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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 4:50 pm 
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Posts: 105
Lesson 1 Exercises:
A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
3) allowing yourself time to change.
Consider where you feel you are in relation to each of these recovery keys? Briefly share your thoughts in your Recovery Thread.

Where am I in terms of actively committing myself to change? I think I'm there, all the way there. I can't prove it. I can't disprove it. But, my motivation is genuine, and my commitment to "doing the work" is proven. My motivation is to stop being a liar and cheater, to start and continue feeling the quiet confidence that comes from integrity and a moral compass, and to start and continue the relatively calm contentment that comes from having healthy priorities, as opposed to the harried existence of trying to live a double life.

I often write the list of practical measures I've taken. I'll reiterate it here, only to put it into the context of this question. My wife and I have taken Rick Reynolds's Affair Recovery class; I've seen three counselors; I regularly practice introspection and writing in the context of recovery; I've passed four polygraphs, had a vasectomy, given my wife all my passwords and accounts, and signed a post-nuptial agreement to give my wife safety; and studied for months to complete a religious conversion.

Where am I in terms of not allowing guilt and shame to sabotage my commitment to change? My wife and I explored this topic recently. We identified what we call the "shame shield" that some so-called sex addicts seem to use. We see this in the blogosphere. Betrayed spouses talk about how their betrayers spend so much time and energy being ashamed that they don't have time and energy to be supportive. Disloyal spouses talk about how ashamed they are as though they're saying to their spouses, "Don't bother criticizing my behavior. I'm doing plenty by criticizing my own behavior." Sure, I'm ashamed of how I lied and cheated. But, I also see that it's imperative that I don't let that stop me from talking openly about everything with my wife or counselors.

Where am I on allowing myself time to change? D-day was July 2012. I've been working on recovery consistently since then. My wife and I consider this a lifelong journey, with no expiration date. This is definitely a marathon, not a sprint


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 8:27 am 
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Lesson 1, exercise B

Reasons I seek to permanently change my life

1. I want the quiet confidence that comes from striving for integrity and morality.
2. I want the relative calm that comes with having my priorities straight, instead of the harried existence of a double life.
3. I want my wife to feel safe and to be able to find courage to pursue her own goals.
4. I want to be a good example for my children and for others.
5. I want to earn my wife's trust, love, and respect.
6. I want to continue using my time productively and investing in meaningful relationships, instead of wasting time with porn, affairs, and prostitutes.
7. I want to continue using money wisely, rather than wasting it on prostitutes and affairs.
8. I want to be able to speak freely about anything I do, feel, or think, without fear that any of it will bring me shame.
9. I want to be able to look back on the remaining few decades of my life with fewer regrets than I have about the first four decades.
10. I want to accomplish things that bring me pride, rather than waste time and energy on things I'm embarrassed to share.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 10:19 am 
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Lesson 1, exercise C

Looking at your own lost innocence

This exercise basically asked me to look into my own eyes when I was a child of 3, 4, or 5-years old. When I do this, I already sense possible roots of my problems. Even back then, I lacked confidence, confidence that I am still working to develop.

I remember feeling weak and fearful when I was in kindergarten. I was embarrassed by those feelings, but did not try to overcome them. Those feelings made me want to look away from the other kids, to not interact in the same world with them unless they interacted in ways where I did not feel inferior. For example, when the kids engaged in imaginary play, I joined them. But, when they slid down the pole of the jungle gym, something I was afraid to do, I walked away, retreated into my own world, and just wished things were different.

I think the theme here that I carried forward in my life was the problem of retreating into my own world and wishing life was different, rather than courageously facing my fears. Given how I was truly afraid of, for example, sliding down the fire pole, I really can't imagine what I could have done differently. I also can't imagine what my parents or teacher could have done differently. I guess the important thing is that now I am conscious of things I can do differently, today and going forward.

As an aside, I'm curious to know the point of this exercise. Is it to encourage me to care for myself? If so, I wonder whether that is really a problem. It seems to me that my years of lying and cheating came from failing to care about other people, not from failing to care about myself.


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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:44 pm 
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Lesson 2

The three exercises basically ask me to develop and share a vision statement for my life. It helped me to imagine I was looking backward from the day of my death.

I want to demonstrate to my wife that I can love and protect her. If she is alive for my funeral, I want her to feel more positive about my life than negative. I want to have been a positive factor in her life.

Likewise, I want to maintain an active, growing, useful relationship with my sons until I die. I see, with some disappointment, how my own relationship with my parents devolved, long ago, into nothing more than superficial gestures. I lost faith in their ability to teach me anything without an accompaniment of criticism and judgment. I don't want my kids to ever fear telling me about themselves and their lives, as they grow and change. I want them to know that I am there to support them emotionally (not financially), and not think that they exist to act out my dreams or to be constrained by my fears.

I want to be active, mentally and physically, as long as my health allows. I want to look back and know that I actively exercised my mind and body regularly, and that I accomplished something, no matter how small. I want to know that I did not waste my life with idleness or self-defeating behaviors. Whether it's working, teaching, or writing, I want to feel I was continuously exploring, learning, and creating, even in small ways. Even if the scale is small, I want to feel I made a difference, in some positive way.


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 6:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3856
Location: UK
Hello MC and welcome to RN

looks like a good positive start :g:
but remember it is only the start
if you really do want to improve your life and to recover from your addiction then you are at a good place to make that wish reality
Commit , fully and completely
work through the lessons and understand them , if you miss something ask on the help forum , assistance is always on hand
coaches and mentors are likely to drop by occasionally but if not, don't worry as this is generally a good indicator that you are on the right path

the path is long and difficult but it is well proven and you are not alone
we usually suggest completing about 3 lessons a week but spending time every day posting and reading
get to know your addiction and see yourself with honesty and openness

remember to work at your own pace and its not a race indeed some consider recovery to be a journey rather than a destination

your vision is a good starter but again only a starter, it should be a work in progress and is best if it has some why's how's and when's

perhaps elaborate on
I want to be active, mentally and physically, as long as my health allows.
make your vision relate to you


remember the only person that can make these changes is you, so the hard work needs to come from you
looking forwards to reading your posts and wishing you all the best

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


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 5:00 pm 
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Posts: 105
Vision statement

I tried to expand on it.

I want to demonstrate to my wife that I can love and protect her. If she is alive for my funeral, I want her to feel more positive about my life than negative. I want to have been a positive factor in her life. My lying and cheating have hurt her so badly that she has lost faith in me and lost respect for me. This fact truly disappoints me, even though -- perhaps especially because -- it was my own doing.

Likewise, I want to maintain an active, growing, useful relationship with my sons until I die. I see, with some disappointment, how my own relationship with my parents devolved, long ago, into nothing more than superficial gestures. I lost faith in their ability to teach me anything without an accompaniment of criticism and judgment. I don't want my kids to ever fear telling me about themselves and their lives, as they grow and change. I want them to know that I am there to support them emotionally (not financially), and not think that they exist to act out my dreams or to be constrained by my fears.

I want to be active, mentally and physically, as long as my health allows. I've learned from experience that doing so makes me happy. But, I want to do it in a way that complements my other values: my wife and sons. I want to look back and know that I actively exercised my mind and body regularly, and that I accomplished something, no matter how small. I want to know that I did not waste my life with idleness or self-defeating behaviors. Whether it's working, teaching, or writing, I want to feel I was continuously exploring, learning, and creating, even in small ways. Even if the scale is small, I want to feel I made a difference, in some positive way.


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 4:37 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:26 pm
Posts: 105
My values

My understanding of this exercise was that I should list both the "positive," healthy values to which I turn my focus now, and the "negative," less healthy values that I know guided my behavior, consciously and subconsciously, in the past. To be clear, I'll break this list into three parts, if possible.

Positive
1. Counting my blessings
2. Honesty
3. Maturity
4. Being a good husband
5. Being a good father
6. Wanting the best for my family
7. Protecting my family
8. Meaningful relationship with my wife and kids
9. Being active
10. Being useful
11. Lifelong learning
12. Creating new ideas throughout life
13. Improving the community or world
14. Living with integrity
15. Living with compassion
16. Teaching
17. Quality work
18. Competence
19. Being dependable
20. Humility
21. Loyalty
22. Flexibility
23. Selflessness
24. Empathy
25. Mindfulness
26. Being a good role model
27. Independence
28. Financial freedom
29. Being trusted
30. Companionship
31. Appreciating nature
32. Leaving a legacy
33. Friendship
34. Forgiveness
35. Realism
36. Conservation
37. Open-mindedness
38. Financial security

Neutral (could be good or bad, depending on your approach)
39. Professionalism
40. Responsibility
41. Leadership
42. Taking care of my health, taking pride in myself
43. Freedom
44. Excitement
45. Adventure
46. Being loved
47. Physical pleasure, including food, drink, sex, sports
48. Seeing the world
49. Masculinity
50. Being respected
51. Feeling needed and desired
52. Happiness and contentment
53. Sense of accomplishment
54. Physical health, strength, beauty

Negative
55. Power
56. Control
57. Experiencing the forbidden
58. Avoiding conflict


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 11:47 am 
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Posts: 105
Lesson 3

My values: expanded

My understanding of this exercise was that I should list both the "positive," healthy values to which I turn my focus now, and the "negative," less healthy values that I know guided my behavior, consciously and subconsciously, in the past. To be clear, I'll break this list into three parts, if possible.

I'm adding some commentary to this list, to be sure I am clear about the things I'm listing.

Positive. These are values I strive to include in my life today and in the future. Some of them were underdeveloped during the early decades of my life, and I am trying to correct that now.

1. Counting my blessings
2. Honesty
3. Maturity
4. Being a good husband
5. Being a good father
6. Wanting the best for my family
7. Protecting my family
8. Meaningful relationship with my wife and kids
9. Being active
10. Being useful
11. Lifelong learning
12. Creating new ideas throughout life
13. Improving the community or world
14. Living with integrity
15. Living with compassion
16. Teaching
17. Quality work
18. Competence
19. Being dependable
20. Humility
21. Loyalty
22. Flexibility
23. Selflessness
24. Empathy
25. Mindfulness
26. Being a good role model
27. Independence
28. Financial freedom
29. Being trusted
30. Companionship
31. Appreciating nature
32. Leaving a legacy
33. Friendship
34. Forgiveness
35. Realism
36. Conservation
37. Open-mindedness
38. Financial security
39. Courage
40. Balance

Neutral (could be good or bad, depending on your approach). I think these values can be healthy if I interpret them and apply them wisely. If I take them to extremes, pursue them for the wrong reasons, or fail to balance them with other values, they could become unhealthy, I think.

41. Professionalism. With the right approach, this means practicing integrity in my work and taking a healthy portion of pride in my work. With the wrong approach, this means putting time and energy into work at the expense of my family.
42. Responsibility. With the right approach, this means fulfilling commitments and making good choices. With the wrong approach, this means focusing too much on commitments and wise choices and not enough on making life enjoyable for my wife through flexibility and spontaneity.
43. Leadership. With the right approach, this means behaving with courage, wisdom, and responsibility. With the wrong approach, this means spending too much time and energy pursuing leadership opportunities and not enough on my family.
44. Taking care of my health, taking pride in myself. With the right approach, this means looking inside myself for esteem and happiness. With the wrong approach, this means vanity and seeking validation from other people.
45. Freedom. With the right approach, this means independence and maturity. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence and lack of responsibility.
46. Excitement. With the right approach, this means appreciating life. With the wrong approach, this means taking inappropriate risks that unfairly threaten my family or others.
47. Adventure. With the right approach, this means making the most of life. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence at others' expense.
48. Being loved. With the right approach, this means appreciating positive feelings from others. With the wrong approach, this means seeking external, not internal, validation.
49. Physical pleasure, including food, drink, sex, sports. With the right approach, this means appreciating life. With the wrong approach, this means focusing too much on physical pleasures and not enough on responsibility or concern for other people.
50. Seeing the world. With the right approach, this can help me appreciate life. With the wrong approach, it could put my personal passions ahead of my family.
51. Masculinity. With the right approach, this can help me feel self-esteem and to think about the role of responsibility and self-sacrifice in masculinity. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
52. Being respected. With the right approach, this could motivate me to make good choices. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
53. Feeling needed and desired. With the right approach, this could help me appreciate sincere supportive sentiments from others. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
54. Happiness and contentment. With the right approach, this could remind me to appreciate life. With the wrong approach, this could lead to self-centered behavior.
55. Sense of accomplishment. With the right approach, this could help me find self-esteem. With the wrong approach, this could crowd out time and energy I should devote to my family.
56. Physical health, strength, beauty. With the right approach, this could help me develop self-esteem, and physical health directly promotes mental health. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
57. Order. Order directly gives me comfort and helps me with self-control. The danger is that I might become a slave to my "to do list" and "neat freak" compulsions, thus losing self-control and failing to give necessary time and energy to my family. I must constantly seek balance with regard to my desire for order.

Negative. These are values that led to my dysfunction in the early decades of my life. I strive to leave them in the past.

58. Power
59. Control
60. Experiencing the forbidden
61. Avoiding conflict


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:26 pm
Posts: 105
My values

Upon reflection, I revised this a second time.

My understanding of this exercise was that I should list both the "positive," healthy values to which I turn my focus now, and the "negative," less healthy values that I know guided my behavior, consciously and subconsciously, in the past. To be clear, I'll break this list into three parts, if possible.

I'm adding some commentary to this list, to be sure I am clear about the things I'm listing.

Positive. These are values I strive to include in my life today and in the future. Some of them were underdeveloped during the early decades of my life, and I am trying to correct that now.

1. Counting my blessings
2. Honesty
3. Maturity
4. Being a good husband
5. Being a good father
6. Wanting the best for my family
7. Protecting my family
8. Meaningful relationship with my wife and kids
9. Being active
10. Being useful
11. Lifelong learning
12. Creating new ideas throughout life
13. Improving the community or world
14. Living with integrity
15. Living with compassion
16. Teaching
17. Quality work
18. Competence
19. Being dependable
20. Humility
21. Loyalty
22. Flexibility. This is a key ingredient of healthy spontaneity.
23. Selflessness
24. Empathy
25. Mindfulness
26. Being a good role model
27. Independence
28. Financial freedom
29. Being trusted
30. Companionship
31. Appreciating nature
32. Leaving a legacy
33. Friendship
34. Forgiveness
35. Realism
36. Conservation
37. Open-mindedness
38. Financial security
39. Courage
40. Balance

Neutral (could be good or bad, depending on your approach). I think these values can be healthy if I interpret them and apply them wisely. If I take them to extremes, pursue them for the wrong reasons, or fail to balance them with other values, they could become unhealthy, I think.

41. Professionalism. With the right approach, this means practicing integrity in my work and taking a healthy portion of pride in my work. With the wrong approach, this means putting time and energy into work at the expense of my family.
42. Responsibility. With the right approach, this means fulfilling commitments and making good choices. With the wrong approach, this means allowing my "to-do list" compulsions to control me instead of me controlling them.
43. Leadership. With the right approach, this means behaving with courage, wisdom, and responsibility. With the wrong approach, this means spending too much time and energy pursuing leadership opportunities and not enough on my family.
44. Taking care of my health, taking pride in myself. With the right approach, this means looking inside myself for esteem and happiness. With the wrong approach, this means vanity and seeking validation from other people.
45. Freedom. With the right approach, this means independence and maturity. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence and lack of responsibility.
46. Excitement. With the right approach, this means appreciating life. With the wrong approach, this means taking inappropriate risks that unfairly threaten my family or others.
47. Adventure. With the right approach, this means making the most of life. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence at others' expense.
48. Being loved. With the right approach, this means appreciating positive feelings from others. With the wrong approach, this means seeking external, not internal, validation.
49. Physical pleasure, including food, drink, sex, sports. With the right approach, this means appreciating life Ina healthy way. With the wrong approach, this means getting out of balance and neglecting other paths to happiness.
50. Seeing the world. With the right approach, this can help me appreciate life. With the wrong approach, this could lead to imbalance and neglecting the needs of my family.
51. Masculinity. With the right approach, this can help me feel self-esteem and to think about the role of responsibility and self-sacrifice in masculinity. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
52. Being respected. With the right approach, this could motivate me to make good choices. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
53. Feeling needed and desired. With the right approach, this could help me appreciate sincere supportive sentiments from others. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
54. Happiness and contentment. With the right approach, this could remind me to appreciate life. With the wrong approach, this could lead to self-centered behavior.
55. Sense of accomplishment. With the right approach, this could help me find self-esteem. With the wrong approach, this could crowd out time and energy I should devote to my family.
56. Physical health, strength, beauty. With the right approach, this could help me develop self-esteem, and physical health directly promotes mental health. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
57. Order. Order directly gives me comfort and helps me with self-control. The danger is that I might become a slave to my "to do list" and "neat freak" compulsions, thus losing self-control and failing to give necessary time and energy to my family. I must constantly seek balance with regard to my desire for order.

Negative. These are values that led to my dysfunction in the early decades of my life. I strive to leave them in the past.

58. Power
59. Control
60. Experiencing the forbidden
61. Avoiding conflict


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2016 9:27 pm 
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Posts: 105
Lesson 4. Having just read this lesson, I see that I worked ahead. I already prioritized my list of values.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 10:26 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:26 pm
Posts: 105
Lesson 5 Exercises

A. In previous exercises, you identified and prioritized a list of your personal values. This list should represent those aspects of your life that you want to use to define who you are and how you will be managing your life. Take a moment to look over that list with a fresh view. As you read through it, ask yourself, "Does this reflect the person that I am committing myself to becoming?" If so, continue on; if not, add those missing values that are congruent with the life that you want to lead and remove those values which are not.

I reviewed my list, below, and deleted those items that are not congruent with the life I want today. I also looked for things to add. I can't think of anything to add at this point.

1. Counting my blessings
2. Honesty
3. Maturity
4. Being a good husband
5. Being a good father
6. Wanting the best for my family
7. Protecting my family
8. Meaningful relationships with my wife and kids
9. Being active
10. Being useful
11. Lifelong learning
12. Creating new ideas throughout life
13. Improving the community or world
14. Living with integrity
15. Living with compassion
16. Teaching
17. Quality work
18. Competence
19. Being dependable
20. Humility
21. Loyalty
22. Flexibility. This is a key ingredient of healthy spontaneity.
23. Selflessness
24. Empathy
25. Mindfulness
26. Being a good role model
27. Independence
28. Financial freedom
29. Being trusted
30. Companionship
31. Appreciating nature
32. Leaving a legacy
33. Friendship
34. Forgiveness
35. Realism
36. Conservation
37. Open-mindedness
38. Financial security
39. Courage
40. Balance

Neutral (could be good or bad, depending on your approach). I think these values can be healthy if I interpret them and apply them wisely. If I take them to extremes, pursue them for the wrong reasons, or fail to balance them with other values, they could become unhealthy, I think.

41. Professionalism. With the right approach, this means practicing integrity in my work and taking a healthy portion of pride in my work. With the wrong approach, this means putting time and energy into work at the expense of my family.
42. Responsibility. With the right approach, this means fulfilling commitments and making good choices. With the wrong approach, this means allowing my "to-do list" compulsions to control me instead of me controlling them.
43. Leadership. With the right approach, this means behaving with courage, wisdom, and responsibility. With the wrong approach, this means spending too much time and energy pursuing leadership opportunities and not enough on my family.
44. Taking care of my health, taking pride in myself. With the right approach, this means looking inside myself for esteem and happiness. With the wrong approach, this means vanity and seeking validation from other people.
45. Freedom. With the right approach, this means independence and maturity. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence and lack of responsibility.
46. Excitement. With the right approach, this means appreciating life. With the wrong approach, this means taking inappropriate risks that unfairly threaten my family or others.
47. Adventure. With the right approach, this means making the most of life. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence at others' expense.
48. Being loved. With the right approach, this means appreciating positive feelings from others. With the wrong approach, this means seeking external, not internal, validation.
49. Physical pleasure, including food, drink, sex, sports. With the right approach, this means appreciating life Ina healthy way. With the wrong approach, this means getting out of balance and neglecting other paths to happiness.
50. Seeing the world. With the right approach, this can help me appreciate life. With the wrong approach, this could lead to imbalance and neglecting the needs of my family.
51. Masculinity. With the right approach, this can help me feel self-esteem and to think about the role of responsibility and self-sacrifice in masculinity. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
52. Being respected. With the right approach, this could motivate me to make good choices. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
53. Feeling needed and desired. With the right approach, this could help me appreciate sincere supportive sentiments from others. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
54. Happiness and contentment. With the right approach, this could remind me to appreciate life. With the wrong approach, this could lead to self-centered behavior.
55. Sense of accomplishment. With the right approach, this could help me find self-esteem. With the wrong approach, this could crowd out time and energy I should devote to my family.
56. Physical health, strength, beauty. With the right approach, this could help me develop self-esteem, and physical health directly promotes mental health. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
57. Order. Order directly gives me comfort and helps me with self-control. The danger is that I might become a slave to my "to do list" and "neat freak" compulsions, thus losing self-control and failing to give necessary time and energy to my family. I must constantly seek balance with regard to my desire for order.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 11:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:26 pm
Posts: 105
Lesson 5, B

Consider two major decisions that you have made in your life (i.e. marriage, career, getting a dog, etc.). Examine the values involved in the decision-making process that went into your options. Consider having to make those decisions today. Does your current prioritized values list reflect the choices that you would make? If so, then you have done a good job of creating a practical values list. If not, then you may still be leaning more towards 'idealistic values' than practical ones. You want...no, you NEED this list to function on a practical level. Continue refining it until it does.

Values I used in deciding who to marry and when: desire for sex, friendship, feeling needed and desired, and companionship.

Values I would want to use if I had to make that decision today: friendship, companionship, being a good husband, being a good father, having a meaningful relationship with my family, maturity, happiness and contentment, physical pleasure, lifelong learning, being active, adventure, being loved, feeling needed and desired, and seeing the world.

Values I used when deciding my career: financial security.

Values I would want to use if I had to make that decision today: financial security, professionalism, teaching, leadership, lifelong learning, wanting the best for my family, being useful, creating new ideas throughout life, quality work, competence, financial freedom, balance, and sense of accomplishment.

The responses do track with my values list.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 3:23 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3856
Location: UK
HI MC
Quote:
You want...no, you NEED this list to function on a practical level. Continue refining it until it does.



The responses do track with my values list.

:g:
great but beware complacency, our values do reflect on our futures as our lack of them did in our histories

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


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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:26 pm
Posts: 105
Lesson 5, C

Finally, examine the list one more time for its realism. Do this by briefly grasping each value and thinking about the role that it would play in your day-to-day life. This does not mean that you must use the particular value on a daily basis, only that it can serve as a realistic, functional part of the identity that you are building. For instance, if I choose 'spirituality' as a top priority for myself, but in reality I am only listing that value out of fear and/or social acceptance...then my list is not real. It is not practical. On the other hand, if I list 'Strengthening my relationship with my brother' — whom I have not had any contact with in twenty years and with whom I would like to rebuild a connection with...then that is practical. Also, remember to examine the values that are not necessarily socially accepted/idealized. This is critical. If you build a life based on what others expect from you, you will fail in your transition. If you build a life based on a mastery of what it is you truly value, then you will succeed. So examine values such as 'sexual gratification', 'being sexually adventurous', 'feeling sexually desired', 'being promiscuous', etc. If these are important to you, then prioritize them within your list. Leave them out because they don't 'sound right' and you are dooming yourself to that dual-identity that pervades sexual malfeasance.

1. Counting my blessings. At dinner we do the "what am I thankful for" exercise. Regularly, especially when challenged by life, I should do the exercise internally too.
2. Honesty. I should remind myself of this value when talking with others.
3. Maturity. This is really what I always wanted out of life: to be grown-up and responsible for myself. I should remind myself that it requires responsibility and courage.
4. Being a good husband. This means keeping my wife's needs and desires prominently in mind.
5. Being a good father. This means enabling my kids to succeed and to be happy.
6. Wanting the best for my family. This means vigilantly monitoring my decisions to avoid selfish behavior.
7. Protecting my family. An example is summoning the courage to stand up to my mother, who has a history of criticizing my wife.
8. Meaningful relationships with my wife and kids. This means being mentally and emotionally present, not just physically present. It means focusing on them, and not being distracted by chores and similar compulsions.
9. Being active. I love exercise and outdoor activity. This also means looking for efficient ways to be active, such as focusing on intensity instead of quantity and being active with other people so that exercise does not distract from my commitments to family.
10. Being useful. For now, I enjoy this luxury at work and at home. I will thank God if I can continue having the time and opportunity to do work that is useful, for several more decades.
11. Lifelong learning. This comes with my career and my wife. In finding my next career, I need to remember this value.
12. Creating new ideas throughout life. My job allows me to exercise some creativity. Writing also helps. I want to be sure my next job also allows me to be creative.
13. Improving the community or world. I often look for ways to improve my neighborhood or community.
14. Living with integrity. When faced with daily decisions or interactions, I must keep up my inner dialogue about honesty and courage.
15. Living with compassion. When relating to other people, I must maintain my inner dialogue about being empathetic and not being judgmental. There, but for the grace of God, go I.
16. Teaching. My job allows me to teach. I must find this in my next job too.
17. Quality work. Daily, I should maintain an inner dialogue reminding myself that work can give me more than just money. It can also give me pride, self-pride that I have to earn.
18. Competence. Daily, I should maintain an inner dialogue reminding myself that work can give me more than just money. It can also give me pride, self-pride that I have to earn.
19. Being dependable. I can remind myself not to neglect commitments, and not to make too many commitments.
20. Humility. I can remind myself that I am more content when I don't get jealous, prideful, our self-righteous. Recalling life's hardships during a meditative morning moment helps with this.
21. Loyalty. This means reminding myself of my commitments to others, and of their loyalty to me.
22. Flexibility. This is a key ingredient of healthy spontaneity. When I feel compelled to clean, tidy, or do some task on my to-do list, I must remind myself that relationships are more important.
23. Selflessness. I must maintain an inner dialogue about the importance of supporting others.
24. Empathy. This means trying to see things from my wife's perspective.
25. Mindfulness. This means living in the moment, particularly when talking to my wife or others, but also when experiencing daily life.
26. Being a good role model. This means that when making decisions I should consider which course of action would provide the best example from my kids.
27. Independence. When possible, I should at least consider doing things myself instead paying someone else or asking for help.
28. Financial freedom. This begins with paying down debt and keeping expenses low.
29. Being trusted. This means telling my wife and others everything, including unpleasant truths.
30. Companionship. This means not just having a companion, but also being a companion. I need to think daily about giving my wife attention and support.
31. Appreciating nature. Even as we age, every year I will aim to camp and ski with my family. My wife and I will aim to live in a place with a good natural environment.
32. Leaving a legacy. I want to help my children be successful. I want to write a book.
33. Friendship. This means not just having a friend, but also being a friend. I need to think daily about giving my wife attention and support.
34. Forgiveness. This means remembering that forgiving other people will free me from the burden of anger. It also means remembering that nobody owes it to me to forgive me, but I should work to earn forgiveness regardless.
35. Realism. This means remembering to be wide awake to risks and challenges.
36. Conservation. This means finding practical ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
37. Open-mindedness. This means remembering to not be judgmental.
38. Financial security. This begins with paying down debt and keeping expenses low. It also means that after this career I must have a new discussion with my wife about our financial goals and how to meet them.
39. Courage. This means speaking up when I have something to say at work, to my birth family, or to others, instead of holding it in.
40. Balance. This means looking at life each day and evaluating whether I am neglecting any aspect of it.

Neutral (could be good or bad, depending on your approach). I think these values can be healthy if I interpret them and apply them wisely. If I take them to extremes, pursue them for the wrong reasons, or fail to balance them with other values, they could become unhealthy, I think.

41. Professionalism. With the right approach, this means practicing integrity in my work and taking a healthy portion of pride in my work. With the wrong approach, this means putting time and energy into work at the expense of my family.
42. Responsibility. With the right approach, this means fulfilling commitments and making good choices. With the wrong approach, this means allowing my "to-do list" compulsions to control me instead of me controlling them.
43. Leadership. With the right approach, this means behaving with courage, wisdom, and responsibility. With the wrong approach, this means spending too much time and energy pursuing leadership opportunities and not enough on my family.
44. Taking care of my health, taking pride in myself. With the right approach, this means looking inside myself for esteem and happiness. With the wrong approach, this means vanity and seeking validation from other people.
45. Freedom. With the right approach, this means independence and maturity. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence and lack of responsibility.
46. Excitement. With the right approach, this means appreciating life. With the wrong approach, this means taking inappropriate risks that unfairly threaten my family or others.
47. Adventure. With the right approach, this means making the most of life. With the wrong approach, this means self-indulgence at others' expense.
48. Being loved. With the right approach, this means appreciating positive feelings from others. With the wrong approach, this means seeking external, not internal, validation.
49. Physical pleasure, including food, drink, sex, sports. With the right approach, this means appreciating life in a healthy way. With the wrong approach, this means getting out of balance and neglecting other paths to happiness.
50. Seeing the world. With the right approach, this can help me appreciate life. With the wrong approach, this could lead to imbalance and neglecting the needs of my family.
51. Masculinity. With the right approach, this can help me feel self-esteem and to think about the role of responsibility and self-sacrifice in masculinity. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
52. Being respected. With the right approach, this could motivate me to make good choices. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
53. Feeling needed and desired. With the right approach, this could help me appreciate sincere supportive sentiments from others. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
54. Happiness and contentment. With the right approach, this could remind me to appreciate life. With the wrong approach, this could lead to self-centered behavior.
55. Sense of accomplishment. With the right approach, this could help me find self-esteem. With the wrong approach, this could crowd out time and energy I should devote to my family.
56. Physical health, strength, beauty. With the right approach, this could help me develop self-esteem, and physical health directly promotes mental health. With the wrong approach, this could devolve into shallow, self-centered pursuit of external validation.
57. Order. Order directly gives me comfort and helps me with self-control. The danger is that I might become a slave to my "to do list" and "neat freak" compulsions, thus losing self-control and failing to give necessary time and energy to my family. I must constantly seek balance with regard to my desire for order.


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PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2016 9:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:26 pm
Posts: 105
Lesson 6 Exercise:
A. Of the top fifteen values on your Prioritized Values List, develop Proactive Action Plans for two or three of the more simple ones. For instance, "Strengthening your relationship with your wife" is complex. "Developing a closer bond with 'Chewie', your dog" (probably) isn't. For now, choose 'Chewie'. Post these plans into your recovery thread.
Note that your goal here is not to map out perfection. You only need to map out the next few steps in the developmental process of strengthening and/or maintaining this value (if it is already at full strength).

Proactive action plan. Counting my blessings. At dinner we do the "what am I thankful for" exercise. Regularly, especially when challenged by life, I should do the exercise internally too.
1. Do the "what am I thankful for" exercise daily, at dinner time, when possible.
2. Reflect deeply on Thanksgiving, anniversaries, and family members' birthdays, to thank God.
3. When viewing other people's misfortunes, remind myself of my blessings.
4. When viewing other people's blessings, remind myself that everyone has blessings and misfortunes.

Proactive action plan. Being active. I love exercise and outdoor activity. This also means looking for efficient ways to be active, such as focusing on intensity instead of quantity and being active with other people so that exercise does not distract from my commitments to family.
1. When my wife or kids are available to do something together, invite them to do something active, such as walking, swimming, biking, playing catch, or whatever else might be accessible.
2. Continue my habit of getting 35 minutes of exercise before each normal work day, and don't increase that quantity until I'm certain I'm working to 100 percent intensity for each of those 35 minutes each time.
3. Look for vacation activities that keep us active, such as skiing or walking tours.


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