his 3rd step (see AA's 12&12 on it).

3- Give up at least a bit on perfectionism.

Especially in recovery, yiddishkeit, and marriage, I need to surrender my goofy and childish perfectionistic expectations. It kills me. We need to be allowed to screw up here and there - be honest and open about it, and go on. All I need to do - all we can do - is keep trying to do the next right thing - not to "be good", or to "be recovered".

4- Don't take unsolicited, free advice from strangers.


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Re: Dov "Quotes" 14 Dec 2011 19:03 #128528

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Forget Madreigos, Just Humbly Serve Hashem (From Daily Dose)


If every time I lust in any way, I would react by considering it tantamount to a "fall", there will be many problems. First, it would show that all this is about is what it was always about: Me and my goodness, or badness. As an addict in recovery, practically speaking, I cannot afford to be focused on the scale of the ShLo"H (which I love learning now!), the Yesod Yosef, or anyone else whose goal is kedushas hamachshovah almost as a goal in and of itself. I completely lose my humility that way. Before long, I find myself truly believing that I am "busy with great things (madreigos)", yet masturbating all the same. I went that way for years, gave shiurim for ba'alei teshuva, and masturbated (and worse) until one day by G-d's Grace I grew up a bit and decided that I'd rather be a humble sober kosher Jew, than a star-crossed, kedusha-struggling Jew who isn't sober. I spared myself the hashkofah. I know it sounds horrid to a pumped-up truly well-meaning d'veikus-seekers of today, but it works. And paradoxically, in all my life I have never been as successful in trying to really serve Hashem as I am today. I am not sure I am serving Him, but I sure am trying harder and enjoying it more naturally than ever! B"H I have been able to take on many things and limudim that previously would lead me down a path of "greatness"! Hah. I hope I'm not fooled any more. I am just a sexaholic who is trying to learn the depths of Hashem's Torah and serve Him with all the heart I have left, if he lets me. Even if I will never "get" any reward for it from Him. Being in that army is worth it. By all rights, I shouldn't be allowed in at all.

In SA, our sobriety definition includes no sex with myself, and none with anyone other than my wife. Of course, progressive freedom from the preoccupation with lust is necessary for success with remaining sober, so: If I were to be forcing my wife to have sex, or if I were to be masturbating up until the point that I don't "do the aveiro", or just look at porn all day today, I would certainly lose my sobriety the good ol' fashioned way, in a matter of time. I will need to quit that, or else. So I always do (so far), with His help.

I accept that sexaholics lust sometimes - we do that. Nu. I need to admit any intentional use of lust to my home group and - if I am smart - will call my friends and talk with them about it and admit this new proof of my powerlessness over lust in any meeting I go to... but then "Keep on Trucking!" is what I need to hear and do!

If being sober is not good enough for me, then I say it isn't sobriety I am after, but my own Pride and perfection, masked in religion. That's the way it is for me.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 15 Dec 2011 15:09 #128573

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It's Not About Self-Knowledge or Self-Control (notice the word self in both of those),

It's About Accepting our Limitations and Getting out of G-ds Way


dov wrote on 15 Dec 2011 04:39:

workingmyprogram wrote on 15 Dec 2011 00:30:

Was this something that you had to work on to internalize?  If so, what did you do? For me it seems to be a huge challenge, but I am defenitely getting better at it.  Also, how do I know when it's ok to forgive myself, not just for my behavior yesterday but for all the bad things I've done. A part of me wants to not forgive and instead punish myself. I know it's sick but I"m afraid that if I forgive myself it will mean that I have no conscience and think that I can just act as I please.  I don't want G-d to think that that's my attitude.
G-d is not as stupid as you think He is. Forgive yourself later, maybe in a year from now. Instead, in the meantime, forgive Him and forgive the people around you for the life you have been given by them and their actions. That'll be a tall order and take you till about step 9...probably about a year. To heck with forgiving yourself and all that stuff. Believe it or not, you are not the center of your recovery - G-d is, and other people are...you are actually in third place. Give yourself a bronze medal and move on for about a year sober and working these steps in earnest. Your life and sanity depend on them, as do mine.

Any self-focusing and analysis in the steps serves only to minimize our place at center stage - not to centralizer us even more. As it says in AA (p. 39), we discovered that we are "absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge." The steps ae not for understanding - but for acceptance of our limitations. They get us out of G-d's way. As the Kotzker put it,"G-d is only found where people let Him in," and as we know, self-will is the most powerful weapon against G-d that there is. The steps are mainly to reduce self-will and to make at least a baby's start at accepting G-d's Will.

Get yourself out of G-d's way, where you (and I) have been from day one.

Do you understand what I am saying here, or am I doing a weak job of expressing this stuff?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 16 Dec 2011 14:30 #128634

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Do I really need the 12-Step program? (From Daily Dose)



Dov writes to someone who is trying to figure out if he really needs the 12-Step program:

As for me, the question is not whether you need a twelve step program, but whether you are beaten yet. If you believe that there is still hope for you to quit by your own willpower (with occasional chizzuk, of course), then I see no reason to quit trying. I kept trying for years and years and never gave up until I saw that I had really lost, and would only get progressively worse till I lost everything. I saw that I was coming down the pike for some time already but never really did anything about it (beyond the same old silly "trying harder method") until I was forced to.

If this question really bothers you, I would suggest you do what I did and write out your entire lust-use history. From the very first time you recall doing something with lust that you regret or got into some trouble, and continue each behavior till this very day. After you are done, look at the entire pamphlet - better yet (as I did) read it to a trusted person (who will not vomit). Then I believe you will be able to answer your own question.

The only other answer I personally know of, is to go ahead and try to work the 12 steps with a sponsor in a fellowship (like SA, for example) and find out if it is right for you. 5-6 meetings ought to do it. That's a rather tall order for the uncommitted, but some do it. I do not pretend to know whether anyone needs to go to SA and I would never pasken that anyone is an addict, besides myself. These are decisions that my heart tells me an individual must arrive at for themselves. As Rabi Elazar ben Durdaya said: Ein hadavar tolui ella bi. If you do need it, no one can ever surrender to the facts for you, anyway.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 21 Dec 2011 20:00 #128968

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Addict vs Non-Addict - Different Approaches

dov wrote on 21 Dec 2011 18:39:

Sorry, but there are no gimmicks for addicts. Yes, one can get saved from messing up once in a while by a tip from Chaza"l. Bu Chaza"l were not talking to addicts. And if you are not one, then that's fine - it is not a 'special club', you know.  I have a progressive and fatal chronic illness. I am a pervert in recovery. I am sober with Hashem's help.

This has nothing at all to do with the tips from Chaza"l.

Therefore, I hope and pray you do not offer them up to addicts as a solution. When it does not work for them - and it will not, for the addicts - then they will lose theior trust in Chaza"l and it will be your fault, for leading them on.

Sorry to be blunt. This is my experience, and I am not here to argue with you. Just trying to point out that you are 100% right - for non-addicts.

Saying that Chaza"l were referring to addicts is plainly ridiculous and I would be glad to explain that any time you like, in person or on the phone.

If "rigzu v'al techeta'u, imru bilvavchem al mishkavchem v'domu selah" was referring to addicts, then why did Rav Elazar ben durdaya (probably one of the few mentioned in Chaza"l who was actually an addict) need to die? Why didn't someone just tell him to "drag the menuval to the beis hamidrash", or something, and he'd have quit having sex with the prostitutes?

Yes, the eitzos of Chaza"l are 100% emess and I believe in them, too. But when I say "addict", I am referring to a very sick person, not one who just masturbates cuz it feels so good - like most of the people who hook up to GYE. I am referring to those who are like me: doing it in order to be rid of the obsession; doing it even though it is torture and they DON'T want to; doing it and feeling like they have to or they'll die - until right after they give in and then tearing their hair out, over and over. I am talking about sweet, good yidden (and goyim) who are doing it and living a double life and hating themselves for it. I am talking about people who know that Tikkun Klali and mikvah are nice - but all the mussar shmuessin in the world and all the deveikus at L'cha Dodi - will not stop them at all from having sex with themselves (you call it masturbating or zera levatola), - or worse - again.

Of course, I have nothing against you, at all. It's not in any way personal. Just please consider who you are talking to when you say the truth. The same truth to one person, is a lie for another person and not Hashem's Will for him. Addicts ned medicine, not advice.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 21 Dec 2011 20:05 #128969

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Definition of Addict [according to dov] (i changed spacing for readability)

dov wrote on 21 Dec 2011 18:39:

But when I say "addict", I am referring to a very sick person, not one who just masturbates cuz it feels so good - like most of the people who hook up to GYE.

I am referring to those who are like me: doing it in order to be rid of the obsession;

doing it even though it is torture and they DON'T want to;

doing it and feeling like they have to or they'll die - until right after they give in and then tearing their hair out, over and over.

I am talking about sweet, good yidden (and goyim) who are doing it and living a double life and hating themselves for it.

I am talking about people who know that Tikkun Klali and mikvah are nice - but all the mussar shmuessin in the world and all the deveikus at L'cha Dodi - will not stop them at all from having sex with themselves (you call it masturbating or zera levatola), - or worse - again.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 22 Dec 2011 17:20 #129066

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What do You really Value the Most?

dov wrote on 22 Dec 2011 00:54:

As Rav Twerski writes, our behavior attests to what we really value the most.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 22 Dec 2011 22:04 #129101

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I Need my Problems (from daily dose)


I believe that He put me in this life and I have this problem cuz it was indispensable to me! I needed to become sick enough to need Him, in order to ever have hope of finding Him. Rav Noach Taught me this idea, and I use it this way.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Dec 2011 16:58 #129136

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Get yourself a group of friends you can call (from Daily Dose)

Anyone else who is sober can help you with weak moments, by calling them, admitting it as plainly and clearly as you are able, and letting go of it with Hashem's help so that you can get back to whatever the heck you were supposed to be doing before the stupidity.

I called my sponsor plenty of times during those weak and scary moments, but please do not lock yourself into one person. Honesty and freedom from lust is just too precious a thing to be dependent on one person for.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Dec 2011 17:01 #129137

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Not from dov, but relevant to the previous post

Eye.nonymous wrote on 23 Dec 2011 09:00:

EMERGENCY TOOLS
1. Short prayer, "I'm powerless, please G-d help me!"
2. Move somewhere else. (Get away from the trigger!)
3. Pick up litter.
4. Sing (or hum) a favorite tune.  Or listen to music.
5. Call someone from the program or the forum NOW.  (Or post)
5. Get to a meeting AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  (Get to the forum)
6. When you're angry:  Ask yourself, "What am I ashamed of right now?"

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 27 Dec 2011 17:14 #129347

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Highlights (imho) of a looong post (too see the whole post - click the link above the quote) I edited this one quite a bit.

dov wrote on 26 Dec 2011 19:54:

I agree that simply not having sex with myself or anyone other than my wife is still not nearly 'enough'. It's a negative sobriety, and not a recovery of anything. But we ought to be honest with ourselves and admit that once we really stop masturbating or using porn compulsively, we find ourselves in a place where - had we really been there all along - we'd never had really felt this desperation for getting all the good things of recovery, anyhow! We'd bleib coasting - like most people are and will be, till they die. Interestingly, then, it is my sickness that saves me from the unexamined life, not my 'greatness'.

By the same token, this is the only reason that this very day I still need G-d as much as I ever did: to live life in a way that doesn't just look or sound good, but actually works. I need it, while the do-gooders do not. And it was the addicts who taught me that being clean from acting out (ie., sobriety) is only vauable inasmuch as it is the gateway to being able to come to live life right - if one is an addict. That's recovery. It's not about 'being good', nor about being 'a better person'.
dov wrote on 26 Dec 2011 19:54:

This is what the 1st step means when it says 'Powerless' (to use lust successfully) and that our lives are 'unmanageable'.

Addicts have a cyclical, repeating, and progressively worsening habit. It eventually sucks the life out of us, isolates us from all others, makes us disgusted with ourselves and with others, makes us need to have a double life... and ruins more and more of our lives every year that goes by.

dov wrote on 26 Dec 2011 19:54:

My biggest challenge was actually believing that G-d would actually take care of me even though I was ugly.

Convincing myself that 'I was not so ugly' was totally not what I needed! Rather, I needed to come to understand that Hashem loves the ugly people, too!

But here is the point: I do not have to see that beauty - I just have to believe that somehow, G-d can see it. I do not even have to ever see it and need no evidence that it exists. That He saved me does not prove to me that I am indeed worthy - it proves that He loves me. And being cared for (meaning: loved) by G-d is the only worthiness that means anything to me.

dov wrote on 26 Dec 2011 19:54:

Also, I did not need to work the steps in order to get sober. The main thing I credit with getting me sober was actually the pain of my acting out. I had enough of it, because it was so bitter. Hashem threw me forcibly on the path of recovery ... He was so good to me, for He made my addiction excruciatingly painful. Until I had no other option than to give up acting out my sex fantasies - though I could not stop.

dov wrote on 26 Dec 2011 19:54:

I can be ugly and He loves me a ton anyhow. He brought me - a masturbating and desperately porn-using, frum yid - to recovery! When did he lay the groundwork for that? After I got better? No. He did it all for me while I was on my knees in the bathroom masturbating. That's Chessed - the teitch of Chessed is that onedoes not deserve it.

dov wrote on 26 Dec 2011 19:54:

I spent decades in yeshivah being told that if only I'd get good enough, I'd finally be able to stop masturbating. If I'd get my da'as clean enough, my mesiras nefesh big enough - then I'd be liberated! I believed hook, line and sinker, that if I'd learn Mesilas Yeshorim, sifrei yir'ah with hispaylus, shimush talmidei chachomin, chumash and gemorah, and did chessed and teshuvah well enough, then I'd be straight in the head enough that this behavior would be below me, finally. I was sincere....I thought.

But it did not work, obviously, and I discovered that I could not stop acting out my lust, because the only fool-proof method I knew to get free of it was to do it!

Finally I could not afford to act out any more, and had to stop. It wasn't that Hashem needed me to stop, but that I needed to. I was losing my humanity and could not accept that - not because of what you are calling self-love, but because of the survival instinct. I do call that self-love, as I wrote to you earlier.

dov wrote on 26 Dec 2011 19:54:

I was ma'arich, as usual. Gevalt! Sorry if I lost you, or anyone else. But I have no interest in heartwarming drashos or what sounds nice - all I want is what works.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Dec 2011 11:50 #129391

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gibbor120 wrote on 13 Dec 2011 19:08:

For about three years, I didn't mention my starting date in the groups. I'd just introduce myself and say , "...and I am grateful for today's sobriety"... till my sponsor suggested I start saying my starting date (Feb 28th, 1997) in order to encourage newbies that it really is possible.

[/quote]
Yeah! i finally know when dov is turning 14!
seriously gibbor thanx a mil for this thread. You're doing a great service to humanity [those who r trying to keep their sanity].
?דער באשעפער לאווט מיך אייביג. וויפיל לאוו איך עהם
My Creator loves me at all times. How great is my love for him?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 28 Dec 2011 14:44 #129405

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TehillimZugger wrote on 28 Dec 2011 11:50:

Yeah! i finally know when dov is turning 14!
seriously gibbor thanx a mil for this thread. You're doing a great service to humanity [those who r trying to keep their sanity].

He's almost at 15 BTW.  Thanks for chiming in and letting me know that it's helpful.  It gives me chizzuk to know that it's helping somone.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 29 Dec 2011 16:38 #129500

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Friendship - Our Closeness to Hashem Depends on it!

dov wrote on 29 Dec 2011 05:14:

strugglingandstrivngBT wrote on 28 Dec 2011 22:07:

Loneliness has been a tough nisoyan this zman, and really a good portion of my life.  I have trouble making close friends that I can really open up to and will appreciate/understand what I'm going through.


Some things are worth a lot of trouble. Gibor120 is so right, friendships are so precious. They are worth a lot of trouble. I daresay SSBT, that your pining for G-d, your need for the comfort of clarity, and your troubles making truly meaningful and useful friendships are related.

You obviously have a lot of hard-won insight into yourself, your challenges, and your needs - so little I'd say would be a chidush to you. But 'inspiration' is the last thing I'd wish for you. It never lasts.

Instead, I wish for you to discover the meaning of friendship like you never did before, this z'man. I believe that however much you feel close to Hashem, you will feel quantitatively and qualitatively closer to Him, after you finally grow close to some of His people. It is so easy for us to 'feel' deveikus. But who knows what we feel - emotions are so hard to really understand and qualify. But once the template has been struck of some true friendship, kinship, and devotion to real, live, members of G-d's people (friends) - you will come to know Hashem in such a way that when depression happens, you will remain close with Him. You will still know that you are depressed - perhaps even severely, R"l, but closeness to my G-d is not as dependent on my feelings as we are often led to believe.

"Rabim mach'ovim lorosho - v'labote'ach baShem, Chessed ysovevenhu." Chaza"l comment that the pasuk implies that even if one is a rosho - still, if he is trusting of his G-d then Chessed (love) will surround him.

If a rosho can have that, then certainly a depressed person can.

Continued hatzlocho!!
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 29 Dec 2011 18:56 #129523

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We Give 'Them' the Power

dov wrote on 25 Dec 2011 23:19:

If you were born cursed, then I believe the only curse is this:

Women are on a pedestal for you. The 'untouchables'. The seperation from them in school - as if they are somehow poisonous...the story in 1st grade (and your reticence to spell out exactly what happenned)...I guess your definition of 'pure pritzus' is nudity of women...this yearning to be close to an "isha" - it proves that deep down inside, you truly believe  that they and their nudity are powerful and precious to you. But they are not powerful. They are weak, just like you and me. They are not more precious than you or I are. They are just real, regular, people with the same worries and pains as you, me, and the rest of the world. They are not "isha"s and not things to 'gotta get close to'. They are people.

I am not lecturing you - you know all this in your head and I suspect always have. So I am not addressing your head. I am addressing your heart. Your heart is twisted, and sees value where there really is none.

Like most teenage boys with the tabboo of naked woman - they become powerful and valuable to us, and then when we discover masturbation they become like gasoline to the lust engine inside. It consumes, and satisfies...at first. Eventually it only consumes and does not satisfy. So we start searching for kinkier and riskier stuff. It stops being fun any more.

Ashrecha if you are ready to give it up. Please, please drop thinking and figuring it out. Just live clean today and don;t even consider what tomorrow will bring. You cannot do anything about it today, at all. Did anyone in the human race ever successfully go to the bathroom today - for tomorrow?! Never. You can only do today's work today, and will have to do tomorrow's work tomorrow. There is no trick, no gimmick, and no segulah to "beating" this. Sure, many sell such things. They are about "figuring it all out", "making yourself into a kadosh", "building a wall"...if they work for you, that's great.

If they do not, then you'll still be left with today, for today, and that's it. G-d is with you. Few of us allow Him to help us, even though we daven and daven...we do not change our values! The "race of women" and their powerful nudity retain that pedestal and power for us - and we expect G-d to keep us away from our gold?! We are the ones who give them this power. We can give up that right to have them, and choose to give up our lust just for this day. He will help us, but ein hadovor tolui ella bee.

We have some work to do. And it always and only starts with staying clean today, period. As a friend of mine (another drunk in recovery) used to say, "We can't think ourselves into right living - we can only live ourselves into right thinking."

He was right for giving it up and letting G-d. We were wrong for holding on and playing G-d.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 29 Dec 2011 18:57 #129524

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Part of the Above Quote - Too Good!

dov wrote on 25 Dec 2011 23:19:

Like most teenage boys with the tabboo of naked woman - they become powerful and valuable to us, and then when we discover masturbation they become like gasoline to the lust engine inside. It consumes, and satisfies...at first. Eventually it only consumes and does not satisfy. So we start searching for kinkier and riskier stuff. It stops being fun any more.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 29 Dec 2011 20:25 #129540

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The 12-Steps are just about being real with ourselves (from daily dose)

Dov writes to a guy who has a program of his own, and says he will go to the 12 steps if his plan doesn't work:


Hatzlacha with whatever you are doing, my friend.

BTW, I have never really understood the idea that I have heard many times on GYE that, "I'll try x, y and z... and - if they do not work, then my last resort is the 12 steps."

The fact that one who is not deeply motivated will not get off their buttocks and do some hard work is understandable. The part I don't get is why the 12 steps are looked at as something other than just being honest with ourselves. Can life possibly be expected to work well without that? Especially for a person with a big, bad habit like schmutz - can change ever be expected without rigorous self-honesty?

It is not complicated, very simple, and very powerful to be simply honest with ourselves. I see it as Derech Eretz which is clearly kodmah laTorah, and believe with my whole heart that although there are certainly many ways other than the 12 steps to find recovery and sobriety, those of us who are blessed to have the progressive, chronic, and fatal disease of sex/lust addiction (or really any addiction) and find recovery in using these 12 principles, are blessed with a beautiful and real living experience in every respect.

I see the 12 principles (steps) as coming from Torah just as any advice in Pirkei Avos does. They are just about learning to be real with ourselves, with G-d, and with our fellow man. That's all. Isn't that a Torah value?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 29 Dec 2011 20:40 #129544

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GYE Forum is Only Virtual Recovery

dov wrote on 11 Feb 2011 21:18:

OK, Kosher, what would you like to know about me?

But really, I must admit to you that the reason i do not share more intimate and potentially identifying details about myself here on the forum is because I do not consider this forum a venue for my own recovery and do not favor it as such for others, either.

Yup, I said it. 

The forum is virtual. While that gufa provides people with a buffer so they can at least open their mouths to someone, at the same time, it is a huge weakness for reality - we can put on virtual faces (and do). Reality - the stuff that affects us on an emotional level, has been the big difference foe me and many others I who know. The porn makes our hands shake, breathing shallow, and heart race....and so does coming to your first 12-step recovery meeting, SA international conference, or shabbatons for frum, recovering sexaholics and their families. The real thing feels real. The weakness of the forum is that I doubt many here have ever had nearly the phisical reaction while posting something as they did while they were struggling with acting out their lust. So how can it possibly be as real?

Hey, for many of the young fellows on this forum, virtual faces is exactly how they have been acting out all along! Staying virtual is a good thing then? I think not.

And nothing will change that, it seems. And yet that makes the forum and GYE perfect for exactly what it is, as far as I am concerned:

The perfect gateway into recovery for many suffering yidden and their families. So far, I have met (and keep in regular contact with) about 10 guys who have been introduced to in-person recovery groups as a result of their contact with GYE people, and are doing very well, thank-G-d. That is a huge number, really. Huge.

We need to all keep on working together, because we all have a lot more to do for klal Yisroel!

So do you want me to post a picture of myself on the forum? Why? Will it help my recovery?
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Re: Dov 29 Dec 2011 20:49 #129545

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Only Share What Works Please

dov wrote on 13 Feb 2011 12:46:

ben durdayah wrote on 13 Feb 2011 11:48:

I hear what you're saying, but l'maaseh can't that be remedied by opening up in private to select members. No?
Yes. Actually, what other option is there? The only problem is that in this virtual world how do you know that the person (or people) you are opening up to will have any schoirah at all for you beyond sympathy? True, love is very important - perhaps the most important ingredient in recovery. But it is so easy for a person who has never gotten any time away from his own problem to spew tons of well-intended advice to every other person in the universe. There is no evidence that any of it is 'battle-tested' for you cannot see the look on his face and do not know this person, at all. All you've got is a kitsch username and very nice sounding words!

Nu. Support and encouragement it certainly is. But anybody who R"l has cancer and wants a support group goes to real cancer survivors. Not a group of folks who just read some books written by cancer survivors and felt very sympathetic to the problem.

We all share a precious thing here on GYE: we are all people drawn together by different expressions of the exact same obsession: lust. I am only really interested in sharing what is actually working for me to keep my zipper up or my eyes closed. That's the only schoirah for me here.

Thanks for the chizzuk, though!! :o
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 29 Dec 2011 20:54 #129547

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Why I Daven for the Lady I Lusted For (from daily dose)

Dov often talks about a technique he uses when he sees someone who triggers lust; he prays for them! (after turning away of course). Here, Dov describes why this works for him and others in SA.


Ok. It does a few things. First and strangest, I owe something to the person I am lusting after because lusting is always an act of "taking". I am using their image for selfish ends. (And saying that "They are obviously begging for it cuz look at how they are dressed!" is BS. I am reasonably certain that the average slutty female out there intends to be lusted after by who they want to be lusted after, not by some compulsive, perverted Jew boy like me.) So how better to show my gratitude?

Second, lusting is the single most powerful, portable, and dependable way I exercise my MEEEEE muscle (the one in my head, not somewhere else ). It is my drug of choice for entertaining myself, for covering up stress, fear, and boredom, for controlling my inner environment - in short, it is my most trusted Power source. Otherwise, why would I use it so much?  So how do I sacrifice it? By just saying "no"? Nu. OK. That's what I always tried to do.... it didn't get me very far away from it. If you know anything about operand conditioning or habits, then you know that I choose to go a step further and use my lust as a guide and tool for giving power to others. To helping me learn to care about helping others. What better way to weaken the MEEEEE muscle than to do what little I can to care about the very people I naturally worship as my (false) Power Source? I turn the tables as much as I can.

Finally, it gives me something to focus on rather than on lusting. And that itself is worth everything, even if my prayers for her are of no benefit to her. Treating a lust object like the real, live person they are is one of the most powerful tools to help me to stop looking at them like pieces of meat (with skin on them). We need to be reoriented. The entertainment and porn industries have succeeded in getting so many of us to believe deep in our hearts that pretty women are all dolls; that above all else they are libidos desperate to be used by us; and that they don't have real lives with obligations, pains, joys, sadness, and dreams of real people... and that perspective entitles us in our hearts to treat them as objects. Is it any wonder then, that most lust addicts grow to expect (no, demand) sexual bliss from their wives as though their feelings are just an obstacle? I looked into the shulchan aruch to see what I could demand of my wife, rather than looking into her heart... now what kind of BS is that? No wonder we were so miserable back then! She was an object, in some respect.

We need exercises to change, it will not happen just because we wish it to. And it takes a long, long time. But it works and it is worth it.

A caveat: I was once walking with an SA beginner who was staring at the rear end of a lady out in front of us, and mumbling. I asked him what the heck he was doing. He told me that he was praying for her.... I reminded him that he might be praying for her butt, but not for her. Ha. We both had a laugh went on our way. So the praying can't be done as an excuse to keep staring! A sweet dufus, he was.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 30 Dec 2011 14:51 #129605

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calling for help from behind the safe walls of an impenetrable castle

dov wrote on 30 Dec 2011 02:58:

Asking for help is a great thing to do. But it is unlikely that anyone can expect help if they are calling out from behind the safe walls of their impenetrable castle.

If I hide behind a username - that's one stone wall;

If I use no other person to tell the full and actual details of what I am doing, to - that's another stone wall; 

Thinking I can get away with just saying "I looked at porn" - that's another stone wall;

Conveniently isolating by not staying in regular communication with other safe people who share the same problem I have - that's another wall;

Engaging my brain in lots and lots of deep, personal "teshuvah avodah" - that is another impenetrable stone wall...for it builds a giant edifice of self-centered isolation - a romance with my "neshoma". Gevalt. That is not yiddishkeit. It's actually more like Buddhism...perfection for the sake of achieving perfection. Hashem asks not for us to be kedoshim, at all - but rather, to be kedoshim leylokeichem. (see Sfas Emes on that pasuk) And guilt and fear of punishment may have worked to make good Jews in the time of the Shaloh haKodosh, but not today. Not with any guy who can look at movies of naked people. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. Enough with the ruchniyusdikeh roller-coaster...from rosho muschas one minute to Tzaddik Yesod Olam the next....that's not real Yiddishkeit, either. It's all a game in the head, till it's over.

It's over.

Alexeliezer is so right. So how about looking for actions to take instead of wishing or even begging for help? Ein hadovor tolui ella bee.

Sadly, or luckily, I cannot keep myself clean. I am an addict, and cannot stay clean. My G-d must keep me clean or I will lose everything. This is not just a game or 'religious-sounding' talk. The ein hadovor tolui ella bee means that I need to let Him in - and only I can do that...nobody can do it for me - even Hashem Himself! He does not do that.

It is quite possible that you are not an addict, and that you really do not need G-d to give you a daily reprieve from your obsessions, as I do. But you are failing, sir, and need more than just 'asking others to save you', now

Take healthy, real actions today. And I hope you do not give thought to trying to stay clean for a week, a month, or the rest of your life...just today. And that's not a little mind-game, either.

You are really trying, really reaching out. You are one of the lucky ones, chaver.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 01 Jan 2012 16:00 #129683

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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Lie #1) It's their fault for dressing that way.
Lie #2) I don't want to look, I try really hard not to.


Blind Beggar wrote on 01 Jan 2012 10:33:

Blind Beggar wrote on 17 Dec 2011 17:09:

I really don't care about other people much. They can get stuck in traffic of yelled at by their husbands as far as I am concerned so it is insincere if I pray for them.



There is a very tznuah non-triggering girl sitting next to me and she is in great distress about something. I feel the tears almost coming out of my eyes and I was able to daven for her sincerely.
I am not such a monster after all.


dov wrote on 01 Jan 2012 13:45:

No, you are not. And I daresay that your requirement for demanding sincerity is a bit weak. Funny. I have seen atheists become men who have a G-d - simply by following their sponsor's instructions to just "pray anyhow, even though you do not believe in G-d!".

But "oh, no, I've gotta be sincere..." - coming from a person who is accepting using women's images against their will to feed his sexual fantasies - that's OK?

Yeah, so one may say that,

1- "Wadayamean!? It's not against their will. If you saw how they dress you'd know that they want me to imaging them naked and use them!"

Then I simply ask you to speak to them and plainly tell any one of them that you are imagining her wearing no clothes and that you are fantasizing about her in bed with you....see how that goes.

That "they are asking for it" is a subtle and convenient lie we tell ourselves, plain and poshut. A lie. Yes, they are wrong for dressing that way - but their intention is not our way of interpreting it. The same excuse is common among religious fundamentalists the world over: "She asked to be raped by dressing that way". A lie. She did not really want it to go that far. Why is it so OK for us to have our cake and eat it too - yet when other people do things like that, we demand they pay the consequences and take away their right to play the game of acting naughty without being treated that way. It's like saying all mountain climbers (yes, it's an idiotic thing to do to risk one's life climbing mountains because they are there) deserve to die (just as idiotic). That is not what "damo beroishoi" means - and anyhow, that is only for the beis din shel ma'aloh, never for us to take action on. Theydon't want to die!

Just like we guys have wanted so many times to look at porn, or even to touch ourselves - but without actually spilling zera. And so many times we got to that point of no return with shock and disappointment: "Hey! I wanted to stop a second ago! Iv'e been cheated! Ayyy!" I have certainly been there many times.

C'mon. Why the double standard? If I can be a little dishonest for my lust escapades, then I feel it's OK for me to be a little dishonest for recovery. If you must, "L'olam y'hei odom orum byir'ah."

and when people say,

2- What? I don't "accept"my using women - I am fighting it in me tooth and nail!"

To that, I remember that when I habitually do something it proves that for all practical purposes, I condone it in my heart. That is what na'aseh lo k'heter means. Yes - morally, intellectually I may fight it within myself, cry, etc. But if I tend to do it, if I do desire it deeply, then it is part of me. Sorry. Not a good part of me...but I gotta face that and ask G-d to remove it, cuz I don't want it any more. And incidentally, when guys say, "I have asked Him to take it away so many times, and He hasn't!" It hurts to say it, but the truth plainly is that they are not really ready for Him to remove it. Or they are - and then they take back the luxury if playing (and fighting) with it. Yes, it is a luxury. A luxury that I cannot afford. But we all think we can play both sides of the fence at some point. Growing up is very, very hard...at least it is for me.

Hmm...Maybe people praying for me should be discouraged! After all, the unvarnished. whole truth about our lust problem - especially at our worst moments is - so ugly that maybe only the greatest tzaddikim could be sincere loving us - and praying for us? Hmmm...can they?

Yes, they can - and if they can't, then I beg them to read the first part of this email and pray for me and you, anyhow.

Maybe it is time we went a bit 'above' seichel sometimes, for our own recovery. But it is scary to let go of even that, no?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 02 Jan 2012 03:13 #129726

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i thought the point of this thread is to bring up old stuff from dov mesudar al pi inyanim not just quote everything he says the minute it comes out of his mouth, we could just check out his profile for that
?דער באשעפער לאווט מיך אייביג. וויפיל לאוו איך עהם
My Creator loves me at all times. How great is my love for him?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 02 Jan 2012 14:57 #129761

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I'ts meant to be highlights, not EVERYTHING he says.  I don't have time to be mesader it al pi inyan, you are welcome to do it if you like.  This is a free service, you get what you pay for .
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 02 Jan 2012 16:06 #129774

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Don't Wait Until It's Too Late to Open Up and Ask for Help

dov wrote on 02 Jan 2012 15:51:

Ooh, nice. That's beautiful!

But asking yourself if you could do what Yehudah did is unfair to you, for these reasons:

1- Yehudah was certainly not an addict and he was not in a battle to save his own life and sanity. No one deserves a medal for 'having the bravery to run out of a burning house and save themselves'. Is it 'brave'? Well, sort of...but we don't generally reward anyone for having enlightened self-interest and doing what is totally and overpoweringly natural anyway. But what Yehudah did was much, much harder. The guy who really has a bad problem, is really in trouble - and all he is willing to do about it is veiter hide behind a username and give hidden people a peek at his virtual dirty laundry - really does not even care about himself enough to sacrifice a bit of his precious ego to save himself! That's a pity...

A CPR teacher once told me that if you are ever at a dinner table and one person surprisingly and silently rises and walks away, presumably to go to the restroom...follow him. For he may be choking on food. Usually people excuse themselves when they really need to go to the bathroom. The fact is that a person is often so ashamed of choking in public - it is very embarrassing, kind of like sneezing and having mucus on my face right there in shul! I desperately cover my face looking nervously for a tissue - don't you?

Many people would rather hide while they try their hardest to cough it out, even if it means they may pass out in the bathroom - they (we) always believe in our heart of hearts that right before we really pass out we'll run out and get that help, should our private efforts utterly fail.

Same thing here. We have mucus all over us...our maybe another bodily-fluid-that-shall-not-be-named...  And the first thing we are instinctively desperate to do is HIDE!! Quick!!

Gevalt. Hiding behind a username is perfectly OK for those who don't need to get more help. But I watch some who are failing and see it for them as a slow, safe, death. Like the guy who will eventually pass out in the bathroom choking, R"l, and be found later by someone...too late for him, too late for the wife, too late for the children.

2- On the other hand, Yehudah was not admitting that he was a mess - just that he did a single very embarrassing thing;

2- Yehudah had no electricity so he could not log onto GYE even he wanted to. So he had no other breyrah.

2- how many 2's are there?

2- k    i    c    h    s    a
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 02 Jan 2012 16:49 #129784

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Precious Communication Tools
1. Writing
2. "Meeting of Two"

dov wrote on 01 Jan 2012 20:56:

Some people have found that when they cannot seem to accomplish what they'd like with their wives verbally - they write their feelings and what they'd like to say, to their wives. Then they ask them to write a response back to them.

I would strongly suggest handwriting, not emails. There is something cheap about emailing - people say things they do not really mean, do not really believe, and then "click!" Kind of fake, like I am behind a mask. That's why people get into so much trouble at work firing off nasty emails at co-workoers or bosses...then regretting it. They'd never have said that, nor written it in a real letter.

Also, when my wife and I get into a tizzy and cannot communicate, we have "a meeting of two". Adhering to the Robert's Rules of Order (as in typical 12-step meetings), we each take turns sharing our feelings and thoughts and are careful not to use the second-person. We speak about how we each feel and make reference to each other in the thrird-person, only. We do not interrupt ach other, and we do not have cross-talk. No cross-talk means that we do not respond directly to anything the other person said. Rather, we express how we feel and think - rather than trying to pull down what the other person thinks or talk about our reaction to what they feel. See, that's where arguments and self-centered power-struggles take hold.

It was very effective, and opened us up to real intimate talking, eventually. It works in marriage and any relationship where the parties feel seriously enough about the relationship to actually take the time to respect eachother enought to do this.

Continued hatzlocha!!

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 03 Jan 2012 15:04 #129880

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Are There "Levels" of Addiction?

dov wrote on 30 Aug 2011 23:23:

No, I do not believe in levels of addiction, as I hear them described by some people. I believe that addiction is like pregnancy. A woman is no more pregnant an hour after conception than she is at her ninth month. If I use lust and cannot stop, then it does not really matter to me whether my compulsive behavior is exposing myself, having regular sex with prostitutes, etc.......or if it is secretly stealing a few minutes searching for the perfect porn images at my sister's computer when she is not home. If it is making me miserable and my life unmanageable, then I am a sick man.

If I have secrets, then I am sick. Period.

The only question is when I have had enough - or when you have had enough. It is so easy for soem people to act as if "no one else can understand their pain" - but I do not believe it. When I cruised around nightly for scenes of prostitution (I was not ready then to actually use them, but lusted after watching the action and seeing pretty women on the street and in cafe's and drove around frequently for that purpose [hoping that moshiach would not come "right while I was driving around like this idiot I am!"]), my life was already not mine. I was out of control. If any of you would have been watching me get into my car after the family fell asleep, and drive around, you would have scratched your heads, maybe thrown up. It was just plain idiotic. But I was absolutely convinced that doing that was in my very best interest - nay, that I needed it!

To me, that is just as crazy as the guy (was me) in the shower who really feels like he needs to masturbate there. That it is bad, ossur, whatever - but if he keeps doing it anyhow, ends up doing it over and over....he is obviously only doing it because deep down inside, his gut is convinced that having sex with himself (what masturbation really is) is in his very best interest. That he needs it. That Hashem does not really understand.

That's sick in the head, no? But that's what we do as addicts.

So who is sicker? Niether fellow, I say. I see the 'progression of the disease to worse behaviors' as just new boredom with the old stuff - but the need driving it all is exactly the same!

So Guard calls it "hitting bottom while still on top". Because he is such an oheiv Yisroel, he is hoping that at least some people will see they are on the same street to destruction - before they have to lose their jobs, make chillul Hashems, lose their marriage and families, or even die. He is hoping that some people will open their eyes and see that they are already losers - they have already lost, and have no hope at all in just "trying harder". They need G-d as does one with cancer. It's over and only a miracle can help them. Fortunately, that happens all the time. Just read the stories in the back of AA, or "recovery Continues" frok SA. We who have given up do get sober and we do get healthier. It works if you work it.

So I think that R' Guard hopes that maybe, for a change, those who need to will finally open up to other people and to themselves (that's the only 'admission fee' to recovery), and reach for G-d for real (that's the only solution).

And just being really frum is neither of these, for the guy who is already an addict. For he had all the frum tools while he was learning how to get so screwed up in the first place. He needs special help, which is available - if he knows that he is as powerless as the guy who is arrested with hookers. The hooker guy may go right back out there (and I know many guys with peyos who have) - but I have met many who have 'only' messed around with porn and masturbation, who have given up and gotten the help they need. Some people are low-bottom drunks, but many are high-botttom ones. Not everyone needs to go through as deep a living gehinnom. But there is no easy way out. 

So if by "levels of addiction" you mean people with a low-bottom or a high-bottom, I am with you 100%. But both are just as sick in the head and unmanageable. Otherwise I make no sense of it, at all.

In dog training, they say that "if your dog has not yet learned that he must come when called, then you do not have a dog." He will get lost, hit by a car, or bite other people and have to get put down. It is the smart dog owners who go through the simple but not easy work of training their dog to return when called even before they have to learn it the really hard way.

I am not saying what cannot work for you - just sharing my experience. If you want it, take it. 
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 03 Jan 2012 15:14 #129882

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Who is an Addict?  Do I Need the 12 Steps?

dov wrote on 04 Sep 2011 12:29:

Whoa...to try and answer something for Obermottel and Gibbor, no I'd never suggest SA in a blanket sort of way to any guys who are having a hard time stopping the fantasy/porn/masturbation/'teshuvah'/withdrawal/fantasy merry-go-round. I sincerely believe that everybody is different and that there are truly a lot of guys out there who simply need a warm, loving approach to trying harder.

The porn industry is huge, huge. It can't possibly be powered all by addicts. Look in the dictionary for "addict" and you will typically find that it is a psychological or physiological dependence on something that damages a person's life in some way, and causes trauma when ceased. It is also described as "progressive and chronic" by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Therefore they call it a 'disease'. I and some other people have a disease. The way I see it, it's just plain silly to say that basically all the guys out there who like the way porn makes them feel, are ill. Mistaken, yes, but mentally ill? I think not. That would seem to me nothing more than a giant cop-out, or a great way to make a lot of money selling a lot of "Johnson's snake-oil for addicts like all of you!". Surely most people must simply try harder and fight for their morality! And I believe that most of the long-term chronic losers at that are probably addicts....like me and others I know. A good frum guy probably should resist a ton before arriving at the surrender point of an addict. But to say that lust addiction is different in this respect from say, drinking, cuz this is a tremendous aveiro? That's silly. It is not the aveiro/evil itself that finally gets guys like us into real recovery, but rather it is the painful unmanageability we see in ourselves and our excruciating glimpse of our own powerlessness that finally bottoms us out - not the drinking, sexing or drugging behavior itself. Hey, I could have gone on for quite some time masturbating, using sex phone calls, and meeting women - but my own pain is what I could not handle any more. I insist that pain itself was the greatest gift Hashem could give me. Dayeinu, it would have been enough for eternal gratitude, even without recovery.

So I guess any decent frum guy should end up going into the Program under 'duress' and jumping up and down screaming, "No! I can and must beat this! I can, I can, I can!"....all the way into the arms of their sober recovering friends who know they can't do it either - but are sober by Hashem's Chessed today.

I also cannot accept that the tools the Torah and Chaza"l gave us to fight the Yetzer Hora are so imperfect that they do not work at all for some people. It makes more sense to understand that the the losers at applying Torah are sick people. Torah does not typically work very well for cancer and diabetes - and it does not typically work very well for addiction. Any idiot can see that.

But as has been discovered here on GYE and elsewhere, saying this causes some decent, Torah-loving people to become completely unglued. Though they themselves are still not clean which they admit is pretty bad, actually coming out and admitting that it's not working for them or for some others is just the last straw! (I know that sounds crazy, but that's what I have seen over and over). Too threatening....can't be. Nu. If you want to get all cooked in that maclokess, look elsewhere on GYE. And those who have found sobriety and long term success using the same Torah tools we all know and love are few and far between. They need to stay here and keep sharing their exact methods of success. Often they do not. I feel strongly that they would actually serve the oilam better by shutting up until they themselves are sober for six months or so. And when they share their success, they also admit the exact nature of their sexual acting out and describe their failure and weakness, their struggle and their pain. Experience is the key here, not wisdom. Wise and frum people who are still masturbating their brains out are unfortunately a dime a dozen. Get sober, then share how it worked, otherwise the remonstrations and exhortations may just be really frum-sounding poison. Maybe not. I suspect it's OK for normals, but more likely poison for addicts. Finally, I feel strongly that anybody granted long term success in this problem - whether addict or not - aught to feel they need to actually meet with others in trouble in order to share their success, even if it means sacrificing a bit of their feeling of personal safety. Addicts in recovery do this all the time. In fact, it is the 12th step. Why should a 'Torah-method' be OK to share behind a fake name and only virtually. Too few pure mussarnicks here have done this, and I say yyasher kochacho to the braver ones. B"H, I do it all the time with those who believe they are addicts.
 
Now, back to the issue.

If believing that I am, in fact, a very sick man were just a way for me to keep on playing with myself and porning out, then I agree with the naysayers who insist that it's a cop-out to say "I am a sick man." But that is not at all what we 12 step people do with the label!

Because I and those in 12 steps see themselves as sick people, we get the medicine we need! In other words, the type who never get that lump checked out for they know they'd never be able to deal with it, usually drop dead after it's too late. You do not even hear much about them for they do not last very long. Hence the horrifying news stories of sexual abuse and arrests with porn, hookers, etc., even among our rabbis, R"l (like some of us right here!).

The ones who feel a lump and get it checked out are the ones that get treatment. Does anyone say that admitting that one has cancer or diabetes (both absolutely chronic, progressive, and fatal disease) is a cop out?! NO way. And the earlier the better. Yes, there are hypochondriacs - but if the true signs of the illness are there, then there is treatment.

But the treatment - in my own case, the steps - is not for sissies. So we who desperately want to live, we get clean and live life as mentchen as a result of out own hard work - at surrendering. Surrendering our right to have sex with ourselves, surrendering our right to use others for sex, and to demand sex from our wives; giving up our deep belief that we have the right or ability to successfully use porn. We get help from others to stop feeding our disease. Turning to others is itself part of admitting we are powerless - that we do not possess the ability to successfully control and enjoy it. Plugging into lust only and always makes our lives more unmanageable - if we are addicts.

There is no escape from personal responsibility, least of all in the steps! On the contrary - it is usually the ones who refuse to give up their romance with beating this thing 'for the glory of G-d', who are still in the bathroom on their knees masturbating to their precious porn! But their advice, chizzuk, and encouragement keeps right on coming and with great force sometimes...

Nu. As I wrote above, I believe that such advice is probably fine for some people, but probably not for addicts.

So, is anything more clear now? I'm up real late tonight and figured I'd just finish this post that has been waiting for a few days. Hope it made some sense to you two amigos...

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Re: Dov "Quotes" 04 Jan 2012 22:36 #130077

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I'm Going to Change Starting Today... For Real

dov wrote on 04 Jan 2012 22:21:

Very true.

But for me in all those years of countless masturbations and desperate, dry-mouthed porn-searching, I always took nechomah from "I'll start from today! Hey, even those Breslovers say that! It feels great to be clean from today! The past is irrelevant! Here I go!!"

...Plop.

Plop-plop-plop....oy...... 

If "starting fresh" is not accompanied by any real action that is different, then everything will stay the same. It's not 'a start', at all! Instead, it is just a cop-out to feel better. Blech. Useless. Poor me never got me anywhere, and it still doesn't. The emess is as Chaza"l say:  "kol mi (me!) sh'ein bo deyah, asur lerachem olov!" - especially if that one is me!

Real change hurts - or it is not real change. It is mechayev - otherwise it is just a show of willpower (more shtuss, for 'willpower' never worked before!) If I am the one making the neder, or rewarding myself, or punishing myself, then the fox is guarding the hen-house. It's goofy. May work for some - but if it doesn't work for me, I know that it's not that I need to try harder - it means that the entire thing is garbage! I obviously cannot be my own mechayev!

That is why rehab rarely happens alone. Joining with other people face to face and admitting it all to safe people is the only way for so many. It is really the only thing we have not done! The ikkar problem for us is that we hide!

The porn and zera levatola are actually tofeil - our common standby of hiding and lying and disconnection is ikkar!

                     
**************************


So, start today! Definitely start from today. But starting today does not happen in the attitude - that is just more land-of-make-believe. Like the porn is.

The only real starting is in taking new, meaningful actions. Not promises, not hopes, not talk. Different actions.

As I heard a wife of an addict say once, "If nothing really changes, then nothing will really change."
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 09 Jan 2012 15:43 #130370

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Keep Your Mind on a Short Leash

dov wrote on 09 Jan 2012 15:26:

I have a piece of paper in my wallet. It is well-worn and in front of my credit card so it is seen frequently.

It reads:

Hashem, please help me:

1) admit why and for exactly what purpose I am going wherever I am going before I go there,

2) to think periodically "am I staying true to me purpose now, in what I am doing?"

3) admit gratitude for having the opportunity to do whatever it is that I am busy with and ask You for Your help to do a decent job at it.

This is simple, relaxing, not intense at all - if it is, then it is just the same drivel I always used to strain myself with: trying to be frum or good enough to deserve His protection and care.

That doesn't work cuz, guess what I discovered?:

I will never, ever be deserving of His protection and care. Yup. Never. And I find it hard to believe that anyone I know can ever be good enough to deserve it - and probably never has, either. Thinking that I could, is just plain gayvoh, and docheik raglei Shechinah. We love to pretend we will deserve it a bit, if we only try hard enough or do just teshuvah well enough...but we always eventually fail. Then deep in out hearts we blame G-d Himself, though we turn it on us, of course. More pain, so eventually, more lusting! Especially for us perfectionistic (that is: prideful) addicts. All our lives we have abused yiddishkeit to make it turn us into resho'im in our own demanding eyes. And it was not frumkeit, nor yir'ash Shomayim all along - it was just gayvoh and immature expectation.

So I use my card and say the words. That way the teenage committee in my head eventually shuts up, cuz I am actually more busy doing what I am doing that doing what we all do best:  stray thinking.

A mentor advised me to keep my brain on a short leash, once. My sponsor and program buddies reminded me to stop thinking so much a hundred or so times, over the years. Now I do both those things, still. After a year or two of gentle work at this, we are shocked to discover we have changed a bit and really stray-think a lot less.

The relaxation is palpable. Life is much easier and more comfortable this way.

Someone asked the Kotzker (I think): "Rebbe, what should I be ready to give my life for?" He answered, "Whatever you are busy doing right now, this very minute."

No tricks, gimmicks, just repeated and unnatural work at proper focus. It is worth a year or two of 'work' to have a much better life. And the best part is we are working basically for ourselves, not another person!
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 10 Jan 2012 16:09 #130451

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Rock Bottom - Stop Trying to do it "My Way"(from daily dose)

We need His help to care about ourselves enough to be trusted with His gifts. Rock bottom is the point that the heart - the need to have it all my way - finally breaks. Leiv Nishbar - not self-flagellating, not self-anything, but empty of expectation and "my way" - just empty and given up to Hashem - that's a cup that can be filled with His gifts.

One thing jumping at me in your posts is that it seems to me that you keep putting self-judgment on a pedestal. "I don't feel good about myself," "I brought this all onto myself," "the tests were not strong enough, hence me still standing." Really, what is the relevance of all this? What business is it of yours whether you are considered a tzaddik or a rasha? Really. I understand if I had nothing better to do, it might be a nice way to pass the time. Or perhaps, if I were basically in control of myself and doing no chato'im, a study of my madreiga might be nice for growth purposes... but I am not 'there'. And if you are posting here and will still have big struggles for the foreseeable future, you may not be 'there', either.

I mean nothing negative by any of this - heck, I don't even know who you are! But what you seem to be a bit preoccupied with seems to be exactly what I was preoccupied with all the years that I was so busy using (and fighting) my lust use in addiction. The only reason I share it with you is that for me, getting free involves living (thinking, talking, behaving) a bit differently than we did when we were still acting out our lust in addiction.

As long as people think they can remain basically the same - just get rid of the acting out with lust behavior - they never seem to get any better... and they go on and on pitifully wondering, "why?" My sexuality was and is not my main problem. It's the stupid way my mind works that is the real issue. And that takes work, time, and work.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 11 Jan 2012 16:00 #130568

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Acting Out is the Solution, NOT the Problem

dov wrote on 11 Jan 2012 01:45:

strugglingandstrivngBT wrote on 04 Jan 2012 02:12:

I speak for myself when I say that porn and masturbation are not my problem-they are a result of my problem.  What exactly my problem is, I'm not sure. guess I gotta figure that out.


So. The alcoholics say like you:

"Our alcoholism is but a symptom of our disease, and not the disease itself."

So, one more angle on your post:

Treatment centers all basically use one tool. They keep the drug away from the customer (patient) for a long time. After a day or two, it's not so bad, and the patient usually is irritated at the demeaning insulting insinuation that the "no alcohol in here" policy makes: that he can't get along without booze.

"Hah. Silly fools. I'll show them."

After a week, it's really irritating. The patient begins to feel his white knuckles hurting. He innocently blames it on the food irritating his stomach. After all, beer is missing from breakfast...

After the second week, he may use one or more of a few tactics, because this is really getting serious - he (just like we) truly, honestly believes in the depth of his gut that he cannot survive without a drink. And why do so many guys keep saying, "I have never gone more than x days."

Why do they (we) keep relapsing after "x days" passes? Because we actually, honestly believe in our gut that we need to have a feeding of porn, sexual excitement, or orgasm, or...or...or...or what? Will we die? What is it? It's hard to say. The bottom line is that no matter how well we know "b'veiur klal chovas ho'odom b'Olamo" by heart from Mesillas Yeshorim, the (sad) truth is that we still really believe that we simply cannot do without it.

So what does the rehab center do about it?

Nothing, really. They just keep prevent the addict from getting any bit of his drug. As long as they do that, the scary, scary truth will have to eventually get vomited right out:

That alcohol was never really his problem in the first place!

He is afraid of people, afraid of the alone-ness of his own self, afraid of his own death, afraid of success, afraid of failure - that he is terrified of G-d. He can't love or be loved, for fear of getting attached and losing those people. Or because he cannot possibly be loved. He hates certain people to death, so he believes he is hate-able. He is filled with pride and really believes that life is essentially unfair - even though he knows the words "gam zu letovah" very well! He, like most of us - essentially believes that G-d screwed up, and continues to, daily in his life - it is not fair, at all. Deep inside, he sees that he really believes as most of us addicts do, "If only people (and G-d) listened to me and my directions, then my life would finally be as it should....but no, they all have to be stubborn!"

Or they say they will not pay for the treatment. Or they say they will have a heart attack.

Or they say that as they have not drunk a drop of liquor in two weeks, they are cured!!

Whatever.

Taking away the masturbation, the porn use, the active and exciting fantasy in our heads....forces the real things we were running from to come to the surface. It is often a bit ugly. To be painfully aware of the things that make the life we have unacceptable on life's terms - it's not really the masturbation that makes it unmanageable, after all. Actually, the lusting is the coping mechanism: I as an addict have learned to use lust to make my life acceptable.   

It stinks..but there are the steps to help, and the experience strength and hope of many other hopeless but sober and growing addicts for those who want to be part of a 12 step chevra. Or there is therapy, or whatever works...who knows till it works. I just took the road more traveled, cuz my preferred, safe, and comfortable private road was too bloody already. After years of loneliness in the bitter struggle.

Hashem has harbei shlucim to breing refua'h to a sick mind.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 11 Jan 2012 16:17 #130569

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Not a dov quote, but very good from the chizzuk email.

Learning Surrender


I heard from someone who is sober for many years in SA, that for the first 7 years he sat in SA meetings and didn't gain anything from the groups. He was "too smart" for the program, and it didn't make its way into his heart. Finally, at wits end, he decided to just nulify his da'as and do whatever he was told. He said to the group and to his sponsor, "just tell me what to do, and I'll do it". Suddenly he began to truly internalize the program - and he is sober since then!

The 12-Steps are about "surrender"; recognizing we can't do it ourselves and being willing to let go of our "self" so that a Higher Power can do it for us. How do we let Hashem do it for us? By letting go of our "selves".

This same person told me, that today, he doesn't do anything on his own will. He listens to what his sponsor tells him, what his friends tell him, what his wife tells him, and even what his CHILDREN tell him. He asks - and he listens... He no longer relies on himself to run his life.

By doing this, we learn how to let HASHEM pilot our lives.

This is the core of recovery.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 11 Jan 2012 16:18 #130570

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Letting go of our Da'as - From Daily Dose


Most nisyonos require (as the ba'al haTanya and many others say) a bit of suspension of our Da'as. We seem to lose our brains at the point of nisayon - and are left to proceed on what feels like blind heart, alone. I cannot count the times I went without the lust temptation for what felt like no rational reason whatsoever! When I have a lust temptation - at the actual moment of true choice - it boils down to me feeling that I really need this crap. It truly seems to be in my best interest and there is no logical answer I seem to be able to grasp onto. The mussar is all slippery in my hands. But when I "overcome", it is usually by me just figuring that there were so many thousands of times that I went with the lust 'just because', and that it was now my turn to suspend my judgment of what's better for me and go without it - just because.

In other words, sometimes, all the hundreds of meetings, thousands of hours of step-work, and thousands of shares in meetings I have made, all boil down to a moment of letting go of my judgment and accepting Hashem's judgment instead of mine. And doing without what feels like it'd be soooo nice.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 12 Jan 2012 18:12 #130701

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The Steps are About Honesty and Dependance on G-d

dov wrote on 12 Jan 2012 18:03:

Suggestion:

Stay clean. If you have a problem with that, like you think it is really unfair, silly, or evil, then say it. Open up about what you really believe about it. And if the only problem with it that you have is that it is hard for you, then get help and support to stay the course.

But that is just the ticket in, and probably not the help that you really need.

The help and change will start and grow after staying clean gets very hard...actually maybe impossible for you. If you stay the course, then it will be time for you to start writing down and then opening up with others and with G-d about what really makes life, people, or G-d annoying and/or stupid, to you. And that is what Hashem wants more than anything else. Chosamo shel HKB"H (is) emess.

BTW the steps are all about that, and nothing else. They are just a recipe for honesty and dependence upon your G-d, rather than just being 'good' or 'religious'. We've all had lots of those things, yet we are still here in this mess! Writing and openness are different. If nothing changes, then nothing changes.

Just a serving suggestion for life, for you. Take it. leave it, whatever you like. Nothing to lose by writing these things out and admitting them.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 16 Jan 2012 21:15 #130945

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Make the Call (from daily dose)


Someone asks:

I'm kind of at a loss who to pick to call, I feel it needs to be someone who knows fully about my addiction, I have to be able to explain exactly what's bothering me at that time and what my issues are and then the guy has to be someone who can talk me around it all and make me see sense and bring me back to reality. Someone who I will trust and believe and listen to.



Dov Replies:


As far as me and most of my recovery buddies are concerned, making the call is not about getting really good advice. It is mainly about shedding light on my secret and removing the 'protective net' I cast on all my lusting. The main 'protective net' is secrecy. It is the main way I manipulate the circumstances to ensure that things will go my way - that is, the way of my lust. Letting that secrecy go is the most real step we can take toward actually letting go of our lust and our acting out.

Just ask the guys who have a horrifying time making that call before they act out - they'll admit it feels just impossible to make that call... I wonder why the stakes are so high.

Of course, there are those fellows who regularly make that call, and act out each time anyway. But that's the topic of another discussion. Most addicts who I know are not like that.

That's why the 1st step reads "We came to admit..." the 'devil' is in the admitting. So the more honestly, openly, and frequently we do it, the freer we generally get. That's the magic of real, live, meetings. It kicks the faker's backside. And we are all fakers, showing the entire world a pretty face while hiding our ugly one. That is ego-driven manipulation and eventually needs to be jettisoned in order that any progress be made.

So we do not really need to be talked down and convinced no to act out... We need to admit the truth about ourselves to another understanding person (of course in order to understand, that person must also be a recovering pervert). If that person truly understands and believes that we have an illness, he will listen and empathize; share a similar situation he had; put a hand on our shoulder and remind us that Hashem will make it OK and take the pain of not having that pleasure away. Faith is what we need, and sometimes we can only get it from other addicts, not from Rabbanim, shrinks, or anyone else.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 18 Jan 2012 15:56 #131070

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Do You Want to Stop?

dov wrote on 18 Jan 2012 04:54:

1- For this guy it's 'healthy' - it is good for him and his life, he says.

2- For this guy it is evil, a real problem because it's assur.

3- For another guy it is too bad, but a freebie because he is an adidct.

Gevalt, is this a buffet?

I thought people were coming here to get a problem solved, not to write a new hagadah shel pesach.

This is all dumb philosophizing. Truth is beyond us, and when it is before us, we do not listen anyhow, so it's irrelevant. What is relevant is what is this doing to me and why we take a vacation from it - yet always predictably come back to the porn, the unzipping the pants, and the masturbating ourselves. It is pathetic, but nu - is it a problem for you, or for me, or is it not? That is the only question. Do you want to stop? Not does the Torah want to stop - you won't listen just as you never have! But just like all the many goyim I know is sexual recovery from porn and mastubation: do they want to stop - do you? It is the only question. And no one can make your mind up for you. Either you are finished, had enough fake sex and orgasms...or you want some more.

The door to recovery is open. But it takes a motivation that cannot be supplied by anyone, even G-d. Ein hadovor tolui ella bee. That is not referring to stopping - just to quitting, giving it up for now, for today.

Too sleepy gotta go, head spinning from medication now, good night, chabibi,

Though you often sound like one who just wants excuses to porn out better, I still Love you a lot,

- Dov
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Jan 2012 20:55 #131443

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What Real Steps Are You Taking?

dov wrote on 22 Jan 2012 06:23:

What framework are you developing in order to bring some real change into your life? Any new real friends (besides virtual ones who don't know you and do not have any real shaychus to you beyond these posts)? How much time are you actually spending in your day today in order to learn something new about recovery?

Are the steps you are taking all basically comfortable? If so, they are a waste, for sure. Comfort is a sure sign of the fox watching the hen house.

Hatzlocha. It's not that much fun, but it beats masturbating my life away, hands down!
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Jan 2012 21:07 #131444

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Don't Tell Your Wife About All the Wacky Stuff That Goes on in Your Head!

dov wrote on 23 Jan 2012 03:56:

Do not - please, please, do not use your wife for that purpose. It is a gave error for these reasons:

1- she cannot understand it, really, though she may say she can...she just so badly wants to, but it perplexes and pains her with no refu'ah;

2- she cannot share back any personal experience at all, for her feminine sexuality is obviously different;

3- she is too close and personally affected to you to be objective and helpful;

4- it is excruciating and damaging to her - so it is cruel;

5- it is often the secret desire and hope of a husband to tell his wife all about his struggles in order to motivate her - either with fear, or with telling her dirty stuff - to make her more sexually available to him.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 23 Jan 2012 21:13 #131446

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This post from eye.nonymous is also relevant to telling the wife.

www.guardyoureyes.org/forum/index.php?topic=4870.msg131371#msg131371
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 24 Jan 2012 19:45 #131567

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We do NOT Beat the Y"H - We Surrender (from daily dose)


Ahron wrote:

Help - I just started to look at shmutz and by some miracle, I was disgusted by it.... I think I'm going to take a nap. I gotta get away! Yesterdays chizuk is helping me nowI think.


DesperateJew responds:

Ahron, you did well. You caught yourself, and stopped!

I'm not sure what you meant that you got disgusted and I surely hope you don't mean with yourself! You, by virtue of being capable of overpowering 'the smart one', can not be disgusting in Hashem's eyes.

Take it easy, and keep it up!



Dov Responds:

Dear DesperateJew,

The following is purely my own opinion and I do not speak for anyone else, and certainly not for GYE:

It is not my practice to criticize, particularly when it is so obvious, as in your comments, that you mean only to be helpful. However I feel it is important to point out that (unless I misread your comments) you are implying to Ahron that he caught himself, and that he is being capable of overpowering the YH. I see your message as one of encouragement. I have a problem with this that I feel I need to share with you. If you can bear with me, I'd appreciate it.

Reading his words, I see a fellow who seems ready to give Hashem all the credit for the victory - not himself (he says "by some miracle"). He also gives credit to his buddies for the chizzuk - rather than declaring his new-found power to 'overcome' the YH.

I am sorry if this rubs you the wrong way but everybody is entitled to an opinion, and I want to share mine: I have seen the well-meaning comments some folks give others to "believe in yourself and pat yourself on the back for the clean days you have amassed!", or to be grateful that "you are/were able to beat the YH".

While it seems to be very nice to build up people's self confidence, I have never witnessed this perspective prove helpful to anyone I know, in the long-run. And to my mind, the damage done by the ga'avah that "I can make it" would be the nail in my coffin. I speak about addicts, now. When any addict I have met gets fooled that he or she actually has the power to "beat this thing": yatza scharo b'hefseido. I cannot recall anyone with this attitude staying sober for very long. My guess is that the 'pressure builds up' after a while... and where is their power then? I wonder. It seems an enigma to them: "Well, if I had the power then,why don't I have it now?! If He could help me then, why isn't Hashem helping me now? Is He weaker? Does he not like me as much? Is it because of my aveiros that I do not deserve His help?" This entire self-preoccupied way of thinking leads to painful frustration, and even to excruciating emunah problems. I have seen it happen here and elsewhere.

Parroting the words, "Well, of course we mean that it is 'with Hashem's help'! That's obvious... we are all frum yidden and ma'aminim b'nei ma'aminim here, aren't we?!" is not enough, in my opinion. Actually, I believe that it is meaningless.

We parroted these words all these years - and never stopped. Has being on GYE for a few weeks or months magically given us real emunah? We weren't really frum then, but we are really frum now? I doubt it. Inspiration will only help us stay clean as long as the inspiration lasts. To me (and other addicts), leaning on the crutch of chizuk and frantically fanning the flames of chizuk each day, is just delaying the inevitable - waiting for the other shoe to drop. At least that is how it'd be for me. This is not a game in many cases. In my case and that of many others, it is a battle to save our minds, our marriages, custody of our children, and our jobs, not a matter of only being happy or 'good people'.

We need to do things very differently than we were doing them before, if we expect to have a very different result. For the addicts among us, I suggest admitting that we have lost the battle and becoming satisfied with remaining 'losers' until further notice. That is, we remain guaranteed to lose as long as we insist upon going about life our way. Addicts who use the 12 steps often discover that they need to surrender to Hashem and do His Will, or they will lose again. That is the 3rd step - and all the ensuing steps are about getting closer to that surrender. BTW, the kavonoh in "Echod" is exactly that: Dying for Him - and then "v'ohavta" is about giving up our plans and control of all our ambitions and desires in this life - bad and good; our very right to live; and surrendering all our talents, money, and priorities - all to Hashem.

Addicts who take the third step, set out to accomplish at least some surrender of their egos to Hashem - to save their lives. Cuz this self-abandonment to Hashem is AAs only answer to what you call the Yetzer Hara - self destruction. It seems that AA goes with the 'nuclear option' for problems like addiction. But like I said - if we are to get a different result, we need to go about our lives differently. I do not see "being more frum" as significantly different, that's all. We need a radical change in Derech Eretz - in the underlayment for Torah, rather than "more," or "better" Torah - on a time-bomb foundation of insanity.

And BTW, this idea is why I first posted on GYE. If I just pass this along to a few of my frustrated fellow yidden, all the late nights posting will be worthwhile!

I respect your opinion should you feel very differently than I do, and I know that what works for me will not always work for many other people.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 25 Jan 2012 20:22 #131727

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What Language Does Your Body Understand? (from daily dose)


The differences between the average sweet yid who occasionally looks at porn and masturbates when he wants to (and then regrets it), and the sweet suffering yid who is an addict, is that the addict repetitively uses the schmutz, is obsessed with it, and masturbates even when he doesn't really want to - because he really believes that he needs to. Of course he regrets it - but the fact that he finds himself doing it over and over proves to him that somewhere inside he really believes that he needs the lust pleasure exactly as everyone else needs food - that he cannot live without it. And that is pretty scary. He is truly stuck. Tell him "you can stop for a day!" (misusing "One day at a time"), and he dutifully agrees - "yeah, I can fast for a day, too!"... But eventually he'll have to 'eat', and he knows it. Tell him all day long about his Neshama and his higher calling - and he'll believe you! But he also believes something else - because his body tells him it is so.

And don't we all tend to believe our bodies? Don't we feel quite certain that whatever it is telling us is probably the truth? When your body tells you clearly "I am falling down, right now!" - are you perfectly calm and relaxed, or do you feel an intense rush no matter what your eyes tell you about reality? Ever seen a person having a vertigo attack? They grab things desperately. Does your mind race, struggling to retain control of the situation? What's the big deal? You are safely strapped into the roller-coaster! Not quite. True, some people do relax and enjoy the ride - yet others cannot. Tell them it is safe and show them dozens of safe, joyous riders... to no avail. "My very gut tells me I'll die and I just can't do it. I am terrified of heights!" Just try to convince a person like that to enjoy themselves on "The Cyclone".... Well staying sober from lust is exactly, exactly the same. The addict's body speaks loudly and clearly to his heart and says, "I need it".

So how do you talk to a body? Answer: with pain. And that gets us 'ready' to believe in something else, like the Sweet, Living G-d who is our Eternal (and Only) Best Friend. But it is not so easy. It is so convenient for us to 'blame the YH' - just more silly finger-pointing, as far as I am concerned. I have seen many get 'truly religious' and wonder why it doesn't work five months later when they are back in the dead end, for the fifth time. This issue alone is why I came to GYE. No wonder so many GYE guys have shared that beneath all their acting out and valiant fighting against the YH they discover that they have 'emunah problems'. Hey, we all have emunah problems - but nothing inflames our latent doubts like reaching for the same religious solution as always and thinking that we were really ready to allow Hashem to help us - and then He didn't. Translate 'emunah problems'= 'blaming G-d for my failures'. Nu, it's not much different from 'blaming the YH', no? Is this truly the safer way for a yid? I think not.

The 12 steps are about taking responsibility for our limitations and getting the help we need. They are about seeing our faults - this is the Derech Eretz that is kodmah laTorah. It is so much less about correctly understanding Hashem and His Ways - and so much more about admitting the whole truth about ourselves. Before mussar and knowledge of my true nature (my Neshama) can avail me much in recovery and living, I need sobriety and sanity. I need to begin to truly reject the lust addict's false self-concept: I need to begin to abandon the idea that I need sex and lust today and that it is my 'eternal best friend' - even as it messes up my very life! That is why sobriety is so vitally important. It is the only way I have a shot at truly rejecting the falsehood that is part of me.

The poor frum fellow who says that he 'rejects his sick thinking completely' and that he 'lets go of the addiction' - and is still masturbating when the going gets really tough... well, lo sereid b'ni imochem. I suspect that he is essentially innocent - that he probably still really believes that he needs it. His very body tells him so. And when the body overcomes the brain (which it generally does) I wonder what baggage he will need to jettison to lighten his horrifying load of crushing guilt and doubt? I don't wish that pain on anybody. On the other hand, once I got sober and actually took the steps and started to use them faithfully, I believe that I slowly started to become ready to see the latent potential within myself that the Torah and Mussar talk about. It took some time for me, as I have shared before, but everybody is different.
Last Edit: 25 Jan 2012 20:25 by .

Re: Dov "Quotes" 26 Jan 2012 12:19 #131789

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wow!
?דער באשעפער לאווט מיך אייביג. וויפיל לאוו איך עהם
My Creator loves me at all times. How great is my love for him?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 26 Jan 2012 17:44 #131822

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Should I Tell My Parents?

dov wrote on 26 Jan 2012 14:10:

Did I ever say he must tell his parents? I don't think so. Let me know if I did, please. I have no time right now to plow through the posts above and check, but can't imagine I'd ever say that. And no, he certainly does not have to tell his parents.

I do believe, however, that his making a huge deal about rejection and shame if he would tell his parents, is just not a accurate. If his parents love him, at all, and are not very screwed up in the head, they will sympathize. Even if they are dissapointed, any half-normal parent will be concerned and try to help their child in any way possible. That is not rejection, not disowning, and not a shame. It is normal parent-child relations. And though it may be hard for him to imagine what it is like to have kids, I'd ask him to decide what he would like: if his son had a masturbation and porn problem, would he want the boy to open up to him, or to run in fear of shame and horror and instead keep it a secret and 'keep fighting'? Again - not a reason to tell! - but just something to think about.  Furthemore, a father (or mother) who has a porn, masturbation, or sex problem will often only open up about their own garbage as a result of theor child opening up about it! I have seen this happen.

The only point I was trying to share with him before was that opening up to safe understanding people is key in making any real change, at all. Somebody! Hiding it from his parents is really just a way to hide it from everyone - and opening up about it here while hiding behind a username, is not really opening up enough, if he has such shame fantasies. The fact that he is making a big deal about 'to tell or not to tell?' demonstrates that he feels in himself that he needs to tell somebody - and 'telling' on this virtual forum is just 'virtual telling' - and he feels that. That is what my heart tells me here. Sorry if I am way off..again.

Hey. Fake change we all have plenty experience with, right? I know I do! Maybe he feels the need for real change, and instinctively knows that it will only, only come from real connections. The porn is all about fake connections - fantasy connections. Gevalt. This is so key to me in my own recovery. So I share it here and everywhere.

Hiding and lying is key in keeping on doing everything we have always been doing, and got us in this mess in the first place.

Make any sense at all?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 26 Jan 2012 18:58 #131829

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What Does POWERLESS Mean?

dov wrote on 26 Jan 2012 18:49:

No, I feel this is not what 'powerless' means, at all. It has nothing whatsoever to do with 'ilmolei ozro, eino yachol lo' and is not the flipside of 'hakol bidei Shomayim chutz miyir'as Shomayim', at all.

Whether I am in control or not is a simple fact: if I cannot stop having sex with myself (most folks call that 'masturbation') or with anyone other than my wife, or if I am repeatedly drawn to porning out or following women, exposing myself to others, or staring in windows (voyeurism)...then I am not truly in control. As they say in dog training, "if your dog has not yet learned to come to you when called, then you do not yet have a dog (for you will lose him)".

It's simple, very simple. If a guy is 'against' masturbation (cuz it's ossur) and yet is still doing it regularly or semiregularly and thereby taking risks with his family life or job by acting out his lust, then he is not in control.

True, if he has not yet tried to stop, then he may indeed have the power to remain free of the habit - then let him try! Please! I am serious, not poking fun.

But most of us here are frummies and have been trying for years! OK, so some may not have really tried, yet. So then let them!

But in the end, those who keep staying clean for a week, a month, and always plotz...keep finding themselves back in the hole again, needing it so badly that they finally explode and 'give into it' just so they will not have to keep fighting it....are probably unable to stop. It is not a hashkofah issue, but a simple observable fact.

In early recovery we usually discover to our dismay that we really do not want to quit, and that no matter how many times we cried underwater in the mikvah after tikkun Klali, we are actually terrified about the prospect of never using that sweet, warm, loving porn and sex with self ever again. But that is another layer of self-honesty that comes after finally admitting that I have been beaten. Period. And it has nothing whatsoever to do with the YH. It is coincidentally an addiction that uses a natural taivoh.

And the second indispensible admission after our powerlessness, is the admission that tomorrow actually does not exist yet. It is not a hashkofah matter, either! It is just a simple, observable fact. Only today, is actually here. So we cannot give up anything for the rest of our lives, for the rest of the year, or even for the rest of the week! All we really have to deal with is today. Goyim are the same, everyone is the same in this. And 'scheduling' for tomorrow is today's job, so please do not get confused about that trick.

And Hashem (who is very, very smart) asks us only for today's avodah, when he says the word "hayom" many times in the Torah. Not because addiction and recovery have anything to do with being good or frum - they do not. They are before being good, and before being frum - they are Derech Eretz that is Kodmah laTorah. Or, "sanity", as the 12 steps refer to it. Active perverts cannot be ovdei Hashem, period, any more than shoteh's can. Sure, they can pretend to be...lots do - so? But they really only have the 'inner keys', not the 'outer keys'. The P'ri is inaccessible if you do not deal with the Shomer laP'ri first. They are not even in the room yet!

Does this make sense?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 27 Jan 2012 15:31 #131908

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The Answers Rabbonim Give Us

chaimyakov wrote on 27 Jan 2012 02:51:

dov wrote on 24 Jan 2012 17:44:

I wish people would ask the shaila: "dear rabbi, how do I stop masturbating so much?"

Of course, as long as asking the question in person is off limits, the problem is not serious enough, so the answer will not be taken seriously enough. It can't. Sorry, but this boils down to Capt. Kirk again....

i did ask this question in person no less than 4 times to 4 different Rabbanim.
The answers i got in order were
1) You need to get married 
2) You need to get rid of the internet
3) You need to talk to your Rav about this
4) You probably won't be able to stop
Anybody who wants to know why none of the answers above work, let me know and i will gladly elaborate.
Guard if you are reading this,  Has any effort been made in educating Rabbanim about our addiction so maybe they can give us some answers that work?  i can't believe i am the only person who ever asked and got such "useful" answers.
Hatzlacha in all things GOOD.
chaimyakov


Dov in response...

dov wrote on 27 Jan 2012 03:38:

The answers I got in person were:

1- you really need to learn Tanya (guess who told me that); (~1988)

2- it's not really that bad, others guys do this, too (~1986)

3- you need to explain to your wife to have more and more varied sex with you (from an older chassidish rov); (~1990)

4- you probably need to get to a shrink fast or to a group of men in therapy (~1991)

5- you are seriously ill and need professional help right now (~1995)

Of course, as things got worse as the years went on and I got more desperate for the help - but always hiding behind 'religious' or 'marriage' concerns - I was progressively open about what I really do when I act out. Also, my problem started off as sex with myself (masturbation) and porn in late 80s and early 90's and quickly progressed to much worse stuff after i got married. Much worse. Marriage proved to me that sex with my wife could not possibly solve my problem and I became frantic. More sexual obsession and acting out...with honest, temimusdikeh desperation.

Boruch Hashem for the last two men, especially for the last one. Not that I followed his advice of course!...but about two years later I was ready, and got help by really spilling all the beans in detail to a good shrink (who was a recovering alkie herself), and she gave me a card with an SA contact guy. He became my sponsor and has been it ever since, b"H. That saved my life and continues to be the reason I am still alive today and have a great (but not perfect marriage, family, and avodas Hashem (life).

My wife has told me that the day I got sober was by far a better day in her lifetime than the day we got married. And she does not mean it as an insult. (If she did, it would be pretty funny, but she didn't....)
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 27 Jan 2012 19:00 #131922

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Wet Dreams

dov wrote on 27 Jan 2012 18:38:

Ugh, I hate wet dreams and do not wish them on you of course, and really sympathize with you. But here is what I have been given on that:

I think it is a pretty much just silly pride for me to ever really buy the belief that a guy like me - no matter how much recovery work i ever do - really deserves to sleep free of wet dreams. I have viewed and used enough porn and fantasy and acted out plenty. I haven't the power - nor the responsibility - to get totally rid of the stash in my brain! I do not access it - but it is there, I guess, and that is OK! I have found that I can be sober (and often even happy) anyway! It is truly a brocha that I have not had a wet dream in something over ten years, I think...through no credit to me, of course.

When I feel vulnerable to one, I realize that the fear of it is the strongest cause of a wet dream that there can ever be (as is written in s'forim hk'), so I avoid saying cool segulos and complex incantations c"v...that stuff feels like plain old avodah zorah, for me. I like to depend on G-d, not on the words of tehillim incantations, etc., c"v. So I tell Him like this: "Dearest Tatty I am afraid of having a sexual dream tonight. I lusted so much in the past years months and days, and I do not fool myself to think I deserve any better and that is why I am depending on Your Chessed, which you have plenty of, I hear. And I tell Him that I trust Him and that I would be so happy if he would help me sleep with no lust tonight and then wake up refreshed and happy to be his imperfect kid.

And then I smile (seriously - that's very important. My best Friend is watching over me, what's there not to smile about?), lay down (on my side of course, cuz I am not an idiot) and trust Him 100% cuz fear while I am right in His face is just silly. He loves me to pieces even though I am a lust addict. Just as He loves everybody else, even though they are whatever they are. I like saying Adon Olam after that, preferably in my own words in English, then in Hebrew. It ends with the same idea as the above, exactly. Adom Olam is a sweet, beautiful gift from Him to me.
Last Edit: 27 Jan 2012 19:02 by .

Re: Dov "Quotes" 30 Jan 2012 21:42 #132030

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Am I an Addict and do I Need SA Meetings? A Conversation with Dov - From Daily Dose

Struggler: As you probably know, there is a woman from before I became a ba'al Teshuvah who is constantly available to me. I have had periods of being able to stay away and not have urges, but lately, I've gotten into the other kind of phase, the kind where I look at women on the streets, fall into internet shmutz, and then fight by the skin of my teeth not to call this woman. I've succeeded by willpower so far, but I feel so weak. Hashem seems to remove lust from me for weeks at a time while I'm busy with other things, but then suddenly - BAM - it becomes all-consuming and I'm battling it all the time. How do I "induce" Hashem to remove it from me now? I have lots of time on my hands, and lusting seems like so much fun! I think having the time on my hands is a lot of the problem. But now I'm in the problem and I need to get out without wrecking my life.

Dov: Are you an addict, or not? In other words, do you believe that you are a person with a strong desire - or that you are actually a sick person?

Struggler:  I think I'm actually an addict, because I've done A LOT of things I never would have hoped or thought I would do. But the word "addict" isn't really in my vocabulary. I smoke cigarettes also, but I don't consider myself addicted, even though I blatantly am.

Dov: Well I am - as you say it so well - blatantly an addict, and use lust as my drug. I have progressed in my use and dependence on lust over the years and 'progressed' from one form of fantasy to another, one form of porn to another, one way of getting sex to another, and crossed line after line - to my utter amazement (shock, really)... So, if you have seen evidence of progression in your dependence on this precious garbage, that's one ingredient.

The next is powerlessness. Have you been able to control it? Meaning, have you evidence that you will be able to keep the progression from growing even further? Or is it simple that you will obviously keep progressing and you cannot do a damn thing about it.... By "control it" or "stop the progression from advancing" I do not mean "can you stop yourself sometimes?"

Struggler: By that standard, I'm certainly an addict because I've done really sketchy/seedy things that just aren't me. I've tried a lot and failed every time in the end, even if I manage for a bit...

Dov: Heck, we all did that a thousand times... only to plotz later on in even worse ways than we were fantasizing...

Struggler: I also feel the urge build up until I just want to "spaz out" and do ridiculously awful things...

Dov: Do you believe that based on your past and whatever else you believe, it is really a possibility that you will stop permanently, or remain at the same level and stay safe, quietly jerking off in your little corner and not bothering anybody? - or is it plain that, left on your own as you are, you will, in fact, do even crazier and stupider things and risk more of the normal good things of life like job, family, sanity, and friendships... just for your fix.

I know that I have felt that I will die without my porn hit, or without meeting this woman, or if I do not get this type of service done in this way, etc... I know it's all BS, but it feels quite real - so it is a problem we cannot just rationalize away. We cannot just say, "well that's silly and hope we won't give in". We will give in eventually, if we are addicts.

Struggler: I can only say that I've risked things and crossed all sorts of boundaries already, so its reasonable to assume that I will continue in the future without something Big happening. So are you suggesting that, as a first step, I begin to think of myself as an addict?

Dov: Well, how about reading the First Step's words and asking yourself at each chunk, "does this apply 100% truly, to me?"... Another thing you can do is read member stories in AA and see if you can relate. I do that still.

Struggler: My experience with the steps so far has been that I look at them and say, "Oh, that's so true" and then promptly forget that they exist for months.

Dov: I hear you about the steps. I need to tell you something very important. The steps are totally useless when studied, talked about and darshened. Totally. Doing "step study", as per my experience with the steps, is a complete and total waste of time and a destruction of the entire program - unless it is part of my direct work in living according to each step, one step at a time. That needs to be done in writing, with a group of real people - in person - and on a daily, or almost daily basis. Actually, the in-person work needed to be weekly for me, but I need to be in touch on the phone with real people daily, at least. If I do not do this, I am dead.

As far as I am concerned, reading about the steps is poison for me. Really. Because doing that makes me feel inside that I have really accomplished something - that I am "working the steps", and that is a lie. And what's really soooo BAD about it is that it becomes a substitute for the real thing. Like carbon monoxide - it seems like oxygen, but it doesn't really help, so the person breathing it takes it into his cells and drops dead. It's the exact same thing with reading and talking about the steps and not actually making it my preoccupation with written work and meeting about how to put it into my behavior and thinking. For that I need to meet and be with REAL PEOPLE who are using the steps. The 'virtual' reaching out that many do on GYE is often just a sweet little shield that our shame casts up in front of us - it blocks all the light - just like feeling like 'Joe Program' by just talking about the steps does....

I am not criticizing you at all. But I know the discomfort of 'virtual only' recovery - I did it by reading books and virtually meeting with the author that way. It did nothing for me, and my life was basically in a shambles. I almost died twice and very nearly lost my marriage and job and other nice things. So what do you really want? Painful comfort - or painful peace?

Struggler: Based on what you've said, I think it would be sensible for me to convince myself first that I am, in fact, an addict. If I don't truly believe that, I'm never going to get started. Because right now, it just sounds like a lot of work that I don't feel like doing and isn't necessary. But I believe that in all honesty, I do need it because I am an addict.

Dov: The definition of an addict is from AA. It is in the simple reading of the first step: "We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable", meaning that (a) we do not have what it takes to control alcohol - we cannot "control and use it" - or "drink like a gentleman" - as others apparently can. And (b) that our lives cannot stay this way, because they will eventually be unlivable (if they are not impossible already). That's the 1st step as I understand it.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 07 Feb 2012 16:42 #132552

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Understanding is Useless in Recovery (It's just masked ga'avah)

dov wrote on 07 Feb 2012 12:35:

Chuck said, "We can't think ourselves into right living. We can only live ourselves into right thinking." He was not pontificating, darshening, whatever. It was his bitter hard-learned experience that he was sharing, like what I write here on the forum.

It's the only humble way. Na'aseh venishma is humility, not a madreiga of some sort. And in recovery, it seems that it is the guy who still needs to be controlled by his seichel, not doing anything that he does not first clearly understand, who cannot get better. It's gayvoh dressed in frumkeit, nothing else. If looking at porn made so much sense to us, then I'd agree with him. But the sad fact for most of us is that after we flop, we are often shocked as to how "that could possibly have happened to me!l" His'alalti - it makes fools out of us, complete fools. Our habit plays with us - yet the ha'ozah that we can only take actions of recovery that make sense to us is so prevalent!  Gevalt. Suddenly we are sensible when it comes to changing - new territory we expect to make peace with? Gevalt. That's never the way it works.
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Re: Dov 09 Feb 2012 17:44 #132691

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I Didn't Choose to Change... I Had no Other Choice

dov wrote on 07 Feb 2012 21:08:

I am an addict, so my truth is far more machmir than all the religious folk are. Misah bideai Shomayim, coreis, whatever...

For me, it is misah bidei Odom - me. I really kill myself when I lust and act out, R'l. It's not "spiritual" death, and no violins are needed, thank-you. If I'd have continued on the derech I started on, my wife and I both know I would be buried by today. No question that I'd be dead either by my own hand, by someone else's, or by STD.

And every day I slipped a little, it was the next nail in my coffin. Hey - if it went no where in the end and I just remained a guy who occasionally roamed the streets watching hookers, but never really risked my life, job, family, arrest, health, and standing in the community, then I'd probably still be out there. Cuz then I could afford it, so I would if I could. Living the life of a loser is acceptable to me, unfortunately. That's is just a fact I see from my history. That is where my bechirah gets me. If I still had the same old gayvah I used to have, I'd deny it. But it's been beaten out of me, a bit.

I only quit because I could not afford to continue. It finally became clear to me that I was on the path to death, unquestionably. It was just like driving with my eyes duct-taped over by someone - you just do not do it. You stop so you don't die, plain and simple. It doesn't matter how badly you need to get somewhere, you just stop going on. Very inconvenient, it is. There is no breirah. There is no bechirah. So I stopped, and not because of bechirah, at all.

Bechirah not to die, I do not consider bechirah, at all. So I expect no s'char for being sober, either. As long as I was trying to get that brass ring of being 'bochair baTov', I failed and only got worse and worse.


And really believing this means a lot of things that change everyday life dramatically:

1- when I feel cheated of something, jealous, or sorry for myself, I can remember that by all rights I should be dead today and really anything I get is gravy, now;

2- when I want to lust, it is possible for me to admit that no matter how bad my current life situation may be, it will never be bad enough that acting out will not make it even worse;

3- it's hard to admit it, but if I hold onto a fantasy or a curious, imaginative thought in my head, at all - I will have no way of really being sure where I will stop;

4- being sober today is good enough for me, no matter what else happens or doesn't happen. I have no excuse for sadness, self-pity, etc...If I have tjhose things (which I frequently do) then I need to work steps 4-7, quick;

5- lusting for anything Hashem has not prepared for me, is a sure way to misery, and I have had enough self-misery.

OK, so I was back on the soap-box. Sorry. But there are not too many places to actually express myself, you know. Thanks for letting me share here, even if it's off topic.

Last Edit: 05 Feb 2014 01:55 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov "Quotes" 10 Feb 2012 15:58 #132772

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Masturbation is Evil... But That is Quite Irrelevant

dov wrote on 10 Feb 2012 15:34:

I feel very guilty when I do something really stupid. What's wrong with that?

Yes, the guilt pain of masturbating does require many people to medicate all over again. So?

Too many newbies make what they think is a 'recovery call' - but really they just want the 'older' guy on the other end to make them feel better. They are desperate for that one thing and that one thing only.  It's BS (pardon my french), and it will not help them get sober, at all.

Yes, feeling badly about doing something that is bad for me has bad side-effects. But so does going to work, driving, cleaning up after your child throws up on the floor, etc... So? It's gotta be done.

It is evil for me to masturbate - but if I am an addict, that fact is irrelevant to me quitting. It is evil for me to use porn, look at a woman and undress her with my eyes, focus on how 'hot' Hashem made her, etc...but that fact is irrelevant in getting me free of the compulsion. There is some unpleasant work that I cannot avoid, like facing the truth about my choices, powerlessness, failure, and lifestyle.

Masturbating, fantasizing, and porning - even if it were 100% mutar...wait - even if it was a mitzvah - is and always was self-destructive to me. period. I abuse it like an alkie abuses alcohol - and drinking alcohol is certainly not a lav, even in the SMa"K.  There are times when it is a good thing, actually...but not for a frum alcoholic. For him, getting drunk on Purim is like having sex with his niddah wife or a prostitute - it is destructive, even deadly. Is that not evil? Drinking wine for kiddush or the four kosos is evil for him, and as Chaza"l say, sakanta chamirah me'isurah.

This is derech eretz, not a mitzvah-issue - if one is an addict. Just cuz it overlaps issur - that is pure distraction, totally irrelevant - for one who is unable to stop and if it is risking or damaging his real life.

None of this is true for the average Jew, who simply masturbates once in a blue moon because he really, really likes the way that a good orgasm with himself feels. That is what He made Teshuvah (ila'ah) for, not recovery.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 21 Feb 2012 11:30 #133430

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GET REAL
Dov on the
pain involved in getting real.
[From PM]

A reality that I have shared before in many ways:

Forum talk is cheap. That's why it will not work. For some it is y'kar erech - they simply cannot type it out at all...so when they do, it is meaningful and hence brings with it a new level of recovery for them.

But for those who are used to it, it is still hiding behind something: a username (fake). So it no longer works. For them, phone conversations using their real voice is the only way they can really get the truth out in any meaningful way now.

But for those that have been doing that already regularly, hiding behind something else makes it fake for them: the telephone - no face, no real me. They often need to move on to face-to-face meetings. No big deal, really, if it is with another recovering person who admits he is as sick as they are inside. The emails and phone just do not work any more, cuz their honesty and realness have increased. It is a natural process.

And for those who have been doing face-to-face meetings for some time already, the fakeness of hiding behind a fake persona - we all do that to some degree, some more, some less...well, for them, the face-to-face is no longer enough - it too is just too fake. So where to go from there? The answer is simple:

More honesty about our selves is needed. More masks need to be taken off. Painful things about them must eventually be shared - there is no recourse, if they want to remain in recovery. It's just a natural process. Apparently, no change whatsoever happens in us without pain. It's gotta be hard to do, or it's cheap. And easy come, easy go. We are all here for changes that last, for a change.


I am not pushing you to do anything, at all. All I wanted to say is that in my case (and for many I have heard over the years share in the rooms), pain is needed for success.

But I have never met anyone who got better directly by being forced to admit the truth about themselves to others. I believe that it is the openness that heals, not just saying the truth. Willingly telling is opening up to another - that's where the healing happens, rather than just in sharing the information. This is a very sensitive process, as you point out.

The guys I know who were arrested or caught by others and forced into the room with their other Captain Kirk, never got better from that. They always blamed all their shame on the person who caught them, rather than on their sick or self-destructive behavior. With the passage of time, though, eventually they came around, though. Most have said "thank G-d they caught me, cuz if not, I'd still be out there and miserable," but that's a really hard way to go.
?דער באשעפער לאווט מיך אייביג. וויפיל לאוו איך עהם
My Creator loves me at all times. How great is my love for him?
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 07 Mar 2012 19:45 #134425

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Giving up: Why the First Step is so Important (from Daily Dose)


The point of writing our 1st step is to finally be able to answer this:

"So, do I actually have the ability to remain sober? Have I run out of resources yet, or not?"

That's the only question when it boils down. If in my heart of hearts I still believe that I really possess the ability to control lust, then it means a whole cadre of troubling things that have always kept us in danger:

1) I will remain ashamed if I use lust because - "I should have been able to control it, so I am a bad guy." Shame - which we have always had and was ultimately ineffective at stopping us - is not really our friend. Instead, it temps us to hide or 'color' facts and details about our temptations rather than come out and admit our mishegas'n early and get the help we desperately need. If we continue to hide, we are toast.

2) If I can still control it, then I can also use it a little bit - and then stop at will. How many times did we really think that and take risks - only to eventually lose badly... a hundred times? And it never ends, really. Once I am surrendered to the simple truth that I am completely hopeless fighting against lust, it means that I admit in my own heart that I cannot be trusted with it and can't afford to taste it. Finally I will stop taking stupid risks.

3) Basically, every time I have ever used lust, it was because I believed that I will still control it in the end; that I will not be completely overtaken by it. I was wrong, and did many things that I just didn't understand, hence the refrain, "I just gotta finally understand why I do these crazy things?!"

So, more than anything else, our refusal to accept our inability to use and control lust is that reason we end up using it.

So once this becomes clear to me, I need to surrender - give up - any temptations I get to others by telling people about it in detail so I can get let go of it - and if I should ever actually act out again, I need to go back to my 1st step. Why? Because that must be where my weak link is. I must have pridefully thought I could get away with it. I forgot that whenever I try to use it, lust controls me, not the other way around. It always makes me so miserable.

So the writing of the 1st step is really just a jump-start for a lifetime attitude and practice.
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Re: Dov "Quotes" 10 Jul 2012 16:02 #141230

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Haven't posted here in a while, but this is a goodie.

Live in the Solution... Let go

dov wrote on 05 Jul 2012 17:14:



I just feel like all of the sudden every second of my day revolves around this specific aspect of my life. It was never like that before.
I don't necessarily relate it completely to my increased involvement on GYE, but I'm just nervous.
My fall last night was pretty bad. I texted a few guys immediately after it happened which I have never done before.
I'm just confused/frustrated.


Of course it can be related to your involvement with GYE! The problem we have is obviously increased when we keep thinking about it all the time. It does not matter that much if we are thinking about naked people - or about not thinking about naked people...either way, we are walking around thinking about naked people all the time!

In the program we call that 'living in the problem, instead of in the solution'. The problem is fighting and struggling against lust. The soultion is surrender. Giving up the fight...unless you are really winning. But it does not see you are, if you are seeing that you are doing worse, right?

'Let go and let G-d' sounds like chinese, at first. But really, the wages of struggling, are just focusing on it even more. And that is just another way to lose, actually

Success in letting go takes time, takes practice, and takes connection with others who are actually doing it successfully. I have not met people who have learned how to do it from a book.

Get me? You can do this, as long as you realize that you can't.

If you are an addict (which I am not saying you are, just sharing this idea - you take it or leave it as you see fit.)

Re: Dov "Quotes" 11 Jul 2012 16:43 #141311

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We Need a New Derech, AKA Don't Fight, Give it up!

dov wrote on 23 Nov 2009 22:34:


I feel drained right now. I feel like ive been fighting the whole entire day.

Airbag and seatbelt time....uh-oh.
Either the outer environment needs to change, or the inner environment does. One of them has to go. If you believe it's from inside you, I do not understand how anyone expects to "beat" a mental illness. Just go and ask any crazy person, maybe he'll tell you.... Now, if it's really just "a ta'ava", then I understand - fight, fight, fight. But if:

I feel that if i can get past the hard times it will only get easier. But i never can get past them
...as you put it, then perhaps, maybe, it's time to give the entire fight up to Hashem. To me, that means trusting Him (step 2). It means admitting to Him exactly what you want to do (step 1) and asking Him to help you just let go of the entire idea, to give it up completely. And then to take the actions of letting it go, like getting busy with something else(step 3). Preferably some way to give or love someone: people, lehavdil, Hashem (even ourselves...if we really know how to). And also, to me, it means agreeing to never take the credit for "winning" again. As long as you admit you are nuts, admit you have no other hope but His help, and do what you can to make going about His business your priority right now, it's His business if you succeed or fail, not yours.
Sound crazy? Well, I think busting one's head against the wall for the 15,000th time with the same losing derech - but harder this time - yet expecting things to be entirely different this time - is pretty crazy, too. ;D


But it aint over till its over.

And when is that? Won't there be a next time? Yeah, it gets easier : for those who let go of it each time it gets easier. But for those who just distract themselves from it to get over it, I believe there is a residue from each struggle, that may not go away. A feeling of, "well, I gave up that nice one, I deserve a consolation prize" or, "poor me, I lost out on so much fun," or, "woohoo, I can control this stuff, after all! So maybe I can use and enjoy it and just stop it as soon as it starts to get out of hand, no?". Those natural thought patterns would build up in me over time until - forget it. No wonder it's a tidal wave then! And then we act as though it's such a suprise! ???
I have no other explanation than the above for the very common phenomena of the guy (like me) who could "go for a month, or so, until the pressure builds up", or whatever. Or so many of the well-meaning folks with ~23 days, over and over again for five years...you know what i mean. How else can anyone explain that? Please let me know, will ya?
What people like me need is a psychic change. Not improvement, but a new derech. Let Hashem figure out if it's teshuvah or not. It's gotta be a different fight, or else. On a good day, I let the fight be His business and my job is to do His work...and when lust ideas occur to me I admit to myself that I am not just another yid with "a ta'yva", but rather, that I am 'cracked' in the head. I have an allergy. I am not able to lust like others can, and control it. They can, not I. So no wonder I need a Higher Power. I avoid it like fire by closing my eyes or my brain and doing something else. I make a call to a friend and admit exactly how sick i am. Then I go happily from there completely free.
I don't need Hashem's power to help me "beat" this YH. I need him to remove the lust from me. I need His help to get myself out of His way. I need to go about His work, period. Not fight any battles.

A huge problem here is that if you just extract the surrender and trust in Hashem, the whole thing still looks like some kind of winning. Some folks will totally mistake the "closing of the eyes" or the "making a call to another addict", as the way we fight it. It's not. It's the action we take to give it up. As many addicts who actually use the steps will attest, the total freedom from the nutty lust comes during the dialing of the friends phone # or during the prayer itself. G-d, whatever I am looking for in the image of that woman walking by, let me find it in You, instead." Ahhhh. By the time I get up to the second half of the word G-d, we feel the whole thing evaporating. It may not work perfectly all the time, but we stay sober from the bottom line behavior this way, no matter what. And over time, our heads change. The struggles are surrendered. There is no more pressure build up. If there is, then we take an honest look at our first step, perhaps with a friend and go on from there.



I can use chizuk right now.

Well, I don't know if that constituted chizzuk, but sometimes we don't need encouragement but we need someone to remind us that "ein hadovor tolui ella bee", by holding up a mirror. I hope you see that Hashem is in there right next to you, no matter what.

Disclaimer: The above is the sole experience of the writer, who is not an expert in any respect, and does not necessarily express the views and opinions of GYE.

Re: Dov "Quotes" 20 Jul 2012 03:51 #142090

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I particularly enjoy how you are labeling each quote, keep the thread going gibbor!

Re: Dov "Quotes" 20 Jul 2012 19:04 #142136

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Thanks JKG. Have a good shabbos!

Re: Dov "Quotes" 24 Jul 2012 16:05 #142304

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We've Got Nothing to Rely on... except Avinu Shebashamayim!
dov wrote on 22 Jul 2012 23:26:

What are you talking about?

(admittedly not a very good way to start a conversation...!)

Lets not confuse G-d with Rav Elyashiv zt"l. If you are an addict, then G-d helps you in recovery, not Rav Elyashiv. I know that what you wrote is sensitive to the loss of a Tzaddik - we are all certainly less because he is gone.

But Hashem is no less. We need Him no less. Let me try to explain with a 9 Days idea...

When Klal Yisroel sinned enough that it was reall a big mess, what did Hashem do? He took away the beis hamikdosh. Not only that, but He took away the nevi'im, the nissim in the land (and the mikdash) and many of our Torah sages and good people. And He even took most of us outside of Eretz Yisroel!

Now, how does that make sense? If we messed up when we had prophets and cohanim telling us the truth about how we should each individually serve Hashem....if we messed up when we had direct proof of Hashem's power and existence in miracles anyone could see....if we messed up while in the Holy land that has air that brims with inspiration and Kedusha...

...then why make it all even harder by taking all those things away?!

Now He expects us to get better? There's more hope now?

Sounds a bit goofy, no? And it's especially goofy if it is all punishment. For then it is clearly a case of a god who likes to cut off his nose to spite his face, no? (This is not my question, but the GR"A's.)

But it all makes perfect sense if it is all just the way to discover that all we have is Avinu Shabashomayim. The way to see how much He loves us and how dependent we are on Him is when there is no palace and we are out in the cold - and He still loves and helps us and takes care of us...that's love. That's a relationship. All the distractions are stripped away. (This is the midrash's answer, not mine.) And about distractions:

When Hashem said through the novi that He despises our Shabbos and Yomim Tovim and says, "who told you to stomp about in my courtyards, anyway?" (remos chatzeirai), what could He possibly mean? He told us to! Aliyah l'regel is a mitzvah! What could He mean ?

When he told us He does not want - and never wanted - our korbanos (read the novi, it's even in the haftorah), what could He mean? He told us! Korbanos are a mitzvah!

(The nations of the world say He indeed meant he really does not want those mitzvos at all and never did, which is ignorant, of course. But that's their way in, by denying the unchanging truth of the Torah. But then what is His logic?)

He means that the korbanos and biyas mikdash were vehicles for getting a relationship with Him. That's what He wanted, and all He wanted. Haskel veyado'ah osi. He gave us mitzvos in a context - we created a new context - doing them for honor and competition.

Bil'am seemed to do His Will, too, right? And Hashem's malach yells at the guy....huh? Make up my mind. But the answer was that Bil'am was using Hashem's command to do his own will, not Hashem's. Hence the haftorah that week about Sha'ul's mistake doing his will rather than Hashem's

In sefer Chovas heLavavos, R' Bachya writes that the entire purpose of the mitzvos is to have a real relationship with Hashem. 'Know me' is all He wants. And we do that by the Torah and mitzvos. But the purpose is the neshomah of it.

But when the acts of mitzvos become distractions to knowing Hashem - to having a real relationship with Him...something's gotta go. So He took some of the mitzvos (hatluyos ba'aretz) away from us. He took the Mikdash away, and He made us more lost. So lost that ein lanu al ma/mi lehisho'ein ella al Avinu Shebashomayim. We have been killed and tortured and confused for millenia, all to come to Him with our entire selves.

Yes, the tzadikim show us the way to do that - but they do not do it for us! I know Rebbi Nachman and the sforim talk of the tzadddik being the catalyst to have a relationship with Hashem. But guess what> In the end, that relationship is yours, and yours alone. You feel the pain and you feel the s'char.

So please do not worship Rav Elyashiv for he is not G-d, and please have no trepidation from me at all, for I am just a recovering pervert. I masturbated myself into recovery and into Hashem's 'arms' and deserve no respect. But I'll gladly tell anyone how I did it. It's the steps worked openly with other recovering addicts. But it all comes down to having an honest relationship with your own G-d. We need Hashem, period, end of story.

And please do not have any self-pity about how you can't approach G-d yourself now that that great tzaddik is gone. Hashem fills all worlds and surrounds all worlds, as the Zohar says. He does not need anyone to help Him reach you, chaver.

Now, if you are still porning and masturbating yourself, then certainly Rav Elyashiv could not save you. For guess what? Even Hashem doesn't save addicts until we allow Him in by being sober and working real steps of getting sanity back. As the Kotzker put it, Hashem only comes where people allow Him in. Sounds kind of funny, but that's the way it works.

I do not even know if you are an addict! You may just be a regular guy who likes the way watching porn and masturbating makes him feel (except afterward!) and can quit but just doesn't want to. But if you really are sure that you want to quit and try and fail, then you may be an addict. Few porn and masturbaters probably are, I think. In which case all this is for you, friend, so use it if you want to. BTW, my real first name is Dov. What is your real first name? Charlie? That won't do - is it being open? Hop on the reality train with the guys who are taking real steps, not just virtual ones, amigo.

- Dov (another sober and recovering porner and masturbater, free one day at a time for a while now, b"H)

Sorry about the arichus.

Re: Dov 10 Apr 2013 18:03 #204783

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I haven't posted here in a while, but another gem is born!

Feeling close to Hashem or BEING close to Hashem

Dov wrote:
Dear Zvi,

Here is the confusion as I see it, be"H:

You are asking, "So then you are saying that feeling close to Hashem is not the answer?!"

And of course, being with Hashem is the answer. Not feeling close to Him, but being close to Him. And his main requirement seems to be self-honesty. Chasamo shel Hakodosh boruch Hu is Emess, Chaza"l tell us. It is His calling card.

Many are close to Him but feel practically nothing! Many feel it all...but are not really with Him, at all. In fact, if doing xyz made you always feel soooo close to Him before - and you were soon masturbating yourself again anyhow, then I'd suggest that your deveikus indicators are broken.(emphasis mine) Practically all ours are, too. You are in good company.

Do you know how often Christians say "So I gave it some thought, prayed on it a while, and I finally heard (or felt) G-d tell me this is the the right choice"? Very often...whether they are raging addicts or not. Well, I ask you, Zvi - did He? They are neviim, now? Hmmm..

In "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" (a fantastic read) Bill W. wrote about this and commented that many of us drunks are experts in religious sentiment, deep feelings and such, but "wallowed in emotionalism, mistaking it for true religious feeling." He wrote that "the quality of our faith was more important than the quantity." Interesting words. Few of us have a quiet faith that works. He did not mean that we were insincere. He meant that we were just sick.

The only way we really know we are 'off' is by whether we can thereafter live our lives well without having to resort to our drug or any other compulsive behavior that substitutes for it. (emphasis mine) It's no use trying to 'line up' what we think we believe with what Torah says we should believe to compare it and judge...for we have no clue what we really believe yet!

Sure we are all kedoshim and possess infinite being that our neshoma is a chelek Eloka mima'al! But here we are in Olam ha'asiyah. And in the end, the way we actually behave shows what we really believe on a functional level. And it is not pretty.(emphasis mine) We have work to do. Slow, patient work. We all want to be tzaddikim by plugging into our potential and letting all the distractions fall away. And that is so very important for general growth and stuff like that. But I have come to believe that for addicts that is just plain irrelevant (to starting and maintaining recovery). If we really take the actions we need to in order to stay clean at all costs, then we can be certain that our hearts are in the right place. But if we need to paint our problem in pretty spiritual terms in order to make it more respectable...well, then I fear we have chosen respectability (comfort) over truth. And the Truth about how we work right here and now is unbeatable.

And like I posted a few weeks ago, we have all had the experience of absolute religious clarity and alignment with Torah - right after we masturbated again. It all becomes so clear then...for a little while.

So for the true addict (maybe not you at all, Zvi) the way I see it there are two options for attaining and maintaining religious clarity:

recover

or

masturbate a whole heck of a lot, so that you will spend a lot of time in that blissful/excruciating state where "it's all so clear to me!"

Life is really not that bad.
Last Edit: 10 Apr 2013 18:13 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov 12 Apr 2013 19:10 #205022

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Tefillah

Dov wrote:
Dear Zvi, I am going to be blunt, please forgive me.

Obviously you have been somewhere like this before - probably many times - and obviously the response to it failed because of how you faced the facts of the situation. So if you agree with that, I will suggest options that work for me and others I know who experience what you describe. In some ways it may not seem identical to typical Jewish practice - but I doubt that 'normal Jewish practice' really addresses chronic, frequent porn users and masturbaters. So here are some extreme measures made for extreme problems, that work for many of us that I and many others still use regularly with good success because we need to, and G-d helps us:

1- I accept that accidentally thinking of porn scenes during davening is 100% perfectly OK. The only thing Hashem is interested in at all is: how I respond to the fantasies. So when it happens to me, I smile (very important, because it's really OK by Him) and I speak out to Him in words, "Tatty, You know all about the sex fantasies that popped into my head. Thank You for being with me always and I accept whatever You want for me and I love You so much. Please help me daven to You a little better, now. Thanks!" Then I get on with wherever the heck I was...

I repeat it, if necessary. Always calmly. He does not pay any attention to my 'intensity', the contorting of my face in prayer, or the forcing of tears...Hashem is no longer for the show. This is recovery, here, not 'piety'. It's calm, real, and good.

If it does not work, then I assume it is because I am lying. I am not really meaning it. Perhaps I am hanging onto my familiar old prideful guilt - as though 'such' thoughts are 'below' a person of 'my' great stature and holiness...or I just don't care to be liberated from the thoughts. Perhaps I really like them and do not want to let them go. (stranger things have happened! ) Either way, 'lying' to G-d does not work very well...at least not in recovery. So I look at that and try my best to accept it, then say it for real, and then be'H move on.

2- I pray for the very people I am resenting, afraid of, and/or lusting after, right then and there. This prayer must be sincere or it does not work. I have posted a few times elsewhere about the issues with davening for goyim, porn starts, girls or women we know, etc. "Tov Hashem lakol, v'Rachamov al kol ma'asov" - that does not mean only tzaddikim, only Jewish people (or even only humans). It's everyone and everything. I can join with Him, here.

By doing that, we leave the fantasy world that our hearts and heads are so accustomed to, and start to rejoin the human race and reality. It is an unpleasant landing, and for that reason many guys resist praying for these people! For by doing it (not by thinking about doing it or discussing it, but by actually doing it) we start to face the fact that the objects of our lust are actually real people with real problems, families, issues, real relationships with Hashem (even if they are goyim and/or very lost and are not aware of their relationship with Him at all), and we ought to be concerned about them. v'Rachamov al kol ma'asov. If we are, then we will not use them and their images quite the same way again in our minds. This is usesless to figure out and discuss - just do it early and often. It is baduk umenusah for anyone who does it sincerely.

3- I stopped responding to these pesky problems in any way that I used to respond to them with. The old ways were the problem, not the solution. They were rife with pride, screwed up applications of Torah ideas, and attitudes, and did not work. They are probably poisonous and will ruin whatever good things I do, eventually. It is important for me to remember that "it was not my 'YH' that got me into this tangled mess as badly and as I got into it. Rather, it was my very best and 'sincere' thinking (and misguided teshuvah-attempts) that got me where I am."

4- I blabbed too much already.

Hatzlocha. Don't think about it too much. How smart are we, anyhow? Just do it.

And none of this stuff works if we are not using it as part of a slowly changing diet and behavior that includes recovery rather than the same old drivel we are used to.

Too blunt?

Love you,

Dov

Re: Dov 29 May 2013 00:51 #207886

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The Nuclear Reset Button

Dov wrote:
And it may sound obvious...but it's not:

Tehillim, kedusha, and even the 12 steps with meetings, sponsors, written stepwork, and regular phone calls whenever in trouble, etc - none of them work at all if we still do not really need to stop.

See, right after we masturbate, everybody wishes they'd stop! So us frum guys suffer so much, struggle so hard, and fight tooth-and-nail (all l'Shem Shomayim, of course). But we just don't feel right, do we?

There is only one surefire way we all know to bring our dirty, yucky, painful selves close to Hashem - really honestly close:

masturbate again!

Within a minute or so we find that we are dropped cold out of lust like a rock. Brought to our humble, reeling, holy senses again like the worst cold shower in the world. It's horrible five minutes later. We become frantic to finally fly right, despondent, ready to reach out like never before..."I'll do anything to quit and not fall the next time!" See? We are brought back to our senses! We wanted nudes five minutes ago - and now, all we really want is sweet tahara! Because we masturbated and 'got it over already'.

It works every time. It's the nuclear reset button, isn't it?

After our painfully intense 'zera levatola', life and avodas Hashem suddenly and painfully makes sense again. Sure we are farther away - but at least we are in the game again! ..or so we think. The sex obsession is blown out of us, gone. Holiness is again in view, at least. Menucha...

...for about a day (maybe)

Maybe I became willing to start recovery because I got tired of reset buttons, that's all? While we are flaming addicts, there eventually comes a point at which we realize that in order for us to live successfully we do not really need to give in and end the game by masturbating (again) so that we return to our holy senses. This is a total shock to a frum porn and sex addict.

We always saw our lusting, fantasy, and sex-with-self as the opposite of our avodas Hashem...and surely, the lusting and the fantasy always are. But not so the zera levatola! So often we held our breath, counting the days till....till it built up to a crescendo of crushing tension. Then we used the good old nuclear reset button - ending the game. We just couldn't take it any more. How long can you hold your breath? Eventually, everyone who is holding their breath needs to come up for air! So we fall, R"l. "It's Game Over, I guess," the poor guy says.

But it's not really ending the game at all! It's just starting a new game!

Anybody here who has ever been addicted to computer games knows exactly what I mean, here, by "GAME OVER" just being a reset button. Think it over.

Hatzlocha using this.

(Hatzlocha using anything! )

Re: Dov 11 Jun 2013 01:00 #208800

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HASHEM LOVES US!!!

Dov wrote:
Rebbe Shlomo of Karlin, a young talmid of the Maggid of Mezritch once said, "I wish that Hashem would help me have love for the world's greatest tzaddik that is even a fraction of the love He has for the world's worst rosho."

Re: Dov 11 Jun 2013 19:40 #208897

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Tikunnim

Dov wrote:
Our very common focus davka on 'Tikunnim' before stopping and living clean for a few years, is really nothing but childish gayvoh in religious garb. I know and have been there. Oh - and it does not work, too.
Last Edit: 11 Jun 2013 19:41 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov 13 Jun 2013 20:04 #209154

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Recovery and 12 Steps - Not Synonymous

Dov wrote:
Sheesh. If by "the 12 steps" you mean: attending SA meetings, working the 12 steps in an orthodox manner, and doing the things that traditional addicts in AA or SA do...then I have to say this:

For the flabazzilionth time, I do not think that every addicts needs the 12 steps! Never said that, never thought that. I do not even think that most addicts need it!

That having been said, I cannot imagine being where I am today (which is not very far, but far enough for today) without having worked the 12 steps in order, orthodoxly, with in-person SA meetings, a sponsor, recovery relationships that are fully open and fearless, and sponsees, the whole shebang. It's awesome - for me and many others I have met and know.

But that understanding of recovery is not what I mean when I talk of 'recovery', in general and it is not what I'm thinking of when I lean on guys I meet who are considering getting out of the mess they are in.

All I wish for them and all addicts (Jew, goy, frum, not frum, whatever), is: to find an honest relationship of their very own with G-d. That's it. True integrity. That is what the entire 12 steps boils down to, and nothing else. As Bill wrote: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps..." That is the central result, the goal of this whole mess.

But for liars like us (and all frum masturbaters are professional liars, of course) to gain that true integrity (a real relationship of your very own with G-d), we usually need to open up to other reeal live humans who know us. (I explained this inyan more in the Captain Kirk post, if you are bored enough to read it.) Integrity with G-d (the only true integrity there really is) cannot come for liars, just 'from within'. We are integrity cripples. Behavior patterns of lying, pretending, and hiding die very slowly. I believe that for most people (maybe not for MT, granted! Seriously!) self-deception is unstoppable until deceiving other people stops first. So opening up to other safe people who know us and see us is usually a must. Otherwise it is not really real. And I am not just referring to sexual and lust issues, but also to opening up all about our attitudes, feelings, and behavior in general.

The 12 steps and the 12 steps fellowships (like AA and SA) happen to have a lot of good tools to foster this kind of work. But there are other ways to do it, other venues. But I do not believe for a second that 'doing it alone' is one of them. Alone is how we got here and alone is certainly how we stay here. Some will need other addicts to meet with, and some will be able to find non-addicts to meet with - as long as they can open up fully and get really real, they may be fine. And yes - there may be some who will actually be the exception and will be able to get better just by posting on GYE - and even under a fake name! Strange things happen.

One last digression:

Many guys insist they could never, ever open up to their wives about these secrets, yes. But some guys have told me that the only people they can open up to are their wives! Some of those are right, and do well. But some don;t get better at all - I fear the reason those guys 'can only open up to their wives' is sadly this:

others can abandon them, but their wives are emotionally stuck! They now bear the same dirt, the same shame. How can they be exposed as having pervert husband in front of all their friends and the community?! The wayward guy knows she is the one person who will not betray his dirty secrets - because they are also hers now! So the guy opens up to her, the hapless, helpless victim of shame. Sometimes his gamble is right. But sometimes he turns out to be dead wrong. I know many frum women who go through that hell, grow up, and get help for themselves even though their husbands don't get into any recovery at all! These wives (b"H) come to see they cannot control or fix their husbands (and never could) - so they either get a shrink or other counsel, join S-Anon, or leave their husbands (at least for a while).

How did I get so side-tracked!?

Re: Dov 21 Jun 2013 18:44 #209971

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Lashon Nekiyah???

Dov wrote:
Chachaman wrote:
Dov--do u mind being a little less explicit? I know part of recovery is about not sugar coating what we did, but still.


No, I cannot, chaver. I think that helping people perhaps get sober is far more important than whatever reason you may have for me being less explicit. And I respect you as a friend (at least a virtual one !). I also believe that sugar-coating is exactly what we all do in order to maintain just enough self-respect so that we can continue the same lifestyle of meshigineh 'struggling' and losing.

So why would I want to be part of the problem?

I respect you and what you do here, a lot, Chachaman. And much of what I wrote may not apply to you. I recognize that not all guys here are as bad as some others here. So let's make a deal. The last time I checked, the average porn-using frum guy here was not just looking at girl-scout cookie ads. When most of us here look at our porn or use fantasy in our heads, it's about terrible, embarrassing stuff: naked people having sex, plain and poshut - and worse. We are looking at the most explicit stuff there is. So I need to be explicit about recovery, too.

As soon as you can show me that 'impropriety' is not occurring over and over at the hands of us frummies here while we are at our computers going from image to image of schmutz, or while we are desperately masturbating ourselves to explicit fantasy, I will gladly tone down my descriptions of what our lusting is really all about. And I mean that seriously, respectfully, and as a real friend.

Sincerely,

Dov

P.S. So many guys say they 'opened up' to their Rabbi or a friend about this issue, or that they "pray to Hashem for help" for it, etc. Yet many are not telling the truth - for they are not explicit about it enough to give forth an honest picture of what's really going on with them!

For example, they say, "I was nichshol, rebbi, in shmiras eynayim and come lidei zera levatola, often b'ratzon....I am so ashamed." Or they say such things in sh'moneh esrei at Sh'ma koleinu or S'lach lonu...as if Hashem has time for such meaningless talk.

Here we were last night, sitting and chatting with some strange girl and using explicit and vulgar language - because it's expressing ourselves and our real desires (at the time)...but when it comes to talking with Yedid nafsheinu the Ribono shel Olam, we are indirect? All of a sudden makpid on nivul peh?! And no, I am not talking about using the F-word in davening at all! That's just cursing, and totally different than what I am referring to. No, I am not saying 'two wrongs make a right' - and I am not advocating the describing of sexual fantasies to Hashem or others in lurid detail. But there is a big difference between frivolous detail that is meant to excite - and between blunt, painful honesty that I can cry about. It's just the truth. It hurts to expose the truth - so it helps. Cuz it is the change that it hurting so much, not the shame!

So I use the phrase 'sex with my wife' in sh'moneh esrei when I am talking to Him about concerns I have with sex with my wife. I use the word 'masturbation' when I am talking to Him about masturbation, and if I was struggling with the desire to look at a certain woman's chest, I say to Him in Sh'emoneh esrei those exact words. He knows it all - He won't faint ! I see no reason to pretend I am really about bechinos of klipos, or something. He may see it that way, but it's none of my business. He wants my heart - Rachmonoh liba bo'ei. Your heart si your real heart...not what your heart 'should' be.

Isn't Emess the only avodah sh'bleiv there really is?

So I believe that anyone who says considerations of 'lashon nekiyah' gets in the way of being factual and honest, has a very different experience and understanding of tefiloh than I do. And such tefiloh would be useless to me now, just as it was all those years that I was busy masturbating myself in yeshivah and davening with 'propriety'.

But if it is working for you, that's great. And I mean it.

(Boy, another megillah! )

Re: Dov 22 Jun 2013 00:05 #210009

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Surrender

Dov wrote:
Dear Georgenuevenuevenueve (and maybe Guy, too),

Working on the cause of your pain. Isn't that a thing you (and Guy) have been doing for quite some time already? I believe with my whole heart that what you describe is a valiant search for the Holy Grail...and it goes on forever, taking on a life of it's own. A run towards finding myself that never ends, for it is really AWAY from ourselves, in disguise.

And why should that be so? Maybe because:

The searcher has not yet accepted the 'sudden', inconvenient fact that using his drug has been screwing up his mind, his relations with others, and his relationship with his own G-d, for years and years...and that he will not stop using his drug no matter how much 'blessed insight' he compiles. I suggest this is true based on my own experience and from what I keep seeing and hearing from guys again and again: people have an all-consuming desire to figure this thing out while still holding onto the option of using their drug. "I will only really let go of (surrender up) my right or option to have sex with myself once you fix this," we all say. And we are not evil. We are sincere. We are good people.

Toveil v'sheretz beyado, I call it. The 'tevilah' is: figuring it out so I can free myself, and the 'holding [of] the sheretz' is the fantasy that: no real surrender is necessary - that there is no absolute need for me to to give up my drug beforehand. So many of us go that way simply because we are deathly ashamed and afraid of letting go of our secret - so we need to fix it ourselves, quietly. We assume that is our 'avodas Hashem'.

But my calling for surrender first, taking real actions of opening up and doing whatever it takes to keep to it for today - seems silly to many folks. And as Guy puts it so well: it's basically insulting my intelligence! It recalls our old words: "Na'aseh v'nishma", no?

But there you may say, na'aseh v'nishma makes sense when talking to G-d! But here who are we talking to?! A bunch of addicts sharing their recovery and promising riches?

I will tell you who I think we are usually talking to and bargaining with, here:

Our god. Sweet orgasm. Sweet porn. All the sweet faces and figures we want and so deeply believe in our guts that we can't survive without..."you mean never again!? What? Are you insane? I can't possibly live without this stuff. It's what's beautiful and sweet about life. Life-giving. Sha'ashu'ai!" Do we not believe this at least as much as any of the Ani Ma'amins?

I am dead serious. We follow the sweetness of the image of the hot lady we see on the computer, at the supermarket, at shul, in the bed, wherever...because we are tied to it like dogs. We worship it and love it. Yep, it's love. It's the real deveikus - for us, no matter how frum we are nor how much we sincerely also cry at L'cho Dodi every Friday night. They co-exist. Ah, the miracle of the frum porn addict.

How could we ever seriously give it up even just for today? So we do not...even if we stop for a while.

Yes, sure - we can hold back for today, or for 10 days or whatever...but to honestly give it up even just for today? That's an entirely new ball-game. Guys here generally do not do that. Rather, they dig in, take a deep breath, misread "one day at a time", and think that holding their breath for a while is 'sobriety'. It isn't. Anyone can hold his or her breath for a while. But it's not much use cuz eventually you gotta breathe, no? It's just a matter of time. Anyone here interested in seeing how long we can hold our breath for and making a contest of it and call it 'chizzuk'? Not me.

I'll take giving it up for just today over that, anyday!

Do you understand me here, George (and Guy)? Or is this just gibberish? I'm pouring out my heart here.

Therapy and doing some real work to get free of some of the deep things that you are in real pain about will definitely help you a lot! Most of us probably need that, regardless. But if you are like many of us, the gift of therapy or pf figuring it out will not do us much good, if any, unless you and I surrender the right to lusting and are abstinent from it (our drug of choice) during that process.

Not a convenient suggestion, I know.

The self-honesty that Guy and George are sharing here with us is so rare, so precious!

I respectfully suggest that Guy is just too angry at the G-d he calls Hashem and demands Hashem to answer for His sins first . And I just as respectfully suggest that George just needs to remain in religious or intellectual control of the situation and understand it and know that he has gotten past the real pains he has before he takes what feels like an abysmal leap. These things may be a problem.

I am suggesting that neither approach has hachno'oh. And the 1st step of the 12 steps - the only one that has anything directly to do with not drinking/lusting+masturbating ourselves, is only one thing: hachno'oh to the truth about ourselves and agreeing to the implications of it. Hachno'oh is a different way of living for most of us...OK, for all of us.

"What are you talking about Hachno'oh for?," one may ask. "we have Hachno'oh aplenty, that's not our real problem at all."

Maybe...but Hachno'oh to whom? Well, when was the last time we were machniyah ourselves to the god we really worship (with our zippers down or our eyes peeled to follow the best naked people on the screen, again)? It has not been very long ago, maybe.

That god, I know very, very well, and could still serve it again with the hachno'oh I discovered as a wide-eyed 12 year old. I am an addict. That's what we do: switch gods at need. But I need a miracle today cuz I am willing to do anything to stay sober today and keep this great life and keep this G-d I found - and not all my own power nor all my own seichel will give it to me. Kinda sad, but true - still true. It's humility or humiliation. Perhaps that is what Rebbe Nachman meant when he used to say, "ader a nisayon, ader a bizayon."

Is this acceptance a bit insulting to myself? Maybe - but so is idiotically and desperately masturbating myself to orgasm again! A man in a suit and a beard, driven beyond all recall to faithfully and desperately do what he learned as a 12 year old. I find my drooling and masturbation very demeaning and insulting to myself...not much release of anger or much gaining respectability , there! I figure it is all about which kind of bozo do I want to be. A bozo on the sober bus, or a bozo on the same 'sexually enlightened' bus I have been riding since I was 12?

OK, how far has all that gotten us, so far?

I suggest to Guy and George (sounds like a rock band of the late 80's) that none of these issues you describe are new. They are probably your old buddies. So I think that going about it the 'angry' (Guy) or 'respectable' (George) way is just retrying the same tools you have been using till now. I am stubborn, too! You will surely get the same results you have been getting until now. GYE will not save you there, and neither will G-d (and not even the play-god will, apparently, or you would not be here searching for help in the first place! ). Both of you have been 'there and back again' so many times before already! So have I. Where does that get us? Same place it gets most of us: back on our knees masturbating and then having that old 'clarity' again, that painful 'clarity' of "Oooh, this time I really have to stop!", and pretending we have it all figured out, or need to. No?

Those feelings and that old game are just a crock.

Hatzlocha!!

Re: Dov 24 Jun 2013 23:52 #210200

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Self-Development: A Self-Centered Endeavor (from today's chizzuk email)

Dov wrote:

A Rebbe of mine, who was a great gadol b'yisrael (and my mesader kiddushin) told us in a shmuz that being in Yeshiva is all about self-development, improving your learning ability and your knowledge, your quality of kiyum hamitzvos, learning how to be a real y'rei Shomayim, and doing Teshuva.

In other words, it's basically a self-centered endeavor. Right? He didn't say it's bad, mind you, just that it is self-centered, because it has to be.

Even working on your anivus is basically a self-centered activity (all Novardok jokes aside)... but what else are we to do? The job needs to get done somehow! "im ein ani li mi li"!

Now it seems to me that for a normal person, the "system" should work just fine. But just about every addict that I have met is a "self-absorbed" person, and that is the root of their problem. Therefore, I think that the Yeshivishe system - which I would not replace for anything - has an inherent problem for addicts. It stokes the flames of self-absorption and self-centeredness tremendously, by telling us that these are wonderful things. Not being selfish, but being basically totally self-centered and self-absorbed.(emphasis mine - gibbor)

So while the points being raised in this thread make for interesting moral, mental, and Torah hashkofa exercises, the elephant in the room is: When will you turn from being all wrapped up in what you need and want, and open yourself up to making your main focus in all your avodah to become the man thatyour future wife will need and want?

All the great gems that the folks here have dropped for us will likely remain useless tools, as long as they are all about "finally" satisfying ourselves. Your context is far more important than your facts or knowledge. And context is real hard to measure. Only Hashem, and you - in your own heart - can tell. It's what the Shulchan Aruch is referring to when it says "kol ma'asecha yihi'yu l'Shem Shomayim". And that mainly means not l'shem us. Simple.
And it's what addicts call the Third Step.
("We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him").

Once we get that right, what concerns us will change to matters that really have a solution.

Hatzlocha!

Re: Dov 26 Jun 2013 21:03 #210442

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I was wondering
There was a discussion above as to how explicit to be
There is something in me that says id like to confess in the open...all my sins

I have said to my (ex?) Theraapist some of the things in general, but not specific.
Is there a forum where I can?

Should I?

Is there a benefit, or is it part of my lust?

Just wonderin'.....

Thanks so much
My email: thenewme613@hotmail.com
My threads:
GYE Handbook | Gibbor's Insights | GYE FAQ - Thanks Skep and DMS123456789 White Book | Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)

If one gives up at the first sign of a struggle, he is really not ready to be successful."
"Tryin' and doin' are two different thin's - tryin' is hopin'; doin' is succeedin'.
"The right thin' to do and the hard thin' to do are usually the same."


Disclaimer: I am not a cheerleader; B"H, there are many on the site. I am here to change myself, and with God's help, by some mistake, I might even help change others.

MY POSTS ARE NOT WRITTEN AS A MODERATOR UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED.

Re: Dov 26 Jun 2013 21:34 #210451

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Hi Cordnoy and welcome!

There's a "married guys" section here that you need to ask to get access. Some people find it more comfortable to post their more explicit stuff there because the guests and single guys can't see it.

Hatzlacha and KOMT!!
!אנא עבדא דקודשא בריך הוא

וּבְיָדְךָ כֹּחַ וּגְבוּרָה וּבְיָדְךָ לְגַדֵּל וּלְחַזֵּק לַכֹּל

And every day that you want to waste, that you want to waste, you can
And every day that you want to wake up, that you want to wake, you can
And every day that you want to change, that you want to change, yeah
I'll help you see it through...

My story: guardyoureyes.com/forum/19-Introduce-Yourself/111583-hello-my-friends

Re: Dov 26 Jun 2013 21:54 #210454

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Thank you
I will check out that section
My email: thenewme613@hotmail.com
My threads:
GYE Handbook | Gibbor's Insights | GYE FAQ - Thanks Skep and DMS123456789 White Book | Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)

If one gives up at the first sign of a struggle, he is really not ready to be successful."
"Tryin' and doin' are two different thin's - tryin' is hopin'; doin' is succeedin'.
"The right thin' to do and the hard thin' to do are usually the same."


Disclaimer: I am not a cheerleader; B"H, there are many on the site. I am here to change myself, and with God's help, by some mistake, I might even help change others.

MY POSTS ARE NOT WRITTEN AS A MODERATOR UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED.

Re: Dov 26 Jun 2013 22:12 #210460

Some married guys (like ani hakoton) stay away from the married section cuz they find it too triggering.

MT

Re: Dov 26 Jun 2013 22:20 #210466

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There may be an advantage in letting it all out, i can't say, for lack of experience. but you can probably ask on the forum if anyone would be willing to PM with you, that way you won't have the doubt of triggering others.

Hatzlacha!! KOT!!!
Yankel | My Ladder | Talking to Hashem
I'm just a dude, another guy on this bus.
Have a great day, unless, of course, you made other plans. ~ obbormottel
"Nothing changes as long as everything stays the same" ~ Dov

Re: Dov 26 Jun 2013 22:22 #210468

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Hey guys, I'm the bouncer for the dov quotes thread. Do you have some dov quotes??? if NOT - getoutahere . In the nicest possible way.

Re: Dov 26 Jun 2013 22:27 #210472

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Thank you

Ill think before asking for access
My email: thenewme613@hotmail.com
My threads:
GYE Handbook | Gibbor's Insights | GYE FAQ - Thanks Skep and DMS123456789 White Book | Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous)

If one gives up at the first sign of a struggle, he is really not ready to be successful."
"Tryin' and doin' are two different thin's - tryin' is hopin'; doin' is succeedin'.
"The right thin' to do and the hard thin' to do are usually the same."


Disclaimer: I am not a cheerleader; B"H, there are many on the site. I am here to change myself, and with God's help, by some mistake, I might even help change others.

MY POSTS ARE NOT WRITTEN AS A MODERATOR UNLESS EXPLICITLY STATED.

Re: Dov 27 Jun 2013 14:12 #210523

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gibbor120 wrote:
Hey guys, I'm the bouncer for the dov quotes thread. Do you have some dov quotes??? if NOT - getoutahere . In the nicest possible way.





[I couldn't resist, BOUNCERMAN]
?דער באשעפער לאווט מיך אייביג. וויפיל לאוו איך עהם
My Creator loves me at all times. How great is my love for him?

Re: Dov 28 Jun 2013 02:29 #210661

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All this is so sweet as the words of dov. Don't get me wrong and I am out of here.

Re: Dov 12 Jul 2013 21:05 #212020

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Recovery: A Painful Surrender of Self-Will
(I added some emphasis in bold blue)

Dov wrote:
Hatzlocha with whatever you choose to do chaver!

But I don't know if any 'new' or 'special jewish-based program' is needed here. In my experience there are simply two aspects to this job of 'controlling' my thoughts:

1- either I keep doing things basically the same way as I am used to (not making any real changes to move out of my comfort zone) and superimpose "Recovery" on top of that.

or

2- Surrender to the truth of my anias hada'as, to my real history and the facts about my personal inability to 'beat this' or to 'change myself', and to the fact that ein hachavush matir atzmo m'beis ha'asurim...and start living Recovery in place of my old way. That is quite a sacrifice, especially for us professional frum liars and hiders. The frumer we habitual porners are, the bigger liars and hiders we are, of course. That's not a value judgement at all, just the plain math. It ain't easy for us.

#1 takes a tremendous effort, dedication, vigilance, and frumkeit...but yields little to nothing in the end. The true addict will fail at it! And on the way, he will become progressively entangled in, isolation, sincere hand-wringing, and religious fantasy (our 'tiffeh cheshboinos' and 'tikkunim')...and still be lusting and masturbating like a secret pig when he really, really needs to. And he knows it.

#2 takes a painful surrender of self-will. The comfort-zone of doing things the way we always have - in other words, "how we all got in this mess". We often feel it is turning our backs on yiddishkeit, but it isn't. It's just a giving up of the ego-based model of self-perfection and kedusha that he has been carrying on his back all these years. It's a giving up of the twisted yiddishkeit he has developed all these years to try and control' himself.

It takes a difficult acceptance that Hashem is not and has never been ignorant and that Hashem accepted the realities about our limitations and our brokenness a long, long time ago...and that He is willing to work with us anyway!

Practically speaking:

Little things like learning how to keep the brain on a much shorter leash. Surrendering the thoughts sooner. That little thing, over and over, is where the big change comes. It is one of the ways we really accept a new way to feerzach, instead of struggling to superimpose 'Recovery gimmicks' on top of our 'real' (sick, old) way of living.

Re: Dov 30 Jul 2013 21:52 #214178

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Chesky said

A life changing line from Dov for me was: Clarity does not bring sobriety, sobriety brings clarity

Re: Dov 02 Aug 2013 18:03 #214766

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We Hide From Those Who Are Closest To Us

Dov wrote:
Someone asked me on the chat thingy below, if I meant that I tell my wife all about my lusting challenges, or something like that.

When I wrote about not being afraid of my wife seeing the real me, I was not primarily referring to lust issues, falls, or whatever GYE folks like to call it. Rather, I see the greatest area of brokeness in our relationship being in every area of my real life - not mainly in my perverting-sexual stuff.

Regular daily life stuff is surely where the relationship is sickest, actually. Some guys on GYE seem to be saying that since wasting sperm or lusting is soooo evil and bad for us, it behooves to focus on the problem as much as possible - as though all reality revolves around it...they call it 'dilligence'. But life does not revolve around it and the Kotzker said "if we wrestle with mud, we get dirty - even if we 'win' the fight!"

So life does not revolve around lusting - or staying away from lusting. Lusting - and the struggle with it - is a distraction from reality. Ok...so:

Only after being sober a while, does the real subtle twistedness in the rest of our lives start to become clear. And that realization is exactly what will make continued living clean and sober possible!

Just as Chuck C. told us, "You can't think your way into right-living. You can only live your way into right-thinking."

In a very sublte way and over many years and many relationships, I close out the very people who are my very closest relations from my inner life. Until I got sober, I was convinced that I was the best husband and father, and that no Rebbi 'discovered' me and my 'gadlus'. I was a bit of a star-crossed, tragic figure. Nu. But in the porn and with my masturbation adventures, I was always the superstar of the show and it was just fantastic (hence the word, 'fantasy', I guess!).

I may naturally get very, very close to near strangers - new friends in camp, people I meet here and there, a chavrusa once in a while...people with fake names on the other side of a computer on GYE... - and I can really pour my heart and soul to them, all the dirt and beauty, everything. Wow, how close people get here on GYE! But are they really? Close? To a man (is it a man for sure?) who does not even know your name? But is it a coincidence that my parents and siblings and wife and children are kept in the dark about my reality? How could it be a coincidence that the closest are kept out?!

In recovery, the light went on. Long term relations, ARE REAL. So we avoid them with little walls. But the power of fake names and virtual relationships (and porn) is BECAUSE they have some fakeness built in.

Real is not comfortable. It's too consistent, too tog-teglich, too prying, too vulnerable, gets too in the way of my poor self-esteem, and my freedom to be imperfect. My freedom to be ME! So we hide from our closest.

Hmm...think it over.

Re: Dov 02 Aug 2013 18:15 #214772

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Open Up: Don't Let the Y"H Mug You

Dov wrote:
gonnabekodosh wrote:
...And the worst part is, I knew I was going to fall, I felt it slightly at first then it grew and grew till I just had to. I'm not sure opening up is going to help either, It doesn't make the triggers or the desire fade..


Not exactly. The fact that you 'knew' you were going to 'fall' and that it grew until you 'had to'...doesn't that sound suspicious to you that it was cooking. Cooking inside you. You may consider that it is just possible that that the one thing you did not want to do - the unthinkable: opening up to a safe person about it clearly - would have changed something.

You may say the only thing it would have changed is that, now, your would be out of control and ashamed. But I say that the very aversion to opening up, proves that it is part of the answer.

I was mugged a few years ago in a shul parking lot. The huge guy whispered to me, "OK, now, be very, very quiet." He looked desperate that I be quiet.

Now, he figured that I would interpret the advice he was giving me as being for my sake, as in: "If you know what's good for you, be quiet!"

But I knew better. He was telling me what he needed, for his best interest. He showed me his #1 worry and weakest point.

So I hollered at him as loudly as I could just what I thought of him, and that he'd better get away from me right now! (twice, for good measure). He was so shocked, frightened, and confused, that when I left, he didn't follow me.

So what do we learn? That exactly what our sick minds are desperate for us not to do, is probably precisely what we need to do. Exactly what has been happening all along, is exactly what needs to change for there to be any change.

Do we want comfort and self-respect, or do we want change? I gladly choose change for myself. There's no shame in that, I think. Go for it, Rebbi!

Re: Dov 02 Aug 2013 20:28 #214808

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Don't Hold Your Breath

Dov wrote:
'Holding our breath' is a totally different experience than recovery offers. This story illustrates what 'holding breath' is:

The Steipler zt"l was once on guard duty in the Russian or Polish army on Shabbos - and his socks were soaked, so it would be s'chitah for him to walk in them. He decided to stay in place the entire time till Shabbos was over. It was terribly cold and driving him nuts. How could he stay put?!

He told himself that he could withstand the cold for just a minute (or hour?)...and he did! When that minute was over, he told himself that he just proved that he can tolerate the bitter cold for just a minute. So here before him is: a minute! He then waited a(nother) minute. When it was over, he thought: here before me is another one of those minute-thingies. I can definitely hang on just a minute! So he held on, and tolerated the cold for just a minute.

Etc, etc, and the entire night passed! Amazing. Beautiful.


AND THAT IS NOT AT ALL WHAT 'ONE DAY AT A TIME', MEANS! For what the Steipler did was a gimmick. A mind game. And it worked for him, for one night or day...it may work for more than one day - it may even work for a lifetime, who knows? And if I could stay sober that way for a lifetime, I would probably not take it. It would be gehinnom, would keep me good-and-miserable/crazy, and would generally...suck. I would surely eventually run to lust again just to get out of such a stupid (but kosher!) life. Yup.

But: the Steipler could [b]not[/b] have actually held his breath all night using this gimmick. Correct? After a few minutes (about 2-3), a human knows he must breathe, period. So what would you do if someone told you he would give you a million (yep, a million!) bucks if you held your breath for two hours? Would you breath deeply and give it a try?

No, you would surely not. Why suffer for nothing in the end, anyway?

People who are not sincerely giving up lust for today, are just sitting ducks. They are just holding their breath and holding back one day at a time. It does not work. Eventually they will have to breathe. And Hashem knows this. It is a twisting of the meaning of 'one day at a time'.

I know they will say 'vatishlach es amosoh - she sent forth her arm' and all the sweet, encouraging droshos on that. But for an addict, it just does not work here! And in the meantime, the marriage and family are brutalized. Yuch.

[A nasty little digression :pinch:
When B'nei Yisroel (on Rosh chodesh Nissan) went to take the korban Pesach (in four more days!) Hashem writes: "[i]And Bn"Y went and did as Moshe commanded them.[/i]" Rashi brings that they went with the intention, knowing that come the 10th of Nissan, they'd take the goat/lamb, and come the 14th, they'd shecht it, etc. In their hearts, it was a done deal. So from right then, Hashem says He considers it that they already did it all!.

Sadly, the converse is also true. We all know in our hearts that we cannot hold our breath forever. So, as inspired as we may be to hold our breath and resist getting that sweet orgasm/fantasy/porn joy we need...we are full-aware that we are eventually gonna pop. We have not given it up at all, see it as an eventual necessity, and a masculine right. The only guarantee, then, is that we will need to act out when the maximum tolerance of # days clean is reached. So from the truth (Hashem's) perspective, it is as though they already masturbated anyhow. I believe this is true for most ppl (see the exception below).

Therefore, giving it up in our hearts one day at a time is what's useful, and that is the 12 step program way - not resisting 'one day at a time'. Get it?

There is one exception to this idea, and it is an important qualification: There are surely some who do the TapHsiC, or 90-day wall thingy, or counting the days, etc...holding their breath all the way - and it works! Because they did experience abstinence from their prize, after all, and did not die. Amazingly, their penises did not fall off. And abstinence sometimes makes it clear to the person that he does not, in fact, really need it at all!

Surprise!

But I doubt that such things will work for most people in the long run - and certainly not for addicts. For when the day comes that they desire it again as strong as ever, they will be 100% convinced again that they can't live without it, period. Back to square one. But surrender one day at a time really does work for alcoholics and others, all over the world.
End of the nasty little digression. ]

Where were we?
Last Edit: 02 Aug 2013 20:31 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov 13 Aug 2013 00:19 #215911

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Great Definition of Addiction and 'unmanageability' (with some added emphasis)

Dov wrote:
So , having experienced the living hell of being an addict with nowhere to turn, I am much more comfortable understanding 'unmanageability' as a thing that is inside me. As in: I cannot possibly tolerate life this way any more or ever again - but there is no way in hell that I can ever stop living it!. In other words, every addict I know who is sober, describes their problem as being living hell.

One man's hell is not the same as that of another man. Some of us simply have far greater pain tolerance than others do. I figure that is the only difference between the low-bottom drunk and the high-bottom one. If it is repetitive, progressive, and drives you mad to the extent that you are ready to do anything to stop - even though you cannot believe you could let it go and really stop doing it cuz you need it so badly - then you are quite possibly an addict. Sorry.

And not a 'low-level addict'. An addict. I do not accept at all that there are different levels of addiction. I see addiction as you see pregnancy. A woman is no more pregnant in her ninth month than she is a day after conception...she just shoes more. Same exact deal, here.
Last Edit: 13 Aug 2013 00:22 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov 27 Aug 2013 18:44 #217416

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Addiction MUST be self diagnosed (from today's chizzuk email)

dov wrote:
It seems to me that nobody can really tell anyone else that they are an addict, because it probably will not be accepted to the depth that it needs to be to make any difference at all for the addict. This has been my own experience and what I have seen meeting many people in and out of recovery.

The conclusion that worked for me was the one I had to reach in my own heart.

Many hundreds of silent nights with masturbation, screaming nights visiting schmutz sites and establishments, phone use for lust, and other disappointments washed over me. I even got caught and didn't stop. I was repeatedly shocked at my failure, after such sincere regret and Teshuvah.

A great Rav told me that the answer was more spirituality, though he had no clue that my very spirituality was twisted and only contributed to my very problem! See, my yiddishkeit had developed during the very same years that my habitual use of lust and schmutz developed into my preferred, safest, and only really reliable coping mechanism and "medication" for the pains and fears of normal life. It seemed to work for many years, though it sucked the reality out of me, slowly replacing true devotion to other people and Hashem with self-absorption. And the yeshiva experience itself - being so self-absorbed in ruchniyus self-development for our future lives... only land-locked me further. There came a time that there were no answers left.

Another Rav told me I needed to explain to my wife that she wasn't enough fun for me. Let's not even get me started on that one, though I bought it hook-lin-and-sinker at the time.... (Nu, osah r'tzon ba'aloh, right?)

Two shrinks told me that I needed to learn how to get more healthy pleasures out of life.... more self-centeredness. Another told me it was no big deal.... and he was frum. Yet another told me that 12 steps was silly, cuz "you want to get better, not learn how to live with this problem." He put me on meds and did therapy for 10 months while I got progressively worse, to his amazement. They all helped me and hurt me a bit, in different respects.

Rabbi Twerski told me (over the phone) in 1992-ish that I'd probably not get better unless I did intensive therapy, went to rehab, or joined a 12-step recovery fellowship. I told him "thanks", and knew that there was no way in gehinnom that I'd be able to hide those things from my wife, and I'd better really try harder! Eventually I couldn't even hide my addiction from my wife and even that didn't stop me (though it worked for a few months - If GYE would've been around then, I'd have made it onto the 90-day chart for sure! ;-) It took me five more years to finally rush myself into whatever help I needed, come what may. I saw that I couldn't stop.

And I came to SA and have been sober since, because Hashem obviously loves me and has the power to help me. But most importantly, I let Him. And I needed a lot of help to learn how to do that, and got it.

So, no. I don't believe anyone can determine for another that they are an addict. In my case the experts were right, but it did no good. As the gemara explains out of the posuk in mishlei, "taychas g'orah b'leiv meivin - meyhakos k'sil meyah". It's gotta come from in my own heart if it'll do any good - a k'sil like me just won't really believe it, until I become a meivin in my own heart.

Besides all that, I find it hard to believe that most of us are smart enough to know if someone is an addict or not. Usually it's trial and error. The only, really sad question we need to ask ourselves is now much evidence do we want? I personally know folks who have been arrested for (blatant) sexual misconduct and still came away from it basically blaming the cops for entrapment, rather than admitting that they have a serious problem.

Along the same vein, I know talmidei chachomim who have been oiver on gilui arayos, schmutz, masturbation, you name it, habitually many times and went for years hiding it (and some still are). And they say they were not hiding it because they want to be able to keep doing it, but because they honestly believe that: "eventually I'll beat this, I know it! Hashem's just got to help me out here! So why rock the boat in the meantime and ruin a great marriage and screw up my children with divorce? I'm trying. I'll do something about it!".

Gevalt. A great marriage? Screw up the children? "I'll beat this"? Who suffers in the mean time while these and many other hundreds of yidden like them are "trying something"? I wonder who has the right to encourage them to stick with the old-fashioned way and learn mussar harder, while the family crashes and burns? What does it do to a 14 year old yeshiva boy to see his father who taught him how to leig t'fillin last year, carted away by police for soliciting a minor for sex in a chatroom (like more than one father I know), or get divorced because of a destroyed marriage after years of secret porn (and what it leads to) driving the parents apart (like other fathers I know)? What wife deserves this?

OK my rant is over, and it's too long to read, anyhow. I love you (even if you fell asleep already!) and am just sharing one little guys experience and opinion.

Re: Dov 29 Aug 2013 20:58 #217788

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Give up Fighting and Call for Help (From Daily Dose)

dov wrote:
I have heard remonstrations (look it up, it's really a word) just like this from many folks, many times.

Your sincerity is not in question. All I come to say is that I do not know personally of anyone who was able to"defeat this giant", as you called it, on their own.

If you would be alone c"v in a dark alley and accosted by a few big thugs with knives, would your reaction be, "hmmm, I trust that Hashem will give me the strength to beat this crowd (like Bruce Lee in the movies), and I'll be OK"? I think most of us would assess the situation rather quickly, realize we have no chance, and start screaming for help. Perhaps you believe it's best to at least 'go down swinging'.

Well, in this problem, there is no 'going down swinging'. It gets ugly in a hurry, and gets uglier still, and remains ugly, spoiling it for those around us, r"l.

So, scream for help. Consider giving up the fight with this giant if you believe that it's really too big for you. SA helped me do just that, and helped me learn how to actually depend on Hashem rather than just talking or acting as though I put it in Hashem's hands, while really depending on myself. Anyone can say they depend on Hashem. But for me, the only way to eventually truly come to do it, was (and still is) through admitting utter personal defeat. It seems I am just too screwed up to help Him take care of me, and I need to get the heck out of His way basically.

Nu. It's really a wonderful derech avodah, and life is better for my wife, who likes me a lot, too.

Re: Dov 30 Aug 2013 14:34 #217918

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Just subscribed to this. It's great!
Do we have further explanations on the difference between holding your breath vrs recover?
How do I know if I am recovering and making progress or if Im just "holding my breath"?
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. /Mishlei 25:28

Re: Dov 30 Aug 2013 23:28 #217988

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If you feel the pressure building until you can't take it any more - you are holding your breath. If you feel calm and serene (most of the time) and don't feel like you are about to explode - you are in recovery.

If you are holding your breath, you will eventually act out cuz you can't hold your breath forever. You will know .

Re: Dov 01 Sep 2013 08:46 #218030

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Gibbor, I say this in the nicest way but please stop having conversations on this thread.We want to keep it only for Dov quotes :p

Re: Dov 01 Sep 2013 13:10 #218048

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inastruggle wrote:
Gibbor, I say this in the nicest way but please stop having conversations on this thread.We want to keep it only for Dov quotes :p


That was my fault...
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. /Mishlei 25:28

Re: Dov 03 Sep 2013 20:53 #218353

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gibbor120 wrote:
I think it makes sense to start a thread dedicated to those dov posts which many of us find so powerful.  I would appreciate if we could keep this thread free of other stuff so as not to dilute it.

I suppose we could also discuss dov's posts here, but refrain from shmoozing about cholint, monster trucking, possums... The forum has special and fun places to discuss all that stuff.

Re: Dov 03 Sep 2013 21:08 #218355

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gibbor120 wrote:
gibbor120 wrote:
I think it makes sense to start a thread dedicated to those dov posts which many of us find so powerful.  I would appreciate if we could keep this thread free of other stuff so as not to dilute it.

I suppose we could also discuss dov's posts here, but refrain from shmoozing about cholint, monster trucking, possums... The forum has special and fun places to discuss all that stuff.

Gibor, if you are going to quote yourself, you are in the wrong thread.

guardyoureyes.com/forum/20-Important-Threads/214619-Gibbors-Insights
"ויעזור ויגן ויושיע לכל החוסים בו ונאמר אמן" -- ArtScroll Gabbai's Handbook

Re: Dov "Quotes" 18 Oct 2013 00:40 #221394

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Definition of Lust

Dov wrote:
For me, the verb 'to lust' means exactly what it says in the dictionary: having a strong desire. It's not a sexual issue to me, but a desire issue. If I want something outside myself, whether it be erotic pleasure, sweet food, lots of money, a person to agree with me or like me, or kavod...it is lust. Lust is just lust. Desire - the gimmes - I, I, Me, etc. There is really no end to it for me no matter how I try to limit it. It blocks me from G-d and people and from myself and by nature, I do not even realize it is happening most of the time! It's bitter to be on the take, if one is an addict - even if he or she is not acting out.

Sure, the sexual kind of lustis a more immediate problem so it gets all the attention...for if I run after sexual lust at all, I quickly lose myself in it and make my life and others miserable. But as recovery goes on, it really begins to not matter as much what I am lusting after. They are all intolerable and they all lead to eachother in the end, anyhow, so they all gotta go. But Hashem is not through with me yet, so I'm growing one day at a time in all of them.

Re: Dov Quotes 30 Oct 2013 19:59 #222330

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Do I need to "Figure it Out"? - The Role of Character Defects in Addiction

Dov wrote:
Disclaimer:

Sorry this is a real megillah. And it is still 5 months till Purim...


letmelive wrote:
Is it important to know what inner emotional lacking is causing me to act out? Now of course if I did know I'd be able to address that lacking and maybe one day totally rid myself of that void through something positive...and the funniest part is that acting out never ever got me to that ends and never will all it does is creates more inner strife that makes me want to get to the elusive ends again but again I take the wrong path.
What ends am I looking for?


You write a poignant and sharp thing, here.

I'd strongly suggest that why you do these things is not likely to get you to finally stop now. At this point, I suggest that it is probably enough just to admit the simple truth that you do these things because you love the way looking at porn and the way masturbating feels. Simple truth. Hashem loves Emess, and so should we.

More about stopping, in a minute (it can surely wait a minute, cuz our pants are on right this minute!)

The search for "Gevalt, why do I do this?!" is often a dead end of the ego, and nothing more...until after one is clean for a few months. I will explain why that is so, for addicts. And I suggest that even if you are not an addict (which may be quite likely), it is probably a wise course for you, too. For I am assuming that you have tried many times already to be clean and failed, no? So here we go:

You may know that the bulk of the 12 steps go on and on about our character defects and fixing the past, and some explain that this is proof that the 12 step program is basically all about figuring ourselves out so that we can save ourselves. But it's not.

Here is a line in AA that be"H can save you a load of trouble:

"But the actual or potential alcoholic with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize...as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience." (AA, Ch. 3) (italics theirs)

So then why does so much of the program seem to revolve around self-analysis and understanding?! Good question, no?

If that's where you are sitting right now, I'd like to suggest another possibility - a way that that I and other guys I know work the 12 steps. Lots of folks claim that 12 steps is about 'figuring out the problem that gets us to use alcohol/sex+lust and eradicating it', or something...but that is apparently a misreading of AA, so here goes:

There are two separate things: 1- stopping drinking/drugging; and
2- not restarting drinking/drugging.

1- Stopping drinking is done by an addict one way:

Having enough pain to be brought to one's knees - or senses - that he cannot afford to use his drug of choice any more no matter what the reason/motivation/excuse may be. And no matter how powerful a coping mechanism the addictive behavior may be - he cannot possibly continue using it.

That requires a lot of pain, and a lot of humility. Often it takes a lot of humiliation, too. The drug is so precious to us (it really is dear to us, even with all the pain).

2- Staying clean is done by an addict one way:

Admitting that it took a lot of pain to get us to stop and that we'd never have stopped if we did not have to, no matter how frum or good we happen to be, as people.

In other words, pain and humility keep us clean, at least indirectly.

The problem is that addicts forget the pain and lose the humility. We eventually lose our 1st step admission and forget that we can't successsfully control and enjoy drink/lust. We think we are like other people. How do we ever forget that we are different and cannot successfully ue lust fun?

By feeling other pains of life and getting distracted.

Life comes with pain. But the pain I refer to, that really gets us desperate again (and forgetful!) - is psychic/emotional pain. That is not given to us by other people or by circumstances. Only we have that power. It is produced by our own character defects (attitudes). Jealousies, resentments, self-centered fears...they are all very powerful, and they are children of our pride, fear, ego. We filter people and circumstances through them and out the other side there comes excruciating pain.

That pain takes the form of resentments we cannot bear, guilt that we need to numb, fears that get us desperate. Hey, lots of things happen in life and we filter it all through our defects of character...and get pain we cannot tolerate. We addicts cannot handle what our character defects do to us in the course of normal life. We just don't take pain well.

So the program's steps focus on how life can be tolerable and suggests surrendering our lives to G-d. Letting go of ourselves and what we want, to His care. That is step 3, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with stopping drinking.

But there is a problem: our character defects. They have been called 'the human ego'. (Perhaps that is what Moshe Rabbeinu - and only Moshe Rabbeinu - got rid of, that made him the only clear lens [aspaklaria hame'iroh] for nevu'oh?) They do not allow us to surrender ourselves truly to Hashem - because we don't want to. And no matter how frum or good we are, we really do want to resent, to nurse a criticism, to sulk in self-pity, to replay beating someone else over in our heads, to feel the familiar rush of fear and trauma caused by a tragedy...they have become the very fabric of reality and life for us! The proof of that is that we can't just let go of those things when we feel them even though they hurt!

And that is what steps 4-10 are for. They are only there to enable step 3 to develop in us. We will never have a pure step 3, ever.

The character analysis in steps 4 and 6, the admission and sharing in step 5, and the cleaning house by gift of Hashem in step 7, are all only here to enable step 3.

...And the only purpose of having a step 3 is that it will enable us to stay clean.

We could never have gotten clean through character analysis - and those who insist on doing just that, are simply trying to 'do it themselves'. And just as we all tried to manage our porning and lusting by fighting and eventually masturbating it away (see the 'Nuclear Reset Button'), it will not work, either. It's actually playing G-d - "Anything but surrender!"

Now, if you could read through all this, you are a marvel!

So again, as Bill wrote:
"But the actual or potential alcoholic with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge. This is a point we wish to emphasize and re-emphasize...as it has been revealed to us out of bitter experience."

Is this making any sense? Or are people still getting confused by thinking that step 3 is the way we stop us from drinking/lusting?

Re: Dov "Quotes" 01 Nov 2013 17:39 #222563

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The Failure of Self-Centeredness in Making Life Work (from today's chizzuk email)

Dov replies to someone who claims the 'religious approach' is not for him:

What got me into trouble with lust was not that I was violating the halacha. It's also why I have been quoted as saying: "I don't really care exactly which lav suicide is - I'm not interested in it for other reasons!". True, violating the halacha was horrifying and devastating to me. But that didn't stop me from getting worse. That's just a fact.

What eventually stopped me was that I saw I was really going to lose the life I chose for myself: a life that included having a conscience, integrity, some kind of 'good'-ness (Torah, etc.), and in which I'd be a part of something - like a marriage, community, and a family of my very own, for example. Those were not religious choices, per se. It was just me. The fact that any normal religion includes all these things in it's description of healthy living, is just a side-issue for me. I chose them for myself. Perhaps yiddishkeit helped create those desires within me, perhaps other things did. I think it's irrelevant.

Now within me, there was also a childish expectation that all people would adore and revere me and therefore do my will. For example, my wife would please me in every way whenever I wanted, my kids would be cooperative, and any people I was beholden to in the working world would give me the respect (and the leeway when I deserved no respect) that I felt I was entitled to. I also expected to become a Gadol b'Torah - and recognized as such. Instead... well, it was beginning to become clear that I was just a regular guy among regular people. Unacceptable! If I wasn't going to be recognized as a gadol b'Torah and tzaddik, could I at least be recognized as a porn star? Sounds really crazy... it is really crazy... but that's where I was in my desires, for a time. Life wasn't supposed to be like this.

When life was obviously not happening the way I expected it to - mainly cuz every real person actually has their own will - I needed some pretty powerful coping tools. The best and most reliable one I could find was associated with a part of my body that I could control using lust and gave me tremendous pleasure. To hell with everyone else - I had it made for those moments! Problem solved, sort of....

OK. So then Lust - my secret best friend and god - turned on me. And here is where I guess the real G-d finally begins to come into the picture. See, I was accustomed to years of secret self-pleasuring and self-saving via manipulation of others. My wife couldn't find out about the things that (I rationalized) my dissatisfaction with her was making me do. It'd ruin it all, cuz she wouldn't understand - though in my heart I expected her to understand fully! Of course she had no chance competing against the schmutz already in my head - those women appear to have no will of their own, no babies, no aging, nor any real life either, of course! They'd always be mine! Wow. Now that was a 'higher power' I could really hang onto!

While I was busy keeping my self comfortable and managing everything around me to serve that holy end, I was unconsciously building myself up as the center of my universe... and things got screwier and screwier in my life! To be honest, I was shocked about this! After all, I was such a nice guy to everyone and did real great favors for some people, seemed quite selfless at times, learned quite a bit, and was very religious - but it was still all about the experience (even Torah/serving Hashem). It was about "the feeling". The "d'veikus". I was at the center of it all! Not G-d, nor His Will. Sorry that I can't explain it any better.

Now, I could have gone on that way forever, I guess. Perhaps many do. Maybe it's really OK for them. It's not that it was wrong, immoral, or whatever. But as it turned out, Self-Preservation, as I saw it, steamrolled all those nice considerations - no more! Here's how:

I was turning to my drug in progressive ways, and lying like crazy to cover it up. I knew I was not the man my wife, children, co-workers or friends saw, at all. If you suggest that it was all just religious guilt, I say no way. The things I had to do were in no way compatible with a faithful lifestyle as a husband and father. I'd never do any of those things with real people I knew watching. I discovered the hard way that porn, unbridled self-pleasuring with lust and animal-like sexuality are simply not compatible with any kind of normal life at all.

Now if you propose that it's all society's fault, I say maybe you could go off to a place where they live that way and see how it goes. Really. The communes of the 60's tried it; many societies tried it. The biggest problem - and this is what "ruined it all" for me - is that it's all based on self-centeredness. Wills were eventually again at war... the "acceptance" and "free love" of others that they tried to use as a defense to the self-will problem eventually gave way. There is no escape from that fact that every real person has their own, differing will. Disunity breeds strife, and there is apparently no fascism for sex... I tried it. The petite dictator himself! It turned out that you really do get more with honey (giving) than you do with vinegar (demanding), and no addict I know has real honey. Cash is a poor honey substitute, if you know what I mean. We all went through this failure process, in some small way. That's what brings many people to recovery. Looking for a life that works. And that is precisely why the focus on G-d and on people other than myself is the answer to me and to so many other addicts of all kinds. It has much less to do with religion, and more to do with the abject failure of self-centeredness in making life work. Without working the steps in my real life, there is no ego deflation for me, just more quiet desperation. I ain't goin back there, ever.

If you want your life to be yet another experiment in getting the self-centered approach to work, I say: go for it. But if it has been working pretty well till now, then why are you here? Why are you displeased? Were you really happy before, and came to Recovery just for more kicks? If your angst is really about "staying clean" for the sake of "staying clean", I have no answers for you. I tried that approach and got nowhere but deeper into hell.

Re: Dov "Quotes" 01 Nov 2013 17:55 #222568

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The Problem is Lust, The Answer is Love (emphasis mine)

Dov wrote:
cordnoy wrote:
Dov,

I understand where you are headed and what you are saying.
I have heard and seen you and others say this countless of times that lust must be tamed at all costs....even regarding the wife.
100% accurate and true.
The question, however, which was posed was simply...ba'asher hu sham...focus emotional and sexual relationship purely on wife. Yes, is it preferable that one should not have these lustful thoughts at all (especially to us addicts, or us non-addicts); but if we are having 'em, focus on the wife only.

Thanks


As I respond, I pray you have what some do not have: the ability not to take things so dang personally. I believe that you have it, so here I go. (Uh, oh...not a great introduction... )

First, I can't imagine ever 'taming' lust. You may see this as nitpicking or 'catching' you in words, but I don't. I don't know what you meant - but I can't talk or think that way, and that is all I am saying. Lust (and I do not mean 'the yetzer hora') is far, far more powerful than I am when I use it. When I use it, I am idiotically getting onto a wild horse - and I don't even know how to ride a tame horsie. It's just stupid - so now, with G-d's help for just today, I don't ride it. I let go of the struggle, be"H. That's not 'taming'.

Maybe you just refer to the fact that whether one calls it taming, beating, controlling or whatever, in the end, lust is not in charge any more and so you might as well call that 'tamed', or 'defanged'. A lot of guys see it that way. But I know that since the process in me is subtly different, taming is a word that will set me right back into the seat of the beis hamidrash I sat in back in the day when I was heiligeh yid who masturbates my brains out. I can't afford to go back there no matter how badly I may wish for the sweet porn and fantasy again.

Sorry, that was a mouthful there, and just a side-point.

I love you, cordnoy!

Second, about the lusting on the wife, I mean this, and even though you think you know what I mean and where I am going with this, bear (dov) with me:

If i dream about using hookers and that's one of my favorite porn and mind-fantasies when masturbating - then what you are saying is that "from now on, my wife is my hooker. Not that I tell her to pretend she is one...but that will I make her that in my head, so that I pour my lust into my sex with her, which is mutar." That is what "if we are having 'em, forcus them on the wife only," means.

I hear what lizhensk wrote about you taking baby steps, or what u say about ba'asher hu shom. But I wonder how close it is to just excusing plain old porn-fantasy lusting? I can't make my wife my whore, period. Doing that is not a 'baby step', but rather it is just an excuse for doing the same thing and putting a hechser on it.

Now, the man who sees the main issue here as being tahara/issur/chet/teshuvah, will agree with lizhensk that "doing this kind of thing is less assur - maybe even completely mutar! So that is progress!" And of course, in principle, that is 100% correct in that perspective.

But I see the problem I have as being a stupidity, insanity, pervertedness: addiction. Not about being good or bad, loved by Hashem or hated. I am certain that Hashem sees no difference between recovery from addiction that is to alcohol (which is mutar, technically) or to porn and whores (which is assur). As Chaza"l tell us, chamira sakanta me'isura. (and 'chamira' there does not mean 'wine'! Ha! )

It turns out that the frum yid who you see as making true progress in avodas Hashem can make his wife his whore at least for a while, while the goy (or frum yid) who is a sexaholic like I am, does not/cannot do that in recovery.

So I am not suggesting 'cold turkey'. I am suggesting recognizing our lust desires and fantasies as our actual problems and blemishes. Once that is accepted, the next job is to love our wives. Not to pretend that we are going to be sexual with them 'purely out of love'. We won't. But rather to just strengthen our love muscle. Taking actions of real love everywhere and with everyone - w/ wife over all other people even our children - is the only real answer to lust. Gevura isn't the answer, at all.

Eventually, our desires and fantasies will need to be let go of. Sorry, but there is no other way. It's terrifying, I know. Absolutely terrifying. I can feel it in my gut sometimes. But there ain't no easy way out. No 'softer and easier way', as AA puts it. Using our wives for lust is just searching for that softer, easier way.


Was that beating you up, corduroy? Oops, I mean, 'cordnoy'!

Re: Dov 21 Nov 2013 01:48 #223722

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Nuclear Reset Button

The "Nuclear Reset Button" idea is about how we unfortunately thrive on that very honest state we do feel after masturbating ourselves, and that no matter how holy we feel in that state, it is all part of the same sick cycle. It suggests further, that since we sincerely crave feelings of pure kedusha and hate the feeling of struggling with lust, we end up masturbating ourselves in order to get out of the struggle and into that holy, connected and honest state we often feel after masturbating. It's one of the only ways we know of that practically guarantees plugging into kedusha and teshuvah (with a 'v') again. A dirty cycle in which t'shukah (with a 'k') for avodas Hashem and kedusha leads us to end up masturbating again for years and decades.

Honesty with G-d leads us to admit the truth to Him instead of prattling party lines to Him about how "we just do not want to be nichshal in zera levatola chulila and are only concerned with His Torah being kept and therefore do not wish to become tomei, blah, blah. etc... He knows it is silly nahrishkeit. Your simple honesty is far better than all the heiligeh-sounding pronouncements.

We guys do far better to just admit to Him all the truth. How we want to use the shmutz because we love the way it feels when we are using it, but are afraid of what it will do to us and the way we feel afterward, etc. He of course knows it all, already! Why play with Him?

So honesty works because it creates a relationship that is real, for a change. Same with people.

Re: Dov "Quotes" 03 Dec 2013 01:59 #224350

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Dov wrote:
Tolerating Imperfection (emphasis mine)

Precious things are not gained overnight. Yetzias mitzrayim was a big, fat, jump - a completely undeserved gift to us 49th-levelers. After the free jump, it was almost completely lost to us and we had to grow slowly from zero for 49 days before getting the Torah... then we lost much of it just 40 days later with our eigel.... Then we did some tshuvah and lost much of that by the complaining and those yummy quails... followed by more growth and d'galim and we were finally ready to go into Eretz Yisroel - only to lost almost everything with the meraglim... did a lot of teshuva again (the hard way, thanks to the ma'apilim) - only to have Korach's 'help' to almost lose the little they had left (a connection with Moshe Rabeinu)... Oh, boy. The goyim have an easy out: "Those Jews were losers!" Our version of the lesson is so very different, and has been borne-out by historical comparisons of our peoples: The really precious stuff takes time and is obviously worth the ups and downs of real life.

Time is needed, if we are to have any hope of actually growing into these lofty 'madreigos' we talk about. (I call them all Sobriety="Derech Eretz" - which is before "Torah" even begins.) We need to allow ourselves space to be screw-ups in many ways. Not in dangerous ways (like our addiction) - that obviously must stop (for today) for there to be hope. But as far as purity, living well, and happiness are concerned, tolerating imperfection means tolerating some ugliness in ourselves. And in others, too. We have some ugliness. Getting it out in the open is the only way I know to start to get free of it. Ignoring our ugliness may be encouraging, (as in, "you are such a tzaddik!") but it's still a lie. And I believe that lies get us nowhere.... or worse. They just substitute feeling better for getting better. Many of the folks I have met in meetings have been focused on feeling better, rather than on becoming more useful. They don't usually get much better.

If they only knew how great it feels to actually be able trust themselves and have some integrity for a change, they'd know that there is simply no contest here. Lust simply has nothing to sell. I am still an addict, believe that I am powerless and could lose it all tomorrow, but have still learned to trust myself to stay with Hashem and to use Him to stay sober and useful to Him and to His people today. And it's a great way to live so far.

Someone asks Dov:

"How can we tolerate our imperfections while working on them, without temporarily avoiding the problem by making ourselves feel better?"

Dov Replies:

I believe that when I first began to accept my imperfections without shame, I began to become freed from them. I found that looking at my face in a mirror was no longer a disgusting experience, soon after doing my 4th step inventory. It was a true discovery - totally unexpected. It was actually the last thing I expected, for I had always thought (as do many I have met here on GYE) that facing, writing down, and freely admitting my defects of character would be shaming and lead to self-loathing. Little did I know, that I had already been living with all those defects all these years, hating myself for it, and trying to run and hide from them!

The only thing really missing was acceptance of the facts about me by admitting them freely, even to others. I could then find it a bit easier to stop running from myself by hiding in lust, porn and masturbation adventures.

A bit counter-intuitive, no?

Re: Dov 14 Dec 2013 00:13 #224954

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We Need "Real" People to "Get Real" With G-d

Dov wrote:
In the sincere interest of helping you work out what's best for you I will now swing the pendulum back the other way. Not al tzad that you are an addict - for that's probably irrelevant at this point - but just to tame our beloved black-and-white thinking. I do this here a lot and it has helped me and many others arrive at the truth...usually somewhere in the middle-ground of all the 'philosophy'. Here goes:

Your plan is sincere, but let's remember that you didn't come here because you were just trying to be more ruchni. Rather, you were habitually using porn and masturbating yourself - so what really brought you specifically here was too much preoccupation with sex on demand, too much fooling yourself and others, and doing too much holy but useless 'Teshuvah' - and the fact that with all that, you are still here, desperate again. And I relate oh so well to all that!

So.

Have you ever sat back and wondered why success has eluded you and so many of us? Surely just trying the same things again - 'but better this time!' is a mistake. But why is it failing? You asked for a suggestion to make your spiritual pursuits more tangible. So here is my tangible suggestion:

All the things you mentioned here are done in your own head and heart - all by yourself. All alone.

Sure, sure, some interaction with other real humans is technically included under the broad rubric of your ruchniyusdikeh hopes and plans you listed above - and I am certain you do believe in mitzvos ben odom lachaveiro. But using other people to do Hashem's Will is not what I mean. There is a reason that your basic effort revolves entirely around inner battles and your attitude toward Hashem.

It's because isolation is what we know. We 'get into mussar and chassidus or whatever, and use Torah and religion to validate even deeper isolation. But this time it becomes self-righteous isolation. We end up feeling much closer to Hashem - and more crazy. That's not what you want, is it?

We have searched alone for porn, we have masturbated alone, we 'fought it' alone - and we try recovering/getting better alone, as well.

The common denominator here, is taking the luxury of remaining in the comfort of our own heads. Being the ultimate and sole arbiters of our 'madreiga'. Many of us have been doing that for years and know no other way. And 99% of what people call 'the Torah's solution' is assumed to be in the mind. But that path just ratifies isolation - our best friend! Going it alone seems to be the only thing we believe will make all things possible.

Think about it. Few of us see this at all. But in recovery, we discover that there are relationships - and then there are real relationships. Torah clearly creates and even defines spiritual growth by real actions and real relationships. If you do not see examples of that, I can give a few, but do not want this megillah to become unreadably long... [In short, Kibud and mora av v'eim are not defined by how we feel about our parents anywhere. They are clearly defined in terms of behavior. And the reason the relationship we have with our parents is [i]on the ben odom laMakon side [/i]of the luchos is because the real relationship we all develop with our physical parents is what creates our real relationship with Hashem. (I posted elsewhere at length about the life cycle and how it it designed to create a relationship with Hashem)].

Just because you may be taking a step back from the addiction thing and the 12 steps (and I agree that it may be a good idea for you to step back) does not mean you cannot learn from the successes of the addicts. And the main thing addicts learn to do from the very start is this: run from the comfort of isolation.

Ruchnius is great, and there is a ton of room for inner work in recovery, to be sure! But even if you are not an addict, I suggest that the ikkar path you will find all the goodies you are looking for is through making real relationships. Bringiong more realness into the relationships you already have. Find safe, trustworthy people you can talk to without feeling they'd look down at you for being weho you are and having done what you have done. Opening up to real, safe, successfully recovering people and telling them all the truth about your shameful sexual escapades and your desires that keep coming up and bothring you and especially exactly what's doing with you today, is a great place to start! Shame is the enemy.

But that is only a start. For in the process of making those recovery relationships, you will most likely discover that many of your other relationships (in family, home, yeshivah, work, etc.) have never really been as real as you thought they were. Including your relationship with G-d.

Yes, it may sound funny, but our relationship with G-d is not nearly as real as we often think it is. As frummies, we refer to that as 'the madreiga of our emunah is lacking'. But we see that tanno'im had that problem, too.

Rabban Yochanon ben Zakai blessed his talmidim - who were tanno'im!! - that they should feel about G-d watching them, the same way they feel about people watching them. They were insulted and let him know it. And he said 'Too bad. You ain't there yet, brothers.' He said people take other people far, far more seriously than they take Hashem.

The way out of that is not more time sitting on a mountaintop - nor more time sitting with a chovos halevavos (though they may help a bit, we have already done plenty of those!). The way out is through people. The 12 steps are first about starting to correct the way we interact with other people, then about rectifying all we may have done wrong to other people, and only then about connecting up well with our G-d.

We addicts first find our G-d in the 3rd step. But we admit we really don't have a serious and proper relationship with Him yet, till we first take real actions to take our relationships with His people (that is all people) seriously and properly.

In the process of doing all that, we gain a thing we never really had: Self Honesty and real spirituality.

If there is anything I have learned from recovery about ruchiyus, it is that I can't start with honesty to Hashem. It's just more pretend, like the porn is. Fantasy and the power of porn is the sweet, pretend-relationships, right? Honesty with Hashem only comes a long while after I learn to quit faking out other people and myself. And that takes more than a few weeks or months of real work.

Please don't put the cart before the horse, chaver. This work is simple, simple, simple. Honesty with people leads to more honesty with ourselves, and that will lead us to more honesty with our Only Eternal and Best Friend, Hashem. Think about it and use your seichel, get eitzos if you like - and then just do it.

Instead of starting with t'filloh or deep study of yourself or G-d, just open up to safe real people about yourself and your struggles; look a bit at your relationships with others and take the actions of real love and real connection with them. And go on from there wherever it leads you. You do not really run your life, Hashem does. You let Him do that by getting the brain the heck out of His way. As the Kotzker would say: Hashem is only found where people let Him in. Our deep thinking and trying to figure it all out and gain his'orerus, is actually one of the main things not letting Hashem in. For it just leads us to more comfy, warm, heiligeh...isolation.

Re: Dov 15 Dec 2013 02:39 #224967

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I find this line to be the most important for this site (as Dov says most of "us" are not addicts)

Dov wrote:
Just because you may be taking a step back from the addiction thing and the 12 steps (and I agree that it may be a good idea for you to step back) does not mean you cannot learn from the successes of the addicts. And the main thing addicts learn to do from the very start is this: run from the comfort of isolation.


sorry for that hijack
Yankel | My Ladder | Talking to Hashem
I'm just a dude, another guy on this bus.
Have a great day, unless, of course, you made other plans. ~ obbormottel
"Nothing changes as long as everything stays the same" ~ Dov

Re: Dov 15 Dec 2013 10:25 #224987

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No need to apologize. This thread is about highlighting dovisms... Which is exactly what you did.

Re: Dov Quotes 28 Dec 2013 00:12 #225728

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Acceptance - Being at Peace With the Facts

Dov wrote:
Hi Doc,

One option here is the one I and many others have taken. Gibor alluded to it, I think, but I am suggesting breaking things into smaller pieces. It may sound not as frum, but I don;t think it is:

Long before trying to focus on 'humbly serving G-d', make humility a goal in itself - G-d-service or no G-d-service. There is a lot on that in the 12 step literature, like in AA, the 12 and 12 on steps 3 and 7, and elsewhere. A drop of humility really makes life less heavy, less tense, and a lot more fun for ourselves and for all those around us.

But even before that, i have to do something first:

Accept G-d's Will for me. And that has nothing directly to do with being frum. It's more about accepting the Torah - not yet the mitzvos, for actually, the majority of the Torah is not about mitzvos!

"Istakloh b'oraiso ubara almoh" means that for everything that happens in this world, in your life, there is a remez in the Torah. It's somewhere in there, as the GR"A and many others spend time explaining. How fat you are, how much money you have, make or don't make today is in there. How much money you have made till now, how your wife has treated you, whether you are married yet, how many children you have, you health, your wife's health, how the guy next to you drives this evening on his way to work, how his wife treats him that affects his mood and the way he will drive and the traffic jam it will cause affecting the lives of 2-3 thousand people w/you on the freeway this morning, how your hair looks if you have any, what rebbi and teachers your kids have and their moods today, and whether your boss is nice to you or not, etc, etc... today and every day forever...they are all tailored expressions of His Will for you.

I'd estimate there are 10,000 variables at the very least (maybe more like 100,000) and are the ways His Will specified for you will be expressed today. Now, how many mitzvos and halachos really come your way on a given day? 200-300 or so, at most?

With mitzvos, we frummies consider whether to accept His will, meaning whether to keep it - to do it - or not to do it. But at it's core, the 3rd step is not about that! Its is about accepting His Will for us. Not doing it, but just accepting that His Will is at work through the day throughout our lives, on all those myriad factors that make up our real lives: How we look, what happens to us, what we've got, have't got, etc...

Most of those things we see and know, but do not accept. This stuff is very basic and deceptively obvious. But as Mesilas Yeshorim points out, to the extent that it is obvious, people ignore it. There are amputees who know they are missing a leg, wear a prosthesis to hide it, and cry over their disfigured body every now and then - they may know they are amputees, but do not accept it yet. So they suffer terribly...maybe forever.

But there are many amputees who readily admit it. If they ever see a person who has recently lost their leg, these are the folks who will go over and say, "Hi, I'm Sammy, and I'm an amputee, too. It's OK. My life is just fine," and start up a candid discussion with the unaccepting one. It changes lives. All because they accept the facts about themselves.

But to do that, an amputee needs to lose the shame of having a leg missing. Some people (you will see it here) deal with it by shunning labels and say, "I wouldn't ever say 'I am an amputee' - because that is not what I am at my core." Gibberish. Being an amputee does not define me as a person. It's just a true thing about me. And also, it is not disgusting, either - even if you, him, and most people in this room might think that it is! I do not accept that, and know that it is not disgusting. Acceptance means coming to peace with it, with the facts.

And BTW, it's the same with 'addict'. I am an addict. A sex and lust addict. If i know it but do not accept it, then I will be trying to run from myself. Here on GYE we call that, "struggling". And I will fail. But if I accept it, then I am accepting G-d's Will for me. I am a Jew, a father, a husband, a xyz shul member, am short, fat, a kolel man, a sex addict, and lots of other things. Now that I truly and fully accept it - I can start to learn what addicts do to live right. But not before.

Sorry I strayed to addiction. My main point is that before accepting avodas Hashem, how about spending a few months just trying to accept the Will of Hashem for you? Your life circumstances, your limitations, your people. As they all are. Just for a while. Not knowing them, but accepting them.

If you are already doing that, I contend that you would not be falling. Lust would not find a foothold in your mind. You'd be too busy living life rather than trying to outsmart it. I am not accusing you of being a bad guy - just normal.

It may be the first way you will really start to learn about G-d in your life. Works for me...

Just a thought to consider. Not changing from davening or anything else, but just a change on focus for a good while.

And a few months after that you can start to talk about focusing on serving G-d humbly, and actually get some traction there. And pray for me please.

Re: Dov 03 Feb 2014 22:09 #227320

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Dating and Addict vs. Normal Yetzer Hora

Dov wrote:
That may be good advice, but it's gotta be only a start, at best. There is simply no way that just resisting the desire to chase and enjoy porn or masturbate one's self is going to change a habitual porn-worshiper and masturbater enough to...to what?

Yes, porn-on-the-brain is a condition that makes it impossible to date properly. But I think a rule that 'any guy who has masturbated should not be dating for x-amount of time' makes no sense, at all. And this is why:

The first question to answer here here is, are we talking about a guy who has been worshiping images of naked women and worshiping his penis and self-pleasuring on-demand as part of a long-standing love affair with fantasy (or with real fantasy women), or not? That was me for about 20 years...11 of them married and in hell.

So...

If we are talking about a man who is an addict and has a long-standing chronic, progressive 'problem'...then vadai even staying clean forever will not fix him. He needs some sort of real help. Negative sobriety is just not going down-hill. It's great, holy, and super...but corrects nothing. Such a guy should not be dating! He is fooling himself and probably way too disoriented by her body, his fantasies, and hos adventures last night in his bed or shower, to have the soundness of mind to decide anything as huge as who to marry, right now. He needs a sognificant period of clean time, and a real corection of his attitudes toward women, towad his need for sex, toward other things, too, probably. And without those changes, he is like a man running full speed in pitch-darkness. He's probably gonna screw up badly and be very, very sad. Just staying clean will not save him.

But if we are just talking about a normal guy who has a yetzer hora, eyeballs, and privates, and struggles with his desires (as the Torah and sforim tell us to) even if he is not perfectly successful - then that is just a normal person! And if he came to GYE or wherever and was inculcated with the nonesense that 'anything less than perfect success against his yetzer hora proves that you have an addiction'...then I believe he has been very badly misled.

He should be dating like anyone else should be dating...no difference.

People just need to be a little more honest with themselves, either way. The best way for that to actually happen, is to open up to another safe, understanding, person. They can help you know if your problem is within the realm of normal. But it has been well-known for a long time that religious fascination with ultimate purity has made many young men into fastidiously obsessive sexual anorexices...and they end up thinking about sex and lust far more in the long-run than they would have otherwise.

Hey, did that go on too long?

Does anyone in the parsha hear me at all?

Does anyone on the parsha care?

Re: Dov 08 Feb 2014 00:44 #227492

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What is a Sobriety Date?

Someone asked Dov:

Dov, they say you've been clean in SA for 13 years. Does that mean that you did not make even ONE mistake?

Dov Replies:

No, it does not mean that. I use the sobriety definition of SA as explained to me by my sponsor and others. My sobriety date only means that by the grace (chessed chinam) of Hashem, I have never masturbated or been with anyone other than my wife since that date. It is truly a very narrow definition of sobriety and does not measure my recovery in any reliable way. I do not believe it is meant to. That having been said, the value of a sobriety date is in the fact that it doesn't happen by holding one's breath... that is, one cannot be sober for a very long time unless there is also recovery. And as recovery does not progress while a person is actively using their drug, sobriety is indispensable. To me, sobriety is like breathing - and recovery is like living.

Given the nature of this particular addiction/drug - the natural capacity to lust and be sexual - it is not likely that anyone will actually stay sober for very long without active recovery. For me, that means meetings, sponsorship (service), and working (not just studying) the steps. Hence the value people place on long-term sobriety. That's what SA calls "progressive freedom (or the more goyishe word: 'victory') over lust." It is assumed that an addict in recovery either progresses or regresses in their freedom from lust as a motivation in their life. There does not seem to be much room for stagnation. Maybe there is room for a bit of it (we have all coasted occasionally), but not much... and we never know how much slack we will be 'given'. No worries though, cuz if we are lucky, lust will soon kick us in the behind unceremoniously and help us right back into serious recovery.

I have lusted many times, have looked at pornography a number of times, have done many things which were part of my acting-out behaviors many times over the years - in sobriety. The point is, that I reacted to that by: making my calls for help to people and to my G-d earlier and earlier which helped me learn to surrender earlier and earlier; using the slips as opportunities to get more aware of my powerlessness (living a better 1st step); by admitting freely in every meeting I went to that I was not perfect and indeed having a problem and exactly what behaviors it was; and by not giving up. When I asked my sponsor if I should change my sobriety date he would say, "You want to define your own sobriety? Why bother? If you keep playing around you will lose your sobriety pretty soon anyway! And if you go back to zero, you will probably figure you might as well try your hand at some serious acting out - if you are at zero, anyway!" That helped me come to my senses, alright!

My sobriety is far from a perfect one. But Hashem has helped me remember how precious sobriety is to me today. He has been helping me run from risky curiosity and other thoughts, talk, and actions that might damage my precious sobriety. And today our life is far better than I could have ever dreamed - for me and my entire family - without any other motivation than recovery. I ask Him to help me stay sober so that I can continue to recover (and live) and to help me stay in recovery so that I can remain sober (and not die). And my freedom from lust is increasing, it seems, though I am obviously still an addict and my life still cannot work while I pursue lust.
Last Edit: 08 Feb 2014 00:45 by gibbor120.

Re: Dov 07 Apr 2014 20:27 #230040

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Understanding Does not Bring Sobriety, It is Sobriety That Brings Understanding

Dov wrote:
unanumun wrote:
Dov, despite my short time on the forum, I expected such a response from you at some point as I was writing the initial post.
I understand what you are trying to say. However, you may be right, but as you said it took you 15 years to make that realization. Yes, it is true that it is good to learn from others' mistakes, however may I suggest that the realization came from a progression from thinking about things and coming to a clarity....


Oy, no. That's not accurate...and it is not even what I meant.

First, I see this expressed here frequently, so let me just say that just because a thing is known by a guy with 2, 5, 10 or 20 years of sobriety time, does not mean that what they are saying is something they just figured out after all those years! But that's just an aside.

Second, 90% of whatever conscious gifts (insight) I have been given I never figured out at all. They just occurred to me in the natural course of working real recovery when G-d decided it was time for me to get them. They were recognized after the fact. And that's also an aside.

Third, the insights themselves are not so precious to me. Rather, it is the growth that enabled me to be a k'li (so far) for the insights is what is so precious to me. This is a major point that few seem to grasp. When you wrote that my insights were the product of fifteen years of thinking, you demonstrate that you are coming from an entirely different perspective on that. One that just is not the way life really is, at least for me and many sober guys I know. If I have insights they were not the product of thinking, but the product of getting beaten to a pulp by my own behavior again and again. But please, if you can think your way put of this habit and it really works, kol hakavod! I just doubt many here will actually do that. Instead, many just condemn themselves to a longer, more insidious descent into stupidity and ugliness, like in the 15 years I was referring to above.

So let me take a step back now, and explain

but as you said it took you 15 years to make that realization.

that those 15 years were the 15 years before I became sober, not the first 15 years of my recovery, at all. They were ages 20-35...when I tried yiddishkeit, mussar, chassidus, psychologists, lots more masturbation, more psychologists (3), working on sholom bayis, rabbonim (4 or 5), saying lots of p'sukim, visitng Rebbes, more mikvah with and without tikkun klali, more mussar, going away to EY for two years, marriage (with lots of sex of course), kiruv rechokim, and therapy with and without medication - all to try and finally control this thing...and all to no avail. And let me be clear: even our masturbation was often just to try and control it - because sometimes we were weary of fighting, and sincerely felt that the only way to finally feel truly free of the bitter struggle and obsession even just for a while - was to get it over and give into it (please see the Nuclear Reset Button).

During the latter 11 of those 15 years, I was married. I was then an active sexaholic not yet even close to recovery. The most important issue on my mind was not getting caught...and the second most important issue on my mind was how to quit and stay clean (of course, impossible). Naturally, marriage just made my problem sicker and worse. I was terrified when it became evident that sex with a real woman (my wife) was never going to solve my hunger...in fact no one woman could. But I did not see that yet...

And as I said before, it was not understanding that brought me to me knees and to being ready to do whatever it would take to never act out my lust again - rather, it was just plain suffering. I had to get beaten down, there was no other way for me. My ego was just too big to admit defeat.

Finally I got sober out of shear fear, and within a week was directed to SA in order to stay sober (sober in SA means never having sex with myself [masturbating] or with anyone other than my wife). Somewhere during the first 5 years of sober time, I saw most of the things I share here. Maybe it was in the first year, maybe later on. But more and more basic recovery concepts jelled for me as the years sober went on and they still continue be"H. I still understand very little - but I am sober and life is great nonetheless. For understanding does not bring sobriety. It is sobriety that brings understanding.

And I would gladly trade all the understanding I have and will ever have of recovery, for today's plain sobriety.

This is the main thing I am here to report, and it is the opposite of what you keep writing. Instead of thinking ourselves out of this problem and into right living - the experience of addicts on 12 step recovery is that we can only live ourselves into right thinking. And by 'live', we mean taking actions of sobriety and recovery. Those actions are attending regular meetings, getting and using a sponsor, and honestly working the steps one day at a time.

But that takes a bit of humility...or enough humiliation. Otherwise the brain keeps on trying to 'master' the lust and our sexuality in order to 'make us get sober'. It seems to be insulting to our intellect to make it follow our sobriety. Nu. But it's a living...

Sobriety and honesty with other real people that brings sanity and honesty with ourselves. The other way around just does not work for us.

And I submit that it has not worked for you, either - rather, I suggest that your path of thinking is precisely what made you the frum sexual compulsive guy who sits in that chair posting for help on GYE, in the first place. In AA they say, "Our very best thinking is what got us here." No shame, there. It's just the way it is.

A very hard thing to accept. Especially for frum guys, who have a ready excuse that can 'separate' the problem from ourselves: blaming it on G-d by saying it was not me and my thinking, but this external force called the 'YH'. But after a while passes in sobriety, maybe six months to a year, we begin to see that the problem was never in our penises, but in our minds. A whole new world...very far from the old temptation/sin/good-bad thing. And it works.

Is this making any sense at all, chaver?

- Dov

Re: Dov 25 Nov 2014 21:18 #244098

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Two Meanings of Powerlessness:

Dov wrote:
OK, let me clarify, Cordnoy/Avrohom (cuz you brought up the point). I guess there are two bechinos of "powerlessness":

One is that a person is unable to withstand the temptation and is guaranteed to succumb. For example, an alcoholic and his entire family knows, that he will definitely drink again.

The second is that whether he will drink again or not, one thing is absolutely clear: unlike normal people, this guy cannot drink well.

Sure he can drink a lot...but never well. Meaning that if he drinks, he will become a mess even if he does not become drunk. Once he resumes drinking it is just a matter of time before he runs his life and family into the ground by missing work, lying to his closest loved ones about where he is and why, wasting time and money secretly, not being present emotionally cuz he is worried about his next binge, and just generally puking his life away, because he is dependent on it.

If I consciously take in lust by intentionally viewing porn, people being sexual with each other in their car or home, reading a dirty book, or touching myself in a sexual way - I am finished. Not only will I just ejaculate before even being able to get an erection, but I will feel very crazy inside and it will rather quickly seem undeniably logical that I absolutely need erotic satisfaction and cannot live another hour without it. My entire sense of logic will change and there is no way out of that, because the truly crazy person cannot see himself as crazy...till after it will be over.

So once I start drinking, I cannot control it the way a normal person (Jew or goy) can. I cannot lst like a gentleman. I do not 'lust well' though most American's do. They watch a little porn and enjoy it - I could not 'enjoy' it at all, for it would take my mind over. Whenever I saw a movie with a little schmutz in it, my friends talked openly about the entire movie and that scene was in the discussion, too - while I was the quiet one...but that scene was all I thought about all night long!

15 years ago I could not go to my sister-in-law's high school graduation in a healthy way. I tried, but had to look away and walk out and turn my glasses upside down and my head inside out. Sex with my wife was so complicated and troubling that it made problems even when it was good. Relationships with females in my family and wife's family and my work were all filled with tension for me.

Now, I can do all those things, function and relax, w/o getting distracted by the lust, feminine power, or whatever.

In other words, if you stick a dirty image in my face I can surrender it and be fine. But if I intentionally examine it and take in the sweetness of it, I believe I will be lost. I even feel my 'engine' down there running, as described above and know I will get past that good old 'point of no return' (that is the horror of all 'partially masturbating' yeshiva boys right before we start trying to squeeze it back in, if you recall) and ejaculate, losing my sobriety.

Yet I can have normal nice sex with my wife without rushing it at all. Obviously, my sex isn't at all like erotic stealing, acting out, or porn use. And that's not simple. It requires frequent work on keeping it that way, I often stray and need an adjustment, and have used longer periods of mutually voluntary sexual abstinence to help get things back on track (wife still going to mikvah, just no sexuality) and not based on lust. Real life is not linear and not a smooth ride. It's OK. G-d helps and my friends are there for me to admit it all to - and they won;t try to convince me not to act out...they will just listen and understand. And that works! It helps me surrender when i need to.

So I believe I am even more sensitive to my own lust than before should I choose to use it - and generally not affected by other people's dirty talk, nudity, lust, schmutz, women scantily or normally clad, nor to comfortable sexuality w my wife. That is what i mean by my being powerless over lust, and actually even more powerless than ever. It's not the prospect of lusting that i am powerless over - it is active lusting. If I do that, my threshold is very, very low now. No clue why that is, but it is.

Unfortunately, so much of the GYE chevra see lust as all about 'sin', the 'yetzer hora' and about women in the street that are so big and scary and 'grab your kedusha away from you if you don't watch out!'. Gevalt. As though lust is really 'out there' and gets you if you are not careful!

....well, I do not believe it is. It's right in here, 'beficho ubilvov'cho'!! And seeing a pretty woman isn't lust - it just turns lust on if we take her image in and try to use it as though we were normal people and can enjoy such things as normal people may. They can do that and get away with it, but we addicts cannot. We cannot lust well, just as alkies cannot drink well. When we try to, we start isolating, self-pitying, OCDing about kedusha and tahara, lying and faking (and using fake names in chat, phone, etc.), and Nobody ever grabbed our hands and forced us to masturbate and nobody ever forced us to lust and fantasize.

Does that make sense yet? It's very late and I am very sleepy, so forgive me if this was unclear.

- Dov

And as far as the first bechinah of powerlessness, I am sometimes afraid I wont be sober by next week...but it's not because of a specific temptation. Today I have the keilim to surrender that, be"H and G-d is really Good to us addicts.

Re: Dov 15 Dec 2014 23:48 #245194

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Sobriety is Breathing, Recovery is Living!

Recovery for a sex and lust addict is not about g'darim, but about sanity. G'darim, and boundaries in general, are indispensable for allowing G-d to give me freedom from lust, but they are not recovery itself. They are only a tool. It's like breathing is to living: Sobriety is like breathing, while recovery is living. Is our goal in life just breathing?

True, for a man coming out of an iron lung, or with terrible asthma, breathing may indeed be the overriding, most prominent goal of his life - but we all hope that this mode will come to an end, and he will eventually appreciate and focus on things like eating, working, having a family, Yiddishkeit, you know - living! I work in a hospital and have come to know many sick people who have made the central focus of all their waking moments their own survival. Maybe I'd be like that if I'd be that sick (which I might be), but hope not...

I have seen the same in recovery. Constant focus on g'darim and shunning true growth and living free of the terror of acting-out. And I have seen the same in Yiddishkeit, particularly among ba'alei teshuvah (like me). Obsession with particular struggle, issue, or mitzvah and a sad loss of balance. No grasp of the 'big picture' of living as a Jew.

Re: Dov 04 Mar 2015 19:22 #249953

  • gibbor120
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The Battle is Opening Up... and it Remains the Battle

Dov wrote:
Wow.

What gave you what you now have, though, was not introspection, right? It was the magic of opening up honestly to another. The 'battle' most of us professional hiders (read: porn and masturbation users - especially among the frum) have, is opening up. And believe it or not, it remains the battle!

We often open up as you have, then start to see the 'magical' self-honesty that results from our great act of honesty...only to start believing that now that we have made the 'right of passage' we are cured, different somehow.

Sadly, it's not that way.

You started finding that honesty with self does not come from introspection, but as a result of opening up to others. I implore you to keep doing what got you here, rather than what many of us do: run off enjoying a gift we really do not own. It was a gift we got by opening up uncomfortably - and will remain a gift we keep only by opening up uncomfortably.

You may find that your wife is not the best person for that job...

Hatzlocha whatever you find, chaver!!

- Dov

Re: Dov 08 Mar 2015 02:53 #250029

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Dov has been apt to say:

I can't; He can!
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If one gives up at the first sign of a struggle, he is really not ready to be successful."
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Re: Dov 21 Oct 2015 16:46 #266571

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Women at Work: Surrender Vs. Struggle

Dov wrote:
lookingforhelp wrote:
Hey Dov
Thanks for the clarification
However you didn't do the full job yet!
How are we (I) really able to handle all those nice looking women at work. And it's intresting that only those ladies are always walking in and out of the mens section!! (I wonder why:P ).
It's interesting that the jewish women look way more hot then the non jewish ladies!!!


Not to make it personal, but just to illustrate a point, I will tell you the biggest difference between me and you. read your post. You ask how to handle nice-looking women. You still think you can handle them. You see them and think about them, and think about fighting your desire for them, and think about them some more, and think again even more about how you can fight your desire to connect to them in thought, vision, fantasy, and maybe eventually one day something a bit more.

I do not try to handle them because I have admitted to myself that I am powerless over lust and cannot manage my own life using lust at all. So I do not fight them, do not think about them and how to wrestle with them. It's a different attitude because I have different beliefs than you do. Your frumkeit makes you attach them to you even more. You do not let them go.

I surrender, you struggle.

If you really let them go, then you could do the decent thing and see them as frail people - just as you and I are. People who have needs and need tefilos. Life is hard, and everyone has tzaros. Fantasy erases all that because it tells us to see them as sex toys for us..."ein isha ella l'noy!" And our struggle for 'madreigos' is really just arrogance. That arrogance converts these real women into objects - a cheftza to struggle with...or maybe even into 'disgusting shiksas' to disdain. As if disdain will keep us from drooling about their perfect figure and beautiful faces? A lie. Quite the reverse. Our 'disgust' is feigned. Pretending we are 'disgusted' by them and that they are 'evil', actually just ends up providing us with more license to lust after them even more for they are not really real people in the full sense any more. Heh. it always backfires. While in truth, we - you - worship them for their beauty and sweet feminine power. If not, why all the struggle with them? What's the draw? Why do we keep coming back to their 'ugliness' for more, like a dog returning to his vomit?...i guess they are not vomit to me, in reality, are they. Keep trying.

Acceptance of reality is often a lonely, scary thing. We even misuse Torah in order to avoid it.

It hurts to admit you - we - worship - yes, worship - them.

So my experience tells me to start with admitting they are people as frail as I am, that if I had been brought up with their nature and families, I might have become even worse than they are, and mayb, just maybe, I will be able to pray for their benefit. To really care for them instead of use them. To do what Hashem does - He shows His love for them (and everything in the briyah) and cares for them with His hashpo'oh every second. They have a mission in life. Each Jew and even each goy has a purpose in His plan. And if I find myself unable to just let her go, then I know one thing: I have elevated her to some degree of superhuman status. i worship her feminine power and it is time to bring her down to my own level. Frail, needy, real. Not lower than me - just equal. A fellow human being. I do that by praying honestly for her health, her family, her future and for her to come to have the right relationship Hashem wants her to have with HimHashem as you wish Hashem...just as He wants to have a certain relationship with you.

So simply put, it is really not about self control, but about actually believing differently than we do right now. And the first thing to do to practice that is to ignore these women. Stop practicing the drooling, the second looks and the obsessive thinking about them. Let them go. Accept that she - and certainly her body - has absolutely nothing to do with you. If you cannot accept that, you will know it, because you will keep right on fantasizing about her image and obsessing about her image.

The thing to do then is to let go of her 'object-ness' by praying for her. Not by self-reighteously praying for her to "do teshuvah and stop being such a slut"...heheh, that would just be furthering our arrogance and making her into veiter just an object. Once she is a bit less of a person, we lust a bit more with them. So we start by praying from the depths of your heart for her health and future, children, and relationship with hashem. Then you ask for each of these same things for your own wife just the same, and for your children, and for yourself.

If the first path of ignoring and surrendering what's not ours does not work for us, then we obviously are sicker and need more work so we move to the second path: sincere prayer for them.

If the prayer is sincere, the lust slips right off us and we can them move on with living without them in our lives and minds.

But if we find ourselves again and again fantasizing and obsessing, we just do it all over again. No problem. If it keeps up and does not work, then it means one thing: we still want them too much to let them go.

Saying that now, before trying the above, is meaningless. That just means we do not want to work at all. But if you really try to let the two paths above and it is still not working, then it simply means I still want her in my life - I am not really willing to surrender her.

If that is made clear, could you go on to admit just that? Or will you need to invent a philosophical or religious issue to excuse you...such as 'the yetzer hora makes me do it' (blaming G-d), or 'they just dress to pritzusdik' (blaming them), etc, etc.?

Good questions!

Re: Dov Quotes 24 Dec 2015 17:54 #272270

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Dov wrote:
Not necessarily.

Often, being married while being a fake is even more lonely. Much more lonely.
Life is Like a Bicycle: If its easy, you're going downhill
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Re: Dov Quotes 18 Jul 2016 03:37 #292147

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Working on Addiction or Recovery
Dov wrote:

andrewsh wrote:

The reason i would like to avoid the 'addict' label, is due to that if i am an addict then it involves 10 times more work and a lifelong commitment. I do realise however befor you all start ranting that this does require tremendous work and a lifelong commitment.I am purely in the early stages of self denial etc.... but realise deep down something solid needs to be done, hey its day 6!



I hear you loud and clear - and remember the same feelings. But let me tell you that you are making a bit of a funny mistake, chaver. Not facing it and doing the lifelong work is only a guarantee of lifelong work of a different kind: hiding, lying, and managing two lives while sturggling for all the normal stuff (family, job, yiddishkeit, money, friends) that we all expect life owes us...once you find out that you are hooked, that means it's basically a program of recovery or a program of garbage for us.
We are on a path of lifelong hard work, either way!
No wonder the drinkers drink so much. They want to drown themselves rather than face the fact that there ain't no easy way out (steve miller band?).
Nu.
Really, once we go to meetings, or whatever we