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 Post subject: Lesson 34
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Quote:
Immediate gratification plays the primary role in the
lives of most people who struggle with addiction. In
your Personal Recovery Thread, share the following:

A. Describe a time in your life when the "Immediate
Gratification" principle has come into play:



One time after a difficult breakup I was feeling low
and despairing, so I had sex with a prostitute. I knew
it would be something that I would regret later and be
ashamed of later, but the urge to make myself feel
better in the short term seemed to be overwhelming.

During all the years I was struggling with pornography use,
every time I acted out I knew that it would make me feel
better in the short term, but terrible in the long term.


Quote:
B. As best as you can, describe the anxiety you feel
when you are trying to NOT ACT on a compulsive
sexual thought or behavior. Be specific. Compare it to
other feelings of anxiety that you experience. The
purpose of this exercise is to begin to define the
limits of your emotions — and where your compulsive
urges stand within those limits.


It is like an itch that needs to be scratched, something
that is persistent and makes me feel uncomfortable.
Once the idea is planted in my head the thought becomes
stronger and stronger, fueled by anticipation.
It is somehow stronger and deeper, more existential, than
other anxieties I have experiences, like those related to
my health, my career etc. It is a little bit like
the extreme anxieties I have experiences in relationship breakups.
When I have fought against compulsive sexual urges in the past,
it has felt like I am shackled to a
slowly moving conveyer belt, I could struggle against it
and slow it down momentarily but I was destined to end
up exhausted and defeated.

This used to be my perception and belief. Now things work
differently, I try to welcome and dive into the feelings of
discomfort and anxiety instead of avoiding them, to dig
out the beliefs that underlie them and to challenge those beliefs.


Quote:
C. As best as you can, describe the feeling that you
experience while you are engaging in a certain
compulsive sexual thought or behavior. Is it a
trance-like feeling? Is it a hyper-alert feeling? If
someone could get inside your mind as you were
experiencing such a ritual, what would they find?


There is an element of relief, that part of me is
getting what it wanted, finally, after all the struggling.
There is a feeling of extreme focus, of being in a trance;
for a short while the sexual and emotional stimulation is the
only important thing in life and everything else is marginalized.
There is a kind of shutting down of parts of me, certain
thoughts, feelings, values are temporarily disabled, as if they
were covered up with a black cloud, while other parts of me
are enhanced and made very intense. There is extremely powerful
emotional stimulation, that engages the deepest parts of me
where I have hidden all my shame.

I used to assume that everyone had this same kind of reaction
to pornography and other types of sexual stimulation, it was
a big step for me to realize that many people have completely
different mental reactions and processes, without the enormous
emotional stimulation.


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 Post subject: Starting Over
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
I started RecoveryNation two and a half years ago,
and worked through about half of the lessons.
After a couple of months I ran out of steam and stopped posting,
I suppose I thought (wrongly) that I was mostly recovered,
and didn't need to complete the lessons. I always intended
to come back and finish them but I didn't give them high enough priority.

Since then I've had a gradual backsliding in my health,
in terms of scanning and romantic fantasizing. I've been practicing
journalling and daily and weekly health monitoring which definitely helps.
However last week I masturbated for the first time in two and a half years,
which previously had been a firm boundary for me. So I've realized
that I am nowhere near recovered, and I'm going to start over
working through the lessons and posting here. Wish me luck!


Here we go with Lesson 1

Quote:
A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent
change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
3) allowing yourself time to change.
Consider where you feel you are in relation to each of these recovery
keys? Briefly share your thoughts in your Recovery Thread.


1) I am going to do whatever it takes to become completely and permanently healthy.
I am going to eradicate compulsive behavior of all kinds from my life forever.


2) I have found in the past that the most powerful way to combat shame is
to disclose what I feel is shameful, here online and to my wife. I will continue
to do this and not let shame fester inside me.

3) Allowing yourself time to change.

I know it will be a long and gradual process.
Last time around I was too slow and gradual in working through the lessons,
so this time I will do one per day on average.



Quote:
B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor
in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep
inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently
change your life. Don't stop at three or four obvious ones, really
examine your life and what is important to you. List these in your
recovery thread.



Reasons (edited from last time).


* I want a real life, not a fake life
* I want a life where I am in control, not out of control
* I want a life I can be proud of, and not have secrets
* I want to be true to my wife, to cherish and love her in an
honest way.
* I don't want to pass my problems onto my children
* I want a life where I am not ashamed of myself in a deep way,
and not trapped by secrets and shame.
* I want a life where I can relate more deeply to people, friends,
extended family
* I want to be able to make new friends, right now my shame is
stopping me from doing this.
* I don't want to turn out like my father.
* I don't want to be kind of person who exploits women
* I want to keep my sexuality for true love
* I want to be proud of myself, and comfortable with myself.
* I want to have more time and energy to devote to my wife, children,
and others.


Quote:
C. One of the most powerful insights you can gain in establishing a
foundation for permanent recovery is to come to see your addiction
within the scope of your life span. In other words, to not just see your
addiction as it is now, but to look across the span of your life to see
the role that addiction has played in your development. Much of this
will be explored throughout the workshop, but to put yourself in the
right frame of mind to develop such a perception, do the following:
Find a picture of yourself when you were a small child. An innocent
child. For those with early childhood sexual abuse issues, do not
mistake this abuse for a lack of innocence. You were absolutely
innocent. It will be hard to derive the full value from this exercise
without an actual picture so if it is just a matter of needing to find
one...wait. Wait until you have the picture in your hand. If such a
picture does not exist, try envisioning a moment in your life when you
were 3, 4...perhaps 5 years old--but only do this as a last resort. The
power of this exercise rests in your ability to look into the eyes of
your own innocence--something that is very hard to do through
memory alone.
Now, with the picture in hand, look into that child's eyes. Feel their
innocence. Acknowledge that this child is you at a point in your life.
Feel how vulnerable you were. How trusting. Recognize the lack of
addiction in your life...and the desire for little more than love,
compassion, teaching and support. Think of the trauma you faced
throughout your life. Think of the times when you felt alone.
Confused. If you feel like it, cry for this child. Allow yourself to feel
love for this child. Do whatever you must to emotionally connect with
this child because it is for this child that you are now reclaiming your
life. It is this child who lost their way and you are the one now
showing the courage to guide this child, who is you, back to health.
If you would like, share your experience with this last exercise in your
thread.


Here is what I wrote last time.

This was very moving. I was an innocent, lovable little boy.
My father physically abused me. Why? I have never forgiven him
for that. Why didn't he treat me properly? I deserved better.
I was vulnerable.

I looked at the photo again, this little boy was not guilty of anything,
he was sweet and lovable. I have hurt him through my actions and poor decisions.
He deserves better.


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 Post subject: Lesson 2
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Lesson 2:
Quote:

A. Take at least twenty minutes to be alone. If you have a family, ask
them to respect this time that you are taking. Make sure that you
leave your cell phone off. That the dog is fed. That there will be no
distractions. Take a walk by yourself. Sit alone on the beach. Find
somewhere secluded and then, think. Think about who you are, the
life that you have led, and the life that you want to lead from this
point forward. Think about your legacy. Create a vision that you
would feel comfortable committing yourself to pursuing. One that, as
you someday look back upon your life, will allow you to feel proud of
the person that you developed into. Of the life that you led.

B. OPTIONAL If you have someone in your life to talk with about this
vision with, consider talking with them. You are not looking for
validation, correction, guidance...you are just moving one step closer
to making this vision your reality. However, it is important that the
person you choose to share this vision with not listen with a critical
ear. You are in the infancy stage of learning how to perceive, develop
and manage your life as a healthy adult--there is no need to reinforce
your short-comings during this exercise.

C. Write out your vision. Use any format you would like. As a general
rule, the more personal, the better. Post this vision in your Recovery
Thread. There is no right or wrong to this vision...though it should be
comprehensive enough for a stranger (in this case, me) to read it and
have a pretty good idea as to what you value and the life that you
want to live.


[Revised from last time]

1. I want a life where I am healthy, where I can manage my emotions
in a healthy way, with no compulsive behaviors, where I can take
pride in all areas of my life.


2. I want a life based on integrity, honesty, courage, openness.
Where I have the courage to reveal myself to the world. To have
a real life with no dissebling or falseness. Where I am what
I seem to be. Where my priorities and my decisions are based on
my internal values instead of what I think others want.


3. I want a life where I value and respect the sacredness
of every human being and the sacredness of sexual love.
I want a life where the power and energy of my sexuality are used only
to deepen and strengthen my relationship with my wife, and not as a
secret tool to regulate my emotions.


4. I want to devote myself to my wife, to cherish her, love
her, take care of her, be honest with her, support her life,
share her life, be intimate and honest with her.
I want us to grow old together, start new activities together,
visit new places together, and always be interesting to one another.


5. I want to give my children a good start to life. I want to
fill them with love and compassion, fun and spontaneity. I want
to teach them responsibility, integrity, self reliance and compassion
by word and by example. I want to ensure financial stability for them
and give them a good education.


6. I want to have a healthy body, and to enjoy physical activities
like biking, hiking, sports, rock climbing, skiing.
I want to be closely connected to the natural world and to have an
apprciation for its beauty and grandeur, and make time for outdoor
activities and enjoying sunshine.


7. I want to make space and time for solitude and peacefulness
in my life, to stay in touch with my true feelings and to stay
aware of what is truely important. I want to arrange my life and
career to avoid having too much stress and time-demands and pressure,
and sufficient calmness and free time.


8. I want to nurture my creative and artistic side by playing and
listening to Music more.


9. I want to stay in close contact with my extended family,
my sister, mother, brother, and cousins, via visits and more frequent
phone calls. I want to stay in closer contact with old friends
via emails and facebook.


10. I want to achieve things in my career as a scientist that I can be proud of.


11. I want to contribue more to my community, in the small ways that I
can, by volunteering at my childrens school, donating to
charities, maybe coaching a soccer team.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:48 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
[quote]
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.

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.
If you feel you need some guidance as to what you are looking for, or
for examples of how to list each item, see the example values list.

C. When you have extracted every possible value that you can think of
from your vision, do the following:
1) Review the example values list for any additional values
that you may want to add to your own list. List them.
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.
[\quote]


[Revised from last time]


Personal Qualities
------------------

Being honest with myself and others, having integrity and authenticity
Sharing my true self with the world around me
Keeping in touch with my feelings
Having self-respect, honor and dignity.
Devoting time to myself to make sure I get and stay emotionally healthy
Taking care of my body, prioritizing sleep, healthy eating, exercise
Enjoy outdoor activities liking hiking and sports
Being responsible and reliable
Spend time close to nature on a regular basis, appreciate its beauty
Nurture my creative side, enjoy music
Setting realistic everyday goals, and accomplishing them
Celebrate and appreciate all my accomplishments, give myself healthy
rewards
Nurture my spirituality
Nurture my curiosity and wonder
Being emotionally mature
Being organized and prudent in personal finances, being financially secure.

Travelling, seeing new places.
Being tolerant, open minded

As Husband
----------
Be honest with my wife
Cherish, love and take care of my wife
Treat her with respect
Being playful, lighthearted
Bring joy and happiness to her life
Be playful and spontaneous with her
Have frequent dates with my wife
Support her in her career
Remember the things that she likes
Give her breaks from kid minding
Being sexually intimate
Feeling sexually desired, appreciated
Be always there for her to lean on
Being faithful and true to her, keeping the energy of my sexuality
just for her and to strengthen our relationship
Encouraging and supporting her pursuits and friendships
Spending time on my own pursuits, knowing it is good for our relationship.
Be appreciative of everything she does.
Appreciating her love
Sharing my feelings and vulnerabilities with her
Being reliable and dependable


As Parent
---------
Love my children
Being playful
Teach them honesty, integrity, the virtue of hard work
Give them hugs and cuddles, play with them
Always make time for them
Be gentle, calm but firm and consistent when they misbehave
Try not to loose my temper with them
Always listen to their concerns
Teach them about love, and about healthy sexuality
Teach them to appreciate nature
Teach them to be self reliant
Teach them to be curious, questioning, to believe in themselves
Teach them to be tolerant and open-minded, by example
Encourage and support their friendships and interests
Be financially secure, now and in the future
Pick my daughter up early more often, do things together
Volunteer at their school
Be a role model for my children, in how I treat them and
their mother, in my career, in how I treat myself.


As Son
------
Love and support my mother
Keep in close contact with her.


As Friend
---------
Treat people with kindness and compassion
Make more effort to stay in contact with old friends
Be more open and courageous in attempting to make new same-sex friends
Be someone that friends can rely on
Bring light and joy to peoples lives
Showing my friends truth and vulnerability instead of always putting on a happy face.
Make more effort to stay in contact with extended family
Making good, non-supeficial friends


As worker
-----------
Take pride in my work and my accomplishments
Doing my best
Developing intellectual depth
Value knowledge and learning
Be organized and efficient in my work
Have realistic expectations for my accomplishments,
and figure out how to avoid stress and worry about my career
Make more effort to remember names of everyone I encounter, and to use them
Take care of the people who depend on me professionally
Be a responsible member of my professional community
Treat people with kindess and compassion
Being a resource for others









Dark Side Values
=================

Feeling excitement
Thinking that a secret, interior world that I control cannot hurt me.
Exploring taboo things.
Getting a thrill from seeing private things in others lives
Deception and control
Showing a false front
Thinking of women as sexual objects and not as people
Blocking inconvenient thoughts like the real lives of porn actresses
Reveling in fantasies, a rich secret inner world
False beliefs like sex with beautiful women will magically solve
emotional problems
Subsuming all other priorities to getting a fix.
Feeling shame, revulsion.
Feeling despair at being powerless and unable to control my life.
The feeling I don't deserve any better
The feeling there is no hope for the future
Basing my self-esteem on the input of others
Feeling a need to escape from reality


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 Post subject: Lesson 4
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
[quote]
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.
Take a snapshot of where these values lay in terms of helping you to
achieve your vision. DO NOT worry if a particular value is a few items
above or below another (for instance, don't worry about choosing
between 'Strengthening My Role as a Father to My Son' and
'Strengthening My Role as a Father to My Daughter'). You should be
looking for a general sense of prioritization--not an exact
representation. Remember that values change. Priorities change. And
so, to try to imagine all possible situations for which prioritization
may apply would paralyze you. So don't. Think only in the current
moment--and in relation to what you believe would be the most direct
path to building that vision in your day-to-day life.

B. When you have completed this priority list, post it into your
Recovery Thread.
[\quote]


Prioritized List
---------------


Being honest with myself and others, having integrity and authenticity
Keeping in touch with my feelings
Having self-respect, honor and dignity.
Devoting time to myself to make sure I get and stay emotionally healthy
Use life management skills to manage my emotions based on long term values
Taking care of my body, prioritizing sleep, healthy eating, exercise
Enjoy outdoor activities liking hiking and sports
Spend time close to nature on a regular basis, appreciate its beauty
Nurture my creative side, enjoy music
Setting realistic everyday goals, and accomplishing them
Cherish, love and take care of my wife
Be honest with my wife
Treat her with respect
Being sexually intimate
Sharing my feelings and vulnerabilities with her, reaching out to her
Love my children, make time for them.
Play with my children, enter their world.
Teach my children values, skills, love.
Encourage my childrens friendships
Love and support my mother
Stay close with my extended family.
Stay in touch with friends, open up to them.
Do work I can be proud of.



Being playful, lighthearted
Bring joy and happiness to her life
Be playful and spontaneous with her
Have frequent dates with my wife
Support her in her career
Remember the things that she likes
Give her breaks from kid minding
Feeling sexually desired, appreciated
Be always there for her to lean on
Being faithful and true to her, keeping the energy of my sexuality
just for her and to strengthen our relationship
Encouraging and supporting her pursuits and friendships
Spending time on my own pursuits, knowing it is good for our relationship.
Be appreciative of everything she does.
Appreciating her love
Being reliable and dependable


Being playful
Teach them honesty, integrity, the virtue of hard work
Give them hugs and cuddles, play with them
Always make time for them
Be gentle, calm but firm and consistent when they misbehave
Try not to loose my temper with them
Always listen to their concerns
Teach them about love, and about healthy sexuality
Teach them to appreciate nature
Teach them to be self reliant
Teach them to be curious, questioning, to believe in themselves
Teach them to be tolerant and open-minded, by example
Encourage and support their friendships and interests
Be financially secure, now and in the future
Pick my daughter up early more often, do things together
Volunteer at their school
Be a role model for my children, in how I treat them and
their mother, in my career, in how I treat myself.

Travelling, seeing new places.
Being tolerant, open minded

Treat people with kindness and compassion
Make more effort to stay in contact with old friends
Be more open and courageous in attempting to make new same-sex friends
Be someone that friends can rely on
Bring light and joy to peoples lives
Showing my friends truth and vulnerability instead of always putting on a happy face.
Make more effort to stay in contact with extended family
Making good, non-supeficial friends


Take pride in my work and my accomplishments
Doing my best
Developing intellectual depth
Value knowledge and learning
Be organized and efficient in my work
Have realistic expectations for my accomplishments,
and figure out how to avoid stress and worry about my career
Make more effort to remember names of everyone I encounter, and to use them
Take care of the people who depend on me professionally
Be a responsible member of my professional community
Treat people with kindess and compassion
Being a resource for others




Being organized and prudent in personal finances, being financially secure.

Being responsible and reliable


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:48 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:13 am
Posts: 687
Hi welcome back!

Really good job on your reasons for change, action plans and knowing we have to address all compulsive behaviors:). It is obvious you learned a lot from the first time through. I did it twice also made all the difference, went way deeper addressing all compulsive behavior and being able to create a life I wanted to live. Glad you are back.

Theadog

_________________
"When everything else is stripped away the essential is reveled." B.K.S. Iyengar


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 Post subject: Lesson 5
PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Thank you Theadog! It's good to know that others have had success the second time around!



Here are my top 15 values:



Be honest with myself and others, staying in touch with my feelings. Inner harmony, insight. No secrets.

Nurture my spiritual side, having some downtime, solitude, time close to nature regularly

Take care of my body to keep fit and healthy, prioritizing
exercise, healthy eating, regular and sufficient sleep.

Strengthen my relationship with my wife, full disclosure.

Be faithful and true to my wife.

Nurture my creative side by listening to and playing music regularly.

Raise my children well, love and cherish them

Be a role model for my children

Strengthen my relationships with my extended family

Prioritize making time to stay in touch with friends.

Make effort to make new friends

Be organized and prudent in our personal finances, be financially secure.

Be more organized and efficient in my career, to achieve my goals
and help the people who depend on me, without stress and taking
up family time.

Do work I can be proud of.

Value my sexuality as a sacred tool for love, not for medicating my emotions


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 Post subject: Lesson 6
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Quote:
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.





Proactive Action Plan: Maintaining Physical Health
- Go to bed by 9:30pm everynight.
- Plan in advance for work deadlines in order to avoid having
to stay up late.
- Make time for short runs or bike rides every day.
- Avoid eating sugar-rich or junk foods, eat fruit instead of starches.
- Do exercises from youtube everyday to help with my backpain.



Proactive Action Plan: Keeping in touch with my feelings
- Write in my Journal every day, and read every day.
- Devote some quiet time to myself every day, to mediate
and get in touch with my feelings, and keep track of
potential triggers and danger points.
- Be honest with myself in my journal.
- Listen to music for a while every day.
- When feeling triggered, make sure to identify the emotion that was the source.


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 Post subject: Lesson 10
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Quote:
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.


I told my wife about my sexual addiction two years ago,
and we have been gradually working through recovery together.
However I have not told her yet about my recent masturbation slips,
although I am afraid to I know that I must in order to lay
a foundation for moving ahead in a healthy way. I am afraid how
she will react.



Quote:
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.


I plan to tell her everything.

Quote:
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.


I am not involved in coaching or counseling.


Quote:
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.


There are vibrators in the bedroom that I have used while masturbating.
I have now thrown these out.



Quote:
V. Make a list of all the people that you use as
compulsive sexual and/or romantic object. Post this
in your thread


In the past there have been two people that I have had
compulsive romantic thoughts about. Now I
sometimes find myself tempted to indulge in such thoughts
but for the most part I am able to avoid doing so.


Quote:
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.


Before my past 2 years of recovery, my offices at work and at home
to watch porn and masturbate. More recently, my bedroom and home
office to masturbate.


I feel very ashamed to reveal all these things.


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 Post subject: Lesson 11
PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Here is how these things have applied to me in my life. It
was very difficult to list all these behaviors, like pulling teeth.


Fantasy
-------
* In the past, fantasies when see attractive women in public.
Extended scanning followed by masturbation later.
During my recovery over the past 2 1/2 years this has been much reduced.
I still feel the urge to scan attractive women I see in public, during
the summer when they are wearing shorts, and it takes effort not to do so.
I mostly succeed but sometimes do not.

* In the past, infatuation/fantasy with one particular woman,
extended fantasies when lying in bed, driving along;
fantasies when masturbating or having sex with wife.
Detailed and intricate fantasies of affair, how to arrange tyrsts etc.
I mistakenly believed that getting together would be a flame
that would solve all my emotional problems.
Finally I stopped fantasizing and obsessing about her.

However over the past several months I have had some fantasies
about another woman, despite efforts not to. When I encounter her
it feels like I am on an emotional roller coaster, out of control.
I try to avoid her, and I try to avoid fantasizing, but sometimes I do.



* Cues for obsession: stress, low self-esteem, boredom,
attractive women trigger thoughts of past rejections, lonliness,
running into fantasy object, acts as trigger.

* Boundaries violated: my identity, integrity and intimacy of my
marriage, my being rooted in reality, my self-respect.




Masturbation
------------

* Behaviors in past: use of vibrators, dildos in anus,
digital stimulation of anus and prostate.
Achieve orgasm, release
Often with fantasy,
often while viewing pornographic videos.
Followed by guilt, shame

I stopped masturbating completely 2 1/2 years ago and have avoided it since.
But in the past month or two I have masturbated several times,
using a vibrator on my anus, bent over my bed or sofa.
I've also made videos of myself doing this and watched them while masturbating,
this boosts the stimulation.

* Cues: stress (work, addiction), shame, opportunity, despair re recovery, low self-esteem, desire for escape, boost.

* Boundaries violated: self-respect, intimacy, autonomy, order, integrity



Pornography
-----------

* Behavior:
Very distant past: images in magazines, movies in adult movie theatres,
streamed videos in adult stores.
rental of adult movies to play at home.
Distant past: images and vidoes over internet.
Time spent seeking most stimulating videos
Present (last 2 1/2 years): none
Masturbation, orgasm

* Cues: stress, emotional imbalance, opportunity, pressure builds up,
shame from addiction.

* Boundaries violated: self-respect, intimacy, autonomy, order,
integrity


Promiscuity
------------
No


Affairs
-------
No


Prostitution
------------
* Behavior:
Distant past:
Cruised for prostitutes (driving down certain streets).
Paid street prostitute for oral sex in car
Paid street prostitute to masturbate me in my home
Hired prostitutes for sex:
Went to brothel on a business trip, paid for sex.
paid prostutute to come to my home for sex (2 occasions)
Paid masseuse to masturbate me in massage parlor
Paid for lap dances at strip shows

* Cues: compulsion, shame at sexual inexperience, shame of addiction,
low self-esteem, stress, escapism, opportunity

* Boundaries violated: safety, security, integrity, self-respect


Rape & Sexual Violence
----------------------
No


Voyeuring, Exhibitionism and Stalking
-------------------------------------

* Behavior:
Distant past: Scanning appartment building with binoculars looking
for sexual activity
Listening to walls in hotels, appartment buildings
Observing neighbor in her kitchen through windows of house.
Going to strip clubs
Looking at "voyeur cams" on the internet

* Cues: lonliness, shame, stress, shame of addiction, boredom,
opportunity

* Boundaries violated: integrity, self-respect, intimacy


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 Post subject: Lessson 12
PostPosted: Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Quote:
Identify those patterns that you currently recognize
in yourself in relation to an unhealthy recovery. Post
these observations into your Recovery Thread and/or
Recovery Manager


Of those listed, here are the ones that I think apply to me currently,
the rest do not.


* I have tended to analyze the risk/reward
benefits of what the workshop asks me to do,
instead of taking it on faith that it is beneficial.

* "They actively prepare their environment
for successful acting out by": I have (unconciously) done
this, coming home at a time when I know nobody will be home
and then ending up masturbating.

* "They believe that they are uniquely defective and/or damaged as
human beings": Intellectually I realize that I am not damaged and
worthless, but I think at a core emotional level I have not been quite
able to let go of that perception.

* "They suspect that they will never be able
to overcome their urges..": The same for this belief.

* "Relapse triggers are feared, and so their
lives continue to be altered as a result of
addiction." This does apply to me, for example I try
to avoid women whom I have fantasized about in the past,
since I know seeing them will act as a trigger.


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 Post subject: Starting Over
PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 7:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Several months ago I had a relapse and watched some pornography and masturbated.
I shared my failure with my wife and for the last several months have been trying
to move forward on my journey towards health, with daily journalling and daily helath monitoring.
I did not restart working through recovery nation though, I should have.
Yesterday I failed again and watched pornography and masturbated. I feel powerless and despairing,
as if failure is inevitable and nothing I can do will stop it. I'm exhausted and sad.

So this is me starting over on Recovery Nation, from the beginning, a new start, in the hope
that this time I will succeed in moving all the way to a healthy life. I gained so much
insight and empathy and agency from this website and community before, I hope to again. Wish me luck.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 11:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Quote:
A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent
change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
3) allowing yourself time to change.
Consider where you feel you are in relation to each of these recovery
keys? Briefly share your thoughts in your Recovery Thread.


1) I am committed to making a permanent change to health.
Of course I made this committment last time around and I thought it was
sincere. I was only partially sucessful, I was too complacent and stopped
working hard too early, thinking I was healthy for superficial reasons (no acting out).
The proof of sincerity and committment will be how hard and how steadily
I work at my recovery.

2) I have given a name to my addictive tendancies, I call him "Tom".
Sometimes it is as if I can hear him whispering to me "Oh come on,
you've failed anyway already recently, there is no point in trying,
you know you're going to fail again anyway." So the guilt and shame over
recent failures is a real trigger. I can't wish it away, I just
have to try to gradually replace it with pride in steady and real progress.

3) I don't think allowing myself time to change will be a problem.
The last time around, the problem was I gave myself too much time,
I thought getting around to finishing all the Recovery Nation lessons later
would be fine, there was no urgency, I was too slow and complacent.
I need more urgency and realism this time around.


Quote:
B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor
in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep
inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently
change your life. Don't stop at three or four obvious ones, really
examine your life and what is important to you. List these in your
recovery thread.


- I want to have pride in myself, honor, integrity, dignity.

- I want to take all the time and energy I spend dealing with the
addiction and spend it instead on positive, life-affirming things:
playing with my children, enjoying nature, improving my relationship
with my wife

- I want to be in control of my life, to have agency and free will

- I want to devote my sexuality to enhancing my relationship
with my wife, not as a tool to medicate my emotions.

- I want to be emotionally strong and healthy in order to be able
to raise my kids to be the same way.

- I want to be able to have deep friendships outside my family;
my friendships are still now undermined by by addiction.

- I want to be able to be real and genuine and open, instead of having
a surface life and a secret innner life.

- I want to escape from my father's legacy.

- I want a more relaxed, stress-free life, where I don't have to worry
about the addiction taking over and destroying my life.

- I want to be free.


Quote:
C. One of the most powerful insights you can gain in establishing a
foundation for permanent recovery is to come to see your addiction
within the scope of your life span. In other words, to not just see your
addiction as it is now, but to look across the span of your life to see
the role that addiction has played in your development. Much of this
will be explored throughout the workshop, but to put yourself in the
right frame of mind to develop such a perception, do the following:
Find a picture of yourself when you were a small child. An innocent
child. For those with early childhood sexual abuse issues, do not
mistake this abuse for a lack of innocence. You were absolutely
innocent. It will be hard to derive the full value from this exercise
without an actual picture so if it is just a matter of needing to find
one...wait. Wait until you have the picture in your hand. If such a
picture does not exist, try envisioning a moment in your life when you
were 3, 4...perhaps 5 years old--but only do this as a last resort. The
power of this exercise rests in your ability to look into the eyes of
your own innocence--something that is very hard to do through
memory alone.

Now, with the picture in hand, look into that child's eyes. Feel their
innocence. Acknowledge that this child is you at a point in your life.
Feel how vulnerable you were. How trusting. Recognize the lack ofaddiction
in your life...and the desire for little more than love,
compassion, teaching and support. Think of the trauma you faced
throughout your life. Think of the times when you felt alone.
Confused. If you feel like it, cry for this child. Allow yourself to feel
love for this child. Do whatever you must to emotionally connect with
this child because it is for this child that you are now reclaiming your
life. It is this child who lost their way and you are the one now
showing the courage to guide this child, who is you, back to health.
If you would like, share your experience with this last exercise in your
thread.


When I do this I see an innocent little boy, someone I want to pick
up and love, someone like my son who has never been abused, unlike me.
I was not addicted back then, but the seeds for the addiction were laid
soon afterwards.


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Lesson 2:
Quote:

A. Take at least twenty minutes to be alone. If you have a family, ask
them to respect this time that you are taking. Make sure that you
leave your cell phone off. That the dog is fed. That there will be no
distractions. Take a walk by yourself. Sit alone on the beach. Find
somewhere secluded and then, think. Think about who you are, the
life that you have led, and the life that you want to lead from this
point forward. Think about your legacy. Create a vision that you
would feel comfortable committing yourself to pursuing. One that, as
you someday look back upon your life, will allow you to feel proud of
the person that you developed into. Of the life that you led.

B. OPTIONAL If you have someone in your life to talk with about this
vision with, consider talking with them. You are not looking for
validation, correction, guidance...you are just moving one step closer
to making this vision your reality. However, it is important that the
person you choose to share this vision with not listen with a critical
ear. You are in the infancy stage of learning how to perceive, develop
and manage your life as a healthy adult--there is no need to reinforce
your short-comings during this exercise.

C. Write out your vision. Use any format you would like. As a general
rule, the more personal, the better. Post this vision in your Recovery
Thread. There is no right or wrong to this vision...though it should be
comprehensive enough for a stranger (in this case, me) to read it and
have a pretty good idea as to what you value and the life that you
want to live.




1. I want a life based on integrity, honor, honesty, courage, openness.
Where I have pride in who I am. Where I have the courage to reveal myself to the world.
To have a real life with no dissembling or falseness. Where I am what
I seem to be. Where my priorities and my decisions are based on
my internal values instead of what I think others want.


2. I want a life where I am healthy, where I can manage my emotions
in a healthy way, with no compulsive behaviors, where I can take
pride in all areas of my life.


3. I want to share my life with my wife in every way,
to have a deep and loving relationship, based on absolute honesty,
on sharing, on respect, on love. I want us to cherish one
another, support one another, explore new things together,
and not have secrets from one another.


4. I want a life where I value and respect the sacredness
of every human being and the sacredness of sexual love.
I want a life where the power and energy of my sexuality are used only
to deepen and strengthen my relationship with my wife, and not as a
secret tool to regulate my emotions.


5. I want a life closely connected to the natural world and the outdoors,
where I regularly spend time enjoying the beauty and calmness of nature.
I want to take care of my body, stay fit, and to organize my life to include
enjoy physical activities that exercise me and keep me fit, like biking, soccer, running.


6. I want to love my children and raise them well. I want to
fill them with love and compassion, fun and spontaneity. I want
to teach them responsibility, integrity, self reliance and compassion
by word and by example. I want to ensure financial stability for them
and give them a good education.


7. I want to make space and time for solitude and peacefulness
in my life, to stay in touch with my true feelings and to stay
aware of what is truly important. I want to arrange my life and
career to avoid having too much stress and time-demands and pressure,
and sufficient calmness and free time.


8. I want to nurture my creative and artistic side by playing and
listening to music more.


9. I want to stay in close contact with my extended family,
my sister, mother, brother, and cousins, via visits and more frequent
phone calls. I want to stay in closer contact with old friends
via emails and facebook.


10. I want to achieve things in my career as a scientist that I can be proud of,
and support and mentor other young scientists.


11. I want to contribute more to my community, in the small ways that I
can, by volunteering at my children's school, donating to
charities, maybe coaching a soccer team.


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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 7:24 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Quote:
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.

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.
If you feel you need some guidance as to what you are looking for, or
for examples of how to list each item, see the example values list.

C. When you have extracted every possible value that you can think of
from your vision, do the following:
1) Review the example values list for any additional values
that you may want to add to your own list. List them.
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.



[Revised from last time]


Personal Qualities
------------------

Having self-respect, honor, dignity, pride
Being honest with myself and others, having integrity and authenticity
Sharing my true self with the world around me
Keeping in touch with my feelings
Devoting time to myself to make sure I get and stay emotionally healthy
Taking care of my body, prioritizing sleep, healthy eating, exercise
Enjoy outdoor activities liking hiking and sports
Being responsible and reliable
Spend time close to nature on a regular basis, appreciate its beauty and solitude
Nurture my creative side, enjoy music
Setting realistic everyday goals, and accomplishing them
Celebrate and appreciate all my accomplishments, give myself healthy rewards
Nurture my spirituality
Nurture my curiosity and wonder
Being emotionally mature
Being organized and prudent in personal finances, being financially secure.
Traveling, seeing new places.
Being tolerant, open minded
Caring for and helping others.


As Husband
----------
Be honest with my wife, active not passive
Have the courage to share my vulnerabilities with her.
Cherish, love and take care of my wife
Treat her with respect
When she reveals vulnerabilities to me, or feelings of anger, cherish her, be respectful, and assume that anger is justified.
Being playful, lighthearted
Bring joy and happiness to her life
Be playful and spontaneous with her
Have frequent dates with my wife
Support her in her career
Work hard not to give her too much childcare, work hard not to let my career impact our family time.
Remember the things that she likes
Give her breaks from kid minding
Being sexually intimate
Feeling sexually desired, appreciated
Be always there for her to lean on
Being faithful and true to her, keeping the energy of my sexuality
just for her and to strengthen our relationship
Encouraging and supporting her pursuits and friendships
Spending time on my own pursuits, knowing it is good for our relationship.
Be appreciative of everything she does.
Appreciating her love, her honesty, her trust, her courage, her fidelity.
Being reliable and dependable


As Parent
---------
Love my children
Being playful
Teach them honesty, integrity, the virtue of hard work
Give them hugs and cuddles, play with them
Always make time for them, quality time, I focus on the things they are interested in.
Arrange play dates with their friends more often.
Be gentle, calm but firm and consistent when they misbehave
Do not loose my temper with them
Always listen to their concerns
Teach them about love, and about healthy sexuality
Teach them to appreciate nature
Teach them to be self reliant
Teach them to be curious, questioning, to believe in themselves
Teach them to be tolerant and open-minded, by example
Encourage and support their friendships and interests
Be financially secure, now and in the future
Pick them up early from after school more often, do things together
Volunteer at their school
Be a role model for my children, in how I treat them and
their mother, in my career, in how I treat myself.
Cherish the time we have with them, they will not be children forever.

As Son and Brother
------------------
Love and support my mother and sister and brothers
Keep in close contact with them.


As Friend
---------
Treat people with kindness and compassion
Make more effort to stay in contact with old friends
Be more open and courageous in attempting to make new same-sex friends
Be someone that friends can rely on
Bring light and joy to peoples lives
Showing my friends truth and vulnerability instead of always putting on a happy face.
Make more effort to stay in contact with extended family
Making good, non-superficial friends


As worker
-----------
Take care of the people who depend on me professionally
Take pride in my work and my accomplishments
Value knowledge and learning
Spend time to figure out how to organize myself efficiently.
Have realistic expectations for my accomplishments,
and figure out how to avoid stress and worry about my career
Make more effort to remember names of everyone I encounter, and to use them
Be a responsible member of my professional community
Treat people with kindness and compassion
Being a resource for others
I need to internalize the fact that my self-worth is not solely derived from my work,
and to take my work less seriously.








Dark Side Values
=================

Feeling excitement
Thinking that a secret, interior world that I control cannot hurt me.
Exploring taboo things.
Getting a thrill from seeing private things in others lives
Deception and control
Showing a false front
Thinking of women as sexual objects and not as people
Blocking inconvenient thoughts like the real lives of porn actresses
Reveling in fantasies, a rich secret inner world
False beliefs like sex with beautiful women will magically solve
emotional problems
Subsuming all other priorities to getting a fix.
Feeling shame, revulsion.
Feeling despair at being powerless and unable to control my life.
The feeling I don't deserve any better
The feeling there is no hope for the future
Basing my self-esteem on the input of others
Feeling a need to escape from reality
fantasizing that pornography actresses are doing those things with me, so I must be worthy and desirable.
Enjoying physical stimulation, visual stimulation, auditory stimulation, orgasm
Enjoying the anticipation.
Enjoying the reliability of the stimulation, the control.


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