A Respected Marbitz Torah and Mashpiah Ruchani
"FrumFiend" writes on our forum for the first time:
I am a respected marbitz torah and mashpiah ruchani. I fell into tumah very young age (a guy showed me something). I spent years spending every moment lusting after and dreaming about how to access such material. In Beis Medrash I broke away completely (for about seven years). A few months after marriage, I fell in again with magazine material. When internet came out, I bought a computer and since then I was basically hooked. At the beginning there where times that I threw away computer or internet, but I always came back to it anyways a month or two later. At this point, shmutz is a daily part of my life. I have no interest or hope of changing this. This addiction is not known to anyone and has no effect on my life except for not allowing me to become the Talmid chacham I could be. However since I have seen this site, I cannot bring myself to see tumah on the screen. I am sure this will not last however. If someone can grab me and guide me, I would really appreciate it. I have looked through this site and I am just amazed at how similar the thought process of people on this site are to mine. This gives me a glimmering of hope that maybe I can get out.
Anyway tizku Lemitzvos on your great work, even if it may not help me.
Elya (moderator of the phone conference) replies:
A year and a half ago when I first joined this forum, I invited a fellow to join me on one of my Thursday night anonymous phone calls (hint! ;-). He attended the call.
On the call, my guest-therapist said that if you can stay clean for 90 days, the neural pathways in your brain change and all of this becomes easier, (it never fully goes away).
This man had been visiting adult video stores for over 32 years almost every day, including Shvichas Zera. He decided that night that he would stop. He called me the next morning on my cell and began crying hysterically. Here is what he said:
"I cannot do this, it is too hard. THESE PICTURES ARE MY FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!! - And I cannot bear to be without them. He was so addicted and insane at that moment, that he actually believed the actors on a video were his friends. I spoke with him for a while, actually every day, for almost 6 months. He still calls me occasionally.
These calls kept him sober, not because of me, but because of his willingness to be honest and open, and speak-out the shame and guilt we all have. That is the foundation of the recovery process.
By the way, he has not gone to an adult video store in 1 1/2 years. Although he still struggles with lust, his life is totally different and with much more meaning and fulfillment. I pray you will find a similar path.
Dov Responds to "FrumFiend"
Dear Frum marbitz fellow,
It was bittersweet reading your post above. The main feeling I also had when first coming into a SA meeting was a bit similar..."Well, that guy over there is a bona fide pervert, the other guy is clearly lying, and I feel kind of sorry for the other folks, but - they are all speaking my mind!... I think I am in the right place after all." It was kind of weird. Here I was a ben-Torah (who's clearest priority of all was daily schmutz?!) and these were mostly goyim and only one other frum guy. A Pervert. Yet Hashem was going to save me through them!
Nu. But at the time back then, it also gave me tremendous hope. It told me that if these monkeys could find out how to live successfully sober and without holding onto so many secrets, then I could co it too! (I often thought I'd burst carrying shocking secrets to my grave, and it bothered me that they'd be maspid the wrong guy at my funeral... They wouldn't have ever known the "me" I lived with most of the time!). Feeling like I'd be able to leave all that behind was HUGE.
Your story is so not unusual, it's sad. Hatzlocha!
With much respect and love,
Thank you very much for all your replies. It is a very weird feeling to have a part of your life that is so compartmentalized that no one (including yourself in a certain way) are aware of, has become part of a public forum.
Something Elya mentioned made me feel very sick. He mentioned video stores. I had totally forgotten the years before the internet, sneaking into those stores, hoping no one recognized your car. Taking of the frum uniform. Sneaking into clubs in Manhattan. Ordering the movies to your address and hoping your wife doesn't happen to come home early and check the mail. Oy Rebono shell Olam, in those days I felt stupid. The broadband internet has made the process so sterile that I could write that it doesn't affect my life, but in those days, Oh Boy! I have more to say but that's enough for now. Meanwhile haven't looked at anything since I found your site. Over Shabbos, I sat and learned for a few hours B'hasmadah Gedolah and B'eiyun Nimratz.