External restrictions will only go so far and then the Satan will figure out a way for us to fall into his trap. That’s inevitable.
I can hear someone out there saying, “But it’s too late! I’m already in trouble. I didn’t have the benefit of growing up with this kind of love for and connection to Hashem. Now what?”
And I have an answer for that, too.
If you slipped on the street on a rainy day and your wrist suddenly hurt intensely, what would you do? It’s obvious, isn’t it? You would hurry to the doctor to see if you broke it. If the x-ray showed that it was broken, you would say, “Baruch Hashem for the pain which led me to finding out that my arm needs to be set in a cast.” Had you not had that pain, how would you know to take care of it?
If someone finds him- or herself watching pornography on the Internet or doing any other forbidden thing and he feels even a little bit of shame, then good. Baruch Hashem for the shame and the pain; they are warning signs that something is very much amiss in his life. What is he missing? Does he not love himself? His spouse? Does he not respect himself? Is his life meaningful? Fulfilling? Is he still suffering from the trauma of his childhood? These are the vital questions. Baruch Hashem that he went on the Internet so he could learn that he is missing something – as long as he fixes the problem.
If he is past the shame, then surely his loving family or community must get him help so that he can be whole.
And what will be the nature of that help?
Real help is to build up his internal fortitude. It’s not about resisting the Internet’s lures.
The true mark of overcoming an addiction is to no longer be attracted to the substance of choice. There is nothing to resist because the attraction is gone. The healing process must build up both internal control and connection to G-d.
Sure, this is a lot harder than simply saying that the Internet is off limits, but it is a real solution. It’s the solution that has kept the Jews alive through all our travails and will continue to do so.
“Dr. Deb” Hirschhorn, LMHC, holds a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her forthcoming book, The Healing Is Mutual: Marriage Empowerment Tools to Rebuild Trust and Respect—Together will be out this summer. DrDeb is accepting new counseling clients: individuals, couples, and families.