Deciding to stop does not mean that we won’t ever fall again or that we’ll succeed in staying stopped forever on our first try. However, it does mean that we are committed to trying, by being open minded to internalizing the principles and tools discussed in this program which have helped hundreds, if not thousands, break free.
Having the proper perspective and attitude on this struggle can make all the difference. Often people write to us saying that had they only known the proper perspective and attitude guidelines that we discuss on our network when they were younger, they would have never fallen into the addiction in the first place!
It is not for nothing that our network is called "Guard Your Eyes". The most obvious practical step to conquering lust addiction is learning to guard our eyes. This is the cornerstone of breaking free, and it's obvious why: We can't lust for that which we don't see!
To succeed in this struggle, it is important for us to get fresh perspective and Chizuk each day. Chazal say that the Yetzer Hara renews his attack on us every day. Our network provides daily Chizuk e-mails with antidotes, tips, articles, and quotes from our sages, therapists, and fellow strugglers, to help us break free of this addiction.
We frequently focus on breaking the addiction by avoiding triggers and running away from the Yetzer Hara. But often the best way to deal with an addiction, is to remove the underlying "needs" that the addiction is trying to fill by proactively engaging inalternative fulfilling pursuits.
When we talk about recovery and emotional health, our physical body is a critical factor in the equation. Getting enough sleep, good nutrition and especially exercise, add a whole lot more to our "spiritual centeredness and emotional well being" than most people give it credit for. As the Pasuk says, "Venishmartem Me'od Li’nafshoseichem -and you shall vigilantly guard your wellbeing".
The addiction is more powerful than us, and if we try to fight it head on we will almost always lose. Once we are standing at the edge of the cliff, we are very vulnerable to falling off of it. Instead, we must stay as far away from the edge of the cliff as possible. Therefore, one of the most powerful tools in this struggle is making good fences.
If you've tried the steps above and you still find that the addiction is controlling you and causing frequent falls, it could be helpful to apply the battle-tactic of conquering and securing one territory at a time, instead of trying to conquer everything at once. The more we cut down, and the more distance we put between ourselves and the addiction, the easier it gets.
There was a recent scientific study that found it takes 90 days to change the neuron pathways created by addictive behaviors in the brain. It was shown that if an addict refrains from their addictive behavior for 90 days, they will find it far easier to stop the addictive thought patterns.
TaPHSiC stands for “The Physical & Spiritual Combo” Method. This tool has worked well with many Frum addicts in helping them stop these destructive behaviors completely. For most frum addicts this method has worked wonders, and it has freed many people from the obsession.
If we haven't been successful yet with the tools above, it is time to bring the struggle to the next level and introduce others into the picture. Our own strength has proved insufficient in dealing with our addiction. We need to start exploiting strength from outside ourselves to help us succeed.
Since one of the most powerful tools for breaking addictions is getting out of isolation, we need to increase our interaction with others in the same situation as much as possible. If a single partner or sponsor still does not give us the strength we need to completely stop acting out, there is nothing more powerful than group support to help addicts break free from addictions.
If we are at a loss on how to continue our journey, or if we feel that all the steps we've taken until today still don't seem to do the trick for us, we can pick up the phone and call the GYE Expert Hotline to discuss our addiction with someone who understands us and can give us advice on how to proceed.
There is no better way to assure our own long term sobriety than to be in constant contact with the Guard Your Eyes community and to be helping others every day. Whether it is by being an accountability partner or sponsor for someone else who is struggling, or whether it is through posting on the forum, we are needed out there - and we need the others out there even more.
Most experts in addiction will tell you that the two most powerful methods in finding freedom from addiction are (1) Group Support: Get out of isolation and connect with others who are going through what you are - and succeeding! And (2) Work the world's most proven and powerful method of all time: the 12 Step program.
Because the 12 Steps are truly a life-changing set of principles, often they can be internalized properly only through joining a live face-to-face group. But by learning to give up our will in the group, and learning how to share honestly with the group and our sponsor, we are able to learn how to give up our will and be honest with Hashem as well.
Very often the addiction stems from underlying issues, such as a difficult childhood, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression and so on. We used the addiction as an escape mechanism to run away from emotional pain, or as an attempt to fill a void that we felt in our lives. An addiction therapist, preferably one who is trained in dealing with lust addiction, can help us explore the underlying causes of our addiction and discover where the root of our behaviors may stem from.
If our therapist determines that our addiction may be connected with underlying causes such as depression, anxiety, obsession, OCD, or even hyper-sexuality, he may send us to be evaluated by a psychiatrist for medication that can help us significantly in these areas. The medications can truly make a difference in the long term.
If we’ve tried everything and still can't break free, perhaps we need some time to get away from society completely to be able to focus fully on recovery for a period of time. The only way to break free is to be under supervision and be in a place where we simply cannot access our “drug” in anyway, for a while.