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Ezekiel's recovery thread
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Author:  Ezekiel [ Fri Aug 08, 2008 4:07 pm ]
Post subject:  falling down

I guess, I feel like I've spiraled out of control with my compulsive confession rituals again. I guess my wife would think I've just had "kicks," but this chaos is hell. I don't do much sexual stuff anymore. My wife and I barely have sex once a week. No masturbation or porn for 4 months. Dreams sure and I notice people, notice if women are showing clevage. So, yes, there's still a lot of progress to make, but I don't dwell on it. What I do dwell on is obsessing about my wife's definition of "patterns." If I notice patterns, then I get to engage in a confession ritual. This isn't what she wants--the confession or the ritual aspect, just the truth aspect, but I don't even know what truth is. If the same female co-worker joins us for lunch every day for weeks then I start thinking I have a pattern over her. Before, it was that another co-worker kept coming to work with my office mate. Sometimes I can see the pattern is just repeated opportunities to notice the same person. So, I'm not really having any special difficulties with them singly. Just that I still notice people and somedays are better than others. But once I start confessing rituals, then everything gets worse. Now, my noticing people will cause bigger emotional reactions and I'll feel bigger guilt and have bigger confessions...

So, where do I think I faltering in my recovery? Daily monitoring and values. When I do it, my daily monitoring is mechanical and I don't seem to make progress: the same things stay on the list. My wife and I still don't have much connectedness. So, this needs daily work. I still don't practise my music. So, I either need to start doing that daily, or, I dunno, give up on the value? I still don't excercise, but I know that feeling healthy will provide quite a bit of value to my life. I'm getting more done at work now than before, but my job is still getting more stressfull: OK more opportunities, yay, but also more stress.

Author:  Ezekiel [ Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

My wife said she doesn't have any beautiful memories left.

Author:  Ezekiel [ Thu Aug 14, 2008 2:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

Again with the "confession" ritual. This monday night in the theatre as the movie ends. Now I see where this one started. I felt unfullfilled, anxious, stressed. I started thinking "why do I feel this way," but now it seems more likely the real thought was "what can I do to change how I feel?" So, I started looking for something to confess, drug it up, inflated it, obsessed on it and then hurt my wife with it. I don't even know if what I told her about my thoughts during sex were accurate...

Author:  Ezekiel [ Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Weekly monitoring

overall emotional balance: poor with periods of OK

primary stimulants: TV & compulsive computer gaming

overall life management skill: poor

Top 5:

- connectedness with wife: still low again periods of improvement
- providing for wife's needs: reassurance was daily monitoring goal, some progress
- friendship: daily monitoring this week will be to be interested instead of retiring into my own gloom
- relaxation: OK
- work: slacking off here because of performance anxiety

Top 10:

- music: nothing
- nature: marginal
- integrity: improving
- sexuality: timid steps
- health: almost zero


- accepting love: still low
- materia: one effort
- peace: not so much

Author:  Ezekiel [ Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Weekly monitoring

overall emotional balance: low but not as bad as usual
stimulants: escapism: books, TV, movies
life management: nada

progress report
- connectedness: not so good
- providing for needs: not so good
- friendship: baby steps
- relaxation: OK
- work: moderately poor
- music: nada
- outside: nada
- pride: low
- healthy sexuality: talking in therapy but still not high
- fitness: nada
- accepting praise: nada
- material and peace: ditto

Author:  Ezekiel [ Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Exercise 39: Month 2; Week 2; Day 4

Step 2

Author:  Ezekiel [ Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:04 am ]
Post subject:  Where to to from here

CoachJon wrote:
there is something not right about how you are approaching things. We talk in a few minutes, hopefully, we can figure out what. Because this isn't a normal part of any recovery process.

That was a sobering conversation. I had not realized how far off track my "recovery" was. It's been a couple of days now. So, I'm letting you know how things are going so we can figure out how to proceed from here.

My wife and I did take that walk and talk about things. We did agree that our lives must take a more positive bent, but repeating things like we should learn/practice/"screw-up" playfully and that if I continue the way I am, I am a "time bomb," unfortunately, sparked anxiety in her that you thought I might return to sex- (or worse, love-)addiction. So, our conversation digressed in large part to a discussion of boundaries.

That's not all bad. As she pointed out, these new boundaries should empower me by my taking responsibility for myself. Basically, I will no longer confess thoughts. But as she still has a lot of anxiety about physical closeness with me if I have negative thoughts about her, I must withdraw rather than cross that thought boundary. If it should occur that I ignore this boundary in the heat of the moment again, I don't tell her my thoughts but withdraw completely from the room at the soonest moment. I am to approach certain boundaries of hers like the rule that I am not to speak to a woman or to groups of only women more fluidly. If I make an honest mistake, for instance like when I am overhearing a conversation in the hallway and through in my two cents, then, I need to be honest with myself if it was just an honest mistake that I don't need to share or if there was intent, in which case I share it with my wife. Other boundaries, boundaries which seem completely obvious and clear to me, are absolute boundaries which I will be completely open about.

I also began a discussion with my therapist about focusing on moving forward and changing part of my identity. His response was that we have been moving forward and this incident last Saturday was sparked by both my anxiety over the changes I'm making in therapy and, mostly, a conflict over my wife's needs to move and get away from her boss and my need to stay and continue my relationship with my therapist. The way I deal with the ensuing anxiety is by this self-flagelation (masochism?) and by achieving a deeper understanding I will overcome this method of dealing with anxiety.

I think he was completely wrong about the source of the anxiety: I think has more to do with me not forgiving myself for having hurt her. I do agree that I have developed a very unhealthy way of dealing with the anxiety (but of not having lived up to my own standards). I think this forgiveness plays a central role in both my psychological and addiction recovery.

I have spent some time thinking about how do I turn things around.

I think I just need to experience it as a great and wonderful thing to be alive.

But, then the pragmatic side of my kicks in (is this what you meant by linear/episodic to the extreme? -- pragmatic versus spirtual?). It's all nice and find to say "we just need to build a better widgit," but that's just so much hot-air without a plan, a linear detailed plan just how you are going to do that.

So, I'm starting to think about the plan. In the meantime, my wife and I are taking an over-night weekend get-away. We are trying to find more healthy activities. I am trying to figure out how I change my perspective on life to one of opportunities instead of chores, to think about how to learn these fundamental life-skills like common sense and self-forgiveness (increase my journaling, take a different approach with my therapist, consider the scary possibility of changing therapists), but I haven't gotten so far as where/how to incoporate this workshop in the plan. My wife is still quite anxious that I will return to sex addiction (I don't see this as likely at all--substitution addictions, yes) and will continue to feel hurt until all signs of love-addiction (like spontaneous emotional reactions to strangers) are completely wiped out. So, the ordering of all these changes and efforts at changes become extremely inter-dependent.

Author:  Ezekiel [ Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Lesson 31

A. Stressors

1) Public speaking for work: moderate
2) Worry about how I will react to new woman collaborator: severe
3) Distrust from wife & her anger over my past actions: severe
4) Work project going slow: mild
5) Anxiety over wife going on long work trip: moderate
6) Anxiety about buying used car for wife: moderate

B. Stress related to values
1) Value #5 - being a good scientist
2) this is not a value -- this is wanting to control my emotions instead of focusing on my actions
3) complicated. This is a result of past mistakes and this is part of our present relationship. That relationship is Value #2.
4) Value #5
5) Value #2 - connecting with wife
6) Value #6 - facing fears, making choices

The majority of my stimulation is coming from my top 15 values. I think this means I have done a good job identifying them. What still needs work is consistent effort...

Author:  Ezekiel [ Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Excercise 34

A Case of Immediate Gratification Principle
One instance is when I have "confessed" to my wife that I had a thought of her as unattractive (this is the one where you said was masochistic or just nuts). This wasn't something I wanted to say and knew I shouldn't say, but there was a really intense anxiety in my that could only be relieved by this act of "honesty."

B Anxiety from not engaging in sexual compulsive behavior
I have in mind now scanning rituals. The feeling is not very strong, more like a nagging, telling myself not to look, don't look, feeling an anticipation that if I do turn my head maybe I'll be rewarded with some excitement. The anticipation that if I do, that constitutes an act and I will have something to confess. This really adds to the overall level of the emotion quite a lot.

By-in-large my compulsions activities were experienced as trance-like: porn, masturbation, fantasy... On the other hand, the love addiction, flirting, and attempted seduction were hyper-alert.

Overall I would say the anxiety to act out sexually has been easier to learn to perceive as less intense in comparison to the anxiety to force someone to be the "confessor" in my life.

Author:  Ezekiel [ Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Weekly Monitoring - weeks 1 & 2 (':t:')

Question #1: Over the past seven days, from what areas of my life did I derive the majority of my meaning and fulfillment.

being a better husband, being social, enjoying relaxation, work

Question #2: Over the past seven days, where did the majority of my energy go?

work, computer gaming, attending German class, chores, driving

Question #3: Given the meaning that I derived this week and the events I had to manage--how well did I do in maintaining emotional balance through healthy means? Were there times when my life management skills were inadequate and I ended up turning to artificial means (e.g. compulsive behavior?)

Yes, I did use compulsive computer gaming as well as increases in visual scanning rituals and frequency of sexual fantasy. My emotional balance is still not adequate, no surprise.

Question #4: Looking ahead to the next seven days, are there any significant events that I need to prepare for, so that I am not caught off guard?

Work stress with my office mate will be a large issue. Warmer weather can also be problematic.

Question #5: Did I actively reach out for human contact each day?

Most days I did accomplish this.

Question #6: Did I do/say something to show my wife that I care about her this week?

This was also pretty successful.

Question #7: Did I work on recovery and/or therapy?

No this is not happening. I need to focus harder on this.

As I've heard it takes 21 days to form a habit, I will keep my daily monitoring the same for one more week.

Author:  Ezekiel [ Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Boundaries

Geez, I find these so difficult. I look back two posts to the boundaries I laid out and I just think some of them are really stupid. I just don't seem to get it. I "know" the difference between action plans and boundaries, but when I try to write something down I just come up with action plans not boundaries....

Author:  CoachDevi [ Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:43 am ]
Post subject: 

I had exactly the same problem with boundaries and wrote a fine set of actions plans instead! Coach Jon kindly went through boundaries with me at our last but one private coaching session and put me straight.

Other people struggle with this too - here's a link to someone's recovery thread who was in personal coaching with Jon. You will need to read it carefully as this person developed their boundaries after input from Coach Jon, so don't just read his first attempt ... c&start=30

As quite a few people find this difficult, you might find it helpful to post on the support forum, so that we can all learn from each other.

I hope this helps.

With best wishes for your transition to health

Author:  Ezekiel [ Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Hospital

Last week I went to the hospital for a nervous breakdown. I think it's because my value system just isn't up to snuff. Work (science) is one of my (only?) corner stones. And it's just not going well. So far, after two years on the job, I'm just not a good scientist. Maybe it's because depression has been sapping my energy, or struggling with recovery, or maybe some physical condition is causing my lethargy. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that clearly my life management skills are still very poor.

Author:  CoachDevi [ Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

I'm sorry you have been having a difficult time and I hope you are getting some ongoing professional help with this.

With very best wishes for forging effective life management skills

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