GYE Admin: We Never Had Such Volume Of Requests For Help

internet addict helpDear Lakewood Scoop,  
Thank you for posting my letter [A Professional’s Response To Internet Addicts: Klal Yisroel Is Now Beginning To Deal With The Issue, March 29, 2011]. Yasher Koach gadol! It was brave of you to post this because it’s not something we generally like to discuss, but anyone on the cutting edge of tachlis and askanus today needs to be able to face the issues of the generation without shying away from responsibility for the klal.
We have already received about 25-30 requests so far for the deletebrowser program to help people delete the browser on their Blackberry. (Send an e-mail to: [email protected]and you will get back a free program that eliminates the internet browser from your Blackberry. E-mails and all other applications will continue to function normally.)
Also, our filter Gabai says he never had such volume of requests for help! (The “Filter Gabai” can hold the password for you so you won’t be tempted to turn off the filter. Contact our filter gabai today at [email protected].)
Some of the comments to the letter were so heart warming. It is incredible to see the impact that GYE is making on people’s lives. Some examples:
“recovering addict” says:
GYE is a fantastic program. They deserve a lot of credit for getting the word out there and for having a hotline to call in the time of need. May those who need recovery from this addiction find their true source of recovery soon.
Pinchas says:
Guardyoureyes saved my life and my marriage! The Tzadikim there really bent over backwards to ensure I rid my neshama of the shmutz it amassed over so many years.
“a” says:
Thank you reb Guard! I cannot honestly say that you saved my life b/c I was not exactly addicted… but I am so much happier and feel so much holier now. who can judge between big and small? What you are doing has helped so many people. May hashem bless you with everything good. I am thrilled that these problems are being made public, and being dealt with as well. we can no longer afford to sweep all of our problems under the carpet. All of you out there who are struggling, there IS hope! Just go to the GYE website, you will fly from there!
“Real GYE member” says:
Thank You Yaacov for giving me my life back.
“lakewood Yungerman” says:
I am proud to say GYE saved my life.
And I know many people in our town that benefitted from this website.
My story is on the forum.
Please read the stories on the forum.
It can save your life.
Thank you yaaakov
How can a mere thank you suffice to the man who saved your life?
Yaakov, only Hashem knows what you did for me and for ALL of klal yisroel.
“GYE Member” says:
I personally have had my ENTIRE life changed by the use of as many others have also. I am not referring to a change that took place over the course of many years such as a 12 step program very often requires. I am telling you that in the span of a short 2 months, I have curtailed this issue. If you want to tell me that I wasn’t an addict than you are insulting my Promises made to Hashem on each of the last 4 Yom Kippur’s and about 50 times in between (and for your info I manage to keep EVERY other one of my promises on Yom Kippur). I had such a problem that I was nichshol on Rosh Hashanah itself, it even caused me to be Mechalel Shabbos once, and I wasn’t stopped even when I had been caught the day before. After over 10 years of all this, turned my life around in a mere two months and it had nothing to do with an increased Yiras Shamaim. In fact, my Yiras Shamaim has increased as a result of my success, rather than being the cause for it.

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  1. I too would like to thank you for the help you are providing. More than anything else, I have learned this week that guarding your eyes is a 24/7 job! Some of the comments had great ideas. I plan on deleting my browser and also being more careful where I go and shop. If the internet is a nisayon then the LIVE pritzus is just at bad. You need to get away from any challenge or questionable situation.

  2. Its mind boggling that the elite among us are nichsal in this terrible aveira. Since the initial letter was posted on TLS there has been story after story of real choshiva bnei Torah and bnei aliya telling their story of how they fell so low and how they were nicshal in this terrible aveira to such an extent. What can I say I am a working person after years in yeshiva and kollel and there is not a day that kedusha is not the project of the day, as it should be for anyone that is constantly looking to grow and we all know without kedusha there is no way to become the person we want to be, it just won’t happen. And so we all try hard and we all occasionally see in the street something that we wished we didn’t see. But what’s this ‘addiction’ business of having to look at such shmutz ? I mumish don’t get it , it’s from the aveiros chamuros!!! why is that not enough of a deterent. And futhermore how did the elite among us, the bnei Torah and bnei aliya get such a thirst for such shmutz in the first place? Why wasn’t their learning having a positive effect on them that this would be the last thing on their mind? I really need someone to answer this question for us please. This word ‘addiction’ seems to be an excuse for so many. It’s a sincere question that I am asking.

  3. “Addiction” to the Yetzer Hara is also an addiction!

    The elite in Klal Yisroel have fallen in this aveira, as the Torah tells us story after story.

    The Gemara also relates stories of the Tanaim and Amoraim who were, or almost were, Nichshal.

    The falling is not the issue necessarily.

    It’s the getting up after the fall that matters. Sheva Yipol Tzadik V’Kam. The Tzadik became a Tzadik not DESPITE his fall, rather BECAUSE his fall. This is also how the Vilna Gaon learns the Pasuk “Ki Nafalti Kamti…” KI, because I fell, I got up!

    Why people are Nichshal can be for a variety of reasons. See Rav Tzadok in Tzidkas HaTzadik 43. See also Bereishis Rabbah Perek 85:9 and Da’as Torah Parshas Vayeishev page 226 for the reasons behind the story of Yehuda and Tamar needing to happen.

    Bottom line is we live in a generation where falls are all but inevitable.

    The main thing is to utilize our falls and grow and grow and grow and grow from them.

    Just as someone who does teshuva M’Ahava has his sins turned into merits, so too one who grows from his falls has the falls turned into achievements.

    Certain people cannot get up on their own and as such need, and should getthe help of a therapist or similar proffesional.

    Other people can conquer this Yetzer via group therapies, dibuk chaveirim or with the help of a Chaver or Rebbi.

    Bottom line, this addiction to the Yetzer Hara is real, and as long as it isn’t dealt with it will grow.

    Anyone in today’s world who listens to the radio, goes to non frum news sites, uses Facebook (which is the downfall of our generation Rachmana L’Tzlan), watches “clean” movies etc. IS ADDICTED TO THE YETZER HARA. He may not be intellectually honest with himself and deny it, butthe facts remain: Only a complete dedication to Tahara and Shmiras HaEinayim can save the average person in today’s world from the pitfalls of the generation.

    I know all of the above because I have been there. I have fallen and gotten up,fallen and gotten up. Baruch Hashem after falling enough I was able to take the appropriate steps to ensure that I don’t have to fall again B’Ezras Hashem

    Al Ta’amin B’Atzmecha Ad Yom Mosecha.

    May Hashem give us al the strength to win and win and win, and get up from our falls and eventually not need to fall anymore.

    May we all be zoche to be amongst the 1/5 of Klal Yisroel that will merit going along with Mashiach.

    Chazak V’Ematz

  4. Part of the problem is that when people fall, instead of offering them help and letting them rehabilitate, many today instead ostracize these people and make them hide in shame for their human faliures.

  5. #3 you said a nice drosho and all, but you still have not answered my question that why are so many bnei Torah who learn torah a whole day and bnei aliya addicted to this stuff? where is this ‘thirst’ coming from initially that it then becomes so hard for them to get out of it?

  6. What we call addiction is really another way of saying “Uvur Adum Aveira vishunu ba, hutra-naaseh lo kihetter”! I don’t know why in this aveira a person seems to get entrapped much easier then other aveiros, but I’m sure it has to do with the fact that the Yetzer Harah knows how big of an aveira it truly is!

  7. I think you might be missing part of the equation. What is going on here is that the Bnei Torah and Bnei Aliya are actually bothered by what they are doing and are having a hard time living with themselves. They go to sleep at night feeling very bad and inadequate that they are having trouble battling this yetzer harah. Believe me, this problem is just as prevalent or more so by people who are not Bnei Torah. It is just not eating these people alive because they are not so sensitive to it. Having said that, your point is well taken that maybe more emphasis should be given to Shmiras Einayim and real Tznius issues for men and women. As far as why you don’t have this problem, it’s just good to know that we have real tzadikim in Lakewood. Keep it up.

  8. Yehuda, Yosef Hatzadik, Dovid Hamelech, Abbayei etc. were just as big Bnei Torah as anyone you are asking about.

    The thirst vomes from the Yetzer Hara, which happens to be bigger in Bnei Torah than in non Bnei Torah. Kol Hagadol M’Chaveiro Yitzro Gadol Mimenu.

    Ain Apotropos L’Arayos.

  9. Hinei lo yanum velo yishan Shomer, our precious devoted Guard – reb Yakov, constantly working and promoting this beacon of light called GYE.

    I owe reb Yakov so much.
    I am living without that deep dark secret hovering over me. I can feel a kirvas elokim, a shabbos, a davening, a shtickel gemara. I am not a dead piece of meat, spent and wasted on lust. with the help and support of GYE and it’s precious staff and forum members I was able to distance myself from the pitfalls of the internet. And I know never to trust myself, I need to be on guard, daven and reach for help when a nisayon comes along.

    Ashreinu ve’ashrecha reb Yakov!

  10. btw, the reason why I call myself a working ben torah is because I work and still consider myself a ben torah – I just closed my gemora actually (at 1:30 am) and went back to check on TLS. #9 I’m sorry but you are making excuses by bringing on Yehuda, Yosef Hatzadik, Dovid Hamelech, Abbayei etc. I promise you that the comparison is rediculous and you know it. And #8 responding to you – look I can only say the truth that I don’t have any interest in looking at this shmutz, not sure why not maybe because I know the price is too high or maybe I just have no thirst for it, but in big part because I put my mind to learning whenever I have the time and that’s why I find it so hard to understand STILL after all our back and forth why some of the ones who suffer from this ‘addiction’ (I am still not convinced that that is what it’s called) are from the finest bnei torah among us.

  11. why r u working with such madreigos that u hv that the yetzer hira doesnt hv any power over u u shld b a rosh yeshiva or at least a mashgiach we need so much more people like u

  12. thank you for this article. the amount of sweeping under the rug the community at large does is insane and scary. we are too scared to talk about these things and that is a very big problem. #66 there is hope out there its never too late. just shutting off the internet on our phones or computers or filters is not enough, there are ways around them, and other ways to get our “fix” when we need it. dont get me wrong, putting filters on or shutting down net is a very important part of the process but not the only one. this is a very real and prevalent problem in our comunity and the world at large. therapy is not something to take lightly or say doesnt help or is worthless because thats not true. most of the time people just think that going to therapy makes them “crazy” and that they will be viewed differently by others. ABSOLUTELY FALSE. therapy is very helpful and can and does help us see what going on in our lives when we are in complete or partial denial about it. if it is very striong then torah will not necessarily help you. ive been there done that tried it all and nothing ever helped. rabbis never helped bec they didnt know what it was, what to do, and were uneducated, besides for just not willing to believe there is a problem. thank god for the most part that is changing in the world. when people just say to stop and have more control or learn more or “daven” more, and thats all we need they are gravely mistaken and need to face reality, and realize that bashing wont help nor will criticizing others. the best thing to do is to find someone to speak to who u trust and maybe nowadays even a rabbi will know more about these issues, get to a therapist, and get help. and in closing realize that if u tried to stop all different ways and went right back to it then u have a problem and need help. ADDICTION KILLS. this is coming from someone with personal experience in all these matters. people who deny that there is addiction out there in the world arent helping anyone, and bu seggesting that we should just say no is insane. take chocolate for example, now emagine u can never stop eating it or put it down and its killing u by making u fat, high cholesterol, etc. yet u still cant stop. NOW THINK ALONG THOSE LINES WITH SOMETHING THAT IS AND WILL KILL OUR BODIES, MINDS, AND SOULS. and to all the people who still deny and say just dont do it and dont look and “daven” more or “learn” more….. DO THAT WITH CHOCOLATE. it can happen to anyone in the world no matter who they are, if they learn or dont, work or dont, jewish or not, religious or not, christians, muslims, italians, everyone is susceptible to this disease. think of it as a cancer that is incurable unless the right steps and medication are undertaken ( its worse than cancer).

    thank you to all those who do understand or who are at least trying to.

  13. #14 – you may be right that I would not make for a good mashgiach. But just so you understand my main point and that is it’s understandable that there will always be some people who r”l suffer from this tayva or addiction that some like to call it, but I think any mashgiach is going to agree with me on this point and that is firstly whats a bochur in yeshiva doing on a computer in the first place that he cannot get off it, and with regards to a yungerman, AGAIN why is there such a hunger for this stuff if his life is Torah, unless his learning is just a cover up, and that may be the case, but many posters over the last few days profess to be in kollel and in chinuch and we even had one that learns with kids at risk, and so my question is STILL a valid question; What is turning people there in the first place that then it becomes so hard to stop?

  14. OK Guys, I’m the one who started what turned out to be a whole mess in the previous post on this subject. I said there that I have a right to be skeptical of the article (based on the fact that the olam has been burnt before with kol koreis that weren’t exactly on the up and up). I see from the posts that I was wrong about this part and BEG MACHILLA FROM ANYONE I MAY HAVE OFFENDED OR HURT.

    Internet addiction is a terrible thing, and anything you can do to eliminate, by all means do so. I proposed in my previous post, and still hold onto that opinion, that one if not the main reasons why people fall into this trap is because they do not have a developed Torah Hashkafas Hachaim based on the mussar sources. This is an old argument that Rav Yisroel Salanter ZTL faced in his day by the olam that held Just Learn Gemorra and you don’t need to learn mussar. That approach is obviously not working today. Mesilas Yishorim, Chovos Halivovos, Derech Hashem, etc. are vital works that need to be interanlized to help us battle this terrible machala. I’m not talkling about 5 min a day either. Chazal already gave us the toold to battle anything that comes our way, we just have to use them. Please note, I am not belittling the fantastik work that GYE or anyone else does to help people. I want to relate one story to ADD to our defence Tools. There was once an out of town Rav who applied to be a chaplain for a state mental hospital. He had to pass a secular exam on phsycology. He took the text, and the official came in all excited, and said “Rabbi, do you realize you got the highest score anybody ever got on this test?! This is amazing! When questioned how the Rav did so well without any college training in the subject, he modestly answered..I just answered from Mesilas Yeshorim. My Brothers, we have a goldmind at our disposal in the holy mussar works that were left to us. I beg you from the bottom of my heart PLEASE look into them. Signed in pain by one who only seeks your good – a fellow Lakewood Resident

  15. to “working ben torah”

    a lot of time it starts at a very young age before we even know whats right or wrong. after that its usually looking for some sort of connection that cant be fulfilled by “torah” or “learning”. do some research about this stuff online and maybe you wont be so skeptical of it all. and its not that its so hard to stop its that its impossible to stop without the right help and steps NOONE can do it alone, if they truly have a problem and admit it. and like i said in my previous post it can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

  16. Responding to “working ben torah”:
    I hear your question and you can be sure it has bothered many. If you read some of the posts on the GYE forum (which I DON’T suggest since you B”H do not have this struggle) you will find that many of the people suffering from this tried to be Mechazek in learning, tried to be Mechazek in Mussar – they tried everything, absolutely everything. Rabbi Dr. Avraham Twerski has written many times that once an addiction forms the regular Darchai HaTeshuva do not work. My experience is that this is true even if the addiction is relatively mild.

    It seems to me that your Kashya is not on the GYE program, but on the Sugya of “Hamaor Shel Torah Machziro L’Mutav.” Like you said, there are serious Talmidai Chachomim, even accomplished Rabbonim and Poskim, who are actively suffering from this problem. There must be a different Pshat in the Torah Machziro remedy because the facts on the ground prove that learning B’Hasmada does not do the trick.

    Perhaps we need to explore the meaning of “Torah” in its broader sense – Chochmah, or Horoah (Guidance). Opening a Gemara or a Shaarai Teshuva will work for some, but others need to explore more penetrating forms of “Torah”, like discovering the Chochmah in the 12 steps of recovery that has worked wonders for many suffering from addiction. Chochma B’Umos Taamin, Torah B’Umos Al Taamin? Good Kashya, Tzarich Iyun. Maybe when a Yid learns the 12 step Chochmah is becomes Torah? Ich Veis Nisht.

    GYE is run Al Taharas HaKodesh. R’ Guard/Yaakov is like the Mike Tress of our generation – tirelessly involved in Hatzalas Nefashos every day. Yasher Koach to GYE and to all who support them. Any Rav can tell you that supporting this cause is saving marriages, children, communities, and sometimes, nebich, even lives. May they have much Hatzlacha!

  17. The answer to your question can be summed up in two words: HUMAN NATURE. That’s how Hashem made us. We have taavos, and our job is to fight them.

    Hashem made made this basketball court with baskets that are 10 feet high and not 3 feet high so that there will be a game. Without a challenge, there is no reward.

    The average man has “machshovos zaros” every once in a while that he needs to push out of his head. If that same person happens to be sitting in front of a computer, there’s a chance he’ll act on it.

  18. To #17/poster #1:
    You’re absolutely right that Sifrei Mussar contain tremendous Chochmah, and it’s very likely that the answers to all problems of addiction and the early forms of it can be gleaned from them. At the same time, many people need help NOW, their families are falling apart NOW, they’re losing their jobs NOW, some are contemplating suicide (R”L!!) NOW. For such people, and there are so many, they need the short version – a support group of people going through the same struggle, proven simple methods to get them back on track, perhaps the surprising Hakaras HaBorai and Tikkun HaMidos program that is at the core of the 12-Step program of AA. When they’re back on track they can focus more on the Sifrei Mussar and develop the skills to mine those texts for their goldmines, but meanwhile so many people are on life support and need help NOW.

  19. As with all addictions, it’s the WHY of the addiction that has to be dealt with first. WHY don’t people have the ability to stop themselves after the first two, three, or four curiosity satisfying nichshalim???

  20. to #22.
    agreed! My point was the root cause of the problem, as well as catching people before they fall. The way to do that is follow the edicts of the Gedolim AND to develop a serious upgrade program (using the mussar seforim) so we all have a much stronger Hashkafos Hatorah. Again, for those already caught in the web, as a community we should pull out all the stops and help them any and all ways we can, and NOW. I repeat HELP them and Not Ostrasize them. Have a great Shabbos.

  21. It is clear from the gemara that there is a yetzer in this area that is not necessarily vanquished by greatness in learning. Some amoraim warned others not to let them be secluded with even those who are allowed. Others attempted to be nichshol, only to find out that hashem stopped them at the last second due to their legendary greatness. It is obvious that this is the test hashem has presented to our generation is particular. If you think that being a rov or chashuvs person would b’teva stop them from engaging in this, just look at the outside world where leaders of countries have given it all up for a lifetime of misery for a moment of enjoyment. There is no clear answer only to make gedarim. Chazal tell us “isha…. upiha malah dam v’hakol ratzin achareha” there is no rhyme or reason. We simply have to absorb the eitzos of chazal, those giants who were able to see through human nature. One of the main eitzos chazal tell us is “the eyes see, the heart desires, and the hands carry out”. We often look at other people or modes of life and think about how perhaps we could have the samem It takes many years to realize that it’s all illusions,in every sense. Remember, the yetzer hara reaches HIS shleimus when we overcome the challenges he is allowed to present to us as a messenger from hashem to allow us to earn more sechar. One who has no temptation has no reason to live even another day- there is nothing left to work on! Hashem does not give a nisayon one cannot overcome. it make take 5 years, 10 years, or more but you will get there, and every GENUINE struggle along the way is treasured by HASHEM. He has given us this task ( and oppertunity) so we are the generation he has considered worthy of the task. Chazak Ve’ematz!

  22. Using “addiction” as an excuse is a valid concern. But there are real people (like myself) who have gone to rabonnim and chachomin and have found that it is not working. Well-meaning yir’ei Shomayim see these people, shake their heads, and offer “chizzuk” and all manner of eitzos that they feel desperate must work, cuz they make so much sense to them…but they forget that they are talking to decent people who often have tried the same stuff l’Shem Shomayim 150 times already in one form or another for decade or more – and it has not worked for them at all, in the long term. Even though it is ruining their lives in many ways.
    And if was just that, hecherashti – but it isn’t. While these well-meaning people are encouraging these chronic schmutz users (like me), to “never give up!! Hashem doesn’t give a nisayon you can’t handle, etc.”,,,their marriages are enduring so much damage that sometimes becomes irreversible. Then the children suffer for what may be a lifetime. I came “this close” – and my wife and I have watched other marriages dissolve with all the aftermath for the children. And these are frum people!

    So is all this wreckage worth fitting these peoples’ struggles into “party-line hashkofos”?

    I think not.

    It is certainly time to treat each case separately and avoid the broad brush of dogma and “what SHOULD be.” One of the lives saved may be yours.

    Kol ditzrich yeisei v’yifsach (take the leap)! In the end, a life of Torah and yir’as Shomayim that works is indeed waiting for them.

  23. We say it in Kriyas Shema twice or even 3 times each day. V’loi Sasuru Acahrei L’vavchem, V’acharei Eineichem, ASHER ATEM ZOINIM ACHAREIHEM.

    The Torah says straight out that a person WILL naturally go after these things. Admitting that there is a problem outright is the first step to recovering, or to not being nichshal in the first place.

    This is very probably the reason Hashem wants us to say it out 3 times daily in the first place.

    To those who don’t understand this Yetzer Hara, did you ever think that you might be the exception, not the rule?

    And to #23, thank Hashem every day that you don’t understand these things, because when one is nicshal the 2-3 times that you mention, he can’t just “get out”.

    Be thankful that you don’t understand it. You should be zoche to never understand the pain a person going through the nisayon feels.

    Recovering Bez”H

  24. One more thing. Boruch hashem i have been clean for 14 years now, through the help I finally found in a group called SA. And I have met many who have gotten better, many who have not, over the years. V’rinchamti es asher arachem.

    Nu. He can have all the rachmonus – but as the Kotzker said (even though he knew well that la’Shem ho’Oretz umlo’ah): “Hashem is only where we let Him in.” An addict is poshut unable to let Hashem in. And they know what I mean….or will eventually.

    No excuses here.

  25. There is definitely a reality of addiction to certain pleasurable behaviors.
    Just like 85% of people can drink alcohol without becoming addicted, people can look and engage in immoral behaviors without neccessarily becoming addicted. But for 15% of the population something happens to their brain and they become dependent on this stimulation. It’s a physical phenomena that has been observed in brain scans.
    It’s the same with alcohol and drugs. The normal reward pathways become hijacked by the crazy release of dopamine and other chemicals and one can become addicted.
    Thankfully there are treatments and a greater understanding of addiction these days.
    R’Tzadok Hakohen talks about the concept that there are niyonos that are beyond ones Bechira. The person literally has no choice but to commit the aveira.
    What this means is that his/her moment of Bechira has been moved up to the sincere desire not to be in such a situation to take action.
    R’Tzadok Hakohen also says that it’s useless to fight these immoral impulses head on because they will always win in the long run.
    We have to daven daven to Hashem and keep away from Nisyonos.

    It’s very condescending for those that don’t suffer from this to talk down to those that do. Try to understand them and give chizuk.

  26. please keep this discussion alive

    people who suffer from any addiction

    is just that

    they suffer

    the vvery nature of this addiction

    and the root of its problem is too much for the average person to say they have the solution

    if they do

    mazal tov

    if they dont

    respectfully keep quiet and have an open mind

    you may learn something

    you may

    I can say from personal experience

    as a working ben torah

    i can say from experience

    the forum works

    it has tremendous resources

    i also found many of the best writers and thinkers

    please if you need it use it

    if you don’t need it walk away

  27. This is not a Shalom Bayis issue usually. It is an abuse and trauma issue that happens during childhood where a person feels abandoned. Yetzer Horoh or not, once a person looks at this stuff it becomes addictive and no amount of learning is going to fix it until a person admits he is powerless and comes out of isolation and into a group where he can express his shame and guilt and free himself. I’ve spoken with hundreds of Bnei Torah and when I delve into their pasts, almost, without exception there is abuse or trauma or abandonment involved. It is not the wives fault that her husband is looking elsewhere, it is his problem and then it affects their Shalom Bayis, if the wives are even being told. This disease is cunning, baffling and powerful and just like we put up gedorim to protect ourselves from doing more serious aveiros, we have to put up fences here also as it pertains to this inyan.

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