I grew up in a Modern Orthodox home. During my childhood, I spent many hours in front of a television and watching movies which exposed me to a constant barrage of sensual images.
In high school, I was able to access movies of a very explicit nature and I became obsessed with them. My mind was filled with thousands of indecent images (to put it mildly), and I was spending most of my time either watching or fantasizing about them.
My body may have been in shiur, in the beis medrash or davening, but my mind was not. From the outside, no one knew that anything was wrong. I was considered a model student. I have since learned that this is very common, perhaps even the norm rather than the exception, for lust addicts.
I reached the age of shidduchim and thought that getting married would solve my problem. I have found this to be a very common misconception. I married a fine Bais Yaakov girl, and for a short while I was leading the normal life of an avreich. Again, this was short lived. Slowly but surely, I was being drawn more and more to images and fantasies.
Not too long after our marriage, we got a computer with Internet. Needless to say, things got much worse. I now had access to endless images and videos. When I had the opportunity – I would often be in front of the screen. There were ups and downs. At times, I was able to focus on my learning and be clean for a couple of months, but invariably I would fall back. I was up and down like a yo-yo, and this went on for years.
I was progressively getting worse. I was taking bigger and bigger risks both at home and at work. I figured I would get caught eventually. There was no way I could hide forever. And indeed, fter hiding for over 20 years, and for over a decade of marriage, one night, my wife caught me.
That moment, and the days that followed, were the most painful moments I have ever had to endure. My world came crashing down, as did my wife’s.
Talking wasn’t always easy, but it was necessary for our relationship to recover from a major blow, and for me to recover from my addiction. She didn’t understand how I could have fooled her for so long. How could she be sure I wasn’t just fooling her again? I could not bear to lose her trust again.
One of the first things I found there is a handbook of tools and attitudes. I found it to be very enlightening and I shared my newfound knowledge with my wife. We both began to understand what I was dealing with at a much deeper level. It was a catalyst for new discussion and understanding between us.
It will always be my struggle, but GYE has been a guide for us and a place we can turn to for help.
With the recent launch of the GYE 2.0 website, GYE is more equipped to tackle this problem than ever before. Over the next 5 years, their goal is to ensure that every single Jew who wants to break free will get the help and support they need.
Once a year, during the High-Holiday season, GYE asks you to make a life-changing donation — and to consider that GYE isn’t just “another” organization but rather the bedrock of the foundation of Klal Yisrael.
For donations of $25×10 and up, you’ll receive our groundbreaking new book “From Boys to Men” written by Dr. Shloimi Zimmerman in conjunction with GYE, with a foreword by Rav Aharon Feldman (Not yet in the stores!). This book provides a comprehensive approach to education and supporting our sons and students regarding puberty, marital intimacy, and today’s challenges to Kedusha.