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 Post subject: Tabby's Recovery Thread
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:51 am 
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Lesson 1 Exercises:
A.
1) This is not the first time I have decided to commit myself to change, but it is the first time I am externalising my commitment, writing it clearly for others to see. I can no longer live the broken life I have been living. I absolutely want to change.
2) I cannot lie and say I do not feel guilt and shame. I experience huge feelings of guilt and shame (how couldn't I?) But this doesn't mean I will be less honest with myself and with others. I will try and be brave enough to bring up the most shameful parts of me because I truly want to get past all this. I will not let my feelings of shame and guilt stop me.
3) I know I cannot change overnight. I realise that even if I stop the behaviour, it will take longer to be rid of the temptation and the bad thoughts. I am willing to commit as much time and effort as necessary to achieve recovery.

Where am I in relationship to these keys? I don't really know... I have recently experienced extreme violence and trauma (because of what a shitty person I have become) and my wife has made me leave the house. I am not in a good place at all right now.
However, I realise now more than ever that I desperately need to change and that despite my shame and having kept too many secrets for too long, I am willing to reach out to others for help and support. Not only have I started using this programme, but I am also going to meet with a therapist in real life. This is more concrete action than I have ever taken before and I expect to be held accountable for sticking to my resolve.

B. Reasons to change my life:
1- to have a 100% honest relationship with my wife.
2- to feel proud of who I am
3- to feel I am a complete person, not split into opposites
4- no more secrets
5- to be master of my free time
6- to feel fulfilled and proud of my achievements
7- to be a good example of an honourable man (especially because I want to have kids)
8- to have deeper and more fulfilling interests
9- to be able to really see myself in the future
10- to be confident and secure in who I am personally and as a man
11- to make my wife as happy as I can
12- to open up some of the opportunities I feel I have lost because of my uncontrolled urges
13- to be able to truly experience innocent feelings, without the shadowy darkness that seems to follow many of my thoughts
14- to feel I am free to be myself, not afraid of losing control
----and some negative reasons (there is no positive way to put his)-------
15- because I am afraid I will seriously harm myself and others (this has been getting worse and worse lately)
16- I do not want to be arrested, have a police record or permanently destroy my reputation (I have avoided these extremes so far, but my behaviour has also become more and more risky, and I can see it getting worse)
17- I do not want to lose my wife, who is the most wonderful person I know and who deserves better

C. I do not have a picture of myself as a small child here right now (I am in a hotel room with just a small bag of things), but I have a good visual memory and I am recalling 2: the picture of me taking out the rubbish with my grandpa (about 4yo) and the one of me as a toddler in blue stripes smiling at the camera. When I did as instructed and tried to look into my child eyes and see that innocence, all I can do is bawl my eyes out. I think a return to true innocence is what I want most in the whole world. Sometimes I experience truly innocent thoughts and I relish them, because I feel I am at last not being a pervert or psychopath or whatever it is I have become. But so much trauma happened after those pictures that I am afraid it has broken me.

I hope this is the start of my final road to recovery.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:04 am 
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I have just thought of another reason for B)
- to be strong enough to confront negative feelings (worthlessness, apathy, failure, anxiety, stress...) without resorting to my negative sex habits to escape them.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 11:29 pm 
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Lesson 2:
My personal vision:

I see myself getting old at my wife's side, my hand in her hand, strolling along the beach, laughing at each other's silly jokes. There will hopefully be kids with us and maybe grandkids even. But when we look into each other's eyes we will always see the deepest, most honest and respectful love that could ever be imagined.
When we die, our children, our families and our friends will remember what a wonderful example of love we set, and they will look back on a life lived fully, well and without regrets, side by side, with lots of giving to others too. An amazing adventure.

I will become honest and truthful. Having abandoned my urges and escapism, I will have the maturity to look life square in the eye. Thus I will be less nervous, less insecure, less paranoid. Although close to my wife, I will give her a healthy space to thrive in, be less of a control freak, be more chill about life, because I will have accepted it and engaged with it in a healthy, honest way.

I know I already have a lot going for me. I am a very loving and sensitive man - I would say "caring" but due to my recent catastrophic behaviour, I don't think that would be honest: if I truly cared about my wife, I would not have cheated. I know I am capable of giving myself fully in a relationship. I empathise well. I derive a lot of pleasure from helping others. I am not afraid of admitting my own mistakes and failures.
I am proud of:
- being a good DJ and putting on great parties
- travelling to adventurous places
- being well-read and knowledgeable
- being a decent cook
- having a certain sense of style
I would like to improve:
- be less anxious about time alone (independence)
- be more creative and productive in my free time
- not be as needy (confidence)
- not get angry so easily (calmness)
- not take out my troubles on the people I love (self-contained)
- take things easy (patience)
- not expect anything in return for my efforts (altruism)
- remember birthday cards and gifts (thoughtfulness)

Finding suitable role models is a little difficult for me, because I easily see the flaws and weaknesses in people. I would definitely take my grandparents' love for each other as a supreme goal in my life. My parent's romance and adventurousness. My father-in-law's sense of family and marital duty.

As a child I was extremely curious (part of my undoing too...) talkative, serious sometimes but often very silly, not very masculine, a Mummy's boy, interested in history, dinosaurs, religion, calligraphy, stories (especially adventures), cooking, swimming, climbing trees, Lego, biking. I had different phases of character: I was very outgoing before school, and then I think I became more introverted. Most of these things are still present in the adult me, including the extra/introvert dichotomy.

My ideal dream life?
I am with my wife. There is mossy, piney greenery (maybe a forest) and a stream....or perhaps we are somewhere by the sea, a winding path above the cliff face.... We have a small but pretty house....a cottage with a garden. We have a dog, probably a wiry haired dog, or maybe one that looks really funny and likes to play. I read stories to my wife, under an old oak tree, resting between the roots with a bottle of champagne and a small picnic. I read to her from Arabian Nights and Lewis Carroll, and fairy tales and such....or we leaf through our own adventure books, or we plan our next trip. We are wearing galoshes.
Sometimes we will drive to the city for a movie or to go to an art museum. I will still get pleasure from DJing, but would not need to do it very often. We will have similar friends and they will come over for long dinners. We will get to spend more time with our families too. My sister and her family will become a greater presence in my life.
I will have a more lucrative and stimulating career, something I can be proud of and something that can support us. My wife will devote her time to doing he creative things she loves and maybe devote herself more seriously to her art.
Why the location? I think because it is a location from that earliest period of my life (the clifftops in Devon) and so it is absolutely uncorrupted.
Why the person? Because - and despite being a shit I have never doubted this for an instant - MY WIFE IS THE MOST AMAZING PERSON ON EARTH AND I WANT TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH HER.

My values (I will write what springs to mind and do away with the list, because I do not want to pick and choose someone else's words/ideas):
(* needs much improvement)
*Honesty
*Integrity
*Truth
Purity (of heart, of intent)
*Patience
*Altruism (but not martyrdom!)
Curiosity (within healthy boundaries!)
Romance
Reliability
*Calmness
*Maturity
Optimism
Fraternity/Friendship
*Giving (and also Receiving graciously)
*Strength
Determination
Bravery
Independence (but also:)
Cooperation (which presupposes:)
Compromise
Empathy
*Confidence
Accountability
*Listening
*Caring (totally)
Vulnerability
Sensitivity
Sensuality (in the loving arms of my wife)
Sharing
Creativity
*Respect
*Honour
*Sacrifice (especially for family and loved ones)
*Innocence
*Diligence
*Unity (of life, of reality, of personality)
*Focus
*Gentlemanliness
*Self-esteem
Vitality
Humour
Adventurousness
Accomplishment
*Tenderness
Understanding
*Decisiveness
Resolve
(and of course, most of all:)
LOVE (but my love lacks some of its core components above)

My domains are:
my wife
my sister
my mother
my father
my in-laws
a few friends (most of whom are far away at present)
my DJ entourage
my mind (a fragile domain to be reconquered)
my travels

I am very conscious of what I have inherited from my family and my past, the good and the bad. I am ready to forge my own path to reach the sort of life/person I have described above.


Last edited by Tabby on Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:54 am 
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Lesson 3 : Values (continued)

Here are some more specific formulations of positive values I want to work on:
- being an understanding supportive and reassuring presence in my wife's life
- being a grateful, respectful son to my parents
- loving fully and honestly and being loved likewise in return
- gaining fulfillment from my everyday activities (work and play)
- being decisive in life, choosing what I want to achieve
- being productive/creative in my free time
- giving to others
- helping others
- protecting my family
- leading an exciting, adventurous life
- having a closer relationship with my sister
- deriving satisfaction from a job well done (even if the job itself is unsatisfying)
- expressing my love for my wife in more tender and romantic ways (as opposed to purely erotic)
- listening and trying honestly to understand the needs and wants of others
- respecting the opinions an integrity of others
- considering people as having feelings, dignity, free will, hopes and dreams (humanistic approach)
- raising a family and doing it well, ie. with good values and foundations
- keeping friendships alive by writing more
- enjoying being in the moment
- getting some physical activity
- exercising my mind/learning
- doing favours for others
- taking full responsibility where it is due (and not avoiding blame)
- being a good peacemaker in my relationship
- being completely respectful of women and girls, never objectifying them in any way (even in thought)
- being in control of my pulsions ... eventually to the extent of being able to let go
- being positive in daily life and thus a positive influence on those around me
- being a mature adult with responsible, ethical adult habits, behaviours and instincts

-------------And here are some negative values that have lead my life so far-----------------

- the mindless pursuit of sexual thrill/pleasure
- objectifying/using people as sexual things (esp. women)
- lying to myself about the extent of my issues/my attempts at recovery/my failures
- lying to others about how I've spent my free time
- passively allowing life to happen to me
- disguising my deviant interests as legitimate ones through intellectual subterfuge
- separating my thoughts into private/public and maintaining this separation
- ritualising the cleansing aspect of cleaning up/hiding/deleting files and computer caches
- blaming my issues on my childhood traumas
- blaming my issues on my wife's inability to solve my problems for me
- maintaining the fiction of a moral, respectable and respectful man
- indulging (too easily) in sexually negative behaviours
- using sexual stimulation as an escape from anxiety/boredom/meaninglessness
- indulging in the exciting transgressions of "being naughty"
- closing my eyes to the moral abjection of my actions
- daredevil thrill seeking impulses to self harm, sabotage and break the law


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 8:16 am 
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Lesson 4: Values prioritised

I realise that a lot of my values are related to each other, so I will identify several large value subgroups and then break them down to their components. This may be unorthodox, but it makes more sense to me to do this.

Also, the order I have put them in is dictated by how urgently some need improving/developing. So I probably actually value Love more than Maturity, but those traits are less affected by my problems. Whereas the top following ones definitely are.

00. (goes without saying, these are the prerequisites to everything else)
HONESTY, INTEGRITY, TRUTHFULNESS, TRUSTWORTHINESS,

1. ALTRUISM
a) respect: respecting the opinions and integrity of others
b) humanism: considering people as endowed with feelings, dignity, free will, hopes and dreams - really be able to feel this humanity of others.
c) being completely respectful of women and girls, never objectifying them in any way (even thought)
d) giving selflessly and receiving graciously
e) doing favours for others
f) truly caring how others feel
g) listening: trying honestly to understand the needs and wants of others

2. CONFIDENCE (or a healthy mental self-image)
a) self-esteem: being proud of who I am
b) being in control of my pulsions, eventually to the extent of being able to let go completely, enjoy being in the moment unguarded
c) opening up to others (not needing to hide)
d) unity: healthy unity and/or balance of body/mind and public/private
e) patience and calmness: taking things in my stride
f) moral strength

3. MATURITY
a) responsibility: having responsible, adult habits, behaviours and instincts
b) accountability: answering for all of my actions
c) dignity: simply behaving how I alreay know I should behave, with honour and self-worth
d) decisiveness: undertaking things with resolve, not hesitating, choosing what I want to achieve
e) raising a family and raising it well (being a good role model)

4. ACCOMPLISHMENT
a) being creative/productive in my free time
b) deriving satisfaction from a job well done (be it a menial one)
c) being master of my free time
d) diligence: being more hard-working
e) being more goal-focused: plan for the future and reach those goals
f) getting some physical activity
g) exercising my mind/learning

5. LOVE
a) being an understanding, supportive, reassuring presence for my wife
b) fidelity
c) love fully and honestly and be loved likewise in return
d) expressing my love for my wife in more tender and romantic ways (not just erotically)
e) listening: truly understand my wife's wants and desires (also @altruism)
f) healthy and meaningful sexual fulfillment
g) sharing
h) cooperation and compromise

6. FAMILY
a) being a grateful, respectful son to my parents
b) having a closer relationship with my sister
c) honour my family and my in-laws

Those are the big blocks. Another huge value that I don't even know if I can attain is:
INNOCENCE: being able to appreciate the full beauty of all of reality, shadows gone, darkness banished, everything seen clearly in daylight..

And:
Vitality
Adventurousness
Humour
Independence
Bravery
Friendship
Optimism
Curiosity
Sensuality
Sensitivity
Vulnerability


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:18 pm 
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Lesson 5: Identifying incongruous values

I have given my values list a lot of thought over the past few days and I am satisfied with it. I do not think there is anything incongruous in it. I am however a bit confused, because some of the values that I imagine being my core values once I am healthy (letting go, appreciating each moment, curiosity, etc) are in fundamental opposition to my values during recovery (control). I guess some of the values will just have to be temporary crutches until I am free of this. Considering the post-addiction reality, I would have to reprioritize the aspects of my value system that I neglected to mention because they are fine (travel, adventure, critical thinking)

Here are thus my (slightly reworked) core values:

1.Honesty: about my actions, but also to myself
2. Altruism (really core, and expressed in many other of the values in this list)
3. Humanism: considering people as endowed with feelings, dignity, free will, hopes and dreams - really be able to feel this humanity of others
4. Respect: being completely respectful of women and girls, never objectifying them in any way (even thought)
5. Unity: healthy unity and/or balance of body/mind and public/private
6. Self-esteem: being proud of who I am, confident, comfortable around others
7. Dignity: simply behaving the way I know I want to behave
8. Accomplishment: being creative/productive in my free time, do some physical activity, spend more time on hobbies (DJing, photography, writing, cooking)
9. Patience and calmness: taking things in my stride
10. Maturity: having responsible, adult habits, behaviours and instincts
11. Decisiveness: undertaking things with resolve, not hesitating, choosing what I want to achieve, setting goals and achieving those goals
12. Love: being a faithful, understanding, supporting, reassuring presence in my wife's life
13. Listening: truly understand the needs and wants of others
14. Family: build a better relationship with my parents and be closer to my sister
15. Healthy sexual fulfillment and experimenting within the well-defined boundaries of my relationship
16. Curiosity: always be open to learn new things
17. Adventurousness: bravely take on new challenges, travel to exciting places, undertake new ventures
18. Critical thinking: keeping an open mind on most issues, being able to see multiple angles and points of view, not imposing my own monolithic views on others
19. Honour, Accountability, Integrity: having the necessary attributes to be a good father and role model to my children (*also @maturity)
20. Honesty: use my wonderful critical abilities to make sure that I am really, truly being honest, that I am not setting up false pretexts in order to fail, that I am not skewing reality to absolve myself, that I am not "innocently" taking interest in subjects that are secretly unhealthy.

And....again the one I don't know where to put because it seems so out of reach:
Innocence: seeing the world with wonder and pleasure


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2016 4:06 am 
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Location: UK
Hi Tabby
and welcome to RN

a good solid start :g:
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

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: Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:40 pm 
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Posts: 41
The last couple of days have been difficult, as my initial deep feeling of sadness/depression gave way to huge optimism for recovery and then finally a slight mental weakening. I have been having crazy mood swings, huge bouts of self-pity, anger... I also recognise many first signs of compulsive thought patterns and behaviour. I am identifying these and stopping them. I have started seeing my wife again, although we are both being cautious not to slip back into the same relationship. I have seen two more therapists. The last one practices Gestalt therapy, which seems really good. She made me do things that were way beyond the usual "tell me about your problems" routine, like give voice to the stress inside my head, or to the 5 year-old me. I think I will continue with her.

Anyway, here are some action plans for my easier values:

Lesson 6: Building Proactive Action Plans (I)

9. Patience and calmness: taking things in my stride
- breathe consciously, deeply and slowly
a) as a daily exercise
b) when I feel stressed, my heart is pounding etc
- be punctual: arrive early and practice waiting
- be aware of my own body:
a) feel my body
b) change my posture
c) define my feelings
- let go of things that needn't be under my control, let them be: they are none of my business
- always give others the benefit of the doubt
- do calming activities:
a) listen to non-dance music
b) actively pursue healthy sleep
c) exercise
- sanook: have fun in otherwise mundane situations
- distance myself from over-stimulating/stressful/annoying things: stop myself, let things slip by, forget about them
- take pleasure in actively noticing small details of reality

11. Decisiveness: undertaking things with resolve, not hesitating, choosing what I want to achieve, setting goals and achieving those goals
- choose something. Period.
- don't ask or ask as few questions as possible about choices: don't have endless dilemmas and debates
- don't feel guilt over "selfish" hobbies: it's my life, I should cultivate healthy sources of pleasure
- remind myself that my wife's happiness is not my sole responsibility, and that anyway my cooking a curry isn't going to solve everything
- create plans/schedules for structure (get diary):
a) daily
b) weekly
c) long term
- regularly try and complete long-term goals, check the list, update it, feel pride in doing this
- use affirmative statements: "we're going to X" rather than questions: "Do you feel like going to X?"
- don't wait for my wife to agree to go and do things:
a) either alone: nothing wrong with that
b) she isn't too keen: it's ok, neither am I sometimes
- Areas for goals:
a) short-term: translations, cleaning, practice tests, cooking, studying some Chinese, self-therapy, exercise
b) long-term: DJ mixes, photography, family/friendship, romance, travel, exercise (results)

14. Family: build a better relationship with my parents and be closer to my sister
- call my mum, routinely, once a week at a specific day/time, listen without anger or frustration, be compassionate. For more important things, use email
- write emails to my dad, tell him more about my daily life
- write regular emails to my sister and choose a regular time to Skype. Send cards and things for baby.
- spend more time with my sister's family: plan trips to see them for a few days
- call/write to my aunt and take more interest in her son
- remember holidays, birthdays etc : send cards, presents, call, etc

That's it for now. I think I need to get a simple calendar/daily planner. It's hard to find one this late into the year... everywhere is already selling them for 2017


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:22 am 
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Lesson 7: Building proactive action plans (II)

1. Honesty: about my actions but also to myself
- be completely open about everything I have done up until now (if total confession impossible, work towards it)
- constantly monitor my behaviours and ask myself whether I am being honest or not
- develop and exercise an awareness for when I am slipping
- as soon as I realise I have not been 100% honest, rectify this.
- speak out about negative/borderline feelings/states before they take over (share with my wife, because if I am not alone I feel stronger)
- be truthful in all aspects of life (not just negative, sexual behaviour)
- accept this and keep repeating it:
I AM NOT DONE WITH THIS ADDICTION. A FEW DAYS OR WEEKS CLEAN IS NOT VICTORY. I AM NOT SANE OR STRONG ENOUGH TO STOP THERAPY OR RN.
- be OK with how you are and not how you want yourself to be
- account for all your free time
- make a habit of honestly recounting your day, every day, even when you have done absolutely nothing of interest

3. Humanism: considering people as endowed with feelings, dignity, free will, hopes and dreams - really be able to feel this humanity of others
- look at other people and imagine the little details of their lives: what do they enjoy eating? What does their flat look like? What are their hobbies?
- focus on the tiniest details and the things that may point to vulnerability and sadness: worn-out clothes or cried-out eyes, nervous twitches, a Spartan shopping basket...
- always give others the benefit of the doubt: when they are behaving badly, make excuses for them. Don't look down on them. Don't get angry. Have compassion.
- always listen to others and try to find the interests in even the most trivial of conversations.
- don't search for faults and weaknesses. Stop being critical. Let your guard down and accept that people can be great. Give them more love and admiration. Express it sometimes.
- offer to help whenever you can. Do not keep IOUs.

4. Respect: being completely respectful of women and girls, never objectifying them in any way (even thought)
- at first, as control: avert your gaze, don't stare, focus your eyes on something else
- whenever your eyes/mind wander and you start thinking sexually about someone, try and doing as in (3) and imagine her life, make a story about her, ask yourself questions about her:
- where is she going?
- where has she come from?
- who cares about her?
- what are her hopes and fears?
- why is she happy/sad?
- if objectifying a girl, also think of her as a sister, a daughter, a niece, a girlfriend, a wife, a mother...
- remind yourself that by thinking the way you are, you are no better than a common sexpat, or an Indian gang rapist
- what kind of man do you want to be?
- think of the women you know: your sister, your wife...imagine some other sleazeball objectifying them.

5. Unity: healthy unity and/or balance of body/mind and public/private
- be honest (see 1.)
- do nothing in your alone time that you couldn't tell others about
- stop valorising secrets (they are not normal, healthy or sexy)
- again: account for all your time, practice telling your whole day to your wife
- catch yourself when daydreaming or drifting into fantasy
- catch yourself when you notice the tell-tale signs of bad behaviour (unhealthy curiosity, fascination with unhealthy news topics etc)
- be body-aware: monitor signs of arousal and if you don't like the circumstances try and stop it, monitor other bad habits (compulsive eating, TV addiction, Facebook, etc) and fight them (if possible, bubif not, they are still better than porn etc)
- use diary/planner to structure time/day and stick to plan
- try not to think thoughts that you wouldn't be comfortable telling your wife about

6. Self-esteem: being proud of who I am, confident, comfortable around others
- dress better: wear suits nice shirts more often: remember style instead of comfort
- work on accomplishment (8). Share accomplishment.
- don't strive to please or gain the acknowledgement of just anyone. It is OK if you don't like some people and they don't like you.
- remind yourself of all your good points, all the things you've done: the travels, adventures, the books, the parties, etc.
- try and surround yourself with trophies of your accomplishments
- put the worst out of mind, stop reminding yourself of all the bad things. Try and remove them from your bag.
- take pleasure in what you do for yourself alone. Don't seek validation from others (wide, family, friends...)
- ge some exercise, watch your figure, walk as often as possible

7. Dignity: simply behaving the way I want to behave
- what do you sound like? Stop whining. Hold your tongue sometimes.
- cultivate an awareness of yourself and your actions, ask yourself if this is in line with your self-image
- be good to others whenever possible
- accept responsibility directly
- apologise for your errors and LEARN FROM THEM - ie. don't repeat them
- initially: keep iron-fisted control
- practice practice practice self-perception and censorship

8. Accomplishment: being creative/productive in my free time, do some physical activity, spend more time on hobbies (DJ, photo, cooking)
- set up healthy/comfortable work environment
- practice DJing daily, and record mixes for SoundCloud and markets
- practice daily translation work and dummy tests
- read professional papers/magazines daily
- get some exercise (walk, swim)
- research and make new recipes
- eat less junk food
- plan future travels (India, Russia, Scandinavia, America...)
- read more books
- set some photo projects: for our business, and for art
- clean house, wash dishes, do weekly mopping - designate a day for this. Make sure everything is nice.
- maybe maybe try writing again
- work on self-recovery and therapy (keep doing this)


9. Patience and calmness: taking things in my stride
- breathe consciously, deeply and slowly
a) as a daily exercise
b) when I feel stressed, my heart is pounding etc
- be punctual: arrive early and practice waiting
- be aware of my own body:
a) feel my body
b) change my posture
c) define my feelings
- let go of things that needn't be under my control, let them be: they are none of my business
- always give others the benefit of the doubt
- do calming activities:
a) listen to non-dance music
b) actively pursue healthy sleep
c) exercise
- sanook: have fun in otherwise mundane situations
- distance myself from over-stimulating/stressful/annoying things: stop myself, let things slip by, forget about them
- take pleasure in actively noticing small details of reality

10. Maturity: having responsible adult habits, behaviours and instincts
- thinking more long term, making logical plans towards serious goals (money, living situation, family, etc)
- stop escaping from time (through sex, travel, etc)
- plan budgets - stop whimsical food purchases
- think more/feel less
- drink less and in moderation (learn to sip again)
- sleep regularly and go to bed earlier
- take time...for everything
- assume serious, positive life values instead of childish ones (former: responsibility, dignity, love; latter: adventure, travel, drama, passion...)
- take care of menial tasks (bills, cleaning, repairs)
- complain less about things that honestly don't matter (most things you complain about actually)
- STOP SELF-PITY
- be more self-reliant

11. Decisiveness: undertaking things with resolve, not hesitating, choosing what I want to achieve, setting goals and achieving those goals
- choose something. Period.
- don't ask or ask as few questions as possible about choices: don't have endless dilemmas and debates
- don't feel guilt over "selfish" hobbies: it's my life, I should cultivate healthy sources of pleasure
- remind myself that my wife's happiness is not my sole responsibility, and that anyway my cooking a curry isn't going to solve everything
- create plans/schedules for structure (get diary):
a) daily
b) weekly
c) long term
- regularly try and complete long-term goals, check the list, update it, feel pride in doing this
- use affirmative statements: "we're going to X" rather than questions: "Do you feel like going to X?"
- don't wait for my wife to agree to go and do things:
a) either alone: nothing wrong with that
b) she isn't too keen: it's ok, neither am I sometimes
- Areas for goals:
a) short-term: translations, cleaning, practice tests, cooking, studying some Chinese, self-therapy, exercise
b) long-term: DJ mixes, photography, family/friendship, romance, travel, exercise (results)

12. Love: being a faithful, understanding, supporting, reassuring presence in my wife's life
- NEVER CHEAT ON HER AGAIN
- be completely honest
- listen more, talk much less
- don't assume you know what she is thinking or how she feels
- give her time and space without you
- learn to let go a little (this is hard for me to do)
- ie. be less needy
- stop acting like mother (are you hungry? Are you ok? Is there anything I can do?....)
- stop treating her like mother (Can I do this? ...)
- plan romantic dates (movie, picnic!)
- dress better
- do not expect gratitude, do not martyr yourself, stop seeking validation
- take initiative to do activities: don't ask her, tell her (nicely)
- don't over-analyze yourself, your relationship, and every little thing

13. Listening: truly understand the needs and wants of others
- be a bit less vocal/critical/opinionated
- take it easy and learn to sit back and be an observer sometimes
- don't assume that everything concerns you, some things are not about you, you don't need to identify with them or feel strongly about them
- try and consider things from other people's point of view
- if someone is critical of you, look at yourself and see in what ways they may be right: learn from this, improve

14. Family: build a better relationship with my parents and be closer to my sister
- call my mum, routinely, once a week at a specific day/time, listen without anger or frustration, be compassionate. For more important things, use email
- write emails to my dad, tell him more about my daily life
- write regular emails to my sister and choose a regular time to Skype. Send cards and things for baby.
- spend more time with my sister's family: plan trips to see them for a few days
- call/write to my aunt and take more interest in her son
- remember holidays, birthdays etc : send cards, presents, call, etc

15. Healthy sexual fulfillment and experimenting within the well-defined boundaries of my relationship
- make love with tenderness and emotion
- abandon all of my distinctions sexuality: no porn, no masturbation, no fantasy world
- share whatever fantasies I have with my wife


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 8:24 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:21 pm
Posts: 41
I have finished my action plans and added them all to the above entry. Things are going reasonably well: I have moved back in with my wife, but she still has moments of deep sadness and anger towards me. I am seeing a therapist weekly. I have been successfully"clean" for 2 weeks now.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:21 pm
Posts: 41
Yesterday I felt quite unwell. I was in the sort of restless, lethargic, blah mood that I have often escaped into sex from. I felt my mind was wandering a lot, though no actually bad thoughts....not like in the past. And my eyes wandered a bit too, although I remained conscious of this and used my new action plans... No definite slip, but I did not feel 100% ok in any case.

Lesson 10: Honesty

I, II, III : I am not censoring anything from my therapist. There are 3 things I still need to tell my wife about. I don't want to but I will do this, because I realise I cannot be really honest and hold these things back. The only problem is that she is not really open to being around me lately....waiting for a slightly better opportunity.

IV: I have no stashes of porn or any other fantasy material. I previously used to have pictures and videos on memory sticks and cards that I would cyclically delete/destroy, stay clean for a few weeks, and then start collecting again. I have also bought porn on CDs that I almost immediately throw away.

V: People used for sexual stimulation:
- random girls on Facebook
- ex-coworkers for virtual exhibitionism (photo sharing)
- 7-11, underwear store, sex shop clerks for verbal and photo exhibitionism
- my private student for verbal fantasy world
- (in the past:) girls on Omegle for voyeurism/exhibitionism, girls on Tagged for flirting and possibly meeting

VI: Places used for sexual stimulation:
- internet cafe to download porn
- 7-11 for photo exhibitionism
- DVD shops for compulsive searching
- random brothels, red light districts for playing with temptation (not acted out)
- online websites, forums, image boards etc


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:20 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:21 pm
Posts: 41
It will soon have been a month since the catastrophic event that began this adventure. Things are up and down. Mostly, things are ok. I have stayed away from masturbation and pornography and have avoided certain behaviours and trigger situations. I have been actively using my values and action plans, especially the one for self-accomplishment, which I have been following daily.
In the last week, I did have two slips: the first was relatively minor, I drank too much, my wife went out without me, and when I joined her, she ignored me. I avoided being out in a fragile state (drunk, sad...) so went home but struggled with bad feelings and do not remember what else happened. And then yesterday was more serious: heavy drinking, massive self-pity, self-healing, sad music, my wife with her friends who seemed to gang up on me.... I stayed up all night, a mess, drinking and hurting myself and eventually ended up talking briefly to two women online. Nothing serious happened and I spent much longer talking to friends about my problems...but it is my first real slip. I feel ashamed and awful.

Anyway, lesson 12: bad patterns in recovery

The main points I can identify are:
- self-pity, a tendency to see myself as a victim, blaming others for what happened (although I then see clearly and know it not to be true - still, this is what leads to bad episodes like yesterday)
- over-analyzing and seeing everything from a too intellectual point of view instead of actually feeling and acting things directly
- I sometimes tend to minimise bad behaviour, but usually only initially, like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar "it wasn't me!" Later, I usually admit to my faults.
- I experience extremely intense negative emotions after acting out: massive guilt, shame, self-pitying...
- I do believe my condition makes me feel things more strongly than other people, and that this makes it difficult for me to lead a normal life

Those are the main, serious issues I can think of....especially the self-pity...that really leads to a bad place.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:57 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3944
Location: UK
Hello Tabby
Quote:
it is my first real slip. I feel ashamed and awful.


good and so you should but dont let that hinder your progress
slips can and do happen, that is not to say that they are acceptable but they do offer an opportunity to learn and thus move forwards
examine this slip
why did it happen why did yo fail to control your actions
how did you feel before, during and after,
how do you feel now
what did you get out of it
why are you minimising what you did

delve deeply, learn from the experience and move on

_________________
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 Oct 20, 2016 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:21 pm
Posts: 41
Thank you, Kenzo, for your advice. In the past 10 days I have of course given my slip a lot of thought. It is, as I already knew, mainly due to me nurturing my own self-pity and giving in to my violent mood swings. ie: childish, immature traits that I am trying to get rid of. Also, I did indeed minimize what I had done - even in my previous post - and managed to lie to myself. Luckily, my wife demanded I show her total honesty and let her read the conversations with those two women I chatted with. I had deleted them, so had to ask them for screenshots of all this... It took most of the afternoon to piece together everything that had happened that night, but I eventually had all the pieces to show my wife, and I was horrified to find I had actually asked to meet these random girls... The messages are drunk and garbled, and my memory later decided to erase them....so this made me very depressed, because it seems I am sometimes my own worst enemy. In any case, this was difficult and painful, but it was a healthy thing for me to realize... so for the time being, I am practising being extra careful with mixing my emotions and alcohol.

My wife also struggled with my slip. My lying to myself was also lying to her. It is taking a long time to get over this slip, even though she says she appreciates the fact I went to so much trouble to actually share all the unedited conversations with her.

These events, my disappointment in myself, my wife's anger/sadness, my introspection....they have all created more up-and-down mood changes, so I struggle sometimes....although I fundamentally know I am doing well and that this is the road to recovery.
My therapist asked to see me twice last week because of what had happened. Therapy is mostly going well. I am uncovering important undealt with issues.
Patiently

Lesson 13: Healthy recovery patterns

Mostly, I would say I identify with the intermediate "actual recovery" patterns. I feel I am beginning to separate my actions from my true self. Indeed this sometimes seems blatantly obvious to me. I have abandoned all dangerous things (porn, fake internet identities...) and do not feel I miss them at all. At times, I feel incredibly happy, elated almost, to have been discovered by my wife, thus been given the opportunity to start recovery/therapy/healing. And this makes me optimistic about what lies ahead for me. I still have to avoid trigger situations, stop myself from daydreaming, stop my mind from wandering to dangerous places, but this is not so difficult to do, and I think these situations are becoming fewer...
I still need a lot of structuring of my everyday. I have daily goals I want to achieve, and I achieve most of them, which makes me feel good and gives me pride and a feeling of fulfillment.
I am trying my best to understand and support my wife, although this is by far the most difficult part of all this: to be there for her, hear her curse me and our past, while at the same time console her, not become defensive, not tell her that she is wrong.... I am trying and I think I am getting better at it (at least she tells me she is grateful for it).

The prevailing negatives are still a definite need for external validation from time to time: I intellectually know I don't need it, but my heart craves it... Having to consciously avoid trigger situations (I am still not 100% strong enough). Violent mood swings that sometimes reduce me to self-pity, which is a pointless and very risky place.

I also caught myself having a very dangerous thought recently. My last session with my therapist was not as powerful as previous ones, and I found myself thinking that she was possibly not that useful anymore, that maybe I was strong enough on my own, that maybe I was "cured".... I soon recognised this as a bad temptation, that I would be a fool to think I was done with all this so soon. I am glad I have enough self-critical thought to catch these bad patterns.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:21 pm
Posts: 41
Recently, more radical mood swings: extremely happy days when everything seems to be on the right track and I am getting along wonderfully with my wife, followed by massive dips into hopelessness, when I feel I need constant validation from my wife, while she is angry to me and only gives me her hurt and insults... I have kept avoiding bad behaviour, but I have felt I am slightly weakening: there is a dangerous little voice that has appeared that is starting to whisper "Maybe you shouldn't work so hard? You could just accept your wife's angry demands for a divorce and live out your promiscuous/fantasy life?" - but of course I realize this is a bad bad temptation and I manage to shut this voice up. I am happy I am aware of this issue, so that I can better react to it and prepare for possible temptations.

Lesson 14: Daily Monitoring (I)

Here is my list of areas to focus on for daily monitoring:

1. Did I engage in any compulsive behaviour today?
- if so, did I remain aware of my values and boundaries and did I manage to interrupt the behaviour?
- if I did interrupt it, did I manage to replace it with either an element of my action plan or a “safe place” (connecting with my true innocence)?

2. Did I behave in a mature, self-contained and manly way, without expecting validation from my wife or whining about her behaviour towards me (or lack of attention)?
- example phrases to wipe out (Did I?) : What’s wrong? What are you thinking? Are you angry? Are you sad? What do you want to do? Should I…/Can I…./Do you want me to…..? Did you see that I…? Are you happy? Do you love me?

3. Did I give my wife time and space alone today?

4. Did I manage to avoid an argument with my wife?

5. Did I complete a reasonable number of goals from my “To Do” list?

6. Did I find myself drifting off in sexual daydreams that did or could lead to dangerous thoughts?

7. Did I, at least once, feel a sense of communion with nature/humanity and/or derive sensual pleasure from innocent natural sensation (the sun, the wind, the scent of flowers)?

8. Did I take the time to truly relax without sex or other stimulation for at least 5 minutes?

9. Did I feel any anger, resentment, frustration or self-pity?
- if so, did I manage to contain these negative feelings?
- if not, how did I express them and how can I better manage them in future?

10. Did I drink more than I feel is OK? Did I lose control or have memory holes? Did I do anything in that state that I regret (not necessarily sexually)?

11. Did I keep my mood at a reasonable plateau (ie. neither overly exuberant/manic or sad/insecure/needy/depressed)?

12. Did I, at least once, feel a sense of self-accomplishment or optimism about my actions (whether they be goals achieved or a sense of progressing in recovery)?

13. Did I show support, love and understanding (without picking or over-analysing) to my wife today? (ie. take her in my arms and love her without asking for anything in return)


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