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 Post subject: Exercise 47
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:25 pm 
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Posts: 22
Going in more depth for a few of those ten realistic situations I will experience and the urge control process:


1. Coming home from a bad day of work, feeling tired and I know that IÂ’ll have to go back in the next day even more tired and emotionally vulnerable

Starts at around an hour or so before I prepare for bed, with the thought of leaving unresolved emotions to stew, fester, and grow worse for the following day.

Point of no return is when I open up the computer to go a particular website, or when I get in car to either access internet or drive somewhere to access internet

Place for break is right before I leave the apartment

Emotions:
1)Intense queasiness
2)Hopelessness
3)Anger
4)Resentment
5)Entitlement
6)Capability to withstand effects
7)Disappointment
8)Increased Anxiety

If I waited until these emotions were gone, replaced by happiness, would my decision still be the same? Nope, values would be to experience the urge, acknowledge it, and then move to a different activity that connects with my values and experience the positive emotions from both the activity IÂ’m engaging in and the decision not to engage in compulsive behavior.

2. Bored and anxious on a Friday night, nervous about being away from friends, family, and girlfriend

Starts after eating dinner, especially if I have no plans for the evening or particularly if I have an idea but itÂ’s going to a new place without any friends.

Point of no return is when I open up the computer to go to a particular website, or sometimes when I get into my car to access the internet or drive somewhere that I can

Place for a break is right before I leave the apartment or before when deciding what IÂ’ll do with the evening

Emotions:
1)Boredom
2)Anxiety
3)Self-consciousness
4)Depression
5)Self Pity
6)Self-Loathing
7)Increased Anxiety

If I waited until these emotions were gone, replaced by happiness, would my decision still be the same? Nope, values would be to experience the urge, acknowledge it, and then move to a different activity that connects with my values and experience the positive emotions from both the activity IÂ’m engaging in and the decision not to engage in compulsive behavior. Still, these feelings can be positive to stimulate me to get out of my comfort zone and do something fun. This demands some type of response, because the feelings of inadequacy over social life tend to build. Good time to go over lists of accomplishments throughout the week.

3. Randomly see a hot girl (particular body type), get turned on

Almost immediately after seeing girl, particularly if I get any positive reactions

Point-of-no-return isnÂ’t quite as clear, because this usually connects to a different ritual before compulsive acting out, but it leads to fantasizing, guilt, horniness, and an imbalance that begs for stability.

1)Turned-on
2)Guilt/Shame
3)Anger at self
4)Impotency
5)Anger at situation
6)Emotional Instability

The ultimate goal is to see women as different from mere objects of desired beauty or stimulation. This is not a problem with women I am not attracted to, but with complete strangers, they often go unnoticed while I focus on the random one or two in a crowd that I am attracted to. I donÂ’t want anybody to ever feel bad or be objectified, and I detest it when I see other men doing it. The ultimate goal is to get past this superficiality and see women for the complete people they are, regardless of how close or far they happen to be to a physical ideal I have applied sexual stimulation to. Whether this is accomplished by adding perceptions after physical attraction or circumventing that attraction, I donÂ’t know.

I could really use help on this last one, very difficult.

Another question, should I always be using daily monitoring (EVERY DAY) on any one to three given skills I want to improve? I might have misunderstood during sessions, but I thought it was a different tool to be used on seldom occasions for a very specific reason, not an ongoing method for self-improvement.

And finally, IÂ’m having a hard time understanding what the next step is after I “experienceÂâ€Â


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:14 pm
Posts: 7
Compulsive urges, in terms of frequency and intensity, have been significantly lower in the past few weeks. It's now been over two months since I've used compulsive behavior as a coping mechanism. The ten possible situations I could realistically see happening

1. Frustration with intellectual ability (or perceived inability)

2. Depression over family loss

3. Poor resolution to on-again-off-again relationship

4. Getting drunk and returning to empty room

5. Misinterpreting perceived advances and feeling lonely, isolated, "pervy"

6. Taking off filtering software for research and wanting to "pick the scab" to see if I can handle videos on youtube.com

7. Depression/self-loathing over body after working out, shower, etc.

8. Extreme boredom at work while noticing attractive women (fantasy urge)

9. Feeling overwhelmed with workload and the desire to "have fun" or pursue goals

10. Change of location from intense social atmosphere to return back to regular work and somewhat isolation (along with work stress)

I would say that the feeling of being overwhelmed is the most likely situation that will occur. The ritual will begin, probably, with the ideation
"I deserve a break from all this stress," but in a more sexual, sensory way. This will be followed by that feeling of perforated warmness and anxiety in my chest. A point of no-return would be opening up a web page with pornographic material, which would lead to enough emotional imbalance that I would either act out then or act out within the next few days (or add to the fuel progressively). I would create a break before I put any search into a webpage for anything that would be emotionally stimulating in a sexual way (bathing suit pics or video, etc.).

I would no doubt feel anxiety and shame, guilt over the presence of those urges, and an intense urge to solve the problem then and there. This would probably be accompanied with an all-or-nothing mentality (either I'm a pervert or I'm not, and this proves I'm just a pervert). I recognize that these emotions are merely responses to a perceived trigger, and they tell me I'm not getting enough stability and stimulation from my values and current goals. I would first offer up my urge and my response to God. I would think about why I'm experiencing the urge while I go for a walk for a few minutes outside to give myself some space. Then I would write down my current values and goals and reviewing how I'm doing with them, along with review my weekly monitoring. If I find any significant lapse, I will write out a weekly plan for getting back on track with those particular goals. I'll then go through my phone until I get a hold of a friend or relative who I can talk to about my situation (stress, grieving, but not about the compulsive urge necessarily) to fight what is my biggest reason (currently, I believe) for these urges; feelings of social separation and loneliness. If I can't get anybody, I'll take a book and go to another location where I won't access a computer and read.

This response covers most of my bases, but I'm open for any constructive comments. I think it would actually work for most of those scenarios, but I will adapt plans for them individually.

This feels smart and somewhat natural for me; I start with faith, walk away from the source, check in with my values and goals, and reconnect myself with a loved one or a source of strength. Afterwards, either that night if it's intense enough or during my weekly health monitoring, I'll analyze what happened in greater depth.


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 Post subject: Exercise 50
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:14 pm
Posts: 7
A. The consequences of healthy, values-based decisions are increasing my inner strength and ability to cope with the world through deciding not to run away from problems/stress, connecting myself more to my inner core (my dreams, my hopes, my body, my family, my faith, etc.), and presenting myself with the opportunity to grow both as a person and closer to others, especially those that I love. If I follow my values of spending time with loved ones, being considerate, being thankful, being patient and respectful, I will have a firm social life to draw strength and meaning from. And following my values for self growth, including music and intellectual development, I'll have some good ammunition for fighting complacency and the feeling that I haven't really learned anything or improved over x weeks/months/years, etc. The negative consequences? Frustration over not having the chance for an easy out, feeling stodgy or "holier-than-thou", maybe alienating some people who don't share my values. But if I really follow all of them, I should be well-balanced and comfortable in my own skin (no need for proselytizing, more just focusing on loving).

B. The consequences of using compulsive behavior would be an incredibly short-lived numbness (perhaps even disguised as euphoria) which would then be followed by incredible shame and self-loathing, and a feeling of intense disconnection from the things that I love, particularly from loved ones who have passed away. It would rock the stability of my life to a disturbing degree.

C. The long term effects would be maturity and comfort (in myself) for values-based decisions and immaturity and chameleon behavior (always seeking to please different groups, manipulate myself and others, in a non-threatening and non-malicious yet very real way) would be the long term consequences of emotion-based decisions. While some decisions could be made in the spur of the moment, if it goes against my values then I can't really see ending up anywhere but where I have been; moderately successful on the outside but tormented on the inside and social removed and awkward.


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 Post subject: Exercise 51
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:14 pm
Posts: 7
Point in a ritual when I should begin considering the options I have available:

Feel the strong desire to look at "innocuous" bathing suit pictures or video on the internet

1. Look at images/video, increasing desire for compulsive act
2. Offer it up and pray
3. Continue working on internet, prolonging the debate (increasing stress and imbalance, so looking becomes more of a possibility)
4. Put away the computer and step outside for a walk, listen to music, get a snack, etc.
5. Call a friend

I would say that all of these work within my value system, but the first would be eliminated because it will cause unnecessary stress and imbalance and add fuel to the superficial fire. The second would be a mixed bag because I want to be independent of triggers, but not wallow in prolonging a debate. So if there was a real conflict, a true struggle, I would step away. Otherwise, I could probably keep working. The other options work well, provided they don't prevent me from doing work that I need to do.

If I decide to act on these remaining decisions, there would be a feeling increased stress, along feeling of some power though for not allowing urges to dictate my life. If people knew that I was doing these options, I think that for almost all of them they would see them as perfectly normal, and healthy, but if they knew why they might say porn or masturbating or looking a pics/video is no big deal, or think it's silly to pray about something like that. My experience tells me otherwise. If nobody knew, maybe I'd feel like I'm not getting acknowledged for my personal work to be a better person, but that those things would be a healthy enough response for me, connecting me to my faith, myself, and my friends so that I get emotional nourishment. These are basically the steps of my reactive action plan as well.


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 Post subject: Exercise 52
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:36 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:14 pm
Posts: 7
A "real-life" situation where isolating emotions is important: pratically every situation. Our emotions (or at least mine) can be so random that it would be difficult to maintain a relationship, go to work, develop proficiency in any trade, build a community, get in shape, do anything if we were to only follow our emotions.

A very specific example is playing music / practicing music. If a person only plays music for the emotional stimulation they receive, they won't mature with the forms of music that allow them to play and respond with other musicians or get into depth/proficiency with any difficult piece. They'll probably play a song, as much as they can, as close to the tempo that moves them emotionally, and stop playing as soon as they become bored.


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 Post subject: Exercise 53
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:14 pm
Posts: 7
I can't think of any time when masturbating would be a healthy, values-based decision in my life. It is too polarizing an act for me. Maybe something involving invitro fertilization, where my (future, if I get married) wife and I are trying to conceive but have problems. I would want her to be a part of the process, but essentially it would probably necessitate some form of masturbation.

I think some common value conflicts would be the use of fantasy. Porn is, again, too polarizing, and even sharing pornography would be too much, even as used in a lovemaking context between my (again, hypothetical) wife and I. I can see it opening up a doorway that would lead back to compulsion, or at least severe instability. Fantasy could work, provided it takes into account active participation on both parts (something like phone sex) and doesn't conflict with my other values. Fantasy could be a tremendously positive way of sharing love and sexuality between a husband and wife.

Again, these aren't blanket statements on morality for all people. This is for me, based on my personal experience for what has worked for me and what has brought a lot of shame and guilt.


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 Post subject: Exercise 54
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:14 pm
Posts: 7
A value-based decision with negative consequences - I decided to call off a somewhat summer fling relationship because I knew that our values just didn't sync up, and I didn't feel there was enough to justify a somewhat long-distance relationship with somebody I didn't feel that strongly about. It was negative because, as a result, I lost an source of intimacy, intellectual stimulation, emotional support, and sexual excitement.

An emotion-based value with positive consequences - I decided to leave work the day I found out we had a turn for the worse with a loved one's health. I called in for a family emergency, but since it was a Friday I could have stayed, but the emotion felt so strong that it felt "right", and it still does, that I dropped everything to be there.


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 Post subject: Exercise 58
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:14 pm
Posts: 7
Five rituals that I will most likely face in the next two years:

1. Feelings of complacency/boredom with maintaining healthy lifestyle
2. Feeling incredibly overwhelmed by work/family needs
3. Intense loneliness
4. Unexpected trigger from attractive coworker, advertisement, movie, etc.
5. Rejection/disillusionment with relationship

1. Complacency/boredom
Possible Situation: I take a step back and feel uninspired by my work, my appearance, my friendships, my creativity, so on. The feeling lasts for a long time, maybe even months, but with brief bursts of pleasure/interest.

The first step is to follow up on my monitoring, which will give me a less subjective assessment of my life than current feelings. If I'm staying rooted to my values, they are varied and interesting enough (and connected enough to me) that I should always be challenging myself and growing. My guess is the relationships would be the first thing to falter, so getting in touch with friends and family again. Being social in general.

Common Outcome: Emotions gather intensity, depression and dissatisfaction, until it becomes a regular battle of "avoiding acting out"

Desire Outcome: I look over what I've been up to, check up on my values, and I either notice that I should be balancing myself out with a few things I haven't gotten around to that I would like to do or I see how well I'm doing and recognize the fickle nature of emotions.

2. Feeling incredibly overwhelmed by work/family needs

Possible situation: Either with job or with studies, I'm not getting enough sleep and feel like I'm not doing what I need to get done. Mix that with possibility of marriage or children, not having enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to do/think I need to do to be fulfilled.

Common Outcome: Let the stress build into a crisis, operate on the seat-of-my-pants and get by but at a cost to my health or my patience. Loss of balance leads to fighting urges to "escape"

Desired Outcome: I step back and check to see if the stress is connected to something that I personally feel is important and worth it. If it is, I break down what I need to do, how I need help, and I go through what I need to do each step of the way. Though I plan things out, I focus on the present moment and avoid save fantasizing about future problems for meeting them head on when I have to. But I've planned things out well enough that I am well-rested, fed, exercising, supported, and being creative in addition to whatever challenge I put myself up against.

3. Intense loneliness

Possible Situation: A night or several nights of feeling very separated from friends and loved ones, especially lost loved ones, and my beloved.

Common Outcome: I work myself up into a self-loathing froth of down talk and anger over perceived problems (looks, abilities, intelligence, so forth). This makes me more dependent and desperate, so I avoid being around people or I lean on them to answer all my needs

Desired Outcome: I offer it up for those who are also feeling lonely, and then I exam my relationships. I break down when I've spent time with other people just to enjoy their company. The last time I've talked to family, friends. I look at what I am doing for my beloved, and if the situation has changed, I allow myself to be imperfect and go out and meet people. Be social and date. See it as an experience of understanding others and enjoying my time.

4. Unexpected trigger

Possible Situation: I'm tired, and a voluptuous woman walks by, joins my work, etc. Could be a part of a movie, an ad, whatever

Common Outcome: I feel guilty and angry for being so attracted to a person based off of a single superficial quality. I feel I have little depth of character and won't every be a "good person". I let either this emotion, or a puppy-dog desire, motivate my interactions with that person

Desired Outcome: I offer it up, and am thankful for having a desire to reach out to people. That human bodies are beautiful, and to be celebrated, not shamed. I recognize, though, that there is much more to a person. If I'm with my beloved (meaning we are together, not if she's there), than I recognize that superficial attraction and thankfully remember the deep love I share with her, including my physical attraction to my beloved. If I'm single, I check to see where this person falls with my other values, and respond (particularly if they are interested) according to how they sync up.

5. Rejection/disillusionment with relationship/Feeling Inferior

Possible Situation: Things don't work out to bring us back together, one of us changes how we feel, or we get together and it doesn't feel right after a long period of time. On a non-romantic side, it could be feeling inferior compared to another person for whatever reason (poise, ability, comfort, whatever)

Common Outcome: The emotion of that time sucks me into a deep funk where I second guess myself and start objectifying the other person. I tell them how I feel but don't work hard to salvage anything, or I completely blame myself and loathe my _________ (looks, personality, fickleness, intelligence, clumsiness, etc.)

Desired Outcome: I offer it up, and I look into why I feel a certain way. Check for communication, following dreams, having fun, having adventure, spiritual life, sex life, so on. I see it as a learning matter, and approach my partner with honesty so we can work together. If it's approaching a woman when I'm single, I smile and recognize that it's a question of compatibility, and that I have so many qualities that make me a good person, give them the benefit of the doubt that they do as well. Think over the situation, and if there is nothing helpful to glean over approach or my personal rapport, laugh about it and get back in the game. If I feel inferior, I offer it up as a testament that I'll never be all things to all people, but I am made, as all people are, from God, love truth and eternity. Not that everybody has to think that, but I believe it, and it's OK to feel less than or imperfect, because that doesn't keep me from being connected to Love. I let it bring me closer.


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