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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:45 pm 
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Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Hey boys and girls,
after I asked a question about a lesson some users suggested me to create a Recovery Thread. Although English isn’t my first language and I keep my journals/lessons in my mother language I want to try this out. I’m already at lesson 19, so I’m not really sure how to proceed. I don’t want to come off as a lazy slack, but I don’t think I have the time/energy to translate all my previous lessons, I think this would be a little too much and I also don’t want to “spam” too much. So I thought I might give you a quick recap. I want to introduce myself, then I’m going to summarize the most important early lessons (so mostly my life vision, values and the recovery patterns). I hope that’s okay. From that on I’ll try to regularly use this thread as intended. I try to give my posts as many substance as possible, but sometimes I’ll not be able to translate the whole lesson – it’s not always easy for me. Anyway, I don’t want to come off as an addict that isn’t ready to dedicate himself to recovery. It’s just that I have to deal with life and the exercises itself take a lot of time to work on as well. So I’m just not able to give 100% with this thread, but be sure that I do all of the tasks with sincerity and I try to post the most important things of each lesson.

But enough talk, let’s get started. So I’m 22 years old and I’m form Germany. My porn use started around the age of 13. At first I was disgusted but then it grew on me. At first it started with pictures, then the films and so on. I'm a huge fantasy-guy so fantasies revolving around the girls I knew where another big issue. Besides my sexual/pornographig endeavours I was always looking for love. I found it in obsessive relationships where I basically idealized girls I knew but only had contact with them through instant messengers etc. So that's how it started in my early teens I basically discovered the whole “pornfree” thing through reddit 3 years ago. Since then I’m working on this issue. It started as the usual “I just want to ditch a bad habit”. And I actually was quite successful with staying away from porn at that point. But I was in an abusive relationship back then and things were bad. When that relationship fell apart I realized which role it had played in my life. I realized that I’m not only sex/porn addicted, but that I’m a love addict as well. Through a series of (new) compulsive behaviors and another addictive relationship (that sadly was a “good one”, but I wasn’t able to maintain it due to my addiction), I ended up at the point where I reached a new state of clarity. My former work on this issue made more and more sense in the new context and I realized how my identity is based around this addiction. I realized how my childhood trauma was linked to the start of my addictive behavior. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on the past too much. I just wanted you to know, how I ended up here. Actually I made some attempts (2 or 3) on starting this workshop but I never passed the life vision. It took me almost 6 month to finalize my life vision, but now I’m at a point where I have my priorities straight. I often had the problem that I tackled too many issues of self-improvement and so on, that I got lost. But after my relationship ended in February I started to focus on the road to a health based identity.

At the moment I would describe myself as barely sober. I don’t watch porn right now, I don’t have a serious problem with trigger (so I don’t overdramatize them) and I went no contact with my former girlfriend (which was actually a pretty tough step for me). But I would lie if my mind doesn’t wanders to porn, fantasies and romantic delusions every now and then. I definitely feel where my compulsive behavior kicks in and I’m not always able to handle my thoughts right away. But the workshop itself is a great help in transforming my life. So in the next few posts I will give you short recaps of the more important corner stones of this workshop. Then I’ll proceed in a “normal” fashion. Please remember that some of the older answers/entries might not represent my current status. But I don't want to "hoke" them up. They represent my status at that moment (I'll add the date of the lessons for better clearness).

Greetings, axelswagger.


Last edited by axelswagger on Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
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Location: Ger
Lesson 1 - Laying the Foundation (01/18/16)

B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently change your life. Don't stop at three or four obvious ones, really examine your life and what is important to you. Phrase these in the positve. For example: "I don't want to keep deceiving my wife" would serve you better if written like "I want to be honest and transparent with my wife". Positive statements have much more power in our mindset than negative ones. List these in your recovery thread.

- I want to be tangible and authentic.
- I don't want to make my dreams come true, instead of dreaming a life.
- I want more space for growth, addiction limits yourself.
- I want to be honest towards the people around me.
- I want to do things for myself, not because I hope to receive an external benefit (especially in terms of love addiction, where many actions are planned to get approval from others)
- I want to free my inner potential.
- I want to live a healthy life, without the toxic impact of an addiction.
- I want freedom.
- I want to treat my old wounds with respect, not with investing in unhealthy behavior.
- I want to live the principles of "the slight edge" (it's a book for those who don't know. the main statement is: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal")
- I want to get in touch with healthy boundaries.
- I want to get a better sense of the boundaries of others, so we can live in better harmony.
- I want a more relaxed relationship with the people that are around me.
- I want to be responsible for the things I actually can control and I want to let go the things that are out of reach.
- I want to accept the things as they are.
- I don't want to play the role of the victim.
- I want to spark the process to emotional maturity, that I missed when I was a teen and hooked on porn.
- I want to stop my suffering.
- I want to treat myself on a healthy basis.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:11 pm 
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Location: Ger
Lesson 2 - Life Vision (finalized on 2/24/16)

I know, this is one of the most important lessons but I'm sorry guys, it's too much to translate. My life vision is 14 pages long and contains many different areas. But what I'll do is, I'll give you an overview of the different areas and I'll present the philosophy that is behind all this.

The philosophy of my life vision is growth. All my activities and goals are meant to derive meaning from the fact that I proceed to grow. I want to create new opportunities as much as possible and I want to share them. I want to create experiences and I want to share them. I know it's quite broad but it's what I feel (felt at that moment) as most compelling. The thought about giving more life and taking more from life in general sparked my passion more than anything else (the wish to end the pain of my addiction aside).

The areas are:

  • Contribution and Sustainability
  • Education and academic endeavours
  • Family
  • Finances
  • Friends and non-romantic relationships
  • Health
  • Hobbies and fulfilment
  • Career
  • Love life and relationships
  • Personal development

In each of these areas I wrote down what I want to reach there, how I want this to happen and what I expect.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:21 pm 
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Lesson 7 - Actionplans/Value-List (3/7/2016)

Another biggie... 12 pages. I think it's too much to translate as well. But I will share my 15 top values. And if you have any questions feel free to ask! If you would like to see one example of an action plan I might translate it for you, but I think it's better to wait for your feedback :)

Here you go:

  • Healing of my inner wounds
    • Conscious daily contact with my inner child
    - Reading the books about this topic + integrated lessons
    - Guided meditation about this topic
    • Professional Help/Therapy
    - Conscious reprocessing of that topic
    - Learning new approaches to work on it outside of therapy
    - Cognitive behavioral practices
    • Building a clear relationship with myself
    - Treat myself with sympathy
    - Meditation
    - Observing the feelings connected to my boundaries
    - Practice in self-awareness
    - Consciously appreciating loneliness as a chance to gain new strength
    - Accepting pain, anxiety and loneliness as parts of myself
    - Inner peace is not a permanent condition, it's something I have to consciously work on
    - Taking responsibility for myself
    • Working on forgiveness and a fresh start
    • Challenge my fear of loss
    • Consciously feel the support when talking to others
    • Trying new things, that'll end in a new positive experience - don't hide out of fear. New boundaries, new healthey experiences.
    • Trying relaxation exercises
    • Writing down feelings I can't comprehend.
    • Letting go of the victim role doesn't equal to not accepting my pain. Being wounded doesn't equal acting as a victim.
    • Accepting that I'll remain scarred, but I can close the wounds.
    • Chosing my actions according to this value.
    • Accepting, that I have to do inconvenient things, to be truly healed.
    • I monitor my H.A.L.T. to stay in a good shape.
    • Accepting, that my addiction is a failed attempt to heal/dull my inner wounds. Therefore recovery is the inevitable thing I need to heal.
    • Realize, that my anger is often a disguised desire for love.
  • Emotional maturity
  • Growth of opportunities
  • Creativity
  • Authenticity
  • Self-love
  • Self-respect
  • Calmness
  • Responsibility for my own life
  • Letting go of the victim role
  • Developing my passion for playing guitar
  • Intellectual growth
  • Creating and respecting my own boundaries
  • Being humorful
  • Financial independence

Although I won't share the whole actionplan right now I would like to talk about some insights. I really struggled at first. I was always thinking "am I doing this right?" I was more concerned that I get the way I describe my values right, instead of chosing what I really want to life. When I proceeded I kind of got stuck in a moment where I was more thinking about what would be great. But I still wasn't at the point where I was able to say "yep, that's who I want to be". So it took me some time to study my life vision and truly extract the real values. When I managed to do that I was quite proud and I felt the tangible outcome that those values are.


Edit: I've added the actionplan for my first value.


Last edited by axelswagger on Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 2:37 pm 
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Location: Ger
Lesson 14 - Health Monitoring (3/9/16)

So with the previous posts in mind I hope you'll be able to understand my health monitoring. Here it comes:

1. Did I derive self-healing powers from my affectionate activities?
2. 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?
3. Did I used a healthy strategy in the relationship with my parents or did I pulled up walls? (sorry this is hard to translate)
4. Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do today?
5. Did I tried to leave my comfort zone at least once? (i.e. trying something new, challenging a fear, doing something inconvenient to reach a goal etc.)
6. Did I derive meaning from my creative activities?
7. Where my actions dependent on acceptance? (hard to translate..)
Habe ich unabhängig davon gehandelt, wie viel Akzeptanz ich dafür erhalte (Nice Guy)?
8. Did I treat myself with love and respect?
• If not, did I became aware of that behavior or was it an automatic program?
• If not, what kept me from doing it?
9. Have I lived responsible today?
• If not, was it the easiest solution? Was it appropriate or was it convenience?
10. Have I tried my best to set up healthy boundaries?
• If not, what kept me from doing it?
• If so, how was the situation different, compared to a situation where I haven't used healthy boundaries?
11. How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability at the moment?


A little bit of a prologue...

That's it so far. With the next lesson I'll use the Thread as usual. After almost three weeks of recovery I feel quite good. It's a tough road and I do get some serious feelings of emptiness. Especially regarding my love addiction I feel depressed from time to time. But so far my progress is better than it ever was. Currently I'm trying to find the right balance between giving 100% in recovery and not becoming addicted to recovery. So I'm in that stage of the recovery patterns. I'm not quite sure how natural it is. I just know that recovery is inevatible for change to happen. So I have made it my nr.1 priority. But some times I think I overanalyze. On the other hand, I do feel how things start to slip again, if I not consequently follow through with the recovery tools and learnings. But I'm quite optimistic that these issues will vanish, as long as I'm aware of it and as long as I focus on my vision. Thanks for listening and if you have any questions feel free to ask!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
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Hi there, axelswagger,

I'm glad you've decided to join us. I'm quite impressed with your work so far, it seems you've done a lot of soul searching which is excellent as it is a big part of recovery. I'll proceed with the official welcome pack to brief you in about how the forum works, then I'd like to comment on some of the things you've shared.

RN is a very good place to be if you are committed to changing certain patterns and improving your life. You will have to work hard, understand the concepts presented and implement the learning into your life through practice. In addition to doing the workshop, there is great value in the recovery community support forum where you are welcome to read and post to ask something or share something or just express your support towards other members. Reading other people's threads can also be beneficial in knowing you are not alone and finding valuable insights into similar issues, but remember that only mentors and coaches are allowed to post comments on personal threads. For a quick overview of the rules of the forums, you can access this link http://www.recoverynation.com/partnersb ... m.php?f=81 if you haven't done so already.

Mentors and coaches will stop by occasionally offering feedback, especially if they feel you need guidance. If you have any doubts or questions, the fastest way to get feedback is to post on the recovery community support forum. It is customary to recommend completing 3 lessons per week that would reflect a daily effort towards reading, understanding and practicing the concepts presented. Exposing yourself to other sources of information such as books can only be beneficial and would compliment your efforts.

axelswagger wrote:
So I thought I might give you a quick recap. I want to introduce myself, then I’m going to summarize the most important early lessons (so mostly my life vision, values and the recovery patterns). I hope that’s okay.

That's ok. :w:

axelswagger wrote:
So I’m just not able to give 100% with this thread, but be sure that I do all of the tasks with sincerity and I try to post the most important things of each lesson.

It's understandable. Doing things with sincerity and thoroughly is the most important thing. Coaches and mentors can still get an idea if you share the highlights. I don't know if you've considered doing the lessons directly in English, I'm aware that your native language offers a lot more subtleties and ease of expression which allows for the free flow of thought but your English seems excellent despite your doubts so I don't know, maybe you want to think about it and try it out. Whatever works best for you, however way you feel you get the most of the workshop and your work.

axelswagger wrote:
Actually I made some attempts (2 or 3) on starting this workshop but I never passed the life vision. It took me almost 6 month to finalize my life vision, but now I’m at a point where I have my priorities straight.

It took me six months also until I managed to fully understand what it means to have a vision, what are values and to connect emotionally to these concepts. It's quite difficult for many people like us to come up wth something that we really care about and keeps us inspired and focused because all our lives have been filled and managed with addiction and we haven't really developed a vision and skills to sustain it. Remember that the vision is not something static. You grow and you change each moment so it's to be expected that your vision will also change and grow in line with your development. So it's good to review it now and again, update it mentally whenever necessary.

axelswagger wrote:
At the moment I would describe myself as barely sober. I don’t watch porn right now, I don’t have a serious problem with trigger (so I don’t overdramatize them) and I went no contact with my former girlfriend (which was actually a pretty tough step for me). But I would lie if my mind doesn’t wanders to porn, fantasies and romantic delusions every now and then. I definitely feel where my compulsive behavior kicks in and I’m not always able to handle my thoughts right away.

You are in an excelent position to start the workshop and get the best out of it.

axelswagger wrote:
Although I won't share the whole actionplan right now I would like to talk about some insights. I really struggled at first. I was always thinking "am I doing this right?" I was more concerned that I get the way I describe my values right, instead of chosing what I really want to life. When I proceeded I kind of got stuck in a moment where I was more thinking about what would be great. But I still wasn't at the point where I was able to say "yep, that's who I want to be". So it took me some time to study my life vision and truly extract the real values. When I managed to do that I was quite proud and I felt the tangible outcome that those values are.

You have some pretty challenging top values, I would love to see some of your action plans like for example for "Healing of my inner wounds" , "Emotional maturity", "Self-love". One of my top values is growth and learning as well and I can tell you I've learnt quite a bit from others and I expanded my horizons with new insights. I'm sure I can learn something from you too but I wouldn't want you to feel pressured ... only if you can find time and value in it.
In my opinion all this work and confusion is necessarity before you get clarity. It's about acquiring self-knowledge and it doesn't come that easy. Describing your values has its own part to play in the whole scheme of things because people interpret words and concepts differently. What honesty or intimacy is for me might not be the same for you or for any other. Spending time to really define and clarify what certain concepts mean to you is a very important process of gaining self-knowledge and it also helps a lot with achieving connection to your values, internalising them. It seems like you've made it through because the feeling of pride usually indicates you've done your very best and that is what it takes.

About your daily monitoring, it's quite good, just make sure you can get it done in about 5 minutes or so. It shouldn't take too long so it doesn't become a burden, it should be more of a daily mental check meant to scan for potential problems or obstacles which might not just be temporary setbacks. It's also meant to remind you of what you want to achieve and keep you focused and motivated. As the things become ingrained and you feel you don't need a constant reminder as they've become a part of you, a part of how you do things, you can rotate them out of your monitoring and put others in which need more attention.

axelswagger wrote:
It's a tough road and I do get some serious feelings of emptiness. Especially regarding my love addiction I feel depressed from time to time. But so far my progress is better than it ever was.

I know exactly what you mean, I know this emptiness all too well. I'm afraid it might linger on for some time but for me it's almost all gone. I can't remember the last time I felt it as such ... the emptiness turned to severe depression and feeling hopeless, then also this subsided to a more manageable version and in time it went away. I still have difficulties in my life which have the potential to throw me off my balance but how I deal with it has changed. It's quite amazing how my values and my goals sustain me, in those hard times the energy and hope I get from my plans and vision is almost tangible. Instead of succombing to despair I'm busy figuring a way to manage what has happened and still achieve what I want for myself, ultimately a sense of pride and self-love. So, hang in there, it gets much better but it takes time, it's a process.

axelswagger wrote:
Currently I'm trying to find the right balance between giving 100% in recovery and not becoming addicted to recovery. So I'm in that stage of the recovery patterns. I'm not quite sure how natural it is. I just know that recovery is inevatible for change to happen. So I have made it my nr.1 priority. But some times I think I overanalyze. On the other hand, I do feel how things start to slip again, if I not consequently follow through with the recovery tools and learnings. But I'm quite optimistic that these issues will vanish, as long as I'm aware of it and as long as I focus on my vision.

Becoming addicted to recovery ... hmm... excellent insight. I struggled with these doubts myself. But, I urge you to think hard if you are becoming "addicted" to recovery or to your stated top value of self-growth? At this point in time the distinction might not be clear cut for you. So, I suggest you give yourself some time to work out all you need to work out. We've skipped some stages in our development and it's quite a lot of processing to do if we want to catch up but after the bulk of it is done and you become more confident in your identity, you will slow down somewhat to a long-term sustainable level of processing.
Overanalyzing ... hmm ... many people report a certain tendency to overanalyze things, me included. I don't think there is anything wrong with it as such for as long as it does not become repetitive and obsessive. As long as it assists you in looking into things as deeply as you can and understand yourself, it can only add value. If you feel that overanalyzing is an impediment somehow, maybe you need to take some measures meant to balance it out to more comfortable levels.
At this point you do need some practice with all these things you've learnt here. They are meant to become part of you, part of the way you do things, they are meant to change the way you think,perceive and relate to yourself and the world. So, again, it's a process of internalising the knowledge. About issues vanishing ... I'm not sure that's what is happening as such ... I don't think the issues vanish completely as in you'll never have a sexual or love addiction delusional thought into your mind. They will come now and again, rarely or extremely rarely but you will have an inbuild mechanism for dealing with these instances as quickly as possible, with minimal or no consequences upon your life or emotional balance. They would not impact you anymore, they would be like any other thought which you discard as not such a good idea with minimum of effort.

That's about it for now. I think you're off to a great experience. Enjoy the journey!

Ursula

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


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 12:31 pm 
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Hey,

thank you very much for your indepth answer! It's gread food for thought. I really enjoy the forum so far and it is great to feel that kind of support.

I might try it out to do some lessons in English. I've tried it before and lessons like the Life Vision are just too much. I feel too dettached from my written text, when I read in a different language. Nonetheless I think writing an English recap is a beneficial task, that not only helps me to improve my language, but also is a great way to reflect on the lesson in a different manner.

Since there is no written assignment in todays Lesson (Nr. 19) I would like to translate at least one action plan. I'll edit the respective post later this evening. It feels kind of intimate to open up about those things, but I think we can only learn more from it. Currently I don't have any problems with the daily monitoring, it stays roughly at 5 minutes. But it's definitely an area where overthinking took place and I wanted to cram in as many areas as possible, out of fear of missing sth. out.

I remember, when I first went cold turkey, and had no relationship and no porn at all, I fell into a crippling depression. I was terrorized by anxiety for almost 4 months. Thoughts about the finitive aspects of life grew into an obsession and fear. It all ended in one of my biggest "outbreaks", where I was hooked on several dating apps and that was the only thing I could think about for a long time. When I found another relationship things obviously got better pretty soon. I'm glad that I realized my problems throught that relationship so I'm not completely unprepared right now. This new breakup wasn't as hard on me as the old one. At the moment I'm not ridden by this extreme anxiety and I hope it stays that way. I actually think this is already a cool of a few longtime orientated decisions I made during the last year and it's a good feeling to take comfort in. But like you said, despair is often around the corner. The more sober I get, the more I realize how sensitive I'm towards things. Feels that were dulled for a long time now rise up and it's an opportunity to explore them.

I thought about your proposal if I might become "addicted" to recovery or my top value. Obviously I'm not hundred percent sure after a few hours, but I feel that it's more a tendency towards the recovery itself. It's not a full-blown relapse/recovery-cycle but if I'm honest I experience this pattern on a smaller scale. Let's say I have some work planned for the afternoon. But I don't feel like doing it, this decision is based on slackness, so it's not based on my values. I obviously feel bad about it so I procrastinate. When I reach the point of feeling too bad, I kind of get that extra push to pull me out of the rut and I'm like "alright, let's do it!". So I become hyper-aware make some action plans, plan a todo-list, meditate and talk a walk. This process of putting me back in the race gives me a pleasurable feeling. Talking in terms of the compulsive wheel there's a big sense of accomplishment. So in this case I do use recovery as a source of immediate gratification. But of course there's also a strong dedication towards the top value of self-growth hat sometimes turns into some kind of obsession, where I want to grow at a faster rate than it's possible. I think I'll monitor this for some time and reflect on it every now and again. The thoughts of an afternoon might not be enough.

Another note about the "vanishing" bit. I wanted to say, that I hope/think that my insecurities about the workshop itself, about how I'm doing it right/wrong, will hopefully vanish as I gain more self-esteem. But I do understand, that the sexual and love addiction will not really be erased, but managed as a part of a healthy life.
So thanks again for your answer. It's deliberating to hear the insights of other people on this journey.

Greetings,

A.S.

PS: I should figure out how the quote function works... sorry.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:53 pm 
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Hey, axelswagger,

For the quote function you have roughly 2 choices. There is a quote button on top of the post you are writing. That one is for general quotation, it would not indicate the name of the person you are quoting. You can add the name manually in the brackets or you can just leave it like that, depending on the context the author can be implied. All you have to do is copy the quote between the beginning and end brackets. There is a preview button right next to the submit button if you want to see how it looks like before you post. This function is great when you want to quote some other thread or the lessons.
The second way to do it is if you want to quote someone who wrote earlier on the thread you are replying to. In this case, the posts will appear lower on the page under the post you are writing and they can be scrolled down. If you want to quote something from there, you just select it and then you need to find the quote button on top of that very post you wish to select from. It should select only that little bit and put the name of the author, but I've noticed that on the ipad it copies the whole post, not just the fragment you need and it can be a bit annoying.
A word of advice, make sure you keep backing up your posts if you are writing directly in this forum form (a simple copy now and again will do) because if it takes you too long you will be required to log in again when you want to submit and if you haven't saved you might lose it all. Or you can write it in Word for example and post it only when you're done, whichever is easier for you, just make sure you are avoiding the terrible disappointment of losing maybe hours worth of hard work. Happens to us all.

About sharing your action plans and feeling slightly uncomfortable because it's intimate, I totally understand. Intimacy and connection is a whole problem area with people like us. I don't know about you, but I've never been interested to pursue a meaningful connection to pretty much anyone (maybe one or two exceptions), unless I had romantic benefits. This extended even to same sex but it was definitely a problem with the opposite sex. It just did not seem worth the effort, it actually felt wasteful. I hardly have any friends with whom I was not romantically involved. Ever since I found RN and became part of this community I started seeing human connection and experience in their own right, untainted by ulterior motives and it was quite an eye opener of what I've been missing for most of my life. Whether you are alike in this or not, it's good to keep in mind that people like us generally have a problem with opening up and achieving deeper, meaningful connection, not just in the narrow area of romantic and sexual pursuit. But I'm sure you've figured it out by now and you've probably built a vision around it somewhere in those 14 pages :w: This being said, building appropriate boundaries, even in sharing and opening up to others, is also equally important. Striking the proper balance, in line with our prioritized values is essential for people like us as we are prone to extreme emotional reactions of fear or excitement. Building a vision around things is the guiding light in deciding where the balance lies and strive to achieve it.

I can tell by the way you react and process feedback that you have huge potential. I'll leave you to your lessons as you are doing a great job at figuring things out on your own. :g:

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


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:38 pm 
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Hey Ursuala,

thanks for the kind words.

ursula wrote:
I don't know about you, but I've never been interested to pursue a meaningful connection to pretty much anyone (maybe one or two exceptions), unless I had romantic benefits. This extended even to same sex but it was definitely a problem with the opposite sex.


This is definitely me. And it's still hard to learn what I can gain von pursuing upfront meaningfull connections, without love/sex in mind. But I'm at least I'm aware of that area and I try my best. Actually I met an old fellow student of mine, to go to a software workshop. Babysteps!

ursula wrote:
Striking the proper balance, in line with our prioritized values is essential for people like us as we are prone to extreme emotional reactions of fear or excitement. Building a vision around things is the guiding light in deciding where the balance lies and strive to achieve it.


Like you said, it's so important to keep this in balance. I do have a huge fear of rejection, so opening up is kind of hard. On the other hand I'm done with deceiving others about who I really am. So my goal is to find the thin line where I feel comfortable with sharing myself and where I feel strong enough to maintain healthy boundaries.

So let's go on to todays lesson:

Lesson 20 - Mastering Your Addiction

Although there wasn't a written assignment for the thread I would like to share some thoughts. That lesson made me thinking about several episodes of my life. I've realized the ingredients that lead to the escalation of my addiction (prone to fantasizing as a child/strong imagenative mind, early introduction to masturbation by peers, stressfull life situation at home and school). From there on different behaviors kicked in and my addiction took several roles. This lesson helped me to make an interesting connection. I remember, when I started therapy one of my first realizations was, that I haven't had a proper puberty. So my development in that area was kind of disfunctional. Todays lesson showed me more than ever which role my addiction played in that situation. The escalating addiction was the only way for me to get something like a puberty. It helped to evolve some kind of sexuality while maintaining the image of a good child towards my parents. And of course there were many other roles that my addiction played. Sometimes it was just a fun way to feel good. Sometimes it helped me to nurture the needs that no one took care of.
My main learning was, that I'm completely able to change all of this. I can lead myself through the development that I might have missed out. I can train the skills that I wasn't able to develope due to my addiction. When I think about the future it feels like my addiction lost its purpose. The only purpose it really serves right now is to maintain itself. So with the help of this workshop I'm going to learn how to live my life without the "control-unit" of an addiction in my brain. Right now it's still hard, letting go means emptiness and a loss of purpose. But I have faith in the fact, that something new and better will flourish, as long as I follow the vision of my life.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:54 am 
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Lesson 21 - Recovery Goals

Journal: Today I feel a bit dizzy. I’m one month in active recovery and things become a bit shaky. I still feel my sense of long-term motivation, which is to grow and flourish my potential. But I also feel that my addiction is still the one thing that technically gives me the most “control” or emotional relief. Yet the pain of my addiction diminishes and I’m left with the struggle to motivate myself through my values. As funny as it is, that’s actually the topic of today’s lesson so I’m confident in doing the right thing. I try to avoid the immediate gratification behavior in the context of my recovery. I want to focus on my long-term goals. But I’m honest, it’s easier to focus on recovery when the main purpose is to shut down the addiction, which seems more tangible at first. But I also realize, that true change only is possible when I focus on building the life I want, instead of on ending my addiction. I guess I have to become more comfortable and confident with the thought of being able to truly make a difference. As an addicts you’re not in control of many things, as a healthy individual there’s suddenly a lot of control. Today’s lesson was fine so far. It’s Saturday, so I try to do some relaxed stuff, as long as it’s congruent with my values. I currently get some flashbacks about my ex-girlfriend from time to time. I just accept them and I don’t follow them, but it still stings a bit. On the one hand I miss her a bit, like with sincerity. On the other I realize the patterns involved. Most of these flashbacks contain thoughts about what she’s doing with her life right now, if she’s sad, if she has someone new, if she was “faithful” or if she was promiscuous. I know that all those compulsive thoughts don’t have any worth for me. I can’t gain something from them. They’re just thoughts and patterns. But even if I would indulge in them, there’s nothing I could change about these worries. So I try to accept them as they are and move on. Focusing on my lesson helps me. For the rest of the day I’m going to try some value-based activities and I want to take extra-good care of myself. Actually I feel fine. I just wish things would be more “normal”, not that rollercoaster of feelings. But things will get better, I’m certain.

A. What large goals have you attempted in your life and failed? Why do you suppose you failed?
If I’m honest, there isn’t much. I actually had no large goals where failure was a real possibility. I had fantasies. When I knew that it might be tough, I stuck to a fantasy. So I just fantasized about doing that student exchange and so on. As much as I’m afraid of failure, there wasn’t much failure in my life. So it’s more that I haven’t even tried and that’s why I failed.The one thing where I would speak of failing a large goal, is when I first started pornfree. I practiced abstinence because I wasn’t aware of my addiction. I thought porn was a bad habit. So inevitably I failed. I guess the main reason for this failure was, that I had not expected reality. I wasn’t aware of the possibilities involved. I thought “I’ll do this and I’ll be fine”.

B. What large goals have you attempted in your life and succeeded? Why do you suppose you were able to succeed?
Like I said before, I was never a real goal-person (on a side note: goals often had the smack of competition for me and I hate competition). But the few larger goals I had, I was actually able to succeed. One recent goal was to finalize my bachelor thesis. It was a rough time, many fights with my then-gf, relapse and depression. But I wanted to succeed. So I did everything I could. I battled my need for immediate gratification and I applied the mindset of “step by step I’ll succeed”. So I made a plan for that time period, where I outlined all the things I had to do. And when I started I just concentrated 100% on that one thing that was due in that moment. When I had finished I reflected on my progress and often realized that I’m ahead of schedule and things are better than expected. There was a lot of struggle as well, procrastination and the like. I spent 2 weeks doing nothing and feeling like shit. But after about a month I realized how much I already did. And from there on I gained momentum. So things grew and I finished just in time. I was full of worries when I submitted it, because I thought there’s no chance its being good, after all that struggle I had. In the end I succeeded and got the highest grade possible. I guess I was able to succeed, because I had a plan and goals. But on the other hand I knew that the plan and goals are not everything. Sometimes you get lost in your plan and you’re overwhelmed, you see what you have to do and thing “that’s way too much”. So I reminded myself that I don’t have to do it all at once, but step by step.

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.

• I want to finish the recovery workshop by July 1st in 2016.
o Therefore I want to do averagely 4 lessons per week.
o I want to monitor my daily behavior and implement all tools to build a new life and I want to consciously build that new life in terms of applying the content of the lessons.
o I start each week with a short read of my Life Vision or Action-Plan (depending on whether I need idealistic input or practical input)
o I’m going to finish Stage 2 by April 4 at latest.
- I’ll initiate a reflection session on that day and monitor if I have reached the next stage, what I’ve learned so far, what I might have missed out and should repeat, how my life has changed in regard to the preceding lessons.
- If I haven’t finished the by then I’ll ask myself why – Was it because of “life”? Was it because of unhealthy (recovery) patterns? Are the lessons time consuming and is it the healthiest decision to take enough time to finish them? What should I change, if anything is problematic? How can I support my efforts?
o I’m going to finish Stage 3 by May 2 at latest.
- I’ll initiate a reflection session [...]
- If I haven’t finished the [...]
o I’m going to finish Stage 4 by May 30 at latest.
- I’ll initiate a reflection session [...]
- If I haven’t finished [...]
o I’m going to finish Stage 5 by June 27 at latest.
- I’ll initiate a reflection session [...]
- If I haven’t finished [...]
o After I’ve finished the workshop I’m going to take some time, maybe a whole day off and reflect on all things that will have happened during my recovery.


PS: That’s the first lesson I completed in English. So no translation. I think the depth of those tasks was appropriate to try it. I don’t think I’ll do it every time, but it’s refreshing to try something new.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:10 pm 
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Lesson 22 - Measuring Compulsive Behavior

So the infamous one... Applying the filters was a bit of a struggle but otherise I felt fine so far. I got motivated and tried to calculate my results. So here's my ritual. I chose a more simple ritual of my love addiction. Hope I did it the right way.

At first it felt a bit strange. It felt like I was triggering myself with this lesson. But as I proceeded to dissect the ritual things become more easy. I won't lie and say that the ritual lost its appeal completely but it's much easier to understand what the main driving factors are etc.

Ritual Measured:
Cyber-Stalking my then Girlfriend
Primary Elements Involved:
Fantasy (Obsession), Suspense, Accomplishment, Past, Sensory (Sight/Voyeurism), Power
Values assigned:
Fantasy (Obsession): 3
Sensory (Sight/Voyeurism): 3
Accomplishment: 2
Power: 2
Suspense: 2
Past: 1
Filters applied:
Fantasy (Obsession):
*Time: 8 – Creates the whole scenery for the ritual, sometimes stands a bit in the background when I encounter “real life” situations during the ritual. [24]
*Intensity: 9 – The need to find proof for her love and the constant worry over the fidelity of her creates an intense feeling. The focus is intensely on that Person/Fantasy. [27]
*Habituation: 4 – Fantasies change a bit during the ritual, to “keep them alive”. [12]
63/6 = 10.5

Sensory (Sight/Voyeurism):
*Time: 9 ¬– Is the main activity and drives the ritual. But there’s sometimes “cooldown” after this element, while the ritual fades away. [27]
*Intensity: 3 – While finding new elements might increases the intensity this element is more of a mean to an end. [9]
*Habituation: 4 – Trying to find new ways of stalking her, to gather more information. [12]
48/6 = 8

Accomplishment:
*Time: 2 – Spontaneous feeling at the end of a session, when everything turned out fine – or when evidence was discovered. [4]
*Intensity: 4 – Decent stimulation but sometimes accompanied by guilt. [8]
*Habituation: 1 – “goals” stayed the same. [2]
14/6 = 2.4

Power:
*Time: 7 – Accompanies the primary behaviors most of the time. [14]
*Intensity: 3 ¬– ¬¬Increases sense of Accomplishment and fuels Obsession. [6]
*Habituation: 2 – Exercising a bit more power through new ways of stalking. [4]
24/6 = 4

Suspense:
*Time: 6 – “What will I find out?”-Mindset. Mostly before acting out on another element. [12]
*Intensity: 2 ¬¬– Slight feeling of excitement. [4]
*Habituation: 1 – No real effect. [2]
18/6 = 3

Past:
*Time: 3 – Occasionally acts as a crutch for fantasies during the ritual. [3]
*Intensity: 6 – Medium to strong memories of old feelings. [6]
*Habituation: 1 – No real effect. [1]
9/6 = 1.5

Overall Stimulating Rating: 29.4


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:06 pm 
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Lesson 23 - Practical Use for Measuring

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.

The skill of measuring compulsive rituals is helpful in examining rituals at work, rituals before they take place and as a tool of prevention. Being aware of the elements of a ritual allow to focus on the things that are most dangerous. Knowing the primary ritual that is involved (and knowing what kind of secondary/accessory often accompany it) helps to focus on stopping exactly that behavior. As part of reflection measuring compulsive behavior also helps to break down untransparent processes, so you’re able to see what’s exactly involved.

Quote:
Ritual Measured:
Current Breakup-Feelings – the urge to think about that loss, memories about the relationship, need for reassurance.
Primary Elements Involved:
Fantasy (Obsession), Suspense, Past, Sensory (Sight)
Values assigned:
Fantasy (Obsession): 3
Suspense: 2
Past: 2
Sensory (Sight): 1
Filters applied:
Fantasy (Obsession):
*Time: 8 [21]
*Intensity: 9 [27]
*Habituation: 1 [3]
52/4 = 13
Suspense:
*Time: 6 [12]
*Intensity: 7 [14]
*Habituation: 3 [6]
32/4 = 8
Past:
*Time: 4 [8]
*Intensity: 3 [6]
*Habituation: 2 [4]
18/4 = 4.5
Sensory (sight)
*Time: 1
*Intensity: 3
*Habituation: 1
5/4 = 1.25
Overall Stimulating Rating: 27


Another few thoughts:

I went to the gym today, in a loooong time. And I'm glad I did it. My workout went quite well and I feel the benefits of physical activity. Another thing is, I sort of had an epiphany while thinking about the measurement of compulsive behavior/rituals and so on. Although it's much work and I would have to create like 100+ rituals, to map out the development of my last relationship, I kind of outlined it in my head. From compulsively using online-dating to meet this woman, to dating, to the high of falling in love and so on and so on. And I realized that, altough there was some "natural" behavior involved, while dealing with another living person it's impossible to solely act out "addicted", the addictive part of the relationship followed a steady progression in form of a ritual chain, which eventually lead to the failure of the relationship (this and the fact that I commited to recovery). An interesting thing is, that during our relationship I kind of used the highest point of it - the falling in love like maniacs (so the part where she was onboard as I am) - as a reference throughout the whole relationship. When something wasn't fine I compared it to that initial point. It created a huge dissonance in myself. I knew that a relationship can't offer that level of dedication. I was aware of the fact, that our relationship was actually fine the way it was. Sure, we had our problems and my lack of boundaries and her fear of closeness (oh the lovely classical combination for a love addict) lead to frictions. But overall the stimulation should have been fine enough, in terms of a healthy relationship. But if you're addicted healthy isn't enough. Now I realize that I was desperately trying to reach that initial level of stimulation again. Since habituation is a natural part of a relationship this might have been fueled by the lack of "action". Another point is, the relationship was kind of rocky. Maybe that's what made me to maintain it so long. I wasn't able to get the same positive level of stimulation so I stayed for the drama. Because drama means hitting a lower point and then swinging back to a more positive point, which is - for the moment - almost as good as that once in a relationship high. Obviously it's way more complex than that, but it helps me to see the relationship from a different point of view. I often asked myself why I'm so obsessed with that period of maybe a month, where we were sooo into each other. Now I know some aspects of it, it might not be the end-it-all answer, but it helps to understand. So actually this journal-entry is the perfect example for my answer to lesson 23 - that's where measuring your behavior helps. In this specific case it doesn't matter if there's a "time-factor" of 8 or 9, but what matters is to see the elements involved.

Oh and if I might could get some feedback on the whole measuring-thing? I hope I'm still doing fine but since this is such an important lesson I would like to hear a few words of feedback :)


Last edited by axelswagger on Tue Mar 22, 2016 6:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 2:45 am 
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You are doing a great job uncovering the mechanisms of love addiction. The measuring, as you've pointed out yourself, is just a subjective means of getting an overview of your emotional stimulation, how your rituals are constructed to squeeze all of the juice from a certain situation. This understanding of elements and what each contributes to the total stimulation will assist you greatly when you choose to pursue a relationship, it will almost feel like watching a play you've written yourself, you will know what's coming, what you are after, what is really going on in the background and you'll be able to stop or redirect your efforts towards healthier choices for yourself and your loved one.

Keep it up! :g:

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


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:43 pm 
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Lesson 24 - Identifying your compulsive elements:

I. Create your own Wheel of Sexual Compulsion that is more closely related to your behavior. This can be done by simply listing the cumulative elements involved in your compulsive behavior. This shouldn't take you more than five minutes. List these elements (associated with no particular ritual — but more your addiction in general) in your recovery thread.
Wheel of Sexual and Romantic Compulsion:

- Fantasy
- Obsessions
- Romantic Delusions
- Poly-Addictions (everything novelty-related; e.g. surfing)
- Past
- Memories
- Power
- Accomplishment
- Suspense
- Danger
- Sensory (sight)
- Sensory (touch)
- Sensory (taste)
- Sensory (sound)
- Voyeurism
- Guilt
- Low self-esteem
- Orgasm
- Hyper-Romanticism

II. Choose a real-life example of EVERY major sexual ritual that you engage in (these should be compulsive rituals, not healthy) and break each down into their smallest elements (based on the elements identified in your wheel of sexual compulsion).
Most people will identify two to four such Major Rituals. If you can identify with more than five such rituals, just list the most common five.


- Sexual Fantasies:
• Element #1 Alone on vacation while on a break with my then girlfriend, feeling lonely and adventurous.
• Element #2 Thinking about the possibility of a sexual adventure with a girl I met the night before (in a non-romantic/sexual situation).
• Element #3 Feeling of suspense, what is she going to say?
• Element #4 Starting to text her about having a real date.
• Element #5 Using her reaction (she answered) as a reason to fantasize about the specific act with her and justifying it in my head as healthy.
• Element #6 She proposes to come to my hotel with a bottle of wine, to see what happens.
• Element #7 I feel some sort of accomplishment for talking her into it.
• Element #8 Starting to feel uneasy about the whole situation but completely in autopilot.
• Element #9 Becoming so aroused at the thought of having an ONS (never had one) that I masturbate in the shower.
• Element #10 Orgasmed
• Element #11 Immediately realized that it’s not healthy and that I actually don’t want to do it because of that and my former-girlfriend.
• Element #12 Feeling proud for stopping this unhealthy behavior, before it happened.
• Element #13 Realizing that it wasn’t about the sex in the first place and it was more about the fantasy, which was ended by my orgasm.
• Element #14 Feeling guilty towards her, so I write her a message about how sorry I’m but that I’m not ready for this.
• Element #15 Feeling of accomplishment, thinking that this is what recovery means.
• Element #16 Being proud yet hedonistic because “screw that streak, I’ve orgasmed anyway”.
• Element #17 Reward myself with masturbation.
• Element #18 Shifting my focus back to my girlfriend and fantasize about her.
• Element #19 Using my phone to look at some pictures of my GF.
• Element #20 Feeling the need to enrich this by watching porn.
• Element #21 Start to watch several porn clips.
• Element #22 Feeling close to orgasm so I start to edge.
• Element #23 Focus back on my girlfriend, remember how she once said she wanted to see me cum.
• Element #24 Starting to film my masturbation.
• Element #25 Orgasmed
• Element #26 sent her the video
• Element #27 Feeling curious about her reaction, when she sees it the next morning.
• Element #28 Feeling proud and accomplished because I really dodged a bullet her by not sleeping with that girl.
• Element #29 Rationalizing the rest of my behavior on that foundation.

- Romantic Obsession:
• Element #1 Going to a concert, feeling excited
• Element #2 Messaging my girlfriend before I leave, with the intention to message her again after the concert.
• Element #3 Feeling accomplishment for crafting a message that should lead to the reaction that I want (confirmation and reassurance).
• Element #4 Leave home with best intentions of following through with my goals.
• Element #5 She answers, leaves out some of my “keypoints” but asks me a favor, I feel rejected.
• Element #6 I feel bad for not answering when she clearly “needs” me so I message her while I’m on my way; going over and beyond to find a solution for her problem.
• Element #7 I receive her answer, she downplays the favor as if it was nothing (but why has she asked in the first placed – I’m confused) but at least she wishes me fun and says that she misses me. I have mixed emotions about that.
• Element #8 I’m at the concert but I can’t stop thinking about her.
• Element #9 Since she said she misses me it’s just fine if I message her, so I send her pictures, thinking she would enjoy it.
• Element #10 Calmed down a bit and enjoyed the show without checking my phone again.
• Element #11 Show was over, checked my phone – she more or less just said that the pictures are blurry. I’m disappointed.
• Element #12 I start to write a message on my way back to the car, where I tell her how much I’ve missed her, how much she would’ve liked it and how I would love to take her with me the next time.
• Element #13 Receive her answer, she just wishes me a good night and said I should drive safely.
• Element #14 Feeling a bit sad and rejected because when we got to know each other she used to wait until I’m safely at home, no matter how tired she was.
• Element #15 Realizing that I expect too much, feeling a bit bad for trying to push her to do what I want. Reflect about that the whole drive home.
• Element #16 Arrive at home and wrote a last short message that just contained “good night”, in an attempt to not seem needy.
• Element #17 feel lonely for the rest of the night.

- PMO (Porn-Masturbation-Orgasm):

• Element #1 Lying in bed after a long day of work but feeling restless because of my attempt to stay pornfree.
• Element #2 Thinking about the name of a pornstar I used to like.
• Element #3 The longer I used to think about her name the more it became about “if I find that name I’m allowed to watch porn one more time”.
• Element #4 Starting to look on the internet to find her, rationalizing this behavior by saying it’s just for “research” (hard to translate, hope you get what I mean).
• Element #5 Finally finding her, huge feel of accomplishment.
• Element #6 Starting to open several tabs with videos of her, switching it up.
• Element #7 Masturbating while watching it.
• Element #8 Obsessively looking for more and more videos while masturbating.
• Element #9 Orgasmed
• Element #10 Back into bad, feeling warm and cozy.
• Element #11 Accomplishment for having found her and for acting out that “sexual relationship” with her in my head.
- Romantic Fantasies:
• Element #1 Watching TV in order to relax a bit.
• Element #2 Liking the look of the main actress of my favorite show.
• Element #3 Trying to stop myself from starting to fantasize about her.
• Element #4 Instead of fantasizing about a relationship with her starting to think about how that kind of women is my “type”.
• Element #5 Feeling bummed about my constant need to see women that way.
• Element #6 Stop the ritual by focusing more on the moment and by accepting my feelings.

- Dating-Apps:
• Element #1 Feeling rejected by Girlfriend after she asked for more space.
• Element #2 Downloading Tinder to look at the other fishes in the sea.
• Element #3 Furiously swiping through all the people until all my likes are used up.
• Element #4 Trying to distract myself while I wait for new matches.
• Element #5 No matter what I do, I feel super psyched about the possibility of new matches but I convince myself to sit it out a bit longer.
• Element #6 Finally look at my phone and feel accomplishment for having a few matches.
• Element #7 Start to message those girls.
• Element #8 Ditching the uninteresting ones and keeping the ones where I can create a fantasy with them.
• Element #9 Two girls are left, we act like soulmates and things become a bit heated in the sexual area.
• Element #10 After writing for the whole evening we agree to move on to Whatsapp.
• Element #11 Feel accomplishment for scoring their numbers.
• Element #12 Sudden loss of interest in the app because I realize that this is not something I want to do and it doesn’t reflect my values.
• Element #13 deleting the app, all the numbers, going in full clean up mode
• Element #14 Feeling proud for doing the right thing.
• Element #15 Engaging in thoughts about how serious I’m gonna take recovery from now on.

Thoughts:

It was an interesting lesson, but I feel that I'm not really finished. Extracting all those elements was quite an exhausting task. I feel that there wasn't much energy left to truly reflect on them. So I'll definitely proceed with this lesson tomorrow. I'll read it again and try to think more about the involved elements. Overall I feel fine so far. I just updated my Health Monitoring I to fit my needs (maybe I'll translate it, but things haven't changed that much. I have just changed the wording of things to be more specific). The last few days I woke up with a strange feeling in my stomache, I couldn't bear to lose the addiction to my ex-girlfriend. It was such a strange feeling. I realized that it's not about her as a person. It's more about the fear of losing that role she played for me. Funny thing is, I already lost that. It's only in my head. So I dug a bit further and I realized that this is more of a personal addiction issue than a practical. It goes back to my childhood experiences, where I was in an emotional dependency towards my mom, that never really got solved. So naturally I'm afraid of losing that controlling factor in my life, which was played by that woman the last year. It's so strange. I'm afraid of not "knowing" her anymore, when I proceed to recover (not even thinking about stopping recovery for this, those are just thoughts). Actually it's quite a funny paradox. I'm afraid of losing something, by changing my behaviors, when I eventually don't need this something when my new behaviors are strong enough. So I realized that it's okay. I realized that our relationship may not have been unique, but I can still value her as a person. Maybe we're not going to see each other that often, but I'll still be able to just talk to her, talk about the past or do whatever we want at that point. For now I just try to not overthink this. I know that I won't matter anymore when I've reached a certain point in recovery so there's no point in getting stupid over this.
Otherwise thinks are fine, I start to feel some kind of connection to my past, like I'm facing my old wounds without the distortion of porn.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:44 pm 
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Lesson 25 - Identifying Compulsive Rituals

Todays lesson was quite insightful. The explanation how behavior goes from choice to compulsive was a real eye opener. The excercise itself was okay. I feel like things start to repeat. I understand that this is important knowledge, so you can't stress it enough, but I think this excercise was done before. Nevertheless, doing it with the new knowledge was quite helpful. But it's a bit tough for me to do stuff like that, because I feel kind of triggered by it. Thinking about the ritual always is risky for me. It's not that I end up in a obsessive fantasy, but it takes a lot self-control to stay in that rational mode of identifying behaviors. I guess that's another important of those lessons. Learning to treat this behaviors just as behaviors and not some uncontrolable force. The more I practice the better it'll get. So I keep up the work and push myself. At first I thought about not doing the excercise because I was afraid of facing my behavior. Not that I feel guilty or shame, I was afraid of opening something that better remains closed. But I realized that this is just an attempt of treating your addiction with healthy means and not real recovery. So I decided to take the high road and face those behaviors, even though there were a few reactions like higher pulse I continued to do it "professional". But there are still many emotions attached to those elements and I feel them by only thinking about it.

Compulsive Ritual: Sex in my last relationship
1. At my Girlfriend going to bed.
2. See her naked body while we change in the bathroom.
3. Getting aroused by the thought of doing it with her.
4. Lying next to each other kissing for a moment.
5. Hoping for it to escalate into sex, but too afraid of rejection.
6. She turns over and asks to cuddle.
7. I feel slightly disappointed but want to be a good boyfriend.
8. I start to caress and massage her.
9. Felt good because she enjoys it.
10. Want to feel even better and touching her arouses me again.
11. Get an erection.
12. Start to slowly push the act of caressing her into something sexual by going near to her thighs, under her undies, over her breasts etc.
13. She doesn’t rejects me so I take it as an invitation to go further/proceed.
14. Fantasize about sex with her and think how I’m just a few steps away (possible Point of no return).
15. Start to get sexual and obviously touch her vagina etc.
16. She moans and I feel proud.
17. Start to slowly make my way into oralsex.
18. Feel proud for making it so far.
19. She doesn’t really react and I’m torn if it’s the right thing to do but proceed.
20. Finally she starts to moan and I feel free to continue.
21. She has an orgasm and I feel like I gained the right to have sex with her.
22. We have sex.
23. The intimacy is overwhelming and we’re both in the moment.
24. Make an effort to come together, concentrate on that.
25. Both orgasm at the same time.
26. Lay on her, she caresses me.
27. I feel lucky, proud and relaxed.
28. She jokingly tells me that I’m just too good and she can’t withstand my attempts to seduce her.
29. Feel proud for being a good lover.
30. Behavior stops while falling asleep cuddling.


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