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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:06 pm 
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THANK YOU KENZO!!!!

A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)

Positive: reinforce my real values; start peeling away the layers of crap I have put in place and reinforced on my core; stop the feelings of guilt and shame afterwards; boost, if only slightly, my self-confidence; boost, if only slightly, my feelings of self-worth; start to justify the forgiveness that I have shown myself; elation at making a good choice.

Negative: interrupt the immediate gratification process; boost the feelings of need for emotional relief; confusion; question the decision; feelings of loss (from not having my “old friend” to help me feel good or not as bad).

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

Positive: emotional “balance” regained; comfort from relief of emotional stress; addictive values reinforced; new layers of crap piled on my core to numb it; justification of decision; justification of shame; justification of worthlessness; justification of “innocent victimness”.

Negative: need for greater stimulation for effectiveness; distance me further from myself; distance me further from my Wife; distance me further from my family; raise my emotional stress level; feelings of loss (of everything); guilt; shame.

C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?

Values-based long term consequences: continue to uncover and strengthen my real core; reinforce and adjust my real values; boost my self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth; help me be comfortable with being myself at all times; help bring my Wife and family closer; strengthen my determination to be absolutely honest at all costs; help me find peace within myself.

Emotion-based long term consequences: continue to separate me from those I love; continue to destroy my self-confidence, self self-esteem and self worth; help me justify my “innocent victimness”; push me further into myself and away from the real world.
D. Document your thoughts in your recovery manager.
At this point, I can see how my addictive behaviors helped me survive long ago, and how it snowballed over the years, but I also see that it has done major, maybe irreparable, damage to me, my Wife, my marriage, my family and to many around me.

Ugly truths, but they are my truths.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:50 pm 
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Share the following in your thread:

A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)

1. I work at a job that, after many years, has become routine and boring.
2. There is a new hire at work, not in my department but is there often.
3. She is younger than me, seems friendly and in need of a friend.
4. I find out from co-workers that, because of her ex (or some other “reason”) she “needs” saving.
5. Her personality fits the stereotype that I find almost unresistible.
6. I step out back of the office one morning for a cigarette and she is there too.
7. I strike up a conversation with her.

Options:
A. Ignore the new hire unless I absolutely need to interact with her;
B. Pay close attention to the new hire, “out of curiosity”;
C. Ignore what my co-workers tell me;
D. Pay close attention to what I hear, true or not;
E. Excuse myself and go back to work;
F. Have the conversation.

B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)

Option B. and D. crosses boundary of no interest in ANY woman other than my wife;
Option F. crosses boundary of NO unnecessary conversation with ANY woman other than my wife.

In the case of a value conflict whichever value causes a positive influence would override.

C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:

i. You make the decision to act on this option

A. Ignore the new hire unless I absolutely need to interact with her.
Consequences: short-term stress from “old self”, co-workers and woman; pride in self for values-based decision, ability to communicate with my Wife honestly about what happened; reinforcement of decision-making abilities; reinforcement of self-confidence.

C. Ignore what my co-workers tell me;
Consequences: short-term stress for deciding to ignore co-workers, forgoing my curiosity and possibly angering co-workers; as above, pride in self for values-based decision, ability to communicate with my Wife honestly about what happened; reinforcement of decision-making abilities; reinforcement of self-confidence.

E. Excuse myself and go back to work;
Consequences: short-term stress from NOT taking opportunity to talk to her, from NOT making emotional decision; again as above, pride in self for values-based decision, ability to communicate with my Wife honestly about what happened; reinforcement of decision-making abilities; reinforcement of self-confidence.

ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option

A. Ignore the new hire unless I absolutely need to interact with her.
Consequences: short-term stress relief; guilt and shame for failing to follow my values, guilt and shame for hiding it from my Wife, negative reinforcement of decision-making abilities and self-confidence.

C. Ignore what my co-workers tell me;
Consequences: short-term stress relief for deciding not to ignore co-workers, satisfying my curiosity not angering co-workers; as above guilt and shame for failing to follow my values, guilt and shame for hiding it from my Wife, negative reinforcement of decision-making abilities and self-confidence.

E. Excuse myself and go back to work;
Consequences: crossing the no-talk boundary, finding out more about her for “ammunition” to “fall in Love”, guilt and shame for actions that force me to lie to my Wife long-term emotional stress from taking opportunity to talk to her, from making emotional decision; again as above, multiple negative reinforcement of values; decision-making abilities and self-confidence.

iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others

If acting on A. C. or F., same as above, factoring others into this, given that I act on values-based decisions, would have no serious effects.

iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret

Again, the positive reinforcements would remain. The possible short-term problems with co-workers or the woman are removed with no effect.

I can see a definite pattern here….. Remove the emotions from the equation helps make the consequences of a given decision/action, both short- and long-term, much easier to see. It clarifies the effects of either type of decision and, for me at least, makes taking responsibility for those consequences not easier, but less difficult.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 6:46 pm 
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Lesson 52:

Consider a situation in life (outside of addiction) where this 'isolation' of feelings/emotions has been known to occur and/or might prove beneficial. For instance, certain Eastern practices where people can isolate the physical pain they are experiencing from their spiritual selves and thus, manage that pain with ease. And no, you can't use that as your example! There are thousands of such potential applications — albeit not as dramatic. Share this in your thread.
What I am looking for is your skill in understanding the concepts involved with isolating emotions and what it will 'look like/feel like' in real life application. If you can't think of anything, say so in your thread and I will provide you with an example.

Solders at war;
Doctor in surgery working on a friend or loved one;
EMT at an accident scene;
Addict in recovery;
Lawyer in courtroom defending someone he/she knows is guilty;
Law enforcement officer getting harassed by crowd at crime scene;
Professional sportsman getting harassed by crowd;
Checker in store with rude customer;
Me dealing with “trophy hunter” mentality;
Boss dealing with problem employee;
Employee dealing with obsessive, micro-managing boss;

Any situation where isolation of feelings/emotions is necessary to allow choices/actions to be made so as regulate/defuse the situation, including acting-out qualifies here.

This IS day-to-day life, at least for me……


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:45 pm 
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When it comes time to actually make the decision as to what action you are going to take next, it is not always easy to separate the healthy options from the destructive ones. The ones based on values versus the ones based on emotions. Often, these two areas overlap. This is where experience, time and a commitment to make what you believe to be the best choice at that time comes in.

A. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbation to be against your values — and therefore, a destructive act. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbating to be within your values — and therefore, a healthy act.

1. Against ~ for me, ANY situation other than:
2. Within ~ with my Wife and ONLY there. If we are no longer together see 1.

B. In your recovery thread, list other common value conflicts involving sexual and/or romantic behavior that you have found yourself engaged in? Or that you may find yourself engaged in, given your history.

Hint: think romantic relationships, fantasizing, etc.

Over the years, in my “quest” to find and fall in love with my fantasy construct of my mother, I have experienced many values conflicts. I loved my Wife, but I “loved” (whoever) the current “love of my life” was, MAJOR conflict;

I spent many years and a lot of effort pretending to be someone that I was NOT, and, in fact, couldn’t possibly be (not even superman could have been that “me”). I knew down in my core that I was NOT “me” but I also “knew” that no one would accept the real me either.

When engaged in scanning I knew down in my core that that it was NOT what my values allowed for but the “hit” felt good, for a very few seconds.

Sitting at my desk at work, I slip off to (anywhere but here). My core knows that I should be working, but I’m bored……

I could go on and on. The positive/negative values conflicts are so common I would guess that most situations can be like that…..no black or white……no all or nothing.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:15 am 
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Lesson 54

A. Select a VALUE-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some NEGATIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

A little over a month ago I decided to “be the adult”, swallow my pride, stop feeling sorry for myself and frightened of the consequences (I’m a huge fan of “what if???”) and contact my youngest son to try to mend our relationship. I value my relationship with my children and grandchildren almost as much as my relationship with my Wife, and our youngest (he’s my only “blood” child) is very special to me and to us. I also value being able to really talk with him and to let him know that I love him and will always be there for him, irrespective of what he or others may think of me. I also value being able to be myself with him so he knows who and what I am, something I did not have the chance to do myself.

We had our “discussion”. It was obviously scripted and rehearsed with a lot of mention of “family”, “looking out for each other” and “being there for each other”. It turned out to be a whole lot of warm fuzzy BS.

Now, a little over a month later, we are back to being ignored and intentionally left out of the so called “family”.

I got to meet my new grandsons, but it is blatantly obvious that we will NOT be allowed to be part of their lives, or our granddaughters or our son’s except through closely monitored and supervised monthly (or less) visits.

I got to “clear the air” with our son, but it’s now as bad or worse than before; I got to meet our new grandsons, but I won’t be allowed to be involved in their lives; my idea of “family” got castigated.

B. Select an EMOTION-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some POSITIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

We breed and raise pure bred dogs. One of the stipulations in our sales contracts is that if the new owners cannot keep the dog for any reason they must return it to us. I always have a favorite in each litter and last year my favorite little (well not so much really) female came back to us. I decided then and there that I was keeping her, she was mine (totally emotional decision, we did NOT need another dog, but they bring us and me in particular so much joy). In any event we kept her and she and I bonded big-time.
We (actually more me then my Wife) decided, against our better judgment, to breed her 8 ½ weeks ago (as of this writing) and puppies are imminent.

I get so much happiness from watching the pregnancy and worrying over my baby and her babies. At the birth I get such a sense of wonder watching the individual births and each new life begin. It continues on for me over the next 8~12 weeks until they are off to their new homes with their new humans.


Last edited by 62andbroken on Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:19 pm 
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I moved this over from the "false start" reboot thread. I didn't need to start a new thread, that, for me, was dumb.

I do NOT need to start over. "Reinventing the wheel" is unnecessary at this point, and probably does more harm then good. It allows me to stay in my addictions, just keep spinning my wheels and get nowhere (translation: keep my addictions safe and sound). NOT GOOD!!!!

I do need to revisit some areas/lessons and REALLY study them to get a real grasp on the ideas as well as the practical aspects involved.

My reason for recovery has changed dramatically, from one that really wasn't for me, but for my wife/marriage to something totally different, see below.

I know too, that my vision, although similar, has evolved, a normal thing I think. See below as well.

Lesson 1:

Right now I don't have 10~15 reasons, I only have one.

During a discussion with my wife (Yes, we are still together somehow), it became obvious to me that I have very few memories of most of my life, all six+ decades. It's OK that I don't remember much about my early childhood, few do, but I have almost NO memories of all of the rest of my life. I used to think (translation: I convinced myself and those around me) that I just had a bad memory. Not true. I saw clearly that I had few, if any memories of all of that time because all I gave a damn about was my addictions. At first they helped me get through some rough times after my parents passed, but I became totally dependent on them to deal with life and people. Nothing else really mattered, nothing at all.

My reason for change: I WILL NOT loose however much time I have left here to the nothingness that addiction gives me. I want to actually LIVE my life, and live it in reality, not just exist in the nothing that my addictions give me.

That is the foundation for my commitment, I've given my addictions most of my life, I WANT IT BACK.

I've been dealing with the guilt and shame for far to long, I have put that all aside for now.

I am taking whatever time I need to get this done, or I will be working it when I leave this life, that's up to GOD.

No more lies, no more bullshit, no more excuses, no more procrastination, no more denial, NO MORE.

And a special note to Coach Kenzo, if you have the time and are so inclined old timer :w: , please call bullshit on me when I need it, and I will.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Lesson 2:

My New vision (not to different from the old one and still being tweaked):

I will look back at the last twenty years of my life, with my wife of fifty-seven years, and marvel at how good they were (in the sense of being real, not all bliss and joy) compared to the first sixty-four years of my life.
I will have finally reached the point that I am comfortable with who and what I truly am, I will have left the plastic me far behind. I will continue to look inside myself to see me.
All who know me will know that I speak only with honesty and openness, the truth as I sincerely believe it to be, good, bad, happy or sad.
I will continue to strive every day to communicate with my wife, talk with her, laugh with her and cry with her, or give her all of the space of her own as she needs or wants it.

I will continue to communicate with my children and grandchildren (great grandchildren???) as often as possible so that they know that I love them and want to be as much a part of their lives as they will allow me to be. I will also have accepted that they may not want me in their lives at all, as painful as that is.

I will continually work with animals in some fashion as often as possible, puppies if at all possible.

I will continue in my passion for antiques (old stuff) to learn more about all types and possibly to repair and/or repurpose them for us and others too.

As before, I will continue to work HARD to push myself out of my safe place and experience life as it is, not as I fear it to be.

I will continue my pursuit of knowledge of old cars through study, models, images, artwork (both mine and from others) and just maybe a full-blown restoration.

I will continue to work on my (recently recognized) abilities for fine manipulation of things such as models or watches purely for the joy of it.

I will continue my pursuit of general knowledge just for the joy of it, with no particular use in mind.

I will continually keep a watchful eye out for addictions in myself and others and help wherever I can.

I am now working on both refining this vision and cleaning out all of the "warm fuzzy bullshit" and extracting some REAL values from it. This is another area that I did NOT really get very serious about all in of the "befores" and I now see just how basic and vital to my real recovery both my vision AND my values are. EVERYTHING hangs from that framework.

Thank you all for your patience.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:52 pm 
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I rolled these together since I know where the lessons are going, and my actual values have not changed much over the last several years, just re-ordered themselves a little.

Lessons 3, 4 & 5

Values:

1. Self-aware ~ I MUST be aware of myself, of who and what I REALLY am in order to accomplish much of anything;

2. Loving ~ of my GOD, of myself, of my Wife, of my family and of my fellow man, at least to a degree;

3. Trusting ~ of GOD, myself, my Wife, my family and then others;

3. Empathy ~ To really feel and understand what others are feeling, first my Wife, second my family and then others;

4. Forgiving ~ mostly of myself, but of my Wife, family and others;

5. Transparent honesty ~ The “see through” kind, nothing at all hidden;

6. Intimate ~ emotionally and physically (as in holding hand, cuddling, etc.) with my Wife, only;

7. Self-respect ~ I MUST learn to respect myself, no one else can before that;

8. Respect for others ~ I cannot expect respect if I don't give it;

9. Communication ~ First with myself, then my Wife, then my family and then others;

10. Empathy ~ To really feel what others are feeling;

11. Creativity ~ My artistic self WANTS OUT!!!!

12. Fun/humorous ~ to laugh at myself at least every day;

13. Learning ~ about something, new every week;

14. Adventurous ~ Once past the fear and self-intimidation, life is an adventure waiting for us.

My BIGGEST challenge will, again, be keeping these in mind along with the boundaries that go with them. That's where I've just ignored them before. That does NOT work….duhhhh.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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Location: UK
Hi youngman
Quote:
I moved this over from the "false start" reboot thread. I didn't need to start a new thread, that, for me, was dumb.

I agree
but I do believe that you still need to start your real recovery
That is not to say that you learned nothing , you have learned and have changed but the fact is that you still lean on your addiction as an excuse
you are your addiction and your addiction is you

In my thread I spoke to my "beasts" and I also spoke for them
it helped me so perhaps look it up and see if the same thing can help you
what is to lose?

I did the whole set of lessons twice and reaped the benefit and I would do them again if I had the need
every useful tool in the box (including the bullshit detector) :s:
I have faith in you , perhaps you need to have it too

_________________
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


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 8:09 pm 
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Thank you Coach Kenzo.
Faith in myself is something I have had very little of over the years.

Lesson 6:

This lesson required some serious self-examination. Before, I went through these and filled things up with warm, fuzzy bullshit, a VERY easy thing for me to do.

I am an expert at adjusting myself into what I think others want/need me to be, but I have yet to master what I want and need myself to be.

Given that, please turn the bullshit detectors to super-sensitive. Be as brutal as necessary.

Proactive Action Plans:

1. Self-aware ~ I MUST be aware of myself, of who and what I REALLY am in order to accomplish much of anything;
A. Meditate every day at least once for 15~20 minutes;
B. Review myself at least twice a day to see if I have been staying present both in private and in public;
C. Stop as soon as possible when hit with emotions to sort out what they are and where they came from;
D. LISTEN to my Wife's (and others) comments about me and my behaviors WITHOUT becoming defensive;

2. Loving ~ of my GOD, of myself, of my Wife, of my family and of my fellow man, at least to a degree, starting with listening;
A. Pray often and read my Bible at least once a day;
B. Accept myself as I am and allow myself time to heal without negatives. Check in with myself about this at least once each day;
C. Learn more about and practice re-parenting myself
D. Initiate real conversations with my wife daily, REALLY listen and do my best to hear, feel and understand what she is saying/trying to say. Check in with myself daily about this;
E. Initiate real conversations with my sons/daughter/granddaughters as often as possible and REALLY listen and do my best to hear, feel and understand what he/she is saying/trying to say. Check in on the days it happens;

3. Trusting ~ of GOD, myself, my Wife, my family and then others;
A. As above, pray often and read my Bible at least once a day. Do my best to accept that things are unfolding as they should and let it be as it is.
B. LISTEN to what my Wife has to say, accept the anger, sadness, pain, and betrayal, and accept what she has to say as part of her healing as well as mine.
C. Listen to my various family members, accept that they are trying to allow their true emotions out and trust that they are real.
D. At this point I'm not sure what to do about “others”, don't have much outside contact.

4. Forgiving ~ mostly of myself, but of my Wife, family and others;
A. Pay close attention to my self-talk to myself and correct gently as necessary. It took a long time to get here, it will take a while to recover;
B. Practice patience with my Wife. Understand that she is reacting to her worst nightmare made real. Allow her time to hurt, be angry, be sad and all of the other emotions that I forced her into. Accept her reluctance to trust of respect me again, and be thankful that she chooses to stay for now. As above, it took a long time to get here, it will take some time for her to recover too;
C. Same as B above for my family;
D. Also as above, not sure about others right now.

5. Transparent honesty ~ The “see through” kind, nothing at all hidden;
A. Stay mindful of myself at all times, particularly in crowds and other extra-stressful situations, remember that I used partial truths and outright lies before to deal with them, and use only the complete truth going forward.

6. Intimate ~ emotionally and physically (as in holding hand, cuddling, etc.) with my Wife, only;
A. Accept that my Wife has NO trust right now and so no willingness to be intimate in any way, shape, form or manner.
B. Continue to be patient and gentle with her to allow her the time she needs for this to happen.
C. Be aware and accepting of the fact that this may NEVER happen again.

7. Self-respect ~ I MUST learn to respect myself, no one else can before that;
A. Remind myself EVERY DAY that I am NOT my addictions, THEY are part of me. They were necessary at one time long ago but no longer. I allowed those parts of myself to evolve (devolve?) into what they became and take over my life. I am now taking back my life.

8. Respect for others ~ I cannot expect respect if I don't give it;
A. Keep constantly mindful that everyone has their own thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Mine are no better or worse then theirs.
B. Be willing and open to discussions about opinions and beliefs, but hold on to my own and not allow myself to adopt anyone else's just to impress or be liked.

9. Communication ~ First with myself, then my Wife, then my family and then others;
A. Be mindful of my self-talk and aim it at positives.
B. Be VERY mindful of keeping transparent honesty in my self-talk.
C. Speak openly and honestly with my Wife at ALL times, no matter how much it hurts or what the consequences may be.
D. Speak openly and honestly with my family at ALL times, no matter how much it hurts or what the consequences may be.
E. Speak openly and honestly with others at ALL times, no matter how much it hurts or what the consequences may be.

10. Empathy ~ To really feel [and understand] what others are feeling;
A. Actively listen to my Wife and try to understand what she is really saying, without any judgment, defensiveness, anger, guilt or shame.
B. Actively listen to my family members and try to understand what they are really saying, without any judgment, defensiveness, anger guilt or shame.

11. Creativity ~ My artistic self WANTS OUT!!!!
A. Work on some type of creative project no less then once a week.

12. Fun/humorous ~ to laugh at myself at least every day;
A. Find a reason to laugh at myself (this should be soooooo easy) every day.

13. Learning ~ about something, new every week;
A. Replenish my library, both virtual and physical,
B. Find a new subject to learn about periodically (hard to put a time-frame on this).
C. Periodically take (teach?) some classes at local Community Collage.

14. Adventurous ~ Once past the fear and self-intimidation, life is an adventure waiting for us.
A. Not quite sure how to implement this one yet.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:14 pm 
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Lesson 10:

I. Consider those lies that are still being perpetuated in your life. Who you are deceiving. Why you are deceiving them. Consider the 'risks' of coming clean. No need to do anything about these thoughts...just have an awareness of them.

I have chosen NOT to lie to/deceive anyone anymore, not myself, not my wife, not anyone. It's taken a long time to get here, but I'm here.

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.

As above, I have chosen NOT to lie or deceive my Wife anymore, whether she chooses to accept that or not.

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 committed to ending your addiction. Acknowledge that you are choosing to 'go through the motions', rather than actively pursue real change.

Does not apply.

IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items stashed for sexually compulsive behavior. List these items and their locations in your Recovery Thread. If you are uncomfortable sharing this in the forum, email or PM the list to a Coach.

As it mentions, my behaviors are more fantasy/affair oriented so this list is empty.

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

My Wife on rare occasions;
Women “out there” on rare occasions, when I'm emotionally FUBARed.


I've completely given up pornography. I've also completely given up on masturbation as well. My wife and I have a loooooooog journey ahead before we get close to physical intimacy, she needs to heal, I need to grow. It may or may not ever happen again.

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.

In my head before, now nowhere.

Some odd twists and turns in my life lately. It's like some things started to fit/make sense suddenly. My Wife's suffering is becoming more clear every day along with the fact that most, if not all of it is my fault. What has become clear is that my recovery is for me, first and foremost. It is my journey, with or without her by my side.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:54 pm 
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Lesson 11:

Not sure what, if anything, we are supposed to post, so here are my thoughts/observations.

Fantasy, Obsessions and delusions:

I. Fantasies: I still have issues with fantasies daily, however, they are very rarely sexual anymore. I fantasize about being the “hero”, the one who comes in and solves the problem, gets rid of the bad guys/girls, magically fixes everything. I gain huge amounts of praise and admiration (fantasy not real), which builds up my pathetic lack of self-worth, boosts my lack of self-confidence and self-esteem and makes me feel like someone of some sort of value, even if it is totally false. I still rely on external validation for most of these things after all of this time, even though I know that it HAS to come from inside to be real.

II. Obsessions: Not so much anymore, I have made some real progress here. I am still obsessed with expecting my Wife to leave, mostly based on my internal obsession with “I'm worthless, no one could love me, even my parents abandoned me (totally false)”, can't find a job, blah, blah, blah.

III. Romantic Delusions: “Love at first site”, yes, been there done that, multiple times. Here I've learned just how much bullshit that is. I met both of my wives that way, along with most of my “affairs”. No, I do NOT have the interpersonal skills for health relationships, yet. I DO have an extreme fear of rejection but that too is getting less. I've not gone to the extreme measures mentioned in the lesson, nor has unrequited love been an issue for me.

Masturbation:

I. Masturbation hasn't been an issue for me for a long time now, but before: I manually stimulated myself by my hands, and I have used my spouse as a sensory stimulator only (not every time, but frequently).

Pornography:

I. Stimulation by the use of pictures: Absolutely, started when I was about 10 with magazines that I found. I wasn't sure at the time what it was all about, but it felt GOOD and took the loneliness and fear away for a little while. I also use images in catalogs and magazines when the pornography magazines were not available.
II. Stimulation by the use of sexually explicit video: This took over when I found the internet back in the mid-90's (yes, the mid-90's). I quickly learned that the flat images “weren't enough”.

Promiscuity:

This has never been a problem for me, probably because I didn't have the “courage”, or assertiveness to try a sexual advance even when I was sure it would be OK, let alone when I had ANY doubts, which was always the case.

Affairs:

I. Simultaneous, sustained affairs: my two marriages fell in this area initially. My first marriage was definitely a staged relationship, and ended badly. My second (current) marriage started this way and was like this for many years. Has gotten MUCH different/better over the last three years.

II. Single, sustained affairs: this is where I was. These “affairs” were, as I have finally sorted out, not so much looking for the “love of my life” as trying to find the imaginary construct I had of my mother. I didn't perceive any of them as my “true love”, but as my ideal of my mother. I DID perceive my Wife as flawed, and the object of the affair as “perfect”, but neither was ever close to true. I didn't rationalize the affairs, I compartmentalized them and thereby isolated them from every day life.

III. Opportunistic, spontaneous affairs: This was never a problem for me.

Prostitution

This was not something that ever appealed to me and was not a problem.

Rape & Sexual Violence

This was something that I personally found repulsive and disgusting, so was never a problem.

Voyeuring, Exhibitionism & Stalking

These were never a problem.

My issues seem to all come looking outside for validation of myself instead if inside where it really has to develop from. Because of my circumstances, I raised myself and I didn't know how to teach myself about these thing that I didn't learn. I'm learning now, slowly but surely.

Thank you my beloved Wife, Coach Jon, Coach Kenzo, Coach Ursula, Coach Sandalwood, Coach Martin and all of the rest who have been here for me helping me see through my lies and bullshit.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:28 pm 
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Lesson 12:

Those who struggle with major relapse, tend to exhibit the following patterns:

They often feel forced into recovery (e.g. legal consequences, social expectations, treatment demands)

When I started the workshop three years age, I definitely felt forced into it, by my Wife in order to save our marriage. This went on for at least two and a half years. It's just been recently, in the last three~four weeks that this has changed. I realized that I had very few memories of the last 50 YEARS of my life, due almost exclusively to my addictions. This forced some serious soul-searching and I actually saw the damage I had done and continued to do to my Wife, my family and myself. I stood up, pulled up my big-boy pants, firmed up my resolve and decided that enough bullshit is enough. I don't have that many years left and I want to spend as many of them as possible getting healthy.

Their motivation for recovery comes from an attempt to appease others (e.g. to save a relationship; to deflect attention from the behaviors)

Yes, as above, my motivation came from outside, not inside and was weak at best.

They minimize their behavior (e.g. "It's not how it seems"; "It's not that big of a deal.")

Yes, I did that for a looooong time and still have to fight with it in my head at times. It is sometimes hard for me to see the damage I've done over the decades (yes decades), but its there, stating me in the face, when I look at my Wife, my children, my grandchildren and mostly when I look in the mirror.

They actively prepare their environment for successful acting out by: setting a preliminary foundation for excuses/alibis; seeking out times/situations where they will be unaccountable to anyone but themselves; laying the foundation for the emotional manipulation of others who may pose a confrontational threat (e.g. their spouse), etc.

Yes, I am absolutely guilty of that. I've learned enough to be able to see that coming now, and stop it before it starts. We also use accountability software on all of my computers now. It pissed me off at first, but it's now voluntary on my part.

They believe that they are uniquely defective and/or damaged as human beings.

I did not and don't believe this. I've learned that I'm not unique in this at all.

They believe that they have suffered so many consequences from their compulsive behavior, that it will be impossible for them to reach their lifetime goals.

I did believe this at first, but have come to realize that the consequences are there and I deal with them as best I can as they show up, but they are the results of PAST behaviors, not current or future behaviors that I can control/change.

They believe that what they are experiencing is their fate.

NO.

They are inflexible in re-evaluating their lifetime goals (e.g. "Since I have failed so far at being a professional actor, athlete, writer, etc., I can't be successful at anything." "Since I cannot be around to raise my children, I will always remain unfulfilled as a parent.")

Again, at first I absolutely believed this. I have learned that “I am my own worst enemy” and I get in my own way when working towards my goals. It also helps to have real, realistic goals.

They suspect that they will never be able to overcome their urges, and so their goals are to establish the appearance of change, rather than to pursue actual change.

No, I never believed this, once I realized that I have these addictions.

They find comfort in being able to use "powerlessness" as an excuse for continuing to engage in their behavior.

Been there, done that!!! I am working VERY hard at eliminating these excuses, I do not want or need them anymore.

Relapse triggers are seen as opportunities to act out.

No, they are opportunities to make the RIGHT choices and not act out.

They often attempt to "prove" their sincerity to others through voicing dreams, sharing words and making promises, rather than through their actions.

Sharing words and making sincere but empty promises, oh yes.

They find comfort in knowing that they can play the "relapse card" should they ever be caught acting out.

No, no way, shape, form or manner.

They often experience selfish thoughts when caught acting out (e.g. "Why didn't I see this coming?" "Why didn't I cover that up better?" "Why do I cause myself so much pain?")

Did that, absolutely.

They tend to be experienced by significant others across the entire emotional scale. Their emotional experiences are usually presented in their extreme: from shame and embarrassment, to aloofness, to placing their partner on the highest pedestal — the relationships tends to continue shifting between extremes. Which stage is currently being experienced by others will be directly related to the person's ability to manipulate others, how many times they will have been caught in contradicting behavior, and how willing/able the significant other is to leave the relationship.

Probably, but not sure, you would have to ask my Wife.


Those who find relative success in recovery over the course of many, many years, tend to exhibit the following patterns:

They often jump from addiction to addiction, and are particularly susceptible to hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery. They put out fires by refocusing on other areas of their life. When these areas involve compulsive behavior — their use of addiction to manage their lives continues.

I have used food, depression, laziness and sleep to bounce to and from.

They believe that they are suffering from a disease that is beyond their control, but not beyond all hope.

No not at all. It is NOT beyond my control and there is hope, more every day.

They believe that they are defective in the sense that their emotions, urges, impulses, etc. are experienced with much more intensity than "normal people". And this puts them at a disadvantage for living a "normal life".

I am “defective” in the sense that I had to “raise myself” and did a crappy job because I had no clue as to how, but this is not “defective” as such, just inexperience. I did feel that, when I felt (was forced to fee) emotions the intensity was overwhelming, but I didn't think much about how others felt, I didn't care much about others. I though I was living a “normal” life, without a “frame of reference” it seemed normal.

They tend to confuse addiction recovery with general mental health issues — creating a hypersensitivity to all of the emotions that they experience. Depression, anxiety, anger — they are all tightly related to "recovery" and an imbalance in one often leads to an imbalance in the other.

Yes, absolutely, but I'm seeing that this is not really the case now.

They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges.

Yes, I did feel powerless but have come to realize that it is ignorance not powerlessness.

They often attempt to convince others of their recovery by offering their "new identity" as proof. Again, most often seen with hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery situations.

…. So many times its hard to count them all. Ask my Wife, she knows how very many times I did this. It has destroyed her trust in me, her respect for me and possibly our marriage.

Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction.

Not so much anymore.

They tend to focus on controlling past behavior, rather than learning new behavior.

I so did that. It took a looooong time to understand that the past is gone and I can do NOTHING about it now.

They tend to see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process.

I have always seen life as a continuous process.

They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.

I so did this for such a long time. I've just started to see it as learning to see, understand, feel and not act on my emotions or use emotion-based behaviors/choices.

They often experience extreme emotions in relation to acting out — extreme guilt, extreme shame, depression, anger, hatred. Or, they experience very mild emotions — when it has become a pattern that they have resolved to accept as a part of their lives.

My emotions tend to be much more extreme, a good sign??

They tend to hyper analyze their actions, thoughts and feelings...and make the possibility of living a "normal" life all but impossible.

I've done this a lot, calming down a little more each day now.

They continue to identify themselves with their addiction and cannot imagine a life without such an association.

No, my addictions are a part of me, necessary in the past to survive, but just a part that is not necessary anymore.

Significant others tend to experience these individuals as exhausting. Capable of achieving anything they set their minds to...though unsure of what it is they will eventually settle their minds on. The relationships themselves tend to be selfish, focusing on the "addict", more so than the partnership. While love and admiration and long-term stability can still be achieved, it is often at the expense of the partner's individuality.

As above, I think so, but you would have to ask my Wife about this.


I've actually come a long way since I began this journey. I began for all of the wrong reasons, but I've grown some and changed a lot. My reasons for recovering have become very selfish, which in this situation, is a good thing I guess. I continue to struggle with that idea of selflessness vs. selfishness, at least in this context. I'm not sure if that is an actual conflict in my values or an excuse to hold on to some of my addictive behaviors. I've used almost everything I could come up with for that over the last three years, so I'm very leery/cautious/suspicious of my hidden motives. Perhaps I am over-thinking it; I do that.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:44 am 
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Hi there, 62andbroken,

62andbroken wrote:
My reasons for recovering have become very selfish, which in this situation, is a good thing I guess. I continue to struggle with that idea of selflessness vs. selfishness, at least in this context. I'm not sure if that is an actual conflict in my values or an excuse to hold on to some of my addictive behaviors.

I've also struggled with this distinction especially since much of my addiction to my partners seemed so "selfless". Recently I've had new developments in my understanding of these notions. These are not my ideas, I took them from the same sources I recommend (Ajahn Brahm on youtube) ... It goes like this: If you love yourself you don't become big headed, you become big hearted and love yourself as much as you love your neighbour/others ... I've realised my addiction was a way of comforting myself in an unhealthy manner but this does not take away the necessity or the validity of the comforting itself. I do need comforting and I'm not being selfish, it's natural ... I just need to figure out ways to do it as successfully or even much more efficiently (as there are minimal negative consequences) and in line with my values (what we define as healthy). The comforting or anything else I do for myself and is in line with my values (recovery, self-development, career development, hobbies, bathing, brushing, etc.) are acts of kindness towards myself, it's my way of loving myself. I care about myself, about my life, about my remaining days so I choose to do what's right for myself and stop the destruction I've caused to myself. I do not think that can be considered selfish, that is self-love. Once I love myself I can love others ... once in a good space I can be generous towards others without being needy (needing them to fill up holes or keep me distracted/entertained/busy, or make me happy or fix things for me or cling to them for fear of loneliness or anxiety). Once I don't really need them I can truly start to love and appreciate them for what they are, then I have become selfless if you wish to coin it like that ...

It's so nice to see you pushing forward. I have a good feeling about this. :g:

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:14 am 
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Posts: 246
Lesson 13:
Healthy Recovery Patterns:
I. Identify those patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to a healthy recovery. Post these observations into your Recovery Thread and/or Recovery Manager.
Early Recovery:
In early recovery, individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.
In early recovery, extremely negative emotions are the norm: especially as they relate to depression, anxiety, hopelessness and suicide.
HELL YES!!!! I see now that depression AND anxiety AND hopelessness have all been “close friends” of mine for more years than I can count. I would have called that bullshit just a short time ago, but I medicated my way around all of them so I wouldn't have to feel them, or ANY other “non-happy” feelings. Thinking about suicide is also something I have done non-seriously for many years too, more recently, these thoughts have been far more serious, but not life threatening.

In early recovery, they often "test the waters" of recovery by attempting recovery for a few days, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few weeks, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few months, then acting out. A weaning behavior similar to a toddler giving up a security blanket.
No not at this time. I am just starting to move past my “avoidance at any cost” strategy. This works, but I am so damned isolated because of it and isolation is NOT a good thing. It does work though.

In early recovery, they tend to explore many different trigger situations to see how well they can handle themselves. To see "how far they have come". This is a behavior that is often witnessed in adolescent wound care — where the adolescent almost compulsively tears open their bandages to "check the wounds". Of course, just like with addiction, such behavior is often problematic — as it opens the individual up to additional infection. But it is a behavior that provides comfort to the adolescent — no matter what stage of healing the wound may be in.
No, not there yet. I can see myself doing this, but not there yet.

In early recovery, they tend to experience relief in having their behaviors understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of their life. Unfortunately, this tends to overwhelm them, distract them, etc., but it is fairly common...and a good sign that their desire to change is sincere.
Kind of. Once I actually faced my behaviors, accepted them as being there and being mine, started to see just how much damage I have done to myself AND my Wife AND my family and a lot of innocent people around me over the years, and then started working through all of the skeletons in my past that I allowed to get me here, yes there has been a LOT of relief for at least knowing some of what has been and is going on.

In early recovery, these individuals may be all across the board in terms of treatment, and may display many similar traits as to those in the "Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle With Relapse" category above.
Given that treatment for me is here, research online, talking with my wife and exploring my past as best I am able, yes, absolutely.

In early recovery, they perceive "powerlessness" as "helplessness" and "desperation".
Not so much helplessness but very much desperation.

In early recovery, significant others tend to experience these individuals as very needy, pathetic, "lost souls".
I would say YES, but that is a question for my Wife.

Middle Recovery : "Actual Recovery"
They have accepted that they have struggled with certain immoral behaviors that contradicted their values, but realize that what matters is what they are doing, not what they did. They realize that no successful recovery ever took place by changing the past, only by changing the present.
This is where I am right now, a difficult place for me at least. I become more aware each day of just how much pain I have caused the people that do, in fact, love me but also am more aware each day that I can do NOTHING about what I have done, only what I will do.

Their motivation to recover comes from the desire to live a life that they can be proud of, rather than a desire to create the illusion of a life that they can be proud of.
A life to be proud of absolutely, but at least a life NOT to be ashamed of.

They make decisions based on what they believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what they think they can get away with. They 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 always the right thing, but definitely NOT what I can get away with anymore. I left that place some time back thanks to RN.

They are not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.
I'm here right now, a HUGE challenge for me.

They perceive "powerlessness" as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing their urges.
As above, I'm just now getting to this place. My “powerlessness” came from fear of letting go of my “comforting” behaviors for something new and maybe better, maybe not. Change has been terrifying for me over the years, I have perceived it as (usually) making things worse, but that perception is shifting, slowly.

Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity.
Not there yet.

They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.
Just starting to see this; don't do pre-planned deceptions.

They recognize that the feelings that they are experiencing are the same feelings that others deal with every day in many different situations. That they are not "defective", but "deficient".
This is something that became obvious a short while ago. I'm just not medicating these feelings anymore, most people don't, I did.

They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life; not as an addict that is managing their life with healthy behavior.
Not there yet.

They see their lives 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").
I've always seen my life as a continuous flow, growth and development were just not a concern before.

They will take a long, hard look at anything associated with their destructive past, and will voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from their life. This refers to pornography, internet accounts, etc. It does not necessarily refer to affairs where real feelings were experienced/exchanged.
I've been there and done that, continue to be watchful.

They tend to have an emotional relapse in terms of the consequences that they have effected on others — especially those closest to them. This frequently triggers true remorse, temporary depression, temporary helplessness — but is soon resolved with a commitment to making it up to people in other, more healthy ways.
This seems to be almost continual for me now.

Significant others tend to experience these individuals with cautious optimism. They can see the changes taking place, but remain unable to commit to their partners fully — as they continue to doubt their own judgment (a consequence of the shocking discovery of the addiction's reality).
I don't think so at this point, but that's for my Wife to say.

Late Recovery : "From Recovery to Health"

They have complete confidence in their ability to manage their life and are moving forward with their dreams in a rational, planned manner.
Not here yet.

They no longer avoid "trigger situations" as they have developed the skills necessary to make confident, healthy choices in just about any situation they may face.
Not here yet.

They tend to see their past as something rather unbelievable. They are sometimes able to achieve distant emotional connections with those behaviors, but can no longer visualize a situation where the pleasure they once achieved would be worth the risk of all they would lose inside themselves. Except at this stage, those thoughts are actually felt, rather than intellectualized. They will not be able to comprehend a situation where such a risk would ever be taken.
Yes, I see my past as unbelievable, otherwise not here yet.

They have developed the ability to produce the same emotional stimulation from value-based actions as they once derived solely from impulse-based actions.
Not here yet, just starting to figure out values and values-based decisions.

They will have eliminated all previous connections to their recovery, except that which will be included in their ongoing plan for a continuing evaluation and assessment of their life. They will no longer associate themselves with addiction, but with health.
Definitely not here yet.

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.
I don't think so.

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.

1. Self-aware ~ I am still lacking in keeping this in mind and practicing it on a consistent daily basis. I have done much better with this then in the past, but this is still one of the BIGGIES for me.

2. Loving ~ This one is also a BIGGIE for me, I realized that I've never really loved myself so I felt that no one else could possibly love me. Huge misconception on my part. GOD loves me, my Wife loves me and my family loves me, so I can learn to love me too. A lot of work here too.

3. Trusting ~ I'm still working on trusting myself, I trust GOD and my Wife, the trust from others will come with time.

4. Forgiving ~ This is still TERRIBLY difficult for me still. I see more of the pain, betrayal, anger and mistrust I have created every day. Forgiving others is hard but not impossible.

5. Transparent honesty ~ This is CRITICALLY important to me as well as my Wife and others too. I've been working hard on this one too.

6. Intimate ~ In time, maybe, not right now.

7. Self-respect ~ This is getting better, but I still have a long ways to go here.

8. Respect for others ~ This is getting better too, but, as above, still a long ways to go.

9. Communication ~ VERY difficult still, this will take a lot of work. Some days are better then others, but I still feel “attacked” at times by my Wife when I KNOW that is not the case. I have very little contact with others right now.

10. Empathy ~ Starting to actually feel others emotions, mostly pain and anger, but I can feel little bits of joy occasionally too.

11. Creativity ~ Not doing so well here, ignoring it in “favor” of other values right now.

12. Fun/humorous ~ OK here, usually find something about myself to laugh about every day.

13. Learning ~ I have been learning a LOT about myself, even more lately, but not outside stuff so much, needs work.

14. Adventurous ~ Not to much yet.

I have still a LOT of work to do in solidifying my real values and applying them to my decisions/behaviors. I have come a long way though, a long way. To me, my self-awareness is the primary value/skill/goal. All of the others will “flow” from there since I will be aware of what I am thinking/feeling/deciding/doing in any situation.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:56 pm 
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Lesson 14:

Health Monitoring 1

Daily Monitoring List

This is one of the places that I became VERY discouraged and then complacent about before. It seemed that I just kept working at it (which I did NOT really do) and got nowhere. It became a "good" excuse to just ignore everything, why bother, nothing is helping/working anyway.

Patience, at least with myself, has NEVER been one of my virtues. Nor have forgiveness, self-respect, honesty or self-awareness. That is why I chose those to start with.

I see self-awareness in particular as critical, probably the most important skill I can acquire. I don't believe it is something I had, or maybe I just ignored it. There is NO way I could have used my addictions the way I did if I allowed myself to be consciously aware of my thoughts, choices and behaviors, no way at all.

I know from previous experience with this that five of these at a time are all I can handle without becoming overwhelmed. These are the top five for right now:

1. Self-awareness ~ I MUST be aware of myself, of who and what I REALLY am in order to accomplish much of anything;
A. Did I practice feeling my emotions as they happened today?
i. Were they generally happy, sad,,angry, fearful or?
ii. Were they about people, time (past, present, future) or?

5. Transparent honesty ~ The “see through” kind, nothing at all hidden;
A. Was I completely honest today with:
i. Myself?
ii. My Wife?
iii. Others?
B. If not, what happened?

4. Forgiving ~ mostly of myself, but of my Wife, family and others;
A. Today was I forgiving of:
i. Myself?
ii. My Wife?
iii. Others?
B. If not what happened?

9. Communication ~ First with myself, then my Wife, then my family and then others;
A. Did openly, honestly and transparently initiate communication with:
i. Myself?
ii My Wife
iii Others?
B. If bot, what happened?

7. Self-respect ~ I MUST learn to respect myself, no one else can before that;
A. Did I pay respect to myself in some way today?


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