Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:15 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 10:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Lesson 26:
So I just realized that the previous lessons where meant to be done a bit different. The examples in the lessons where a bit different from what the exercise asked so I did the same as to day yesterday. But I went back and added the name of each compulsive element from my wheel to the points (will edit the post later). So here's the lesson 26. I chose something that just happened today. Currently I feel like I'm making a backwards development and now I'm at the stage of a teenager. What lost its appeal long ago suddenly becomes a new alternative for my addiction. But it just makes sense. I guess it's the habituation that slowly resolves. By abstaining from porn/love/sex you become more sensitive again. So today I struggled with the element of visual sensory that lead me to the brink of fantasies. Here's the lesson:

Checking out women at the gym.
1. At the gym, feeling proud for motivating myself to go.
2. Seeing different women and feeling a sense of “libido”.
3. The urge to fantasize arises but I fight it, because I want to stay sober.
4. By making myself not to look the urge increases.
5. Random girl walks by, I can’t avert my eyes and I follow her with my eyes.
6. Look at her assets in those tight sport clothes and feel aroused.
7. Break eye contact and refocus on my exercise.
8. Think I got it under control and I try to breathe it away. Don’t want to make the mistake of “thinking about not to blink”.
9. Unconsciously start to scan the room during my breaks.
10. Whenever I catch a girl I muster her body shortly and then break I contact because I don’t want to behave like this.
11. Tell myself again to not fantasize, because this isn’t real and not related to my values.
12. Start to rationalize by thinking its normal to get aroused by looking at beautiful women and it’s not my fault when I “accidently” stumble upon them. Get in an argument with myself about this.
13. Consciously stop this thought process and refocus on my values.
14. Although I feel stupid I now try to avert my eyes and not scan.
15. Finish the workout without further incidents.
16. Feel proud for stopping myself before it went downhill, but also feel a bit guilty because I had such a strong urge to look.

PS: Although it's a tough task to be aware of those "new" behaviors I'm kind of excited what comes next. I see it as a chance to master my own behavior and to learn more about myself. It feels like I finally get the chance to reconquer all those behaviors and the related emotions. It's like unwinding a messed up coil and rewinding it in a neat and tidy way.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:33 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Lesson 27

So here I'm again. First time that life got in my way. Spent time with my family, had a job interview and therapy. Although I'm doing fine so far and I use all the techniques from the workshop my obsessive thoughts about my ex girlfriend are back. I try to stay on top of them but the emotional outfall is quite challenging. I've realized that it's not about that person and that it's about my inner wounds that use this addiction to maintain themself. She's more of a screen for my projections. But still hard stuff, I feel the jealousy, I feel the need to check in on her. I feel like her moving on is the worst that can happen to me. On a rational level I'm aware of the addictive elements. But emotionally it's challenging. I meditate quite often and I try to be as loving to myself as possible. I think about taking a tranquilizer because sometimes it's too much... but I want to stay strong as well, I can't fix my emotions by taking a pill. I'll push through the lessons and I'll concentrate on my behavior. I know that thinks will end up fine.

Provide an example of two compulsive chains in your life.
1. The first chain should be where multiple rituals are engaged in simultaneously — thus enhancing the overall amount of stimulation derived from the behavior.

The first example is the typical porn, masturbation and orgasm behavior. On special occasions it was used to maximize the amount of stimulation. So instead of the “normal” porn ritual with an orgasm at the end it was a real personal “orgy”. Mostly started with a big session of porn hunting and downloading earlier that day. So there’s the excitement of looking for the right stuff for later that night. This hunt is already an accomplishment. Then there’s the rest of the day, sitting and waiting in excitement before I’m able to finally start with the masturbation-ritual. When everyone is asleep I am ready to begin. Maybe some lotion is involved, headphones and I strip naked. Then it begins. Looting the porn from earlier that day, simultaneously surfing for more. When the first effects wear off I used to search for something different, like erotic stories, erotic message boards or just randomly browser for prostitutes (without the intention of going to one). During this time my penis becomes flaccid again and it’s more of a regaining “sexual strength”. When all the filters are almost maxed out I engage in the final masturbation with a hefty combination of porn, images, images of real people and so on. After I had finished I used to listen to a “post-masturbation” song to relax, kind of a ritual to get back to the normal world. Then the cleanup follows and the bitter taste of feeling disconnected.
This first example is something I don’t follow anymore. In terms of sex and porn addiction most compulsive chains are down to a minimum. I actually had some problems to come up with a good one, because I didn’t want to use the classic masturbation since it’s more of a solo-ritual.
2. The second should be an example of how you have strung together several rituals back-to-back and thus, extended the stimulation you were deriving.
This one is a prime example how love, sex and porn addiction can go hand in hand. After a hard breakup, which was an addictive relationship itself, where I went pornfree, I was devastated. I tried to maintain my pornfree-lifestyle which led to a depressive episode and a huge emotional disbalance. I felt so much resentment towards porn that there was no turning back at that point. So I looked for different ways to act out, in a more “healthy” (that’s what I thought back then) way. I ended doing compulsive online-dating. First it started with looking and fantasizing, then I started to meet several women. But it was more about the fantasies, no one night stands etc. Then I met two women at roughly the same time. Both encounters weren’t pretty serious. It was more that I felt self-enough to try something sexual. Interestingly this interested in sex wasn’t based on my fantasies or porn thoughts, in retro-perspective it was more rooted in the aspects of love addiction. So I started dating both women at the same time. While the one was a more casual thing, because she lived far way, the other became a real emotional connection. I had sex with the first women once, because the opportunity arose when I visited her. She went on vacation for more than a month so I more or less forgot about her, because she became clingy during that time although we barely wrote to each other. So I broke it off with her, it wasn’t an established relationship we just were dating… After that things with the other women got more intense. We fell in love and my depression vanished. True feelings arose and the honeymoon-phase was fine. Sadly when we headed over to “normality” the compulsive obsession became more and more apparent. This resulted in a classic up-and-down love-addiction-relationship. With phases of porn use, to feel loved. With phases of going back to dating-apps, to feel appreciated. With phases of being on cloud nine, feeling she’s the love of my life. And with phases of devastating truths. In between were times where I recharged my batteries. So by practicing recovery (unhealthy one in retro-perspective) I was able to turn back the level of stimulation a bit. But in the end I think it was still a huge chain of rituals. Although they weren’t directly connected in a sense of being the foundation for each other they are linked together in a “butterfly-effect” kind of style. And now I’m hopefully at the end of that chain. I would lie, if I tell you that I’m over that. I’m still struggling with the breakup, still some obsessive thoughts (like I said at the beginning). But so far I’m able to not let it escalate. Sure, here and there pops up a new way to distract me… but the workshop is a great help to be aware of those patterns.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Lesson 28

A bit shorter today, since I wrote that in German. So here's just the summary.

Nr. 1 (While I wrote out the whole chain in German I'll just give you the summary of the event):

About a week ago, I thought about how the no-contact-pause with my ex girlfriend should proceed. To make some time and to strengthen my boundaries I decided to take a week off from these thoughts and appointed an hour for reflection on this monday. I managed it quite well to distance myself but starting at saturday the suspense got higher and higher. Although I used all my values to plan this reflection-session I struggled with intrusive thoughts. When I finally started that reflection-session on monday I lost control after an hour or so. I became so inclined in finding a solution (should I message her, should I not?) that I got lost. Finally I rationalized that it would be okay to check out her social-media etc. Although I didn't find anything compromising I still felt bad. Obsessive thoughts floated my brain. The whole need for reassurance stuff. I panicked if she might sees anoher guy, I thought about how I'll never be her boyfriend again. I was able to stop myself but the obsessive pattern remains until today. I was able to dissect the thoughts and emotions thanks to the tools from the workshop, but still many obsessive thoughts pop up. On the other hand I want to follow through with my value-based decision (writing her a message: I want to be honest with her, when we went no contact a month ago it was all like "yeah just some time to figure out what's going on", but now I' know that I want to keep up with recovery and that means no-contact for an even longer period. So I want to tell her about my addiction and the reasons of staying away from each other). So I'm kind of stuck in a conflict, if I start to think about her the obsession kicks in. If I postpone my values the obsession kind of wins as well.

Nr.3

Some elements I could have added would be more stalking. Maybe looking at pictures of her. Maybe writing her with a fake-profile. I could have messaged her right away, without thinking it through.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Just a short update:

I'm currently rereading the lessons from Stage 2 and I redo a few excercises. I actually feel like I'm ready to move on but there's a lot of wisdom to gain from doing it again. Know that I know the whole stage things are a bit different for me, so I think it's important to make the connections (for e.g. it's helpful to look at lesson 22 again with the knowledge of lessons 27/28). So that's what I'm doing right now. I just want to strengthen the practical parts of this and break down some more elements. When I've finished I'll move on to the next stage.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 9:32 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Lesson 29 - The Role of Emotions

Finally some time for a new entry! I'm doing fine so far. I reread all of Stage 2 and it helped me a lot to deepen my awareness. When I started to continue with Stage 3 life got in my way. I had a job interview and I'm going to move to another city by the end of this month. So a lot to handle and I feel much pressure right now. But I still want to take the time to go through with the workshop. Currently it's a bit hard to handle everything that's going on and I see myself slipping here and there (mostly mindless non-sexual browsing). There's just not enough time to take out my values every time something happens but I try to use the tools of the workshop with my best intentions.

Todays lesson was interesting but not a new experience. I practice meditation, so this concept wasn't new, but my meditation skills helped me to deepen the awareness for the excercise. I did the first one in german and it's quite a lot, so I won't transpose it, since I don't have the time. But here's the second one:

B) In assessing your own anxiety, describe the extremes of your personal experiences with anxiety. What has been the least anxious state you have experienced and the most extreme anxious state you have experienced?
- Most extreme anxiety: During a time without any primary addictions, after a long relationship. Generalized fear arose. Felt no purpose, felt no sense. Feared the end of my life. Feared the lack of meaning. Almost in constant panic about losing my life etc. A crippling anxious depression that lasted for ca. 3 months.
- Least anxiety: Together with my girlfriend, cuddled up after sex, shared our thoughts. I was right there, in the moment. I just felt her. We held each other, listened to each other, exhausted and happy. No thoughts about tomorrow, no worries about yesterday. As long as I was with her almost all of my fears were manageable. Overflowed with love and reassurement.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Here's some kind of different post. I have my first real struggle. I guess we all reach a point where life gets flipped up side down and we're not prepared to handle it. Like I said in my previous post, I got offered a job in another town. I'm going to move there by the end of this month. Because I felt strong enough I contacted my ex-girlfriend. We've been on no-contact for almost two month and texting her wasn't a compulsive decision for me. I just figured out through my values, that I want to keep her informed. So I told her in a neutral manner that I'm going to move by the end of this month, how my recovery process is going, that I still value her as a person and that I still want to figure myself out, before we get back to normal contact. So far so good. She answered and told me that it's all right and she appreciates my honesty. After a little back and forth we came to the terms, that there isn't a possibility of a restart in terms of a romantic relationship (as a background, I'm 23 and she's 39... so it never really was a relationship in the sense of boyfriend and girlfriend, it was more like a romantic affair, because we knew there's no real future for us). Anyway, in an approach of absolute honesty I told her that I actually would like to see her, but I don't want to pressure her and I have conflicted emotions about this. I explained, that I'm open for a new connection, but I still work on my values and my inner healing, so I'm a bit careful. She agreed, that it's better to be safe than sorry. But she also suggested that I might come over to fool around a last time, before I move. She said that there'll be such a spacial distance that things are bound to be different anyway, so why not try it. And it hit me... I began thinking about it. And I couldn't stop it. So we began talking details... and yeah, it might happen soon. What can I say... I'm tempted. I tried to stay honest with her and said, that I still will need some time and might not be able to stay in touch. But that would be okay for her, she said she respects my pursuit for a healthy life and she supports me, it's my decision and I shouldn't feel pressured (I know that it's still not the best thing of her to even suggest having sex...).

If I'm honest, I'm not even tempted anymore. The decision has been made. I'm in a huge struggle between using my values, rationalizing the hell out of this situation and bluntly using compulsive behavior. You know, on the one side (and I know that this is, even though there are some good points, a form of rationalization) I think with the right set of values and boundaries I could do that. I know, it might be too early in my recovery process, but I still have the same goals, I still want to keep the same boundaries. I just want to do it in a sense of living my values of sexuality and friendship. But I know that it's a slippery slope, I'm aware of the possible emotional outfall. But then again I think, as long as I'm able to use my healthy tools it will be fine. Which seems like good intent, but also like a way to manipulate myself and control the addiction, instead of ending it. There's no real outcome, it's a back and forth. It's a huge argument in my head. You know, it's strange. It's like it depends on my perception how devastating or bad this is. I can see it as addictive behavior. I can see it as experimenting with my boundaries. You know, there are many possiblities. I know, most of them are just rationalization. But some of them are compelling. I don't know what's happening. Maybe I feel too smart for my own addiction?

So this is what's going on right now. It feels like old and new behaviors are clashing. I feel like, as long as I treat the situation strictly according to my values things will be fine. But then I think, that the reason I want this is the immediate gratification I expect. Buuut theeen I think that I also want that new experience, the fresh start. It's mind boggling. I feel like it's a huuuuge grey area, where's no black and white. I try to be as honest as possible.. and I know that his is not the best idea during recovery. But then again I think, that I also want to start living and I don't want to fear old behavior, I want to change it. I made a list with arguments for and against it (in German) and both sides are mostly equal. I think as long as I protect my recovery values and as long as I protect myself thinks could be okay. I'll move and then we'll go no-contact again. I know that this could be tough. But the thing is, this is actually not some kind of behavior I had problems with. Yes, there's compulsion involved. But just fooling around on a friendly basis wasn't my problem.

But I still think about doing it. And I still want it. But in the and a lot of "buts" and "I knows". Maybe I'm trying to talk it down by saying that I know all of this, like it makes it better? I just don't know. Anyway, not expecting help. Just chipping in my thoughts about this right now. I try to implement the tools from the workshop and recovery is still my nr. 1 priority, but this is a new situation. I think of this as some kind of learning experience. I never experienced something like this before. Porn-masturbation-orgasm, that's something I can grasp. That's unnatural. But life happening in its strange ways? That's a whole different story.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 11:41 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Hey!

I'm still going strong, even if my last post might have implied otherwise. Maybe a few words about that. Right now is a super busy time. I'll relocate in a week and things are stressful as hell. I'm not telling you this as an excuse for acting compulsively. I'm just telling you so you know what's going on. Anyway, 90% of my time is occupied with organizing the move and preparing for my new job. Like I said before I got in touch with my ex girlfriend last week. What initially started as some kind of compulsive ritual mellowed out over the last week. I deeply thought about all of that and I decided to meet with her. I stayed as close to my values as possible (in circumstances like that) and I am as honest to myself as possible (so no sugarcoating). Well, we met and it was a strange feeling. It was like the object of my former obsession was not the same thing as this person. So I'm there, talking to this person and this image in my head feels entirely different. I realized that I don't need anything from her. No approval, no love. But it's kind of funny, I still wanted those things from that fantasy in my head. But now I was able to seperate both things. We talked and I explained her what's going on in my life. We settled for a basis of friendship. Just to clarify things, like I said before, she wasn't exactly my girlfriend. It was some kind of love affaire/romance where things got quite serious. In the end it doesn't really matter how you label it. I told her how things have changed for me, how I see my behavior etc. Well to make it short, we ended up having sex... I know, not a smart move. And even though I tried to rationalize it through my values (deepening intimacy, honest interactions), I can't deny that the main reason for it was a fantasy in my head. But when we actually had sex, it was kind of different. I wasn't expecting anything. I just went with the flow. I didn't expect her to express her undying gratitude for me through sex. It was just sex. And it wasn't that compulsively. If I'm honest, after I orgasmed I felt nothing. Don't get me wrong there was "real" passion and intimacy. But afterwards, nothing. Back in the days, the aftermath was the best. I was high, I was in love, I was the best. But this time, I just felt nothing. It's like the sex was meaningless. Not in the sense of it was against my values. More in the sense of, I didn't gain anything from it on a compulsive level. It was like those elements lost their influence in the ritual. I saw it for what it is. And I realized I have to make it meaningful through my healthy values. Sex itself is just sex. Having compulsive sex is "great" because it serves a purpose, because it gives meaning. Having sex without real values and/or compulsiveness is just a mechanical act. So.. before I lose track. Things stayed more or less the same after we had sex. I spend my days as usual, I don't obsess over her and I don't fell in love again. We had sex a second time and maybe we'll go out for dinner before I leave. But even if it sounds cold, she kind of lost her purpose, speaking in terms of addiction. As a human being, she's still amazing. She's flawed, she's not perfect and I definitely know where I want to set boundaries. But it feels different right now. I treat her more like a normal friend, instead of a princess. But I do feel the compulsive rituals coming up every now and then. In the end it's definitely a situation that still is too much for me. I think it's good that I'm moving and that I'll have more time for myself. Right now I'm able to keep things at bay, but I would lie if I tell you that I'll be able to keep it that way. Was this a perfect situation? No way. But I tried to be honest and I think it's an opportunity. Maybe this is still rationalisation, but I see this more as a chance then as a relapse. I feel like I've learned some valuable lessons about me and my values. Not trying to advocate for this behavior but using my values out there "on the battlefield" was a different experience than using them on a piece of paper. That's it so far. I never had a doubt in this workshop, I never had the intention to go back to my old behavior. Recovery is still a goal and a priority. Maybe I've damaged my value of recovery a bit, but I think other values gained useful wisdom, in the end there's no black and white... I think this is the biggest lesson I've learned. When I was in my prime of addiction I used to sit on a high horse, being like "that's right and that's wrong!". But now I see that's more about personal reason, than anything else.

Sooo... I'm kind of sad that I don't have that much time to do the lessons but I still read my values on a regular basis, I still monitor my behavior and I still follow my life vision. But, here's the latest lesson:

Lesson 31

A) Stressors
(1) Facing relocation during the next two weeks: extreme
(2) Organizing the start of a new job: severe
(3) Organizing my day to day life, while facing the change: severe
(4) Was stopped by a cop: severe
(5) Currently in contact with ex-girlfriend: moderate
(6) Complicated relationship with my parents: moderate
(7) Meeting a childhood friend, where it’s hard for me to break free from old patterns: mild
(8) Smoked marijuana: mild
B) Stressors and values
- The whole relocation/new job thing is definitely directly connected to my top values. It’s a new step in terms of emotional maturity, following my creativity (in the job), a new chance to be authentic, an act of responsibility, an opportunity of growth, a situation that needs many healthy boundaries and it’s a new step towards (financial) independence. So although it just feels like a lot unnecessary stress right now, I definitely see that the main part of my stress stems from those top values.
- Even the stress I got from readjusting to these changes, that feeling of a vulnerable inner child, that is afraid of leaving his comfort zone. That’s connected to my values as well and helping my through this serves my inner healing and growth.
- Then there’s that kind of “background” stress, like my parents, ex-girlfriends and childhood friends. This stress is a bit mixed. On one hand it is related to my values, in the sense of me trying to change those relationships in regards to my values. So I try to implement new boundaries and absolute honesty. That’s why there’s stress. But the relationships itself are also some factors of “unhealthy” stress, in regards to former experiences and unhealthy patterns I maintain with those people.
- And finally there’s some random stress that’s beyond my control. Having a dispute with a cop isn’t something you can plan.
C) I certainly do see how I gain meaning from my highest values. But they’re also really focused on recovery. So I feel like for the moment they’re a great source but during my progress I’ll adjust at least half of them. But still, they serve me well. It’s not really that I gain stimulation in the sense of compulsive behavior, like if I would play guitar I feel super happy and excited. Right now it’s more like, I implement those values and I try to push hard and that’s what stimulates me. Doing my health monitoring after a hard day and seeing that I followed through with everything I wanted to do, that’s a good feeling. So at the moment I think the quality of my life is already better. I’m trying to give depth to the things that are already there, but I missed out on. But then there’s often still a lot of recovery related work, which stimulates me the most. Just the physical act of reading my notes etc. I do gain some meaning from non-recovery related values, like playing guitar or intellectual growth. But right now they more feel like tools than independent entities. I guess this is part of the progress.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:46 pm 
Offline
General Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Hey, axelswagger,
A few words about your reconnecting with your ex. Feel free to take it or leave it. I sense there is a lot of justification and rationalisation in your post. You did not relapse because you don't see her in that ideal aura anymore ... but you've then chosen to have sex for the mechanics of it all. Is that what you value when it comes down to sex? Empty sex or intimacy? I get that you were probably curious to explore the change in your perception even though the start of it all and how you were debating with yourself indicates you were performing a ritual but you played it down fooling yourself that you are acting from your values. My apologies for coming a bit too strong but there is great danger in twisting your current fragile values so as to justify your compulsions and perceived needs. You keep repeating that despite the sex happening repeatedly even though you feel she's a stranger now, you are acting from your values. Which values are those, if I may ask? Do you value using other people just to experiment your current progress or to make it easier for you to move knowing you don't leave anything of value behind? I've been there myself by the way. My guess is that your actions are nowhere near your real values. Please re-evaluate.

Be well,
Ursula

_________________
"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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:26 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Hey, I'm glad about your input and I don't think it is strong.

ursula wrote:
A few words about your reconnecting with your ex. Feel free to take it or leave it. I sense there is a lot of justification and rationalisation in your post.

On an intellectual level I see all the dangers you're describing and I'm actually quite torn between all of this. You're right with the justification/rationalisation. Its an ongoing problem. Like I said before, it feels like a spiral. It is a huge argument in my head and I feel like I can't trust any decision. No matter what I do, I feel like there's some kind of rationalisation involved. And sometimes I even feel that the way I reflect on the rationalisation, is a way of rationalisation itself. I feel that by telling you and this forum, that I know how bad my behavior is I'm kind of searching for an excuse. But on the other hand, what more can I do? There's no good in shaming myself.

ursula wrote:
You did not relapse because you don't see her in that ideal aura anymore ... but you've then chosen to have sex for the mechanics of it all. Is that what you value when it comes down to sex? Empty sex or intimacy? I get that you were probably curious to explore the change in your perception even though the start of it all and how you were debating with yourself indicates you were performing a ritual but you played it down fooling yourself that you are acting from your values.


I definitely value intimacy, which wasn't exactly present in that situation. Curiousity is a good keyword. I think it's a muddy situation. In retroperspective it seems like I handled an unhealthy behavior through "healthy" means (i.e. values). Maybe that's why I feel so torn. Because in absolute honesty, I think some new ways of perception came from a deeper connection to my values. But nonetheless, they were embedded in an unhealthy behavior.

ursula wrote:
My apologies for coming a bit too strong but there is great danger in twisting your current fragile values so as to justify your compulsions and perceived needs. You keep repeating that despite the sex happening repeatedly even though you feel she's a stranger now, you are acting from your values. Which values are those, if I may ask? Do you value using other people just to experiment your current progress or to make it easier for you to move knowing you don't leave anything of value behind?


I still value our base of friendship, without me having any expectations. I wanted to let her know what's going on, because it felt like stonewalling to shut her out of my life. But for these values, there's no need for sex. Then there's the desire and passion. I do value those things, but in terms of recovery I'm aware, that they're way to fragile to use them right now. When it came to the sex I thought it was some way to connect on a new level, to form a new base. And also to cherish the old. On the one side it was the classic situation of "an compulsive opportunity arose". On the other it felt like an opportunity to experiment in a safe environment. "Do you value using other people just to experiment your current progress" hits home in that context. I thought that my value of growth is connected to this. And I felt like it's okay. I don't want to rationalize this again, because for some instance this is what happened. But there's definitely more to it. I don't want to blame her, but she was the one initiating. Of course I was the one acting on that offer. We talked a bit about what it's supposed to mean and we came to the conclusion, that this is an opportunity to see what's possible between us. Pretty vague. We agreed on not going back into a romantic relationship and to follow our desire/passion for each other. But from another point of view I guess we both had our own intentions in mind when we did this.

In regards to having sex with her, to see if I will miss it. It was quite the opposite. It was more to conserve the things between us. To seal the friendship through the bond of sex. So starting at my initial value of just wanting to stay in touch, keep her as a friend, it evolved towards "sex as the most intense connection between to people should be the best way to determine our friendship".

I felt it was okay to act that way, because she agreed on it. I mean I just could've talked to her, we still would be friends and everything would be fine as hell. I think the biggest clue for this being a ritual is, that I can't pinpoint the direct purpose of having sex. Passion and desire aside, what did we build through that? I don't really know. Was it affection? But the affection was still there, just by talking to each other we showed it. Was it nearness? I don't know. I could go on and find a way to rationalize this, I could go on and find a way to completely shoot me down and I could go on and find a real honest reason. But in the end it's not a situation that helped in the long run. It was just like, well we still get along, so why don't have sex? I thought about how healthy/unhealthy this is and I came to the conclusion that this wasn't a one night stand or an affaire so it might be something different. But heck, the main difference is, that it's just more complicated.

ursula wrote:
Please re-evaluate.

Now I'm still torn. I feel like I should be harder to myself, like I should punish myself. But for what? For making a mistake? I think punishing myself isn't based on self-love or self-acceptance. But then I feel like I fool myself, when I let this "slide". It feels like putting up with the consequences (your response, my own reflections, the potential damage to some values) isn't enough. I feel like I should suffer. But I'm full of acceptance for what happened. I don't want to sugercoat it. I see all the negative sides you've described. I see how dangerous it is/was. But by feeling that way I already feel like I'm rationalising the whole situation again. But what can I do more, than seeing this as a learning experience and a chance to re-evaluate?

And now this post here. You see, I get what you say and I definitely reflect on this situation. But it feels like I'm only doing this to get away with it. I have no doubt in my own sincerity, but the deeper I dig the more I feel like I'm a fraud. It just feels too easy. Maybe this is just confusion based on old behaviors, back in my childhood misbehavior meant punishment and withdrawal of affection. So maybe that's the reason why I feel like that. The more I accept, that I am only responsible for myself the more this behavior actually diminishs. Anyway, I'm a bit far away from the initial topic, but this is an underlying issue.

What irritates me most is, that without the initial compulsion, so just the normal contact after that stage of suspense etc., I felt nothing. I mean I got my values and I thought "okay, telling her exactly how I feel is absolute honesty". And I was happy with that. But the strangest thing was to not act on a base of deception. There wasn't the need to make her like me. There wasn't the need to please her. I can see how I suddenly felt that I'm acting according my values, certain key elements of the old behavior where missing. But while looking at the behavior as a whole there's too much instability and too little longevity. It's still complicated for me. I don't want to drift into black/white thinking. I guess the important thing to do now, is to dissect my emotions, intentions and values, in regard to this situation.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:16 pm 
Offline
General Mentor

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

I'm writing on the phone, it's extremely uncomfortable but I don't know when I have access to a proper keyboard so I thought about making a few quick notes.
Firstly, bear in mind that people like us tend to sexualise their environment. I think this trait is obvious in how you tried to seal off your bond with sex when you yourself acknowledge that it was not necessary. I suggest you re-examine your value of friendship (and any other values necessary) and extract its essential core. What exactly makes a friend, what is the emotional connection, explore male friends as well and try to level out any rough edges, IMO friendship should be based on the same essentials, no matter the gender. When you pursue a certain value try to act as close as possible to that pure concept. This is how your values can guide you. Another related issue which comes after thorough examination of your values, is putting boundaries to them. After you are clear what a certain value means to you, how you define it, proceed to making rules around it, both positive and negative, meant to align your behaviour with the stated definition of the value (more about boundaries in the incoming lessons).
Lastly, look a bit at value conflict. When two or more values are involved and you feel torn, set up a priority amongst them. Think which one is more important to you, which one would cause more harm to yourself if you crossed it in favour of the other, which one is the most important to you, etc.
We are all prone to rationalising. In time you'll get to know yourself well enough to call out your own delusions. You will learn to recognise the thoughts. My intake on this is for now try to work with this assumption: if it feels/sounds like justification, it is justification, so stop debating and treat it as such. This shortcut should assist with your feeling of leniency towards yourself. As you say, no point in punishing yourself after the fact, try to be proactive and set certain parameters and self-rules which will keep you safe from the clutter in your head. Respect these and you'll see that the confusion will eventually sort itself out.
As for you agreeing just to be accepted, you are not the first, nor you'll be the last. We are all twisted like that a little bit, we want to please. However, if it's just that, nothing deeper will catch root. If it's a bit more, you will learn and the ideas will flourish in your own life. Only time will tell, I would not overthink it too much for now but you can set one of your personal rules to express disagreement appropriately whenever you get the chance.

Be well,
Ursula

_________________
"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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Hey, no problem at all! You were a tremendous help and I have a lot to think about now. Your advice on values and setting boundaries around them is more than helpful.

ursula wrote:
if it feels/sounds like justification, it is justification, so stop debating and treat it as such


I guess this is a good approach. Like my therapist says when it comes to boundaries, it's better to say "no" right away and then re-evaluate than get yourself stuck in a disadvantageous situation.
It's just ultra-confusing from time to time. So many actionplans, rules and values. I know that it's worth it, but it's a hell lot of work. And there's so much to learn every day.

ursula wrote:
Only time will tell, I would not overthink it too much for now but you can set one of your personal rules to express disagreement appropriately whenever you get the chance.

Yeah, I get it. Maybe I shouldn't bother too much wether I'm looking for too much approval or not. I always felt like I have to diminish this behavior. Like I have to be super strict with rules, boundaries and "no", just for the sake of it. But that seems not helpful and more like "not blinking". So maybe it's better to just follow the general path of recovery and to see how I can implement that need for approval in my value system and how I can help myself.

What baffled me most is just how incapable I was to produce "real" feelings, when there was nothing I expected in return. I guess that's why many people think they're uniquely damaged. I know that this will change, by working on my values, but it's still a haunting experience.

Lesson 32
This was another long one, so I don't translate all of the reviews. But in general I realized how much I've changed on an intellectual level. And I see where this intellectual wisdom changes my day to day life. I'm far more aware of the things I want to change. But I still lack some serious skills, for example in the area of setting boundaries. Overall I should focus more on doing the real proactive work. I'm using many things more as a "do it when it fits" thing. But I also use many new skills in a good healthy way. My behavior as a victim is greatly diminished, victimhood is now an exception, while acting responsible (at least as a mindset) is the standard. I'll definitely will adjust my Actionplans a bit and see where I can implement the practical strategies better. And I think I should shorten them a bit. Biggest problem was that I wrote so much, that I wasn't able to remember it all. So I will see how I can focus more on the things that need to be done right now. A few more specific goals should be great. After reflecting on those plans I'm still proud, that they're 90% practical and only universal in their core. But I'm a tiny bit too sloppy in implementing all of it. So I'll see how I can make the plans and goals clearer.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 2:11 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Lesson 33 - Developing Emotional Maturity

This sounds like an interesting excercise. I'm starting today and I'm writing this down to have a reminder, when I started. The current situation is full with ups and downs, so focusing more on my emotions might be the best. It's been a while since I made my last entry but recovery is constantly in my head. I wrote another huge post about my current struggle and every day I try to do better.
I realized how much of my effort is actually driven by the fear of not being good enough. Me trying to be perfect in every recovery-task and going all of the extra miles is kind of related to the wish for being approved. So I try to focus on that too. I'll reconcentrate on doing the lessons and add extra-miles only when appropriate. I'll just try to deepen my awareness of the current task and not only go through the motions. That's it so far. No entries to the current task, since I began today. Going to make the first update tomorrow.

Update 1 - 12. May:
Sharing my first insights today. I tried to asses as many emotions as possible, but I'm not sure if I did five. Some emotiones repeated themself throughout the day, so I assesed them multiple times. My day started after a short night. I had problems falling asleep last night, so I was a bit tired througout the day. That provided me with an interesting set of emotions. In general I felt how much more intense everything was, just by being tired (actually that's nothing new for me, but still an interesting observation). So I started with the knowledge, that my perception of the things going on is distorted by my lack of sleep. I felt how much more I was inclined to drift into a victim mentality etc., just by being tired. But I also felt, that it's quite possible to handle this behavior. Everytime an emotion became quite strong I reminded myself that its range is finite. That helped me to handle the situation better. I'm not really sure if I'm doing this right, but I already found some new insights which is nice. For example I started the day with obsessive thoughts about a female friend of my. By seriously looking at these emotions I was able to see, that I'm actually not mad at her, but my feelings were coming from the past-element that was triggered. That situation made me relive an old memory, which lead to those feelings. By assessing them and observing their intensity I got a hold of them. In addition I tried to explain myself (or more my inner-child) why I don't have to worry about all of this. Doing this and knowing, that the emotions are controllable, no matter how helpless I feel, made me realize, that its actually possible to just go through those emotions without reacting on them. Today I still reacted, by mindlessly surfing the internet at work, but during the initial critical stage of these emotions I became much clearer.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 2:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
So, busy weekend but lots to think about... I'll post todays thoughts later, bute here are the last two days:

13. May:
Today was a stressful day. After work I had a lot to do at my apartment, then I drove to my parents. Not much time to relax. Anyway, still a few emotions. Currently I'm experiencing a strong wave of past elements/emotions. I wish there would be some deeper insight I could share but I only experienced a better understanding in general. I wasn't that concentrated today so assessing my emotions was a bit hard. I still tried to do it and I succeeded mostly. But at one point I wasn't sure what to do. I experienced such a strong sense of discomfort, that it was hard to find a way out of that situation. At least I managed to set some boundaries against the clutter in my head. So the rest of today I spent eating and relaxing, to find some piece of mind. Tomorrow's a new day, with new opportunities. But today I need rest. I feel like all my emotions are turned up or distorted through my tiredness.

14. May:
So not much to write about today. I'm sort of in a haze. Like I said yesterday, I am visiting my parents. It's a strange feeling to know that this place isn't my place anymore. I had a lot to do, running some errands that needed to be done. Nonetheless I tried to focus on my emotions. It was interesting to see how certain sets of emotions start to play, under certain circumstances. I felt many past emotions here. I think that was my key takeaway from this day. Seeing how a certain situation or thought might trigger a series of emotions and then seeing, that it's possible to stay in charge of this emotion instead of getting overwhelmed.

But I'm still trying to get to the core of this lesson. I'm still looking for the bigger clue behind this "finite emotions" mindset. It feels not that new to me. I feel like my emotional problems are in another area. Of course this concept is necessary to gain the strength and knowledge to control our emotions but right know I'm just not experiencing that strong emotions. Like I said in the beginning I feel sort of hazy and distant. Maybe even a bit depressed. But it's a good lesson anyway and I continue to do it. I still focus more on the other awareness areas from previous lessons, like how my decisions and emotions interact and how my values play their part in it. Tomorrow's going to be interesting since I don't have any plans.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 3:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
15. May

So, another day. Kind of funny but today was a day, where the concept of finite emotions made a difference. I had some intense emotions in regards to obsessive thoughts. Altough the assessment of my emotions didn't stop me from following those thoughts, it helped me to calm down. At first I was in the classic vortex of thoughts and intense emotions. But I managed to put a halt on it and I was able to assess those emotions. By doing that I realized, that what I was doing to solve the problem wasn't really helpful. So I changed my behavior and the emotions became less intense. There's so much to write about today, but I'm super tired. I just came back home and I need to relax. Going back to my hometown seems to be a stressful activity. I'll spend the rest of the evening relaxing and monitoring my thoughts and feelings. Another thing I see happening, while doing this task, is, that my focus shifts more towards my emotions - which is the obvious goal. But at the same time I feel like it becomes harder to maintain the intellectual tools as well. It's sort of like, I'm understanding my emotions better, but I become weaker at handling other things. Maybe I have to find a balance there and implement the old things into the new learnings.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 12:27 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Lesson 34
A. Describe a time in your life when the "Immediate Gratification" principle has come into play:

When I had a fight with my former girlfriend I felt stressed and angry. I wanted to elevate that pressure and downloaded a dating-app. Although I had no intentions of cheating on her or meeting up with one of those women, I loved the possibility to enhance my fantasies about another person. I knew that this wasn’t okay, but I justified it, by comparing my behavior to hers (she had a history of lying to me).

B. As best as you can, describe the anxiety you feel when you are trying to NOT ACT on a compulsive sexual thought or behavior. Be specific. Compare it to other feelings of anxiety that you experience. The purpose of this exercise is to begin to define the limits of your emotions — and where your compulsive urges stand within those limits.

It’s not a feeling of fear or being afraid of the consequences. It’s more like an itch that grows stronger and stronger. It’s a pressure to act. I feel like all hope is gone and this is the only way to feel normal again. Even if I try to argue with reason, I feel the pressure building up. For example when the possibility arises to meet with an ex, to have sex. I instantly feel like this is too good to pass up. It’s like I want to hoard those feelings, in case I need it in the future. If I dig deep down it’s sort of a survival instinct. It’s like getting this fix to feel well or not knowing when I will get another one and eventually starving. And of course it’s just driving me insane. The high is awesome as itself, but combined with the rational thoughts it’s a dull feeling that is accompanied by guild and shame.
If I compare it to other feelings of anxiety it’s much more unclear. In general my feelings of anxiety are better to assess. I see them for what they are. When I’m afraid of flying I know what’s happening and I can work with that, argue against it and help myself. But when it comes to not acting on a compulsive thought/behavior it’s different. I do know the intellectual facts about addiction and I know the root of this behavior, but the emotions just slip away.

C. As best as you can, describe the feeling that you experience while you are engaging in a certain compulsive sexual thought or behavior. Is it a trance-like feeling? Is it a hyper-alert feeling? If someone could get inside your mind as you were experiencing such a ritual, what would they find?

It really depends on the behavior but when it comes to the bigger rituals it’s mostly trance-like. I’m in this rush of emotions and all reason is gone. I feel empowered, I feel in control. Sometimes it takes some time to reach this state, because I need to overcome the intellectual barrier first, but when things are going, there’s no ending (at least it seems so). I just go with the flow. Whatever feels good, whatever fits the mood. It’s a bit like being in a different world. For a short amount of time (or sometimes longer, when I look at ritualistic chains) I am the master of my own universe.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 66 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group