It happened again! For the last four months I’ve been clean – no porn on the Internet, no m@sturb@ting, studying Torah as much as I can, exercise, going out with friends, anything to prevent me from being alone with the computer. Then I lost everything.
The yetzer got hold of me and convinced me to look at a stupid little bikini clip, nothing more than that, and before I knew it, I was hooked again, clicking on worse and worse stuff until I hit rock bottom, and now I’m back where I started from – back doing all the awful things I shouldn’t be doing, and it’s been more than a week and I can’t stop. All because of a stupid bikini! I’m disgusted with myself and don’t know what to do. Help!
It wasn’t the bikini that did it. The powerful, overpowering yetzer you feel that’s keeping you a captive didn’t suddenly appear out of nowhere. A person is the product of everything he experiences in his life. If he grows up in a material world, surrounded by a non-stop bombardment of material input and pleasures, junk food, TV, Playboy Magazines, and now Smart Phones when he is still in the cradle, he is going to turn into a material creature, constantly on the lookout for sensual highs. Changing one’s nature isn’t an easy undertaking. It requires great effort and persistence, and when it comes to pornography addiction, even a seemingly harmless bikini can cause a dangerous tailspin. Rabbi Moshe Bliecher from Hevron gives an example of a yeshiva student who’s having trouble learning after a setback, to explain the power of our physical lusts, which can be applied to your case as well:
“The more a man studies Torah and occupies himself with idealistic matters, the more he develops his natural idealistic tendencies, and he will be nobler, more spiritual, and interested in doing what’s good and what’s right, as opposed to merely satiating himself with the material things he enjoys. If he ceases to pursue the spiritual for a time, and stops nourishing himself with idealistic interests and goals, and follows after his physical desires and the readily available material attractions around him, his idealistic inclinations will lessen, and it will be harder for him to learn Torah and occupy himself with spiritual endeavors.
“For example, when a yeshiva student comes home for a visit, even if the visit is short, like for Shabbat, it isn’t always easy to return to the yeshiva. It’s difficult to sit back in the beit midrash down with a Gemara and learn like he did before his trip home. Why? How can it be that after a month of fervent learning in the yeshiva, immediately following a short visit home for Shabbat, the learning is now tedious and heavy? It isn’t because his nature is far away from idealistic content, and it is certainly wrong to think that this student doesn’t have the qualities to sit and study Torah in a yeshiva. He has already proven that he does.
“Rather, this student started to learn Torah in a yeshiva after years of immersion in the material world, where he wasn’t accustomed to spiritual endeavor, and his idealistic qualities were never developed and lay in dormant slumber. Only his physical, material nature was nourished and pursued. In order to change his material lifestyle and worldview, so that he can acquire new, more spiritual way of living, time is needed. To accomplish this, he has to invest a great deal of time and persistence so that his natural idealistic tendencies are awakened and strengthened until they become habit. Every time he interrupts his studies and returns, even for a short duration, to his former ways and comes into contact with the “nourishment” he had been familiar with in the past, which awaken in him the powerful material characteristics that dominated his youth, this regression causes him difficulties in returning to his Torah learning.”
You broke your habit once – you can break it again. But this time, when you are clean, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re only going to take a peek at a little bikini. Remember that there’s a tsunami of powerful emotions and bad habits lurking under that image, waiting to capture you again, and by taking even one harmless look, you’ll be unleashing years and years of the addictions to material pleasures which you were enslaved to in the past.
Next time, be smart. Think twice. And get yourself a filter and throw away the code! Keep learning Torah and you will succeed!