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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:22 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 233
Lesson 17 Exercise:
I. Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in. Identify the elements of this ritual and post them in your recovery thread. It is important that you understand the principles involved in identifying the stimulating elements of compulsive if you are not comfortable with this concept, ask questions! Also, recognize that the elements listed above are not the only elements associated with compulsive behavior. And so, you will want to identify those elements that are specifically related to YOUR compulsive behavior.

Attending a Social Event
Group Social environment (SENSORY/ANXIETY & STRESS)
Drinking to loosen up (POLY-ADDICTION)
Scan attractive women (SENSORY)
Seek attention by saying shocking/sexual comments (CONTROL & POWER)
Seek attention by saying comments/jokes at wife’s expense (CONTROL & POWER)
People think I’m funny (ACCOMPLISHMENT)
Feel guilt and shame next AM (GUILT/SHAME)

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:27 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 233

Exercise 18
II. Consider one of your own compulsive rituals. Identify circumstances when each of the three filters (time, habituation and intensity) have come into play. Make sure that you understand each filter to the point where you are able to identify them as a ritual is being performed. Post these personal examples in your recovery thread.

Each step in my romantic stalking is an increase in the intensity of the stimulation I receive. EVEN the erasing of history serves a purpose as it increases the amount of emotional discomfort that requires soothing.
Romantic Stalking
See attractive individual on regular basis (SENSORY/PAST)
Scan them each time I see them (SENSORY) Filter: Intensity
Look for identifying information such as name tag, license plate, office number (POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Begin fantasizing with new found information (FANTASY/CONTROL/ACCOMPLISHMENT) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Find ways to purposefully cross paths (SENSORY/CONTROL/PAST/ACCOMPLISHMENT) Filter: Intensity/Habitutation
Utilize information to stalk on internet for pictures/family members/friends/address/work (POWER/CONTROL/ACCOMPLISHMENT/SUSPENSE/SENSORY)
Erase any history of stalking (GUILT/SHAME/ANXIETY) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Use additional details for more detailed fantasy (FANTASY/SENSORY) Filter: Habituation
Set aside time to fantasize for longer periods of time such as commute to work or going to bed earlier (FANTASY/PAST/POWER) Filter: Time
Do drive-bys of their home or work (SUSPENSE/DANGER) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Begin Masturbation to Orgasm on regular basis (FANTASY/ORGASM) Filter: Intensity/Habituation/Time

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:49 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 233
Lesson 19 Exercise:
There is no written exercise associated with this lesson. Instead, there is only a call to deepen your awareness of how you go about deriving stimulation in your day-to-day life. For the rest of today...and for all of tomorrow...become 'hyper-aware' of the healthy and unhealthy rituals that you engage in — as you are engaging in them.
Because you will not be held externally accountable for what you are being asked to do, it will be easy to chalk this up as a 'break' from having to do anything further with this lesson. That would be a very big mistake. Your success will be defined by the skill you will develop in personal awareness. So please, do exactly as you're being asked here: become hyper-aware of all rituals you engage in over the next few days. Do not limit this awareness to sexually compulsive rituals... or even to compulsive rituals. Explore all of your actions for their 'ritualistic' nature. Brushing your teeth. Eating. Driving to work. Become conscious of your thoughts/feelings as you complete these rituals.
Feel free to share any insights in your recovery thread, but you do not have to.

All human behavior is driven by the emotional stimulation it provides.
For some, this will mean the exact same thing. But for others, they will see a difference between pursuing pleasure and minimizing pain. Both interpretations are correct for our purpose.
In a nutshell (and open to much philosophical debate), all rational human action can be broken down into the desire to achieve a more pleasurable emotional state.

I’ve been speaking a lot with my therapist about “moderation”, my black and white thinking, and my recovery patterns noted in Lessons 12 and 13. I still fear triggers, I still feel myself wanting to pursue fantasies when they arise during boredom/stress.
“Over the next few months, challenge yourself to master this connection between your behavior and your emotions. The next time you are sitting in your car fantasizing about the driver next to you...make a conscious assessment of why you are fantasizing.”

Why am fantasizing? Boredom. Stress. Wanting stimulation. Feeling empty. My addiction is still impacting my life. I can give myself a little compassion here as it’s only been a year, but I cannot become complacent.
A healthy person may still fantasize about what that affair might be like...even allow themselves to become stimulated at the thought. But their long-term values will take precedent in the decision-making process. The immature person will anticipate the intensity of the emotions they will experience in the here-and-now — and base their decisions accordingly.

When I read this I felt myself wanting to justify. Wanting to say, well, it’s just a fantasy and I’m not choosing to act on it… but I know this is dangerous. The “act” here is choosing to continue the fantasy. L2R pointed out my fear of being exposed/triggered to memories of my past. It is true. But in addition I also have noticed an uptick in urges and “missing” the stimulation I received from my addiction. I have one foot in the “door” and one foot out.
I’ve noticed that during my non-sexual rituals the volume of my sexual fantasy/thoughts intensify: driving, grocery shopping, dish washing… in these ritualistic auto-pilot situations I’m more prone to fantasy. A potential solution is to become extra mindful during these tasks. Staying in the moment by using my 5 senses, staying here in the now. I know how to do mindfulness-I teach it for a living for god’s sake. But the call for instant gratification is strong.
Just the other day, I found myself faced with an opportunity to act out. I felt weak and the urges strong. I was given an opportunity to recommend a restaurant that I’ve scanned/romantically staked a server. I was able to push through and choose another option. But I felt weak that I had the urges in the first place. Felt emotionally and physically exhausted from managing that trigger/opportunity. And although I felt good about my decision to choose a value’s based decision, I still felt guilty for having the urges in the first place.

In lesson 62, Coach Jon discusses “emotional relapse” and how this is expected... to struggle with urges thoughts and desire. It doesn’t matter that this expected. I need to take this as a cue to apply my action plans as not to fall into behavior slips or behavioral relapse.
I need to separate the emotions from the urge. Going into darker days, increased stress at work, preparing for some projects at home and preparing for my vacation I’ve begun to develop some emotional imbalances. I must recognize that these spikes and dips in emotions are temporary. They have limits in their pain and are never above a 60/100. I can handle that. However I know this is a red flag and am ready to apply my proactive action plans and review lesson 60.

4. On the Discovery of Being “Off-Track”
Most everyone, even the sincerest of individuals, will occasionally open their eyes to the realization of "What in the hell am I doing?!" To their best intentions for health, they have found themselves returning to destructive behavior for temporary emotional relief. Most often, this return will include behavior from previously ingrained patterns, but it can also be seen in the development of new compulsive behaviors that can have similarly devastating consequences.
When you have found yourself to be 'off track', there are certain actions that you must take to prevent a full relapse from completely destroying your life. These actions are not intended to shield you from taking responsibility for what you have done, only to ensure that you get back on the right track as soon as possible. The destructive consequences will remain for you alone to take responsibility for.
Action to take: (Action Plan)
I. Regain Stability — this means emotional and behavioral stability. It is imperative that the first goal is to regain balance in your life. Without it, you will remain vulnerable to continued acting out. For most, this means a recommitment to recovery...which as we know, provides a temporary balance only.

I need to speak with C about what’s going on. This transparency will give me accountability and support. It will help me regain balance and clarity. I will also need to tap into the things that bring me true joy: creativity, connection with C, connection with children.

II. Evaluate/Update Your Values — another means for regaining stability, updating your values will begin to provide the initial clues as to where you struggled in relation to life management.

Although I recently updated my values, I have not written them down in a new values card. This is an absolute must as it’s been a valuable physical cue. Because I haven’t written them down, I have not ingrained them into my spiritual practice. I’ve been neglected two parts of this practice for a few days. This has to change now.

III. Update/Refine Your Goals — yet another means for regaining stability, updating your goals will provide the most obvious clues as to where you struggled in relation to life management. Most often, those who relapse will have completely lost control of the goals that they are working on — and thus, completely lost control of their ability to manage their life. The most important aspect of goal management in relapse is to REDUCE the number of goals that are being attempted; and to SIMPLIFY the goals that will continue to be worked on. This means that, while a goal may have originally had a month time frame for completion, it should be broken down into more immediate, specific tasks that can be accomplished in a matter of days. Set yourself up for success, not failure.
OK, refining goals to: maintain emotional and physical intimacy with C. Continue to be active presence with my children.

IV. Develop a Three-Day Time Management Schedule — set-up a time management schedule for the upcoming three days and follow-it. This does not have to be a minute-to-minute, inflexible time management schedule, but it should be a clear, stable map of what you will be doing with your time over the next several days. There are numerous reasons for such a schedule, but the most important is to regain stability and control. To remove the emotional aspects of decision-making form your life management tools for a few days.
• FULL spiritual practice in AM
• Set aside committed daily time on RN
• Complete smaller tasks that I feel the urge to procrastinate on
• Commit to daily monitoring
• Continued Self-Care plan (involving healthier nutrition)
• In the event of fantasy, create break and fantasize about healthy decisions instead
• Daily connection/presence with C
• Daily connection/presence with children
• Seek out small opportunity to express creatively

I will complete the following upon completing the above.
V. Map Out the Progression of the Relapse
VI. Analyze the Relapse
VII. Assess the Signs of Relapse

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