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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:54 pm 
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Lesson 8 from partners' workshop

I was a fairly normal kid untill the age of 15. I had great male friends and great female friends and I was natural with everyone. Being with a female never aroused anything different and perhaps because of that straightforwardness, I had many close friends of both sexes. Then, I ran into some older boys in school and neighbourhood who would talk about women and ogle at them. I didn't and in time I thought I was abnormal. At times I was drawn to hot images in magazines and I felt aroused but didn't know what to do. There was no one to talk to, and some kind of stress was building up. From time to time I had night fall and that was it.

Then I went to college and everyone seemed to be experimenting with masturbation, while I had no clue on how to do it. I felt humiliated at times because I didn't know something that everyone else seemed to be expert in. I did fantasize about girls at this time but no masturbation. Then suddenly, one day I discovered masturbation and it was an instant relief. The orgasm blew away my mind. I was 18 at that time. Soon I was doing it several times a day, along with fantasizing. My relationships remained normal and I was respectful to girls but secretly I engaged in this practice more and more. It took away a lot of my time that could have been spent in sports or studies and I was always distracted.

A few years later, I became friends with a girl, she then became my girlfriend and we finally married. Our sex life wasn't good because I didn't know how to do intercourse. And I thought that masturbation somehow had made me incapable of having proper sex. However, we would do oral every now and then and that held our relationship together. Masturbation (along with porn and internet surfing now) continued, sometimes once every two days and sometimes 3-4 times a day. I felt guilty and ashamed all the time but didn't know what to do. This was my way of escaping all the life's stresses, uncertainties. But, my wife and I did consummated and we had intercourse once in a while.

This continued for more than 12 years untill finally I told my wife about my secret. She was extremely forgiving at first but then later would mention it in all our fights or arguments. I felt she was using this as a way to suppress me, make me feel guilty, or to express her anger. I realized I had to do something on my own since I still loved her. I realized I had a sexual addiction and I could see it getting wose if I didn't control myself. It was affecting my personal and professional well being.

Then as a nice coincidence, I came across Recovery Nation last year and then discovered the workshop. In my first try, I was very euphoric and managed 5 lessons. However, I soon relapsed and then gave up. Then a few weeks ago, I finally committed myself to the workshop and to ending my addiction to porn, fantasy, and masturbation. The past few weeks have been nice since I can get a glimpse of how a normal life feels (I haven't experienced it in over 20 years!). And I am not euphoric, just taking it one lesson at a time and reminding myself of my commitment - not for anyone else but for my own happiness, which of course is linked to so many other things.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Lesson 9: Partner's lesson 2

Joy

- I return to meditation whenever I can. I was lucky to discover some easy practices that calm my mind and give me great joy.
- Walking on my own. This is my own time and I find it a joy to admire nature as I walk and feel all the emotions I want to.

Activities for healthy partnership

- Being kind to my partner
- Refraining from talking about work all the time
- Stopping myself from thinking negative about her


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 4:43 pm 
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Do I need to undergo recovery?

I caught myself questioning this whole process of recovery workshops and if I need it. My mind kept telling me that I am fine, I have no addictions, and fantasizing, little bit of porn and masturbation are normal. It feels as if something is missing - perhaps the kind of empty feeling that was alluded to in the workshop intro.

They are not. Because it doesn't stop here and once you lose control, you just slide down. Plus, I have been at it for 20+ years, so definitely I am on the right track by commtiing to recovery. I remind myself:

Commitment
I commit to no porn and no fantasizing. They are at the crux of my problem and produce anxiety and compulsive behavior.

Why?
- it is crucial to my happiness - personally (not looking on my shoulder, being in control of myself),
- I want to be professionally productive and concentrate on my work,
- feel proud of myself.


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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:17 pm 
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Lesson 10: Honesty

1. My fantasy, pornography, and masturbation are the lies. I have shared this with her on two occasions with honesty.

2. No I dont want any secret life anymore - that is why I am committed to regaining my real life.

4. Items:

- I dont have any items anymore. I used to hide some video files on my computer and had a few DVDs till a few years ago.
- The most common place for me now is internet.
- I have memorized some websites and some google searches. After my ritual of watching internet pornography, I delete the history.

5. People as compulsive sexual objects:

- filmstars
- porn stars
- strangers that I objectify as hot women and then fantasize about them
- models
- news readers
- air crew.

With each, its the same ritual. I objectify them as hot/sexy and then fantasize about them leading to masturbation. And then feeling guilty afterwards. But when the trigger happens, I just keep telling myself - just this one time. This has gone on for 20+ years.

6. Places for acting out:

- office/home computer for watching internet pornography
- bathrooms (home, office, restaurants, malls, airplanes) for acting out


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 6:19 pm 
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Relapse - big time

Today I had a relapse, big time. I had time to relax and be at peace and instead I chose to indulge in porn and masturbation, three times one after another. Each time I tried to stop, career anxities and big time attraction to some women in the hall just numbed my senses. I need to be better prepared for these exigencies, I need to know how to control these urges and triggers. Because after the first few seconds, there is no way the mind can control the flood of emotions. After a stupid day, I dont even know if I am back to my senses or even deserve another chance to be sane. But I am going to try, I will not stop this time.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 6:30 pm 
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Addiction or not doesn't matter

Found a great quote at the beginning of lesson 11.

"Are there aspects of my life that I want to change." If yes, then work to change them.

I dont need to bother whether or not I have addiction (am I kidding myself, I do have compulsive behavior even if I think otherwise every now and then). I just need to concentrate on the aspects of my life that I want to change. And they are

- no compulsive behavior due to porn or fantasy as I lose control over myself and I cannot trust myself anymore. This is the aspect I want to change about myself. Thats it.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 11:02 pm 
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Posts: 291
Hi Values4joy... just reading about your relapse. Almost everyone in recovery goes through slips and even relapses, its just part of the process. Although we all have to define our own recovery, I wonder if you are not being a bit hard on yourself. For myself I would define your actions as all one big slip as opposed to a relapse. The reasoning is that, to me, a relapse is more of a trend in your recovery then just distinct actions. It sounds like right after this day you were right back on the wagon and moving forward again.

Be gentle on yourself. If you hurt others with your slips then try to make amends for it but toxic shame is the enemy of recovery.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:01 pm 
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Dear Recovery Mentor,

Thanks so much for your kind words. They mean so much to me. I was beginning to think that I am all alone there, no one to talk or share with. Your encouraging words this morning have made my day. Its hard to keep the mind still - it either becomes euphoric when it starts proclaiming that the compulsive behavior is all conquered (thats when the urges and triggers hit like lightning bolts) or guilty when the slips/relapses happen. These extremes are what feeds the mind. Your words calmed me. But, I am not going to be greedy to expect that they will keep me calm for the whole week or even the whole day. For the present, they have brought me back to reality and thats what matters.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Lesson 11: just completed. Keep walking.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Lesson 12: Unhealthy patterns

- I am lazy. That affects how much effort I can put in the worksheets. When I was young, I used to rationalize/intelectualize every task in order to escape putting in effort. I am much reformed now, but some part of laziness still continues as I pre-decide on the amount I want to put in a task. if I realize that the task is taking more effort, I give up quite easily.

- I suspect that I will never be able to overcome my urges

- Relapse triggers are seen as opportunities to act out

- I sometimes believe that I am suffering from a disease that is beyond my control, but not beyond all hope. However, this feeling has changed in recent weeks.

- This is probably most true - I tend to hyper analyze my (and others') actions, thoughts and feelings...and making the possibility of living a "normal" life all but impossible

Some additional ones:

Effort versus momentum

- I dont always put in my best effort. However, I have also realized the benefit of momentum. When I first started recovery workshop last year, I felt so euphoric that I would admire each sentence, each lesson and did every exercise with zeal. I read others' posts. But I made little progress in the workshop and after a few slips/relapses just gave up. So instead of trying to put in my best effort, I am now putting in good but evenly paced effort and moving on to build momentum. In many ways, this is the same behavioral pattern in other aspects of my life. In my studies or work, I get struck on one assignment and just linger rather than making speedy progress. Once I lose the momentum, the motivation to continue vains.


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 4:15 pm 
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Hard to control fantasy

I am finding it difficult to control fantasizing today. Summer means the dresses get shorter and with that the flight of fantasy and the accompanying acting out is really hard to stop. Watching women creates a stress and I have been acting out on it (fantasy, followed by porn/masturbation) for years. I am holding on till now and praying that I stay like this. Why, because fantasizing and porn are against my values. Perhaps I will feel proud of myself when I can successfully win over these urges even without thinking about them...


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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 4:44 pm 
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Lesson 13: Healthy recovery Patterns

I. Patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to a healthy recovery.

•Often experience significant doubts relating to ability to change.
•"test the waters" of recovery by attempting recovery for a few days, then acting out.
•Explore many different trigger situations to see how well I can handle myself.
•Experience relief in having my behaviors understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of life. Unfortunately, this tends to overwhelm, distract, etc
•Many similar traits as to those in the "Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle With Relapse" category above.
•Perceive "powerlessness" as "helplessness" and "desperation".

Middle Recovery : "Actual Recovery"

•Accepted that I have struggled with certain immoral behaviors that contradicted my values, but realize that what matters is what I am doing, not what I did.
Motivation to recover comes from the desire to live a life that I can be proud of, rather than a desire to create the illusion of a life.
•Make decisions based on what I believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what I can get away with. I know that whether these decisions end up being the right ones or not is irrelevant. That all that matters is that they were made with the right intentions in mind.
•Not focused on controlling/ending past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.

The following are what I would like but haven't experienced yet:

•Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity.
•Recognize failure as a learning experience--but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.
•Recognize that the feelings that I am experiencing are the same feelings that others deal with every day in many different situations. That I am not "defective", but "deficient".
•Identify future as a healthy person that once used addiction to manage his life; not as an addict that is managing his life with healthy behavior.
•See my life as a continuous process of growth and development, rather than an episodic book of starts and stops. (e.g. "When I was addicted" "After I recovered").
•Take a long, hard look at anything associated with the destructive past, and voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from life. This refers to pornography, fantasy, etc.

Late Recovery : "From Recovery to Health"

•Complete confidence in the ability to manage life and moving forward with my dreams in a rational, planned manner.
•No longer avoid "trigger situations" as I have developed the skills necessary to make confident, healthy choices in just about any situation I may face.
•See my past as something rather unbelievable. Can sometimes achieve distant emotional connections with those behaviors, but can no longer visualize a situation where the pleasure once achieved would be worth the risk of all that would be lost inside. Not be able to comprehend a situation where such a risk would ever be taken.
•Ability to produce the same emotional stimulation from value-based actions as once derived solely from impulse-based actions.
•Eliminated all previous connections to recovery, except that which will be included in the ongoing plan for a continuing evaluation and assessment of my life. I no longer associate myself with addiction, but with health.
•Significant others tend to experience people who have made this transition with greater respect and admiration then they ever had previously for the person. Additionally, trust and closeness in the relationship will take on a very real quality. One that has never actually been present previously--only assumed. The partner's believing in the "recovery" will no longer be a matter of crossing their fingers and hoping, but of having no doubt.

II. Consider the values that surround both your healthy and unhealthy patterns. Are they consistent with your current prioritized values? If yes, wonderful. If not, how might this awareness alter how you are currently perceiving/managing your recovery? Share your thoughts in the community forum.


Two most important reasons for unhealthy recovery patterns:

1. My laziness (e.g. I can intellectualize, plan, but not put in effort. I haven't yet completed my proactive plans)
2. Need for instant gratification (instant returns, instant relief, instant orgasm)

The above two are in conflict with my vision and prioritized values. As I read through my values I find that they make sense and are in harmony with healthy recovery patterns.

Vision
To be healthy - physically, mentally, and spiritually. In my work, to have a positive impact on the society from which I derive satisfaction and recognition. Build relationships of love, trust and respect with my parents, spouse, children, family, and friends (but sometimes allowing them to take the first step too). Be financially secure and live in a beautiful place that gives me joy. Become part of a community where I belong and where I provide service as a way to nurture myself and the community.

Commitment
I commit to no porn (alone) and no fantasizing. They are at the crux of my problem and produce anxiety and compulsive behavior.

Why?
- it is crucial to my happiness - personally (not looking on my shoulder, being in control of myself),
- I want to be professionally productive and concentrate on my work, producing regular outputs,
- feel proud of myself as a familyman.

Values
1. In control of myself, free from addiction – spirituality
2. Physically healthy - exercise regularly
3. Spiritually healthy - read, meditation and healing breathing
4. Focused on accomplishments/outputs – not wasted by distractions
5. Warm and intimate relationships with family and friends
6. Joy – losing myself in activities that relax (enlightenment, cooking, music, nature, travel)
7. Belief in myself
8. Trust in God
9. Financially healthy - savings, investments
10. Perseverance – keep walking
11. Relaxed – in the moment
12. Celebrating the opportunity to help others
13. Doing, rather than thinking or planning alone
14. Quality work with positive impact on society
15. Connectivity with the world and the community


C. Dark side
1. Urge to satisfy 'now'
2. Too much pressure to succeed
3. In ability to relax completely
4. Negative body image
5. Suscept to triggers
6. Taking up too much emotional stress
7. Fantasizing, dreaming too much
8. Want instant gratification
9. Too much planning, little action
10. Too much thinking, little action


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 12:42 am 
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Lesson 14: Daily Health Monitoring (stage 1 started on May 8, 2012)

1. Did I participate in active recovery today? How did I feel?
2. Did I face triggers and urges to watch porn/fantasize/masturbate today? Did I deal with these urges effectively? If not, was I aware that I had decided to ‘act on them’?
3. Did I participate in some spiritual activity today? What was it? How did it feel?
4. Did I show love and tenderness to my wife today? If not, why?
5. Did I attend to my son’s needs today with pleasure? If not, why?
6. How much effort did I put in my work today? What were my outputs?
7. What was my biggest stress/distraction today? How did I manage it?
8. Did I do something nice for my body today? How did it feel?
9. Was I content and grateful to God when I went to bed today?
10. What gave me the most joy today?


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 6:22 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:54 am
Posts: 1377
Hi Values

Very interesting to read your recent posts. What I would like you to do is to think deeply about the connection between using pornography and mastubation and the sense I have of your emotional ups and downs - you talk at one point about the difficulty of keeping your mind still.

this is very common here. my own basic pattern went something like this:

1. Begin worrying about something - work for eg.

2 Feel that upset feeling in my stomach. A slight dizzy feeling.

3 Want to get away from those feelings - and the worries beneath

4 Move into my practical sexual rituals - of fantasy, searching for porn and masturbation

5 feel relief and then guilt and then finally the worries return.

Linking fantasy to distraction may be a key for you. Realising too that the distractions are futile and unhelpful may also be key.

I think it will help to continue thinking how you began this emotional attachment to masturbation - interesting to read that it gave you a sense of comfort, that has had a negative effect on your relationships.

Learning to communicate these issues openly and clearly is another way out - talking openly about our weak points is very hard, but it leads to a new levvel of confidence.

As with so much in recovery, awareness is key. This can be practical and short term - the kind of awareness you detail in your Health Monitoring. In other words, awareness of your sexual feelings, your rituals and your emotional wellbeing.

But there is s deeper, or possibly a broader kind of awareness. Of who you are, who you want to be - how you got where you are and where you want to go. This awareness is pretty much the same as honesty. There is no point running ffrom who you are. But learning to accept who you are will help you become who you want to be.

That sounds vague, I realise. What I mean is, don't hide from your compulsions. Accept them. Take responsibility for them.. In doing so, you shold realise that you can change. You ccan change everything, It takes time but you can do this- by crreating new patterns and structures for each day, both to stop negattive patterns and to create positive ones.

This is practical and real. It might be getting to bed earlier, limiting the use of your computer, getting exercise, going on date nights. Be open and clear and calm. This allows you to think clearly and feel clearly. This fights the laziness you talk of, tthe lack of direction. Plans breed awareness which fight the drift that allows our reliance on compulsive behaviours.

Take care

Shaw


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 9:30 pm 
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Hello Shaw,

Thanks for your insights. I appreciate your frankness in sharing your own experience with me. Over the last few weeks I have realized that my urge to watch porn, or fantasize and then indulge in compulsive masturbation arises due to either (or combination) of the following two states of mind:

- I have found this as the coping mechanism when under stress, anxiety, or anger. This acting out creates my personal haven, an instant relief mechanism that has been reinforced by years of repitition. In fact, the subsequent guilt is a part of this ritual. A more objective analysis has shown me inklings of how to separate the behavioral part from the emotional part, but I am still far from complete success. My intellectualization is part of the problem and so I want to focus on recovery process, putting a good and honest effort everyday.

- a lack of confidence about my physical sense plus general insecurity, resulting in compulsive fantasizing and masturbation whenever I see 'hot' women in person or in print/online/tv/movies. In these fantasies, I can escape reality as I am the one in control, the one who is wanted. Regular indulgence in this behavior accentuates insecurity and negative body image instead of addressing it. The habit to intellectualize comes here handy.

I am making progress with the recovery and I will continue with my effort, neither feeling euphoric when I see a positive change not falling with guilt when the slips happen.

Thanks again for writing.


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