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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
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As of today, I have completed up to lesson 69 of the workshop. In addition to posting here with Cdeck, I will continue to post on my individual thread and continue my mentor duties. Below are the questions we were required to answer in place of the "letter" exercise.

Exercise 1
If you have already completed the majority of the individual workshop lessons
There is no need to complete the activity above. However, you will each need to gather the following material and post them in your thread. If you are involved with Couple's Coaching, you will want to post these materials in your Couple's Thread — NOT your individual threads.

a. An updated vision for the life that you are leading (this may require no effort at all if your current vision established in your individual workshop is accurate)

My vision is one of health: where I embody my values and show the power to change. I will live a life where I am more than just my circumstances of lesbian, bi-racial, recovering sex addict, borderline personality disorder, bipoloar disorder. I will not be known as my circumstances, but as my core identity. I’ll be known as being responsible, mature with an emotionally intelligent and wise mind. Cdeck7 and our children will be able to feel the spiritual communion we are growing and living. I will live a life of unconditional love, where I extend constant compassion, active listening, and never ending forgiveness. I will live my life believing in my connection to all—to cdeck7, my children, the Universe/God, and every individual that has walked the Earth before me, and every being that will walk after me. My life is one where I will use my energy to create—through writing, film, or music. My healthy life will be of learning what I do not know and helping/teaching/mentoring others what I do. I will be known as selfless—treating others the way they wish to be treated. My vision is to make healthy decisions that keep me physically safe and secure. My vision is of dying happy because I let myself be vulnerable. I’ll die happy knowing that I received multiple opportunities to evolve as a human and made the CHOICE to take full advantage of them.

b. An expansion of your vision in the area involving partnership (specifically focus on two areas: what you hope to experience within your partnership over the next year; and, in looking back on your life from the point of your death until now, what challenges, experiences and memories you hope to share with your partner)

I want to walk hand in hand with cdeck as we bear witness to our growing children. I hope to bear the brunt of the winds of change. I hope to tell her when I’m afraid of stress. I hope to share the most intimate connection with her as I share intimacy with god. God knows me and the least cdeck deserves is to know me too. I hope to make the CHOICE to ALLOW her to love me unconditionally. I want to tap into her skills of morals, values, logic, and perseverance. I hope to leave a golden imprint upon her, instead of a scar of trauma.
If I were to look back on my deathbed on what I’ve shared with her, it will be of pride. That we both made so many changes to our core identities for the better. To smile knowing that the VERY reason I wanted to date her was a success: “She makes me want to grow up. Be a better person.” We’d see our children grow into self-sustaining humans that make an impact in their own way. We’d see our children grow into themselves in a way that they, too, knew their core identities, what they value, and where they wanted to take their lives. To experience supporting our children and each other through the worst and the best. To experience the happiness of children’s graduations, empty nesting, travelling, scuba diving, trying new foods, our retirement home. To experience the turmoil of life coupled with the triumph of surviving through it (may that be through loss of loved ones, financial, emotional, or health struggles). I want to look back and think about everything we made, everyone we touched, everything we’ve seen, together. I want to look back and think, “Damn, He was right—God/the Universe has always been working in my favor!”

c. A simple list of the likely obstacles that are/will be standing between you and enacting this vision. (Think current or likely future obstacles only; such as inefficient communication rituals, alcohol, lack of forgiveness, etc.).

• Communication rituals (retreat when I’m scared/depressed/sad)
• My borderline
• Trying to perfect my recovery
• My libido
• My emotional intimacy issues
• My control issues
• My anger and reactivity
• Prioritization (ie putting activities, projects before our health)
• COMPLACENCY

d. A simple list of goals that you have for the remainder of your life. (Important goals that you feel the need to accomplish to experience a sense of fulfillment in your life. Don't leave any out. If there is something that you feel that you must experience, list it. For instance, I know that at some point in my life, I need to spend a year or more in the mountains—surviving off the land. Even if it kills me, it's something I need to do to feel like I lived the life that I wanted to live. What do you need to experience—if anything?)
• More scuba anywhere and everywhere
• Travel without the kids
• Truly “putting myself out there” by writing a book
• Some type of lifetime/company achievement
• Fulfilled children
• Get as close to flying in space as a civilian can
• Grandkids (I know this is out of my control and may not even be a want of theirs, I hope not to pressure them--the thought is just super nice)


e. A simple list of the goals that YOU BELIEVE your partner feels the need to accomplish in the remaining years of his/her life (Don't ask for these, share from your current knowledge base)
• Making greater than 140+
• Eventually retire from her current company
• Dive a blue hole
• Have kids home for every holiday when they’re older

f. An updated list of your top ten practical values (the areas of your life that you currently derive the most meaning and fulfillment from)
• Spirtual Communion with cdeck and my children
• Connection with the universe
• Curious Learning
• Creativity
• Maturity
• Responsibility
• Emotional Intelligence—wise mind
• Active and compassionate listening
• Kindness
• Forgiveness
• The Platinum rule
• Vulnerability (Joy)
• Helping/Teaching/Mentoring
• Physical Safety


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:01 pm
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Exercise One

a. An updated vision for the life that you are leading (this may require no effort at all if your current vision established in your individual workshop is accurate)


I am connected to my daughters:
-I develop strong relationships with them through communication and quality time which allow them to feel loved wholeheartedly
-I support their individuality and interests
-I keep their needs at the forefront of my mind
-I embrace the love and joy they provide me
-I make them feel safe, enabling two way trust and honest communication

I am driven:
-I develop personal goals (relationship, hobby, career, ect) and work to achieve them
-I make continuous improvement of my health (mental and physical) important by incorporating it into my weekly schedule

I live my life with integrity:
-I make honest, well thought out, sound decisions
-I hold myself accountable to my values of doing the right thing
-I consider the affect of my actions on others

I am present in life
-I stop the background noise in my head (analyzing, creating to do lists) to enjoy the moment, the people, the environment around me daily
-I am self aware of my actions

I am fulfilled in my marriage:
-My needs are being met emotionally, physically, and sexually
-I actively communicate without bottling up emotion (make myself vulnerable)
-I make a conscious effort to express my gratitude on a regular basis

I am complete:
-I have mastered balancing appreciating what I have (contentment) with the desire to always want the best (perfectionism)
-I am open to new ideas and actions as long as they don't compromise my moral compass
-I devote time to both my relationships and myself
-I develop friendships for companionship and support vs just an outlet

b. An expansion of your vision in the area involving partnership (specifically focus on two areas: what you hope to experience within your partnership over the next year; and, in looking back on your life from the point of your death until now, what challenges, experiences and memories you hope to share with your partner)

I am fulfilled in my marriage:
-My needs are being met emotionally, physically, and sexually as well as hers. We have found and are maintaining the balance that works for both of us
-I feel respected and wanted through both her words and actions
-We make connecting with each other a priority
-I actively communicate without bottling up emotion (make myself vulnerable) and have learned how to do so in a way that doesnt trigger her borderline
-I feel heard and not misinterpreted
-I make a conscious effort to express my gratitude on a regular basis
-We embrace the shared joy experienced during big moments and milestones in our girls lives as yet another form of connection unique to the two of us
-We consult and support each other in parenting decisions
-We appreciate and utilize each others strengths as a family
-We share in new experiences and adventures together
-We surprise each other in different ways

c. A simple list of the likely obstacles that are/will be standing between you and enacting this vision. (Think current or likely future obstacles only; such as inefficient communication rituals, alcohol, lack of forgiveness, etc.).

-communication during her borderline episodes
-complacency
-her putting her focus on others (to impress, to connect) above a focus on me
-stress levels caused by work/major life events
-her libido waining
-her depression

d. A simple list of goals that you have for the remainder of your life. (Important goals that you feel the need to accomplish to experience a sense of fulfillment in your life. Don't leave any out. If there is something that you feel that you must experience, list it. For instance, I know that at some point in my life, I need to spend a year or more in the mountains—surviving off the land. Even if it kills me, it's something I need to do to feel like I lived the life that I wanted to live. What do you need to experience—if anything?)

-bucket list travel (hawaii, europe, austrailia, TBD)
-partake in all of my girls big milestones
-be the mom they need me to be
-be the grandmother that mine was to me
-pay off my student loans
-financial freedom to retire at a decent age
-regular Caribbean vacations

e. A simple list of the goals that YOU BELIEVE your partner feels the need to accomplish in the remaining years of his/her life (Don't ask for these, share from your current knowledge base)

-fulfilling career
-opportunity to be heard, share her knowledge/experience (book?)
-experience our girls milestones
-traveling
-accomplished personal growth, to be the best version of herself

f. An updated list of your top ten practical values (the areas of your life that you currently derive the most meaning and fulfillment from)

-family (connection)
-integrity
-drive (improvement)
-balance
-growth
-practical decisions
-responsibility
-trust
-loyalty
-new experiences
-safety


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 Post subject: Exercise 2
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 264
7/7
Exercise 2

Quote:
Once you have completed this activity, both of you should write up a brief summary of what positive thoughts such dependency on each other triggered and post them in your couple's thread.


First, I have to admit that more planning could have gone into our evening. We were frequently interrupted by our small children, I did not feed her, and she pointed out twice how I neglected to include the “minimum requirements” of the exercise (brushing teeth, reading). I did end up doing those two, but I think it put a shadow on the evening. In leading up to this exercise, I was just focused on wanting to bathe her lovingly and neglected to do any true preparation. I think it might be best to do this exercise again in which I can commit fully, take it more seriously, and show how much this does matter to me. Regardless, I’ll record my positive observations of the evening.

I lit some candles and started a bath for her. I helped her undress and take her hair down. As I gently took out her hair tie, I brought my attention to how amazing she was as a spirit and body—to observe every hair on her head and recognize what a miracle life is that she and I crossed paths.

I guided her into the bath and made sure the temp was comfortable for her. I began to rinse her with water. It brought me memories of when I was a child in the bath—I remember getting cold quickly if I wasn’t constantly pouring water over me. So I made sure to frequently pour the warmth on her body. I took a washcloth and placed it on her chest to prevent her from getting cold. She commented how the feeling of that, too, brought her back to childhood as it did for me.

I began to rinse her hair. She shuddered when the water fell into her ear. Observing that, I did my best not to do it again. I just wanted to be as kind and thoughtful as possible. To make sure I didn’t cause her discomfort. As I used shampoo in her hair, it quickly brought me to a place of mothering. It came naturally to me to wash her hair as I do it nightly for our own children. It was a comforting place to be and brought me a sense of gratitude to show that same love to Cdeck.

Using my senses, I continued to stay in the moment by observing the scent of the shampoo, sound of the water, and texture of her hair. I rinsed her hair by stepping into the bath tub and holding her head in my hands. This was probably my favorite part of the evening. I hate to be cliché/dramatic, but it did make me feel as if I was baptizing her with compassion. I hope she felt that love as I did.

I brushed her hair while wet (as she prefers). Cdeck has quite a sensitive scalp—if the children accidentally pull her hair she finds it quite painful. So I made sure to be extremely gentle as not to cause her pain.

I shaved her armpits—awkward of course, but it allowed me to practice being as gentle as possible with Cdeck. The idea of being gentle, kind, and concerned of hurting her is obviously a skill that I need and want to develop.

I helped her out of the tub, dried her body, and applied product to her hair. She reminded me to brush her teeth. I was sure to be gentle, but also mindful of wanting to do it properly since she wouldn’t be able to do it herself.

We got in bed, and I gave her a massage. I was quiet the entire time as I took in the feel of her skin and musculature. When I got to her feet, I allowed myself to be in awe of everywhere these feet have taken this body and soul. Millions of miles walked, several countries visited, and what struck me the most was that at one point these feet were inside the womb of another. It was the second most powerful thought of the evening.

She pointed out I neglected to do a final piece of the exercise—reading. I chose a parenting book and go figure we were interrupted several times by our children. Regardless, we had some thoughtful discussion regarding the content I read afterwards. In addition, we discussed our evening and my past struggles with empathy and compassion which I detail out below.

What’s most important from this exercise is that I was able to practice complete empathy and compassion for Cdeck. Unfortunately whenever she is sick I am instantly triggered—my borderline kicks in because I feel that her inability to be fully present is a form of abandonment. I know. I’m crazy. But regardless, this flash of reactivity and fear of abandonment prevents me from having any capacity for compassion or empathy. Upon being triggered in this way, my threshold for compassion is strictly limited to our children. And that is sad. I become resentful of her illness and needs, and thus make her feel like she’s a burden. I want her to be fully available and healthy (pull) but resent her for making me feel alone (push).

The fact that I was able to show her true compassion and empathy in this exercise gave me hope. Through continued work on my reactivity, I hope to achieve a stage of maintenance where my borderline traits and triggers are manageable. I think that practicing some sort of love/compassion like this on a regular basis will absolutely improve my capacity to love her fully without reservations.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:10 pm 
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Posts: 17
Exercise 2

Cons:
There were subtle cues that made me feel a bit like I wasn’t at the forefront of this experience, although I’m sure not by intention. The whole thing seemed a little on the spot, definitely not a thought out evening planned just for me. This letdown of not being made to feel special is triggering to me since I always see her go above and beyond for others, most often in an effort to impress them. She started by asking that we do the bath in the smaller tub because it would be easier for her, but when I said I’d prefer the larger she easily agreed. I was a little disappointed that she forgot to include the teeth brushing and reading and I had to remind her. For others this may not be a big deal, but Anon is someone who is always very attentive to details for others so when there is a lack of attention or planning with respect to something for me, it makes me feel unimportant in comparison.

Pros:
The bath and massage were very nice and relaxing. It's a good feeling to see that she knows me, all of my detailed hair care accounted for. The way she laid the washcloth on my chest and kept replenishing the warm water was so comforting. It took me back to nice childhood memories. The bath experience as a whole felt akin to her bathing our children and it was warming to be treated with such compassion. She also had training in massage so whenever she gives me one it’s very enjoyable. She was silent and focused, asking questions only with gestures. Although I tied to engage a little, I could tell her silence was due to her mindfulness of being completely in the moment, despite our inevitable interruptions from the kids. I think the part I enjoyed most was the discussion we had after she read from the book, although the bath was a very close second. That conversation felt more personal than anything else and really gave me the feeling of connection I was hoping for.


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 Post subject: Exercise 3
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 264
7/10/18
I. The first step in developing a healing contract is to clearly document your existing values and boundaries. Again, these are your values — not your partner's and not your relationship's. If you aren't clear what these are, simply list five to ten areas of your life that you value (your values) and ways that you will protect those values (your boundaries).

• I am in spiritual communion with my wife and children.
o I will not squash their spirits
o I will not look at them with intolerance or judge their uniqueness
o I will not put my wants before their dreams and needs
o I will not purposely pass on unhealthy traits
• I am connected to the universe and all beings.
o I will not allow negative self-talk that feeds my deficiency story
o I will not allow myself to believe that I am rejected/other
o I will not abandon my spiritual practice of connectedness/meditation
• I am an active and compassionate listener
o I will not talk over others
o I will not seek to be understood or argue
o I will not interpret what I hear with a judging mind
o I will not allow environments to distract my presence
• I am a learner with healthy curiosity.
o I will not allow learning that interferes with my family
o I will not allow learning that interferes with my healthy
o I will not allow obsessive, compulsive, or inappropriate learning (such as internet stalking) to be my motivators for learning.
• I am a helper, teacher, and mentor.
o I will not be arrogant in my role
o I will not use this role to stroke my ego
o I will not take advantage of those I help
o I will not view myself as an expert instead of fellow student
o I will not help/teach others with ulterior motives (ie advancing myself)
• I have a wise mind and am emotionally intelligent.
o I will not ignore mindfulness as a means for grounding in irrational times
o I will not ignore mindfulness as a means for grounding in emotional times.
o I will not allow myself to believe ALL thoughts, or that I am ONLY my thoughts
o I will not allow negative thoughts to remain for longer than their purpose/lesson
o I will not allow emotion to dictate my behavior.
o I will not allow my wants to outweigh my needs or that of others.
• I practice the Platinum rule and treat others the way they wish to be treated.
o I will not allow myself to be inconsiderate of others.
o I will not allow myself to be taken advantage of.
o I will not assume I know what others need.
o I will not seek to be understood.
o I will not put others before my wife and children.
o I will not put down my wife nor children.
• I am a contributor and expressive through my creativity.
o I will not abuse social media as a form of appreciation/attention.
o I will not create for targets.
o I will not put my audience’ wants before my own
o I will not create solely for attention
o I will not squash my voice
• I am brave in the face of doubt.
o I will not give in to pain
o I will not give in to discomfort
o I will not allow my deficiency store to define me
o I will not allow my circumstances to define me
o I will not listen to the mind games like “give up,” “you can’t”
• I am responsible of both my thoughts and behaviors.
o I will not excuse myself of consequences.
o I will not allow complacency to impact my recovery or health.
o I will not assume “I can handle it”
o I will not put myself in risky situations
o I will not try to “handle it alone”
o I will not allow mind games like, “Just one time,” “no one will know”
o I will not seclude myself from my wife
o I will not ignore warning signs.
• I am mature in my thoughts and behaviors.
o I will not lie.
o I will not omit.
o I will not flirt.
o I will not scan.
o I will not prime.
o I will not stalk.
o I will not have emotional/physical affairs.
o I will not participate in unhealthy sexual behavior.
o I will not punish my wife with sexual anorexia.
o I will not allow thoughts that do not serve me to remain.
o I will not allow compulsive thoughts to continue without a break.
o I will not verbally abuse my wife.
o I will not engage in inappropriate “locker room” talk.
o I will not show appreciation/affection/concern through physical touch to anyone other than my children or wife.
• I am kind to all beings.
o I will not act in malice
o I will not judge
o I will not pretend to be superior
o I will not reject, disconnect, abandon, nor neglect
• I am forgiving of my own and others’ imperfections.
o I will not pretend that “I could do better in their shoes”
o I will not allow myself to hold grudges
o I will not overlook their true intentions
o I will not hold myself to higher/perfect standards
o I will not excuse myself from pardons
o I will not punish myself excessively
o I will not punish others excessively
• I am vulnerable and can experience joy.
o I will not seclude myself
o I will not avoid any form of intimacy with my wife.
o I will not avoid my calling.
o I will not give in to doubt.
o I will not discount my ability
o I will not view life as all or nothing.
• I am physically safe and secure.
o I will not treat my body with disrespect
o I will not willingly put myself in dangerous situations
o I will not take unnecessary risks with my body/health
o I will not ignore body mindfulness
o I will not be complacent with my medications
o I will not self-harm
o I will not put my key needs (shelter, food, water, sleep) in jeopardy

II. Next, put aside your list and allow yourself to think about the following questions in relation to your partner:
• What behaviors would you find completely unacceptable in your partner?

Physical abuse. True abandonment (not my borderline perceived). True neglect. Dangerous irresponsibility with finances. Rehashing past as form of control/malice. Public humiliation. Encouraging children to “take sides”.
• What behaviors would cause you to worry about your partner's overall balance?
Retreating behavior, uptick in purchases, excessive skin/hair picking, unwillingness to kiss me, Monday masturbation, excessive drinking, spending more time away from home/with others, changes in sleep patterns, depression, changes in eating habits, more phone/screen time, unwillingness to discuss her past as a means to grow, contacting past relationships.
• What behaviors would symbolize a return to their addiction and/or a detriment to their own healing?
Complete retreating of thoughts and emotion, impulsive financial decisions, excessive shopping, taking off wedding rings, disconnection from children, irrational thinking, over-analyzing, dictating of others for sense of control, unwillingness to hear others, assumption others are wrong, unwillingness to engage in conversation, drawing parallels to my past and family (my mother or our oldest daughter), anger that creates an impasse.
• What healthy behaviors would you like to see from your partner in response to what has been identified above?
Continue to tap into healthy outlets. Continued transparency of her concerns regarding my recovery. Continued transparency regarding her own healing. Continued patience, compassion, understanding, and empathy for her OWN wounds. Continued wish to improve our parenting styles as a team. Continued team work. Continued dream catching. Less screen time. Continued empathy of others. Continued learning. Attention to detail to things that she has less interest in. Continuing to hold me accountable and protect her own boundaries. Reaching out when she's feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Allowing herself to feel pain. Allowing herself to learn from pain.

III. With the above steps completed, your final task is to determine an appropriate response that you will take for each behavior — should it be observed.

Listed by consequence.
3-6 month in house separation with mediation of therapist: Physical abuse, True abandonment, true neglect, dangerous irresponsibility with finances, public humiliation,
Return to biweekly counseling, biweekly couples: Complete retreating of thoughts and emotion, impulsive financial decisions, excessive shopping, taking off wedding rings, disconnection from children, irrational thinking, over-analyzing, dictating of others for sense of control, unwillingness to hear others, assumption others are wrong, unwillingness to engage in conversation, anger that creates an impasse.
Discussion with our therapist as mediator: Retreating behavior, excessive skin/hair picking, unwillingness to kiss me, Monday masturbation, excessive drinking, spending more time away from home/with others, changes in sleep patterns, depression, changes in eating habits, unwillingness to discuss her past as a means to grow, contacting past relationships.
1:1 discussion with each other: contacting previous relationships, uptick in purchases, more phone/screen time

As a side note, it feels awkward to make consequences or even list.. "demands" based on my own boundaries. I don't feel like I have the privilege since I so greatly violated hers. However, I see how this is important--upholding boundaries is a skill. I lack maturity and acted out in ways that violated both Cdeck's boundaries AND my own. Practicing upholding my own boundaries in the face of others is a way to practice self-respect. That self-respect will lead to more health, greater benefits from recovery, and a stronger relationship.


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 Post subject: Lesson 3
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 1:48 pm 
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Posts: 17
Exercise 3

I. Values/boundaries
-Safety: keep the well being of mine and my family's body and mind a top priority by avoiding risky behavior and accessing situations before acting
-Trust: trust in others when it is earned and allow others to trust me by showing accountability
-Connection: continuous communication with my daughters and spouse, quality time, and embracing their individual spirits
-Integrity: commitment to choose the moral path and right my wrongs
-Growth: prioritize learning and pursuit of passions

II. Behaviors
Unacceptable: emotional or physical affair, endangering our kids, flirting/priming, criticizing and putting me down, lying, contact with or stalking past targets, hiding things, fantasizing about anyone but me

Cause worry: defensiveness, agitation, depression, retreating from me, lack of emotional intimacy, lack of physical intimacy, skipping therapy, return to alcohol, sudden or unusual interest in a new person, putting herself in risky situations, instances of putting others above me or the children, center of attention behavior

Symbolize return to addiction: Total disregard for the health of our marriage or my happiness, lying, flirting, priming.

Healthy: sustained interest in self improvement/addiction recovery, absolute honesty, fulfillment when acting according to her values, passionate about continuing to build our emotional intimacy, putting me and our children above all others, active sex life in our marriage, concern for my well being and happiness

III. Response
-emotional or physical affair: divorce
-endangering our kids: as this is not something she would willingly do, lengthy discussion to figure out why this happened (addiction related? borderline related? difference in parenting opinion?) and mutual agreement plan for future
-flirting/priming: full disclosure and analysis, separation, possible divorce
-criticizing and putting me down: discussion, couples therapy, plan for change
-lying: if she discloses needs to be done within 24 hrs and discussion on why this happened. If i find out then full disclosure and analysis, couples therapy, back to zero trust, other repercussions depending on severity
-contact with or stalking past targets: full disclosure and analysis, separation, possible divorce
-hiding things: full disclosure and analysis, loss in trust, other repercussions depending on severity
-fantasizing about anyone but me: full disclosure and analysis, triggers/mitigation plan
-defensiveness: discussion and trigger/mitigation plan
-agitation: discussion
-depression: discussion
-retreating from me: discussion and analysis, validation of my feelings, plan to improve
-lack of emotional intimacy: discussion and analysis, couples therapy, plan for change
-lack of physical intimacy: discussion and analysis, couples therapy, plan for change
-skipping therapy: discussion on reasoning, plan if behavior changes
-return to alcohol: discussion on reasoning, plan if behavior changes
-sudden or unusual interest in a new person: discussion, absolute honesty, validation of my feelings, mutual agreement plan
-putting herself in risky situations: discussion on reasoning, validation of my feelings, mutual agreement plan
-instances of putting others above me or the children: discussion, validation of my feelings, couples therapy, plan for change
-center of attention behavior: discussion and analysis to understand why and if there is someone in particular she is trying to impress
-total disregard for the health of our marriage or my happiness: couples therapy, plan for change, possible divorce


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:57 pm 
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We edited some of the original, but added some specific items that we mutually agreed upon as noted at the end.

I, Anon do pledge:
To take personal responsibility for ending addiction in my life.
To not allow any excuses, obstacles or challenges to distract me from this responsibility.
To make the transition to a healthy life a top priority — above even saving my marriage/relationship.
An understanding that there are no guarantees inherent with recovering as a couple. That the decision to continue the relationship has not yet been made. That a healthy decision can't be made until two healthy individuals merge from this recovery or it becomes apparent that such health will not be achieved.
To continue to evolve the skills that I learn (on my own and as a team), long after the workshop has ended.
To make decisions based on long-term health, not short-term advantage.
To encourage my partner in her healing efforts. Not to hijack or manage those efforts, but to support her management of them.
Not to seek/assign blame for the problems in our relationship but rather, to acknowledge that there are problems and work together to solve them.
To construct a value system that consists of no less than eight active areas of my life that are capable of generating meaning and purpose (e.g. marriage, career, kids, hiking, music, etc.)
To mechanically monitor my life as laid out by the Recovery Workshop.
To never consciously deceive my partner as a means of minimizing personal responsibility for my actions or 'protecting' her from pain.
That I have shared everything about my addiction to the best of my recollection/willingness. And that anything I continue to hold on to, I am doing so because I am not ready to share it openly.
That I have no hidden relationships, accounts, magazines, files, etc., that I have stashed away. All of them have been either destroyed or acknowledged.
That I will not allow a single compulsive urge to go unchallenged. I may not be able to control these urges, but I will never allow them to evolve into destructive action without putting up a conscious fight.
That I will immediately share with my partner and therapist any ritual that I do not manage successfully.
To communicate to my partner and/or support system those times when I recognize complacency, confusion or conflict settling in to my recovery.
To monitor my recovery for signs of complacency and take action when such signs are observed.
To seek as a privilege, not a punishment, opportunities to develop my emotional maturity and life skills.
To learn and respect the evolving values of my partner.
To accept all consequences of all my decisions. That includes any decision to withhold information, to engage in secret behavior, etc. I understand that it doesn't matter if the consequences are reasonable or just. Just as I have chosen to engage in the behavior; others have the choice of how they will respond. I am responsible for my actions.
To accept all consequences from having violated my partner's boundaries. This, as dictated by my partner's observations, not my own.
Keep mindful that my partner is imperfect and deserves understanding and patience. That she will make mistakes — some in direct contradiction to what is healthy.
To discover, acknowledge and eliminate all destructive communication rituals that I engage in.
To never use violence, emotional abuse, coercion or other threats to manipulate or otherwise control/repress my partner.

***To validate her feelings because she is wise and I have a skillset in listening.
To not cope with my stress and anxiety in unhealthy ways (alcohol, verbal abuse, acting out)
To ask for help before I need it.
To put my my family’s needs above my wants and treat them the way they deserve to be treated.
To endlessly seek opportunities to develop my awareness in regards to both my healthy and unhealthy behavior.
To dig deeper, even when I feel I’m “doing enough” by allowing myself to be physically and emotionally vulnerable in her presence.
To maintain constant conversational transparency around my recovery including but not limited to (lessons, intentions, action plans, self discoveries, etc)
To receive criticism as an opportunity to grow and change, not a trigger into a borderline fit.
To respect my partner's boundaries surrounding sexuality: and to not punish her with abstinence or sexual anorexia.
To protect the physical safety of my children and partner via responsible and mature decisions and behaviors.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:59 pm 
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Exercise 4

I, _____________________________ do pledge:

To take personal responsibility for healing from the trauma that I have experienced. I have both the right to heal and the right to live a healthy life. To surround myself with healthy people.

To allow myself to feel the pain of this discovery without shame or embarrassment. I did not cause this addiction. Our marriage did not cause this addiction. Both have merely been caught in its web.

Understanding that there is no path that I am 'supposed to' follow. That whatever I feel, is natural. When it becomes destructive to my own life or others (e.g. neglecting my kids, my career, my friends, financial decisions, ect.), it is my responsibility to take action. I am accountable for the destruction that results from my behavior — even if that behavior is directly related to her addiction.

To hold my partner accountable as a mature adult, not a child. That her skills may be immature is not a sufficient reason to lesson my expectations of her acting like an adult. I will be compassionate as she develops this maturity, but will hold her accountable for what she does during the development.

To share my feelings, thoughts and experiences openly — using healthy judgment as to when, to who and how I share them.

To rebuild trust in my instincts. To use these instincts in guiding the gray areas of my life. To develop the courage to act on these instincts.

To separate my healing needs from my partner's recovery needs — acknowledging we have different paths to travel as individuals, but respecting the importance of both.

That I will make a decision to stay with my partner based primarily on my love for her and her ability to meet my most important needs; not because I feel pressured/stuck in the relationship.

To build a life of my own, capable of sustaining meaning and fulfillment regardless of my partner's commitment to her recovery.

To acknowledge that challenges existed within our marriage/relationship prior to the discovery of this addiction.

To not use avoidance, re-hashing the past, or humiliation, as means of managing our relationship.

To acknowledge that I have made mistakes in my own life, in our marriage/relationship and will continue to make mistakes.

To not settle for sticking my head in the sand. I do not want to sweep this crisis under the rug, nor do I want it to just go away. Instead, I want to take the time we need to fundamentally change our relationship.

To establish a boundary system that is clear and healthy; to teach my partner those boundaries; and to work together to enforce them. This means providing ongoing feedback, support and encouragement to my partner as she recognizes those boundaries. I will hold her accountable.

To encourage and support my partner in her effort to change her life.

Understanding that my partner will not achieve perfection in her recovery. That she will make mistakes — some irrational, some selfish, some immature — that could serve as grounds for destroying any progress that has been made. I will instead place these actions in the context of addiction recovery, not perfection.

Within reason, I will accept gradual progress in my partner's recovery when it is accompanied by sincere effort.

To seek out changes in my partner with objectivity and optimism. I want her to succeed. I want her to become healthy.

To keep perspective between the ideals and the reality of my partner's recovery. For instance, while I would like for her to experience no urges, I know this is an unrealistic ideal. In reality, I will separate these urges from her response to them.

To provide my partner with a safe environment from which she can learn about her addiction, pursue recovery and transition into a healthy person. I will not try to rush her.

To keep the children separate from the ripples of the addiction recovery and trauma when I have the power to do so.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:36 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 264
(SA)
1) How many times over the past year have you consciously made a decision that you felt you were right on, but deferred to your partner's decision because consciously, you thought that she was deserving of equal consideration?

Any decision that involves money or our children is always discussed as a team. When it comes to my work or personal healing, I often make the decision on my own. It would be interesting to begin to consider her feedback prior to choosing things moving forward. Just last night, listened to her decision to discontinue a conversation due to my reactivity. She was right.

2) Actively seek out at least one such opportunity over the next two weeks. In all conflicts from this point forward, apply this awareness to your decision-making process. This doesn't mean that you have to defer all decisions to your partner, only that you make such decisions after giving your partner's thoughts equal consideration. Actively seek equality, not the illusion of equality in your relationship.


3) Consider the following situations and share with your partner first an INEFFECTIVE way of communicating each; then how you WILL EFFECTIVELY communicate such situations should they come to pass. These are to be considered safe, hypothetical situations. Even if they are similar to a real-life event, process them as hypothetical. Your mindset and emotions should be one of disengaged learning, not real-life processing.
Situation #1

There exists something about your addiction that you were afraid to tell your partner about. The further you get into recovery, the more you realize the importance of absolute honestly not simply as a policy for recovery but as a value for your life. You now want to share with her these additional disclosures but don't know how. You fear her response will be targeted towards the behaviors themselves, not the maturity and growth that was at the center of wanting to disclose.
Ineffective: Don’t tell her at all. Allow her to find out on her own. Get defensive when she responds with anger, negative feelings. Drop feed additional details without full disclosure. Get resentful when consequences are laid out. Shut down, run away when she expresses her disappointment.
Effective: Tell her I have a “red light” conversation that needs to occur and ask her to choose a good time to have this conversation. Disclose fully what she needs to know. Respect if she has questions and give honest answers. Respect if she asks for no further details. Listen to and feel her hurt, anger, and sadness. Confirm and validate her response as appropriate. Respect if she needs time to process. Make it clear that I do understand the hurt I caused through the act and also the withholding/omission. Understand, listen, and abide to all consequences. If asked for feedback, provide appropriate ways that I’ll be accountable for my behavior.

Situation #2

After achieving two months of complete abstinence, you are feeling sexually frustrated and allow yourself to view porn for twenty minutes while you masturbated. She was in the next room sleeping. She is completely unaware of what you did. What's more, you have covered your tracks effectively, recognize that you wouldn't have engaged in this behavior if she wouldn't have sexually rejected you earlier in the night and feel certain it was just an anomaly. You are thinking to yourself that communicating this event to her will cause more problems than they will solve.
Ineffective: Do not disclose. Retreat, continue to deceive. If confronted, gaslight and accuse as her fault for original rejection.
Effective: Disclose the behavior within 24 hours as a “yellow conversation”. Explain my understanding of the entire ritual. Explain what I should have done instead. Discuss intents or learnings from completing slip assessment. Discuss as a team how to handle future urges. Discuss as a team how to stay accountable or identify warning signs. Accept and listen to her hurt. Ask her what she needs to heal from this event. Validate her feelings and concerns. Accept with full accountability any consequences.

Situation #3

You have maintained abstinence from all overt sexual rituals. Still, a haunting feeling of insecurity and doubt has begun to develop inside your head. You don't want to act out, but are feeling uncertain as to your ability to maintain your abstinence.
Ineffective: Do not share my concerns. Maintain an “I can handle it” attitude.
Effective: Discuss my concerns and anxiety. Disclose where I think it’s stemming from and what I fear to lose. Explain my plan and ask her for a healthy mind’s point of view. Be open and receptive to her suggestions. Explore action plans and other means of support.

Situation #4
Your partner comes to you with concerns about you having lied about the details of an affair. You have been through this with her many times and nothing ever changes. Your answers remain the same (because they are truthful); her accusations remain (because she believes them to be truthful). You are at an impasse. (Note: this might be more difficult to process than the others so, work together to generate an effective response. Don't allow frustration to enter into the picture. See this as a puzzle to solve together.
Ineffective: Scorn and criticize for wanting to go over it again. Get frustrated by her persistence. Get triggered and angered by her accusations. Yell. Threaten. Run.
Effective: Stay. Provide the truthful details she needs. Ask her what else she needs to heal. Empathize and compassionately understand that my words mean nothing. Show with effort, continued abstinence, continued change in awareness that I stand by my words. If still at impasse, incorporate therapist for future guidance.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:15 am 
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Posts: 17
Exercise 5

(P)
1) Consider the following situations and share with your partner first an INEFFECTIVE way of communicating each; then how you WILL EFFECTIVELY communicate such situations should they come to pass. These are to be considered safe, hypothetical situations. Even if they are similar to a real-life event, process them as hypothetical. Your mindset and emotions should be one of disengaged learning, not real-life processing.

-Your partner is contacted by an old romantic partner that they haven't seen in many years. Not wanting to keep any secrets from you, they tell you exactly when the person will be in town and would like your permission to visit with them alone over dinner.

Ineffective: Give short, angry response denying the request
Effective: Calmly explain how it makes me feel, what concerns I have, and work towards a potential compromise

-You come home early from work and find your partner masturbating to porn on the Internet. Upon seeing you, they quickly close down the computer and lie about what they were doing.

Ineffective: Flip out and let the rage build through refusing to discuss
Effective: Voice my concerns and disappointment about the lying. Seek to understand why the event occurred. Use the couples contract to determine path forward.

-You suspect that your partner is lying to you about where they were, but you have no proof.

Ineffective: Drill about details in an accusatory fashion
Effective: Voice my concerns and hear her out objectively before jumping to conclusions. If proof is available for her to provide, use it as a fact to settle my trauma response and provide reassurance.

-You find yourself feeling frisky and so you make a few sexual overtures towards your partner that are quickly brushed off. You are feeling hurt and rejected.

Ineffective: Snowball it into a larger 'you always' 'we never' conversation, fueling resentment
Effective: Tell her that I want to connect and that it's important to me that we both make it a priority.

-After discovering that your partner had been involved in many affairs over the course of your marriage, you experience the urge to ask your partner if he had an affair while you were pregnant some eight years ago. You want to know if he ever used your bed to have an affair.

Ineffective: Drill with questions, demand answers and state consequences if they aren't given
Effective: Consider pros/cons to having those details. Have discussion expressing what I'm really feeling that's causing me to want to know these answers. See if those feelings can be soothed in another way.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 264
Exercise Six
Intimacy Activity: Hidden Meanings

Purpose: to reinforce how simple it is to expand the ways that you can communicate your feelings to your loved ones; to strengthen empathy/perception/anticipation skills

At the end of the week, share how many of these compliments were found by each of you. Share also your most creative hiding spot and/or delivery form.


This was a fun exercise… it reminded C of when I used to do this when we first started dating. It reminded me of that time too—taking the time and effort to show my admiration and appreciation of her. I found all 10 of her notes. The most meaningful note was one that she placed in my intentions journal. That she knew I'd find it since I write in it daily... She wrote, in effect, “I love that you start your day off on a positive note. It just goes to show the effort you’re putting into yourself”. To know that she opened my book to see physical proof of my efforts.. the recognition but more importantly support of my efforts to better myself meant a lot to me.
What I got from this exercise is that it doesn’t have to be an exercise to show I care and that I’m thinking about her. It took little effort for me to show I care. It took little time to place a simple note of admiration. But it was doubly rewarding to both me and her. It felt good to place it, felt good for her to find it, felt good to communicate my care… and I know it meant a lot to her to have those notes. Showing my care and love—my thoughtfulness—can be ongoing. Communicating that I want and do put her first place doesn’t have to be difficult. And what a great lesson of what joy can come from small efforts/later rewards, vs instant gratification.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:46 pm 
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Posts: 17
Exercise 6

I really enjoyed this lesson but never posted about it because we ended up discussing together with her therapist.

Exercise 7

Discussed together. This one was a lot harder for her to hear than for me to say.

Exercise 8

1) In your Couple's Thread, discuss ways that you can practically implement the insights offered in this lesson.
I think healthy relationship healing mirrors recovery from addition in that all words and actions should be focus should be on the long term, not instant gratification. There have been situations where it would've been easier to give into the rage by flipping out or avoiding the feelings all together by shutting down, but I know that does nothing to strengthen us as a couple. By focusing on the long term goal of rebuilding our marriage, I feel I've been able to be understanding and compassionate even when faced with these emotionally intense situations. I draw a line in the sand with her behaviors before and after the realization of her addiction, which has allowed me to show mercy while balancing holding her accountable for behaviors that continue.

2) Examining your current role in your partner's recovery, what mistakes have you made? Are there any you might still be making?
Early on I've tried to rush her recovery but anytime she pointed this out I feel as though I've been pretty receptive and understanding. Her 110% effort and commitment to health has really helped my impatience.
Something I can continue to work on is integrating more joy. Her therapist pointed out that not everything needs to be heavy and that we should take time to just enjoy each other.

3) Describe the things you ARE CURRENTLY DOING to role model healthy partnership skills.
"Rebuild those parts of you that have been damaged — not with resentment, but with reverence." That line really stuck out to me because I believe it's exactly what I'm doing and in doing so, I'm demonstrating integrity and unconditional love.


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