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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:55 pm 
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Lesson #2: Establishing a Vision for Your Life

I've read the suggested text re: one gentleman's vision statement.

I thought the assignment was to create an individual's vision statement (mission statement). That being said, this gentleman only articulated how he was now going to be with his wife and family, however. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing at all— but that's a very small piece of the pie when someone is establishing a "vision statement" for their life (not just their relationship with their spouse).

There seems like one of two things has happened here: 1) The assignment's directions were misunderstood or 2) the directions are incorrect for what is actually expected. (I'm guessing that this gentleman delivered what the RN staff was expecting— being that they are recommending that other individuals in recovery read his posting...)

I'm struggling with scripting a proper vision statement because I've been told I must leave my line of work if I want to keep my marriage and family together. Ever since I was a young boy I have pursued my current career— a career that I have been successful with for the past 25+ years. That being said, I'm feeling a great deal of resentment and loss as I try to piece together what I'm supposed to be doing with my life now that I can no longer involve my passion...

Any comments are greatly appreciated.


Last edited by recoverymode on Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:56 pm 
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Lesson #2 (continued)

I'm choosing to leave out a career-focus segment in my personal vision statement— even though any personal "vision statement" (or vision statement focus guides) I have read online highlights one's career-focus as a significant part of one's vision statement... Nonetheless, I'm choosing to leave this portion out and make my vision statement more broad based scope...
--

I choose to lead a life of excellence, health and truth. I commit to a life where I put my relationship with my wife and my daughter as well as my relationship with my God as priority and the cornerstone of my life. I will be a man who stays true to his word and follows thru in whatever commitments he makes. In my career I will strive to be the absolute best I can be and provide for my family. I will strive for a healthy physical and mental condition and where my passions in life serve a greater cause than simply my own. I will rebuild trust in my marriage thru my living a life of integrity, honesty and respect. I will honor my marriage by giving my wife the space and encouragement to grow to be the individual that she wants to be. I, too, will pursue a life that brings fresh experiences (thru travel, music, the arts, literature, etc.) to myself and my family and allows us to grow in knowledge, expression, compassion and in love for each other and those around us.


Last edited by recoverymode on Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:38 pm 
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Lesson #3: The Role of Values

A. Note: In the previous lesson, you were asked to write out your vision for the life that you want to live. If you have not yet completed this task, do so now, before beginning this exercise.

(done)

B. On your computer, extract the values from the vision you have created and list them. Your goal for this lesson is to create a single, comprehensive list that involves all of the primary ways that you derive stimulation from your life. Or, those areas that you want to derive stimulation from. Most lists will contain between 50-100 items. When you are done, post this list in your recovery thread.

• Living a life that pursues excellence
• Being healthy both mentally and physically
• Being honest in all word and deed
• Being dedicated
• Fidelity
• Remaining true and consistent to my word
• Expressing spirituality in my day-to-day life
• Placing God as the cornerstone of my life
• Placing my wife above all other relationships
• Establishing competence in my career
• Being tenacious in my pursuit of a healthy life
• Living an exciting life
• Being a loving, trustworthy and approachable husband and father
• Remaining vulnerable and emotionally available to my family
• Staying active
• Challenging myself
• Developing emotional maturity
• Continually growing in experiences
• Humbleness
• Sharing my true self with others around me
• Being respected and respecting myself
• Indulging in creative inspiration, development
• Being known as reliable
• Appreciating natural beauty/nature
• Learning to be adaptable
• Being a leader who leads with conviction and forthrightness
• Implementing and demonstrating forgiveness
• Self-discipline
• Personal growth, development
• Guiding, teaching, role modeling for Sadie
• Raising Sadie in a healthy way
• Open-minded to the beliefs and values of others, tolerance
• Intellectual growth, debate, communication
• Experiencing sexual intimacy with Aspen
• Instilling healthy values in Sadie


C. When you have extracted every possible value that you can think of from your vision, do the following:

1) Review this example values list for any additional values that you may want to add to your own list. List them.

(done)

2) Consider the 'dark side' of your decision-making. The compulsive behavior. The sexual behavior. Take some time to extract the values that went into those behaviors, and list them as well.

• Self-seeking
• Self-gratification
• Arrogance
• Idolatry
• Immediate gratification
• Carelessness
• Numb
• Inhumane
• Pride
• Ambivalence
• Recklessness
• Disregarding others
• Danger
• Risk
• Sleeplessness
• Rudeness
• Lack of remorse
• Lack of care/consideration
• Infidelity
• Control
• Lack-of-control
• Dominance
• Underhanded
• Time-wasting
• Unapologetic
• Unsafe


Last edited by recoverymode on Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:57 pm 
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Lesson #4: Prioritizing Your Values

A. In the previous exercise, you identified a list of the majority of your practical and universal values. Now, prioritize this list. This should take you about fifteen minutes at the most. If it is taking you longer than that, you are thinking too deeply. The deep thought was in constructing your vision and extracting the values...this is the 'easy part'. Simply identify an initial order of prioritization that 'feels right' to you.
--
• Being a loving, trustworthy and approachable husband and father
• Being tenacious in my pursuit of a healthy life
• Developing emotional maturity
• Being respected and respecting myself
• Implementing and demonstrating forgiveness
• Living a life that pursues excellence
• Placing my wife above all other relationships
• Fidelity
• Experiencing sexual intimacy with Aspen
• Expressing spirituality in my day-to-day life
• Remaining vulnerable and emotionally available to my family
• Learning to be adaptable
• Being a leader who leads with conviction and forthrightness
• Raising Sadie in a healthy way (with healthy values)
• Continually growing in experiences and intellectually


B. When you have completed this priority list, post it into your Recovery Thread.
--
(done)

Note: The first ten to fifteen values on this list will form the crux of your initial value development and monitoring. Make sure that you pay particular attention to the top twenty or so values. They must be areas of your life/identity that you truly value.


Last edited by recoverymode on Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Lesson #5: Value Congruency
--
A. In previous exercises, you identified and prioritized a list of your personal values. This list should represent those aspects of your life that you want to use to define who you are and how you will be managing your life. Take a moment to look over that list with a fresh view. As you read through it, ask yourself, "Does this reflect the person that I am committing myself to becoming?" If so, continue on; if not, add those missing values that are congruent with the life that you want to lead and remove those values which are not.

yes, it does.
--
B. Consider two or three major decisions that you have made in your life (i.e. marriage, career, getting a dog, etc.). Examine the values involved in the decision-making process that went into your options. Consider having to make those decisions today. Does your current prioritized values list reflect the choices that you would make? If so, then you have done a good job of creating a practical values list. If not, then you may still be leaning more towards 'idealistic values' than practical ones. You want...no, you NEED this list to function on a practical level. Continue refining it until it does.

yes, my current list does reflect the choices that I have made.
--
C. Finally, examine the list one more time for its realism. Do this by briefly grasping each value and thinking about the role that it would play in your day-to-day life. This does not mean that you must use the particular value on a daily basis, only that it can serve as a realistic, functional part of the identity that you are building. For instance, if I choose 'spirituality' as a top priority for myself, but in reality I am only listing that value out of fear and/or social acceptance...then my list is not real. It is not practical. On the other hand, if I list 'Strengthening my relationship with my brother' — whom I have not had any contact with in twenty years and with whom I would like to rebuild a connection with...then that is practical. Also, remember to examine the values that are not necessarily socially accepted/idealized. This is critical. If you build a life based on what others expect from you, you will fail in your transition. If you build a life based on a mastery of what it is you truly value, then you will succeed. So examine values such as 'sexual gratification', 'being sexually adventurous', 'feeling sexually desired', 'being promiscuous', etc. If these are important to you, then prioritize them within your list. Leave them out because they don't 'sound right' and you are dooming yourself to that dual-identity that pervades sexual addiction.

D. Take the top fifteen values that you have currently listed and post them in your Recovery Thread.

(done— see list in lesson #4... this list has been edited for this assignment)

To be successful in recovery, you will need to learn to derive about 75% of your life's meaning and fulfillment from these values across any given week or so. It is okay if you are not currently doing this, because that is what the following two lessons are for: to help you develop this ability over the coming months.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:02 pm 
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Lesson #6: Building Proactive Action Plans I
--
Lesson 6 Exercise:
A. Of the top fifteen values on your Prioritized Values List, develop Proactive Action Plans for two or three of the more simple ones. For instance, "Strengthening your relationship with your wife" is complex. "Developing a closer bond with 'Chewie', your dog" (probably) isn't. For now, choose 'Chewie'. Post these plans into your recovery thread.
Note that your goal here is not to map out perfection. You only need to map out the next few steps in the developmental process of strengthening and/or maintaining this value (if it is already at full strength).

• Expressing spirituality in my day-to-day life
Starting each day with a time of meditation, prayer and scripture (or spiritual) reading that will broaden or grow my spirituality
Closing each day with a time of thanksgiving
Taking moments during the day to stop and become aware of life and the world around me— that there is more than likely a much greater/more grand perspective than my individual view point.
Speaking about my spiritual experiences, lessons and questions I may have at home and with people around me
Take time daily to breathe!— Stop whatever I may be doing and center myself
Surround myself with people that are spiritually-minded
Make church a priority and commit to weekly attendance (unless ill or family obligation arises)
Reach out to someone to offer encouragement and support— at least 3x/week
Get to a park or "tranquil" area in or outside the city 2x/month and connect with my environment/natural surrounding


• Learning to be adaptable
Remind myself of my strengths and accomplishments
Find a greater sense of purpose for myself— more than JUST myself/selfishness
Develop a strong core group of male friends who support me and who I can confide in
Aggressively remaining hopeful and optimistic— especially when going thru dark periods (focusing on a brighter future)
Make a decision to always look for options (as there are ALWAYS options)
Build a greater understanding that there will be things that are truly out of my control. When in crisis, breathe, call a friend, pray, talk to Aspen, etc.
When I find myself overwhelmed by a situation, I will take a step back to simply assess what is before me. I will brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.
Keeping calm in the face of difficulties
Anticipating and responding positively to my changing environments
Keep an open mind
Engage in text/stories of people that have dealt with change in a positive way/a successful way


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 9:08 pm 
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Lesson #7: Building Proactive Action Plans II

A. Take the next week (start today) to develop initial action plans for the remaining 'top priority' values. It is essential that you develop plans for at least the top ten, but if you can reach fifteen...wonderful. These plans will be used to form the basis of your health monitoring system (which you will begin at the end of next week). Post these plans in your Recovery Thread.
Do NOT allow yourself to become overwhelmed with this task. Each action plan should probably take you between five and fifteen minutes. Some of the most complex (like those pertaining to partnership) may take you up to thirty minutes. What you share in these plans will not be used all at once — so don't worry about what you 'can and can't do'. Focus instead on what you think needs to be done.
Over the next week of lessons, you will be switching your focus to other areas of recovery. These lessons will be important (especially if you are in a relationship), but not critical to your recovery. This is by design. If it takes you a week to complete all of your proactive action plans, so be it. The goal is to have them done by the time you get to the Health Monitoring I lesson. But, to work simultaneously on other lessons as you go...not to put your efforts on hold until they are done.
Note: this will be the last of the 'difficult, time consuming exercises' that you will be asked to complete for some time. Lessons and exercises from this point forward should require significantly less time and energy.

--
• Being a loving, trustworthy and approachable husband and father
Listen 3x more often than I speak.
Always do what I say I'm going to do. If that is somehow unattainable (or winds up being so) come clean with the truth. (Offer a genuine apology if necessary.)
Be "soft" in spirit and approachable.
-Breathe with deep breaths when stressors arise
-Pray. (Start each day & close each day with prayer.)
-Practice meditation
-Be quicker at taking an emotional "self check-in"
Express love in word.
Express love in deed.
Express love in physicality. (Thru small and large ways... also intimate ways exclusively w/ wife.
Don't allow external life (ie work, stress, computers/internet etc.) get in the way of being available.
Honour my family by always putting them first.


• Being tenacious in my pursuit of a healthy life
Aggressively pursue health on a daily basis.
Surround myself with other health-seeking people.
Establish a solid core group of people I trust & can confide in.
Continue to check-in with myself & my spouse.
Don't allow distractions to gain a foothold.
-Voice to spouse or friends when an issue is a potential threat
-Be accountable to another male
Be honest at all times & confess when not being so (if another party is involved).
Find redeeming things to participate in and reflect upon.
Read "refreshers" or new text that challenge/endorse a healthy way to live.
Look at the future more than the immediate.


• Developing emotional maturity
Be honest.
-With self
-With others
-Tell the truth faster & respectfully
Find empathy.
Live compassion.
Speak what's honestly on my mind- not some ancillary "detail" (get to the heart of the matter).
Grow in the place that the world doesn't revolve around me or owe me a living.
Live with a gracious spirit & heart.
-Pray this & seek after God
-Look at the way gracious people live & use them as inspiration & guideposts
-There are others who have things in life much worse.
Complaining wastes energy & time. No good comes from simply complaining.


• Being respected and respecting myself

• Implementing and demonstrating forgiveness

• Living a life that pursues excellence

• Placing my wife above all other relationships

• Fidelity

• Experiencing sexual intimacy with Aspen

• Expressing spirituality in my day-to-day life
Starting each day with a time of meditation, prayer and scripture (or spiritual) reading that will broaden or grow my spirituality
Closing each day with a time of thanksgiving
Taking moments during the day to stop and become aware of life and the world around me— that there is more than likely a much greater/more grand perspective than my individual view point.
Speaking about my spiritual experiences, lessons and questions I may have at home and with people around me
Take time daily to breathe!— Stop whatever I may be doing and center myself
Surround myself with people that are spiritually-minded
Make church a priority and commit to weekly attendance (unless ill or family obligation arises)
Reach out to someone to offer encouragement and support— at least 3x/week
Get to a park or "tranquil" area in or outside the city 2x/month and connect with my environment/natural surrounding

• Remaining vulnerable and emotionally available to my family

• Learning to be adaptable
Remind myself of my strengths and accomplishments
Find a greater sense of purpose for myself— more than JUST myself/selfishness
Develop a strong core group of male friends who support me and who I can confide in
Aggressively remaining hopeful and optimistic— especially when going thru dark periods (focusing on a brighter future)
Make a decision to always look for options (as there are ALWAYS options)
Build a greater understanding that there will be things that are truly out of my control. When in crisis, breathe, call a friend, pray, talk to Aspen, etc.
When I find myself overwhelmed by a situation, I will take a step back to simply assess what is before me. I will brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.
Keeping calm in the face of difficulties
Anticipating and responding positively to my changing environments
Keep an open mind
Engage in text/stories of people that have dealt with change in a positive way/a successful way

• Being a leader who leads with conviction and forthrightness

• Raising Sadie in a healthy way (with healthy values)

• Continually growing in experiences and intellectually


Last edited by recoverymode on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:15 pm 
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Lesson 10 Exercises: (The text of this Lesson really spoke to me...)
I. Consider those lies that are still being perpetuated in your life. Who you are deceiving. Why you are deceiving them. Consider the 'risks' of coming clean. No need to do anything about these thoughts...just have an awareness of them.
A. (nodding)

II. If you are involved in a partnership, choose now whether or not you intend to continue deceiving them in certain areas. If the answer is yes, acknowledge that you are willing to jeopardize the future of that relationship by maintaining the deception; AND, admit to yourself that you are intentionally sabotaging your own healthy foundation by allowing such a huge crack to remain.
A. I am NOT willing to jeopardize my relationship by continuing lies and deceit. I know that if I do continue these actions I will sabotage this relationship.

III. If you are involved in professional coaching (or outside counseling), choose now whether or not you intend to continue deceiving those whom you are working with. If the answer is yes, acknowledge that you are not fully commited to ending your addiction. Acknowledge that you are choosing to 'go through the motions', rather than actively pursue real change.
A. I'm very certain that my coach knows that I'm being completely transparent and honest with her. I know that by "snowing" my coach I'm wasting my time and her's— and, in the end, wasting the promise of healing in my marriage.

IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items stashed for sexually compulsive behavior. List these items and their locations in your Recovery Thread. If you are uncomfortable sharing this in the forum, email or PM the list to a Coach.
A. I have no materials "stashed"— and I haven't participated in any prior "compulsive behavior" that ushered me to the place of open devastation and full-disclosure 8 months ago.

V. Make a list of all the people that you use as compulsive sexual and/or romantic object. Post this in your thread.
A. In all honesty, I have none apart from my wife. After full-disclosure we were having sex 2-3/week. Then 3 months ago she put a stop to it... and 3 weeks ago asked me to "take sex off the table for a couple weeks" for her sake— so that she wouldn't feel undue pressure from me and so that she could have space to breathe at home. I'm longing to be intimate with her, but now that it's been more than 2 (a couple) weeks— and she hasn't re-addressed where she is in this situation— are making me anxious, somewhat resentful at this point and I have actually felt physical pain ("blue balls") several times. Masterbation— even without images— isn't an option (as per our unsigned healing contract), so I'm feeling caught between a rock and a hard place.

VI. Make a list of all the places where you go to act out your sexually/romantically compulsive behavior. Post this list in your thread.
A. There is none.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:20 am 
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I feel that I need to write this down as a reminder to myself and as a testimony of what happened to me yesterday re: my path to health.
Let me briefly start at the beginning— initially, my full-disclosure happened over a series of 3-ish weeks back in April 2013. It was incredibly painful for my wife due to my not coming clean right away— but I was so embarrassed of my actions that I was trying to hold back a good bit of truths. When full-disclosure finally happened, I was told that many things in my life were going to change/stop. I would no longer be able to drink and that I would start AA and find a sponsor. I would no longer be able to continue my (successful) career path because of what it potentially exposed me to. The list of "dos and don'ts" is quite extensive— but I agreed to all the terms because 1) I wanted the negative and unhealthy parts of my life to change and 2) I didn't want to lose my family— my wife, my daughter.
All that said, while I slowly moved thru the initial couples' workshop and personal workshop, I rode anger, frustration and resentment like a roller-coaster. Some days I was "ok", but being that I was completely exhausted (working 2 jobs to provide for my family— being that I no longer could do what I had been successfully doing for over 20+ years), bitter that I couldn't have a glass of wine after a long day, and how I was feeling my individuality being ripped out from my soul, negativity occupied much of my emotional space...until yesterday morning.
Over the past 2-weeks I made a decision to become quite diligent about working thru the individual workshop lessons... but yesterday something happened. At 5:33am googled "control addiction vs sexual addiction"... and BANG! Tons of links appeared that lead me on a reading frenzy. I had found THE thing/key that I could FINALLY grasp onto, relate to and acknowledge that THIS was what was at the core of my "acting out" 100% of the time. In the past, my controlling personality has caused me to go to extremes in regards to work, alcohol consumption, food restriction, anger/temper, etc. The fact that many people with control-issues deal with sex addiction made all the puzzle-pieces fit in my mind— my being. I never felt like "sex addict" was the right diagnosis for me— or at least not the REAL issue... but because I know that I have a very controlling personality (which has placed me in therapy many times...), I now know I can address all the content of RN with a vigor that I have yet to have when approaching a lesson.
Yesterday was the first day in many many (MANY) months where I can honestly say that I was "happy," that I was "having a good day," that I was "able to embrace my healing and my path to being healthier." For the first time I made the shift from "healing for others" to "healing for myself."
I'm writing this to earmark this major shift in my life for myself, but also to let other people who might have a deeper issue of control (that manifests itself in a sexual way), that you should also take some time and google what I did. (see above)
Hoping that this brings hope to individuals who feel hopeless.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:46 am 
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Exercise #14: Health Monitoring I

I. Develop your Daily Monitoring list. Construct it in some sort of word processing document (Word, Notepad, Wordpad, etc.) so that you may update it as needed. Post this list into your Recovery Thread.

Note: If you are in personal coaching, your Coach will help you build this in Session II. It will then be converted to an online form so that they can assist you in accountability. Please have your initial monitoring plan ready for review by that second session.


• Did I carry myself as a person worthy of respect today?
• Did I engage in any compulsive behavior today?
—If yes, did I maintain an awareness of the elements involved?
—Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
—If no, did I role play a past or possible future compulsive ritual to ingrain confidence in my ability to manage these rituals?
• Did I initiate at least one meaningful conversation with my wife today?
—If not, how many days has it been since I have?
• Was I attentive to my wife's needs today?
• Was I truthful in everything I shared with my wife today?
• How much time did I spend with each child today?
—Was it quality time for each of us?
• Did I remember to fully invest myself in the moment?
• Did I yell at the kids today? Was yelling the appropriate option to choose in that situation? Or was it just the easiest?
• Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do today?
• Did I maintain a conscious awareness of how emotionally connected I was with each member of my family (e.g through conversation, shared activity, spontaneous affection or otherwise?)
• Did I roleplay at least one reactive action plan today?
• How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability at the moment?


II. For the next two weeks, select a particular time each day (typically, right before going to bed or, just after awakening) and complete this monitoring. It is not intended as a checklist to measure your success/failure. It exists instead to provide you with ongoing focus and awareness. And, to establish a mechanical monitoring process that will eventually become an internalized, natural monitoring process.

Remember: Spend no more than five minutes in reviewing your Daily Monitoring each day. While it may seem beneficial to spend fifteen minutes or more going over your behavior...this has historically proved to be destructive in the long run. You are establishing a pattern of monitoring that should be quick and natural. Not drawn-out and complex. Also, remember that this list will evolve as you evolve. If you require the same item on your list for more than thirty days in a row...and you have not either 1) ingrained that issue as an area to monitor internally; or, 2) resolved the issue...then you are doing something wrong. Post the issue in the community forum for assistance.


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