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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 1 Day 6
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:43 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 1 Day 6
Exercise 34
Immediate gratification plays the primary role in the lives of most people who struggle with addiction. In your Personal Recovery Thread, share the following:

A. Describe a time in your life when the "Immediate Gratification" principle has come into play:
I got laid off and on the final night of work we went to a co-workers house to play poker. As the sun came up, I went outside and this young woman came out and began holding hands and kissed – a lot. We didn’t have sex or grope each other, but it was immediate gratification.


B. As best as you can, describe the anxiety you feel when you are trying to NOT ACT on a compulsive sexual thought or behavior. Be specific. Compare it to other feelings of anxiety that you experience. The purpose of this exercise is to begin to define the limits of your emotions--and where your compulsive urges stand within those limits.
When trying not to act out – a flood of emotions surfaced – sadness, feeling so alone, asking God for help, not knowing where to turn. That same type of anxiety is like when I was a child and was given some money at Christmas & I wasn’t sure how to spend it or how to make it last.

C. As best as you can, describe the feeling that you experience while you are engaging in a certain compulsive sexual thought or behavior. Is it a trance-like feeling? Is it a hyper-alert feeling? If someone could get inside your mind as you were experiencing such a ritual, what would they find?
I would be on auto pilot. There’s a goal – orgasm & I just go through the motions to achieve the goal.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 1 Day 7
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:45 pm 
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Month 2 Week 1 Day 7
Exercise 35
Create your weekly agenda. Post it in your Recovery Thread.
1. An assessment of my overall emotional balance throughout the week.
2. An awareness of how I derived much of my stimulation.
3. A general review on the progress/regression relating to each of your top fifteen values.
4. Personal relationships and how they affect my emotions.
5. How my body responds to stress, excitement and boredom.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 2 Day 1
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:39 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 2 Day 1
Exercise 36
I. Describe a scenario from your past where not having a well-defined set of boundaries has prolonged and/or intensified the personal consequences that you have experienced.
A woman I met, used to call me at home & describe her masturbation to me. I got caught up in it all & masturbated while she talked sexy & dirty to me. She was married and I wasnÂ’t at the time. I wanted to pursue her & we kept it up for awhile. My life was miserable. All I thought about was her. Not much else in my life got accomplished.
Example: Knowing that my coworker was sexually flirting with me, I allowed myself to establish a relationship that eventually led to an affair.

II. Describe a situation in your life where having solid boundaries will assist you in managing the event in such a way as to protect your value system.
A friend of mine had some porn pictures on their cell phone & showed them to me. I explained my addiction & that I didnÂ’t need nor want them to show me that stuff again. I made a boundary of not viewing porn.
Example: My husband expects to have sex with me as a sleeping pill for him. Though I don't want to hurt his feelings, being treated in this way is degrading. I am establishing a boundary that I will only have sex with my husband when I am in the mood.

III. Share these in your recovery thread.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 2 Day 2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:41 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 2 Day 2
Exercise 37
I. List three of your highest values (values prioritized within the top five).
A. Developing emotion maturity.
B. Accepting responsibility for living my life.
C. Sexual intimacy with my wife.
II. For each value, list at least five concrete boundaries (rules) that you will use to protect that value.
A. Control my anger, not blame others, be a good listener, have self respect & be honest.
B. Take the high road, be open & honest, do the right thing, help others, always say thank you.
C. Will not fantasize, will not view porn or masturbate, openly communicate my feelings and emotions.
III. Absolute boundaries are those boundaries that under no circumstances will you ever cross. These must be realistic AND you must hold them in reverance. Typically, everyone should have at least three such absolute boundaries. List three that you will use to help manage your life.
A. I will not put myself in a situation that would cause pain and hurt to my wife and family.
B. I will not act in a way that would cause me shame & guilt.
C. I will be open & honest with my wife at all times.
Example:
· Absolute boundary #1: I will not do anything that I cannot openly tell my wife about.
· Absolute boundary #2: I will act in the way that I want my son to act if he were in this situation.
· Absolute boundary #3: I will act in the way that I want my daughter's husband to act if he were in this situation.
IV. Share these in your recovery thread.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 2 Day 3
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:43 pm 
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Month 2 Week 2 Day 3
Exercise 38: Developing Healthy Boundaries
I. Review the boundaries created to protect the values listed in the previous lesson.
I have done so.
II. Consider at least two situations where this value may be threatened. Are the existing boundaries enough to protect against this threat?
Yes they are.
III. If not, evolve your boundaries so that they are capable of allowing you to manage those situations.

Share your work in your recovery thread.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 2 Day 5
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 2 Day 5
Exercise 40
I. Choose someone in your life that you feel close to. A spouse. A child. A parent. A friend. Rather than assuming what boundaries they have; or what values they want protected...take some time to step into their lives. Refresh those perceptions that you have. Consider how you can HELP THEM reinforce those boundaries. Post a few thoughts about this in your thread.
I share an office with a man who has some very good healthy values. I trust his judgment. He is open & honest.

II. Consider what you could do should YOU become aware that you have violated a boundary of theirs.
I would own up to going beyond his boundaries and apologize to him personally.
III. Consider your reaction should they tell you that you have violated a boundary of theirs. Think beyond defensiveness...keep working until you grasp a healthy reaction.
I would talk to him, apologize, ask for his forgiveness & let him know it wouldnÂ’t happen again.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 3 Day 2
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:21 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 3 Day 2
Exercise 44
For a moment, imagine your life apart from your physical being...apart from your possessions...apart from your friends, your family and every other living being. What you are left with is your core identity. It is who you are. It is this identity that then allows you to relate to your physical self, your friends, your family... As you know by now, part of the role you must fulfill in transitioning away from addiction is to rebuild your core identity. This core identity--and your ability to isolate the addiction from it--is critical to urge control.

A. Describe in your recovery thread the role that your core identity will play in helping you to establish/maintain a healthy life.

My core identity is one of being healthy, making healthy choices & helping others. By focusing on these three things, IÂ’ve discovered that I have no use for or desire for porn & m/b in my life. I find that my rewards are for using my time for good healthy things and not wasting time on porn & m/b.

B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.

Value based experiences free up my mind to expand my awareness on all the good that surrounds me i.e. my wife, my family, my work and my hobbies.

C. Take some time to examine the current state of your core identity. How in tune with it are you? When you engage in activity that is destructive, what role does your core identity play in that decision? How is it affected by the consequences of that decision?
I am becoming a better version of myself daily. Destructive activity – um – I become aware, at the onset of this type of behavior and shut it down. Hard to explain, but I focus on where it came from & decide it isn’t what I want in my life. How can I become a better version of myself if I continue with destructive activities – I can’t? Therefore my core identity becomes who I am.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 3 Day 3
PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:22 pm 
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Month 2 Week 3 Day 3
Exercise 45
1. Identifying the impact of emotions in compulsive urges is essential to objectifying that urge. In previous exercises, you have identified compulsive rituals that presented a linear look at your emotional state across a single action. In this lesson, you are being asked to isolate those emotional elements to the point where action can be taken that will break the chain itself.

A. Map a compulsive ritual that is based on your unique behavior. Ensure that you identify at least five elements that are involved in stimulating your emotions during this act. If you would like, use the following worksheet to help you: Mapping a Compulsive Ritual

C. At what point in the chain is the 'point of no return'? The point where you know that you will be completing the act. Share this in your recovery thread. In the previous exercise, you were to reinforce your ability to identify separate emotional elements in a single compulsive ritual. Here, you will begin to isolate those emotions from your core identity.
Document only A and C in your recovery thread.
Answer A.
E1 wife would be out of town – excitement in knowing I’m alone.
E2 fantasize about porn & m/b – mild comfort.
E3 look around the house for the “rightÂâ€Â


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 3 Day 4
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:06 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 3 Day 4
Exercise 46
This next step in urge control is quite simple. It is the transition in thinking from the identification of a time where action can be taken, to the realization that action will be taken. It is the realization that you are in control over whether you continue engaging in your established compulsive ritual, or whether you engage in alternate behavior that will establish new chains--preferably, ones based on values.

A. In the long run, addiction is eliminated by altering the existing compulsive behavior (destructive, based on immediate emotional needs) to more stable, constructive chains that solidify the foundation of your life in a progressive manner. Before such compulsive chains can be reversed, it is necessary to begin mastering the ability to reverse single compulsive rituals. Begin this process now by considering a previous compulsive chain, identify the element immediately preceeding the 'point of no return' and then rewrite the remainder of the chain so that your actions are based on healthy values, rather than immediate emotional response. Share this in your recovery thread.

From exercise 45, the point of no return was when my wife left town. Element 2 would be to recognize the anticipation of unhealthy thoughts and process that into realizing how that would damage my relationship with my wife. The 3 remaining elements would fall by the wayside as I make healthy choices, i.e. read, ride my bike, visit some friends, etc.

B. Initially, this may feel awkward. The emotions derived from a compulsive act is often much more intense than that capable of being achieved through long-term values. And while there are ways to address this, know that it is similar to switching from Coke to Diet Coke (or Pepsi!). It may taste unappealing at first, but stick with it and you will soon wonder how you could have ever liked the taste of the original.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 3 Day 5
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:09 pm 
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Month 2 Week 3 Day 5
Exercise 47
1. Just as you have with your values and your emotions, it is time to transfer the knowledge that you are developing to a practical application in your day-to-day life. This cannot be done without first developing an awareness of the times when such information is applicable. Over the next 48 hours, envision at least ten different REALISTIC scenarios where you may encounter a compulsive urge in the future and document these in your recovery thread.

2. With each scenario:
· Identify how you would know when that urge/ritual would likely begin, when the likely 'point of no return' would be and when you would 'create the break'. Do this in your head.
· Anticipate the emotions associated with that particular ritual, isolate those emotions from your 'core identity' and prepare yourself to make a values-based decision (versus an emotions-based decision). Do this in your head.
· Choose one such scenario and document it in your recovery thread.

A woman starts to flirt with me. The u/r begins when she gets suggestive. The P.N.R. begins when I start thinking about the possibilities. I would create a break at this point. Emotionally – fear of following through/consequences.

· If you are in coaching, you will be asked to review several of these to make sure that you understand the concepts involved. If you are not in coaching, feel free to post additional scenarios for review.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 3 Day 6
PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2008 3:12 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 3 Day 6
Exercise 48
1. If you do not know how to role play, learn. Ask about it in the forums, pick up a book on visualization...this is too valuable of a tool to not master. It will provide you with the ability of not only mastering situations now, but in maintaining your proficiency down the road.

2. For each of the next three days, find an opportunity to complete each of the three skills mentioned in this lesson: role-playing/visualization; anticipating; actively seeking opportunity. It doesn't matter what you apply these skills to--even if the behavior is unrelated to sexual addiction.

Role playing/visualization: This is tough because I’ve put a lot of effort into not fantasizing. Having said that, I’ll use alcohol for this exercise. Let’s say I’ve been asked to go out after work, with the guys, for a beer. Although it sounds very tempting – working on social skills, etc., I politely turn them down, as I have a previous engagement. I thank them for the offer & also let them know that I prefer to spend time with my wife.

Anticipation: Knowing that I have a short work day & I commute a long distance to work, I make sure my boundaries are in place and focus on whatÂ’s healthy for me.

Actively seeking opportunity: I am currently reading several books on how to become a better person. Though unrelated to addiction, there are many good things from these books that I apply in my everyday life.

3. When you feel that you are proficient with how to use each of these skills, say so in your recovery thread.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 4 Day 1
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:24 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 4 Day 1
Exercise 50
Once you have applied effective urge control--once you have identified the emotional elements of a compulsive urge, isolated the element that exists just prior to the 'point of no return' and put yourself in a position to make a rational decision in what was once a compulsive moment--the next step is to make the decision and accept the consequences for whatever decision you make.

A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)
Positive: Feel really good about myself, Pride in who I am, Faith in my values & recognizing my boundaries.
Negative: Feel bad about myself, sadness, feelings of remorse & not seeing my values and boundaries.


B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)
Positive: Releasing of anxiety & stress, One time thing.
Negative: Feelings of failure, throwing away my values & I really be hard on myself.

C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?
Value Based: Feel better about who I am, Recognize the strength of my values and boundaries & Strong emotional maturity.
Emotion Based: Loss of emotional maturity, My values and boundaries would need a huge tune up. My relationship with my wife would most likely be destroyed.
D. Document your thoughts in your recovery manager.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 4 Day 2
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 4 Day 2
Exercise 51
To make a healthy decision--to master the skill of making healthy decisions--you must gain confidence in quickly and accurately identifying what options are available in any given situation, recognize the consequences of those actions, and ultimately, trusting yourself to choose the option best suited to promoting your values.

Share the following in your thread:

A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)
A friend sends an e-mail which contains porn. At this point my options are: 1. Continue looking at the images. 2. Delete the images. 3. Save the images.

B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)
Options 1 & 3 are of no value, therefore I would not continue to look nor would I save them. I would delete the e-mail.

C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:

i. You make the decision to act on this option: Guilt & Shame

ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option: Feel good about who I am. I made a healthy choice.

iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others: Have I learned anything at all? Am I just giving lip service to my recovery?

iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret: AgainÂ…..Guilt & Shame.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 4 Day 3
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:27 pm 
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Posts: 90
Month 2 Week 4 Day 3
Exercise 52
This exercise may be difficult for certain types of thinkers, so simply do your best.

1. Consider a situation in life (outside of addiction) where this 'isolation' of feelings/emotions has been known to occur and/or might prove beneficial. For instance, certain Eastern practices where people can isolate the physical pain they are experiencing from their spiritual selves and thus, manage that pain with ease. And no, you can't use that as your example! There are thousands of such potential applications--albeit not as dramatic. Share this in your thread.

What I am looking for is your skill in understanding the concepts involved with isolating emotions and what it will 'look like/feel like' in real life application. If you can't think of anything, say so in your thread and I will provide you with an example.
Some times at work I get angry when things just arenÂ’t going & flowing. At this point I stop what IÂ’m doing, look at the bigger picture & examine my thoughts and feelings. I step outside of myself and rationalize what is happening. Now I can proceed with my work, usually in a different direction and I make progress without getting upset and angry.


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 Post subject: Month 2 Week 4 Day 4
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Month 2 Week 4 Day 4
Exercise 53
When it comes time to actually make the decision as to what action you are going to take next, it is not always easy to separate the healthy options from the destructive ones. The ones based on values versus the ones based on emotions. Often, these two areas overlap. This is where experience, time and a commitment to make what you believe to be the best choice at that time comes in.

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.
If I masturbated based on fantasy, sexualizing women or out of anger and frustration, that would be against my values and be destructive.
If I masturbated during sexually intimacy with my wife and we agreed upon it, then is would be a healthy act.

B. In your recovery thread, 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.

Hint: think romantic relationships, fantasizing, etc.
Fantasizing: Sexualizing women during meetings/conversations.


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