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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:03 pm 
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Lesson 12: Recognizing Unhealthy Recovery Patterns

Patterns that I currently recognize in myself in relation to an unhealthy recovery
  • Relapse triggers are seen as opportunities to act out - I may say something myself like "go on you already have seen it, you may as well act out."
  • Often attempt to convince others of my recovery by offering my "new identity" as proof - previously I seem to have changed my lifestyle to try to give the appearance that I have changed into a different person through religion and ethics. I think I was more trying to convince myself that I had changed, rather than convincing others.
  • Relapse triggers are feared, and so my life continue to be altered as a result of addiction - If I saw a relapse trigger than I was afraid I would relapse.
  • Tending to focus on controlling past behaviour, rather than learning new behaviour - I tried to stop my behaviour through abstinence rather than use tools that are available to me to develop new behaviour. I also have an all or nothing mindset. That is, I convinced myself that recovery meant that I needed to act like an "angel". If I didn't meet a goal, then I took it as excuse to relapse.
  • Measuring the success of recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction - I would keep a journal and wrote about the number of days I have been abstinent. i would criticise myself in the journal. I saw the more days I was abstinent the more successful I was, without taking into account my emotional stability and personal satisfaction.
  • Often experience extreme emotions in relation to acting out - I would often relapse and then the emotions would propel me to the chaser effect to try to dampen these emotions to more acting out, until I was exhausted.
  • Tending to hyper-analyze my actions, thoughts and feelings - I go through things in my mind quite a lot and not focus on future actions.
  • Continuing to identify myself with addiction and cannot imagine a life without such an association - I put myself down by saying that nothing is ever going to change and identify multiple relapses as proof. This makes me want to engage in the behaviours again, in order to stop the negative emotions


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:15 pm 
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Lesson 13: Assessing Healthy Recovery Patterns

I. Patterns that I currently recognise in myself in relation to a healthy recovery

Early Recovery: "Understanding/Recognising the Behaviour"
  • Significant doubts relating to their ability to change - I need to stay vigilant at reviewing self-talk
  • Extremely negative emotions are the norm - I need to stay vigilant at knowing my emotional state
  • "test the waters" of recovery by attempting recovery for a few days, then act out. Attempting recovery for a few weeks, then acting out - I must really want to recover if I am constantly attempting recovery.

Middle Recovery: "Actual Recovery"
  • Accepted I have struggled with certain immoral behaviours that contradicted my values, but realise that what matters is what I am doing, not what I did - the best thing I can do for myself and everyone else is act consistency with my values.
  • Not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioural patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction - I cannot change the past I need to focus on developing new patterns. It may feel slow at times and difficult, but I am willing to have these feelings in order to grow.

II. The consistency of my values and my healthy and unhealthy pattern and how any awareness of this changes how I will manage my your recovery

My unhealthy pattens are not consistent with my values. I value self-improvement, however I find opportunities to act out. I value integrity, however I trick myself into thinking I have changed and am not transparent with myself. I value acceptance, however I berate myself for little mistakes that do not harm anyone but myself and not trying to learn from mistakes. I value being present, however, I go over and over in my head past mistakes, little or small, and do not make a . determination to learn from mistakes and try developing new behavioural patterns. I value self-care, but I hyper analyse a lot, which makes me emotionally drained and does not help me grow and be a better person to others and myself. I need to be aware of my values and ask myself, "am I acting in accordance to my values every day". I should look at my behaviours and think about the consistency of my behaviours and values.

My healthy patterns in middle recovery are consistent with my values including self-care, self-control, improve myself, compassion, integrity and being present. I should congratulate myself for acting in accordance with my values and encourage myself to continue with acting in congruence,


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:54 am 
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Hi Radio,

I was interested to read through your thread. In particular under Lesson 11 you documented your recent behaviour and activity. I am not sure what the term "acting out" means for you (and I don't need to know but you will know it about yourself which is all that matters) but I get the impression that it revolves around fantasising about various people coupled with masturbation. You have then recorded a fair degree of activity in terms of porn and masturbation over the last 30 days which confuses me a little if you are suggesting that you are not currently acting out? As I say, that is for you to think about but what I would say is that if masturbation represents you acting out then you might like to think about deciding to stop, at least for a while? Part of the process of masturbation generally involves fantasising which, if performed on a frequent basis, will serve only to further engrain the act of fantasising which sounds like it is what you are trying to avoid. My suggestion may sound terrifying and as someone who did that on a daily basis for around 40 years I can tell you that it terrified me too. But you will find that nothing will drop off, you won't die or be in any pain and you may quickly find that avoiding fantasising will make you realise that it is perfectly possible to achieve what you want out of your recovery. You just need to be brave in taking that first step and trust in the process.

The decision is entirely yours, I just offer it as something to think about. On reading your thread it just sounded a bit chicken and egg to me. Good luck with the deliberations.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 6:30 pm 
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Thanks L2R, greatly appreciate the feedback and encouragement.

I definitely need to focus on not allowing myself to engage in sexual fantasies. Fantasises seem to be a quick way to escape reality for me and it is easy to get hooked by them. You are right, fantasy will lead to a further engraining of the act of fantasising. I think fantasy can easily lead me to other unhealthy behaviours and can push me into a relapse.

I’m trying to stop my use of porn, sexual fantasy and masturbation. I think I have been using these things as a way to escape, instead of processing problems and emotions in a healthy way.

I would say that I have been acting out in the last 30 days, as per answers to lesson 11. I think I may have implied that I’m currently not acting out in lesson 13, by saying I have exhibited some health patterns found in middle recovery. I think what I was trying to say is that I have exhibited some healthy patterns found in middle recovery, from time to time. However, having thought about it, exhibiting a healthy behaviour from time to time might not actually be the same as exhibiting a healthy pattern? So, I am thinking I need to still need to build those healthy patterns.

Since 1 January 2019, I have been abstaining from porn, sexual fantasy and masturbation. I have tried abstinence many times. Most of the times it ends with me binging, as I did not build healthy patterns around my recovery. I will commit to building healthy patterns.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:04 pm 
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Lesson 14 – Health Monitoring I

I - Daily Monitoring List

  1. How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability?
  2. Did I engage in any compulsive behaviour? If yes, did I maintain an awareness of the elements involved? Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
  3. Did I take time to engage in self-growth activities, such as reading and learning?
  4. Did I go to bed at a reasonable time in order give myself the best chance of having a productive day?
  5. Did remain present during interactions with others?
  6. Did I act with compassion towards others?
  7. Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do?
  8. Did I give myself encouragement to continue with recovery?
  9. Did I take some time to be with my own thoughts?
  10. Did I carry myself as a person worthy of respect today?

Note: daily monitoring to be conducted every night for the next two weeks. Starting 14 January and ending 28 January 2019.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:29 pm 
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Lesson 15: Perceiving Your Addiction

I - Example of how I have actively integrated information learned from the workshop into my day-to-day

I often think about one of the keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery, actively committing myself to change. I try to think about what are some steps to that I could take in order to live in line with my values. I also try to think of things that may make me more stable in the longer term. Although I have much room for improvement in the area of goal setting, I am trying to make goals more active, rather than passive. For example, I try not to say, "today I will not waste my time on the Internet". Instead, I try to outline the productive things I will do and why doing those things will help me live according to my values.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:31 am 
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Lesson 16: Understanding Addiction I

I - The purpose addiction has served me in the short-term

I think that I have used pornography and fantasy in order to deal emotions that were difficult for me, including anxiety and depression. I think these emotions started when I was very young. I think in the short term it could be said that these behaviours help me deal with my emotions. When I first started using pornography was in high school. I would use it to numb out painful memories and thoughts. It would help me relax and forget about everything.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:37 pm 
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Lesson 17: Understanding Addiction II

I - Elements of a compulsive issue

Masturbation

  • Sensory Stimulation: when masturbating I would use touch in order to create arousal. Almost always when masturbating I would use some form of visuals and sound, including pornography and visualisation. If I use pornography I would try to immerse myself into the images and sounds. When visualising I would think of sounds and sometimes tastes.
  • Fantasy: When fantasising I would pretend that someone actually had a relationship with me.
  • Danger: most masturbation was done in my room, but at any moment someone may walk in. This induced feeling of anxiety.
  • Suspense: I would sometimes think about what new pornography was on the Internet. When I am abstaining from masturbation, I would believe that I was missing out on new pornography. If I looked at webcams pornography, I would tend to wait for a long time thinking that there may be something I wanted to see.
  • Accomplishment: There was accomplishment in completion of masturbating.
  • Power: using fantasy, I could picture others being in romantic relationships with me, when this was not true. Therefore, it could be said that I could control others in my fantasies, using power.
  • Past: craving for nurturing, being controlled by others and health.
  • Poly-Addictions: not applicable
  • Orgasm: when masturbating, I would try to do this a lot as after the first one, I would feel shame and deflation. So, I would try to mask these feelings, along with the initial feelings, with more masturbation.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:20 pm 
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Lesson 18 - Understanding Addiction III

II – Circumstances when the three filters have come into play of a compulsive issue

Masturbation

  • Time: I would masturbate for hours. Sometimes it’s what I would do all day, except for going to the bathroom and eating. I didn’t see any problems with wasting my time. At that time, the longer the better.
  • Habituation: I would get used to using a type of pornography and would need to escalate to using different genres and types. I would use visualisation of a certain person, but then get bored and would need to use different images, or find somebody totally different.
  • Intensity: As time went on I started to become more immersed into pornography and visualisation. I could get lost in the world very easily.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 11:23 pm 
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Lesson 19 - Understanding Addiction IV

Findings while trying to be hyper-aware of healthy and unhealthy rituals

I tried to be aware of my healthy and unhealthy rituals. I found that when I engaged in healthy activities, I felt bored but much more happy than when engaging in unhealthy rituals. I found that a lot of my unhealthy rituals are somewhat automatic. For example, when I tried to reduce my Internet use for a day, I noticed when I was on the computer, I went to websites without making a conscious decision to visit websites. When engaging in surfing the Internet for an extended period of time I wanted things to go very fast and I was inpatient. Although, when engaging in healthy activities I found I was impatient as well. But, not as agitated. When I engaged in unhealthy activities, such as wasting time on the Internet of player video games, then I felt sadness about wasting time, which made me want to continue with the unhealthy activity.

I also noticed that I find it hard to be alone with my own thoughts during the day. For example, I was unable to to sleep without some audio drowning out inner voice. I noticed that my inner voice trying was also trying to provide excuses to relapse and not continue with recovery.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 287
Radio,
Quote:
I also noticed that I find it hard to be alone with my own thoughts during the day. For example, I was unable to to sleep without some audio drowning out inner voice. I noticed that my inner voice trying was also trying to provide excuses to relapse and not continue with recovery.
You are not alone with this especially in early recovery. This will resonate with many that come by your thread.
Addicts often soothe urges like these with unhealthy behaviors (such as acting out, poly-addiction, other destructive behaviors). Besides music, what other healthy choices give you emotional soothing? Hint: check your values/pro-active action plans.
Lastly, how might you turn up the volume of the voice that led you to NOT act out and relapse? No need to answer these in your thread if you don't want. Just things to chew on.

Be Well,

Anon


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:38 am 
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Thank you Anon, I appreciate the message. It has given me a lot to think about.

I think a healthy choice to give me emotional soothing is experiencing the present moment, perhaps through meditation, especially given that it is a high priority value of mine. Being alone with thoughts may be also good opportunity to grow and become better at being alone with my inner voice. I will initially set aside some time each night to be alone with my thoughts. Then, I will try to slowly increase the duration.

I think I will need to think further on how I could turn up the volume of the voice telling me not to act out. But, perhaps I can start by putting less weight on thoughts. I could ask myself “is this thought useful”. If it is a useful thought and is in line with my values, then I can act on it. If the thought is not useful, then I could accept the mind has come up with a thought that is not useful. I could also try to focus on the work that I have completed in recovery and try to develop more compassion for myself and others.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:02 am 
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Lesson 20: Mastering Your Addiction

1 - The role addiction has played in my life

Ever since I was young I have been feeling various degrees of anxiousness and unhappiness.

I feel that my parents were also very controlling and quite fearful of a lot of things. I would be afraid of what my parents thought of me. This continues to today. My parents would also fight a lot, which made be scared and quite emotional.

I found it hard to do well at school, one thing that I think led to this was the emphasis my parents put onto doing well at school. I found the pressure overwhelming. I also found it hard to socialise. I was quite shy and would not talk a lot. I would over-analyse nearly every social interaction that I would engage in and worried if I did or said something wrong.

During primary school, I developed unhealthy methods of escaping from my emotions. I would either watch a lot of television, get lost in the world of fantasy, try to argue with my thoughts or try to solve my issues within my mind. I would go through a lot of “what ifs”, I would think about the future and worry. When using fantasy, the fantasy would sometimes involve me being in a relationship with someone.

By the time I was 11, before I had access to the Internet, I would add the use sexually explicit mental images, advertisement, television, and ripped out pages of magazines to masturbate. This made me feel better.

At about 12, when the Internet became available, I added going online and download pictures of celebrities and sexually explicit drawings, in order to engage in masturbation. Quickly after that, I started looking at hardcore pornography, when celebrities and drawings wasn’t enough.

I had health issues beginning as a teenager, which also took me out of school for about five months. When I was in high school I had more pressure from my parents to do well at school. I found it hard to do well in the subjects my parents wanted me to be good at, even if I tried. The later years of high school was harder for me as my friendship group dissolved into other groups and I found it hard to fit in with anybody. I was not able to foster friendships outside of school, as my parents made me go straight from school to the house and I was not allowed out on weekends. I was still quite shy, so this didn’t help either. To cope with all this I would use masturbation, pornography and sexual fantasy.

At university I found a friendship group, but then swapped universities and found it hard to fit in. Again, shyness wasn’t helpful and my parents were controlling of what I did outside university. I was sad most days. To cope with my emotions, I would not go to university and listen to lectures and do my assignments online. Due to the isolation, I started to become quite scared of going outside of the house and became paranoid of what other people were thinking. This lasted for a least a year. All this escalated my use of masturbation, pornography and sexual fantasy. I also added the habit of looking at pictures of people on social media for masturbation. I feel that during this time my desire for masturbation and pornography grew as I was able to dedicate whole days to these habits.

I started work as after I graduate university. I didn’t really have a close social group and quite sad. I was desperate for friendship, but was very shy and afraid of rejection. I also found it hard to deal with social interactions. One way I dealt with social interactions was to try to act over-confident. But, this did not work. This further made me feel that I was “not worth it” and “not good enough”, things I already felt but were notions which were growing stronger.

I really disliked the work I was doing as it did not align with my values. At work I eventually found a friendship group. I travelled for a while with them, after I finished working for the company. When travelling with others I did not use pornography. But, when I travelled alone, a lot of the time I was overcome with the urge to go back to my room and masturbate and use pornography. I think I just found my emotions overwhelming.

After coming back from travelling, I found that I was still emotionally controlled by my parents and began to slowly stop seeing any friends. I eventually got another job. Still, I found it hard to develop or maintain close friendships. I did find a few work friendships, although not very close friendships. My health also meant I had to stop working, which also made me emotional. I do volunteer to help out in the community. However, I also have withdrawn socially, including from friendship and acquaintances, as my emotions became overwhelming. I have used this tactic quite a lot, by withdrawing socially I reduce being socially anxious, but increase the pain of being isolated, which in effect increases my use of masturbation, sexual fantasy and pornography. I also added use of pictures of dating sites to use for masturbate. While using these pictures, I was able to go into a world where I could picture myself in a relationship, and artificially meet my desire of being in a relationship.

I use masturbation, pornography and sexual fantasy when I have emotions that are hard to deal with, using these things are a quick escape and something that is very ingrained at this point. A recent example: I began to worry about a social interaction, even though nothing went wrong. But, the emotion made me rush home to use porn and masturbate, in order to deal with the strong emotions.

I would say major factors in the flare up of my emotions and thus use of pornography, sexual fantasy and masturbation would be: anxiousness due to social situations, parental pressure and health. I think each factor increases my emotional instability and pornography, sexual fantasy and masturbation help me forget and cope. I would sadness and anxiousness are the main emotions that I am trying to cover up with pornography, sexual fantasy and masturbation. However, I have noticed that other emotions such as elation and happiness, although to a lesser extent, could lead to pornography, sexual fantasy and masturbation. Use of pornography and masturbation also makes me feel sad, which increases the use of those things in order to cover up the sadness. I could easily think about the past, but I wish to be proactive and find better avenues in dealing with my emotions.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:58 pm 
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Lesson 21: Monitoring Your Recovery Goals

A - Example of a large goal I attempted in my life and failed and why I failed

A large goal for me would be to learn another language. I think I failed because I didn’t make the goal specific. The goal was also not measurable. That is, I didn’t define how well I would want to write or speak the language. I did not define a time of when the goal was to be achieved. I also didn’t break down the goal into manageable pieces. I got very overwhelmed with what I had to do to achieve the goal and did not focus on the process of completing the goal, rather I wanted things to be done quickly.

B – Example of a large goal I attempted in my life and succeeded and why I was able to succeed

A large goal that I attempted in my life would be to finish a major work project. I was able to succeed as the goal was specific, which was to finish a work project by a certain time. I broke down the goal into manageable pieces and focused on finishing tasks. The time frames were just enough to be motivated, not too long away to allow myself to drag on the project and not too close to make myself feel overwhelmed. I would work on the project each day, bit by bit. The goal aligned with my values.

C - One of my recovery goals broken down into smaller, measurable tasks

I want to have completed the recovery workshop by 30 June 2019. In order to do this, I will complete at least 3 lessons per week.


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:45 pm 
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Lesson 22: Measuring Compulsive Behavior

Ritual Measured:
Masturbation

Primary Elements Involved:
Physical Stimulation, Orgasm, Fantasy

Values assigned:
Physical Stimulation: 3
Orgasm: 2
Fantasy: 2

Filters applied:
Physical Stimulation
  • Time — The more time elapses the more physical stimulation I get. The stimulation does not feel as good after too much time – '9'.
  • Intensity — the physical stimulation feels bland compared to what it felt before – ‘3’
  • Habituation — not particularly effecting – '2'

Orgasm
  • Time — I am unable to control the length of time of orgasm - '1'
  • Intensity — I feel like I need to orgasm otherwise, I don’t feel like I have ended the ritual - ‘7’
  • Habituation — not particularly effecting - '2'

Fantasy
  • Time — The more I fantasize the more physical stimulation I can have - '6'
  • Intensity — The more lost I am the more intense - '7'
  • Habituation — feels different sometimes, due to different material used - '5'


Last edited by Radio on Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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