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PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2016 4:59 am 
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Recovery Workshop
Life Assessment
General Information:
Life Assessment #:
User Name:
E-mail address:

1. In relation to your general mental health, summarize your progression/regression over the past thirty days:
[b][I have felt much better over the past thirty days, save for the slip highlighted below. There have been periods of stress, tiredness which I've found tough but overall I've felt more stable./b]

2. Document your experiences with the following:
Behavior
Past 30 Days
# of Times
Past
30
Days
Hours Engaged
A) Masturbation
10 times/2hours

B) Pornography
Once/20 hours

C) Promiscuity


D) Transvestism


E) Fetishism


F) Erotic Fantasy
15 times and 1 hour

G) Prostitution


H) Exhibitionism


I) Voyeurism


J) Frotteurism


K) Ecouterism


L) Erotographomania


M) Sexual Thievery


N) Sadism


O) Masochism


P) Beastiality


Q) Stalking


R) Molestation


S) Incest


T) Rape


U) Other
Once and 20 hours. This was online chat in conjunction with porn viewing.


3. Using the scale below, rate the positive impact that your recovery efforts over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)
Family (1-5) 4
Friends (1-5) 3
Co-workers (1-5) 3
Career (1-5) 3
Finances (1-5) 1
Romantic Relationships (1-5) 1
Self-esteem (1-5) 5
Stress level (1-5) 4
Time management (1-5) 3
Hobbies (1-5) 5

4. Using the scale below, rate the negative impact that your sexual and/or romantic behaviors over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)
Family (1-5) 1
Friends (1-5) 2
Co-workers (1-5) 1
Career (1-5) 2
Finances (1-5) 1
Romantic Relationships (1-5) 1
Self-esteem (1-5) 3
Stress level (1-5) 4
Time management (1-5) 2
Hobbies (1-5) 2

5) Summarize the progress made towards your existing recovery and life goals over the past thirty days:
I feel like I've started to develop a structure to my life, the foundations of one at least. I've achieved progress in certain areas of my life as I've given myself space to develop rather than fill the vacuum with porn/ chat etc. I've realised that I take comfort in rituals, e.g. Exercise, cooking, studying, but I'm not sure yet if this is healthy or not. It's not porn, but I approach these things in a ritualistic way which gives me comfort or a focus. It feels like I'm replacing rituals at the moment but I feel more stable and happier for it.


6) Describe the closest you came to a slip/relapse over the past month:
I did slip/relapse about three weeks ago as I documented on my thread. That shook me a lot but I carried on. I've felt stressed at points in the past months. Although I felt stressed, tired a couple of days ago, I managed not to act out. The fantasy section in the last lesson resonated. I must have fantasies at least once a day that come and go, but they still appear in my mind.

7) List the most likely relapse triggers you will face in the coming month:

I'm going on holiday within the next month. I always struggle towards the end and when I come back from a trip, I often act out. I'm a little worried about that. Also I worked really hard and took a test the other day. I receive the results next week and I'm not confident I'll pass. I'll feel really disappointed if I don't and have been planning what I'll need to do immediately afterwards if this happens to avoid acting out.

8) Approximate (in percentages) the amount of time over the past month that you have spent:
Engaged in value-based (top three values) activity 15
Engaged in value-based (top ten values) activity 30
Engaged in emotion-based, unhealthy Activity 5
Life Maintenance Chores* 20
With Family (Quality) 8
With Friends (Quality) 5
Alone (Quality) 5
Engaged in Unhealthy Sexual Behaviour 2
Engaged in Unhealthy Romantic Behaviour 0
Self-Improvement/Recovery 10
* Cooking, cleaning, laundry, mowing the lawn, etc

9) Overall, how would you rate your emotional state over the past thirty days:
a) At it's healthiest: Very healthy
b) At it's unhealthiest: Extremely unhealthy
c) Overall: healthy


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:52 am 
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Lesson 12

I guess the unhealthy recovery patterns I identify with are exclusively in the second list. They are:

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. With this I worry that I take undue comfort from rituals around exercise and i know food can be a weakness in terms of addictive behaviour, at least until I started dieting around a month ago

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. Part of me (wrongly I know) feels that I've been dependent on porn etc for so long that my brain has been warped by it. I know recovery is all about building a new foundation for life but I've used addiction to temporarily minimise depression, anxiety and anger, even though the addiction has exacerbated these feelings in the long term
They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges. I know this isn't true on paper, but I so want to learn how to exercise power over my urges
Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction. This applies to me. For example, I'm going on holiday soon and feel apprehensive about it because that downtime has been a trigger for me in the past
They tend to see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process. In relation to acting out, this is a definite pattern
They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction. I still do this to a degree but feel I'm learning that stability and personal satisfaction are more important
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. This is absolutely true although I refuse to accept this pattern any more.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2016 11:04 am 
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Just felt I needed to write a message in here that I acted out again yesterday night, the usual Bing porn viewing/cyber chat ritual. I've reflected on what prompted me acting out. It's strange to write but the result of the referendum really sent me into a really depressed mood on Friday. I was aware that the depression is a real trigger for the porn viewing and when I arrived home from work, I took measures to stop me from doing it. I went to bed at a normal time feeling stable enough, but I was gripped by the ritual as I went to bed and then acted out.

Today has been ruined and my depressed mood is now worse. In terms of learnings, I need to really reflect on the major events and life issues that will cause me to feel depressed and learn how to handle them without resorting to porn. I don't have the coping mechanisms to do this it feels. The other point is that I feel incredibly nervous about lots of things at the moment, basic every day things make me feel anxious, not unbearably anxious but the accumulation of everything has put me on edge. I need to take a look at what I can do to improve this, possibly through meditation, as it's not healthy in the long run.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 2:35 pm 
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I'm doing this lesson after a week of being caught up in a ritual. I wrote my post last weekend after having acted out and then in the evening on Sunday, I acted out again. A combination of embarrassment and anger and an inability to stop my urges caused me to binge out on porn. Even though it often made me feel sick and exhausted, I couldn't stop. Now I kind of feel numb but also determined to recover from this. At the moment I do feel a little lost so my only plan is to earnestly follow the lessons. I need to appreciate that the path ahead is going to be rocky at times and not fall victim to my urges at the first sign of them. At the moment I feel a lot of shame and weakness and anger at how I'm limiting myself and all of the positive things that I could have done in the week.

So my lesson 13 and the traits I recognise are as follows:

Those who make the transition from recovery to health tend to exhibit the following traits:
Early Recovery: "Understanding/Recognizing the Behavior"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They perceive "powerlessness" as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing their urges.
They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.
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".
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.
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").
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.

In terms of the second question, I think there is a congruence between my values and the healthy/unhealthy patterns. My addiction is private to me at the moment. I'm not in a relationship so there's no partner. It's not something I particularly want to disclose because of fear and embarrassment but it does mean the points about how I'm perceived are difficult to evaluate.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:10 pm 
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Daily Monitoring

Did I carry myself as a person worthy of respect today?
Did I engage in any compulsive behavior today?
If yes, did I maintain an awareness of the elements involved?
Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
If no, did I role play a past or possible future compulsive ritual to ingrain confidence in my ability to manage these rituals?
Did I spend time exercising today?
If not, how many days has it been since I have?
Did I spend time learning how to meditate today?
If not, how many days has it been since?
Did I spend time holding a meaningful conversation with my family today?
Was it quality time for each of us?
Did I remember to fully invest myself in the moment?
Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do today?
Did I maintain a conscious awareness of how emotionally connected I was with my friends and family (e.g through conversation, shared activity, spontaneous affection or otherwise?)
Did I roleplay at least one reactive action plan today?
How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability at the moment?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:12 am 
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Lesson 15

Since restarting the workshop, I have developed a greater understanding of the role of values in life and recognise the importance of needing to base my life's foundation on several values. I'm made efforts and have, to a degree, succeeded in deepening certain values but there's still lots of work to do. For example I'm eating more healthily and am exercising more and this has given me more of a structure.

I'm also now consciously aware of how deep my addiction is through my life, which is daunting. It's like it's weaved into so many aspects of my life that I hadn't considered, which makes me sad. It functions as both as a cause and a consequence of lots of my issues, e.g low self-esteem, the feeling that I don't fit in etc. These are things I need to come to terms with in order to recover properly.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:30 am 
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Lesson 16: Understanding Addiction 1

The information in the lesson really resonates with me. The positive role that addiction has played within my life is all to do with feeling good. If ever I'm experiencing a negative emotion, be it stress, jealousy, boredom, anxiety, embarrassment, porn and masturbation can be immediately accessed to block these feelings out.

What is attractive about porn and masturbation is that they can be done individually, which means I have total control over the ability to regulate my emotions. This is obviously paradoxical, as the reason I'm addicted is because I've totally lost control over these behaviours. However, for a person like me who, I suppose, has suffered from low self-esteem ever since a child, the fact that I had complete control and didn't need to depend on others to regulate my behaviour definitely plays a factor in my addiction.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:29 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3793
Location: UK
Hello TBWA
sorry to hear about your recent struggle
but great to know that you are back on the bike :sat:

it appears that you have turned a corner in your understanding of yourself and addiction
understanding of addiction and the root causes are important (know your enemy)
and certainly low self esteem is a common trait
however one word of caution
knowing the reasons cannot be used as an excuse for our behaviours
be healthy my friend

_________________
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 Jul 25, 2016 3:38 pm 
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Thanks Kenzo for your kind words and helpful advice. I completely get you on not using it as an excuse, so easy to fall into that trap when you're feeling down but I don't want to shackle myself to this anymore. I do feel like I've learned a lot, despite the ups and downs. Onwards and upwards!

Lesson 17: Understanding addiction 2

My usual ritual involves porn and cyber chat and all elements feature to a degree.

1 Sensory: In how I view pornography and await photographs during conversations. Sound also plays a role when I watch porn videos as well as touch if I masturbate.

2 Fantasy: In terms of how the cyber chat develops and in the ideas I create when I create the personas I act during conversations.

3. Danger: This is the least prominent element in my ritual but does crop up sometimes. E.g. Where I have sent my own photos on occasions.

4. Suspense: Where I wonder who I'm speaking to, what they look like, whether we share the same fantasies and in terms of porn whether the video does it for me.

5. Accomplishment: The end goal is nearly always orgasm but recently, I've noticed that my inability to ignore my urges and subsequent acting out actually doesn't give me pleasure at the outset so part of my ritual is avoiding orgasm for as long as possible to delay the feelings of shame that I know will inevitably come. I then binge so it's as if there's no accomplishment.

6. Controlling the conversation in the chat, controlling the arousal of who I'm talking to and controlling the fantasy that's acted out shows the importance of the Power element.

7. Past is definitely key. It's basically a honing and repetition. I suppose my low self esteem makes me feel powerless and so the nature of the ritual I engage in gives me power.

8. Polyaddictions: I don't bring other addictions into the ritual but I certainly use food to regulate my emotions. If I feel ashamed after acting out, I would probably comfort eat to dull the painful emotions.

9. Orgasm is an ultimate goal but delaying orgasm to avoid negative emotions also is a feature of my ritual.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:10 pm 
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Lesson 17Understanding Addiction 3

Some of the ways in which the filters play a role in my addiction are as follows:

Time: The amount of time I have to wait to receive a response from the person imchatting to. If it's. Slow the experience isn't as enjoyable. In terms of the whole ritual, the emotions that lead me to act out quickly dissipate when I first log onto porn. It's then about drawing out the ritual to avoid reality for as long as possible. Also, with time, the amount of time a video takes is also important. If it's taking too long to reach a particular point, I skip through it.

Intensity: in terms of the persona I adopt, I have honed it so that the chat profile is attractive to as many people as possible. Using a fake location to base myself virtually elsewhere in the world allows me to chat to groups I want to chat to. More intensity in terms of videos. Certain themes are more attractive so a search focuses on those.

Habituation: in chat, I withdraw from conversations if they're boring. I will switch my position elsewhere so I can engage in chats with other people. Also, the amount of information I disclose becomes greater and more graphic to engage and keep people in conversation. In terms of porn, I watch more graphic videos to reach the same level of arousal.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:25 am 
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Lesson 19: Understanding Addiction 4 Some observations

I guess the main observation I made was the sheer number of rituals that I engage in, completely unrelated to sex/porn. This is true for every human I guess. I'd considered the practical rituals e.g. Brushing my teeth and getting dressed/ travelling to work, but there were all sorts of others too, eg perceptions of people and the emotional journey you go through. E.g. That person wasn't very friendly just then, cue a train of thoughts about why that may have been.

To observe these was liberating and in another way overwhelming. I've been feeling pretty tired over the past couple of days so I'm going to try and relax/ de-stress as much as possible today.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 4:27 am 
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Lesson 20: Mastering Your Addiction

I first discovered masturbation when I was around 12 years old. At first I suppose the immediately enjoyable feelings meant it became a hobby, with no emotional reason for doing it apart from the physical sensations.

I was always really self-conscious as a child, and was someone who hated attention. I became adept at hiding my emotions and being a closed book. As I went through my teenage years, I learned to mask the pain brought about by the usual teenage anxieties through masturbation.

I first discovered porn probably around the age of 14, online photos, websites and then video sites. This opened up a whole new world. By the time I was 18, I'd discovered online chat.

From the ages of 20-22, my porn use reduced somewhat as I moved away, had a change of scene and grew up a bit I suppose. I was in a complicated relationship for a while but it ended messily, I guess my own issues ( not directly to porn but more around my fears an inability to open up were a factor).

I took 'comfort in my addiction' to a point where I had an episode of promiscuous behaviour which really embarrassed me. This made mere arise for the first time how I use sex and porn to manage my emotions and that I had an addiction.

I started to look at recovery and since then I've been in a stop/ start mode. My rituals are now to do withporn and online chat and I can have periods where I don't engage for weeks at a time before being dragged into the pattern.

In terms of future events, any major event that could cause stress would prompt me to engage. I've learned this the hard way. Deaths of loved ones, losing a job, being neglected or rejected by someone, in short anything that causes negative emotions which overwhelm, could lead me to act out as a way of reducing the pain.

I'm aware that I do this but don't feel I've developed the skills to prevent it from happening. Values are massively important but, when I experience negativity and an urge, I somehow need to find it in me to let the urge pass. This is what I find so difficult to do, it's like an itch that doesn't go away but just gets bigger and bigger to the point where it causes anxiety. If this were eliminated from my life, it would be my dream.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:04 am 
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Lesson 21

Goal I failed to achieve was to successfully complete my PhD.

Main reason was that I lacked motivation and didn't really want to do it. I didn't dedicate sufficient time to the work. At the time I suppose I was at my lowest ebb in terms of anxiety and depression and couldn't cope with the stress. I lacked time because of work ( probably didn't make time). I'm not sure this is a good example of a goal as I kind of just fell into it.

Goal I've achieved was to become a qualified project manager.

I had a SMART goal and guidance. I broke down my goal into manageable chunks and was motivated to try my very best.

Recovery goal:

I want to complete the recovery workshop by 15 November 2016:

Section 2 by 10 Aug
Section 3 by 7 Sep
Section 4 by 18 Oct
Section 5 by 15 November.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:24 pm 
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Sorry, I realise I posted my lesson 22 response as a new topic rather than on this thread. I'll copy it below and try to delete the other.

Measuring cyber chat ritual:

Elements:
Suspense: 3
Sensory visual: 3
Power: 2
Fantasy (imagery): 1
Sensory touch: 2
Orgasm:1
Accomplishment:1

Suspense: Time 9, Intensity, 3, Habituation, 5
Sensory visual, t 8 I 10 h 6
Power t 4 I 7 h 3
Fantasy t 7 I 10 h 2
Sensory t 3 I 6 h 3
Accomplishment t 1 I 2 h 1
Orgasm t 3 I 7 h 3

Suspense = 27 +9 +15= 51/ 7 = 7.42
Sensory visual = 24+30+18= 72/7=10.3
Power = 8+14+6= 28/7= 4
Fantasy= 4+7+3=14/7=2
Sensory touch: 6+12+6= 24/7=3.4
Accomplishment: 1+2+1=4/7=0.6
Orgasm= 3+7+3= 13/7= 1.86

Total is 29.5


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:25 am 
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Lesson 23: Practical uses for measuring:

Measuring compulsive rituals can help to take the emotion out of them in that it makes you consider them in a more scientific/mathematical way. It also enables you to think about rituals as a series of components, rather than as an overbearing whole which seems impossible to deal with. By perceiving rituals as a sum of parts, it makes the smaller components much more manageable.

Measuring also helps you to see the parallels with other non-sexual rituals you might engage in, as it makes you realise the extent to which rituals help to efficiently massage emotions to make you feel better.

I've not got to the lessons on relapse prevention yet but I can see how measuring would help with this as it makes you reflect on the link between rituals and emotions.


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