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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:10 pm 
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Lesson 48: Proactive / Reactive Urge Awareness

Exercises
1. Learn about role-playing and visualization
2. Use the next 3 days to practice the 3 techniques of this lesson - role playing, anticipation, and actively seeking

Role Playing
- This has been helpful. It does give me a very clear picture of what I can do and how I can solve a situation the right way, without ending up looking at porn. I have used it so far for the most common situations that I have encountered in the past and what I think I may encounter again. It has also pointed out to me that if I don't have foundations of meaning and purpose, and spending my time on purposeful things, then I can see how these future decisions in the moment will be very difficult for me. So, I have this reminder about complacency and the foundation that needs to be built up and maintained. If I don't feel like anything has any point, and feel like I am a failure, and I will never figure this out, then in the moment, even though I know the right answers, I won't care to act on them - I will just want to feel immediate emotional release.

Anticipation
- I have not focused as much on this, but I think through the roleplaying and situation brainstorming in the previous exercises, it has helped me to identify what I need to watch out for. Looking back, I keep falling into the same cycles, and same repeated patterns. If there is some time of abstinence, it eventually ends with me feeling too much curiosity and desire and longing to get back in, usually because I feel like I need a break because i have been "working hard" at controlling myself. Being aware of this, and keeping it in mind, and keeping it as something to think about during the weekly monitoring will be key.

Actively Seeking
-This helped me a lot, I think it is the key to actually making changes in my life. This morning I woke up and I thought about what I wanted to focus on that day, and was able to keep it in my mind for a while. I decided that I wanted to be more empathetic and also more positive - to look at the bright side of things, to look at things as opportunities instead of burdens. And this helped my attitude a lot and helped me not to argue with my gf so much today. I do have a pretty good idea of what I need to focus on and improve upon, it's just a matter of sitting down to do it, and actively seeking is the idea of willingly putting forth the effort and energy - and as long as I see the emotional benefit, and see that it is helping me change my life, I will want to continue it.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 11:39 am 
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Lesson 49: Health Monitoring III

Exercises:
Complete the Sexual Health Assessment

1. Regarding general mental health, summarize your progression / regression over the pat 30 days.
I think this month has been very good in general. I had been going off the deep end with not telling my gf about slips and just hoping it would go away, and not having the courage to tell her directly, but then luckily she asked about it, and I told her that I had slipped and that gave me the kick to get back on track. I have been pursuing more meaningful things since then, and trying to learn Chinese. I still waste a lot of time, and feel tired after work, and still want to relax rather than just constantly work on my values, and I am having trouble getting over this hurdle in my mind. Like I still feel like if I work hard, I am entitled to waste time and do meaningless escape in youtube or games and I know where this leads -> always eventually back to pornography. It just slowly escalates, and I am back where I started. So there is still something that needs to click inside of me. There are still changes I need to make, but overall, I feel I have been getting better. It is also nice to be able to talk to my gf without feeling ashamed and worried she will bring up the topic of porn.

2. Document your experience with the following in the last 30 days:

Masturbation - 1 time, 2 hours
Pornography - 1 time, 2 hours

3. Rate the impact (positive) your recovery efforts in the last 30 days have had on:
(1 - no effect, 2-slight, 3-moderate, 4-considerable, 5-extreme)

Family 3
Friends 1
Coworkers 1
Career 2
Finances 1
Romantic relationships 4
Self esteem 4
stress level 4
time management 4
hobbies 4

4. Rate the negative impact of sexual behaviors on:

family 5
friends 1
coworkers 1
career 2
finances 1
romantic relationships 5
self-esteem 4
stress level 4
time management 4
hobbies 4

5. Summarize your progress on Recovery / life goals
Good progress on Chinese, some progress on career, some progress on cleaning my house, some progress on lessons. I played 20+ hours of video games, so I still feel there is something to work on - I want to eliminate this from my life as well, and not just turn this into a poly-addiction.

6. Describe the closest you came to slip/relapse
Relapse was in full swing a month ago, and then stopped only because my gf asked me about it. Since then, there have not really been strong urges. The closest was a brief thought about acting out again, but it was quickly snuffed out. Also flipping through youtube and lingering on images of attractive women, or scrolling through and hoping to catch something attractive on youtube or a news site.

7. List the most likely relapse triggers you will face in the coming month.
The most likely thing that will happen is that I will get complacent and get relaxed and get bored and want a break. I will start to waste time, or start to want to just glance at something attractive. After a long period of abstinence (>1 month) I normally slowly build myself back into the habit by slowly escalating, first looking at attractive faces, then some kind of attractive body but at websites that are considered "ok" and then going to a website that is more risky and I might see more and then eventually hitting a point of no return where I see something and I say "might as well" and then think about how i can rationalize it and hide it from my gf and then the cycle repeats.

8. Approximate the % time spent on:

Values based (top 3) 5%
Values based (top 10) 10%
Emotion Based (unhealthy) 20%
Life maintenance chores 30%
With family (quality) 5%
with friends (quality) 2%
Alone (quality) 10%
unhealthy sexual behavior 2%
unhealthy romantic behavior 0%

9. Overall emotional state
a) at its healthiest - Healthy
b) at its unhealthiest - Fairly unhealthy
c) overall - close to healthy


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:03 pm 
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Lesson 50: Values Based Decision Making

Exercises:
A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values based decision to mange the urge to be (think positive and negative)

Positive - feel proud of myself afterwards. Feel more confident that I can face this in the future. Feel good around gf, parents, that i'm not doing this anymore. Feel light and honest and not shameful. I get some practice in urge control that is successful, learn more about how it can actually work. Reinforce better control over my emotions. Reduce my desires and thoughts about it by not giving it any space to grow. Reduce my stress level in some ways - less stress about my relationship, my future, m parents.

Negative - more immediate stress from not acting out. Discomfort because of not satisfying the desire to act out. Feeling of hopelessness that urges will keep coming back - feeling that urges will never leave me alone, even though I didn't act out this time. Wonder if I will ever truly be free of this.


B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual - what consequences do you anticipate?
Positive (?) - feeling of pleasure and euphoria for a brief period of time. Enjoyment, excitement, stimulation.
Negative - Disappointment, shame, guilt, hopelessness, rationalization, dread, fear, feeling discomfort around gf and parents. Desire to act out again (might as well). Increased level of desires - flooding my mind with ideas and memories and images I miss. If I give in this one time, it becomes only natural and logical that I might as well give in again, and have more enjoyment. Sadness, lack of confidence.


C. For each decision, (values-based, emotion-based) what long term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?

Values based - I will reinforce my values and give myself confidence in them, and help myself to find strength in them, and realize the joy of following them. It will make values a bigger and bigger part of my life, and the feeling of meaning and self worth and of what my future holds will follow. I will gain more confidence and ingrain the habit of facing discomfort and boredom and monotony and answering it with strength, and determination and compassion. I will ingrain more good habits of caring about others and caring about my own future. I will gain more strength and confidence to follow my values and my heart in more and more difficult situations and in more and more aspects of my life.

Emotion based- the long term consequences of acting out are that my life will continue on this holding pattern like it has for the past 20+ years - I just meander through life without true goals or real purpose, just seeking enjoyment and escape, doing just enough to keep my career stable, and my parental relationship ok, and keeping friends to talk to but never really open up to. I will continue to work at my job, earn money, and be alone, and reinforce the habit of spending my leisure time to satisfy my emotions and escape from ever making any difficult decisions or feeling any pain from thinking about the pointlessness of my life and my lack of future.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:34 pm 
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Lesson 51: Decision Making - Identifying the Options

Exercises
A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals or chains. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options)

Ritual -
1. Feel tired after working and being productive and feel I deserve a break. Even feel "bored" and unproductive. Feel that I am entitled to a break because I have worked hard today.
2. Go to a "safe" website like youtube, where I also know I may see an attractive thumbnail.
3. See an attractive woman on the thumbnail of one of the videos.
4. Hover over to see a video preview
5. Click and watch the video- if I can justify to myself having watched it for the content, not the attractive woman, but really I am just tricking myself.
6. Enjoy the video and the satisfaction and accomplishment of this "loophole"
7. Go into incongnito mode and not worry about my watching history.
8. Scroll through youtube video thumbnail images looking for attractive women
9. Search in youtube for a video I can justify in my mind having watched that has an attractive woman.
-Ideally, I would consider my options between steps 1 and 2 (don't even go to Youtube with the purpose of seeing attractive women) but also between 3 and 4 would be acceptable.
If between 1 and 2, options to consider could be:
-go to Youtube
-play a video game
-do chores or cleaning
-work on a lesson
-read news
-watch netflix
-do a productive thing - like learn Chinese
-go on Twitch


B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict (i.e. when the same value creates both negative and positive influences on your value system)
-Go on Youtube - ok - not crossing boundary, but looking for visual stimulation is a bad motivator, I need to be clear about why I'm going on youtube, and what I expect to find or what I am looking for-> ideally for a good purpose. Would I be ashamed explaining my reason for browsing to my gf?
-Go on Twitch - not ok. NOt something I would want to share with my gf afterwards
-Play a video game - not ok, since I have a boundary of not hiding anything from gf and I wouldn't want to share this with her
-Do chores or cleaning - ok
-Work on a lesson - ok
-Read news - ok, but it doesn't always match my values because it is often a procrastinating impulse and has potential to lead to triggering images
-Watch Netflix - ok, but does not match well with my values.

Value conflicts - I would try to think of what I value most highly, or if there is another option without conflict. Also make sure I am not crossing boundaries

C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:
i. You decide to act on this option
ii. You decide not to act on this option
iii. You decide to act and the decision becomes known to others
iv. You decide to act and the decision remains secret

-Youtube
i. would feel a little bit disappointed
ii. would feel batter about my self control
iii. depending on what I watched would feel embarassed.
iv. would feel disappointed

-Chores
i. would probably feel bored but ultimately good to knock out things I need to do.
ii. Would feel worse afterwards because of all the things I am puttting off
iii. same as i
iv. Same as i

-Lesson Work
i. would feel good to make progress, but lacks the immediate gratification that I still crave
ii. Would get stressed at my lack of progress on lessons
iii. same as i
iv. Same as i

-Read news
i. would feel that I am procrastinating or wasting time - I would not feel proud.
ii. would feel good that I am able to show self control.
iii. same as i
iv. same as i.

-Watch Netflix
i. would feel a little disappointed as it doesn't really match my values
ii. would feel good that I could control myself
iii. Should not feel proud and feel embarrassed, depending on what I watched.
iv. sames as i

-Be Productive
i. would feel good, but maybe feel bored unless I could maintain a positive attitude
ii. Would feel disappointed at my procrastination
iii. same as i
iv. Same as i


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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Location: UK
Hi Z
Quote:
Decision Making - Identifying the Options

great analysis in this lesson
:g:

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:02 am 
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Thanks for the encouragement Kenzo. :0)

Lesson 52: Decision Making - Isolating the Emotions

Exercises
Consider a Situation in life (outside of addiction) where the isolation of feelings/ emotions has been known to occur and might prove beneficial.

It seems to me like this is a good quality to have in all parts of life and in many different situations. It is not that emotions cannot be used to help with a decision, but it is that they are not the driving force behind the decision. Isolating them doesn't mean ignoring them, but understanding that they are there, and logically thinking through all the consequences of acting in a values based or emotion based way. The example I can think of is in being a manager at a company -> emotions should be accepted and acknowledged but not used for decision making. Especially when deciding about promotions or reviews for one's reports - it should not be based on feelings - I like this person or I don't like this person. It should be based on the merit of their work. So understanding the influence of emotions and accepting that there is a pull in one direction, but being aware of this and making a logical choice using all of the information available, rather than based on emotional preference.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:35 am 
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Lesson 53
Decision-Making: Making the Decision

A. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbation to be against your values - and therefore, a destructive act. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbating to be within your values - and therefore a healthy act.

For the vast majority of cases, I don't see masturbation to be within my values. And for me, masturbation has almost always been done alongside looking at porn, which also doesn't go along with my values. So an example would be seeing a triggering image on the internet, and then wanting to go look at porn and and masturbate - this would go against my values, because I value self control and sharing the sexual experience only with a partner, and not creating an association of stimulation and physical pleasure when looking at images of strangers in sexual acts. The act of masturbation, to me degrades the purity and uniqueness of the sexual act and reduces it to something done whenever the urge strikes, and not shared intimately with someone, but rather connected to objectification and degredation of the performers on the screen.

I suppose masturbation could only be considered within my values if it was done while present with my partner with full consent by both, as a way improve connection and intimacy, but I don't really see how this would play out or work, so I'm still not sure if this situation exists for me.



B. List other common value conflicts involving sexual and/or romantic behavior that you have found yourself engaged in, or that you may find yourself engaged in, given your history.

For me, I would say other value conflicts would be looking at attractive women either in real life or on the internet. Having desires and attraction for images and people that are not my gf. There is an initial reaction of - "oh this person is attractive" and then how I respond to that becomes the conflict - to look longer, to prolong looking, to look again, to stir up the desire, this is where it would conflict with my values. The objectification of a person or image. Another may be conversations with people of the opposite sex that I am attracted to, and where it turns in to flirting - where I am trying to get a positive response from the other person, a laugh at a joke, an agreement with something, a connection. This is very subtle, but seeking out this reasurrance and connection with someone that is not my gf, creates a value conflict.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:53 pm 
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Lesson 54: Decision Making - Assessing the Consequences

Exercises
A. Select a VALUE-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some NEGATIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

I think a good example for me would be coming clean about slips/relapse to my partner. It was without a doubt the right thing to do, and values based, but there was a lot of pain and stress that both she and I experienced. She felt her trust broken by me yet again, and felt betrayed. She felt like we were just back where we were years ago, and nothing had really changed, that I had not changed and just felt so frustrated with me. I felt the uncertainty of whether this would be the last straw, whether this would finally be too much and she would decide to lead me. I felt the agony of knowing that I blew it once again. But really all this had already been done - the consequences had already been set back when I acted out. And coming clean was just owning up to the consequences that I willfully chose. Fear of facing these consequences, and making them real is exactly what keeps me from wanting to come clean whenever there is a slip. I feel like the honesty in communication should be there a lot earlier, and that these slips should not just suddenly happen and come out of nowhere.

B. Select an EMOTION-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some POSITIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

For an emotion based decision, I could look at my acting out - looking at porn and masturbation. The positive consequences being the brief pleasurable sensual feeling and visual stimulation. The excitement and anticipation. My mind associates acting out with only these initial brief positive consequences and I am left to deal with and struggle with the consequences. Why can't I focus my mind on the feeling from these negative consequences rather than the positive? It seems like when I have an urge, and I can bring up the negative feelings I get at the end instead of the positive feelings i get at the beginning and during acting out, then I am a lot more successful at controlling the urge. It's just that both feelings are there, vying for my attention, and the consequences and negative emotions do not always help to drive me to a values based decision.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:33 am 
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Location: UK
Hi Z
again good lesson :g: :g: well done
Quote:
I think a good example for me would be coming clean about slips/relapse to my partner. It was without a doubt the right thing to do,

absolutely, our partners do deserve to know all that they want to know, they have that right and without that knowledge how can they judge what is best for them
Quote:

I feel like the honesty in communication should be there a lot earlier,

that was my biggest crime, OK the cheating was a massive sin and offence directly against her and us but the cover up , the denial, that was cruel beyond all comprehension and all to try to protect the devil that was the cause of her pain, me

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2020 8:16 pm 
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Hi Kenzo,
Thanks again for the encouragement. It's still very hard for me to be honest - and even to just tell my gf that I am struggling, and even to be honest with myself that I am struggling. And part of that is just that it will take away that avenue to act out - if I tell her I'm struggling, then I won't be able to keep it a secret if I do act out. And so there's still these games I'm playing with myself... This can't be something I do for her, and it can't be something I do when I know nobody will be there to catch me. Lesson 54 was very eye-opening on this front - the idea of the social self and the inner self - and doing things so that the social self looks good. This feels like what I have been doing my whole life, and something that I'm not starting to try to change.

Lesson 55: Practical Decision Making - Past

Choose a compulsive sexual event and dissect your decision making relative to that event.

Event - A week ago, late at night, I hung up the phone with my gf and turned off my phone and put it downstairs, and tried to sleep, though strong urges kept coming. I was able to subside them with thoughts of - appreciating this pain in order to build my values and to look at this pain as something that is finite and manageable. Finally, briefly, I fell asleep, but then woke up less than an hour later with a strong desire to look at porn and didn't want to give myself a chance to have a second thought and stop it. I went downstairs and turned on my computer and started looking at images that I had looked at recently and wanted to see again.

1. Were you aware that you were experiencing a compulsive sexual event at the time?
-Yes
2. How intense were the emotions that were triggered by this event - BEFORE you chose to act on it?
-They felt quite strong. Only when I give myself a moment to calm down and look at them can I feel they are manageable and not impossible to control.
3. At any point did you look to your values in a sincere effort for guidance in decision-making?
-I did at the beginning at the first wave of urges, but not in the second wave after I woke up suddenly with the desire. I feel like I gave in too much, and thought about the images in my mind too much, and allowed the desire to build up too much. I also didn't message my gf that I was struggling - that would prevent me from acting out because then I know she would ask about it in the morning. And part of the desire not to tell her was because I had acted out a few days before and not told her!! oh my! And I was then worried that would come up in conversation! My intent was to tell her later, but just postpone telling her, once I had been clean for a month or so... but this is just unfair to her and damaging to my own recovery.

4. After making the decision to act on this sexual event, how long did the emotions elicited from the event last?
-I think the emotions lasted maybe an hour, maybe less

5. In the aftermath, did you make a conscious effort to evaluate the consequences of your decision? If so, what did you conclude? If not, do so now. What were the consequences, even if benign?
-I think I tried to downplay the consequences to myself in my mind so that I could get to sleep and not seem like anything was wrong when I called my gf in the morning. The consequences were fear of losing her and fear of being found out and then enduring a painful conversation - I didn't even think about the pain she feels and the damage to the trust that she is trying to rebuild with me. Another consequence is continued lack of confidence in myself - wondering how I will stop it the next time, how much longer will this go on, how many more times will I trick myself into doing this?

6. If there were consequences, how intense were the emotions elicited from those consequences? How long did they last?
-The emotions from the consequences were very strong - from my conscience, but it was tied to bein found out, so it wasn't a true remorse. It kept me awake, but mainly this was from my fear of being found out when I wasn't ready to tell her about this slip when we were to have our phone call in the morning. The feeling lasted up until I finished the morning call with my gf, and she didn't ask about it and it looked like I "got away." Later that evening, I was questioned about how I was doing and if I had any slips, and I admitted to it. And then there was another round of emotional pain. Clearly, I am still not going deep enough, and still not tying this to who I want to be, it is still tied to who I want people to think I am. I still have a lot to change in myself.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 10, 2020 11:44 pm 
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Lesson 56: Practical Decision Making - Present

Do these lessons and this recovery work because you want to, not because you have to.

Analyze a potential event:

Event: late at night, I am trying to go to sleep, I have had desires during the day and now have a desire to masturbate and look at porn.

1. Will you be aware that a compulsive sexual event is coming?
Yes, I should recognize this, but I don't always use my break. And I don't always use it early enough - recognizing that throughout the day, having desires, and not firmly dousing them, and knowing with myself why they are bad, and emotionally feeling the negative impact of them helps to feed the problems I have at night in fighting urges.

2. How intense will the emotions be?
I will feel like they are very intense - but I think mostly it is that I don't want to miss the opportunity to never be able to do these things again - this is such a hard concept for my desires to grasp. That I want to never do this again - and I really struggle with this. Because these things have brought me so much comfort and emotional stimulation, that the idea of losing them forever gives me a lot of longing and suffering. But if I am able to think to myself - ok, imagine that i open a page, and look and look at a few things, and then what? What do I feel when I get to the end of the compulsive road for this particular event? I feel bad and shameful and scared and frustrated. If I can then connect to those ending emotions, rather than the beginning emotions - excitement, anticipation, stimulation, then I find that my emotions really die down, and it feels like i can really overcome it. the problem has been about repeatedly remembering to go through this every time i feel the urge, and every time i just have thoughts in my mind during the day. I need to associate these thoughts and urges with the negative emotions I feel at the end.

3. At what point will you look to your values?
I will try to think about my values right after initiating my break. Before or after trying to connect to the negative emotions of the urge. In addition, I want to connect to the positive emotions of acting with my values.

4. If you act on it, how long will the emotions last?
Emotions will be short, maybe minutes maybe up to an hour or two. Then it will be over.

5. What are the consequences? If caught? If not?
Further frustration and further ingraining the habit and further effectively telling myself that this is ok, when it isn't. If caught - I feel shame, further loss of trust from gf, further stress over our relationship, further worry about whether this will be the last straw, further loss of respect from gf, loss of patience. From parents, further disappointment and sadness and worry.

6. How intense will emotions be from the consequences? How long will they last?
These can be very severe, but the severity is normally brief. Perhaps for a night, perhaps for a day, perhaps for a week. The most sever emotions come from consequences with the gf, and trying to act dishonestly and avoid the topic and hope that i don't get asked about it when I'm not strong enough to come clean. Sadness and frustration can last days. If I am able to go clean for several weeks, I usually get proud of myself and think that I can conquer this and stop putting in effort and get complacent. Loss of respect from gf can last longer, lack of trust may never fully be rebuilt.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
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Hi Z,

I can certainly relate to a lot of the frustrations that you have recorded in your last couple of lessons.

By way of a further bit of analysis, I wonder if you have ever thought about how much the pull of an urge relates to the anticipation of acting out (say, if you have found a potential opportunity to do so) and how much you perceive that you get out of actually acting out? It could be an interesting area to break down. You may well find that it is the idea of it rather than the actual doing of it that appeals to you. The outcome of that deliberation could have a very different affect on how easy it may be to manage urges because you might be looking slightly in the wrong direction of what you are trying to stop. In perhaps a strange analogy, I remember reading somewhere that people with food addictions spend most of their days fantasising about food whereas one of the few times that they do not think about food (and therefore are not getting their rush from it) is whilst they are actually eating it. I have often felt the same concept might apply to SA and I have benefited from reaching that conclusion. It might be something worth exploring?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:21 pm 
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Hi Learning,

Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about my journey. I really appreciate it. Especially since I've been feeling a bit down lately, so it was a really bright spot to see your message. Thank you very much for the insight - this is something that I have kind of wondered about before, about the anticipation, but not really put that much thought into it. I mean I have realized that it can be very powerful, but I never thought of the anticipation itself as something to be desired or for it to be stronger than the act itself. In truth, what I imagine the outcome of acting out to be is always better than what it ends up being. My imagination of how pleasurable and how great the images will be always in the end leads me to disappointment, always something that I look upon and say - now why did I do that? Was that worth it? Thank you very much for the bit of insight, I will definitely think about this some more.

Lesson 57: Reactive Action Plans

Exercise - Create an action plan for managing your most common compulsive ritual

1. Define the situation
My most common ritual would be looking at porn and masturbating - usually occurring when I think I will have a time when I can be unaccountable for my actions. Unfortunately, a big deterrent for me is still consequences from my gf, which of course is not as good of a reason as wanting to be a honest, honorable, caring, virtuous human being that doesn't partake in this damaging influence on society. Therefore, a situation, where I can get away from telling my gf about it will gnaw at me and my desires will rise up and I'll try to convince myself just to look at something quickly, or especially if I have had a slip recently - the thought of - why not do it again, and just have a big final last (lol) acting out where I look at all the things I want to see and spend hours indulging myself. And knowing that I won't be accountable, just brings a flood of anticipation, and thoughts of what I will look at, and how I exactly will avoid accountability. The images of things I have seen the last time I acted out come up and draw me in, and the imagination of what else is out there, what new images and things have been posted. Also the feeling that if I don't act out now where there is a window, I don't know when I'll have another moment of not being accountable, and so I have these feelings of not "wasting" this moment, not losing it - and just wanting to act out now, and not thinking about the consequences, even actively pushing those thoughts aside. And the thought comes up to tell my gf I am having these feelings - to force myself to be accountable - comes up, but I don't do it, because I want to act out. (point of no return?) I want to make sure I still have the option and I don't want to close that door for myself.

2. Evaluate all realistic options
--1. Act out - and enjoy a (brief) amount of physical pleasure
--2. Tell gf that I am having urges, this way I will be accountable for it - and certainly will need to share how the evening went, and if I was able to control myself.
--3. Activate my break, and start thinking about the negative consequences of acting out, think of this as a happy moment where I can really strengthen my desire to follow my values, to take a little bit of suffering in order to become a better person, then think about the negative emotions I feel at the end of acting out. Connecting to these two sides of it can often help me calm the urge down. To really enjoy and appreciate the challenge and overcoming it. Be grateful for the opportunity. Having this feeling means I am meeting it head on and overcoming it.
--4. Struggle with the urge and just tell myself no. I feel too tired or lazy to implement looking at values etc.
--5. Keeping inching closer and trying to figure out ways I could act out without saying anything or how to just take a brief look, or blah blah etc.. to try and convince myself to cat out.

3. Evaluate potential consequences
--1. I will feel terrible afterwards, I will have trouble sleeping, I will feel guilty, and feel terrible the next day, and have to convince myself I can still figure this out, that things are ok, and that it's not hopeless. I will continue to ingrain these bad habits, and tell myself that is actually ok to do this and satisfy my urges in this way - I will keep sending myself the wrong message about this, and keeping being disappointed in myself, and keep wondering when I will ever stop this cycle.
--2. This will strongly lower my anticipation - because I will be very worried about the consequences. I think this is not bad to do, but must really still be done in conjunction with option 3. I think if I am really being honest with myself, I should be picking this option because if I don't - what am I really trying to do? i can convince myself that I need to be able to do this on my own without the fear of my gf, but am I really just wanting to be free of accountability?
--3. In the end, get to sleep, wake up peacefully and happy that I was able to overcome my urges. Probably there would be several cycles of this when trying to get to sleep or during the night at random times when I wake up. So I need to have practiced this in my mind and be ready, and really already have these emotional connections to the negative consequences of acting out and positive consequences of holding firm to my values.
--4. Generally this does not work
--5. Bad, but I do this way to often. I need to realize what I am doing and start my break immediately. This is a one way ticket to masturbation.

4. Make a decision as to which values based option you would choose
Ideally 2 & 3 combined would give me the best chance of success and let me grow and ingrain my good habits and responses. If I feel unable or unwilling to do 2, I really should take it as a red flag.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 8:22 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:13 am
Posts: 95
Hi Ziggy!

I hope this would help you. Urge Control is a part of the recovery journey. And like any skill, this needs to be learned step by step. Give it time and for sure you will reap the benefits out of it.

However...
For me, life started to change when I stopped focusing on controlling the urges but shifted my attention to doing things that I really want to achieve (doing things related to your values). And for me, exploring and relearning the things that I enjoyed back then like connecting with true people and my hobbies (playing guitar, singing, etc.). For me, a new value that I have developed was taking care of my physical health through exercise and nutrition (also helps my mental and emotional health). Also, I had been reading books that I think may help my problems (eg. No More Mr. Nice Guy - Robert Glover, Mind Over Mood - Dennis Greenberger, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey and Slight Edge - Jeff Olson, these are some of my recommendations).

Try exploring things my friend, sometimes, we just need to get out of our comfort zone and learn more about ourselves and what we enjoy. Keep going. And I know we can live a healthy life.

_________________
"I Think For The Most Part If You're Really Honest With Yourself About What You Want Out of Life, Life Gives It To You" - Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 12:08 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:26 pm
Posts: 76
Hi Dan!
Thank you for checking in and the encouragement and insight. I feel like this is very true and I often lose sight of that. There has to be a life behind it all that I feel and know is worth living honestly and fully apart from just recovery and overcoming urges.

Lesson 58: Constructing Reactive Action Plans

Define the five rituals that you will most likely face in the next two years. For each, develop an action plan in five minutes or less, focusing on the immediate action you will take upon awareness of the ritual, the anticipated emotions you will feel after engaging in the behavior, and the mind games you will play to abandon values based decision making.

1. Complacency - getting tired of recovery and feeling confident because urges have diminished so not looking for early signs that I am slipping into bad habits again
Plan-
Upon noticing - do a weekly review immediately upon realization. Look for what I am doing and the root cause - am i feeling bored, tired? How can i deal with these emotions constructively? Make a small proactive action plan for things I want to do to feel better about myself that are values based. Don't let myself just convince myself to feel tired and bored and that everything is ok i can just relax. try and focus on what little things i can do that are positive and not give in too much.

2. Letting myself slide when browsing the web and start down the rabbit hole of "innocently" scrolling to see attractive images
Plan-
upon realizing it, remind myself that i need to be strict about browsing, and it is a method i use to waste time and slip into more dangerous things. Make a plan to only visit what I need to visit and no browsing. If it is news, i can just listen to radio or a podcast. Encourage myself that this is a way to build up my discipline and take advantage of this situation to be stronger. Don't let myself say it's not a big deal, but respond strongly and review where I am going to see if i need to implement more plans.

3. Sudden desire springs up out of "nowhere" and I type in a dangerous search term
Plan
-pause and take a deep breath, perform my break. To be honest, if i am suddenly typing in a search term, I probably have been letting other parts of my life slip a bit. Do a review of what is happening - where do I need to improve. Don't let my mind say - oh we saw something briefly, might as well go all the way out. Instead, close it down, admit to the slip - and tell gf about it. if i am unable to talk to her about it, it means i am still breeding the secrecy and lies that let the addiction thrive.

4. Starting to waste time watching videos or playing video games that leads me to feel depressed about my life and slip into desire for more - for porn
Plan
-When i realize i am doing it - if it is something i would be ashamed to let others know about or let my gf know about, it means i shouldn't be doing it. Take a step back. look at the feelings that are causing it - boredom, laziness, and see where i can gently adjust - what can i do for just 5 minutes that is productive? Very similar to the plan for #1

5. Having a "small" slip and convincing myself to go further
Plan
-again, take a breath and step back. Be honest with gf about the slip, and don't let the secrecy cause this to continue on and get worse. look at the emotion that wants to go further, and take it as an opportunity to challenge it and build my ability to subdue the urges that come up. Review and look into what caused the small slip in the first place - what action plans can i put into place to help prevent it?


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