I am not a big fan of people who write anonymous op-eds, nor am I the type to write them. However, there is an issue which I believe must be brought more into the light.
I am 23 years old and in very good physical health. I come from a very respected family of Anash. I learned in yeshiva for 7 years, went on shlichus and now learn in 770.
I would very much like to get married but there is an issue that plagues me. To put it very bluntly, I am addicted to shmutz on the web and I feel like it’s “killing” me.
I have tried to kick it countless times and convince myself that I would grow out of it but that never happened. I fell back into it again and again. I’m been struggling with this ever since Mesivta and possibly even before that. My thoughts and behavior were clearly influenced by it – even if it was not always visible to all.
The reason I am writing all this is not to elicit pity from the hearts of the readers and not because I want to ruin any chance I ever have of getting a shidduch. I write this now because, Baruch Hashem I am in a very painful period of recovery right now.
I have spent much money to go through intensive therapy to eradicate this illness of the mind. And I ask myself, If there was someone I could have spoken to when I was 18 without being embarrassed, where would I be today?
Is there a chance I would have been able to get a grasp on the issue then so that I would not have to experience this pain now as I see all my friends around me happily getting married as I wait and work on myself to eradicate a horrible addiction?
Is there a yeshiva or mashpia that takes a more enlightened view on these issues and remove the taboo which surrounds even discussing such an issue with a bochur? (I remember one of the most eye-opening experiences was when at a farbrengen in our yeshiva, Rabbi YY Jacobson asked for all the audio recordings be shut off and spoke candidly about the struggles in this subject).
In closing I would like to say:
1. Letting the problem linger or getting married will make it worse.
I am no expert (and as I stated I’m still single), but all the experts stress how even the occasional visit to shmutz on the web can be extremely harmful and devastating to a marriage and family. Getting married just makes the problem bigger.
2. There is a way out.
There is the concept of “a prisoner cannot free himself” which can be applied to spiritual maladies as well. There is nothing wrong with admitting you need help.
As I struggle through this emotional jungle, I can finally see how the guidance of the Torah and Chassidus can be a guiding light in our lives and that Hashem always has His hand out if we are falling. All we need to do is hold on.
A practical and very useful resource for this issue is GuardYourEyes.com (I see they have an advertisement on COLlive.com).
3. Life continues.
There is a beautiful Maamar of the Frierdiker Rebbe on what chazal say “Hashem does not come plaintively to His creatures” (אין הקב”ה בא בטרוניה עם בריותיו), meaning that none of us are required to do more than we can handle. We are all capable of overcoming any adversity which may come our way.
P.S. Anyone who is going through the same and is ashamed to talk openly, can email [email protected]. Feel free to stay completely anonymous and I will too.