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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:44 am 
General Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
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

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:14 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
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.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:56 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
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?

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 5:39 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 15:

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

Truly defining my values and keeping them in mind, or in the back of my mind, day-to-day. This applies particularly to my number one, self-awareness. This has been and continues to be a struggle for me. If I am really aware of my thoughts, feelings and choices, I am, by definition, facing me and my bullshit, not an easy thing for me to do. Truth and reality are things I avoided most of my life because, for me, they always hurt, sometimes just a little, sometimes more then I thought could stand, but always painful.

As it turns out that not everything true and real hurts. I'm not sure right now if my perceptions are changing or my “reality” is. I guess it's once again time to “hurry up and wait” to see if it's a combination or what.

PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 16:

I. Consider the POSITIVE role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served (think short-term, not long)?
Positive aspects of my addictions, short-term:

~ Relief from Anxiety. I have found that I have been in an almost constant state of anxiousness, almost every waking moment (partially from my “abandonment issues”, still digging through that); VERY short-term.

~ Relief from loneliness. I have felt lonely since early childhood (probably since my Mom got sick, became bedridden and “abandoned” me 6 ~ 7-years old). I have been “looking” for my mother to comfort me and relieve that ever since. This varies between short-term relief and long term.

~ Relief from lack of control. I have never felt “in control” of my life (even though I was, maybe passively, but I still was). Varies from short-term to medium.

~ Relief from lack of self-confidence. I could be completely confident in myself in my fantasy worlds, I was in control there. This I know started when I was a child, 6 ~ 7ish. Again, varies from short-term to medium.

~ Relief from boredom. This kind of explains itself.

I have a lot of fear of dealing with people on any level. Since I didn't learn how to do that “normally”, my addictions grew out of living in a fantasy world (where I didn't have to feel bad, feel afraid, feel intimidated, feel lonely, feel incapable, feel useless, feel worthless, feel hopeless, etc.) to help me cope with reality day-to-day.

OK, some of these are not really short-term, but they are all parts of me that I am coming to understand, even if just a little.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Between lesson thoughts and ramblings.

I'm not sure where this kind of post belongs, here or on the community board, or if it belongs anywhere on RN at all, but maybe it will give a little insight to where I am, and I think most of us have been and maybe still are.

I have spent most of my life being “a poor innocent little victim”. I had some difficult circumstances in my early years which led to me accepting then adopting this attitude early on. It worked well for me over the years. I have been using it for decades to not have to grow up, to not be responsible for anything, to allow myself to be concerned ONLY with myself, to develop, refine and continue my addictions and addictive behaviors, to feel sorry for myself and excuse myself and expect others to feel sorry for, excuse and tolerate me and my behaviors and cater to me.

I built my WHOLE LIFE on this bullshit. It was all false. I was all false.

At this point I am just starting to figure out who and what I am, but I am NOT a victim. I am NOT a hero. I am NOT a “knight in shining armor”. I am NOT a “bad-ass whatever”. I am NOT an intellectual. I am NOT “the world's greatest (fill-in-the-blank)”. I am damn sure NOT a good husband (or father or grandfather) but I am actively working on this.

I guess knowing what I am not is a lot better then not knowing anything. This is part of it. After all, if I don't know, how can I move on???

But I am beginning to see some things, particularly some of the things I thought I was (or wasn't) that I am NOT (or am….).


PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:30 pm 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 4048
Location: UK
Hi Mr 62
:g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g:
you are now nailing it my friend
you now see that you and you alone can choose addiction (to whatever) or life
great wake up (time for it :s: )
now my friend perhaps try standing naked (not literally) before your loved ones as you have done before yourself

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

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:25 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 17:

This lesson has been a VERY hard one for me, again. Every time I get to it, it's difficult. I DO NOT WANT to see my addictions/behaviors because they are UGLY, DISRESPECTFUL, DISGUSTING and just plain WRONG.

I. Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in. Identify the elements of this ritual and post them in your recovery thread. It is important that you understand the principles involved in identifying the stimulating elements of compulsive if you are not comfortable with this concept, ask questions! Also, recognize that the elements listed above are not the only elements associated with compulsive behavior. And so, you will want to identify those elements that are specifically related to YOUR compulsive behavior.

Trip to the store with my Wife.

Suspense/anticipation: May start days in advance, both building up.

Apprehension/danger: anticipation subsides, apprehension builds up

Fantasy: Will I be able to resist? How will I get through? Strategies to say “NO” to my scanning., or avoid it.

Apprehension/danger/fear building: Drive to the store

Fantasy: Will I go in? Will she go in? Will we both go in?

Apprehension/danger/fear: Will it be crowded? Will the checkstands be busy or not?

Apprehension/danger/fear: We arrive at the parking lot and I shift my eyes down to the lower dash/floor.

Accomplishment/power: She decides to go in without me. I have “successfully” avoided having to face my addictions/behaviors….again. This doesn't happen often.
Danger/fear/past: We decide to go in together, I cannot “avoid” facing my addictions/behaviors and fear becomes terror. I know from previously that no matter how hard I concentrate on keeping my shit together, I will either scan or she will perceive that I scanned. Either way, failure seems imminent.
Danger/fear/past: I will go in by myself, the usual outcome. I know also from previously that I WILL work VERY hard on awareness, recognition of my values, “taking a break”, calming myself and even avoidance as necessary to get through the challenges. I also know that if I “make it” she will REFUSE to believe me because of my lies and denial in the past.

Sensory overload: Once inside my senses will kick into super-sensitive mode and I will be fully aware of everyone and everything around me, no matter what I do to ignore it all.

Accomplishment/power: If I make it through without scanning or allowing my objectification/sexualization/fantasy to run wild I will feel less bad as opposed to good.

Past/guilt/shame: If I don't “make it through” I will feel guilty, ashamed and terribly disappointed in myself for letting myself down again and for letting my Wife down again.

Past/fear: Either way I manage to get through, I know that when I get back to our vehicle, if my wife went in or if she stayed in the truck, I will be accused of scanning rightfully or not.

Depression/despondency: The trip home and the rest of the day will not be good for either of us. I will do my best to work through what happened, ingrain the successful parts and learn from the unsuccessful parts.

Apprehension, danger and fear are common factors in almost all of this. I used those before to “wind myself up” to a place where I “had” to use to calm myself or I would lose it and run out. I have been learning more and more about myself (or at least about who I am NOT) and how I do this to “force” myself to use. It's a slow, painful learning process. I have stopped fighting it so hard, but just letting go has not been easy.

It's all about avoidance…….
That is what I've been doing for the last THREE YEARS. I have been avoiding seeing my behaviors for what they actually are, ugly, disgusting, and incredibly disrespectful. Disrespectful to my Wife, disrespectful to the innocent victims of my scanning and maybe the worst, disrespectful to myself.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 10:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 18:

II. Consider one of your own compulsive rituals. Identify circumstances when each of the three filters (time, habituation and intensity) have come into play. Make sure that you understand each filter to the point where you are able to identify them as a ritual is being performed. Post these personal examples in your recovery thread.

Trip to the Store ritual as above in Lesson 17.

1. Time: Often, because of money issues, fatigue, depression of one or the other or both, we will postpone the “trip to the Store” for a day or two or more. This allows me X more hours/days for the suspense/anticipation/fear to build up in my head. On the other side, sometimes it is a “spur of the moment” decision, which, for me, compresses the suspense/anticipation/fear and increases the intensity of them.

2. Habituation: This “trip to the Store” happens fairly often, usually weekly. I know it is coming, or we won't eat (not an option). I find myself drifting off into “hero” fantasy's, “If I was only….” fantasy's or just drifting listening but not really listening to my wife's voice on the way over (I don't drive much anymore). This gives me a “break” from the ritual, lessening the habituation.

3. Intensity. On some days, my emotions or my Wife's emotions may be running high/low. I will “feed” on these to build on the elements, sometimes individually, sometimes in groups, sometimes all at once to intensify the experience (and diminish the habituation….)

It occurs to me that these filters all interconnect in similar but different ways in my rituals…..

PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 7:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Another out of nowhere observation:

I was watching “Rango” last night “starring” Johnny Depp and it dawned on me that his life in the move was incredibly similar to mine (and probably a lot of others here too) up to a point.

I lived a very lonely life with a lot of pretend friends. I was very much NOT alone, but it felt like it.

Then a huge but sudden change happened. For me it was losing my Mom then Dad, for him it was being bounced out on the road. We both found ourselves REALLY alone, lost and wondering WTF???

We each found someone (or, for me, several “someones”) to get us aimed in the right direction.

We both used lies and deceptions to make ourselves “bigger and better” in the eyes of others and our egos blew up.

Then our lies and deceptions catch up with us, bullshit is called and we are exposed for who and what we really are, not what we pretended to be. This causes terrible pain, betrayal and doubt for those around us as well as ourselves along with huge amounts of guilt and shame.

We each moved on, again completely lost and alone (although I was not really alone, just felt like it), with absolutely no clue what direction to take, what path to follow or if we wanted to go on at all.

He found his “destiny”, I found RN.

This is where my story is, where I am.

The movie goes on and, as movies usually do, he gets his shit together, redeems himself to everyone and becomes a true hero instead of a fake one.

To me, the parallels are distinct, at least to the point where his story goes on and my story is.

I can only hope that, as I move through my recovery to a healthy life, I will find the real me, as Rango did, and I will be able to handle real life challenges without the crutches of my addictions to be my own hero, like Coach Jon and others of you have done or are doing.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:20 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 20:

1) Examine your addiction and the role(s) that it has played in your life to date.... Your goal is to develop a fluid understanding of just how these patterns progressed from early sparks (harmless fantasy, etc.) to an eventual wildfire (e.g. addiction).

I won't go through the whole autobiography again here, but I have been looking long and hard at it, almost continually for several weeks. It seems to all have started when my Mom got sick/bedridden and I viewed it as her “abandoning” me, though I don't believe she actually did. She then died, which was really anticlimactic at that point. I see now that when she got so ill, my Dad withdrew both from her and me (probably his learned defense mechanism too) and I was “abandoned” again. Finally he died as well, and I felt completely alone, helpless, totally without control and terrified. I had learned early on, before Mom died, that escape into fantasy, where I HAD some control, felt good, or at least less bad. That set the patterns for my entire life, started the rituals and chains that I would eventually allow to take over, at least up to this point.

Sex entered in to the flow at around 12 and changed my focus dramatically, but the framework was already there and adapted easily.

I know now that I have also spent the majority of my life “looking” for my mother to “fall in love” with and to take care of me like she was “supposed” to do. I believe that is the basis for my love addiction.

2) Look to future transitions in your life. Divorce.... Explore the role(s) that addiction could play in helping you to manage these times. What would it feel like for addiction to come back into your life? Would it be a rapid collapse or a subtle progression? What signs would you look for? What actions would you take?

How I handle the challenges/transitions that are inevitable will depend entirely on where I am (or am not) in my recovery ~ healthy life.

Addictions have been my “go to” to get me through bad times or at least make them less bad and to help the “good” times be “better”. I could easily slip back to using to manage my emotions if I suddenly got hammered hard, such as loosing my Wife or one of my children/grandchildren if it happened relatively soon. The more that I learn about myself, my emotions and my behaviors, the more understanding I gain and the more “tools” I adopt, the less likely that relapse becomes. I know that it will always be a possible choice, but as I grow it becomes less and less likely.

I believe it would feel like “nothing” in the sense that I would be numb to the real emotions within me, all would be “good”, “fun” and feel “OK”.

For me the signs would be not having any negative feelings about anything, no matter how “bad” it might or maybe “should” feel. I know from experience that I “shut down” and go into hiding/hibernation to stay as far as possible from anyone or anything that might make me feel.

My actions would, again, depend on where I am. At this point right now I would reaffirm my vision, values and goals, then start adjusting/rebuilding my action plans and check-ins. Further in the future I believe my values would take over and help me back on track.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:26 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 21

A. What large goals have you attempted in your life and failed? Why do you suppose you failed?

I didn't have any clear goals as such throughout most of my life. I learned early to follow the path of least resistance.
I went to collage to become a doctor. I failed miserably in this because it was a goal I accepted as mine but it was what I thought was expected of me. My passive/aggressiveness kicked in, fought it “tooth and nail” and I dropped out. I set my educational sites a lot lower several more times, but got the same results. Prior to collage, school came easy for me, but collage was far to much work, I followed the path of least resistance.
I had the same kind of patterns in almost all of my relationships from the first at around 12 to now (my relationship with my Wife is now considerably different then the way it started but it was the same to begin with). I pick a certain type of woman, endear myself and follow the path of least resistance, until I couldn't deal with the real person and real relationship problems. I would then passive/aggressively bail out or push until they did.
This pattern has been the rule more then the exception for me throughout my life.

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

I cannot honestly think of any large goals I have ever had that were mine and not someone else's or that I felt obligated to have/do.
I have also avoided success throughout my life. To succeed means you have to work hard at something, NOT follow the path of least resistance. Success also means that you did something well and that does NOT fit with being a perpetual “innocent victim of circumstances”.

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

My MAJOR recovery goal at this point in time is to finish the workshop by January 31, 2016. I know that seems to be a direct rip-off of this lesson, but it is not. I have made it so far in several attempts, as far as Lesson 56. I'm here because I didn't allow most of what I learned (the stuff that hammered on the reality of my behaviors) sink in and stick. 54 lessons in 24+/- weeks, that's 2 lessons a week +/-, that is do-able, since I have the foundations and I know some of them are not as challenging as others.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 8:57 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Ritual Measured:
Fantasy of the “Hero riding in to save the day”
Primary Elements Involved:
Fantasy; Danger: Suspense: Accomplishment: Power; Past; Moral conflict
Values assigned:
Fantasy: 3
Danger: 1
Suspense: 1
Accomplishment: 2
Power: 2
Moral conflict: 3
Filters applied:
Fantasy 3:
*Time — Increases stimulation, but to much time dulls/kills it '5'; 3x5=15
*Intensity — Intensity is pretty much a constant '2'; 3x2=6
*Habituation — Specifics can be infinitely varied and expanded, this has little effect '3' 3x3=9
Danger: 1
*Time — More time allows more potential danger but, since it's in my head, not much effect '2'; 1x2=2
*Intensity — Increases overall intensity of urge '3'; 1x3=3
*Habituation — No real effect '1'; 1x1=1
Suspense: 1
*Time — Little effect, as above, since it's in my head, not much effect '2'; 1x2=2
*Intensity — Little effect increases overall intensity of urge slightly '3'; 1x3=3
*Habituation — Tends to dull everything '1'; 1x1=1
Accomplishment: 2
*Time — Tends to dull ritual '2'; 2x2=4
*Intensity — Increases overall intensity of urge '6'; 2=6=12
*Habituation — Tends to dull everything '1'; 2x1=2
Power: 2
*Time — Tends to dull ritual '2'; 2x2=4
*Intensity — initially increases overall intensity, then drops off '5'; 2x5=10
*Habituation — Tends to dull everything '1'; 2x1=2
Moral conflict 3:
*Time — Intensifies guilt/shame overall stimulation '7'; 3x7=21
*Intensity — Decreases overall intensity of urge '5'; 3x5=15
*Habituation — No real effect '1'; 3x1=3
Totals: Fantasy 30/6=5; Danger 6/6=1; Suspense 6/6=1; Accomplishment 16/6=2.67; Power 16/6=2.67; Moral conflict 39/6=6.5
Overall total: 5+1+1+2.67+2.67+6.5=18.84
I kept putting this lesson off and telling myself that it's because I don't like math….bullshit. My problem was picking a ritual to breakdown since my rituals/chains now involve scanning and/or fantasizing about “riding in to save the day” which don't really fit this kind of breakdown. Since I/we are pretty much isolated from everyone right now, that could change if/when I get a job and get back into the world, but I doubt it.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 23:

In your recovery thread, share a brief summary of what practical uses the skill of measuring compulsive rituals can have in your recovery. Don't just copy the headings of this lesson, take a minute to see how you can practically use this information in YOUR life.


My biggest issue all along in this journey has been self-awareness. I chose NOT to be aware of myself, my emotions, my behaviors, my choices and the consequences of all of them. I chose NOT to be aware of my loving Wife and the terrible, horrible damage I was doing to her. I chose NOT to be aware of all of the damage I was doing to my children and grandchildren by just not being there for them when they needed me. I chose NOT to be aware of all of the ugly, disgusting things I was thinking about others WITHOUT their permission or knowledge.

For me, the measurement of the compulsive rituals is not nearly as important as using it to MAKE ME AWARE of the rituals in the first place so I can analyze the cause(s) and understand them. For me at least, understanding is key, understanding my addictions, understanding my emotions and finally, maybe understanding myself.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 10:29 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 246
Lesson 24 Exercise:

NOTE: I pulled this from an earlier post for this lesson, not much has change since then. These are still my primary rituals. I don't “practice” them much at this time, we are VERY isolated right now, financial problems, no job, family is just “to busy” to have much to do with us, although my wife sees some of them occasionally.
I “missed” one of my granddaughters' graduations because I was avoiding the situation and was informed in no uncertain terms that I was NOT welcome in their home for an as yet to be determined period.
For me, consequences once again, but what REALLY pisses me off that they are treating my Wife badly too. She was there, as she always is, and supportive, as she always is…. It's ME that they are angry with and they are taking it out on Her and She will NOT let me say anything to them….

Lesson 24:

“1. Scanning:
A. Control ~ I “control” the situation, no one else;
B. Power ~ I have the power/ability to stop or continue, no one else
C. Sensory ~ Mostly visual, occasionally sound, rarely touch, very rarely smell;
D. Accomplishment;
E. Fantasy ~ not much anymore, I usually stop it before it gets that far;
F. Relief ~ THIS is the BIG one, short-term relief from whatever is causing my immediate stress;

2. Overeating:
A. Control ~ Again I “control” the situation, no one else;
B. Power ~ I have the power/ability to stop or continue, no one else;
C. Sensory ~ Mostly taste and smell, some visual and touch;
D. Past ~ I’ve used this as a “secondary” addiction for MANY years;
E. Accomplishment ~ I have eaten some/all of whatever;
F. Relief ~ Again, the BIG one, I have gained some short-term relief from whatever was “stressing me out”;

3. Falling in “love”:
A. Past ~ My continued feelings of abandonment and loneliness from early childhood drive most of this part of my addictions; 
B. Control ~ Once again, I “control” the situation, no one else;
C. Power ~ Again, only I have all the power/ability to stop or continue;
D. Sensory ~ All of the senses are involved to one degree or another, except taste;
E. Fantasy ~ How things could be “perfect”, not like the other times;
F. Accomplishment ~ Deluded sense of “I did it”;
G. Relief ~ Whatever stresses – usually normal daily life – I was trying to cover up/ignore/make go away are TEMPORARILY relieved, usually to return much worse.

4. Being someone/something I am NOT:
A. Past ~ Feelings of inadequacy from early childhood are temporarily quieted;
B. Fantasy ~ I “am” someone/something that “people” will like/admire/respect/love instead of who/what I perceive myself to be;
C. Control ~ I “control” the situation, pretend to be whatever I perceive the situation “requires” me to be, good or bad, inside my head;
D. Power ~ I and only I have the power to continue/stop the pretending;
E. Accomplishment ~ I have managed to fool someone or several someones into believing I am something I am NOT;
F. Relief ~ Once again, whatever stresses – usually normal daily life – I was trying to cover up/ignore/make go away are TEMPORARILY relieved, usually to return much worse.

Distinct patterns are “emerging” here.

Control is something I crave, I do NOT feel in control of myself or my life and haven’t for as long as I can remember. Power is somewhat the same; having control gives me the power to continue or stop, by MY choice, I am not at the mercy of someone/something else or to chance, or fate.

I CONTINUE to look to the past to manage my life, even though it has proven over and over NOT to work.”

Interestingly enough, “4. Being someone/something I am NOT” has become FAR less frequent for me. I have been seeing a lot of who “I” really am recently and, after reading Brene Browns “Daring Greatly” I am working on accepting that I (whoever or whatever I actually am) AM enough. This has changed my view of a lot of things especially trying to be someone I am NOT and realizing that I HAVE the control, I don't need to look for it anywhere else.

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