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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:25 am 
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I'm feeling disappointed with myself today as I slipped last night. For the first time in 6 weeks, I viewed pornography and engaged in online chat. I've been feeling absolutely brilliant too, not euphoric but grounded although the usual trigger got me again. It sounds strange but I always seem to act out when I come home from holiday, more specifically when I fly home from somewhere. It's almost a conditioned response to being in an airport, like Pavlov's dogs. Although it crossed my mind that being in an airport to fly home could pose a challenge, it frustrates me that I couldn't control my response to it. There are a number of issues and thoughts going through my mind about the slip. The first was how little I enjoyed viewing the pornography. As soon as the compulsion to view hit me and I was staring at the screen, I wanted to end it. I carried on through the ritual but after 1 round, I stopped. The fact that the episode lasted less than usual makes me feel more positive than usual after acting out, but the lack of catastrophizing also concerns me as it seems as if I'm playing down having acted out., which I don't want to do. Given one of my practical values is about travelling, I'll be at airports fairly regularly, so I really need to be able to deal with it. It's strange as it doesn't happen when I'm travelling out, usually it's when I'm travelling home, I feel the urge to scan and fantasise and then when I get home, I go onto the computer.

Focusing on my values, as I've been doing over the past month or so, has made me feel positive and grounded, but it worries me that, despite this, I was unable to control myself yesterday night. I suppose I need to develop deeper insights and learn about he techniques that come later in the workshop but if anyone has any advice, I'd be grateful.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:22 pm 
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Lesson 12 - I tried to complete this lesson via the link in the workshop but it seemed to stop dead with no option to submit the results. I'll record the results here.

Begin Assessment (Part 1 of 12)

1. What is your current sexual preference? Heterosexual Homosexual Bi-sexual Auto-sexual (masturbation) Asexual (abstinence) Other

a. Describe "other": I would describe myself as a bisexual autosexual in the sense that I don't have and haven't for a long time had a sexual partner but I fantasise about both men and women.

2. At what age did you become aware of your current sexual preference? 23


3. Are you satisfied with your current sexual preference? No


4. How many sexual/romantic partners have you had:


a. In the past 30 days? 0

b. In the past year? 0

c. In your lifetime? 2

5. Of the sexual partners you have had, how often have you maintained 'safe-sex' practices? 1-Always


6. Are you engaging in sexual behavior that is having (could have) a significantly impact on your life?

2-No

7. Document your experiences with the following:

For all behaviors exhibited below, click on the corresponding "follow-up" link


Behavior - Not possible to click on additional information on two different devices.

Age of

1st Experience

(1-96; 0 if never)
Past 90 Days (Times) Past 30 Days (Hours)
Follow-up Questions

A) Masturbation Follow-up Age 11, 30 times, 10 hours
B) Pornography Follow-up Age 14, 3 times, 40 hours
C) Promiscuity Follow-up 0, 0 ,0
D) Transvestism Follow-up 0, 0, 0
E) Fetishism Follow-up 0, 0, 0
F) Erotic Fantasy Follow-up Age 13, 30 times, 10 hours
G) Prostitution Follow-up 0,0,0
H) Exhibitionism Follow-up 0, 0 ,0
I) Voyeurism Follow-up Age 12, 0 times, 0 hours
J) Frotteurism Follow-up 0, 0 ,0
K)Ecouterism Follow-up 0, 0 ,0
L)Erotographomania Follow-up 0, 0 ,0
M) Sexual Thievery Follow-up 0, 0 ,0
N) Sadism Follow-up 0, 0, 0
O) Masochism Follow-up 0, 0, 0
P) Beastiality Follow-up 0, 0, 0
Q) Stalking Follow-up 0,0,0
R) Molestation Follow-up 0,0,0
S) Incest Follow-up 0,0,0
T) Rape Follow-up 0,0,0
U) Other Follow-up 0,0,0

8. For the behaviors listed in the chart above, enter the letter (A-T) for each behavior you have exhibited for longer than one year: A,B,F,I

9. Have you ever been treated for sexually compulsive behavior? No


If Yes:


a) How many times?
b) How long ago was the last treatment?
c) How long did that treatment last?
d) What was the treatment setting?
1-Inpatient 2-Outpatient (monitored) 3-Outpatient (self-monitored)
e) Did you successfully complete the program?
1-Yes 2-No 3-Unsure/Not Applicable

10. Has a friend, employer, family member, etc. ever suggested counseling to help you deal with a matter directly or indirectly related to your sexual/romantic behavior? No

1-Yes 2-No


11. Using the scale below, rate the negative impact that your sexual and/or romantic behaviors have had on your: (1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)

Family (1-5) 2
Friends (1-5) 2
Co-workers (1-5) 1
Career (1-5) 3
Finances (1-5) 1
Romantic Relationships (1-5) 4
Self-esteem (1-5) 5
Stress level (1-5) 5
Time management (1-5) 3
Hobbies (1-5) 4



Follow-up Questions (to be answered if behavior listed above)


A) Masturbation


1. On average, how many times per day do you masturbate? Less than once
2. How often do you masturbate in public places? Never
3. How often do you masturbate while driving (or other dangerous environments)? Never
4. How often do you masturbate at work? Never
5. Do you believe that masturbating is interfering with your ability to manage intimate relationships with others? Possibly
6. How many times have you attempted Autoerotic Asphyxiation? 0
7. How often do you masturbate to the point of exhaustion? Never
8. How often do you feel guilty after masturbating? Seldom

Return

B) Pornography


1. How many times per week do you view pornographic material? Once every month (binge)
2. Which types of pornography do you solicit? Both
3. Which types of pornography do you solicit? Adult
4. Which medium do you prefer? Internet

Survey stops here.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:25 pm 
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Lesson 12- Recognising unhealthy recovery patterns

With regards to the information set out in the first section of the lesson, I feel like I sit in group 4, with elements of the characteristics of people in group 3. In terms of the behavioural pattern, I thought the most effective way of considering my traits was to record those that I feel apply to me below. I feel like more of the characteristics outlined in the second list (occasionally struggle with relapse) more than the major relapse section. Specifically, in the context of my slip at the weekend, I worry that I will always struggle with trigger situations and that this links in with the idea that I've done so much damage to my brain that it will be impossible to reverse the wiring. I guess this will take time and determination though.

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

Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle with Relapse

General Behavioral Pattern: Individuals who attempt recovery yet continue to struggle with occasional mild/moderate patterns of relapse. Quite often, it is the abstinence that can last for many years, with relapse coming in binges, rather than sustained patterns. Though it is also an "on again/off again" recovery pattern, the "on again" is most frequently triggered by their own guilt and shame for returning to the behaviors, rather than being caught engaging in such behavior.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

Keep in mind, the goal here is not to associate yourself with a particular label or category, but to take an objective look at your current thoughts and behaviors. And then to compare those behaviors to others who have thought similarly.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:44 pm 
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Hi tobewellagain,

Quote:
For the first time in 6 weeks, I viewed pornography and engaged in online chat. I've been feeling absolutely brilliant too, not euphoric but grounded although the usual trigger got me again.


The main thing to focus on here is what you can learn from this situation. This is actually quite common early on...people feeling good about themselves, then they slip, and the cycle starts all over again. So, what can you learn? You haven't gotten to this part of the workshop yet, but think: when did you feel the urge? At what point should you have acted? What other activities could you have engaged in to manage those emotions? This urge almost certainly will arise again...so the best way to deal in this situation is accept responsibility for your actions, accept the consequences, learn what you can, then move forward.

Quote:
it frustrates me that I couldn't control my response to it


It's not that you can't; it's that you're lacking in skill to fully manage the situation. Again, you're still early...subsequent lessons will teach you this. For now, the best thing to use is willpower, and have a list of healthy activities. If it helps, print off your value list and keep it in your pocket to read when you face an urge...this can then be used when you experience an urge, not so much to remember your values, but to create an emotional "break" from the emotions you're experiencing to process your decisions more rationally.

Quote:
the lack of catastrophizing also concerns me as it seems as if I'm playing down having acted out., which I don't want to do.


You should take such slips seriously, but not catastrophize...as this can lead to the exact same emotions that drives you towards further compulsive behaviour.

Anyways, keep working at it. :g:

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:23 pm 
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Thanks very much Coach Boundless for your advice. My disappointment in having slipped started to feel worse yesterday and today, a bit like a bruise really. I've been focusing on my values and have thought about how I can incorporate the experience into the practice of my values. The only idea I've come up with at this point is to do some visualisation and NLP exercises on the airport scenario.

I'm looking forward to developing those skills over future lessons. Thanks again for your support Coach.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 1:20 pm 
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Lesson 13

The patterns I recognise are a mixture of those described in the early and middle recovery sections and I thought the best thing to do would be to flag up those which I feel pertain to me at the moment:

In early recovery, extremely negative emotions are the norm: especially as they relate to depression, anxiety. I don't feel suicidal or hopeless, though I do experience fleeting periods of depression, low moods an anxiety.
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.
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. I do this on occasion although I never feel100% confident in my ability to cope
In early recovery, they perceive "powerlessness" as "helplessness" and "desperation".

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. i understand the theory of this but in reality, I still spend too much time rebuking and criticising myself
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 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.
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 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 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 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.


Part 2

I think this is the hardest lesson so far so hopefully I'm on the right track. I think the main value which is undermined by my unhealthy patterns is to do with compassion and self-love. I can be quite tough on myself which in turn impacts on my confidence. It also causes me to think negatively, infringing another key value about caring for my mind. In terms of practical values, although I don't really talk about addiction, I've made progress in being more open to people more generally. Practicing values like exercise and learning have enabled me to become more organised and professional and have given me a structure to my life.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:40 pm 
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Lesson 14 Health monitoring 1

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 take time today to think about the deeds, thoughts and achievements in my life that I can be proud of?
If not, how many days has it been since I have?
Did I meditate today and take time to enjoy the calmness of a quiet mind?
Did I contact a friend today to see how they were doing?
Did I hold a meaningful conversation with my parents or siblings today where I was attentive to their needs?
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 do or explore possibilities to have fun on my next free day e.g. Go to the movies or to see a show or exhibition?
Did I work on my recovery today? E.g. Do a lesson. If not, how long has it been?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 12:04 pm 
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Lesson 15:

I feel like I've learned a considerable amount since I started the workshop. Of everything, I believe I've found building my proactive values most useful in practical terms. It was great to be able to develop them and use them in reality. It's been easier to incorporate some values more than others but it's given me the beginnings of a structure to my life, which I didn't have before. There have been some difficulties around me over the past few weeks to do with changes in work, some family members and myself not being well as well as the slip I had a couple of weeks ago. It's not been easy but my proactive action plans have provided me with a buffer/ anchor to some degree.

I recognise that I need to immerse myself more in the workshop and complete lessons more regularly.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:47 pm 
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Lesson 16: Understanding Addiction I

My addiction to porn, masturbation and fantasy has served as my emotional crutch for as long as I can remember. It took me 10 years to realise the detrimental impact it's had on my life and it's served as my primary emotional management tool, generally if I'm experiencing a negative emotion. It can be a simple drip, drip drip of stress and then when it gets to boiling point, I act out. That trance like state offers a temporary refuge from my thoughts and negative emotions, even though It comes back worse after a binge.

It's also a tool I've used to manage big causes of upset too. I suppose I suffer from low self worth (ironically as a consequence of addiction in part) and whenever someone says something to me which I perceive as offensive or even if turmoil is caused by me comparing myself unfavourably to other people, then I often use my addiction as a means of escaping the negative emotions. I've even used it in circumstances where I've felt bored. The sad thing is, it's so fused into my brain that I don't think about the why. I guess the lesson makes a lot of sense in that it's as simple as me feeling a negative emotion and me reaching to my addiction, often without a second thought or at least a true appraisal of the consequences.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:03 am 
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The most frequent ritual I engage in is a combination of viewing online porn and taking part in online chat. The elements associated with this ritual are as follows:

Sensory: Visual stimulation through viewing pornography and looking at the photos of the people I engage in online chat with. There is also simulation from the sound of watching pornography too, e.g. If the sound is too low, my experience would be heightened by increasing the volume. Touch is probably the least important sensory element that impacts on the ritual but I do masturbate while viewing the porn.

Fantasy: Although I obtain most of the stimulation from ironically not being physically involved in a real encounter, fantasy is important in sustaining online chats that I am involved in so that I can keep the person I am talking to engaged in the process. Have to say though that the ritual feels so deeply engrained that it's almost like I don't need to use my imagination much any more.

Danger: Danger doesn't really do anything for me and I prefer to mitigate against all possible dangers when engaging in a ritual.

Suspense: This is an important one. There is suspense associated with the porn I view. E.g. Will I find something new or something exciting and also in terms of how the porn plays out e.g. Is something exciting and different going to happen. In terms of online chat, there is also suspense to do with the person I might chat to and also whether I can get them to send me photographs etc.

Accomplishment: The goal isn't necessarily to reach orgasm. It's usually to engage in a conversation with someone in which I manage to control their behaviours and desires and maybe also to view pornography which makes me excited. This may end in orgasm, but it's usually a relatively long time afterwards.

Power: I've never reflected before on the importance of power in my ritual. I really think it might be one of the most crucial elements in that the chat addiction only works if I am in complete control. E.g. I never share pictures of my real self but they have to share their photos, they ask me to meet and do the running and I can totally control the scenario. It's ironic that within the realm of the ritual, I am in complete control, but if I look at my habit more broadly, I don't seem to be able or haven't yet learned to control it.

Past: My addiction and my use of sexual things to control my emotions is so engrained that the past has a huge bearing on the ritual. It's a product of all the things that made me feel good in the past being honed into a well-drilled process and perhaps the ritual's characteristics are the inverse of how I feel I live my life more broadly e.g. In real life I don't have control, I lack confidence, I don't particularly like myself, so in chatting to people I can assume a persona that is the opposite of all this.

Poly-addictions: I don't think they have much of a bearing on my ritual, but more broadly I have probably used food as an emotional crutch in the past and also spend too much time on the Internet more broadly e.g. Reading news, doing research. 95 percent of my time online is unrelated to my sexual addiction though.

Orgasm: the ritual doesn't end until I orgasm but this isn't really the primary motivator in my engaging.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:03 am 
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Lesson Eighteen: Understanding Addiction 3

In relation to the addiction described in my last post, I would identify the influence of the filters as follows:

Time: I realise when I'm engaging in the ritual that I'm going to regret it as soon as it's over, so I ensure that I make it last for as long as possible. Sometimes, this is due to wanting to ensure that I make the most of it, but often it's a means of delaying the inevitable negative emotions which result. To do this, if I'll limit masturbation while I'm viewing porn so as not to orgasm too quickly. If I orgasm before I intended to, the ritual can't end and I wait for a little while before carrying on. This links to the element of control I guess.

Intensity: I guess this is linked to the point about time. I.e. I hold off masturbation to lengthen the ritual. Also, if I engage in cybersex with someone, I'll often hold multiple conversations with different people and the responses need to become more immediate to keep me engaged.

Habituation: with cybersex, the content of the conversations has to become more graphic. It wasn't enough to just exchange photographs, I have to see the other person on camera (control thing). The type of pornography I watch has to become more graphic too- simple photos weren't enough, I would watch movies which become increasingly hardcore, rough sex or movies with an element of fantasy to them, until it gets to a point where they do nothing.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 5:57 pm 
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Lesson 20 - mastering your addiction

I suppose the cause of addiction can be traced back to when I first started to masturbate at around the age of 11 or 12. I just stumbled across this activity that gave me pleasure and never really thought about it or its consequences apart from the fact that it was somehow dirty/ forbidden/ wrong. Maybe that was part of the allure. Looking back, I can see that as time went on, it became normal to me and a part of my existence. It must have become my emotions a regulation. I was always shy and unsure of myself, felt vulnerable but masturbation was one of the things that kept me on an even keel. Mine is probably a common story but it frustrates me now that I genuinely had no perception of the damage I was doing. Eventually I discovered porn and other ways of spicing up my masturbation sessions. Porn gave way to online chats and fantasy and reading stories about sex, all kinds of things to enhance how I was feeling. I suppose I became adept at understanding what worked for me quickly, I honed the perfect cookie recipe.

Life has its peaks and troughs and looking back, there was a period when I first moved away from home when it seemed as if my addiction didn't play that great a role in my life. I guess it was always there under the surface but I never considered that I was addicted. It was only a couple of years later when I was dating the first girl I ever really loved that I realised how warped by pornography and masturbation my mind had become. My confused bisexual porn watching preferences were at odds with the life I wanted to live and it was the first time I realised it. I realised I couldn't control my habits but by this time I'd already spent almost half of my life under the spell of addiction. I so wanted to break free but all it took was a knock back. I limited myself, convinced myself I wasn't worthy and would relieve the pain by engaging in my ritual. If I felt jealous, hurt, bored, bereaved- any negative emotion, porn and masturbation was the cure. I've been going on like this for a few years now, my life has improved in certain ways but my addictive patterns are still there and flare up in certain situations.

As I look into the future, it's hard to envisage a life without my addiction because it's been a part of me for so long. I know it's possible though, it's a learned response. However, I can envisage scenarios where it would be at risk of flaring up e.g. when my parents die, if I lost my job, faced financial difficulties suddenly. There are other scenarios where my addiction might creep back in, e.g. if I lose touch with my values, stumble into a situation which acts as a trigger. I know it's possible to learn how to cope because other people have done so. Nevertheless, it's difficult to not be apprehensive.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:34 am 
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Lesson 21

Large goals I've attempted in life and failed:

I've struggled with this one, not because I've suceeded in achieving every large goal I've striven for but because I fear failure and this has prevented me from aiming for them. I think what has prevented me therefore is a lack of belief. My biggest failure is living a healthy life I.e. One free from addiction. This is despite multiple attempts but I guess my failure stems from not having the structure to reach the goal. I also have viewed it as an end point rather than a process and it's starting to slowly click that living a healthy life is more than just abstinence.

Large goals I've attempted and suceeded:

I suppose educational attainment is most obvious. I received great grades for bachelor an master's degrees. I think a relentless pursuit of the goal coupled with breaking down the goal into manageable bits I.e. Not expecting to go from no knowledge to total knowledge in an unrealistic amount of time, helped to motivate me and enabled me to achieve them.

One recovery goal I'd like to aim for:
I guess I can look no further than completing the recovery workshop. So, I want to comlplete the recovery workshop by 30 September 2015.

In terms of breaking it down:

I want to complete stage 2 by 22 April
Stage 3 by 23 June
Stage 4 by 5 August
Stage 5 by end of September.
I also want to work on my practical values concurrently so that I meditate four times per week for at least 20 mins as a matter of routine by mid June.
I want to reach my target weight by mid August through my value of healthy eating and physical exercise


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:30 pm 
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Lesson 22: Measuring compulsive behaviour

Ritual 1
Cybersex:

Elements:

Sensory (visual)- 2; Time, important at start and at intervals, 5; Intensity: linked to suspense, 5; Habituation: 5, average

Suspense- 2; Time, wears off as ritual goes on, 5; Intensity, powerful 6; Habituation, by definition sensations decrease as ritual goes on: 5

Power: drives ritual-3. Time: remains important throughout, 10, Intensity, if power isn't present sensations dwindle so 8. Habituation, 8

Sensory Touch is an accessory, 1. Time: builds as ritual goes on, 9. Intensity: moderate so 5. Habituation, hasn't changed in years so 8.

Orgasm is an accessory so 1. Time: brings ritual to an end usually, 9. Intensity: normally doesn't matter how intense it is so 4. Habituation, like sensory touch, this hasn't changed in years so 8.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:48 am 
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I slipped again from Thursday to this morning by binge viewing porn and engaging in online chats. This is the third time since I started the workshop in January. Feeling so annoyed and down with myself again, although at the moment, I also feel relieved because the ritual is over. It's really beating me at the moment. On reflection, over the past few weeks I've been resting on my laurels, feeling good and happy with my routine. I've not been paying enough attention to my daily monitoring however. This week my daily routine went out of the window a little because of work, the holidays and things happening and before I knew it the compulsion set in. I tried to ignore it by doing other stuff but it kept coming back. How the hell do I beat these urges? Before I know it, it's like I'm hypnotised. I wasn't really enjoying it, but stopping and facing up to my slip seemed worse. When I'm in a binge, I feel sick, deprive myself of sleep, feel terrible but it's like I have to persist. I know practicing my values and building them will make me less susceptible to acting out but how do I deal with these situations. if anyone has techniques, I'd love to hear them.


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