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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:05 pm 
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Exercise Fourteen
Develop your Daily Monitoring list.

Jon, I probably need help on this...its sort of foggy..

1. Did I take steps to establish my relationship with God
• Continue RCIA Classes on a weekly basis
• Attend church service weekly
• Say a prayer each morning

2. Did I take steps to regulate my emotions and control my temper
• For each emotional challenge, did I act in a controlled mature manner?
• If I failed was I aware that I chose to fail?

3. Did I take steps to control of my actions and be responsible the consequences?
• Have I done anything to compromise my integrity?

4. Did I take steps to establish organization and order in my life and plan for the future?
• Is my desk in order?
• Am I scheduling business in MS Outlook?
• Do I have a plan?

5. Did I take steps to be a husband to my wife?
• Have I been 100% honest with her?
• Did I have a meaningful discussion with her?
• Did I take steps to develop emotional intimacy?
• Have we selected activities to do together?
• Did I call her from work to let her know I’m thinking of her?
• Have I left a note or provided some other indicator of my affection?

6. Did I take steps to enhance my role with my brother & sister
• Have I initiated contact once a month?

7. Appreciate the every-day-ness of life, slow down and enjoy doing simple things.
• Do not let unimportant matters interrupt long term responsibilities
• When commuting, leave 15 minutes earlier and drive slower

8. Did I take steps to enhance intellectually depth
• Am I reading a book?
• Have I expanded knowledge of financial business?
• Am I keeping current on international business news?

9. Maintain and improve physical condition
• Stay on my workout schedule minimum of 5 days per week
• Walk 2 miles four times per week

10. Find a hobby and get involved
• Buy Bike for Jan & me
• Marksmanship with sons


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:59 am 
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Posts: 4572
re: "I skipped it as I felt it painful...a lame excuse."

Well, let's not brush past this so quickly. You really are at a crossroads in your life. You can either continue on with inadequate patterns of the past (and obviously, achieve the same level of instability, esteem and potential as you now have); or you can embrace that you want something more from your life. That it is time to leave behind the more adolescent mindsets that have guided adult parts of your life.

Why I bring this up here is that, avoiding painful emotions is an adolescent response to an adult situation. Not only do you need to be not avoiding such situations, you should be ACTIVELY seeking to throw yourself into them. Actively seeking to show your courage and commitment to change. This is what real recovery is all about. It isn't about achieving abstinence for certain periods of time...put on a straight-jacket and lock yourself in a padded room for a year if that is all that mattered. No, this is about improving the quality of the life you are living. Improving the depth that you are living it with.

There will be many more opportunities for such emotional challenges...take them on with courage. Be vulnerable. Welcome emotional discomfort. Because if you don't learn how to manage these feelings now, there will be no hope to manage them at times of compulsive crisis.

re: "proactive actions plans"

Very good. We will be exploring these in depth in our next coaching.

re: "Jon, I probably need help on this...its sort of foggy"

Again, that is the very purpose of our next coaching. :w:

_________________
Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:39 pm 
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Exercise 15

I. Take a minute to review what you have learned over the past two weeks. Of what you have learned so far, think of one example of how you have actively integrated that information into your day-to-day life. Share this in your personal thread.

I have learned much about myself the last 45 days, beginning with recognition that I had a skewed set of prioritized values. I quickly realized I wanted to change that and further in the process I realized there was more to it. Within the last two weeks I recognized I was making decisions and taking action on important aspects of my life, based on emotions, instead of basing decisions on a rational value system.

I’ve also learned how much my wife loves me and learned so, for no other reason than, she is still home with me. She could have easily left. I am committed to making the change and begin living my life in a clean and wholesome manner so I can be the husband she deserves and start living the life I want her to have.

One example of how I have actively integrated that information into your day-to-day life

A week ago Friday my wife and I were making real progress in our parallel recovery process. After discussing my recent progress, we began sharing emotional intimacy, first through additional conversation, then non-sexual touch. This evolved after several hours into intimate sexual touching. We agreed that we would not engage in intercourse, though and we went to sleep, together in a tender and loving state.

The next morning the mood continued and carried on for several hours. That afternoon, after a break, we resumed the tenderness, togetherness and intimate sexual touching. We agreed tonight was the night and after dinner and wine, we’d go to bed for each other. Thirty minutes later I react to background TV noise, and with that reaction demonstrated to my wife, a piece of my ingrained compulsive behavior. That was a passion killer for her. She asks for clarification, I tell her the truth. She calmly tells me she lost all passion and can’t sleep with me tonight. That upsets me greatly. I react emotionally and in the process immediately recall the first discussion with Jon I had, where he points out my immature emotional condition.

I made myself relax, to think of our future and integrate my values into the present and I discussed what happened with my wife. That discussion consumed several days over intermittent periods, but a week later we have overcome my failure and renewed our mutual commitment to our recovery process.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 1:03 am 
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You've come along way in a relatively short period of time. Now, take just as big a step forward over these next 45 days. :w:

_________________
Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:19 pm 
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Posts: 28
Exercise 16

I. Consider the POSITIVE role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served (think short-term, not long)? Understanding the functional role of your addiction is important in removing the power, mystery and fear from that addiction. To begin seeing it in terms of practicality, rather than supernatural. Share a few positive aspects of your addiction in your recovery thread.

I read this lesson yesterday and have spent considerable time since then reflecting on the positive aspects the role of addiction has played in my life. I have had difficulty identifying anything positive at all. How can something that caused so much pain be positive.

The only thing I can think of is: IF and only if this exercise is considered from an addict's view point, it provided a plethora of false senses that are hollow, unhealthy...and wrong. The role that addiction has played in my life WERE a sense of situation control, accomplishment, sexual excitement, satisfaction and emotional control and reward.

I know I'm not out of the woods and have a long way to go, but I feel detached from the man who wasted so much precious time on such unhealthy behavior.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:50 am 
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re: "I have had difficulty identifying anything positive at all. How can something that caused so much pain be positive."

I'm glad that you pushed yourself through this. You HAVE to break free from that all or nothing/black or white thinking. Because to embrace that there was no positive role that addiction played in your life is to paint your addiction as a completely irrational entity. And it isn't. It is very rational. Very logical. Granted, it works with irrationality, but the addiction itself can be mapped out as certain as you can map out a trip to the local grocery.

Your addiction served the role of helping you to manage your emotions. It helped you produce emotional stimulation with such intensity that you chose it over the stimulation that your values produced. Your addiction comforted you when you couldn't find a healthier way of comforting yourself. It stimulated you when you couldn't find a more mature way of stimulating yourself. These are all positive roles that addiction played.

Of course, they are positive short-term roles, but the cumulative effect of such artificial stimulation is a destructive one. Think of it not from the socially unacceptable perspective of sexual addiction, but from that of video games. People's lives have been destroyed by video games. People have lost years of potential, they have lost their money, they have lost social skills, personal development skills...and for what? Because video games became a disease that struck them? No. It began as a pattern of behavior that created very positive feelings inside of them. The intensity of these feelings became so predominate and absolute in terms of their ability to produce such stimulation, that they developed into the primary emotional management strategy employed. Eventually, they became dependent on that stimulation...and nothing, save for getting lost in those video games...were capable of producing that intensity. That feeling of euphoria and fulfillment.

Your patterns developed the same way. They are not all evil. Deny this and you open the door for ignorance to settle in and create a false sense of security in your recovery. Again, I am very glad that you pushed yourself through this intellectual struggle.

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Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:55 am 
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Exercise 17
My fantasy involved my wife engaged in sex with another man and me watching.

So the elements of the ritual were:
Fantasy of watching my wife with another man
Sensory of viewing a perceived image of this
Suspense of wondering if it was pleasurable for her
Power of convincing her to live my fantasy and that I wanted her to do it
Orgasm the culmination of the ritual.
Intensity the sensation of imagining the intense emotions of my wife having sex with another


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:59 pm 
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Posts: 4572
re: "Exercise 17"

In terms of identifying the primary elements, good job. In terms of identifying the ritual itself, you will now begin to timeline these elements. This is something we will do in our next coaching.

On a side note, any time that someone in coaching takes a week or longer to complete an early lesson, I really worry. Is everything okay? Feel free to PM me if you are struggling with anything.

_________________
Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 5:50 pm 
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Exercise Twenty

1) Examine your addiction and the role(s) that it has played in your life to date. Look across your life span and identify the progression of the addiction, the sustainment of it, the absence of it and/or the stifling of it.

I believe my addiction started out as innocent self exploration of my sexuality, just as I began discovering the drug culture that I pursued during the early 1970’s. After much self reflection over the last 60 days, I’ve become aware that during the 1970’s, at a time when I would have been exposed to personal values and boundaries, I was unabashedly seeking mood altering substances as part of this drug culture. As a result, my emotions became my value set and rational thought and judgment became skewed to the point where I was perceived things irrationally. I perceived things solely in the here and now. My decisions reflected need for immediate gratification.

I choose not to post any further details, but will be prepared to discuss the details during our next coaching session with Jon. Much of this detail was submitted via email to Jon during my initial assessment

2) Look to future transitions in your life. Divorce. Death of a partner. Death of your parents. Death of a child. Loss of a job. Retirement. Having another child. Empty-nest syndrome. Consider many different situations that you will possibly face in the remaining years of your life. Situations that could potentially cause major instability to an otherwise balanced, fulfilling life. Explore the role(s) that addiction could play in helping you to manage these times. What would it feel like for addiction to come back into your life? Would it be a rapid collapse or a subtle progression? What signs would you look for? What actions would you take?

I was shocked, upon this discovery, to realize how skewed my value set is and embarrassed to recognize the depth of my emotional immaturity. I am determined to change. I consider myself a successful, capable and worthy human being who behaves in all other facets of my life in an open, honest and forthright manner. I have a wonderful family; a devoted and beautiful wife, who is such a good person, with two grown sons who in their own right are outstanding, honest caring young men. I regret decisions I made early in my life had such a negative impact that permitted me to behave in adulthood to become a man shrouded in deceit and self gratification.

What would it feel like for addiction to come back into my life? Dirty, shamed and unworthy to belong in my very own family. It would be fundamentally unacceptable.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:21 pm 
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A. What large goals have you attempted in your life and failed? Why do you suppose you failed?

The most significant failure (if I do not change my behavior) is the failure to be a devoted husband to my beloved wife. But that will change.

With rare exception any goal, large or small, that I failed to accomplish was due to a lack of commitment, dedication and focus on my part. I am not anything special and have no magic touch. I believe that most people can obtain most any reasonable goal, if one puts their heart and mind to accomplishing the objective and delivers the hard work and sacrifice necessary to complete the task.

B. What large goals have you attempted in your life and succeeded? Why do you suppose you were able to succeed?

I’ve had great fortune to find myself in situations; actually opportunities, which happened to align with my interests and desire, that with the addition of some long hours of hard work and effort have paid off as my career path progressed.

Why do I suppose I was able to succeed? I applied self discipline and hard work in conjunction with my personal (business-career) values that were consistent with the goals I attempted in my life, such as honesty, dependability, good judgment, loyalty, fairness, obedient, …the values that make an employee an asset, one who has potential, then exhibits the drive to become a leader in the work place.

As I write this I feel ashamed of thinking I am so savvy in my business-career values, while being so inadequate in my personal-marriage relationship values. I fundamentally believe, based on my readings of RN to this point, my core values (personal-marriage relationship) are damaged. I have either a double value standard, or I am damn lucky in business.

Either way, I am going to properly repair my core personal values and live a wholesome life.

C. List one recovery goal that you have and break it down into as many smaller, measurable tasks as necessary for you to manage it successfully. If you find this difficult, then you are probably starting off with too general of a recovery goal. Make it specific.

1. Be a husband for my wife
• Hold meaningful discussions with her
• Be 100% honest with her
• Select activities to do together
• Call her from work to let her know I’m thinking of her.
• Leave a note or provided some other indicator of my affection
• Put her first in all circumstances
• Express my emotions honestly & without guard
• Allow time for J to heal
o Encourage J to be independent
o Encourage her to speak about her pain and progress to heal
o Do not initiate any sexual advances, until she clearly indicates a wish for me to do so.
o Speak to her about my recovery process to allow her to understand my progress
• Show love and emotional intimacy & tenderness
• Be devoted to her.
• Show vulnerability to my wife

2. Establish discipline in control of my actions and be responsible the consequences.
• Be honest with self and accept no compromises to behavior and actions
• Acknowledge the good feeling of clean conscience
• Continue abstinence and affirm success frequently.
• When an emotional event occurs, count to 30 before responding
o While counting, think of the need to control the situation
o Keep it in perspective
o Formulate a proper response to achieve my new objective
• Keep a list of challenges and record results.
o Monitor on a weekly basis

3. Establish relationship with God
• Enroll in the RISC class & commit to the Catholic Church
• Attend services every week & actively pursue my faith.
• Commence active prayer on a daily basis.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Posts: 28
I am gut-shot. My wife asked for a divorce yesterday. I am devastated. I am in shock, because of the extent of hurt I caused her. Marriage was such a sacred thing, to her and (I thought) me. And I pissed it away. I know how hard it was for her to make this decision. It is a public admission of failure. Only I am the one who failed, not her.

In the course of discussing my disgusting behavior and answering her questions about my past, I described what happened at the strip clubs that I attended between 1988 and 2002, specifically I confessed that physical contact was made. That was a violation of my marriage vows. I thought and previously posted that I had moved past the guilt and shame aspect of my behavior. Now the consequences of my act has come home to roost.

I post this to document reality. My to-be-ex-wife & I have been struggling the last few weeks with understanding my past behavior. Obviously I did a poor job of helping her. I am working on Lesson 37 and will schedule a phone call with Mr. Marsh. I won’t quit.


I needed to add that last week I had the equivalent of a massive slip, which is an unprecedented understatement. It did not involve a sexual act, but it was an entirely immature emotional act. I had an emotional fit, a rage, that I will convey the details to Jon Marsh. This occurred during intense discussions of my past behavior and my failure to appropriately manage myself, dealing with the terrible hurt I caused my wife. I am so ashamed. We cried together, I begged her forgiveness. I’ve hit rock-bottom. I will never let my emotions get so out of control.


Last edited by iwillchangenow on Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Exercise 37

1. Establish relationship with God
I will not miss any RCIA class.
I will not miss any Sunday service.
I will speak openly to friends about my conversion.
I will maintain a daily dialogue with God

2. Establish boundaries that regulate my emotions and cease being a hostage to them.
I will not allow negative thoughts, self hate, or emotions to sabotage my vision.
I will never lie to myself or permit delusional thinking
I will not allow any compulsive behavior to corrupt my long term values
I will not act in an immature way

3. Be a good man to my wife
I will be honest with my wife at all times.
I will respect each and every boundary that she develops
I will demonstrate the sincere and honest respect I have for her
I will not “manage a relationshipâ€ÂÂ


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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 5:37 pm 
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I last spoke with Jon Marsh on Thursday April 30th. The crux of the conversation involved the need for me to separate myself from my addiction, now that I have finally had full disclosure to my wife, about the lies I kept from her for so long. We discussed the “slipâ€ÂÂ


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 6:17 pm 
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This past weekend and last few days provided a learning experience for me. I recently achieved a major goal critical to a primary value within one aspect of my new vision of my future. It pertained to religion and establishing my relationship with God. Stated generally, until this point, going to church was an activity I participated in, but more so only as an outsider. This past weekend there was a final activity that I participated in, that leading up to the function, I had not looked forward to attending, a sort of retreat. I expected something too touchy – feely for me.

But the end result was a surprising connection to something greater than I ever experienced. By the conclusion, I felt a truly respectful reverence toward God, an honest awareness of my humanity, a repentance of my sins and a real desire to leave behind what I was so ashamed of; my past. I went home and had a long and positive discussion with my wife, telling her the details of this experience. We agreed that combining this sense, with learning value based behavior from RN, as I am presently doing, was a potent combination for recovery. I felt real and I felt more grounded than ever before in my life.

Father’s day was Sunday and my wife & I split up for our respective duty. I continued to feel on top of the world, spoke to my wife on the phone several times and I had a nice time with my parents. Then I was blindsided Monday. While we were apart, my wife was pulled back into that hellish pit I dug for her and the pain returned. This time, though, I handled it better, actually, almost perfectly. We talked through all she felt. It all was very painful. And for the next two days, as her pain slowly abated, I felt…what? Unbalanced, disoriented, unfocused, only going through the motions of my responsibilities, knowing that failure and return to my past, was no option. I was unclear and disconnected to what I so clearly felt during the weekend.

Then yesterday, out of the blue, it occurred to me to go back and read my vision. Good. Then I reread the series of posts I made since full disclosure April 16th. And I reconnected. It was almost immediate, my attitude changed, I felt positive and I reconnected to the quiet confident sense of self that I experienced last weekend. And I know I have changed my core identity. I feel connected to my vision. I know I am achieving recovery. Wow.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:29 pm 
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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)
Making value based decisions will:
Positive
• Strengthen my conviction to change
• Enhance the positive perception of myself and strengthen my core identity
• Improve my attitude
• Make possible for me to be honest and transparent
• Allow me to be real
• Build self respect
• Permit living in a stable environment
• Improve anticipating and planning for life events
• Eliminate the need for me to protect myself, from me

Negative
• Require me to guard myself and balance the lower emotional intensity of value based decision making against immediate gratification

B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)

Making emotional based decisions will:
Positive
• Provide immediate gratification
• Provide immediate relief
• Show my genuine feelings and honest actions of my choice, (not necessarily truthful acts or facts)
• Permit delusional perception of dual identity
• Allow corrupted belief I can do whatever I want, as long as secrets are kept

Negative
• Compromise any chance of growing value based decision making
• Compromise my sense of self worth
• Damage my core identity
• Make me live as an angry man
• Cause me to see others in a negative light
• Make me project my perceptions on others, especially my wife


C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?
• The long term effect of value based behavior will be compound. First it will be the opposite of what addiction caused. No more angry, negative behavior. No more deception. No more projecting corrupted perspectives on others. No more irrational behavior. The long term effect will provide a foundation for being a caring, compassionate man who is true to the world around me, pleasant and happy. It will provide a soul capable of a real spiritual relationship with God and able to share an honest and rewardingly intimate relationship with my wife. It will permit me to live a spontaneous, honest and real life with my children as well as the world around me. The consequence of value based decisions? It puts me at a place in time, when I can look back at my life, with a mix of sadness and pride. The sadness can never be eliminated, but it is tempered with the knowledge I faced the hard cold fact of my past destructive behavior and I did something about it. I know with pride I took the risk and changed my identity, then managed the transition to a cleaned stable conscience and successfully followed the long road to recovery. It was a long but worthy journey. And there is an inner peace within my heart that exists like never before. This peace makes a gentle man, to all I meet and causes me to see life as a wonderful experience. I have a second chance. And I am getting it right.

• The long term effect of emotional based behavior will be unacceptable, ugly, a failure. This cannot and will not happen.


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