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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:27 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
Lesson 1:
1. Actively committing myself to change.
In relation to this, I am doing it. I have been half-trying, half-thinking about it, and mostly externally motivated for about the past year. I have really looked in the mirror in the past 30 days and come to grips with the fact that I do have an addiction. For a few weeks I was on a bit of a high from newly acknowledging that, finding recovery nation and other things on the web, and committing myself to the Recovery Nation workshop. However, I am fearful of not fully committing to the lessons, for fear of remaining private (secret) and not taking the time to commit. I am actively committing myself to change in a way that feels very new. Seeing myself for who I am is not fun but I’m doing that more and more – looking at myself honestly. I am committed to change.

2. Not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage my commitment to change.
Holy cow this is a tough one. I think I'm also addicted to guilt and shame. OK, that was not the most helpful or accurate thing, but I think people here can understand -- it's like I can't accept a happy life, I've got to juice it with guilt and shame so that I can feel terrible again. I don't want to digress; I think this is a "keep moving forward" thing. Right now I'm feeling guilt and shame for continuously challenging the happiness of my marriage - even while I'm not acting out for a length of time, I'm still a roller coaster of yelling/anger/sadness/depression, etc. I do think this one is about dusting myself off and keeping going. I am doing that and I will continue to do that because I truly want to lead a healthy life free of compulsions, and largely free of regular feelings of guilt and shame.

3. Allowing yourself time to change
this is a tough one, too, because this is where I let myself feel the external pressures - from my long suffering wife, who just wants emotional stability, and at any given time is at her wit's end with me and wants a break from me and emotional abuse. There's a fine line -- ok, it's not a fine line, between "allowing myself time to change" and "fooling myself into planning for relapses" I will allow myself time to change, though I want to do this workshop in as close to the required time as possible. I just don’t want to waste any more of my life struggling with my thoughts. I’m really really tired of feeling like this. As long as I stay in this workshop I will be able to have patience knowing that I’m on the path and am working on it as best I can. I am so motivated to start living and feeling healthy! I think this is similar to #2: be honest, open and clear-eyed about who I am and what I'm doing, to forgive myself and keep moving forward with intention and honesty with myself.


My motivation for Change:
B. I want to experience as much joy and happiness that I can out of my life
To be a great father who shows my children the way to live honestly and openly.
I want to build a legacy of love and kindness for my family
I seek to dramatically improve my self esteem and reverse the negative and self-defeating scripts in my head.
I absolutely need mental and emotional health in order to tackle all of the many challenges I will encounter in my life.
To leave behind the secret guilt and shame that have always plagued me and to embrace a more simple, easy and honest life.
I want full access to all of my mental and emotional capacity – to be there for my family, to navigate life’s crises, and to experience life completely.
I want to truly grow as a human; to let go of my problems and negative thoughts and open up to learning and growth every day.
I want to provide emotional stability in my family and in my life.
To take good care of myself. To be my own friend.
I want the emotional stability necessary to navigate through problems in my marriage. We have a lot to fix and work through, and my emotional chaos and darkness gets in the way of facing up to the problems in our marriage and lovingly and compassionately deal with my wife's issues and together our challenges as a married couple.
To achieve more success in my career through the mental discipline to stay focused on working my plan – to stay focused on my objectives.
I want to feel the peace and happiness on a regular, day to day basis that comes from congruence between my thoughts, words and actions.
I want to build true intimacy with my wife
I want to cultivate integrity in all that I do
I want to develop a healthy, fun and fulfilling sexual relationship with my wife
I want to strengthen my role as a father by acting at all times with integrity and dignity
I want to develop mental discipline so that I can be fully present with my children
I want to break free from the cynicism, avoidance, envy and insecurity with friends, extended family, and with the many people I interact with at work, at my kids' schools, and with my wife's friends.
I want to develop more meaningful friendships in my life.

C. this is a tough one. .A picture of me and my sister when I was about 4. We were smiling and almost cracking up – I think we were squeezing each other really hard as we posed for the photo and we thought it was so funny. I had already been emotionally and physically abused at that point, but I still had my innocence; all I wanted was love, attention, teaching, nurturing and to have fun and play. Pretty soon I would be exposed to pornography and would notice my parents behavior, comments, etc, and things would get weird, dark and complicated, but at that point I was just a kid. I was a smart kid, really sensitive to others, and I wanted to help. I wanted to be strong, smart, helpful, and I wanted to be happy. I think I was happy – I smiled a lot and laughed a lot. I want to take that little boy and tell him everything is ok; I want to protect him from all of the shit he was put through. I was so sweet and kind; I really loved going to school and got so much pleasure out of learning and succeeding. I loved running around and playing any kind of sports. I loved my grandparents, who were taken away from me by my father a few years after this. I experienced all kinds of normal, regular childhood stuff before things got more dark and complicated. I had no compulsions, I had no reason to lie or hide anything, though I soon learned that just for survival. I didn’t know yet how fucked up my family was and I didn’t have enough experience yet to know I was in an abusive situation. I was just a good kid living his life. This is a painful exercise because it brings up so many memories, and I think back to so many times I was confused, sad and scared in my childhood, but I visualize myself gently stroking my head (as I frequently do with my awesome toddlers), and telling myself that everything is OK, and that we will get through this difficult childhood and see our way to health and happiness.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:28 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:31 pm
Posts: 279
Welcome to RN.

Quote:
However, I am fearful of not fully committing to the lessons, for fear of remaining private (secret) and not taking the time to commit.
Daunting isn't it? But consider, fear is one of the core destabilisers in our addictive lives. Letting that fear sabotage you before you even get started is just giving in. Fear not, if you are genuinely committed then you will overcome this fear.

If you really do want to improve your life and to recover from your addiction then you are at a good place to make that desire reality. Open yourself up to the possibility to change, commit to recovery fully and completely.

Work through the lessons and understand them, if you miss something ask on the community forum, assistance is always on hand. Try to participate on a daily basis on the community forum. Just reading other posts and writing will help your thought process. Take the chance to read your fellow recoverers' recovery threads. Odds are they're having the exact same struggles and problems as you and seeing things from another perspective can be a real eye-opener

Coaches and mentors are likely to drop by occasionally but if not, don't worry as this is generally a good indicator that you are on the right path

The path is long and difficult but it is well proven and you are not alone.
Quote:
I will allow myself time to change, though I want to do this workshop in as close to the required time as possible. I just don’t want to waste any more of my life struggling with my thoughts.
Don't rush it; I was equally anxious to just "get it done" when I first started. It's not a race with yourself, you can stop "wasting your life" long before you complete the lessons. In fact, by committing tot eh program, you are already stopping and doing something productive with your life.

We usually suggest completing about 3 lessons a week but spending time every day posting and reading. Get to know your addiction and see yourself with honesty and openness. Besides the workshop, branch out into other sources of information like books, internet articles, etc. Remember to work at your own pace and its not a race indeed some consider recovery to be a journey rather than a destination. The faster you accept that recovery is something that won't happen overnight, the better of you will be.

Your motivations strike me as quite broad and well balanced and if they carry through to your vision and values you will be off to a good start. :g:

I was struck by your comments on the picture exercise. Although my childhood did not have the darkness that you allude to, I also found it a very difficult lesson, and spent most of the evening crying afterwards. Indeed, for some time after that, I couldn't read what I wrote without crying. It is that realisation of loss I think that Jon intended us to connect with when he wrote the exercise.

Good start, keep it up.

_________________
"..And be a simple kind of man, Be something you can love and understand" - Lynyrd Skynyrd


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:00 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
Lesson 2: Vision Statement
To live a positive, meaningful and satisfying life that is honest and open. To build and maintain an honest and completely loving relationship with my wife, consistently treating her as my best friend and partner in life. To raise my children in a loving, positive and supportive home, and to nurture them and help them grow up healthy, strong and confident in themselves. To set a good example to my family and others of how to live and face challenges and how to treat others. To achieve professional and financial success through consistent hard work, by consistently and intentionally building my expertise, and by helping others succeed. To live a life of health and well-being by filling it with regular, vigorous exercise, to experience the excitement of healthy competition, and to experience the joy and satisfaction of working to improve upon my physical – and mental - strength and endurance. To work on personal growth throughout my life, in the pursuit of new skills, knowledge and understanding. To leave a legacy of love and kindness, and to break free from the guilt and shame with which I have plagued myself. To live a life filled with happiness and love, in which I cherish myself, my family and my friends.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:31 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
Values

Live with Integrity
To have compassion for myself and others
Strengthen my role as husband
Strengthen my role as father
Develop intellectually
Develop professionally
Providing quality in my work
Be respected as a professional by others
Be reliable for my family
Be professionally reliable
Bring joy to others
Hard work and dedication
To live with honesty
Health: mental and emotional
Health: physical
Strength: physical
Strength: mental
Forgive others
Forgive myself
Professional excellence
Bring joy to others
Sense of humor
Develop emotional maturity
Sexual intimacy
Sexual contact
Cherish my wife
Cherish my kids
Provide security for my family
To feel secure
To be confident
To be happy with myself and with others
To navigate problems and discord with skill
Autonomy; to be able to provide for my own needs without projecting them onto others
To take pride in the life that I am living
Feel sexually desired
Financial strength
Sound judgement
Instill healthy values in my kids
Respect myself
Feel needed and desired
Be a leader
Self discipline
Sexual Excitement
Sexual Gratification
Sexual Pleasure
Fulfill my physical needs
To be a friend to myself
Take care of myself
To live my life, and spend my days intentionally and mindfully
To exercise discipline and control over my emotions


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
This is difficult and I am struggling. I have a hard time looking at these things and not thinking that it's bullshit.

It's not bullshit, and I really put thought and effort into this, but damn, it's hard to reprogram, and I'm feeling despondent.

I suspect venting like this will help, which is why I'm doing it. I've for so long considered myself "different" and brainwashed myself into thinking I'm not like other people, that to look back on so much "I will live my life with integrity" gives me a gut "this is bullshit" response.

OK, vent over. More hard work ensuing. Thanks to recovery nation and thanks to simpleman for your response. Onward and upward!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:31 pm
Posts: 279
oneringtorulethemall wrote:
...damn, it's hard to reprogram, and I'm feeling despondent.

Yep it is hard to reprogram, and you will sometimes feel despondent, scared, angry, frustrated, alone, anxious and a whole host of other emotions, and if venting helps, then go for it, this is your thread. Feel free to post in the Community Support Forum as well when you feel you need some support or assurance, or even a reality check :w:

Quote:
"I will live my life with integrity" gives me a gut "this is bullshit" response.

I regularly suffer the same thing myself, and I suspect many of us do.
We are so conditioned to thinking that these types of values are somehow weak or touchy-feely, and so our internal bullshit monitor start triggering alarms. However, what you need to keep in mind is that it is our bullshit detector that is faulty, and needs reprogramming. As you go through the lessons, and recognise some things for what they truly are, you will see this more clearly, and when you reach the monitoring lessons you will start the process of rebuilding your monitors and detectors (including your bullshit detector).

For now, take comfort in the fact that you realise that this bullshit feeling is a false alarm; if it helps, review your values again and see if maybe there is a grain of truth in the bullshit; are there thingsd there that you feel you should have rather than things you genuinely identify with and want to include as priorities in your life? Maybe, maybe not, only you can say. Also bear in mind that these are your values that you are now for the first time really trying to express; they may change over time, for now work towards making them as real as you can and as reflective of who you truly want to be as possible.

_________________
"..And be a simple kind of man, Be something you can love and understand" - Lynyrd Skynyrd


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
Lesson 4

Live with integrity
Professional and financial success
Strengthen my role as husband
Strengthen my role as father
Physical health & strength
Intimacy with my wife
Emotional maturity
Take pride in the life I am living, to be happy with myself
Develop inner security & confidence
Be reliable to my family and professionally
Develop intellectually
To feel needed and desired
Provide security for my family: financial, emotional
Autonomy: to provide for my own needs without projecting them onto others
Forgive myself, forgive others
Bring joy to others
to Act intentionally, mindfully
to navigate problems and discord with skill and compassion
Instill healthy values in my kids
To have a healthy, fun and fulfilling sexual relationship with my wife
To have discipline & control over my emotions


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
Lesson 6: proactive action plans

Strengthening my role as a husband
MAINTAIN A GOOD FRAME OF MIND. I have screwed this up so bad so many times; She’s not perfect and I really don’t like the dynamic between us as parents. It drives me mad sometimes but I MUST MAINTAIN A GOOD FRAME OF MIND AND LET SHIT ROLL. Only then will I be able to change that dynamic or figure out how to work around it. This is my biggest problem by far.
Improving/maintaining communication
Complete honesty
Monitor her for overwork/overtired w/baby and have a plan to help
Schedule important things: beach week/weekends, date nights
Initiate meaningful conversation daily
Stay in touch in little ways frequently
Monitor interactions with her: no more than one negative for several positives.
Do connecting things regularly; schedule walks with baby while she is on maternity leave
Come home on time.
Be ready to offer assistance w/groceries, house, etc. all the time
All she wants is emotional stability: work on emotional stability
Allow her space to be herself, to be normal, to be alone, to be quiet, etc.
Do not seek out validation from her
Provide leadership moments with kids
Focus on positive things: positive energy, positive expressions
Talk about the future, plan for future things
Parenting
Develop a parenting plan to address the main concerns of our children. Discuss it with her

Love her unconditionally
Allow her to be upset, to lose her cool, to be negative – and support her. THIS IS HUGE. ALLOW HER TO LOSE HER COOL WITHOUT LOSING MINE.
Be more loving, supportive and positive when she needs it most
Initiate contact; good morning kiss/hug, come home kiss/hug, do not wait for her to initiate it and do not be upset or get emotional when she doesn’t.
Offer her verbal confirmations of appreciation and love
Gift/card weekly (does this work?)
Figure out how love languages.
Develop intimacy
Through emotional stability
Honesty
Non sexual and also flirty, mildly sexual: gentle, playful, non-pressured, non-goal oriented touch to build intimacy in a loving way
Do not complain or be negative – keep track
Journalling to keep track of interactions both good and bad
journal daily so I can keep track and monitor myself as it relates to my interactions with her.


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 4:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
Lesson 5: Identifying Incongruent Values

After going dark for a year I'm back, and seeing that I went from lesson 4 to lesson 6, without posting a 5.

I've looked at my lessons several times since I posted these a year ago, and I think I did a good job of being honest and as complete as possible.

Lesson 5: Consider two or three major decisions that you have made in your life (i.e. marriage, career, getting a dog, etc.). Examine the values involved in the decision-making process that went into your options:

Decisions in life, what drives them:
Marrying my wife. Values: love, romance, happiness, primarily the sense that she was a very high quality mate in addition to the fact that she loved me, her intellect and work ethic helped feed my desire for personal growth and success . The desire for personal growth was a big driver in staying with and marrying my wife. Another factor I considered important at the time and still do, is that I felt our sex life was great and/or had the potential to be great and that it was healthy, that she was unconflicted, and seemed healthy about physical intimacy, which was/is important to me.

My career: it's where my intellectual curiosity took me, the values of pursuing professional success, having an "important" job (funny that I'm in a particular job that is not seen as high-status by certain others in the same general field,): having to get up, dress up and show up in a professional environment, thriving among smart, educated people, and doing something that's actually quite difficult feeds me, as the idea of it fed me then. Achieving financial success. Mastering the craft both intellectually and practically. The value of the pursuit of growth: money: earning enough money to provide comfort and security to my family and myself, personal growth: crossing class barriers and social status from where I come from and how I was raised.

Each of these two big life examples draw from at least 4-5 of my top 15 below:

Top 15 Values:

Live with integrity
Professional and financial success
Strengthen my role as husband
Strengthen my role as father
Physical health & strength
Emotional maturity; To have discipline & control over my emotions
Take pride in the life I am living, to be happy with myself
Develop inner security & confidence
Be reliable to my family and professionally (this can simply be "integrity," but it helps to spell this out too)
Develop intellectually
Autonomy: to provide for my own needs without projecting them onto others
to Act intentionally, mindfully
to navigate problems and discord with skill and compassion
Instill healthy values in my kids
To have a healthy, fun and fulfilling sexual relationship with my wife


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
Lesson 6: Proactive Action Plan
Strengthening relationships by becoming a better listener.

One thing that runs through so many of my values is to strengthen my
relationships - with my wife, with my kids, with myself.

One big and important way to do that - and to overcome a particular
and embarrassing problem, is to become a better listener, starting out
with my wife, but to develop these habits daily and see them spill
over into other relationships.

Be a better listener, which in many ways for me is to be a better
husband and friend.

Focus daily on listening. Really focus on listening before responding
& reacting.
Remind myself daily to be a listener. Exercise these muscles
consistently & daily.
Engage with my wife and kids, and really listen.
It will take a daily/multiple times a day reminder to be a better listener.
Daily affirmations to myself: Talk less, listen more.

Ask questions and engage with my wife, then be silent and listen.

Focus on thinking rather than doing - in conversation.
eye contact. repeat back the point if that is necessary or helpful.

ask questions. Build trust over time with honest, tender moments
where we just communicate.

make a game of learning things about her, asking her about her day,
her work, her family.

Think before responding.
consciously decide whether I respond or not. no knee-jerk
talking/responding just because it's 'my turn to talk.'

Share- truly share intimacy; share problems & frustrations as much as
stories of interest.
Be vulnerable to her.
Go ahead and go through the motions of trusting her with my truths,
vulnerabilities, road blocks.

Be mindful of the ruminations and cognitive distortions. practice
turning the mind. get it out of the gutter and out of the vicitimhood and projecting age-old issues onto my wife and family and others.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:12 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:14 am
Posts: 12
Hi there, I just wanted to say welcome back to RN.

Don't go "dark" again! Stay with us, and keep heading for where you want to be headed. Post here, even if it's not about the lessons - just keep recovery in mind.

Hope you're doing well.

_________________
Ever tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.
- Samuel Beckett


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 am
Posts: 11
thanks, therightdirection, for commenting and noticing. I'll stay in the light!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:14 am
Posts: 12
No worries :g: Hopefully it won't be another year before your next post! Hope to see more posts from you soon.

_________________
Ever tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.
- Samuel Beckett


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