Thursday, 01 December 2011

Introduction

by GYE (See all authors)

Introduction

Welcome

Although we may have been raised religious, we found ourselves acting in ways that went against what we had been taught. Sometimes we came to believe that we never really had Emunah in the first place, or that we were simply “weak-willed” people with a “stronger than usual” Yetzer Hara.

After a while, we may even have come to think that we were anyway too far gone, and that Hashem surely despised us by now, or had abandoned us.

Then we found the GuardYourEyes Network - an entire community of Jews just like us.

We discovered that we weren’t alone. We learned that these behaviors are highly addictive, and what had started out many years ago as innocent curiosity or typical “teenage” problems, may have led us into a full blown addiction.

We learned that we really COULD change. All that was needed to begin our journey was acceptance that we had a problem.

The soul of every Jew cries inside of them, but we had accustomed ourselves to blocking out that cry. With proper guidance though, we began to discover that the Emunah we thought we never had was really there all along.

The word “kofer” comes from the word “covered over” (as in the word “kapores”). The faith of even the biggest Jewish kofer is only “covered over”. Every Jew believes deep down. It is an instinct that we inherited in our very genes, going all the way back to Avraham Avinu. And like birds that can fly thousands of miles back home without ever having learned how, all Jews find their way home if they just follow their hearts.

We discovered that Hashem had not abandoned us after all, but rather had a beautiful plan for us. And as we joined the GYE community, we began to see that plan unfold.

Every Jewish life is a song in Hashem’s honor. After 120, we will stand before Hashem and cry as the most beautiful song of “our lifetime” is played back before us. We will finally understand how much Hashem truly loved us all along, and that all the suffering and distance that we felt during our lives were really all part of a magnificent harmony.

Hashem has waited all this time for us to read these lines and feel the stirrings of hope awaken inside us. Today we will begin to feel the harmony of that beautiful song Hashem is playing with our lives, using the strings of our hearts as the notes...


Welcome Home!

Welcome to the Guard Your Eyes community, a vibrant network and fellowship of Jews of all affiliations, struggling to purify themselves and break free of inappropriate behaviors. Our network is comprised of a hotline, a website: www.guardyoureyes.org, a pulsating forum, weekly phone conferences, daily Chizuk e-mails, therapists and live 12 step groups. We also help people find accountability partners and sponsors, and we have a 90-Day chart where our members can sign up to chart their successes and keep a log of their journey to recovery.

For the first time, Jews have where to turn to for help in this area, as well as an entire network of services, tools, tips and group support to help break free of the insidious grasp of this addiction. All our work is free of charge and we zealously protect the complete anonymity of all our members. On our forum, charts, hotlines and the phone conferences, only nicknames and non-revealing e-mail addresses are used.

The Guard Your Eyes network has helped over 5,000 Jews get back on a path of self-control and healing, and has touched the lives of thousands more.

We attribute the success of our community to five factors:

1) Experience: The tools of our recovery program were developed with guidance from the best experts in the field, such as Rabbi Dr. Avraham J. Twerski, and through the personal experience of hundreds of dedicated Jews who successfully broke free of their addiction and are determined to help others in our community.

2) A Novel Approach: Our recovery system is not only unique for the Jewish community, but unique in the world, in that we address the many different levels of addiction with a program that uses progressively more “addiction oriented” tools based on the level of dependence.

3) Anonymity: All the tools of our network are strictly anonymous. This is one of the greatest secrets to our success, because the desire for anonymity, especially in these sensitive areas - and all the more so in the religious community, is one of the main inhibitions of people reaching out for help.

4) Accessibility: We harness the very power of instant accessibility of the internet which has fueled this epidemic, to reach and help thousands of Jews throughout the world that conventional therapeutic approaches would otherwise not be able to reach.

5) Providing Hope: The inherently pure Jewish souls caught in this addiction are often just yearning for a helping hand to give them that extra push they need to break free. By finding that we are not alone and that hundreds of others have succeeded through our tools, we are instilled with the determination and courage to change.

This handbook can be used by individuals who struggle with lust at any level, if they have tried to stop on their own and have not been successful until now. It can also be used by Rabbis, Mechanchim, Mashgichim, therapists and community leaders, who can learn to help others who struggle in this area. Unfortunately, this issue has reached epidemic proportions in the religious community today, mainly due to the privacy and accessibility that the Internet provides.

Part 1 provides the practical steps that we can take to break free of these addictive behaviors; starting out with the most basic steps to try, and continuing on through the more intense and life-changing steps - if necessary. Part 2 of this handbook focuses on the proper attitude to maintain in this struggle.

Our sages have called Shmiras Habris "Yesod", meaning "Foundation". The foundation of a building is "underground" and no one sees it, yet it holds up the entire building! Shmiras Habris is the hidden part of a Jew, it's the real you. If the foundation of a Jew is weak, his whole spiritual structure is in danger of collapse.

With the proper guidance, we start to see genuine changes in ourselves that we never believed were possible. At GYE we are finally joining together, for ourselves and for all future generations, to strengthen the Yesod - the very foundation of our people.

Help us spread the word. Download this handbook from our website at www.guardyoureyes.org and share it with others, either in PDF format or by printing it out.


Introduction to Part 1

When a newcomer first comes to the GYE network, they can easily be overwhelmed and feel lost. They will see many tips and much advice, ranging from the most simple and basic techniques, such as daily chizuk, forums, the 90-day challenge and more, and on through more drastic steps, such as 12-Step groups, therapy and even medication. It is often hard for the newcomer to pinpoint exactly how "addicted" they really are, and what kind of steps are the most appropriate for them to try. For example, obviously a beginner is not going to jump straight into psychotherapy or join a live 12-Step group, in the same way we don't try to treat the common flu with chemotherapy.

And that is the goal of Part 1 of this handbook. We have attempted to put together a guide of the practical tools that we in the Guard Your Eyes community have found useful. And we try to present them in a progressive order that goes more-or-less from the most basic and fundamental tools, and on through the more intense and life-changing recommendations.

The ideas and tools we share here, as well as the order they are presented in, are nothing more than suggestions. We are only sharing what many in the GYE community have found to work. You may try subtracting, adding, or jumping steps, as you see fit. We would be happy to hear if you feel that something has worked better or differently for you. We may even add it in future versions of this handbook (contact us through our website).

It is our hope that with this step-by-step tool guide, every person who struggles with lust addiction, no matter how mild or severe their addiction may be, will find guidelines that can help them achieve full recovery. All we need to do, is to start from the beginning and begin to check off the steps/tools that we have - or have not yet - tried. Should we find that we could not successfully break free even after applying the initial advice of this handbook, we will be able to find increasingly powerful and more addiction-oriented solutions, ensuring that we will eventually achieve a complete recovery be"H.

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