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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:23 pm 
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Lesson 10 - Absolute honesty in recovery

Exercise part IV: List of the places where I have items stashed for sexually compulsive behaviour

None. I used to have a folder with adult films and pictures, but now I don't. I used to download stuff, masturbate to it and then erase it once I was over, every time saying that it was the last time I did it.

Exercise part V: List of the people that I use as compulsive sexual and/or romantic object

Two girls in krav maga trainings - I am not sure if they are compulsive romantic objects, I just feel good around them. Maybe it's just that I like them. Although there were times when I wanted to intentionally find myself close to them during training to show off to them and feel wanted.

My ex-girlfriend - there at times (very rarely but still) when I go to her Facebook profile to see how she's doing - I don't know why I do it. There was a time when I was strongly thinking about overcoming my addiction and coming back to her, fantasising about how great that would be. Now I don't do it anymore, but maybe some weak hope remained.

Exercise part VI: List of the places where I go to act out my sexually/romantically compulsive behaviour:

Internet: surfing for porn, downloading porn
Smartphone: surfing for porn
Shower: masturbation
Toilette: masturbation
My locked room: surfing for porn and masturbation

Plus one additional thing:
As for absolute honesty in recovery: I have to confess something. I did not include a relationship with God in my list of values. Though it would not be on a very high place (not among the first 15), I think I would like it to be a part of my life. The reason I left it out is the following: I think I may hold a grudge against the Catholic Church that I trusted so much (and was very committed to) because it did not do anything to help me with my addiction (despite saying that it's a shame that such a wonderful man as me has an addiction like that and that porn and masturbation are sins, which in my opinion is simply taking the easy way out). I know that it is me that is responsible for the mistakes I made concerning my addiction, but I think I have not yet quite realised it deep down. Nevertheless, I am still thinking what to do with the whole Church thing, but I would like to have a relationship with God.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:24 pm 
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Lesson 12 - Recognising unhealthy recovery patterns

In general, I think that my addiction has been a "cover" for my real issues and that once those issues are taken care of, I will not feel the need for masturbation and porn. The thing that grieves me is the time lost on that addiction - I often think "If I didn't have addiction, I would have already solved my problems in the past and now I would be a healthy individual pleased with life". Other times, I think "If only I did not have that realisation that I have an addiction and that I am somewhat slowed down in my emotional development, it would be much easier for me to change my life".

There are days in my life when I feel like I'm on the top of the world. I think then that my addiction is the thing of the past and that I just have to focus on my issues to get on with my life and everything will be fine and dandy. But those days pass and often a more depressive mood kicks in. During those periods I have doubts whether I will ever be able to overcome my addiction. On the up side, I have noticed that those mood changes somewhat decreased in their intensity, especially those depressive periods, they are not so extreme as they used to be. So I hope I'm slowly heading for improvement.

Nevertheless, I do recognise the following in my life:

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

I fear triggers because I don't want to relapse because when I relapse I think I would start to binge (this was a pattern I exhibited over the course of the last five years of my battle with addiction) and then I will have to start all over again (this is connected with 2)).
In addition, several days ago it struck me that I did not change my behaviours because I truly wanted to change my life, but because I wanted to fight addiction and I don't think this is a right motivation - I am focused on addiction, not on my life. Anyway, that realisation got me thinking.

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

I think this is a remnant of my noFap experience, where people strive to attain the golden goal of 90 days without acting out in a row. The ones that achieve that "magic" goal are perceived as those who succeeded. Although I went 90 days without acting out and I am still going strong, I don't think it's a success because I look at my life and it still isn't what I'm looking for. Anyway, I stopped counting my abstinence days. At one point I thought that I will recover through sheer abstinence (that there will be a POOF and I will be healthy [instant gratification?]) - I don't think this way anymore. Now I know it requires work. Still, it's sometimes difficult for me to accept this. There are times when I still hope that prolonged abstinence will give me freedom.

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

I'm guilty of that one. As long as I remember I over analyse things. When I have a lower mood I try to get to why I have that mood. When someone says something to me I sometimes ponder over whether they really meant so or I think about what others think of me. I'm working on it. I think that I need to find that balance between rational thinking and just going with the flow.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:23 pm 
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After giving some more thought to Lesson 12's exercise, I think I will be honest if I add the following as well:

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

I see my life just like that: first there was primary school, then lower secondary school, higher secondary school, studies and now work. I sometimes think "As soon as my addiction is a thing of the past, I will have a head-start in my life". This is binary thinking. I have yet to recognise and understand that it seems that it's not that way.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:29 pm 
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I have noticed today that I don't really know what to do when I have a lot of free time during the day. I used to play computer games and watch porn and masturbate to it in the evening or when my parents were out of the house, but now that I don't do it I have suddenly gained a lot of free time and I don't know what to do with this. I guess it's starting to occur to me how much time I have wasted on both computer games and porn and masturbation.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:51 am 
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Since Wednesday (1 Feb 2017) I have been experiencing very strong urges that I have not experienced for a while (fantasies came back - I wonder why now, after nearly 4 months of abstinence). I am starting to recognise now (with a little help in the form of book "The Most Personal Addiction" by Joe Zychik) that I ALWAYS have a choice whether I act on them or not. I have not slipped; nevertheless, the urges are really strong and this is a real struggle. I hope I will get through them successfully though.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:51 am 
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Yesterday I slipped. I turned on the computer in the evening, saw one picture of a beautiful woman, I felt a rush of dopamine, but kept on going. One thing led to another and I did it. Twice. That second time I think I thought "Oh, screw this, I liked it, why not do it again?". I feel disappointed that I did it as I didn't do it for almost 4 months and I thought I had a better control over it. Well, that proved me wrong. The thing that really grieves me the most is that I did it to pornography - it would have been "better" (or maybe "less bad") if I had done this without it: I was "pornography-free" for 7 months and now I have "updated" my "library", reminded myself of pornography and I now have strong urges to see it again, which was not the case earlier - and that I did it twice. Come to think of it, if I succumbed to the temptation, I would always do it twice. I don't know why.

I have some insights concerning yesterday, though. I hope they will help me grow and and that I will use them in the future:
1) I woke up today feeling numb emotionally compared to what was earlier: now I know why I was bored with life since I can remember - I was masturbating to pornography since I was eleven. No wonder I was bored, I was numbing myself very efficiently and didn't even know about it. Now I am starting to see how much life I've lost...
2) I know some of my triggers: sitting in front of a launched notebook in the evening and even just typing some suggestive words in the web browser (even without pushing Enter - this is a VERY strong urge and typing in such words is a STRONG warning sign that things are going wrong) or reading such suggestive words.
3) I am disappointed, but I don't feel that it's the end of the world. I see that I've developed in general over those 4 months in spite of my addiction.
4) After my "session" I didn't go straight to bed, but I did my small healthy routine before going to bed that I've established about a month ago - I think it is a sign that I finally started to take care of myself.
5) I'm starting to see now that it is not the addiction per se that is the major problem in my life, but my inability to manage life in general and my emotional immaturity - if I had better things to do that I wanted to do, if I was preoccupied with life and if I was content with my life, I wouldn't act out, at least I think so now.
6) I was becoming complacent about my abstinence period and I think I lowered my guard. I thought I was better than others because I didn't act out. I see now that I need to have a stronger foundation in the form of a better life. Sheer abstinence won't do the trick.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:43 am 
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Yesterday I did it again to pornography, once. Things started to get out of hand, so I placed my notebook, its battery and cable in various awkward places around the house. I know it's maybe childish, but I want to be proactive in the case of prevention, at least for the first 2-3 weeks from my failure.
I also think that I need not demonise masturbation that much. I mean it's bad and I know it, but I used to beat myself over it very much because it is a mortal sin in Catholicism. I don't intend to do so anymore. I know that my ultimate goal is to get rid of it entirely, but now abstinence is not my one and only goal in life. I intend to take the "one step at a time" approach: when it comes to addiction, I want to cut porn out of my life and then start focusing on masturbation. Which means that if I have a very strong urge and I see that I cannot take it any longer, I will masturbate. I will not call it a victory, but it will be definitely better than masturbating to pornography.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:00 am 
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Yesterday I masturbated again, this time without pornography. I am not proud of it, but at least I fought the urge to look at some adult pictures and films.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:21 pm 
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Lesson 13 - Assessing healthy recovery patterns

Part I - Identify those patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to a healthy recovery.

1) In early recovery, extremely negative emotions are the norm: especially as they relate to depression, anxiety, hopelessness and suicide.

I experience mood swings. Sometimes I'm OK, sometimes I feel extra confident and sometimes I'm very much down - this is where hopelenessness ("there's no way I will ever recover"), depression ("nothing makes happy in life"), anxiety about the future ("I'm afraid I will always be like that and I will never deal with my life well") and suicidal thoughts (not intense - when I am so hopeless and depressed, I sometimes think that my life serves no purpose and that it would be best I wasn't here; I realise that it's the value of instant gratification I'm indulging in those moments, but it is only intellectual realisation, not a deep one).

2) In early recovery, they tend to experience relief in having their behaviors understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of their life. Unfortunately, this tends to overwhelm them, distract them, etc., but it is fairly common...and a good sign that their desire to change is sincere.

Once I understood the medical aspects behind addiction (dopamine, sensitisation, desensitisation, etc.), I started to look for other problems I have in life, ones that hinder my good functioning. And I found some: laziness, social anxiety, mild problems with speech delivery, fear of intimacy. And though I want to tackle them all, it does overwhelm me when I think of all the work I will have to get through to overcome them.

3) In early recovery, significant others tend to experience these individuals as very needy, pathetic, "lost souls".

I don't have a girlfriend right now. But several months ago I had one and now that I think of it, I was very needy. I expected that she should resolve all my emotional problems, I went with them to her and when she failed to resolve them, I was upset. She also said once "I'm not going to be your own personal therapist". I also think she saw me as a lost soul because we were quite often talking about me not knowing what to do in life.

4) They are not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.

It seems I am in early recovery now. Since I relapsed after a long time of abstinence, I ceased to be so complacent about myself, thinking that I have it all under control and that I am successfully recovering. Unfortunately, this seems not to be the case.

Here are some of my insights from yesterday:

I have finally realized that masturbation helps me reach emotional stability. However, come to think of it, it would be SO much better not to be dependent – this independency must be beautiful: to feel like I felt yesterday (after I masturbated once, so reached some kind of emotional stability) without the need to masturbate and with the true feeling that I have nothing to hide. It must be great to be able to tell the woman of your life that you love her and that you desire her with full confidence, without even a grain of doubt that maybe your addiction has something to do with how you feel.

Part II - Consider the values that surround both your healthy and unhealthy patterns. Are they consistent with your current prioritized values? If yes, wonderful. If not, how might this awareness alter how you are currently perceiving/managing your recovery?

being dependent on others (emotionally)
novelty in life
instant gratification
avoiding responsibility (not making my own decisions)
avoiding reality (by avoiding trigger situations and measuring recovery through abstinence)
finding excuses instead of acting (hyperanalysis of actions, thoughts and feelings)
lack of autonomy (fear of triggers)
playing the role of a victim

Almost all of the values above (except for "novelty in life") are not the values on my prioritised list, some are even plain contradictory. However, in the case of some (e.g. avoiding responsibility by not making my own decisions, finding excuses instead of acting, lack of autonomy), when I was meeting them, I felt frustration, some uneasiness inside. I don't want to excuse myself here, but maybe it is so that I have those positive values (being responsible, acting and being autonomous), but I was just too lazy or didn't know how to meet them - hence that frustration.

I am also thinking right now, whether I am realy in fear of triggers and whether my life is changed by that. On the one hand, yes: I sometimes catch myself thinking "what elso to do in order not to be home too early - and so having a lower possibility of triggers". On the other, for instance right now I am writing this post on my notebook despite the fact that I know that sitting in front of my notebook is a strong trigger for me - but I wanted to write this post today, so this alleged fear of triggers is not changing the things I want to do.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:35 pm 
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Lesson 14 - Health Monitoring I

My Daily Monitoring list:
1) Did I engage in any compulsive behaviour today?
- If yes, did I maintain an awareness of the elements invloved?
- Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
2) Did I eat enough today?
3) Did I look at my parents as people who want my best interest?
4) Did I show some affection to my mother?
5) Did I make some contact with my father?
6) Did I work on my physical fitness?
7) Did I take care of myself to look and smell nice when I was going out?
8) Did I take some time to write in my journal?
9) Did I smile to other people when I was out?
10) Did I attend to my needs immediately, if the situation allowed me to do so?
11) Did I fight my negative thoughts?
12) Did I work on my recovery, read the Recovery Nation forum, do Recovery Nation lessons?
13) Were I aware that it is always me who decide what to do in a given situation, despite my thoughts and emotions?
14) How would I describe my emotional stability at this moment?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:56 am 
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Lesson 15 - Perceiving Your Addiction

I have learnt that recovery is not based on sheer abstinence and that it will not hapen ust like that some day. I have to pursue it and put hard work in it. Which is very difficult for me because I have never worked really hard on anything before.

I have learnt that I should not focus on recovery per se because then my adiction still rules my life, but I should focus on managing my life instead.

I have learnt the hard way (by succumbing to my urges) that my use of masturbation and porn cause the feeling of shame and guilt, and disappointment (though the first time I masturbated and viewed porn after my period of abstinence, I felt great, I felt relief and satisfaction (maybe this is some kind of a natural reaction after sexual satisfaction?); but as I was doing it every day then for several days - expecting the same relief and satisfaction - I started to feel shame, guilt and disappointment with myself).

I have learnt that I have a lot of negative emotions built up in me and that I want to find a way to healthily generate positive emotional stimulation in order to achieve emotional balance. I have also learnt that I am not able to show my positive emotions like joy, excitement, etc. I am ashamed of them because I think that I should not behave that way and that I want to because I haven't grown up due to my addiction. On the other hand, intelectually, I know that this should not be the case and so I try to show those emotions, but I am often stiff then and feel bad afterwards that I cannot show them properly and naturally.

What I started to do with the things I have learnt is that I try (since yesterday) to derive some positive emotional stimulation from my values - by reviewing my Daily Monitoring list. I also try to establish good new habits to foster my development (this in connection with the realisation that I won't become healthy just like that, that I have to put work in it).

What I found is that when I was in bed yesterday I was in a very bad mood because I had a very emotionally exhausting talk with my parents and I didn't do much the entire day, when I started to review my Daily Monitoring list and saw that I have actually did some things from the list, my mood improved. I think this is a good sign.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:43 am 
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Lesson 16 - Understanding Addiction I

The positive role of addiction in my life:
- getting rid of boredom
- managing stress
- managing emotions
- fulfilment of my sexual needs
- helped me focus on my studying at school and during studies

As regards the lesson I realised three things:
1) I first started viewing adult material and only then (after I saw it in one porn game) I started to masturbate.
2) I have always been shy and didn't want to try new things in my life, even before I started to watch porn and masturbate. I don't know where it came from. I also know that - as regards that comparison of a student who focused on eating and studying solely - when I was at school, almost all that mattered to me were two things: achievements at school and being good at computer games, but the part with computer games came when I was 9 years old; however, even before I started to play games a lot, I was VERY much focus on school.
3) My parents, especially my mother, told me that I have to have good grades and that it matters very much. My mother was also a teacher at my primary school. Maybe it all led to me taking so much care of my school achievements.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2017 8:01 am 
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I think I still demonise masturbation and sex. This is so because of my former connection with the Catholic Church. My current thoughts are: "I can't believe I was so stupid to believe that when I abstain from sex before marriage, I will be a better person" and things along those lines. The thing is I was masturbating and I had a LOT of guilt due to the fact that I was sinning, not due to the fact that my compulsive behaviour may have negative effects on me and my life - nobody told me that in the Church I believed in so much. Now I feel betrayed. Betrayed by my parents that they didn't have courage to talk to me about sexuality when I was young, more so as they talked to my brother about it when he was young. I also feel betrayed by the Church that it was enough for it to say that masturbation is a sin, but didn't find it necessary to say WHY it is a sin - I feel betrayed by its arrogance and complacency.

Now I know that this is waving the responsibility for my behaviour. However, I also want to be stick to the principle of absolute honesty in recovery - and this is me being honest about what I currently feel.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 2:33 pm 
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Lesson 17 - Understanding Addiction II

Sensory stimulation:
Touch: self-stimulation - various techniques of masturbation, use of lotion
Sight: looking at sexy images, then nude photos, looking at porn videos
Sound: listening to the sounds girls ake in porn videos (they are a very important part of my watching porn videos)

Fantasy:
Fantasising about reaching orgasm
Fantasising about being in a room with a naked pornstar
Fantasising about past intimate moments with my ex-girlfriend
Trying to mentally "undress" women I encounter in real life

Suspense:
Typing in seemingly innocent phrases in Google Graphics and looking if there are any adult images

Accomplishment:
Finding some adult images in the above activity
Orgasm after a long session
Sometimes I felt disappointed that I finished too early, though

Power:
There was a time where I looked at many nude pics at the same time (without enlarging any of those). I don't remember correctly, but I think I was feeling at those moments that those girls belonged to me. I don't do it anymore.

Past:
Fantasising about past intimate moments with my girl-friend

Orgasm:
I oftem masturbated tothe point of orgasm and then let go. I would do it many times during one session to experience the high.


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