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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 11:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
I’m back, with a new recovery thread, one that I have and will keep honest and stripped of bullshit, lies and denial. I have faced the reality that I have NOT been in REAL recovery, just dancing around the edges, continuing to work on all of the other stuff, but carefully avoiding (translation: protecting) the core problems that are my REAL addiction.

I have learned a lot of things about myself, some good, others not so much, but they are all real, but the truly core issues have remained untouched and that WILL stop.

As Coach Jon put it, this is a CANCER and I will attack it with EVERYTHING I have to remove it from my life permanently.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Lesson 1:

A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change;
The Lesson itself states that change is inevitable, that it is the DIRECTION of the change that is critical. I, once again find myself being that person that I NEVER thought that I was, and really hated in others. I DO NOT WANT TO BE THIS PERSON ANYMORE. I will do whatever it takes to find the person that I truly am, I do NOT believe that I am REALLY as bad a person as I seem to be.

2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change;
This will be a HUGE challenge for me, guilt and shame have been extremely close “friends” of mine for 50+ years but I KNOW that I can do this.

3) allowing yourself time to change.
Once again, a HUGE challenge for me, I have already wasted many, many years in my addiction and several years pretending to be in recovery as well. It is time to “shit or get off of the pot”.

B. Ten to fifteen reasons I want to change:
1. I want to be COMPLETELY honest with myself, and know beyond any question, that I am being just that;
2. I want to be COMPLETELY honest with my wife, and know beyond any question, that I am;
3. I want to be able to look myself in the mirror, maybe for the first time in my life, and see ME, not some false creation of my imagination;
4. I want to be able to look in my wife’s face and see happiness or at least hope, not anger and sadness;
5. I want to truly understand what love is and to be able to show my wife, together or not, that IS what I feel for her;
6. I want to be able to walk out our door and hold my head UP, not look at the ground in fear and shame;
7. I want to be able to share in my children’s and grandchildren’s lives instead of isolating myself from them;
8. I want to be able to make myself heard instead of letting others override my opinions;
9. I want to feel wanted and needed by my wife (if that’s even possible anymore) and my children and grandchildren;
10. I want to be able to feel good about who and what I REALLY am, and know that it is the REAL me;
11. I want to be comfortable with being alone, not afraid and lonely;
12. I want to make peace with my parents;
13. I want to make peace with my family who I treated VERY badly over the years;
14. I want to learn what my REAL interests are and pursue them;
15. I want to learn what my REAL talents are, and expand them;
16. Most of all, I want to find out who I REALLY am, and expand on myself.

C. I have the image, but I KNOW from previous experience that this will leave me an emotional basket case, so it will have to wait for the weekend.


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hi 62andbroken,

Good to see you, glad you are back. I have a couple concerns though.

Looking at your last thread, my main concern is that you seem to be stuck in a pattern of doing the first few lessons, getting frustrated, and restarting, similar to a recovery-relapse cycle (even if you are not acting out). The problem with this is that by constantly restarting, you never allow yourself to get further into the workshop to gain the insights needed to overcome your compulsive behaviours, so it still feels like war against those behaviours, when it doesn't need to be.

Of course, the first 7 lessons of the workshop are crucial. You should ensure that you've really connected with them and done them the best you can right now. However, you also don't want to dwell on them or get attached to making them "perfect", as you can then lose motivation and get frustrated. They will change as your life does. But you can't expect to start understanding your addiction, or getting past your addiction, if you never allow yourself the opportunity to get to the information that lets you do so.

So, after you finish your vision, values, action plans, and monitoring this time...continue to use them as you move along with the rest of the lessons, and I would suggest NOT doing a major revision (meaning, minor revisions of them are fine if you find something isn't working, but don't do a complete overhaul or start from scratch) until at least you've finished lesson 35 (or are prompted by the workshop to work on them). Once you've finished lesson 35, you will have a much better understanding of both your compulsive behaviours and your emotions. If you are working at a reasonable clip of a lesson every 2 days or so, you could be there by the end of June. This will allow you to get some of the insights needed so it doesn't feel like the battle that it currently does.

Quote:
14. I want to learn what my REAL interests are and pursue them;
15. I want to learn what my REAL talents are, and expand them;


Well, what are your real interests? Your real talents? I'm sure you know at least some of them. And, if you're not sure they're "real"...pick some things that feel real NOW (provided it's healthy) and go from there. I think I even remember you telling me some of them a while back. Again, you can twist your mind into knots thinking "is this really me?!' early on...which causes more stress and uncertainty, which causes a stronger pull back to compulsive behaviours. Or you can just pick a couple things that feel real at the time, and build on those.

So, if you, for instance, like building model airplanes as a hobby...then do that. Do not worry about whether it's "real"...the process of recovery and change will take care of that. If down the road then, you find that you are no longer into that...then that's fine. By that point, you will likely discovered other things that you are into. As a process, you keep refining yourself like this...until you find what you really like, who you really are. But it is easy in the beginning to get paralyzed and not make any choices. So just pick some things that you know you like, and start moving forward from there.

Quote:
As Coach Jon put it, this is a CANCER and I will attack it with EVERYTHING I have to remove it from my life permanently.


Don't misunderstand this. You must approach addiction "like cancer"...in that you must completely commit to removing it from your life. But don't perceive this to mean that this will be all-out war. If you think this is the case...what exactly are you fighting against? Do you think there is actually a thing called "addiction" inside your head, making you do things you don't want, that you need to fight against? There isn't. And if you continue on in healthy recovery and change your perspective, you will see this with absolute certainty.

What you are fighting against is your own emotions, your own behaviours. But continue on with the workshop, as I said, and you will realize that this does not need to be a fight...rather, there is just awareness and understanding to gain, and patterns to change. But, you do need a complete, 100% commitment to ending these patterns in order to get there.

Hope that helps! :g:

Boundless

Hope this helps! I can tell that you

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:13 pm
Posts: 87
Hi 62, I just read your post, and found myself inspired by the sincerity of your writing. Your pain also seems very real. I know what you mean. The guilt of having hurt others is tremendous. I have been doing this program for a few months only, and am only at lesson 11 (I am slow) but I am finding it all extremely valuable. My life is a mess and I am stunned to see where I am at, but I am convinced that as I change my attitudes and behaviours, those around me will change to reflect my better inner life. We can do it. Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 12:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Good (whatever time of day it is where you are) Coach Boundless!

I REALLY appreciate you comments, particularly considering where I have been and all of the crap I have dished out. THANK YOU!!!!!

Quote:
"Looking at your last thread, my main concern is that you seem to be stuck in a pattern of doing the first few lessons, getting frustrated, and restarting, similar to a recovery-relapse cycle (even if you are not acting out). The problem with this is that by constantly restarting, you never allow yourself to get further into the workshop to gain the insights needed to overcome your compulsive behaviours, so it still feels like war against those behaviours, when it doesn't need to be."

Yes, precisely. That is what I was trying to say. Its not that I seem to be stuck, I AM stuck and it's because I use that to keep myself stuck and NOT to have to address the real core problems of my sex addiction, the lack of skill to deal with my emotional chaos. And it has been CHAOS, frustrating, terrifying and utterly baffling emotional CHAOS.

Quote:
"Of course, the first 7 lessons of the workshop are crucial. You should ensure that you've really connected with them and done them the best you can right now. However, you also don't want to dwell on them or get attached to making them "perfect", as you can then lose motivation and get frustrated. They will change as your life does. But you can't expect to start understanding your addiction, or getting past your addiction, if you never allow yourself the opportunity to get to the information that lets you do so."

Once again, exactly what I was trying to say, I just didn't get it out correctly. I realize that the first 7 lessons are VERY important and I'm working on connecting with them as completely as possible. My problem before (and before that and before that.....) was that I chose what I was willing to really grasp/understand and what I "couldn't get" which really meant what I ignored so I didn't have to understand and face some of the "unpleasant" (disgusting, ugly) parts of my addiction (if I didn't understand, well, I wasn't responsible was I?).

Quote:
"So, after you finish your vision, values, action plans, and monitoring this time...continue to use them as you move along with the rest of the lessons, and I would suggest NOT doing a major revision (meaning, minor revisions of them are fine if you find something isn't working, but don't do a complete overhaul or start from scratch) until at least you've finished lesson 35 (or are prompted by the workshop to work on them). Once you've finished lesson 35, you will have a much better understanding of both your compulsive behaviours and your emotions. If you are working at a reasonable clip of a lesson every 2 days or so, you could be there by the end of June. This will allow you to get some of the insights needed so it doesn't feel like the battle that it currently does."

That was more-or-less my "plan of attack". I will be posting my re-re-re-revised vision after this post, but it hasn't really changed much from the last one, or the one before that, although I have tried to keep all of the "warm-fuzzy-sounds-good-but-is-impossible-to-implement/achieve" bullshit that I tend towards. As an aside, I have worked through and a bit past Lesson 35, but again, picking and choosing what to "understand" to protect the real core of my addiction. SSDD for me. I eel that I have something of a grasp on my compulsive behaviors, but my emotions... not so much. I have been stuffing, ignoring and refusing to acknowledge my emotions for well over 50 years and facing them is SO DAMNED OVERWHELMING I sometimes want to run screaming into the dark....

Quote:
"Well, what are your real interests? Your real talents? I'm sure you know at least some of them. And, if you're not sure they're "real"...pick some things that feel real NOW (provided it's healthy) and go from there. I think I even remember you telling me some of them a while back. Again, you can twist your mind into knots thinking "is this really me?!' early on...which causes more stress and uncertainty, which causes a stronger pull back to compulsive behaviours. Or you can just pick a couple things that feel real at the time, and build on those.

So, if you, for instance, like building model airplanes as a hobby...then do that. Do not worry about whether it's "real"...the process of recovery and change will take care of that. If down the road then, you find that you are no longer into that...then that's fine. By that point, you will likely discovered other things that you are into. As a process, you keep refining yourself like this...until you find what you really like, who you really are. But it is easy in the beginning to get paralyzed and not make any choices. So just pick some things that you know you like, and start moving forward from there. "


Yes, once again, my "plan of attack" for now. I have done my re-re-re-revised vision with an eye towards the skills and talents that go along with it and the associated values (once again, not much different then before). The thing that escaped me.... that I chose NOT to see was, as you AND my Wife said over and over, grab on to some and go with them, they will likely change, but that's OK, just grab something. I used the "what if it's all part of my addiction" excuse to NOT hold on to anything, and thereby KEEP MYSELF THERE.

See a pattern here? I certainly do, now.

Quote:
"Don't misunderstand this. You must approach addiction "like cancer"...in that you must completely commit to removing it from your life. But don't perceive this to mean that this will be all-out war. If you think this is the case...what exactly are you fighting against? Do you think there is actually a thing called "addiction" inside your head, making you do things you don't want, that you need to fight against? There isn't. And if you continue on in healthy recovery and change your perspective, you will see this with absolute certainty.

What you are fighting against is your own emotions, your own behaviours. But continue on with the workshop, as I said, and you will realize that this does not need to be a fight...rather, there is just awareness and understanding to gain, and patterns to change. But, you do need a complete, 100% commitment to ending these patterns in order to get there."


Again, what I meant, just didn't come out quite the way I wanted it to (I need an english composition refresher....LOL). I have the commitment to end these behaviors, I need to REALLY grasp and understand the tools here to do it, and I WILL DO IT.

Quote:
"Hope that helps!"

More then you realize!!!!!

Once again, THANK YOU!!!!


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 12:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Good whatever time of day it is where you are!!

Thank you for the kind words and the encouragement, it is VERY MUCH appreciated.

I see from your post that you are early in your recovery. I know from experience the each of us has his/her own pace so don't let that be any kind of an issue for you. Truly understanding the various points in the lessons is what is important, NOT how fast you can complete them, take my word for it!!

I also understand that, as hard as it may be, and it IS TERRIBLY difficult, the guilt and shame MUST be set aside until later on or they will sneak in and sabotage everything. I have been through it a "few" times.

EVERY lesson has tremendous value, if you just dig in and UNDERSTAND what is there. If there is a questions or questions, look in the community forums, likely someone else has ask that same question or one very similar and there is an answer, advice or at least a direction to look. Also, PARTICIPATE in the community forums as you can, it helps you and it helps others, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot!!!

Your life will feel like a terrible mess, mine did and does, but it WILL get better. I have faith in that and it has helped me through some VERY black times.

And yes, WE CAN DO IT!!!!!!!


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 12:36 am 
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Posts: 246
Lesson 2:

My Vision

I will strive to be a person who is not doubted in words or actions. What I say is what I believe to be the truth. It may be good, it may not, but it will be the truth. My actions will be always sincere, not always right, but what I believe is right.

My wife is my best friend, although it took me many years to realize this. Even though we may not finish this walk together, I will give her nothing but honesty from this point forward; I will support her and love her as much or as little as she wants or needs, no matter the cost.

I will work HARD, every day, to hear and understand what my Wife is saying (and not saying) about herself, her life, our children/grandchildren and me. I may not be able to help, she may or may not even WANT my help, but at least I can and will listen.

I will also give ONLY honesty, love and support to my children and grandchildren, as little or as much as they may want or need, but no more than that. I will also work HARD to listen and understand them as well, whenever possible.

I will listen to all others’ thoughts and opinions, REALLY listen and consider, before I open my mouth (I have had to “salt my foot” far too many times already and I don’t like the taste) ;-).

I love critters, all critters, but especially baby’s. I will pursue this for the rest of my life in whatever ways present themselves, with our own, with a shelter or rescue, however the opportunity may present itself.

I will continue to pursue my love of old automobiles through the craft of modelmaking, from the simpler ones to finally building various types from scratch. This is an inexpensive and safe way to enjoy these vehicles.

I will continue to pursue my love of learning anything that interests me by chasing down books (at the library first, eventually from my own collection) to read and study to learn more about myself, my Wife, others, this world and the universe.

I will work HARD to push myself out of my safe place and experience life as it is, not as I fear it to be. This will be a HUGE struggle that I WILL win.

I love many kinds of plant, particularly flowering plants and specifically roses and some orchids. I will learn more about these and make the place and take the time to grow some myself.


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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 1:17 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:56 am
Posts: 849
Location: Sweden
62andbroken wrote:
Lesson 2:

My Vision

I will strive to be a person who is not doubted in words or actions. What I say is what I believe to be the truth. It may be good, it may not, but it will be the truth. My actions will be always sincere, not always right, but what I believe is right.

My wife is my best friend, although it took me many years to realize this. Even though we may not finish this walk together, I will give her nothing but honesty from this point forward; I will support her and love her as much or as little as she wants or needs, no matter the cost.

I will work HARD, every day, to hear and understand what my Wife is saying (and not saying) about herself, her life, our children/grandchildren and me. I may not be able to help, she may or may not even WANT my help, but at least I can and will listen.

I will also give ONLY honesty, love and support to my children and grandchildren, as little or as much as they may want or need, but no more than that. I will also work HARD to listen and understand them as well, whenever possible.

I will listen to all others’ thoughts and opinions, REALLY listen and consider, before I open my mouth (I have had to “salt my foot” far too many times already and I don’t like the taste) ;-).

I love critters, all critters, but especially baby’s. I will pursue this for the rest of my life in whatever ways present themselves, with our own, with a shelter or rescue, however the opportunity may present itself.

I will continue to pursue my love of old automobiles through the craft of modelmaking, from the simpler ones to finally building various types from scratch. This is an inexpensive and safe way to enjoy these vehicles.

I will continue to pursue my love of learning anything that interests me by chasing down books (at the library first, eventually from my own collection) to read and study to learn more about myself, my Wife, others, this world and the universe.

I will work HARD to push myself out of my safe place and experience life as it is, not as I fear it to be. This will be a HUGE struggle that I WILL win.

I love many kinds of plant, particularly flowering plants and specifically roses and some orchids. I will learn more about these and make the place and take the time to grow some myself.


Hi 62andbroken

I'm doing mentoring exercises where I look at people's visions and give them feedback on it. I can tell from reading your vision that you've really learnt from the time you've spent here so far. This is a solid vision, one that contains idealistic and practical values, one that's one focused on both your everyday and your special days. Great job. Keep working with yourself! :g:


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 6:38 pm 
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As promised, Lesson 1, part C:

“……Find a picture of yourself when you were a small child…… “

I put this off, intentionally until last night. I told myself that it was because I knew I was going to fall apart and wanted to wait until the weekend so I had plenty of time to pull myself back together.

BULLSHIT.

I was avoiding it because I didn’t want to face “me” again at 4+/- (I’ve done this several times and it hurt, a LOT). Last night, however, with a little gentle prompting from my Wife, I “put on my big boy pants”, found the image and went for it, reluctantly.

It was a bit different this time. I did actually see the innocence and trust in “my” eyes and I was much gentler on both of me. I guess after what I have learned here about both myself and my addiction, I could see that unforeseeable circumstance were about to tear my young self apart, and that the addiction would creep in because I had no frame of reference, no teachers or guidance to help me through the upcoming shitstorm and soon after masturbation, through pornography would present its ugly head as a means to (temporarily) medicate away the pain, anger, resentment and loneliness.

Once again, as the lesson states, I can see, with a little bit more clarity anyway, how this developed and how it has been with me for a VERY long time.

It is hard to conceive how I, as messed up as I am, can guide me to health, but that will come in time.


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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2014 9:18 pm 
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Posts: 246
I combined these lessons since I knew that was where it was headed.

Lesson 3 and 4:

B. …. Extract the values from your vision…..”
In no particular order:

Honesty;
Determination;
Loyal;
Dedicated;
Loving;
Creative;
Gentle;
Realistic;
Peaceful;
Content;
Genuine;
Concerned;
Nurturing;
Understanding;
Dexterous;
Thoughtful;
Reliable;
Quiet;
Strong;
Supportive;
Kind;
Open-minded;
Precise;
Humorous;
Studious;
Adventurous:
Optimistic;
Relaxed;
Fair;
Just;
Forgiving;
Emotionally Intimate;
Physically Intimate;
Sensual;
Considerate:
Playful.

From the addiction in no particular order:

Powerful:
Controlling;
Superior;
Intelligent;
Vengeful;
Sexy;
Wanted;
Needed;
Heroic;
Mysterious;
Calming;
Strong:
Stress relieving;
Youthfulness;
Selfishness;
Egotistical;
Guilt and shame to reinforce “poor, innocent little victim”-ness;

These all fit the "plastic" person that I was trying to be, but couldn't. Who could???
It also strikes me that most of these would fit right in to a 14~16 year-old's dream world quite nicely, especially the continuation of guilt and shame to keep myself in the same place, afraid and unwilling to pull myself up and out.

AAAARRRRGGGGGG!!!!!

Lesson 4:

In order (to "fit" my vision, more-or-less):

Honesty;
Genuineness;
Considerate:
Reliable;
Determination;
Loving;
Gentle;
Nurturing;
Understanding;
Supportive;
Forgiving;
Emotionally Intimate;
Physically Intimate;
Sensual;
Strong;
Kind;
Open-minded;
Humorous;
Optimistic;
Playful.
Loyal;
Realistic;
Thoughtful;
Just;
Creative;
Relaxed;
Fair;
Peaceful;
Content;
Concerned;
Studious;
Precise;
Adventurous:
Quiet;
Dexterous;
Dedicated;

It doesn't feel quite as uncomfortable to look at and think about these as it did before. I couldn't/wouldn't accept that there might actually be some good in me then. It still feels uncomfortable, just not as much so.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 12:04 am 
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Lesson 10:

Absolute Honesty

I. Although I may still be perpetuating some lies in my life, when I become aware of them, or have them pointed out to me, I rip them apart to examine them and see where they came from, why they are there and to root them out. I am sure I have NOT gotten all of them, perhaps I never will, but I am confronting myself on that level whenever it happens. It’s just not always apparent on the surface.

II. I am still involved in a partnership for now, and although we may not finish our walk together, I am NOT intentionally deceiving her and when I discover that I have been (or it’s pointed out to me) I do acknowledge it, sort through it and work to get rid of it. Once again, this is not always visible on the surface.

III. No professional Coaching or outside counseling, can’t afford it.

IV. I have nothing stashed. My primary issues are with love addiction and that doesn’t lend itself to physically stashing anything as such.

V. Currently: my Wife;
Previously:
a. Female janitor at previous workplace, 4+ year affair; one sided – mine;
b. Female secretary at previous workplace 2+ year affair; one sided - mine;
c. Waitress at coffee shop I frequented, 6 months +/-; one-sided mine;
d. First marriage 5 years; don’t believe it started out one-sided, but certainly finished that way;
e. Co-worker 2+/- years; VERY one-sided, mine;
f. Numerous “girlfriends” going back to the beginning of high school; all very one-sided mine.

VI. I don’t go anywhere, to act out or otherwise anymore.

Definitely seeing patterns here, but that no longer comes as much of a surprise. I have been a “slave” to using these and other “addictions” to medicate myself for well over 50 years now, emotions are so very very difficult for me to face and feel, so without having learned how, not having a frame of reference, it became ingrained to an unbelievable level.

Note that I am still working my way through Lessons 6 & 7. The last times that I did them, I blew through quickly and was not really involved/invested so they didn’t have much impact. I’m done with that crap.

This will be a journey, sometimes difficult, sometimes not so bad, but the prospect of recognizing and living a healthy life will be worth it all.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 10:54 pm 
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I finally managed to get through this one. Life kept getting in the way and it was NOT an easy lesson to completely understand.

Lessons 6 & 7:

I’m not sure, at this point, if I really understand this lesson fully. It seems that the same basic framework fits all of my top fifteen values the way I understand this. I already use a daily check-in process to expand the “yes or no” explanations from the “quick and dirty” at the moment ones, but this framework (if this is correct) will help with that.

Honesty:
Daily check-in
A. With myself
~ Was I completely honest with myself today?
If not what happened and why?
B. With my Wife
Was I completely honest with my Wife today?
If not did I acknowledge it to her?
If not what happened and why?
C. With others I have any contact with
Was I completely honest with others today?
If not did I acknowledge it to him/her?
If not what happened and why?

Genuineness – being my real self as I understand myself to be at this point:
Daily check-in
A. Was I genuine with myself today?
If not did I acknowledge it to myself?
What happened and why?
B. Was I genuine with my Wife today?
If not did I acknowledge it to her?
What happened and why?
C. Was I genuine with whoever I had contact with today?
If not did I acknowledge it to him/her?
What happened and why?

Loving:
Daily check-in:
A. Did I show myself love today in some way?
If so how?
If not, what happened?
B. Did I show my Wife love today in some way?
If so how?
If not why?

Understanding;
Daily check-in:
A. Was I understanding (not excusing) with myself today?
If so how?
If not why/what happened?
B. Was I understanding with my wife today?
If so how?
If not, why and what happened?
C. Was I understanding with others that I had contact with today?
If so how?
If not why?

Supportive:
Daily check-in
A. Was I supportive of myself today?
If so in what way(s)?
If not what happened and why?
B. Was I supportive of my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?
C. Was I supportive of others today?
If so how?
If not, what happened and why?

Forgiving;
Daily check-in
A. Was I forgiving of myself today?
If so what happened?
If not what happened and why not?
B. Was I forgiving of my Wife today?
If so how and what happened?
If not why and what happened?
C. Was I forgiving of others today?
If so what happened?
If not why and what happened?

Emotionally Intimate:
Daily check-in
A. Was I emotionally intimate (vulnerable) with my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?

Physically Intimate (includes cuddling, snuggling and generic touching not just sex):
Daily check-in
A. Was I physically intimate with my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?

Fair (as in just and/or impartial):
Daily check-in
A. Was I fair to myself today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why not?
B. Was I fair with my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why not?
C. Was I fair with others that I was in contact with today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why not?

Precise (as in saying what I mean and meaning what I say, sincere):
Daily check-in
A. Was I precise in my speaking to my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?
B. Was I precise in my speaking to others today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?

Creative:
Daily check-in
A. Did I do something creative today for myself, or my Wife or others today?
If so, what?
If not why?

Realistic~Fair and precise cover this~

Humorous:
Daily check-in
A. Did I find something in myself to laugh at today?
If so what?
If not what happened?

Content:
Daily check-in
A. Was I content with myself/my life today?
If not, what happened?

Playful:
Daily check-in
A. Did I find some way to play just a little today, by myself or with others?
If so how?
If not, what happened and why not?


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 9:35 pm 
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Posts: 246
Lesson 12:

“Those who struggle with major relapse tend to exhibit the following patterns:

They often feel forced into recovery (e.g. legal consequences, social expectations, treatment demands)

No, I’m here by choice, MY choice.

Their motivation for recovery comes from an attempt to appease others (e.g. to save a relationship; to deflect attention from the behaviors)

At first, yes, for my wife, but as I learned more and more about myself and my addictions, it became for ME..

They minimize their behavior (e.g. "It's not how it seems"; "It's not that big of a deal.")
No, not anymore, but yes, at first, I did exactly that. As a matter of fact, I’ve been doing that for many decades.

They actively prepare their environment for successful acting out by:setting a preliminary foundation for excuses/alibis; seeking out times/situations where they will be unaccountable to anyone but themselves; laying the foundation for the emotional manipulation of others who may pose a confrontational threat (e.g. their spouse), etc.
I’ve done this, yes, but not for quite a while, a year +/-.

They believe that they are uniquely defective and/or damaged as human beings

Absolutely not, I don’t believe I ever felt that way; unique yes, but not defective or damaged

They believe that they have suffered so many consequences from their compulsive behavior, that it will be impossible for them to reach their lifetime goals

Again, no. My issue has been HAVING goals in the first place, which is slowly changing

They believe that what they are experiencing is their fate

Absolutely not. Fate implies no control, I, and I alone, HAVE control over my choices and, to a limited degree, the consequences of those choices.

They are inflexible in re-evaluating their lifetime goals (e.g. "Since I have failed so far at being a professional actor, athlete, writer, etc., I can't be successful at anything." "Since I cannot be around to raise my children, I will always remain unfulfilled as a parent.")

As above, I have not had goals until recently, so re-evaluation is something of an on-going process for me

They suspect that they will never be able to overcome their urges, and so their goals are to establish the appearance of change, rather than to pursue actual change.

If I believed that I could NOT overcome my urges, I would not be wasting your time and mine by being here.

They find comfort in being able to use "powerlessness" as an excuse for continuing to engage in their behavior.

I did, but no longer. I am in a SA group and there is MUCH good teaching, fellowship and advice there.

Relapse triggers are seen as opportunities to act out.

No.

They often attempt to "prove" their sincerity to others through voicing dreams, sharing words and making promises, rather than through their actions.

Yes, I did do this, a LOT, but, in learning about myself, this became obvious, even to me. I realized that words (promises) mean exactly nothing, actions are all that count.

They find comfort in knowing that they can play the "relapse card" should they ever be caught acting out
Absolutely not.

They often experience selfish thoughts when caught acting out (e.g. "Why didn't I see this coming?" "Why didn't I cover that up better?" "Why do I cause myself so much pain?")
Yes, I have definitely felt like this and beat myself up horribly for it. I’m learning to let it go, for now.

They tend to be experienced by significant others across the entire emotional scale. Their emotional experiences are usually presented in their extreme: from shame and embarrassment, to aloofness, to placing their partner on the highest pedestal — the relationships tends to continue shifting between extremes. Which stage is currently being experienced by others will be directly related to the person's ability to manipulate others, how many times they will have been caught in contradicting behavior, and how willing/able the significant other is to leave the relationship.
Not sure, you would have to ask my Wife, but probably

Those who find relative success in recovery over the course of many, many years, tend to exhibit the following patterns:

They often jump from addiction to addiction, and are particularly susceptible to hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery. They put out fires by refocusing on other areas of their life. When these areas involve compulsive behavior — their use of addiction to manage their lives continues.

I’ve used food and work for this, many times.

They believe that they are suffering from a disease that is beyond their control, but not beyond all hope.
No, it is NOT beyond my control, in the sense that I can and will recovery, then move on to a healthy life, not an easy one, but one that I have control over, not that controls me

They believe that they are defective in the sense that their emotions, urges, impulses, etc. are experienced with much more intensity than "normal people". And this puts them at a disadvantage for living a "normal life".

Actually, for me, it was the opposite. I barely felt my emotions, they were the enemy and had to be controlled/medicated AT ALL COSTS.

They tend to confuse addiction recovery with general mental health issues — creating a hypersensitivity to all of the emotions that they experience. Depression, anxiety, anger — they are all tightly related to "recovery" and an imbalance in one often leads to an imbalance in the other.

Not sure about this one, I’m beginning to let myself feel my emotions and they are intense, relative to not feeling them at all. All of my emotions are connected, but not necessarily chained to recovery.

They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges.

Sometimes, but less and less.

They often attempt to convince others of their recovery by offering their "new identity" as proof. Again, most often seen with hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery situations.
Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction.

Not this far along yet.

They tend to focus on controlling past behavior, rather than learning new behavior.

Yes, I do/did do this.

They tend to see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process.
No, I have always viewed life as an ongoing process (soap opera with no commercials??)

They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.
Yes I did/do this to some extent, but I’m working on the emotional stability

They often experience extreme emotions in relation to acting out — extreme guilt, extreme shame, depression, anger, hatred. Or, they experience very mild emotions — when it has become a pattern that they have resolved to accept as a part of their lives.

Yes, both at times

They tend to hyper analyze their actions, thoughts and feelings...and make the possibility of living a "normal" life all but impossible.

No, at least not yet.

They continue to identify themselves with their addiction and cannot imagine a life without such an association.
No, I do see life without it, it’s just not absolutely clear yet

Significant others tend to experience these individuals as exhausting. Capable of achieving anything they set their minds to...though unsure of what it is they will eventually settle their minds on. The relationships themselves tend to be selfish, focusing on the "addict", more so than the partnership. While love and admiration and long-term stability can still be achieved, it is often at the expense of the partner's individuality.
Again, you would have to ask my Wife, but probably


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 13 Exercises:
I. Identify those patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to a healthy recovery. Post these observations into your Recovery Thread and/or Recovery Manager.

Early Recovery: "Understanding/Recognizing the Behavior"

• In early recovery, individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.
ABSOLUTELY. I DO very much have doubts about changing a 50+ year old habit.
I know it can be done, I’m just not sure I can do it.

• In early recovery, extremely negative emotions are the norm: especially as they relate to depression, anxiety, hopelessness and suicide.
Yes, I have bounced through all of these, along with anger, shame, guilt and several that I don’t have any idea what to call.
• In early recovery, they often "test the waters" of recovery by attempting recovery for a few days, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few weeks, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few months, then acting out. A weaning behavior similar to a toddler giving up a security blanket.
I don’t believe that I have been “testing to waters” yet. I’m just starting to get a grasp on my values (the real ones) and beginning to see the relationship between them and my behavior/decisions vs. running on emotions only.
• In early recovery, they tend to explore many different trigger situations to see how well they can handle themselves. To see "how far they have come". This is a behavior that is often witnessed in adolescent wound care — where the adolescent almost compulsively tears open their bandages to "check the wounds". Of course, just like with addiction, such behavior is often problematic — as it opens the individual up to additional infection. But it is a behavior that provides comfort to the adolescent — no matter what stage of healing the wound may be in.
Not to that point yet.
• In early recovery, they tend to experience relief in having their behaviors understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of their life. Unfortunately, this tends to overwhelm them, distract them, etc., but it is fairly common...and a good sign that their desire to change is sincere.
I DO feel/have felt a LOT of relief with this, as I now recognize my behaviors when I ignored/denied them before.
• In early recovery, these individuals may be all across the board in terms of treatment, and may display many similar traits as to those in the "Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle With Relapse" category above.
I would say a resounding YES to this. AS far as treatment goes, not something I can afford right now, maybe soon….
• In early recovery, they perceive "powerlessness" as "helplessness" and "desperation".
Yes.
• In early recovery, significant others tend to experience these individuals as very needy, pathetic, "lost souls".
Not sure, but VERY likely.

Middle Recovery : "Actual Recovery"

• They have accepted that they have struggled with certain immoral behaviors that contradicted their values, but realize that what matters is what they are doing, not what they did. They realize that no successful recovery ever took place by changing the past, only by changing the present.
This is just starting to sink in for me.
• Their motivation to recover comes from the desire to live a life that they can be proud of, rather than a desire to create the illusion of a life that they can be proud of.
Absolutely, I want NO MORE ILLUSIONS in my life. It will be real, good, bad or otherwise.
• They make decisions based on what they believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what they think they can get away with. They know that whether these decisions end up being the right ones or not is irrelevant. That all that matters is that they were made with the right intentions in mind.
I’m just starting to see/use this.
• They are not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.
Just starting to see and work on this as well.
• They perceive "powerlessness" as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing their urges.
Not here yet.
• Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity.
Not here yet either.
• They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.
I’m just starting this too, though there has been no pre-planned deception in well over a year.
• They recognize that the feelings that they are experiencing are the same feelings that others deal with every day in many different situations. That they are not "defective", but "deficient".
This is something that has been clear for a while now, ever since I started to allow myself to actually feel my emotions instead if lock them up, ignore or deny them.
• They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life; not as an addict that is managing their life with healthy behavior.
This has been become VERY clear just recently.
• They see their lives as a continuous process of growth and development, rather than an episodic book of starts and stops. (e.g. "When I was addicted" "After I recovered").
I have never seen my life as episodic, always as a flow.
• They will take a long, hard look at anything associated with their destructive past, and will voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from their life. This refers to pornography, internet accounts, etc. It does not necessarily refer to affairs where real feelings were experienced/exchanged.
I have removed all of those “objects”. It is still hard (painful, shameful, disgusting) to look openly and honestly at some of my past behavior, but I am doing it.
• They tend to have an emotional relapse in terms of the consequences that they have effected on others — especially those closest to them. This frequently triggers true remorse, temporary depression, temporary helplessness — but is soon resolved with a commitment to making it up to people in other, more healthy ways.
All of the time, particularly towards my wife.
• Significant others tend to experience these individuals with cautious optimism. They can see the changes taking place, but remain unable to commit to their partners fully — as they continue to doubt their own judgment (a consequence of the shocking discovery of the addiction's reality).
Not sure, one would have to ask my wife.

Late Recovery : "From Recovery to Health"
I can’t say, I’m not even close to this place yet!!!!

II. Consider the values that surround both your healthy and unhealthy patterns. Are they consistent with your current prioritized values? If yes, wonderful. If not, how might this awareness alter how you are currently perceiving/managing your recovery? Share your thoughts in the community forum.

I am slowly moving from avoidance (and white knuckling), my main “recovery” mechanism to date, to recognizing and utilizing my values to base choices/decisions and behaviors on. It has taken a while (far too long a while) for this to really sink in to my thick head, but it is finally filtering in. It is NOT a “done deal” yet by ANY means, probably will never be, but it is starting to make sense and to work for me. It is VERY clumsy and mechanical right now.

Previously, I functioned almost totally by following the “path of least resistance” which was to feel good or, at worst, not feel bad and the patterns of my behavior, healthy and unhealthy followed this path unwaveringly.

My perceptions are shifting, VERY slowly, but they are shifting and it is noticeable to me at the least. I am seeing many things, my behaviors and my character issues mostly, in a different way, for better or worse.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 14:
Daily Monitoring

I pulled these down from Lessons 6 & 7 which I combined. The format that I used, with a little tweaking, seems to fit into this lesson on daily monitoring.

Value: Honesty:
Daily check-in
~With myself
~Was I completely honest with myself today?
If not what happened and why?
~With my Wife
~ Was I completely honest with my Wife today?
If not did I acknowledge it to her?
If not what happened and why?
~With others I have any contact with
~ Was I completely honest with others today?
If not did I acknowledge it to him/her?
If not what happened and why?

Value: Genuiness – being my real self as I understand myself to be at this point:
Daily check-in
~Was I genuine with myself today?
If not did I acknowledge it to myself?
What happened and why?
~ Was I genuine with my Wife today?
If not did I acknowledge it to her?
What happened and why?
~Was I genuine with whoever I had contact with today?
If not did I acknowledge it to him/her?
What happened and why?

Value: Loving:
Daily check-in:
~ Did I show myself love today in some way?
If so how?
If not, what happened?
~ Did I show my Wife love today in some way?
If so how?
If not why?

Value: Understanding;
Daily check-in:
~ Was I understanding (not excusing) with myself today?
If so how?
If not why/what happened?
~ Was I understanding with my wife today?
If so how?
If not, why and what happened?
~Was I understanding with others that I had contact with today?
If so how?
If not why?

Value: Supportiveness:
Daily check-in
~ Was I supportive of myself today?
If so in what way(s)?
If not what happened and why?
~Was I supportive of my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?
~ Was I supportive of someone else today?
If so how?
If not, what happened and why?

Value: Forgiveness;
Daily check-in
~ Did I show myself forgiveness today?
If so what happened?
If not what happened and why not?
~ Did I show my Wife forgiveness today?
If so how and what happened?
If not why and what happened?
~ Did I show forgiveness of someone else today?
If so what happened?
If not why and what happened?

Value: Emotionally Intimate:
Daily check-in
~Was I emotionally intimate (vulnerable) with my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?

Value: Physically Intimate (includes cuddling, snuggling and generic touching not just sex):
Daily check-in
~ Was I physically intimate with my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?

Value: Fair (as in just and/or impartial):
Daily check-in
~ Was I fair to myself today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why not?
~ Was I fair with my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why not?
~ Was I fair with others that I was in contact with today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why not?

Value: Precise (as in saying what I mean and meaning what I say, sincere):
Daily check-in
~ Was I precise in my speaking to my Wife today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?
~ Was I precise in my speaking to others today?
If so how?
If not what happened and why?

Value: Creative:
Daily check-in
~ Did I do something creative today for myself, or my Wife or others?
If so, what?
If not why?

Value: Realistic Fair and precise cover this.

Value: Humorous:
Daily check-in
~ Did I find something in myself to laugh at today?
If so what?
If not what happened?

Value: Content:
Daily check-in
~ Was I content with myself/my life today?
If not, what happened?

Value: Playful:
Daily check-in
~ Did I find some way to play just a little today, by myself or with others?
If so how?
If not, what happened and why not?

I’m a little confused here. This list seems, to me at least, to be what the lesson is trying to get at; setting up a framework to use daily to kind of check in with myself to see if I am, in fact, staying aware of myself, my thoughts, feelings and actions, both overall and specifically to my addictive thoughts, feelings and actions.

I feel a little wary that, after my former “false starts” (intentional and unintentional) that I may be missing something. I hesitate to look over other recovery threads because I can (and have) seen things that I can adapt to me and use those, both intentionally and unintentionally to look like I am working my recovery when I am, in fact, using that to protect the addiction.

I am working my way through this, examining as best I can to understand everything as best I can, because I did NOT honestly do so before.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:22 am 
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Posts: 246
Lesson 16 Exercise:
I. Consider the POSITIVE role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served (think short-term, not long)?

The positive roles that my addictions have played in my life boil down to four, though they are all interconnected and are all both short and long term:

A. Stress/anxiety relief; I have been stress and anxious for most of my life, at least since 6 or so. My mother was constantly ill and my father was “unavailable”. I learned to read early on and comic books lead to science fiction lead to fantasy lead to living inside my head to escape life.

B. Control; I can “control” the situations in my addictions, even though I really have no control as such. This gives me a brief “time out” from reality, where I had NO control, or so I thought for many years. I discovered early on that following the “path of least resistance” was FAR easier then setting and working towards goals, even though there was no satisfaction when I happened to stumble into a “goal” of some sort.

C. Loneliness relief; a tenuous (at best) short lived relief from the loneliness that I’ve had inside for longer then I can remember. Loneliness that I never learned how to deal with “normally”.

D, Low self-esteem/negative self-image. My addictions provided relief from these, again short-term and very brief.

Yes, there were some very positive aspects to my addictions (though very brief and impermanent), all stemming from not having learned how to effectively deal with these things positively (in a non-addictive manner) in the first place.


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