Recovery Nation

Arete Recovery Thread
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Author:  Arete [ Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:29 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

So, this is my first entry in Recovery Nation. I have been following the workshops but have not posted before today.

I am on lesson 12 and have some observations from reading the material:

First thing I want to say is that reading this material was quite difficult, since I realised that I may be not as sincere in my recovery as I would like to be. I am doing the exercises with passion and sincerity, but don't think much about the material afterwards. So, I think I want to be 'taken through' recovery rather than participating actively in it. I don't know why this is. Am I just paying lipservice to my recovery?

I also see the patterns in me in the group that occasionally relapses. I do fear my triggers and choose to focus on controlling past behaviour than focussing on creating new behaviour. I also see my life, or at least my recovery, as episodes with beginnings and endings rather than as a process. I also tend to measure my success through abstinence rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction. And I have extreme emotions in response to acting out.

This lesson was a big wake-up call for me. To read these profiles of people in recovery and to notice the patterns in my own life made me really think about recovery and my sincerity. Not easy stuff! But hopîng that I can make adjustments to the way I am doing things.

Author:  Kenzo [ Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arete Recovery Thread

Hello Areta
Am I just paying lipservice to my recovery?

only you can answer that, but if so then why?

Recovery needs work and total commitment, if you are not prepared to provide this and do this for yourself then you might just as well not bother
however if you can, will and choose to commit then recovery is there for you
when choosing remember that in addiction there is one firm certainty
change is inevitable
either you get deeper into the shit or you come out of it
believe me you do have a choice
choose wisely
normally I welcome new participants at this point but now with you I put the welcome on hold

:pe: :pe:
hoping to welcome you soon
choose now

Author:  Arete [ Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arete Recovery Thread

Many thanks for your message Kenzo! I like what you have to say, about recovery taking work and total committment. I want to change and want to put in the work that can lead to this. So, I will be trying to work through as much of the material as I can each week and post. I also liked what you said about change being inevitable, either for the good or the bad in my life. That really made me think. Thanks.

So, this is my post for lesson 13:

I can relate to the lack of confidence in early recovery. My patterns in addiction have become so ingrained that changing those patterns seems to be an almost impossible task.

I don’t really test my known triggers. I have a greater awareness now of what kind of things tend to trigger me and right now, I just try to avoid them. I have not yet got to that stage of treating trigger situations as an opportunity, like middle recovery.

The testing of recovery is something that I can understand. I fall into addictive patterns and then try to find a new solution to my problem. I test the solution to see if it works – waiting for my ‘previous best’ time to come around and then see if I fall or not. I suppose this is seeing life as a series of stops and starts, which the middle recovery group has left. They see life as a progression and a process, something I am still working on.

I was really struck by one sentence in the middle recovery section: In middle recovery, we see ourselves as healthy individuals who used to use addiction to manage their life rather as addicts who use healthy behaviour to manage life. I found that sentence really positive, focussing on building our ability to manage life in a healthy way in middle recovery.

The last part of lesson 13 relates to my set of values. Since I have not posted them yet in RN, let me do this now:

This is a list of my top 15 values...

1. God and Jesus Christ is my centre
2. A person dedicated to prayer.
3. Being humble with God, self and others
4. Joyful in the knowledge of my salvation, and how truly blessed I am.
5. I want to be responsive to the Spirit
6. I want to honour my passion and be able to express it.
7. I want to be aware of the needs and situations of others and to be of service to them.
8. I want to be generous, to myself and to those around me.
9. I would like to take care of myself so that I can take care of others
10. I value being a person with integrity, my actions corresponding to my values.
11. I value the importance of self –discipline.
12. I would like to be gentle with the parts of myself that are not yet mature
13. I want to have my own style and to be able to express this.
14. I value a life dedicated to reflection and discernment.
15. I want to be that faithful friend.

The ways in which these values clash with my recovery patterns? This belief in the lack of ability to change clashes with a number of these values - for instance being joyful in the knowledge of my salvation and being gentle with parts of myself that are not yet mature. There were parts of the middle recovery patterns that I read that I did not yet notice in myself, but see reflected in my values, for instance doing recovery because I value a life of integrity, not because I fear the consequences of my actions. Also, the desire to take care of myself to that I can be there for others in my life reflects middle to late recovery, but something that I do not see in my life right now.

That is all I can think of at the moment, but will continue to reflect on this.

Author:  Kenzo [ Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arete Recovery Thread

Hello and now welcome to RN
if you really do want to improve your life and to recover from your addiction then you are at a good place to make that wish reality
Commit , fully and completely
work through the lessons and understand them , if you miss something ask on the help forum , assistance is always on hand
coaches and mentors are likely to drop by occasionally but if not, don't worry as this is generally a good indicator that you are on the right path

the path is long and difficult but it is well proven and you are not alone
we usually suggest completing about 3 lessons a week but spending time every day posting and reading
get to know your addiction and see yourself with honesty and openness

remember to work at your own pace and its not a race indeed some consider recovery to be a journey rather than a destination

The early lessons are extremely important as they form the foundation on which you will build your recovery and in turn rebuild your life, thus it might be a good idea for you to post your early work, up to you

remember the only person that can make these changes is you, so the hard work needs to come from you
looking forwards to reading your posts and wishing you all the best

Author:  Arete [ Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:14 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

Lesson 14:

Ok, so trying to get a Daily Monitoring system set up. Looking at my set of values which I wrote down, I came up with the following list of things to be monitoring each day:

• Did I pray today?
• Did I exercise or am I on track for my next exercise routine?
• Have I noted my news stories for the week? Did I pray about the news stories that I have chosen
for the week?
• Did I go to church today?
• Have I shared with God my struggles and how I am doing?
• Have I thanked the Lord for my salvation and been humble before Him?
• Have I been responsive to the Spirit, engaging in dialogue?
• Did I make a list of things I feel passionate about? Did I give respect to some of those things
today? Have I practised my hobbies?
• Have I been generous to myself today, deepening self-care?
• Did I dialogue with inner criticism?
• Have a done something extra for those around me?
• Have I made a ‘me space’ for myself this week? If it was today, how was it?
• Have I made a list of areas in which I need discipline? How do I stand with them?

I know that this list is provisional and that it can and must evolve over time as I do. I feel quite good about the list. Just writing it raised my awareness of the things that really matter to me.

Author:  Arete [ Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:25 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

Lesson 15:

In thinking about the stuff that I have learned over the past 14 lessons...

The first big thing for me was to realise that I need help with life management issues. I have read so many books on addiction. Most of them look at brain science, dophamine studies. And I know that addiction has links with stress and established patterns of dealing with stress. So, I knew that I needed to develop a plan to deal with stress. But this is the first workshop that places so much emphasis on life management skills. In particular, a lot of stress is placed on values and the way that these values influence the way we act in our life. This seems to be to be an excellent insight into responses to addiction. The books that I have read tend to treat the body like a machine, and with addiction something has gone wrong with the machine. We just need to fix it. But we are so much more than that. The fact that we have values that drive us means that we can't simply treat ourselves like robots that need tune-ups. Perhaps recovering from addiction is like a whole conversion of life? Finding out what is truely important to us and moulding lives that reflect those things. There is something wonderful about that.

I think for me it was truely eye-opening to do the exercise identifying all the values that are important to me and then making action plans - detailed plans. I did this in another context years ago, but the exercise was very different this time around. It really made me think. It also made me realise that the life that I am living is massively out of touch with the values that I find most important. The checklist that I put together to go over each day is a really useful tool to help me see if I am putting into practice all the values that I hold to be important. So, I suppose on a day to day basis, this is the one thing that has been integrated into my life from the last 14 lessons...

Author:  learningtorun [ Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arete Recovery Thread

Hi Arete,

You appear to be off to a good solid start and a number of the key areas seems to be landing on you. In particular

It also made me realise that the life that I am living is massively out of touch with the values that I find most important.

This is a big learning point, until we stand back and compare how we have acted against what is most important to us and see how the two compare we don't appreciate how far our lives have gone off track at the outset. You can therefore see the logic of the workshop that will give us the tools and understanding needed to align what we do and how we act moving forwards based on our values rather than how we would have made our decisions previously based more on emotions that were not necessarily connected to our values.

Whilst there is no obligation to record your thoughts on your thread on any of the lessons, most people find that to be helpful to reflect back on and it also helps the coaches and mentors to keep an eye on how you are getting on. If you do have your thoughts recorded elsewhere for the earlier lessons the you might find it helpful to copy them over here now. If you did those more as a mental process then no worries but you might find it helpful to at least record your Vision here per Lesson 2. The reason for that is that your Vision and Values form the core of what you work with as you progress through the lessons. Whilst the two are intertwined the Vision gives you the goal that you are ultimately aiming at and you may find value in assessing this from time to time to see how far you have come. You may find Coach Mel's "Vision How To" post at the top of the Self -Help Recovery Form helpful for this if you haven't viewed this already. Your call though, it's entirely up to you if you wanted to go back to that.

Either way, good luck with the lessons and keep up the good work.

Author:  Arete [ Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:09 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

Hi learningtorun,

I really appreciated your last reply to me. Thanks so much for taking the time to read what I wrote and to reflect on it!

The last two weeks have been crazy for me and I regret not being able to post in that time. But this program is important to me and I want to keep up regular visits. Also, I realise that while I have posted a list of my values, I have not yet posted my vision, which is important. So, here is my vision:

I want to be a person for whom God is his centre and for whom prayer is a foundation. I want my faith to be real, that is, for it to have a positive impact on my life and my relations with others. Inspired and sustained by my faith, I want to be aware of not only my needs but the needs of others in my life and helping them where I can. In particular, I want to be there for my friends and to be faithful to them. I want to be aware of the will of God in my daily life, that is, in the activities and happenings of each day as it comes and to be responsive to the will of God as I find it. I want to find out who the person is that God is calling me to be and to do what I can to grow into that person. This means that I respect my passions and try to spend time expressing my creativity. I want to live my life reflectively, taking each day as it comes and giving myself whatever I need to give my best to God and others. Living a life of integrity, I want to be a part of my Christian community, spending time with this community in its liturgies. I would also like my community to be one of integrity and to that end, I want to know as much as I can about my faith and my faith community, being fully aware of the gifts of the community to others and also where the community needs to grow, its limitations – all the while knowing that my growth and the growth of the community is in God’s hands.

So, I extracted all my values that I have posted previously from this vision. I hope to build on this in the sessions to come.

Author:  Arete [ Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:56 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

Lesson 16:

This lesson really made a lot of sense to me. I tend to use pornography as a way to tackle stress in my life. I find my triggers start to kick in when I am under stress and have not given myself enough time to relax or to get enough sleep. So, going online is a quick and easy solution to my stressful situation. Why is it that going online helps me? I suppose, perhaps even subconsciously, I am forcing myself to slow down and to take it easier. Because when I go online on a binge session, I am usually so tired the next day I can’t do anything but take it easier. I am forced to slow down by sheer fatigue. This of course is a stupid way to relax, but quite effective in my case. Going online also seems to help me with intimacy needs. Again, perhaps subconsciously, when I am feeling lonely or isolated, pornography seems to help me to make a connection with my desires for intimacy with another person. It seems to provide an outlet for sexual expression that I didn’t know I needed until I am online. Again, a stupid way of satisfying needs and ultimately leaves me feeling even more isolated and alone. There is no real replacement to sexual intimacy and vulnerability with a flesh and blood person. Intellectually, I know that. But I find myself missing the signs that I am feeling lonely and needing to reach out to friends for a chat, and only recognise this after going online. But still, online ‘intimacy’ in pornography is easy, free and without the vulnerability and challenges to growth that real relationships have. It is an extremely tempting and alluring imitation of the real thing. Finally, there are those lovely chemicals that pump into my brain when going online. The rush, the emotional and chemical high. I lose myself in another world and for the briefest moment, I find myself forgetting my stresses and problems in real life. I go online mostly at night, so there is this ‘other-world’ sense about it. Tomorrow seems far away, and the day is finished. I get to escape for a couple of hours. Of course, waking up the next day with the realisation of what I have done and my stress remains. But pornography did help me for a couple of hours. Sometimes it seems worth it. A useful escape.

Author:  Arete [ Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:47 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

Lesson 17:

First of all, I have found this lesson incredibly useful. It really helped me place some distance between myself and my addiction and allowed me to see what I am doing and why I am doing it. It allowed me to see that there is some rational reasons why I do what I do and how I do it. I am using pornography to induce an artificial high and the way I go about it makes sense from that perspective. I am (quite rationally I suppose), increasing the intensity of that high by using the factors listed in the sexual compulsion wheel. This has really helped me, since I find my rituals on many levels completely mysterious to me. But it helps to think that I am actually choosing these rituals and I am doing it quite deliberately. This means there is a (rational) choice involved in it. Maybe this moves me towards owning my ritual.

Anyway, I thought I would use the sexual compulsion Wheel to analyse my online pornography ritual. And I now see it really is a ritual. So, how do I develop my artificial high? I think the first step is when I am stressed or perhaps when one of my other triggers has been present in my day, I think about starting what I realise is like a ritual. I never start directly on pornography websites. I use google images to look at sexually suggestive photos. This is SENSORY on the compulsion wheel. These are not naked images, just suggestive, but suggestive enough to get aroused. I suppose this is SUSPENSE on the wheel. A build up. Google images doesn’t help, since it has a function which suggests ‘related images’, which if I keep searching for related images I usually end up looking at naked images. This is in one sense ACCOMPLISHMENT. Once I am looking at naked photos, I then go onto pornography websites and start to look for material I like. While looking for material I like, I eventually move onto videos, which introduces sound – SENSORY. I also have started masturbating. But I stop before climax and could do this for very long periods. So, I am increasing my state of arousal but stopping to increase the SUSPENSE. While looking for videos I want to watch, I suppose I am also using FANTASY. I think of scenarios I find most exciting, but maybe FANTASY only applies to images I create in my head? At the end of my ritual is ORGASM and ACCOMPLISHMENT.

I am not sure whether poly-addictions are involved in my ritual. When I have had a drink, I am usually vulnerable to online usage because I find it harder to say no to pornography. But maybe pornography use and alcohole play off one another in my case. I am not sure.

Again, this was a useful exercise. A tough reflection and a hard look at my online ritual. But I can see how these elements work together to create a high for me.

Author:  learningtorun [ Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arete Recovery Thread

Hi Arete,

This means there is a (rational) choice involved in it. Maybe this moves me towards owning my ritual.

You have made one of the most important discoveries that you can make on your journey and that is that you were not born this way, you had made choices that took you down a certain path. Once you have understood that then you can see that you see that you are therefore free to make different choices moving forwards which are healthy and that will lead you to recovery. When I got to that stage I found it quite liberating and it gave me a lot of hope for the first time that I could actually recover. It sounds like you have reached that stage too. Well done and take this enthusiasm to drive you forward.

Author:  Arete [ Sat Apr 28, 2018 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

Hi L2R,

Really appreciated your last post and thanks for reading my material. As you say, the insights behind my choices that I am making is liberating from the perspective that hopefully I can learn how to make better choices! This stuff is not easy stuff to do, and I find that taking a long, hard look at what it is that I do and my internal reasoning behind it is quite challenging. But I think the exercises are really helping me out.

Lesson 18:

After going through the cases of Jerry and Stephanie, I will try to have a look at my own ritual of online pornography to see how time, intensity and habituation work in them. The thing that really strikes me in the reflections in lesson 18 is the way the lesson describes the skill involved in the ritual. I never really thought of my rituals from the perspective of skill. I always thought of my rituals as things that I do to escape stress and that these rituals have no real skill in them. I just go online and enjoy what I can. But I think these reflections help me to see that I derive a benefit from my rituals and that this benefit can be enhanced in certain ways. And I see that I am actually skilled at enhancing them.

So, taking a long, hard look at what I do, I can think about timing. Of all the elements in the sexual compulsion wheel that I have looked at, I think timing is the most difficult to try to understand. How do I use timing to enhance my experience online? A time threshold? So, what I understand is that I get a certain benefit from online activity and that after a certain time, the activity stops providing what I am looking for. So, with I become skilled at using my online activities within this time period to enhance what I am getting from them. Just thinking about online stuff, I realise that the video clips that I look at are all about 5 minutes long. So, the clip has a brief intro, the porn stars get down to business, and then the clip finishes either with the orgasm of a porn star or the clip stops midway. Thinking about timing, I realise that in the old days, I used to watch x-rated movies that had one or two steamy scenes in them. I used to be quite content with that. I would watch a whole 2 hour movie for those scenes. Now, with the internet, I don't need to wait for the 2 hours just to see the scene. I can get to the scene in five minutes. But I notice now that even 5 minutes becomes boring for me. I know what I am looking for in a porn clip. All the porn stars seem to have to same format of clip, doing the same kind of things. Since I know what I am into, I can fast-forward to 'the good bits'. Quite scary how attuned to porn clips I have become! I have to work with my boredom limits, which seem to keep changing. But getting to the good bits faster means that I can enhance my experience.

With intensity, I think I have learned how to enhance my experience of online stuff. As I mentioned in my previous post, I don't start on porn clips but just look at suggestive photos to 'get the blood flowing'. I have realised that I can raise my suspense levels the longer I keep looking at non-pornographic photos before I move onto other stuff. I have noticed that I can also use erogenous zones in my body to stimulate my arousal. I am not sure whether this classifies as masturbation, but I know what makes me aroused and I use this to enhance the 'first stage' of my ritual. Once I get bored of this stuff, I move onto either photos or videos. With videos, I can enhance the intensity of what I am doing by playing around with the timing of the vid, like I describe above. I think I also enhance the intensity of what I am doing by starting to masturbate but I keep myself aroused without orgasm. This heightens my experience I think.

Finally, habituation. Just these reflections above have been a real eye opener for me. I realise that while growing up, I could be satisfied with 2 hours of a movie with the hope of a sex scene. Now I am down to a clip of 5 minutes, and even that is too long. So, I do stuff that tries to avoid the boredom I get at clips now. I think I explore different types of porn clips to try and get more out of the experience. Different scenes, different types of scenes, different locations. But this thought really is a tough one. Do I really need 'new areas' in pornography just to get the same amount of thrill from vids? I am still using the type of porn clips that I have always been used to but I realise that habituation is really a factor in my use of pornography. I realise that with habituation, continual change is needed to get the same high. This is not a nice thought for me. It means that at some point, an intimate sexual encounter between two people is going to be boring for me and suddenly things like location and story line become a way to 'spice things up'. Wow, not a great thought at all.

Author:  Kenzo [ Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Arete Recovery Thread

Hello Arete
you wrote
This stuff is not easy stuff to do, and I find that taking a long, hard look at what it is that I do and my internal reasoning behind it is quite challenging. But I think the exercises are really helping me out.

recovery is not easy but when one does decide to recover then it is not that hard either
however it takes effort and it has been a while since your last post

please do not fall away, there are so many great reasons to recover and not one good reason not to

Author:  Arete [ Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:22 am ]
Post subject:  Arete Recovery Thread

Hi Kenzo,

First of all, I just wanted to thank you so much for your last post. I know that you assist people on a voluntary basis and I really appreciated the time you took to read my post and respond. It has been almost four months since I last posted, and you were absolutely right. I should not have fallen away. I had some exams, then I had to work for the months of July and the first part of August in areas without much internet. But those are just excuses. You are right, this stuff takes effort. Perhaps there was some resistance in me to this work? Perhaps the depth and intimacy of the stuff in the workshops frightened me a bit. But I suppose I relapsed and now I want to commit again to this process.

So, how to recommit? I was reading some of the stuff in the community section on what to do if you fall away. Some suggestions were that we start the workshops again. I thought to myself that this sounds like a great idea. So, I re-read the orientation stuff with renewed energy, started a personal recovery journal to plot my way, and I am going to start the workshops again.

So, here we go with Lesson One:

Regarding the first keys to building a successful foundation to permanent change - actively committing myself to change? I was very touched reading Lesson One for the second time. Recovery is about not just cutting down the tree, but pulling the tree up by its roots. I have read tons of books on addiction recovery, even approached a therapist at one stage to help me, but there is something in the words of the first lesson that really speak to me. Am I ready to commit to pulling out that tree by its roots? Do I really want to change? I know that what I am feeling now is based on emotions, wanting to escape the negative consequences of my actions (lack of sleep, stress, shame, guilt etc). Am I finally ready to let go of old patterns of behaviour that, yes have brought me pain, but also have brought me emotional support in some strange way? Can I even contemplate a life without pornography? In my heart, I very much wish I am sincere. I think I am. Am I ready to do anything to achieve recovery, and not just recovery but a healthy life? After relapsing, I hate pornography with the passion of a 1000 suns. And yet, after a time of healing and recovery, I always seem to be called back to old patterns. My heart begins to race at the thought of images and vids. Do I have the commitment to finally say no to these images and vids? Of course, in the orientation pages, we are told we can prepare for this stage, so maybe I can make a commitment to prepare for this? Yes, I think I can make a commitment to do anything I need to do to prepare myself for change.

Ten to fifteen reasons I want to change?
1. God loves me as I am and calls me to a better way of expressing my affectivity.
2. Persons are not objects to be used as means to other ends. They must be respected, their bodies, minds and souls.
3. I want to live with integrity, acting in a way that is in agreement with my deeply held beliefs.
4. I am living in a way that is hurting myself. I am not giving myself the respect that I deserve.
5. I am also living in a way that is hurting others. I am not sure of the circumstances of the people who are engaged in pornography. But what if what they do is a result of difficult financial or social situations? What if I am contributing to the negative lifestyle choices of others?
6. I am not using computers to help me or to improve my life. I am being used by technology that entraps me.
7. I feel that pornography is changing the way I see others. It is having a negative impact on my relationships with others and indeed myself. I want to look at others differently.
8. I waste so much time on my computer. Time that I can spend doing much better things. I want to use my time better.
9. Pornography takes a beautiful act of intimate sharing between two people out of its natural context and exploits it – for my amusement. I want to see sex in a different way. I want to re-discover the beauty of sex.
10. I use pornography as a way to change my emotional state. If I am experiencing uncomfortable emotions, I want to avoid them by using pornography. But, I want to be healthier than this. What would it be like to be able to manage my emotions in a more mature manner?
11. If I am successful at changing my old behaviour patterns, I want to become a positive force in other people lives to help them.
12. My pornography use is a source of great stress in my life – stress that far outweighs the benefits of pornography use. What would it be like to live a life without that stress?
13. I am sick of living from one emotional high to another (or emotional low for that matter). I want to learn how to live life, embracing natural highs and lows.
14. I think recovery is a call to change other areas of my life that are contributing to my pornography use. For example, the way I use alcohol. I can use this as an opportunity to have an honest look at other unhealthy aspects of my life.
15. The relationship I have with God is important to me. And right now, pornography use represents a massive obstacle to the growth that I may be able to explore in this relationship. Where does God want to take me if I stop pornography use?

Thoughts on the picture of myself:
I found a picture of myself as a young kid. The words in the reflection that really touched me is that this kid, fresh faced and free, lost his way. Wow, I had to let that sink in. How the hell did this kid lose his way? What steps did he take that led him to this place? If I could go back and have a chat with him, what would I say to him? Would I tell him that this thing called internet is going to be big across the world and that it will come into his life and take it over? Would I tell him to not take one single step towards “those websites”? Would he even listen to me?

I definately think that Lesson One was more powerful the second time. Perhaps the first time I was not really ready?

Author:  Arete [ Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Arete Recovery Thread

Lesson Two:

So I have spent the last week focussing on my vision statement. I did draw one up the first time I went through the lessons, but I made some amendments to my first vision. Here is my updated version:

"I want to be a man for whom God is his centre and who prayerfully follows Jesus every day. Knowing that I am loved by God and that He has given me talents and gifts, I will strive to use these every day to love him and to serve Him. I will let humility be my guiding principle, acknowledging limitations but also possibilities. As a way to enrich my service to God, I will work always to deepen my knowledge of how much God loves me and to try to see the world through his eyes. I will also learn more about those around me, letting their needs indicate where I can serve God the best. In particular, I will be aware of the community around me and my friends, helping them where I can. Being aware of these needs and always listening and discerning the call of the Spirit, I will be responsive to the will of God as I find it. Living a reflective life, taking each day as it comes and giving myself whatever I need to give my best to God and others, I want to find out who the person is that God is calling me to be and to do what I can to grow into that person. This means that I respect my passions and try to spend time expressing my creativity, while at the same time not being dominated by them. I know that I have my own style and I want to respect and to develop that. Living a life of integrity, I want to be a part of my Christian community, spending time with this community in their worship of God. I would also like my community to be one of integrity and to that end, I want to know as much as I can about my faith, being fully aware of the gifts of the community to others and also where the community needs to grow, its limitations – all the while knowing that my growth and the growth of the community is in God’s hands. At the end of the day, I want to be joyful in the knowledge that I am saved by the love of God and ultimately rely completely on his grace to do anything in my life."

I know how important this mission statement is in the programme, so the second time around I found the exercise a little more difficult, trying to get this right. But I think it was a good exercise to do.

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