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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:50 am 
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Just a quick self-monitoring:

While this objective, mechanical monitoring is essential in circumventing emotional prejudice and warped perceptions...I want to make sure that you are not losing sight/skill in monitoring your day-to-day emotional balance. AND, that you have a refreshed plan for how you will react immediately upon the awareness that your life is straggling beyond your healthy norms.

So, check this within your own life...make sure both the awareness and the reaction are to a point where you are comfortable. If they are, then continue living your life. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:24 pm 
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I think I could use a bit of advice on this topic Jon...

I'm really happy with my daily journal and weekly review. They are simple, portable and make me think. I can quickly write them down (even when I'm away from home) and often share my thoughts with my wife while I'm writing them... I hoped that the monthly review could be an extension of this process with more emphasis on complacency monitoring and goal setting. The problem is, I still feel like I'm doing my taxes when I sit down to do my monthly (eventually seasonal) review. I totally agree that the process is very mechanical and I think the inflexible nature of this "checklist" approach would be tough to adapt to changes in my life. What kinds of things do other people (especially you) incorporate into long term monitoring? I could really use some help here.

Thanks,


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:02 am 
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Boy, not an easy answer for you. One, because it SCARES ME TO DEATH to move someone beyond something that is clearly working for them. On the other hand, I also know that in my own life, what has been so effective has been the combination of the ingrained self-monitoring (that takes place 24/7)--with the weekly monitoring coming out when I realize that I am outside of my emotional comfort zone. And the daily monitoring coming out when the weekly monitoring highlights where my life has become imbalanced. This, coupled with the quarterly 'doing my taxes' assessment, lol...has proven to be a phenomenal strategy for helping me to manage my life. Granted, not foolproof--as the have been a couple times over the years where Christy and I have recognized I have gone out of balance--but there was just no healthy alternatives to turn to. It was more of a 'suck it up and push forward' mentality...because quite frankly, like got too hard to manage in a healthy way. So I had to intentionally remain on a dangerous ledge for extended periods. But even then, that was by choice...not a lack of awareness.

And so, that is what you should be shooting for as well. A multi-faceted strategy that ingrains 'here and now' emotional monitoring with the more objective 'as needed' tools of daily/weekly monitoring. Then, without any question...continuing some type of written, objective assessment that you go through monthly/quarterly without fail.

Where I am confused with you is in how well your awareness is becoming ingrained in your day to day life. If, say, over the past week...you can remember times when you were engaged in some activity and you recognized that your emotions were possibly spiked...or dulled. And you instantly and instinctively did a quick scan to see if they were in any sort of danger zone...then you have the ongoing monitoring that you will need to make this all work. Like I've said before, you must have this 'emotional thermometer' built into your brain that flags your attention anytime you are outside of your comfort zone. And, some objective monitoring plan to ensure you that complacency hasn't settled in too deeply in any particular area.

If you have this...then you are fine. Even continuing on with your daily/weekly monitoring by writing it all out is wonderful. Beneficial, even. As long as you recognize such benefits as being secondary...not primary. The primary benefit in health monitoring is to develop HERE AND NOW awareness and a rapid response to imbalance.

So, I'm not sure that I would change anything about your approach...but you consider what I shared and determine for yourself if you are on the right track with your monitoring. I personally think you are.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:23 pm 
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Thanks for the reply Jon,


[quote]“If, say, over the past week...you can remember times when you were engaged in some activity and you recognized that your emotions were possibly spiked...or dulled. And you instantly and instinctively did a quick scan to see if they were in any sort of danger zone...then you have the ongoing monitoring that you will need to make this all work.Ââ€Â


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:40 am 
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re: "IÂ’ll keep posting monthly until I feel like my long term monitoring is doing what I want it to do, then IÂ’ll fade the “tax preparationÂâ€Â

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:15 pm 
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I think that is a great idea. I'll aim for making a post each week (although I'm a slow thinker and an even slower typer...it will probably take me a bit more than 15 minutes a week).

As always, thanks for the feedback Jon.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 8:29 pm 
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September 2008

Getting back into my work routine took more out of me than I expected this month. The transitions brought a lot of extra stress and drained me more than usual. I found myself frequently worrying that something was missing in my health and recovery. The more I focused on it, the more imbalanced I became. I was again feeling paranoid that I wasnÂ’t doing as good of a job of respecting people around me (especially women) as I should have been and feared that this would lead to a steady decline in my emotional health and recovery. I had a number of action plans and boundaries that I used, but still felt like I was missing the point. I was mentally doing the right things, but wasnÂ’t feeling like I was really internalizing my thoughts or being fulfilled by them. This made me less confidant in my health, caused more instability and repeated and intensified the cycle. I talked to my wife about it. She was also at a low point emotionally. It was around this time a year ago that we had our last d-day and she was also feeling very tired and drained.

Over the last week or so, IÂ’ve read over a few lessons and my corresponding responses and felt more rejuvenated. They helped me recall some mechanical steps that I had forgotten and shifted my focus back to where I wanted to go with my health rather than fears of where I could end up. Looking back, I can see that I was basing my self worth on my emotions (fear of failure) rather than detaching from my feelings and making objective, value based assessments of my actions and health. IÂ’m trying to be patient with myself and IÂ’m remembering how much lighter and healthier life can be when you focus on the positives rather than the negatives. IÂ’ve broken out some daily monitoring activities that seem to be getting me back on the right track.

My wife and I are working well together and being sensitive to each otherÂ’s needs as we work out the kinks in our emotional health. We started the month feeding on each otherÂ’s insecurities, but seem to be ending it with a much more positive attitude. In spite of bumps along the way, weÂ’ve enjoyed quite a few quality relaxing moments and some really wonderful communication.

My relationship with son has brought a mixture of ups and downs as well. Starting school is always an adventure for children with autism. As a parent, you feel like youÂ’re at the top of the first big hill on a roller coasterÂ…you donÂ’t know what youÂ’re in for, but you know thereÂ’s no stopping the train. So far, this school year seems to be starting well, IÂ’m enjoying his company and feel like this value is in place.

My work schedule has brought a lot of demands as well as rewards. There were quite a few times that I was more drained than fulfilled by work, but I felt proud of the way that I focused my thoughts on finding solutions, streamlining lessons and prioritizing the needs of my students. I feel like this value is in balance with my priorities and is being given an appropriate amount of energy.

My physical health continues to be an excellent source of relaxation for me. IÂ’ve let go of most of my summer time fears that I was becoming an endorphin junkyÂ…again I think I was focusing too much on my negative fears of transference and not enough on the pride that I feel in being healthy. I did not over do it in September and kept physical fitness in step with my other values.

I have had to adjust my leisure activities to accommodate my more restricted fall schedule. Overall, I feel like IÂ’m doing a good job of focusing on quality vs. quantity. Fall is beautiful in my part of the world and IÂ’m looking forward to sharing whatever time I can steal away to enjoy it with my family. My spirituality and contact with my extended family has not brought significant stresses or rewards this month, but continue to be important values.

Things to focus on in October

Overall, October should be less hectic than September and I believe that we will settle into a good routine. IÂ’m looking forward to a trip to a conference with my wife and son later this month and will take the opportunity to visit with my family. I will continue to focus on my highest values and will devote special attention to lightening up on myself and enjoying the healthy lifestyle that I am developing. I will make sure that the amount of time I spend worrying about decisions is proportional to the scope of the decisions being made. I will use daily monitoring, role playing and action plans to develop and refine this skill.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:09 am 
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What you are sharing here is the essence of a healthy recovery process. It is not living the perfect life... it is being aware of the life that you are living. It is managing your life with enough maturity to recognize when you are getting out of balance, when you are neglecting certain areas that you want to define your legacy, and even when you are making conscious decisions that are incongruent with your values.

now, I want to bring a bit of harsh reality back into the picture. you have learned everything that you've needed to learn... you have developed the foundation of skills that you need to efficiently manage your life... but you are not without vulnerability. Neither am I. We will never be completely free from such vulnerability. And so, your focus should forever remain on how you are managing your life in the present -- not on how far you have come and where you can never go back to. the potential does exist for you to grow so off-balance that you abandon your healthy life management skills and find yourself seeking emotional refuge in sexual rituals. Should this ever happened, you must do exactly what it is you are doing now... seeing your current behavior through your current life management structure. And acting accordingly.

Granted, addiction will never redevelop as it has in the past. You are no longer ignorant nor naïve. The only way addiction returns in your life is if you consciously allow it to by choosing the path of ignorance and deception. Understand the difference there. In the development of the original addiction, you walked this path of ignorance without realizing the path you were on. Now, you will know... and you will have choices. One choice will be to retreat behind pride and shame--and thus get further entangled in the addiction; the other will be to reconnect to your healthy values in the here and now and attack.

Prepare yourself now to attack. Prepare yourself now to check all pride at the door and to focus solely on making that NEXT STEP a healthy one. Then, the one after. Then, the one after. Prepare yourself to do this should you ever find yourself in a shameful situation--then continue managing your life as you currently are: to the best of your ability.

Side note: you should know me well enough by now that I despise the thought of recovery being a lifelong challenge. That relapse is always potentially right around the corner. These fallacies perpetuate a weak foundation for health. But, I do believe in constantly scanning and preparing for possibilities--for keeping skills fresh. For anticipating threats--no matter how remote. That is why I have shared what I did above. Not because you should expect this to happen, just to prepare yourself for the remote possibility that you may one day find yourself in a situation that directly violates your value system...and you have to know that should you ever be in that situation, the response is to life your head up and tackle it straight on and proudly; not to cover it up and thus, re-open that dual-identity where addiction thrives.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:34 am 
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Thanks once again for your words JonÂ…at the risk of sounding completely daft and neurotic, IÂ’m going to jot down a few thoughts about what is going on and what I need to do about it.

It seemed like I was in a truly healthy state this summer. I felt like the RN lessons were absorbed and ingrained in my day to day routines and I was spending most of my time “just living my lifeÂâ€Â


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