16 Av 5780 / Thursday, August 06, 2020 | Torah Reading: Eikev
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Frank's Story    

Frank's Story

Cyber addiction is purgatory, as Frank tells us in his own words. He is now on the verge of losing everything – livelihood, family, and even his life. His story isn't over...


Editor's note: This post, by Frank Smith as told to Rabbi Lazer Brody, is not for the faint-hearted.  Frank (*name changed to protect his identity) is fighting for his life. Breslev Israel has spoken plenty in the past about cyber addiction and its devastating effects, but Frank's story tops them all.


Please send a link to this article to anyone you care about who has a problem with cyber addiction; it may shake them back into reality.


Dear Rav Lazer,


I have no one else to turn to regarding my present situation. I am in a lot of trouble and am contemplating suicide as a way out.  I write to you from a position of disgust with myself and potential humiliation for my lovely wife and three daughters. 


I was a successful CPA until I lost my job last January and have not found a means to make a living other than trying to start a business which is having a dismal beginning.  Until I lost my job, I was earning almost $280k per year. You see, I have been addicted to the internet over the last 8 years.  What I mean by addiction is that I was viewing pornography and obsessed with chatting with unknown people. I was also spilling seed due to my addiction and avoiding my marital duties to my wife as a result. I was doing this on a daily basis to the point that I was up all night and often wasting away days at work. Somehow, I carried on the appearance that everything was okay until I was arrested January 25th for chatting with who I thought were grown women but were actually undercover police officers posing as minors. I was so addicted that I never paid any attention to details like age since in the fantasy world of the internet, everybody makes stuff up including myself.  Since any facts were not believable, I never acknowledged any information other than what I needed to fulfill my selfish desires. 


In February, things got complicated. After I was arrested, I was extradited to another state where the charges were filed against me. The irony is that the state I am facing charges in, I have never been to in my life nor did I ever contemplate going there. I also never met up with any one I chatted with. I was purely living in a fantasy world that had overtaken my life - a trap that the Yetzer set for me. 


Initially when I was arrested, I was held in a city jail in the state where I live waiting until I was picked up by the sheriff's department of the state I am facing charges in. I was transported after 15 days in county jail and then spent another 3 days in jail in the state where I am facing criminal prosecution. You can't imagine what suffering this is, for I was with junkies, robbers, rapists - you name it. 


Please help me make teshuva. Help me warn others not to fall into this trap. The internet is like a cancer and what happened when I was extradited is that another county in the same state issued a warrant for my arrest for the exact same charges as the county that extradited me had filed. I am currently facing in 2 counties over 24 felony counts of internet solicitation to a minor and obscenity charges due to the nature of sexual language I was using. I was released on $80,000 bail with a GPS monitor on my ankle. I'm now jobless, penniless, and we're soon expecting child #4.


To add insult to injury, I have never been arrested in my life nor do I have any criminal record.  I was a good clean-cut guy with an MBA from the USA's best-known colleges of business. I passed my CPA on the first try. I had my choice of great jobs. It's now blown away. I can't explain what has happened as it all seems like a blur but I was living two lives. 


Since I have not been making any income, the community has come to our aid and has supported us along with paying for my legal expenses thus far totaling over 50k. I have 2 lawyers working on my case to handle my criminal matters and potential exposure to my CPA license.  My attorney has been trying to work out a plea deal but thus far has not been successful.  My attorney explained to me this morning that if a plea deal is not achieved then he needs to know my position as to whether he should pursue going to trial. If I go to trial I will be going to trial in 2 jurisdictions with potential jail time of many years compounded by the number of felonies I am not able to beat.


Believe it or not, the worst part for me is that I would also be required to register as a sex offender in 2 different states.  You have to know that I have never been interested in minors nor have I have ever considered harming a minor. I am reeling from the shock of how what I thought was a secret life has now become an open book.


Please intercede on my behalf. I'm sure that your prayers will help my case upstairs. I am now beginning to do everything I read about in your different articles - mikva, Tikkun Klali, guarding my eyes, learning Garden of Purity and doing teshuva during an hour of personal prayer a day. Even so, my marriage has been barely holding together. Please stick with me Rabbi Lazer because I need further guidance. As I said before, I have no income, I currently have no future and my wife is in tears daily. We are desperate and I contemplate suicide as a way to save my family, my children's future and the ability for my wife to remarry a person that is good and can make a living. I could go on for another 10 thousand words, but I have given you the gist of my present life story. 


Please, Rabbi, tell the world about what happened to me. If I can save at least one person from a similar fate, maybe G-d will have mercy on me. Most sincerely, Frank in the USA



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