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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 12:53 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Its been a year since I was found out and that seems a good point to put some thoughts on paper.

What have I learnt?

That I am a compulsive, lying, bastard, or words to that effect, at least that’s what I’ve been told.

Not exactly how I would have put it, and a year ago I’d have denied it.

But I was living a double life – lying.
It wasn’t pleasant for others, or good for me – bastard.
And rather to my surprise based on compulsion/addiction – probably the biggest thing I’ve learnt.

I’ve also learnt what it means to have a healthy life, and something of the work needed to have one, or at least to get back on the right path. The benefits of so doing, not only for myself, but for those around me, both family and friends.

I’ve learnt that even actions that seem slight to me can, in this context, cause great upset and distress to others.

I’ve learnt that there are many facets to sex addiction/compulsion and that I don’t need to have them all to have a problem.

I’m learning to see more of my emotional side, and a little less of the analytical – at least where people are concerned.

The importance of a value based life.

Rekindled an interest in photography. Optimistic about fully retiring and finding ‘good’ things to fill my time.

That the issues are of my making, if sometimes triggered by outside events and the actions of others, as is the cure. Well not cure perhaps, but proper management and foundations for a healthy life.

Progress has been slow, probably slower than hoped or ideally desirable. There have been relapses, if not too many or too deep. There is still a long road ahead. If not yet back on the main highway, I think I’ve got the hang of reading the map, the (moral) compass is now showing me the right direction and I’m travelling with optimism that I’ll reach the goal of a healthy life.

So how do I feel about it all? – much better than I did eleven and a half months ago!

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:38 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 292

I was really struck by your reflections of this past year. Every observation had immense value. I hope that any passerby of your thread heed your words.

That the issues are of my making, if sometimes triggered by outside events and the actions of others, as is the cure. Well not cure perhaps, but proper management and foundations for a healthy life.

Indeed! It has always been your choice. Your choice to act out, or act in health. It sounds like you see this as empowering, not a curse! Well done.

I think I’ve got the hang of reading the map, the (moral) compass is now showing me the right direction and I’m travelling with optimism that I’ll reach the goal of a healthy life.

Godspeed, John!

Be Well,


PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:17 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
I’ve been rather quiet here due to a number of factors.

Having solved some other issues I’m back with REcovery and I’ve been spending some time going over the lessons in Stage one, taking a fresh look at each and reworking the exercises.

This has been interesting. In some places it has reinforced my understanding of the process. In others the ‘application’ of later knowledge to earlier lessons has, I think, helped define my vision and goals.

I was worried this would delay progress with recovery and indeed before starting this review I though my progress rather slow. Perhaps I wasn’t spending enough time on recovery. Now I’m feeling more positive generally. I feel I can see a clear path to what recovery means in my circumstances. I feel the lessons are helpful and constructive, and I feel less concerned at the pace compared with the depth of understanding and the security with which the foundations for a healthy life are being laid.

Here is my revised vision:

My vision is to be honest, honourable, healthy, inclusive, prosperous and happy.

And my explanatory notes:

The order is chosen deliberately. Firstly, by honest, I mean both honest with myself and honest with my dealings with everyone else be they partner, family, friends or the wider world. This means absolute honesty. No ‘second life’, no half truths, no compartments to hide things in.

By honourable I mean not only being truthful, but setting my values and sticking to them. Being a good role model to family and a worthy member of the community, be it local or the wider world.

By healthy I mean in ‘body, mind and spirit’. Keeping myself physically healthy is obviously important. Beyond that I need a mentally and emotionally healthy existence, free of compulsion. Whilst not religious, I do identify with Quakers and Humanists in various ways and adopting their values is what I mean here by spirit.

I want to be engaged with the local community and the wider world in an inclusive, non-judgmental and supportive way.

I had difficulty with the right word, I think prosperous comes close – I’m not particularly material minded, don’t need a flash car or the latest iPhone, but I do wish to provide for my family, to be ‘comfortable’ and not too worried by financial matters at this time in my life.

I’m not entirely sure I need happy – I think if I follow the others, happiness is almost bound to follow. Perhaps I should add ‘happily expanding my mind’ with interesting activities, learning and development.

Considering the above, does it pass the tests of being practical and fulfilling? There are some ideological parts, though I think the vast majority are easily judged and monitored – truth or lie, values adopted or not, daily exercise or couch potato, and so on. I think the foundation ones can be fulfilling in themselves, but certainly as a basis to provide the environment to enable a fulfilling lifestyle. So yes, I believe it does.

Then I revised the top 15 values:

1. I value total honesty with myself.
2. I value total honesty with all others.
3. I value living a life in accordance with these values.
4. I value being faithful and strengthening my role with my partner.
5. I value being supportive and a good role model to my family.
6. I value being supportive of friends.
7. I value providing a financially comfortable environment for my family and myself.
8. I value being a positive member of the community.
9. I value being humorous.
10. I value being physically healthy.
11. I value being mentally healthy.
12. I value being spiritually healthy.
13. I value being inclusive.
14. I value being content.
15. I value becoming happy.

I have deliberately phrased as ‘I value…’ to encourage myself to list as values rather than goals or actions, it works for me, YMMV!

And from there I’m developing the action plans, one based on each value, so for example:

1. I value total honesty with myself.
1.1. No compartments
1.2. No double life
1.3. Understanding the recovery porocess
1.4. Understanding past/acting out
1.5. Give more time to the emotional, bit less to the analytical.

1. I value being physically healthy.
1.1. Monitoring
1.1.1. New monitor – (Fitbit substitute)
1.1.2. MyFitnessPal app.
1.1.3. Weigh first thing every Monday and record
1.1.4. Record how many ‘steps’ daily average for the preceding week
1.2. Targets
1.2.1. Lose average 0.5kg/week (at least) first 4 weeks
1.2.2. Increase to 0.75kg/week
1.2.3. Average 4k steps/day first 2 weeks
1.2.4. 5k steps/day next two weeks
1.2.5. Increase by 1k steps/day each 2 weeks until 10k steps/day
1.3. Diet
1.3.1. Record as food/calorie diary
1.3.2. Determine daily calories/target
1.3.3. Avoid alcohol/sweetened drinks (kinda H2Only but with tea/coffee)??
1.4. Exercise
1.4.1. Regular exercise/walks, ideally daily
1.4.2. Extra walking when out at work (i.e. miss a station)

From the review of Lesson 14 (monitoring) I’m developing a different approach to previously.

First time through on monitoring I now realise I concentrated on the ‘negative’ aspects, eg ‘have I acted out?’, rather than a tool to develop the positive aspects/actions of recovery.

I continue each week to have a mental ‘review’ and a quick check through the past seven days that nothing untoward has occurred.

I’ll now try something on the positive side: towards the end of each day I’ll review the positive events/actions and then set an activity/action/thought for the following day. Plan to do this for a couple of weeks and then see how it goes.


All-in-all I’m feeling positive about how it is going. It's a difficult job, especially the emotional aspects (being a rather analytical person) though I feel I’m coping reasonably well. Progress is certainly being made.

The other main thought from the review is that I feel up to now the vast majority of my ‘effort’ has been with the lessons, and the associated exercises. I now intend to spend more time ‘reading around’ the subject, both here on the forum and more generally.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 1:58 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 361
Hi John,

Nice to see you back here.

Your post is a good solid start and it is clear that you are able to draw from the experiences of your first trip through the lessons. I know that I saw a number of the lessons differently when I did that and you will be surprised how much you missed the first time around.

You mentioned that you are reading around the forums and others' posts in which case you will have noticed my recent one about the lack of commitment that many members show around their work on RN. If you stick to what your post has promised then recovery is within your reach. If you don't then you know where that road will lead. I am encouraged by your positive commitment though and hope you see you regularly here to see your progress. Good luck with it.


A clean life; a clear conscience

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:37 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Thanks for that, the feedback is certainly encouraging and I fear I've been lax in saying so in the past.

Many thanks!


PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:20 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Lesson 21

A. Failed goals – found this one surprisingly difficult. Perhaps I don’t plan my life in terms of goals, or I’m very good at it :-)

Certainly one comes to mind, after the usual O-level/A-level progression I went to university to study maths and physics, not a light subject. I flunked out at the end of the first year. There were some family issues, but mainly I said I ‘had too good a time’. In fact it was a case of not applying myself, it wasn’t that difficult, especially the first year. And looking back the school/university transition was the ‘expected’ path, more of a progression and I hadn’t set myself a plan, or goal. I was just going with the flow to some extent.

So that seems to be a good example of "If you don't know where you're going, how do you expect to get there?"

And in the event my life then took a different, and ultimately successful, path as a direct result of coming back from university, so its hardly a failure.

B. Goals that succeeded

The one that comes immediately to mind is a particular project early in my career as a surveyor. A small extension to someone’s house. I took the instructions, did the drawings, got the permissions, supervised the work and as it happens when completed was visible when driving past which I did quite often. The first professional job I did from start to finish and whenever I saw it brought a warm feeling.

Other examples are the succession of houses I’ve bought/lived in/extended/moved on. All took planning and consideration and generally turned out well.

The goal, much thought about if not set down on paper as such, to have financial stability for me and the family. Haven’t become a billionaire, but the plan was to be ‘comfortable’ and by counting the pennies along the way, at some times with more necessity than others, have certainly ended up in a stable position.

All those can be summed up as having a clear path, yes a goal, of doing the necessary planning, taking account of unexpected events, applying myself, and getting to the goal successfully.

C. Recovery Goal: To complete Recovery Nation (self help) Programme

The example brought this to mind, but with one difference, the omission of a specific finish date. I started RN at the end of March, so nine months have passed. At the start I was mindful of notes saying allow three months at least, so I was thinking three to six months to complete the lessons. Later I laid out a programme of about three lessons a week that would bring a finish around year end. Here we are at lesson 21 out of 73+ so that hasn’t quite worked.

The first run through of the first twenty lessons was focussed on ‘completing the lesson’, ie read, do exercise, post with perhaps limited thought beyond that. I’ve spent the last couple of months reviewing those lessons, together with reading more in the Forum. And more thinking time as well. I’ve found that effective and beneficial, particularly a redrafting, and much thought, about my vision. So I’ll now try and distil my thoughts about completing the programme as a SMART goal…

It is broken down into manageable parts by its nature, the lessons, so can be taken a piece at a time. There is a definite benefit in proceeding at a reasonable pace so that the knowledge gained builds up and isn’t forgotten.

Although I mostly work from home, the work/home time follows a pattern of weekdays/daytime for work, evenings/weekends for study and family/home life. I’ve allocated the first hour of the working day to RN and its associated activities, to recovery. This means at least an hour (I wouldn’t stop at 59th minute if almost finished a lesson/task) and uninterrupted by other things, so if unavoidable interruptions it gets extended, at worst made up later in the day.

Each day I’ll take a look at the forum, at recent posts, and other parts relevant to the lesson being done.

I record the completion of the lessons and a rough count of the time taken on each. I also make a daily note of progress, related thoughts and in particular, taking my clue from the monitoring audio, try to think of the ‘positive’ things that have occurred, and setting some thoughts to do the following day.

So is this SMART?

Specific – there is a clear list of lessons, completing them is a specific goal, with a specific purpose.
Measurable – progress can be measured with the completion of each lesson. Associated activities like reading the forum less easy, though they contribute.
Attainable – given application and care no reason why not.
Realistic – I think it realistic to look at working through with a regular amount of time devoted. There is the thought that an average of two lessons a week is about the pace this is going at, so that gives six months to complete. Keeping this up for six months is certainly realistic.
Time-based – certainly time based in terms of applying myself for specific time. Similarly as a basis of monitoring.

So in summary I think the goal as drafted is fine. However as I’m writing this on the mid-winter solstice, I’ll add ‘by mid-summer’. I think it good to have an end date in mind, to give an additional aspect to monitor, but without too precise a date.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:57 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Happy New Year! Well in this context not too worried about the prosperous, happy would be good, but healthy is the main aim.

Just checking in after a rather long festive break, much time spent with family one way and another, so productive with recovery goals in the back of my mind.

On with the lessons, and in my case dedicating some specific time each work-day to recovery nation lessons. I'm not one for resolutions, certainly not a good record in keeping them, but this one I'm keen to do.


PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:35 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Lesson 22

I found this complex and somewhat hard to follow, except the maths, that was quite easy! So here I’m trying to work through the exercise with extra notes to firstly help get it all clear in my mind, and secondarily so that you can see my ‘workings’ and let me know where/if I’ve gone adrift.

I will take visiting an Escort as the ritual, though take a fairly simplistic approach for now.

The basic ritual takes the following stages:
• Research and choosing (that could be a ritual in itself!)
• Arranging the visit
• Having sex

Main elements:
• Fantasy – the planning, looking at pictures and imagining how the visit will go
• Danger – fear of being caught
• Suspense – having made the booking, awaiting the time, traveling
• Sensory – the sex, particularly touch, sight and smell
• Orgasm
• Accomplishment – achieved the visit, not been caught

Assigning values:

This is where it starts to get difficult(!), as I see it the primary motive is to have sex, so we have:

Sensory – sight: 3
Sensory – touch: 3
Sensory – smell/taste: 3

[I wonder about separating into three sections like that, there are obviously others as well, but think 1) these are the main ones and 2) when I get to the filters they’ll be some differences between them. Plus as the sex is the main driver, kind of worthy of a triple score as it were.]

Then the secondary:

Orgasm (you can have sex without orgasm, but not orgasm without sex – well you can, but not in this context): 2
Suspense (you need to make the booking to have the sex, but I think the booking/anticipation etc. more secondary if I’m getting the spirit of this right): 2
Accomplishment (here I feel this is a serious part of the activity, the ‘good feeling’ of a job well done, having the sex, not getting caught etc. So secondary rather than accessory): 2

And finally the accessory:

Fantasy (although part of the planning process, necessary to doing it, more an ‘extra’ in my mind in the sense that the ‘high’ got from surfing escort sites isn’t the main reason for the activity): 1
Danger (in my case not looking for danger, it doesn’t particularly ‘add’ to the activity, but its certainly there): 1

I realise that’s all a little more complicated than suggested, but I find it helpful to think through the elements in a bit of detail in order to get my head round the process.

Now the filtering:

Sensory – sight: 3
• Time – certainly adding to the experience, though less time related: 5
• Intensity – less intense that touch and smell: 5
• Habituation – fairly routine: 2

Sensory – touch: 3
• Time – the main player for sex, building up over time: 9
• Intensity – again the main player, reaching a peak on orgasm: 9
• Habituation – very routine: 1

Sensory – smell/taste: 3
• Time – a significant contribution that heightens the experience over time: 7
• Intensity – fairly intense input: 7
• Habituation – rather less routine: 4

Orgasm: 2
• Time – very much building to a climax with time(!): 9
• Intensity – a major peak: 9
• Habituation – no effect: 1

Suspense: 2
• Time – little change over time: 3
• Intensity – there will be some significant moments: 6
• Habituation – routine: 3

Accomplishment: 2
• Time – a significant feeling following the meeting/event: 5
• Intensity – not very intense: 4
• Habituation – little effect: 1

Fantasy: 1
• Time – little change over time: 2
• Intensity – little intensity: 2
• Habituation – little effect: 2

Danger: 1
• Time – more or less steady during the event: 2
• Intensity – rather variable, but at a low level: 3
• Habituation – little effect: 2

Finally I’ve set up a spreadsheet (well its what I do for a living) to do the maths, I’ll enclose a screenshot of the results. That in turn had me thinking of how the scores come together. How the primary contribute more and how it’ll work as a comparison with one ritual to another. No doubt more on that in later lessons.

8 Elements, scores:
Sensory – sight: 4.5
Sensory – touch: 7.13
Sensory – smell/taste: 6.75
Orgasm: 4.75
Suspense: 3
Accomplishment: 2.96
Fantasy: 0.89
Danger: 1.04
TOTAL: 31.01

Given I tend to think of life in these sorts of measured terms, more statistical than emotional perhaps, I’ve found this an interesting exercise. Not sure I’ve got the methodology right (awaiting feedback on that) but think I have grasped that the numeric side is very much subjective. Doesn’t really matter if an element is a 3 or a 1, so long as I’m consistent in how I score the relative importance as I see it. Similarly a filter of 8 means nothing other that its less than a 10, more than a 6.

Screenshot 2019-01-07 at 09.28.31.png
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:51 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Having now seen FT's guide to lesson 22 ( ... =2&t=19223) things are rather clearer.

Reviewing how I scored the example I think my main confusion was with the time filter, I was looking at it more as change over time, ie building intensity/influence, than the amount of time that element took. The main element therefore that went 'wrong' was orgasm which obviously takes a fairly short time, especially at my age hehe.

The spreadsheet makes changes quick and easy, to attached is revised score, I haven't worried to fine tune the other elements, I think about right anyway.

Looking down the revised scores for the elements is now certainly imformative, thank you FT for the general clarification.


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Screenshot 2019-01-08 at 09.49.01.png [ 80.21 KiB | Viewed 1610 times ]
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:33 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Lesson 23

The biggest thing I see from lessons 22 and 23 as it relates to my recovery is that the whole process, at least as I currently understand it, is to analyse/measure/quantify the emotional side of acting out. Its easy to quantify the physical side (the amount of time, money, frequency), but the emotional doesn’t easily lend itself to numbers and graphs.

As it happens I’m more scientist than artist. My job involves maths and logic to a great extent. I’ve always been practical. My emotional side, whilst relatively calm, is hard for me to understand, certainly quantitively, difficult enough in qualitive terms. So having a methodology to analyse the actions, graph, break down into individual parts will I think very much match the way I deal with life as a whole. You mention role play situations, I think ‘what if’ analysis on a spreadsheet.

Given the methodology, I can see its application in understanding my behaviour (self awareness) and in prevention (relapse). Presumably also in building a healthy life with some similar analysis of ‘good’ emotional traits. I now feel I need to spend some further time on some further examples and hone my ability and understanding.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 8:26 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 361
Hi John,

Coach Jon mentions at the start of Lesson 22 that these couple of lessons can be complex. There is therefore a danger that people can get overwhelmed by the message that is being put across. For me the key takeaways for this stage of the workshop were:

- Compulsive behaviour is not a one step process, it is a series of actions or steps that form together to produce a ritual chain (e.g. felt angry -> decided to cheer myself up by looking at an escort site -> I got a rush of excitement from looking a found someone I liked -> I rang up to make a booking…etc, etc)
- We all have different things that excite us when acting out and these can be categorised into Primary/Secondary/Accessory - I can tell you that I was surprised to find out what my primary drivers were as they were unexpected but it helped me later on understand why these were so as I could connect them to experiences from when I was younger that probably triggered my addiction at that time. It also means that we all have our own unique "perfect cocktail" of things to give us our ideal ritual.
- Understanding how time, intensity and habituation can have an impact on your excitement levels is important, in particular from understanding that repeating the exact same ritual 2 days running would give me less excitement the second day than the first (habituation) which required me to compensate by adding something else to the ritual to compensate for it
- Our rituals all aim to improve our emotional state artificially

These lessons are giving you the necessary background in order to help you pull together the tools you will need to help you better manage your life in a healthy way. You need to understand what happens when you act out and why before that part will make sense though.

Please don't be discouraged and keep going, you are doing well and it will all make more sense to you soon.


A clean life; a clear conscience

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:09 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Thanks, L2R, it all helps feed my understanding. I think I'm now following the process from elements (and their type), through filters to a final score. But its a bit like learning a new idea, I have to keep going back to the text book to check each stage, the alternatives and such. But the maths bit is fine, thanks to Excel! A bit more practice is called for, and given the way everyone says this is an important one to master, I'll be doing that.

There's a 'situation' with things outside recovery at the moment, not a crisis, more some deadlines that loom. Self imposed it must be said.

Also some self doubt within the recovery process. Some setbacks and thoughts of is it worth it. Well just writing that I know it is! Being aware of some triggers helpful, and I think lesson 23 might be going into relapse prevention mode. I think I may need a bit of quiet time, get the deadlines out of the way, review recovery and look at some of the tools.

I'll be back in a few days.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:40 am 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3793
Location: UK
Hi John
Also some self doubt within the recovery process. Some setbacks and thoughts of is it worth it. Well just writing that I know it is

self doubt , doubt in the process, doubt in our commitment, doubt in our progress are all common in the early stages of recovery
However they are not get out of jail free cards
RN works but only if you work at making it work
yes that means sacrifice but recovery is inevitable unless we continue to choose addiction

so ask
what do you value and then choose

Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:26 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Thanks, Kenzo, I appreciate the support.

I'm not looking to get out of jail, well if I was I guess I'd just give up and go off... I'm looking to understand and feel comfortable 'testing' myself. Up to now I've kinda had a blanket no-go area, rather black and white, OK/not OK. With the line drawn very clearly at the 'good' end of the spectrum. And in some sense didn't want to look too deeply in case it led me astray. Now I'm feeling more confident, better understanding, I think there are some shades of grey (not 50!). I don't mean a 'bit of acting out', but being able to look at what triggers, at how I then went on to arrange something, but without actually doing it. Not sure I'm being very clear, I'll be back with an example in a day or two.


PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:27 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2018 5:16 am
Posts: 61
Well it hasn't been the best of weeks, but as far as recovery is concerned I feel I'm now back on track after a bit of hiatus. I've been looking at a possible acting out situation, trigger and opportunity. With the help of these lessons giving some perspective I felt strong enough to actually look in a realistic way, ie what the trigger did to make me think about visiting an escort, with an opportunity a few days later. I found that quite instructive, especially as I could go through something of the process of selection, although the accounts I used to use are now closed, and 'consider the possibilities'.

Lessons 22 and 23 gave me something to analyse with, I could see how the process develops from trigger, through selection, finding opportunity, to the actual event. As it happened the opportunity went away, so I wasn't really in any danger of actually acting out. It was kind of 'picking at the wound', I think it brings some strength of purpose to recovery, the more I understand of the processes the better I get them in perspective for recovery.

Now I'll be getting back into regular lesson progress with 23 to come shortly.


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