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One of the ways to deal with urges is by avoiding things that can trigger urges, or by my making it physically difficult to act on an urge. This is also referred to as stimulus control. 12-step programs refer talk about avoiding "people, places and things" that can be triggering.

Although stimulus control can never cover all situations, it sill can be tremendously helpful. If we're are bombarded with triggers and and urges all day, we can get tired and burnout from dealing with them. So to make things easier for ourselves, it's smart to minimize triggers as much as possible. We'll still have plenty of opportunities to use our urge management skills.

The most obvious type of stimulus control is to block our access to porn as much as possible. You can do this by going to your local TAG office, or by filling out GYE's Protect My Devices form. Or you can go connect directly with good filter companies like Netspark, Gentech, Techloq, Netfree etc. There are also some nice image filters that you can install for Chrome (see here and here).

Aside from filters, we can delete any inappropriate material we have saved anywhere, delete email accounts or social media accounts that have been used for shmutz. Same goes for contacts, bookmarks etc.

Another area of focus is to avoid situations that lead to triggers. They can be times of the day, certain emotions, or even thought patterns.

For example, if you always masturbate at night when going to bed, that situation might be a trigger. You can then plan how to change the situation a bit to weaken the trigger. For example, you can take an MP3 player and listen to something interesting until you fall asleep.  

12-steps programs talk about H.A.L.T. which means "Don't become too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired." SMART Recovery also talks about B.A.D.S. (Boredom, Anxiety, Depression, Stress). Do you find your urges are more common when you have one of these feelings? If yes, you might want to update your plan to include strategies of how to deal with it. 

If you have trouble identifying you triggers, the SMART handbook recommends keeping an urge log. An urge log is a table with the following columns:
  • Date / time
  • Strength of urge (1-10)
  • Length of urge
  • What triggered my urge
  • Where/who was I with
  • How I copied and my feelings about coping
  • Alternative activities/substitute behaviors.

By keeping such a log for a few days, you can start identifying your triggers, and update your plan as needed.
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Distract yourself - by thinking about something else
In contrast to the distraction technique mentioned earlier, this one is about redirecting your attention by using your mind alone (cognitive only). This seems to be more helpful for low intensity urges. The benefit of this is that since it's all in your head, you can do it immediately, no matter what situation you are in. Here are some suggestions on how to do this:

Decide on three substance-free things that you will begin thinking of immediately whenever you experience a craving or urge. These will be your fallback or go-to responses whenever cravings/urges arise and can be the building blocks of a new habit. These thoughts can be of events, people, songs, phrases, or even places that are special to them in some way. Examples could be the birth of a child, earning a raise or promotion at work, or simply a loved one. -- Group Treatment for Substance Abuse



What is the happiest place you can imagine? Think about being there. Think of every sensory detail—see, hear, smell, taste, and touch these. -- The PERFECT Program



Distract Yourself. Concentrate on something other than your urge ... Focusing on your Hierarchy of Values is a positive form of distraction.


In The Porn Trap, the author suggests:

A simple sensory awareness exercise can help you shift your attention away from what you’ve been thinking about and on to something else in your environment. Begin by saying the phrase, “Now I’m aware of…,” and then complete it by stating something you see in your environment. For example, “Now I’m aware of the sun coming through the window.” Repeat and complete the phrase “Now I’m aware of…,” until you have identified five different things that you see. Continue the exercise stating five different things you are aware of hearing, then five things you are aware of touching or feeling in side your body. This exercise can help center you sensually in the reality of your present environment and take you farther away from the fantasy world of porn.


Dr. Thomas Horvath in his Workbook for Overcoming Addictions writes:

Deliberately shift your focus to something that is easy to stay focused on. For instance, look around you. Is there something in the room that you could count? It might be ceiling tiles, floor tiles, designs on wallpaper or paneling, window blinds, leaves of a plant, or something that you can observe through a window outside the room. Count the objects that you see as rapidly as you can. For instance, count the number of blinds that you see on a window. If you count very rapidly and as accurately as you can, you will find that other thoughts that were on your mind go away, because you are focused on the counting.


Horvath also gives the following examples:


  • Subtract numbers (for instance, subtract 7 from 1,000 and get 993, subtract 7 again and get 986, subtract 7 again, and so on)
  • Say the alphabet backwards
  • Read words backwards (say the word correctly but read the sequence backwards: "backwards words read")
  • Play the "alphabet game" by looking at license plates, book titles or a printed page and find an A, then a B, then a C, etc.
  • Tighten the muscles in your body in a particular sequence, over and over (tighten your feet, then your calves, then your thighs, then your pelvis, then your stomach, then your chest, then your shoulders, then your neck, then your face, over and over again) / reach into your pocket or purse and attempt to identify coins or other objects there just by feel.

Now להבדיל בין חול לקודש, there are plenty sources for this idea (called היסח הדעת) in Torah sources. Here's a list of references, and be"h in the future, I'll post the actual quotes:

Redirecting attention to neutral things
ספר חסידים אות ד' וראה שם סי' תתרמה
טעמי המצות להר"ר מנחם ריקאנטי בל"ת צ"ד
כתר ראש להגר"ח מוולאזין אות קל"ו
לקוטי מוהר"ן ח"א סי' רלג
קריינא דאיגרתא ח"א סי' טז
שו"ת אדרת תפארת ח"ג סי' ל"ב בשם בנין יוסף פ"ד
שבט מוסר פי"ב
תניא פרק יב
Redirecting attention to Torah
בבא בתרא טז, א וברש"י ד"ה משכהו לבית המדרש
זוהר ח"א קצ, א
רמב"ם הלכות איסורי ביאה סוף פרק כג
שו"ע אבן העזר סי' כג סעיף ג
צל"ח ברכות ה, א
תניא פרק יב ופרק כח
קריינא דאיגרתא ח"א סי' טז
אגרות האדמו"ר מחב"ד ח"ג אגרת ד'תקמח וחלק כ אגרת ז'תצ
שומר אמונים יד, ב
דרכי החיים ח"א ע' תה
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Last Edit: 26 Jan 2020 14:45 by MenachemGYE.
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Recall negative consequences
Anytime you start thinking about the benefits of porn or masturbation, use it as a reminder to start thinking about the negative consequences. This can help somewhat neutralize the urge, or at least give you enough motivation to resist the urge. Your CBA can help you find out what the negative consequences are for you.
In The Porn Myth by Matthew Fradd, he describes it like this:

Finish the fantasy. This might sound counterintuitive, but it is so practical. When something triggers an initial thought, our mind gets stuck in a rut of anticipation. Thoughts are focused on what is coming or what we could be doing. Instead of staying in that rut, finish the fantasy: picture yourself following through with the action—walking to your computer, binging on porn for a few hours, masturbating, and then feeling like a miserable failure as a result.


Another variation is to think about both the negative consequences and the the pros of quitting. The SMART handbook recommends:

Review your CBA. It may not turn off the discomfort, but it may help you maintain your motivation to resist your urge. It may help to review it regularly, even when you’re not having an urge.


Similarly, in Changeology, Dr. John Norcross writes:

Remind yourself of the reason for your goal. Remember to use both sides (the two-headed push-pull) of the motivation: the push away from the disgusting behavior and the pull toward a brighter future. Such a process rarely stops a raging urge, but it powerfully reminds you of the psychological triggers in the past and the psychological payoffs in the future.

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Last Edit: 26 Jan 2020 12:58 by MenachemGYE.
Introduction: Why these techniques work?

When you have an urge to do something, the urge will usually go away by itself after a short time. If you have an urge to scratch a mosquito bite, how long does the itch last if you do nothing? Maybe a few minutes. The same thing happens with urges to engage in a behavior. If you do nothing, the urge will be gone in a few minutes.

The exact amount of time can vary from person to person, but it rarely lasts longer than 20 minutes. (Unless you are exposed to a trigger such as an immodestly dressed person, or if you are purposely fantasizing etc.)

That’s right, if you don’t give in to the urge, you won’t explode, it will eventually get weaker and disappear. The techniques below are about training yourself to withhold from acting on the urge until the urge has passed.

As you practice these techniques for a few weeks, you’ll brain will start unlearning the habit of masturbating and watching porn, and over time, the urges will become less intense and less frequent.

Distract yourself - by doing something else
Make a list of possible distracting activities you can engage in when you have an urge, and add it to your plan. Find something that you think can really distract you. It needs to be something interesting that will grab your attention. Pacing back and forth in the room won’t do the trick...

Since your mind can’t think about 2 things at once, the distraction will redirect your attention away from the urge and into something else. Some examples are calling a friend or family member, playing a game, reading a good book (you might want to reserve a book just for this purpose), exercise, or taking a walk outside.

Be realistic, for some people a sefer can be distracting enough. For others, they’ll need a good (kosher) movie to do the trick. By the time you have an urge, it will be hard to come up with ideas of how to distract yourself. But if you plan in advance exactly what you will do and include them in your plan, you can start a distracting activity the moment you get an urge.

Remembering the pros of abstinence
Sometimes when we have an urge, our thinking becomes blurred, and we can't remember why we decided to quit. To use this technique summarize the list of benefits of staying clean (if you've done a Cost - Benefit Analysis - CBA, you'll can take the list from there), and keep it handy. Then next time you have an urge, read the list and think about the great benefits you'll gain if you resist the urge.  

Delay 
Make a commitment that no matter what, you won’t act on an urge right away. Instead you’ll wait at least 20 minutes (or some other amount of time). Hopefully, by then the urge will have passed. If you want to use this technique, decide how many minutes you are ready to wait, and add it to your plan.
Even if you ended up watching porn or mastrubating after 20 minutes, congratulate for at least sticking to your plan! You’re still better off than if you have done it right away. By refusing to gratify yourself instantly, you have strengthened your self-control muscles which is good for your long term success. If this happens repeatedly, try increasing the number of minutes, until you find the amount of time that works best for you. It’s also possible that your urges last longer than usual because your actively focusing on it (e.g. fantasizing about what you’re like to watch). If you notice such a pattern, try to spice up your delay technique to make it more practical, for example instead of just waiting for 20 minutes, commit to do some activity for 20 minutes, like taking a walk.   

Mindfulness / Surf the Urge

Mindfulness is a very broad area and has been gaining a lot popularity in recent years. For now I'll discus a mindfulness style technique called "Urge Surfing". This technique was first described in Relapse Prevention (1985) p. 10 and p. 241, and has been gaining popularity ever since.The short description below doesn't do justice to the topic, but it's a start... 

Just like a surfer knows how to ride a wave without getting hurt, and urge surfer learns how to let an urge come and pass without getting affected. When an urge comes, observe it curiously, as if you are an outside observer. Think to yourself, “Hmm… here comes the urge, I wonder where it came from. It’s not my true desire, the proof is my CBA. It’s just a fleeting urge coming from who-knows-where, like images in a dream…” Keep on observing the urge, noticing how it feels, until it reaches its peak. Then notice how the urge gets weaker and weaker until it disappears. By doing this, you just sit (or lie down) and do nothing when you get an urge. You don’t fight it, and you don’t try to distract yourself. You just observe it until it’s gone.

This technique is very powerful, because all it requires is your mind. Even when you have no way to distract yourself, and don’t have the energy to fight, you can still use the technique. However this technique takes some time to practice. So if you want to include it in your plan, try to practice urge surfing for everyday things until you become good at it. For example, when you feel the urge to eat a 5th cookie at midnight, try to “surf the urge”.

An idea that goes along with this technique is externalizing the urge. Instead of identifying with your urge, view it as a response to some external trigger or situation. Instead of thinking “I need to watch porn right now,'' think “I’m currently experiencing an urge to watch porn”.

If you have access to YouTube (I hope you don't!) you can listen to the following audio clips that can help with a lot with urge surfing. These audios were prepared by Fortify. Search YouTube for "Fortify Urge Surfing Guidance (In The Moment)" and "Fortify Urge Surfing Practice"
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Last Edit: 26 Jan 2020 12:26 by MenachemGYE.

When people have a fall and watch porn, they often think, “Oh well, I guess I messed up today anway, so I may as well continue for another few minutes”. “I’ll start fresh tomorrow.” “Actually, this week is messed up already, I’ll start again on Sunday…”.

This kind of thinking is called the “what-the-hell effect” (excuse my language...) and it could really delay your progress. Some people feel so disillusioned after a fall, that it takes them days, weeks or even months until they try again...

Experts call it this type of thinking Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE).

What do you if you’re driving a car and made a wrong turn? With Waze you’ll let the app recalculate and get back on track. You might arrive a few minutes late, but that’s about it. You’re not a bad driver, you just made a mistake. What if you get so upset about your wrong turn, that you pull over to the side, turn off the car and give up? In that case, you’d really arrive late. But no one in their right mind would do that.

In the same way, if your plan doesn’t work the first time, it’s not a catastrophe. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It doesn't mean you can't quit. How many times did you fall off your bike until you learned to ride it smoothly? Learning a new skill or changing a behavior takes practice. Hardly anyone is able to change a behavior on their first attempt. See if there’s anything you can learn from the fall that might help you improve your plan. The sooner you get back on the road, the sooner you’ll reach freedom.

If you back on track really fast, you’ll even keep most of the momentum that you’ve been building up and the fall will barely cause a dent to your overall progress. This point is so important that I'll repeat it again: Psychologically, the faster you get back on track, the more natural it will feel to continue exactly where you left off.

To be continued...

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Re: THE TORAH APPROACH! 26 Jan 2020 03:15 #346955

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The most famous Ramban is in Parshas Bo...

The Ramban (Nachmanides, 1194-1270) 13:16 discusses why so many of the mitzvos (commandments) serve to remind us of the Exodus from Egypt. He cites verses 8:18, “So you shall know that I am Hashem in the midst of the land,” and 9:29, “So you shall know that the world belongs to Hashem,” explaining that the purpose of the miracles was to show that there is an omnipotent G-d who created the world and He continues to control everything that goes on. When Hashem comes and turns the Nile River to blood, covers the land with frogs, turns the dirt to lice and so on, we see clearly that there is a Supreme Power controlling world events. So each time we do a commandment in remembrance of the Exodus, we remember these basic tenets of faith: one, that there is a G-d who controls the world and two, that He continues to control everything that happens here. With this understanding, we can answer our original question, why we needed the miracles to begin with. The purpose of the Exodus experience was not merely to take us out of Egypt but to teach us these tenets of our faith.

The Ramban continues with an extremely profound statement. “From the open miracles one comes to recognize the hidden miracles, and this is the basis of the entire Torah.” What does this mean? Which hidden miracles are the Ramban referring to and how do we see them through the open miracles? And why is this the basis for the Torah?

Says the Ramban, the purpose of open miracles is to get us to think about what is going on. How does this happen? The Nile River turns to blood, which makes us think about and appreciate water. What is water made out of? Two gasses, hydrogen and oxygen. Somehow these two gasses turn into a liquid which is needed for all of us to survive.

One of the plagues was darkness. What makes the world light? The sun. The sun is in the perfect position to keep the universe at a habitable temperature. A little closer and we’d all be fried. A little further and we would freeze. The sun’s rays give us vitamin D, give plants nutrients to grow and so on.

This is what the Ramban means when he says that from the open miracles we come to recognize the hidden miracles- i.e., the wonders of nature. And this is what the Chovos Halevavos means when he says we must contemplate the workings of nature to see the goodness of Hashem to us, that He designed a world that is pleasant for us to live in. The more you study each aspect of “nature”- how the body works, our ecosystem, etc.- the more we see how good Hashem is to us.

And perhaps this is what the Ramban means when he says, “this is the basis of the Torah.” That is, to recognize that Hashem created the world to be good to mankind. And once you understand that, then we perceive the Torah in a different light. The Torah is not a list of dos and don’ts and G-d trying to trip us up. The Torah is teaching us how to utilize the world in the best way possible, how to maximize our experience here by coming close to and developing a relationship with Hashem and by earning a share in the World to Come. The basis of the Torah and the service of Hashem is to understand that we are the ones benefiting from it. G-d is not telling us what to do because He is a control freak or evil dictator. He’s just looking out for our best interest.

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Last Edit: 26 Jan 2020 03:18 by DavidT.
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Hopeforallofus wrote on 25 Jan 2020 17:09:
I’ve had a struggle, I’m afraid to connect make friends due to my past behavior, and hate being alone. I’ve had blinders on not wanting to see how hurtful my behavior was and refusing help from family due to past hurts. I’ve experienced being away from Schmutz for a year but am battling again. Having that time away I could really see it for what it was, but now my thinking is not as clear and realizing my floating along, which has soothed me in the past, is not working. I need goals and that brings up anxiety. I have made positive strides but I need to be honest and I can’t go it alone and I’m scared. It doesn’t help that I’m holding on to a painful childhood and knowing I’ve also caused others pain. I’ll move forward, but what do I want and how do I act on it.

Hi. Your deep pain is very evident in your post. I would recommend that you should reach out to one of the mentors in the partner program section to discuss your situation. 
wishing you to find the right path to recovery very soon!
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Bo

The Painful Darkness of Light 1

Hashem said to Moshe: Stretch forth your hand over the Heavens, and there will be darkness upon the land of Egypt. 2

Nothing we know or can imagine approximates the darkness that overcame Egypt in the next to the last plague. It was miasmic; there was substance and body to it, not merely the absence of light. So different in character was this darkness, that the medrash3 labors to understand its provenance. From where did such darkness come? The medrash offers a source: the darkness came from on high, from the Heavens themselves.

But what could this possibly mean? What darkness is there above, where there is only light?

Moshe was told to stretch his hand over, above the Heavens. We would have expected him to be instructed to lift his hand towards Heaven. Moshe, however, was not meant to point with his hand in the direction of a higher place. He was told to reach above the Heavens, take hold of some lofty and elevated spiritual level, and bring it down to Egypt. There, explains the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, this wonderful light would turn to painful darkness for the Egyptians.

Consider a thoroughly evil fellow, somehow finding himself in Gan Eden, moving about among the righteous, who all sit there resplendent in their crowns of glory, basking in the radiance of the Shechinah. Tzadikim there experience this as indescribable pleasure; he suffers immeasurably. Completely unaccustomed to spirituality, he experiences this Gan Eden as unbearable discomfort.

This, then, is the essence of the plague of darkness. Moshe took some of the light from above. It plunged Egypt into a darkness like no other.

After crossing the Sea, the Jews went for three days “and could not find water.”4 What they really were missing was the sweet water of Torah.5 Consequently, when they traveled a bit further, “they could not drink the waters…because they were bitter.” Having gone a significant time without learning, says the Toldos, when they returned to it, they found it bitter rather than a source of joy and pleasure. Unaccustomed to Torah for only a short while, they found it unattractive and foreign when they returned to it. All the more so a person who never experienced the sweetness of Torah, who spent a lifetime distant from all Torah and mitzvos! He gags on them; he finds them devoid of meaning and uncomfortable. There is no greater darkness than this! (Rambam6 mentions the same phenomenon. In sickness, a patient will sometimes report that bitter foods taste sweet, and sweet foods taste bitter. Spiritual ailments cause something similar. Spiritually diseased people relish traits that are evil, and spurn good and proper ones.)

The Jews experienced the very opposite. Unlike the Egyptians, they were not overcome by palpable darkness. On the contrary, the illumination that Moshe brought down from on high bathed them in light. “For all the Bnei Yisrael there was light in their dwellings.”7 Those who dwelled often in light, who sought it, cherished, looked for it – who made a home for themselves in it – they found novelty and excitement in this light brought by Moshe.

We have not yet done justice to this darkness from above. We speak of Hashem as “yotzer/ fashioning light and borei/ creating darkness”8 “Creation,” we are told is on a higher plane than “fashioning.” Why, then, is darkness linked to beriah?

The sefarim ha-kedoshim explain that the “darkness” linked to beriah in this verse is actually light – light that is even brighter than what is connected with yetzirah. Some light is so powerful, that staring at it leaves one blinded, incapable of seeing anything else. People who stare at the sun for even a brief moment are temporarily left unable to focus properly. One who is not equipped to handle the light loses his vision because of it. Chazal9 tell us that in the future, Hashem will take the sun out of its sheath. It will then inflict punishment upon the evil, while simultaneously curing the righteous. The righteous, accustomed to spiritual illumination, will make good use of it. They will find it curative and redemptive. The evil, unaccustomed to such illumination in their lives, will be overwhelmed and pained by it.

So it was to the Egyptians. Moshe did not bring darkness from above, but light. Unable to bear what their souls were unaccustomed to processing, the Egyptians were paralyzed by the overdose of light, and they were unable to see each other or rise up from their places for three days. The dwellings of Bnei Yisrael, however, were suffused with light.

Chazal tell us that a common thread ties together all the plagues: each acted in two opposing fashions. Each struck at the Egyptians, but brought relief to the Jews. We should not think that two different natures were unleashed in tandem by Hashem in each plague. Rather, we should understand this as above. Each makah had but a single quality. It was experienced differently by Bnei Yisrael and by the Egyptians, proving useful and positive to the Jews and devastating to the Egyptians.

Rav Moshe Midner adds a grace note to our discussion. “To all Bnei Yisrael there was light in their dwellings.” Sometimes, the light is too much for any individual to bear. When Jews dwell together, when they band together as a group to bring down Hashem’s light, they are able to jointly receive it. This is why Jews gather and sit with each other in large groups on Shabbos.

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stronglife wrote on 25 Jan 2020 00:07:
Hi, I am 17. I've been struggling with this stuff for over 3 years now. Soon to change hopefully because I joined GYE last week. I am extremely impressed with the forums and they include lots of answers to the questions I originally had. Now enough of the formalities.
Question: My parents are oblivious to my addiction -- and I plan to keep it like that. However, GYE has a lot of material to read and one of my mentors also recently sent me a huge PDF that I don't have the energy to scroll through on a screen for hours on end. I want to purchase the book I was sent and have a hard copy, but I don't have my own amazon account, or credit card or anything. Let's just say I'm having trouble getting the book without my parents. What should I do? 

First of all, your attitude is a very positive one and with Hashem's help you'll be out of lust issues very soon. 
My opinion is that it's not a healthy thing to buy things and keep them hidden from your parents.  It's very understandable that you want to keep your lust issues private,  but try to leave it at that.
we'll help you sift thru and get the information you need for your recovery without buying books now...
if after some time you see that the book is needed we'll address it then
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I’ve had a struggle, I’m afraid to connect make friends due to my past behavior, and hate being alone. I’ve had blinders on not wanting to see how hurtful my behavior was and refusing help from family due to past hurts. I’ve experienced being away from Schmutz for a year but am battling again. Having that time away I could really see it for what it was, but now my thinking is not as clear and realizing my floating along, which has soothed me in the past, is not working. I need goals and that brings up anxiety. I have made positive strides but I need to be honest and I can’t go it alone and I’m scared. It doesn’t help that I’m holding on to a painful childhood and knowing I’ve also caused others pain. I’ll move forward, but what do I want and how do I act on it.
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Hi, I am 17. I've been struggling with this stuff for over 3 years now. Soon to change hopefully because I joined GYE last week. I am extremely impressed with the forums and they include lots of answers to the questions I originally had. Now enough of the formalities.
Question: My parents are oblivious to my addiction -- and I plan to keep it like that. However, GYE has a lot of material to read and one of my mentors also recently sent me a huge PDF that I don't have the energy to scroll through on a screen for hours on end. I want to purchase the book I was sent and have a hard copy, but I don't have my own amazon account, or credit card or anything. Let's just say I'm having trouble getting the book without my parents. What should I do? 
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Welcome. It should be with hatzlocha. Keep posting and reach out to some of the veterans here. They may be able to help determine what is the correct approach for you. It is not possible from reading one post to diagnose addiction etc. One thing is for sure. You are honest forward and courageous. Guys like you b'ezras Hashem get better.
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zxxz11 wrote on 24 Jan 2020 15:45:

Hi everyone and thank you for welcoming me to the GYE community. I have been here before many years ago. Im back. Back then I was single and now Im married with a few kids. I need some guidance from you guys. I have always been someone who craved sexuality. I have never done anything to fill that crave. I got excited when I would see pictures of girls but I did not struggle with constantly searching for it. When I was 18 I dabbled more with porn and when I experienced a personal trauma  (was exposed to a cheating incident) I turned to it again to self-soothe. I went to therapy  eventually got married and it did not seem to be an issue. Then a year in there was a moment that the opportunity to get my hand on an unfiltered phone and I fell. My wife was aware and it was not cool. This happened every so often (once every 2-3 months). Eventually I brought it up in therapy and we worked on it and it did not seem to be an issue rather it was dubbed “normal”. Since then I discussed it with my wife and she has been super supportive. We read amazing books together and it was and continues to be a real growing experience . I don’t own a smart phone, We have web chaver and I don’t have any passwords to any device not filtered. Anytime I sense a loophole I would share it with her and she would block it. Eventually I shared the trauma with my wife which helped her have a better understanding of where it all stemmed from. The open communication has been life changing. We read a book together which talks about how helpful it can be to turn to your wife when you struggle with porn (“love you, hate porn” is the title).

However, my struggle is as follows. I find myself in a situation which comes with some stressful “not in control” moments. We are in a state of unsettledness and it oftentimes gets to me.  I find that every 4-6 weeks this downward spiral starts to kick in. As it kicks in I feel less settled and I “need an escape”. I think to myself “porn can help me now. I have been so good I just need one little dose to help me out of this”. But the voice in my head replies back “ dude, you know it doesn’t work that way”. I usually bring my wife into it and after listening to me and giving me a big hug it sometimes goes away. But lately it has not been. I find myself wondering “what if that computer at work is unfiltered and I get a second with it” “what f that Ipad has an easy code”. Hmmmm, I start to wonder and the thought stays in the back of my mind. I cant seem to get it out. I go through my day and I find myself subconsciously deciding to not workout, not go to minyan so I can “feed” the downfall. Then I start to feel worse and then I get into craze mode of "now I really need this "and somehow I find that escape. A new computer at work, a new ipad that showed up. In the past, when I get my hands on a device I would just go to a website and that was enough to feel that rush without even gazing. I would close the computer instantly. Then there were times where I would go to the website and look for a little longer- a min. I usually took precautions to prevent it from happening again. I started doing well until the next wave comes. That was 6 weeks ago. On the latest fall I looked and stayed on it and spilled seed. When it was just a glance I would share with my wife because she knew something was wrong and she would cry with and hug me. It was very helpful. The masturbation part is too hard to share.

I am coming to you guys for some practical advice. I cant keep coming back to her like this. I feel bad and I am like “what am I doing to myself and why cant I just overcome it for once and for all. Why do I have to have that thought there linger until I fill it up with what I desire. I find all the “shower and exercise ideas help for a day and then the thought and crave is still there. It is there telling me “I will be here until you get it done and then I will make you feel miserable about it”. Rarely has the thought gone away from more than a day.

What do I do? Granted I am going through unsettled times in my life (career changes, moving) but this is adding to it and I want it out. For starters,  I will sign up with the 90 day chart. Does anyone here relate to this situation ? Should I check myself back in for therapy? Is this "normal"? am I an addict? should I join SA?

Any advice would be appreciated


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Anyone that takes bold steps like Therapy or SA etc, I believe are Normal+
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MenachemGYE wrote on 24 Jan 2020 09:40:
If you feel that you need an extra push to help you decide whether you are ready to quit, you might want to try some of the following ideas. These techniques may be helpful in the tipping the scale towards change.

The most fundamental tools are the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), and Exploring Values and Roles. It's recommended that you try those first.

This thread will discuss some lesser known techniques that can help you make a decision.

Check your frequency
Getting accurate information about how often you watch porn can give you greater awareness about your behavior, and can challenge your assumptions about the intensity and frequency of your porn use . For the next week or so, keep a record of your porn usage on a physical or digital piece of paper. The table might have the following columns:
  • Date and Time
  • Duration
  • Device
  • Location
  • Notes

Getting more information
Usually focusing on the negatives of porn is counterproductive, because it keeps you focused on the problem rather than on the solution. But during the contemplation stage it can actually be extremely helpful. Learning about the effects of porn might change your perception of the pros and cons of porn, and can tilt your decisional balance towards change.
  • A great resource is truthaboutporn.org/media. It includes over 20 eye opening video interviews with experts on the effects of pornography. The site also showcases a collection of research papers on the topic.
  • If you want to dig deeper check out the book “The Porn Myth”, a non-religious response to pro-pornography arguments. A book exposing the reality behind the fantasy of pornography. The book draws on the experience of porn performers and users, and the expertise of neurologists, sociologists, and psychologists to demonstrate that pornography is destructive to individuals, relationships, and society. The Porn Myth is available at Amazon.com.
  • You can also have a look at the sefer Zos Brisi for Torah reasons to maintain kedusha. When reading such materials, remember your goal right now isn’t to feel guilty about the past, but to reflect on what you truly want fo the future. Facing the truth is uncomfortable, but during when your considering making a change (the contemplation stage) it can help you clarify the (pros and) cons of your behavior and help you decide what you really want. The Hebrew version of Zos Brisi is available for free at https://guardyoureyes.com/ebooks/item/zos-brisi, and the English version can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Sefer-Zos-Brisi-Guidance-Kedushah/dp/1680250078

Leverage your emotions 
Try imagining how your life will look like in the coming years if you don't change. Imagine tough situations, throughout your life where you'll suffer the consequences of watching porn. Be realistic about what might happen.

Imagine vividly how continued porn usage (for example) and it’s side effects will impact your relationship with your spouse, your children and your career. Imagine the lost opportunities of actualizing your most cherished dreams and life goals because porn has embezzled your time and focus.

Then once your done, imagine how it might feel if you quit. Would you feel much happier? Would you feel more confident? Would you take on new goals? Would it have a positive impact on other areas of your life? Would your relationship improve?  

Often the reason we don't change is because we focus on the short term vs. the long term. The problems we'll have later in life due to watching porn seem too far away. This exercise can help us feel these consequences more vividly and arouse your emotions. One our emotions are aroused, we might feel ready to finally quit.

Record Your Thoughts
Another technique to arouse your emotions is do a quick video or voice recording each time you finish watching porn and talk passionately about how it made you feel.  At the end of the week, listen to the recordings, and check your decisional balance worksheet to see if there’s anything to add.


Discover Your Motives
Each time you watch porn, before you actually watch, think why you are doing it and record it somewhere. If you'd like you can make a table like this:


  • Date and Time
  • Location
  • Why I want to do this? (e.g. I'm bored, stimulated, stressed etc.)
  • Notes

After a little while, you'll be able to look back and see why you're doing what you're doing. By becoming more aware of your motives, it can help you get the clarity you need to make a decision. For example, you might notice, that very often you're watching because your stressed or tired, not because of pure lust. You then might come to the conclusion that if it's mostly due to stress, there are far better ways of dealing with then by continuing the current behavior.

Credit: Many of these ideas are based on the books Changing for Good, and Addiction and Change.

:pinch: Warning: Spoiler!



Here's one more idea from the book Changeology:



Tip: Say Goodbye

Write a goodbye letter to your problem or old way of being. Put your heart into the letter. Explain the harm that porn has caused you and others and then how leaving it will improve your life.



Really great stuff! keep them coming!
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MenachemGYE wrote on 24 Jan 2020 09:40:
If you feel that you need an extra push to help you decide whether you are ready to quit, you might want to try some of the following ideas. These techniques may be helpful in the tipping the scale towards change.

The most fundamental tools are the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), and Exploring Values and Roles. It's recommended that you try those first.

This thread will discuss some lesser known techniques that can help you make a decision.

Check your frequency
Getting accurate information about how often you watch porn can give you greater awareness about your behavior, and can challenge your assumptions about the intensity and frequency of your porn use . For the next week or so, keep a record of your porn usage on a physical or digital piece of paper. The table might have the following columns:
  • Date and Time
  • Duration
  • Device
  • Location
  • Notes

Getting more information
Usually focusing on the negatives of porn is counterproductive, because it keeps you focused on the problem rather than on the solution. But during the contemplation stage it can actually be extremely helpful. Learning about the effects of porn might change your perception of the pros and cons of porn, and can tilt your decisional balance towards change.
  • A great resource is truthaboutporn.org/media. It includes over 20 eye opening video interviews with experts on the effects of pornography. The site also showcases a collection of research papers on the topic.
  • If you want to dig deeper check out the book “The Porn Myth”, a non-religious response to pro-pornography arguments. A book exposing the reality behind the fantasy of pornography. The book draws on the experience of porn performers and users, and the expertise of neurologists, sociologists, and psychologists to demonstrate that pornography is destructive to individuals, relationships, and society. The Porn Myth is available at Amazon.com.
  • You can also have a look at the sefer Zos Brisi for Torah reasons to maintain kedusha. When reading such materials, remember your goal right now isn’t to feel guilty about the past, but to reflect on what you truly want fo the future. Facing the truth is uncomfortable, but during when your considering making a change (the contemplation stage) it can help you clarify the (pros and) cons of your behavior and help you decide what you really want. The Hebrew version of Zos Brisi is available for free at https://guardyoureyes.com/ebooks/item/zos-brisi, and the English version can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Sefer-Zos-Brisi-Guidance-Kedushah/dp/1680250078

Leverage your emotions 
Try imagining how your life will look like in the coming years if you don't change. Imagine tough situations, throughout your life where you'll suffer the consequences of watching porn. Be realistic about what might happen.

Imagine vividly how continued porn usage (for example) and it’s side effects will impact your relationship with your spouse, your children and your career. Imagine the lost opportunities of actualizing your most cherished dreams and life goals because porn has embezzled your time and focus.

Then once your done, imagine how it might feel if you quit. Would you feel much happier? Would you feel more confident? Would you take on new goals? Would it have a positive impact on other areas of your life? Would your relationship improve?  

Often the reason we don't change is because we focus on the short term vs. the long term. The problems we'll have later in life due to watching porn seem too far away. This exercise can help us feel these consequences more vividly and arouse your emotions. One our emotions are aroused, we might feel ready to finally quit.

Record Your Thoughts
Another technique to arouse your emotions is do a quick video or voice recording each time you finish watching porn and talk passionately about how it made you feel.  At the end of the week, listen to the recordings, and check your decisional balance worksheet to see if there’s anything to add.


Discover Your Motives
Each time you watch porn, before you actually watch, think why you are doing it and record it somewhere. If you'd like you can make a table like this:


  • Date and Time
  • Location
  • Why I want to do this? (e.g. I'm bored, stimulated, stressed etc.)
  • Notes

After a little while, you'll be able to look back and see why you're doing what you're doing. By becoming more aware of your motives, it can help you get the clarity you need to make a decision. For example, you might notice, that very often you're watching because your stressed or tired, not because of pure lust. You then might come to the conclusion that if it's mostly due to stress, there are far better ways of dealing with then by continuing the current behavior.

Credit: Many of these ideas are based on the books Changing for Good, and Addiction and Change.

:pinch: Warning: Spoiler!



Here's one more idea from the book Changeology:



Tip: Say Goodbye

Write a goodbye letter to your problem or old way of being. Put your heart into the letter. Explain the harm that porn has caused you and others and then how leaving it will improve your life.



Thank you.
The goodbye letter really speaks to me. As a matter of fact, I have done it.....
:pinch: Warning: Spoiler!
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My suggestion is that the best path in your situation is not to go to SA or therapy.First try "to be connected" with the great members on GYE as isolation is the worst enemy of recovery.

I'll add one concept:If a one-hundred-dollar bill falls in the mud, and people step on it, and it gets wrinkled and muddy, it is still worth a hundred dollars. Similarly, if a diamond falls into mud, its value remains the same. The same is with a Yid. Regardless of where a Yid falls, he can return to Hashem. Despite of what occurred, his self-value was never depreciated. The Rebbe of Savran zt'l once accidentally blew out the candles on Shabbos (with his talis), and he was very depressed about that, and he wasn't able to sleep all night. In the morning, when it was time to say pesukei d'zimra, he didn’t have any joy in his heart to daven. But then he thought, "If this was a sin, I will go to Gehinom. Chazal say that resha'im sing shirah to Hakadosh Baruch Hu in Gehinom. I will also sing shirah to Hashem, here on Earth," and with this thought in mind, he was able to daven properly. The lesson is that one shouldn’t moan on the past, rather to pick oneself up and to begin again. 
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Hi everyone and thank you for welcoming me to the GYE community. I have been here before many years ago. Im back. Back then I was single and now Im married with a few kids. I need some guidance from you guys. I have always been someone who craved sexuality. I have never done anything to fill that crave. I got excited when I would see pictures of girls but I did not struggle with constantly searching for it. When I was 18 I dabbled more with porn and when I experienced a personal trauma  (was exposed to a cheating incident) I turned to it again to self-soothe. I went to therapy  eventually got married and it did not seem to be an issue. Then a year in there was a moment that the opportunity to get my hand on an unfiltered phone and I fell. My wife was aware and it was not cool. This happened every so often (once every 2-3 months). Eventually I brought it up in therapy and we worked on it and it did not seem to be an issue rather it was dubbed “normal”. Since then I discussed it with my wife and she has been super supportive. We read amazing books together and it was and continues to be a real growing experience . I don’t own a smart phone, We have web chaver and I don’t have any passwords to any device not filtered. Anytime I sense a loophole I would share it with her and she would block it. Eventually I shared the trauma with my wife which helped her have a better understanding of where it all stemmed from. The open communication has been life changing. We read a book together which talks about how helpful it can be to turn to your wife when you struggle with porn (“love you, hate porn” is the title).

However, my struggle is as follows. I find myself in a situation which comes with some stressful “not in control” moments. We are in a state of unsettledness and it oftentimes gets to me.  I find that every 4-6 weeks this downward spiral starts to kick in. As it kicks in I feel less settled and I “need an escape”. I think to myself “porn can help me now. I have been so good I just need one little dose to help me out of this”. But the voice in my head replies back “ dude, you know it doesn’t work that way”. I usually bring my wife into it and after listening to me and giving me a big hug it sometimes goes away. But lately it has not been. I find myself wondering “what if that computer at work is unfiltered and I get a second with it” “what f that Ipad has an easy code”. Hmmmm, I start to wonder and the thought stays in the back of my mind. I cant seem to get it out. I go through my day and I find myself subconsciously deciding to not workout, not go to minyan so I can “feed” the downfall. Then I start to feel worse and then I get into craze mode of "now I really need this "and somehow I find that escape. A new computer at work, a new ipad that showed up. In the past, when I get my hands on a device I would just go to a website and that was enough to feel that rush without even gazing. I would close the computer instantly. Then there were times where I would go to the website and look for a little longer- a min. I usually took precautions to prevent it from happening again. I started doing well until the next wave comes. That was 6 weeks ago. On the latest fall I looked and stayed on it and spilled seed. When it was just a glance I would share with my wife because she knew something was wrong and she would cry with and hug me. It was very helpful. The masturbation part is too hard to share.

I am coming to you guys for some practical advice. I cant keep coming back to her like this. I feel bad and I am like “what am I doing to myself and why cant I just overcome it for once and for all. Why do I have to have that thought there linger until I fill it up with what I desire. I find all the “shower and exercise ideas help for a day and then the thought and crave is still there. It is there telling me “I will be here until you get it done and then I will make you feel miserable about it”. Rarely has the thought gone away from more than a day.

What do I do? Granted I am going through unsettled times in my life (career changes, moving) but this is adding to it and I want it out. For starters,  I will sign up with the 90 day chart. Does anyone here relate to this situation ? Should I check myself back in for therapy? Is this "normal"? am I an addict? should I join SA?

Any advice would be appreciated

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The SMART program has roots in the following concept:

In Pirkei Avos (2:13) Rabbi Shimon says in response to Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai’s directive to “Go out and see if you can discover which good path each person should follow,”
--- 'Eizehu Chochom Haroeh Es HaNolad, who is truly a SMART man, one who sees results, consequences.' ---

This applies to everything, but the SMART recovery program is a perfect example of an opportunity that can be seized successfully with forethought, or have unfortunate unintended consequences, that could result from poor or no planning.

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Last Edit: 24 Jan 2020 14:23 by DavidT.
This thread will contain a list of many evidence-based methods to dealing with urges.

Urge Management techniques are for everyone. No matter what program you use to quit, it will always include techniques for dealing with urges. This thread will cover all the evidence-based methods of dealing with urges. 

If you master techniques for dealing with urges, you'll be able to stay clean even if there's nothing external that is stopping you. If you're serious about recovery, try to learn about all these techniques, and pick the ones you think will work best for you (and add them to your plan). Then, with trial and error, you'll find out if those techniques really work for you or if you should try other ones. You can also switch your techniques from time to time to keep things interesting... 

The list of method can be found below.

Note: I've tried to find out which methods are more effective than others, but couldn't find anything conclusive. 8 studies have found that almost all methods are equal, while 6 studies have found that there are differences. Also, most these studies have been done on people struggling with smoking and alcohol. It's possible that with porn and mastrubation, the rankings would be different. I've ordered the list below informally according to how many of studies I've found have actually recommended these methods.  
-
  1. Distract yourself - by doing something else (16 studies pro, 1 against)
  2. Remembering the pros of abstinence (12 studies pro, 0 against)
  3. Delay (12 studies pro, 1 against)
  4. Urge Surfing/Mindfulness (9 studies pro, 0 against)
  5. Remembering Cons / Recall negative consequences (10 studies pro, 0 against)
  6. Distract yourself - by thinking about something else (12 studies pro, 3 against)
  7. Relaxation/Breathing/Meditation (11 studies pro, 1 against)
  8. Coping / Mastery Statements (8 studies pro, 1 against)
  9. Escape / Avoidance (7 studies pro, 0 against)
  10. Acceptance/Mindfulness (7 studies pro, 0 against)
  11. Substitution (9 studies pro, 2 against)
  12. Dispute Thoughts (5 studies pro, 0 against)
  13. Imagery Techniques (6 studies pro, 1 against)
  14. Reach out for social support (6 studies pro, 2 against)
  15. Remembering substance-related successes (3 studies pro, 0 against)
  16. Exercise - during an urge (4 studies pro, 2 against)

In the post below, I'll describe each of the techniques in more detail.
:pinch: Warning: Spoiler!

Note: Two methods have been found to be ineffective. Those are willpower and self-punishment. In other words, people who rely only on those methods aren't more successful than those who use no methods at all...

There’s Life Beyond Addiction
Email: info@guardyoureyes.org
Phone, Text or Whatsapp: 646-600-8100
Last Edit: 26 Jan 2020 11:57 by MenachemGYE.
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Re: Making it happen 24 Jan 2020 10:34 #346934

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Dear  iwillnevergiveup
your determination and the quality of staying focused is exceptional, your amazing
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Motivational Boosters 24 Jan 2020 09:40 #346933

If you feel that you need an extra push to help you decide whether you are ready to quit, you might want to try some of the following ideas. These techniques may be helpful in the tipping the scale towards change.

The most fundamental tools are the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), and Exploring Values and Roles. It's recommended that you try those first.

This thread will discuss some lesser known techniques that can help you make a decision.

Check your frequency
Getting accurate information about how often you watch porn can give you greater awareness about your behavior, and can challenge your assumptions about the intensity and frequency of your porn use . For the next week or so, keep a record of your porn usage on a physical or digital piece of paper. The table might have the following columns:
  • Date and Time
  • Duration
  • Device
  • Location
  • Notes

Getting more information
Usually focusing on the negatives of porn is counterproductive, because it keeps you focused on the problem rather than on the solution. But during the contemplation stage it can actually be extremely helpful. Learning about the effects of porn might change your perception of the pros and cons of porn, and can tilt your decisional balance towards change.
  • A great resource is truthaboutporn.org/media. It includes over 20 eye opening video interviews with experts on the effects of pornography. The site also showcases a collection of research papers on the topic.
  • If you want to dig deeper check out the book “The Porn Myth”, a non-religious response to pro-pornography arguments. A book exposing the reality behind the fantasy of pornography. The book draws on the experience of porn performers and users, and the expertise of neurologists, sociologists, and psychologists to demonstrate that pornography is destructive to individuals, relationships, and society. The Porn Myth is available at Amazon.com.
  • You can also have a look at the sefer Zos Brisi for Torah reasons to maintain kedusha. When reading such materials, remember your goal right now isn’t to feel guilty about the past, but to reflect on what you truly want fo the future. Facing the truth is uncomfortable, but during the that are considering a change (the contemplation stage) it can help you clarify the (pros and) cons of your behavior and help you decide what you really want. The Hebrew version of Zos Brisi is available for free at https://guardyoureyes.com/ebooks/item/zos-brisi, and the English version can be purchased on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Sefer-Zos-Brisi-Guidance-Kedushah/dp/1680250078

Leverage your emotions 
Try imagining how your life will look like in the coming years if you don't change. Imagine tough situations, throughout your life where you'll suffer the consequences of watching porn. Be realistic about what might happen.

Imagine vividly how continued porn usage (for example) and it’s side effects will impact your relationship with your spouse, your children and your career. Imagine the lost opportunities of actualizing your most cherished dreams and life goals because porn has embezzled your time and focus.

Then once your done, imagine how it might feel if you quit. Would you feel much happier? Would you feel more confident? Would you take on new goals? Would it have a positive impact on other areas of your life? Would your relationship improve?  

Often the reason we don't change is because we focus on the short term vs. the long term. The problems we'll have later in life due to watching porn seem too far away. This exercise can help us feel these consequences more vividly and arouse your emotions. One our emotions are aroused, we might feel ready to finally quit.

Record Your Thoughts
Another technique to arouse your emotions is do a quick video or voice recording each time you finish watching porn and talk passionately about how it made you feel.  At the end of the week, listen to the recordings, and check your decisional balance worksheet to see if there’s anything to add.


Discover Your Motives
Each time you watch porn, before you actually watch, think why you are doing it and record it somewhere. If you'd like you can make a table like this:


  • Date and Time
  • Location
  • Why I want to do this? (e.g. I'm bored, stimulated, stressed etc.)
  • Notes

After a little while, you'll be able to look back and see why you're doing what you're doing. By becoming more aware of your motives, it can help you get the clarity you need to make a decision. For example, you might notice, that very often you're watching because your stressed or tired, not because of pure lust. You then might come to the conclusion that if it's mostly due to stress, there are far better ways of dealing with then by continuing the current behavior.

Credit: Many of these ideas are based on the books Changing for Good, and Addiction and Change.

:pinch: Warning: Spoiler!



Here's one more idea from the book Changeology:



Tip: Say Goodbye

Write a goodbye letter to your problem or old way of being. Put your heart into the letter. Explain the harm that porn has caused you and others and then how leaving it will improve your life.

There’s Life Beyond Addiction
Email: info@guardyoureyes.org
Phone, Text or Whatsapp: 646-600-8100
Last Edit: 25 Jan 2020 18:05 by MenachemGYE.
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Re: Making it happen 24 Jan 2020 05:42 #346932

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Day 101 

The difference between 100 and 101.....
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Thanks for the Chizuk!

In terms of accomplishing that year+... I did write a post on here with the things I felt helped the most. Thinking back again here are a couple things that come to mind...
  • The resolve to conquer this once and for all. That's what got me started last time and again now. To decide with passion that this is it and to mean it!
  • Distancing yourself from ways you know you start to slip. Having your phone in the bathroom was a big one for me. Everyone has got to judge for themselves but understanding my weak points and staying away from them is definitely a big point.
  • The 90 days goal is really useful simply to work towards something. It's amazing to reach a goal - and then set another one! Really helps keep you motivated.

Definitely using myself for advice here! Good stuff to think about. 

Still clean with Hashems help! Will keep updating. Thanks everyone.
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The Torah teaches that a truly wise approach to life is to “Roeh et HaNolad” which simply means; one who thinks of the outcome of something before getting involved in it ( Avot 2:9). When a person approaches life like this, they won’t let any rash impulse drive a decision. Rather, they will carefully weigh up the options, always thinking of the ramifications in the future.

The Mishna teaches that one should therefore always “ Mechashev Hefsed Mitzvah keneged Scharah VeSchar Aveira Keneged Hefsedah” -  “Weigh up the ‘loss’ of a mitzvah (the effort involved) against its reward (eternal), and the gain of a sin (temporary and fleeting) against its loss (years of regret, and eternal spiritual ramifications)” ( Avot, Chp. 2). 

With this calculation as a prelude to a decision, one is sure not to make rash, regrettable mistakes.
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Do you feel ambivalent about porn? Do you both love it and despise it? Ambivalence is not the same as indifference. Ambivalence means that you have contradictory feelings towards porn at the same time. Do you feel like you really need it, but also feel that you need to stop? Do you feel that would like to stop, but aren’t ready yet?

“Celebrate Yetzias Mitzrayim in Shanghai, combined with a Far East cruise. The 18-day trip will take you to China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines & Hong Kong, with an experienced tour guide, Kosher for Passover mehadrin meals and luxury accommodations.”

The ad looks interesting. China always intrigued you. You might even find some business opportunities there. But 18 days? That’s a lot of time. Is it normal to go the Far East for 18 days? On the other hand, it could be very relaxing and refreshing. You’ll have an amazing time and come back with with lot of energy.

Another factor is the price. Is this the best way to spend your money? Why the Far East? Will the atmosphere be appropriate? Will the kashrus standards be up to par? Maybe a summer trip to Europe makes more sense.

This state of ambivalence (mixed feelings about your options) is called contemplation. It’s natural to spend some time in this stage before any big decision, whether it’s deciding who to marry, where to travel or whether to change a habit.

It will take a few days or weeks to decide whether to go to the Far East. You need to carefully weigh the pros and cons so that you can make an informed decision. You know that if you impulsively decide to go, you are asking for buyers remorse. 

The Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), also known as Decisional Balance Exercise outside of SMART, can help us reach clarity when you have mixed feelings about something.

The best strategy to resolving our amblivance and finally making a decision, is to put all your considerations for change on one piece of paper, so that you can see them at once and compare the factors to each other.

Here are some sample worksheets:



Usually, we either think about the pros of the behavior (e.g. it’s enjoyable), or about the cons (e.g. this goes against my values and I really need to stop). This causes us to feel stuck and ambivalent about change.

With the CBA, we can review both the pros and cons at once, compare them to each other, and then reach a decision about how to proceed.

Some tips:


  • If you are struggling with both porn and masturbation, do a separate CBA for each.
  • Try to fill out the CBA worksheet as thoroughly as possible, don’t rush it. It’s OK to work on this for a few hours or even a few days.
  • Once satisfied with what you wrote, you can write “short term” or “long term” near each item.

Hopefully, this exercise will show you that the pros of change outweigh the cons. In the future, if you ever have doubts or second thoughts about what you really want, you’ll be able to remind yourself, that when you thought about it with a clear mind, you’ve come to a solid decision about what is best for you.

If you find it hard to come up with the pros of quitting, try doing the Roles & Values exercises

Feel free to post your pros and cons in this thread, it can give inspiration to other members when doing their own CBA.

I've put some of my examples in the spoiler below. But it's works best if you come up with your own reasons, instead of copying some else's.

:pinch: Warning: Spoiler!
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Last Edit: 26 Jan 2020 12:08 by MenachemGYE.
Contemplation
If you have mixed feelings about doing a change, then you're in the contemplation stage. Here's a classic post written by someone in contemplation:

I have not been around for a long time...... what a mistake..... I was at 35 days clean and booom, came crashing down!!!!!! I had such a spiritual rosh hashanah and vowed never to act out again!! And now i am back where i started, on the one hand I really feel like giving up but on the other hand i also feel that this is my tafkid to fight this addiction, i am now going into shidduchim and need to STOP asap. 
I have said just two days ago that I am not going to be oiver but it has just happened!!

On the one hand, "I really feel like giving up". I.e. porn is really sweet, and I really want it. On the other hand it makes me feel guilty, and it's bad for shidduchim...

When we're in contemplation, we're essentially ambivalent about change, so we feel stuck. We feel like we'll be dissatisfied no matter what we do.

So some days the pendulum swings - consciously or subconsciously in favor of change (especially after an inspirational Rosh Hashanah) and on other days, it goes the other way.

:pinch: Warning: Spoiler!

That's why the goal during contemplation is to resolve our ambivalence, and make a decision to stop

There are various techniques how to achieve that, see here, here and here.

If you quit porn while still in contemplation, it probably won’t last. After all, you still have mixed feelings about the change. You might say to yourself “I wish I can just stop, let me just do it”. But deep down you may also think, “I don’t know if I can manage without porn, I really need it.” Premature commitment is weak and doesn’t last. It might work for a few days or weeks, but eventually it wears off.

To be continued...
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Last Edit: 24 Jan 2020 12:14 by MenachemGYE.
The most widely tested and proven approach to understanding behavior change is called the Stages of Change. (The full official name is "The transtheoretical model of behavior change".)

I don't see any threads about it yet, so this thread will be dedicated to explaining this concept and how it can help you.

Like a Rosetta Stone, understanding the Stages of Change, can help you understand yourself much better, and also help clarify what you should be focusing on. 

The Stages of Change talks that for each behavior/habit/addiction we want to change, we can be in one of 5 stages:
  1. Precontemplation - You're not interested in changing. Your goal is to start considering change.
  2. Contemplation - You're considering the change, but have mixed feelings. Your goal is to make a decision.
  3. Preparation - You're making a personal realistic and acceptable plan. Your goal is to make a commitment to implement the plan. 
  4. Action - You're taking action to implement the plan, improving the plan with trial and error, dealing with slips and falls. Your goal is to apply the plan for 6 months and gain confidence that you can really do it.
  5. Maintenance - You're sustaining your new behavior and working to prevent relapse. Your goal is to improve your lifestyle in a way that supports the change for the long term.

Now, the question of what to do next depends heavily on what stage you're currently at. I'll talk about that in the next post.
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Re: Making a plan 23 Jan 2020 22:17 #346926

Another vital part of the battle plan is developing the desire and excitement to defeat the yetzer hara. We can do this by contemplating how much we gain when we exercise self-control. This is the most important weapon for battling the yetzer hara in any area, not just desire.


I would consider "developing desire" (also known as building motivation) to be a prerequisite for making a plan. I know that might sounds like semantics, but it's really a deep distinction. More on that soon in a separate thread. 

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Re: THE TORAH APPROACH! 23 Jan 2020 19:36 #346923

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Rav Avigdor Miller on Outsmarting the Yetzer Ha’rah

Q:
Should we ignore the yetzer ha’rah or should we look to outsmart him?

A:
The yetzer ha’rah, you have to know, is able to wage war on all fronts. You can’t ignore the yetzer harah; it’s impossible! But what you can do is to put your mind on what’s important. That’s not called ignoring. Like the Rambam says, a man who has Torah in his mind, he’s not as vulnerable to the foolishness of the yetzer ha’rah as a man with an empty head is. A man with an empty head, he’s the one who is easy pickings for the yetzer ha’rah.

When your mind is full of Torah and idealism it’s a different thing altogether. You’re walking down the avenue thinking about the chesed Hashem in the briyah, you’re thinking about the Avos and the Imahos, about yetzias Mitzrayim– there’s so much to fill your mind with. And once your mind is filled, there’s no room for the foolishness of the yetzer ha’rah.

But just ignoring it? No, there’s no such thing. But by going ahead and filling your head with what’s right, that kind of ignoring, absolutely you should do. That’s the real way to fight the milchama against the yetzer ha’rah! You fill your mind with ideals, with mussar, with yiras shamayim. You fill your mind with what it means to be an ish shaleim, even in lomdus.

A man who’s anxious for lomdus, he’s not thinking about the foolishness of the ליידיגייער, the empty fellow, who has nothing to think about and therefore all the foolishness of the world, enter his head. What is this thing that’s so enticing? There’s nothing to it! It’s only imagination, nothing but dimyonos, nothing but imagination. But if you have an empty head, then nature abhors a vacuum, and your head will fill up very quickly with all the foolish dimyonos of this world.
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It seems that many people don't have the Proper Perspective on why Hashem created the concept of sin, punishment, and judgment.

If Hashem only wants to give good to us, why did He put us in this world and make us earn the great experience we will receive in the next world? Why didn’t He just put us there and grant us that reward right away?

The whole system of aveiros and punishment was created out of love for us and for our best, even if we don’t understand how. Hashem doesn’t hate us for sinning or punish us angrily because He lost His cool, chas veshalom. It would be perverse and insane (and heretical) to claim Hashem really lost control and became enraged. Rather, whenever He relates to us in a way that resembles anger, He does so only because He loves us and relating to us that way is best for us at that moment. He has not left us, even though He is making it hard for us to see Him for whatever reason. When we understand that Hashem still yearns for us, we won’t feel repelled and will continue to try to connect with Him.

In addition, issurim and consequences give us the strength to stand up to desire and reach greatness. Hashem created us to give us the greatest experience ever, and He wants us to be close to Him. By giving us laws we must follow, He gives us the strength to overpower our urges and attain eternity.

Additionally, we must remember that Hashem Himself made our challenges so difficult. He knows how hard they are.
He understands that people mess up, and though of course He doesn’t ignore what we do, He still loves us just as much when we fall into the trap of the yetzer hara. Hashem loves us even if we are swayed by desire and act foolishly. He loves us no matter how far we fall.

Don’t let the yetzer hara convince you otherwise. Any suggestion that Hashem doesn’t love you or has rejected you is a lie. It doesn’t matter how convincing it is because of your sins it is wrong. Hashem still loves you as much as before. Even when you fall flat on your face, Hashem sees every bit that you tried and says, “How wonderful! Look how my children are trying to serve me despite great difficulty!”

Every system Hashem created — including the concepts of sins and consequences — and everything He does is out of love for us and for our ultimate enjoyment. That never changes, no matter what we do.
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Last Edit: 23 Jan 2020 17:53 by DavidT.
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Davenforme wrote on 23 Jan 2020 16:48:
Its good to know that im not the only one. Im about to turn 23, shidduchim are coming up and im freaking out. I started in 9th grade and have been trying to quit ever since. I dont have any rabbeim that I feel close enough to speak to (count yourself lucky that you do), i didnt know about gye until 2 days ago hopefully it will be the deal breaker this time. Hatzlacha, may we all suceed!

Dear Davenforme
You should thank Hashem for sending you to GYE.
Yes, this WILL be the deal breaker! Guaranteed... 
BUT, at the end of the day it will depend on you. You'll need to reach out to the right people here and stay connected. Many other like you have seen real siyata dishmaya here and so will you BE"H.
There is no reason to be freaking out... Start with "A Day At A Time" and with Hashem's help you'll there...
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Re: Making a plan 23 Jan 2020 17:01 #346919

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The first step of a successful battle plan is figuring out our upcoming tests and preparing for them. We must work on ourselves before we are challenged to stop our rational minds from falling asleep when our desires start up. By training ourselves to be alert, we will maintain our focus and be ready for any stirrings of desire. We will not lose ourselves, so we will stay awake and keep our ability to make the right choice. We will also be able to use techniques during the challenge that will help us win.

Another vital part of the battle plan is developing the desire and excitement to defeat the yetzer hara. We can do this by contemplating how much we gain when we exercise self-control. This is the most important weapon for battling the yetzer hara in any area, not just desire.
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Last Edit: 23 Jan 2020 17:01 by DavidT.
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Its good to know that im not the only one. Im about to turn 23, shidduchim are coming up and im freaking out. I started in 9th grade and have been trying to quit ever since. I dont have any rabbeim that I feel close enough to speak to (count yourself lucky that you do), i didnt know about gye until 2 days ago hopefully it will be the deal breaker this time. Hatzlacha, may we all suceed!
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Re: Making a plan 23 Jan 2020 16:27 #346917

Here's another version of a Change Plan that I've shared with some GYE members. You can download it here: https://guardyoureyes.com/images/stories/gye-change-plan.pdf

This version of the change plan emphasizes that the plan needs to focus on 2 areas:
  1. The first is avoiding triggers. That means planning to make some changes to your environment so that there is less nisyonos (temptations) and triggering situations, for example, by installing a filter, you won’t see triggering images as often, and if you try to watch porn, the filter will block the site.
  2. The second area is dealing with urges without acting on them (“Urge Management”). You might be holding an unfiltered device in your hand, but with good urge management techniques you’ll be able to overcome the urge to browse inappropriate websites.

Why do you need both?

Filters on their own are only part of the solution. What happens if you have access to a device without a filter, or if you know how to bypassing your own filter? Also controlling your environment  is tricky for masturbation, since you can’t filter yourself...

On the other hand, urge management alone is not enough either. The habit of visiting certain sites might be so ingrained, that it is done almost automatically without thinking, and before you know it, the site is open… But when you control your environment, such surprise situations become uncommon. Even the weakest filter will give you a short delay before you can access a porn site, just enough time to catch yourself and use an urge management technique to deal with the urge. 

By including both of these areas in your plan, you’re increasing the chances that your plan will be successful.

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Last Edit: 24 Jan 2020 11:15 by MenachemGYE.

Re: Making a plan 23 Jan 2020 16:21 #346916

SMART Recovery suggests a similar structure for a change plan. You can find a copy here: https://smartrecovery.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Change_Plan_Worksheet-1.pdf

It's essentially the same as the one I just posted, but it includes 2 additional questions:
  1. How important is it to me to make these changes? (1-10 scale)
  2. How confident am I that I can make these changes? (1-10 scale)

These 2 questions are based on Motivational Interviewing, a certain type of counseling method.

Once you respond to these questions, you can brainstorm or discuss with a partner/mentor why the numbers are not higher or lower. This type of discussion can do wonders. Try it! 
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Making a plan 23 Jan 2020 16:16 #346915

This thread will discuss how to create a plan of action often referred to as a "Change Plan". All comment are welcome! You're also welcome to post a copy of your own plan if you'd like to get feedback on it.

Making a personal plan is one of the most critical things we need to do to change an addictive behavior.  

Project MATCH began in 1989 in the United States and was sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The project was an 8-year, multi site, $27-million investigation that studied which types of alcoholics respond best to which forms of treatment. 

The motivational enhancement therapy developed for Project MATCH included the following template for a plan:
  • The changes I want to make are:
  • The most important reasons why I want to make these changes are:
  • The steps I plan to take in changing are:
  • The ways other people can help me are: (include the names of some people and the possible ways each one can help)
  • I will know if my plan is working if:
  • Some things that could interfere with my plan

Here are some details that explain each of the areas. It's quoted from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/projectmatch/match02.pdf p. 34-36 with a few minor changes.

The changes I want to make are...
In what ways or areas do you want to make a change? Be specific. (e.g. Do you want to stop both porn and mastrubation, or do you want to focus now on only one of these behaviors.)
The most important reasons why I want to make these changes are... What are the likely consequences of action and inaction? Which motivations for change seem most compelling?

The steps I plan to take in changing are...
How do you plan to achieve the goals? How could the desired change be accomplished? Within the general plan and strategies described, what are some specific, concrete first steps that you can take? When, where, and how will these steps be taken?

This usually will focus on 2 areas: Dealing with urges, and Stimulus Control (avoiding triggers and blocking access) 


The ways other people can help me are...
In what ways could other people help the client in taking these steps toward change? How will the you arrange for such support?

I will know that my plan is working if...
What do you hope will happen as a result of this change plan? What benefits could be expected from this change?

Some things that could interfere with my plan are...
Try to anticipate situations or changes that could undermine the plan. What could go wrong? How could you stick with the plan despite these problems or setbacks?
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Last Edit: 26 Jan 2020 16:39 by MenachemGYE.
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I do have a filter but I always got around it. Recently I got someone else to control the password settings and blocked myself out. So now I'm 3 days going on more. 
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Welcome back. Maybe share with us how you accomplished that year.
Feel free to contact me at michelgelner@gmail.com

My threads: Lessons Learned: guardyoureyes.com/forum/20-Important-Threads/335248-Lessons-Learned

                    My Story and G-d Bless GYE: guardyoureyes.com/forum/17-Balei-Battims-Forum/303036-My-story-and-G-d-bless-GYE
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Welcome. You made a wise choice to join GYE. You will iyh get out of this mess if you stay connected. Where do you access pornography? Do you have any filters installed?
Feel free to contact me at michelgelner@gmail.com

My threads: Lessons Learned: guardyoureyes.com/forum/20-Important-Threads/335248-Lessons-Learned

                    My Story and G-d Bless GYE: guardyoureyes.com/forum/17-Balei-Battims-Forum/303036-My-story-and-G-d-bless-GYE
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Mindfulness can explain self destructive behaviour.

Treat the urge to fall, as an external thought, rather than something that is part of you.

www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/beyond-self-destructive-behavior/201601/mindfulness-in-the-treatment-self-destructive-behavior
Last Edit: 23 Jan 2020 04:43 by ColinColin.
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