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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Hey folks, CallMeSnake here. I don't know if anyone remembers me, but I was on the forums a few years back. I didn't finish the program because I ended up talking myself out of it. I felt like I was ruminating too much on the lessons and came to the conclusion that I wasn't ready for the program. Fast-forward a few years later and I've been through a number of shitty jobs, SAA meetings, and a whole battery of medications. While I feel like I have made progress in these past few years, I still feel like my life isn't where I want it to be. Also, I still have trouble acting out. On a positive note, I feel like I have gotten rid of a lot of the ambivalence and self-doubt that I experienced early in recovery. When I come to the library every day to look for jobs or do a lesson here, I actually feel pretty good and have more of an emotional connection to the work that I'm doing. Anyways, I've recommitted to doing the lessons here, because I think they will greatly aid in my recovery along with therapy, and SAA meetings . So without further ado:

Lesson 1 Exercises

1) Actively committing myself to change

I feel more confident about this now than I have done so in the past. Previously when I came to these forums, I had a lot of ambivalence towards changing. Now, a couple of years later, I feel that I have let go a good amount of that cynicism that was holding me back the last time. I used to defeat myself by giving in and telling myself that I truly didn’t want to recover and the whole effort was useless. However, there have been times in sobriety where I felt like I truly did want recover. I figure that if it’s possible for me to have those moments, then why can’t I want I truly want recovery in general? I abandoned the notion long ago that there is that one moment in your life that you remember clearly choosing recovery. If it is supposed to happen, then it hasn’t happened for me yet. That may work for some folks, but for me, it has been a gradual process of improving my life and wanting the change. Part of me still wants to be an addict, but I’m summoning the courage to go through with the effort of changing that.

2) Not allowing shame/guilt to sabotage your commitment to change

The last time I answered this question, I didn’t look deep enough in myself to find that I actually had a lot of guilt and shame. For me, the shame comes mostly not from what I did, but what I didn’t do. Years of acting out and being in addiction have essentially stunted my growth, and I still lack a lot of basic life skills. It’s hard, I beat myself up about it, but I have been learning to work through it. I learned a long time ago that dwelling in the past will get you nowhere—in fact, there is a good chance that it will drag you down. I have to look at the wreckage of the past each day I get up and search for jobs. My addiction prevented me from taking action and trying to establish a career. Now I have to deal with the fallout of not having any experience. It’s tough, demoralizing work, but I have been getting out each day and doing it.

3) Allowing myself time for change

This is a pretty big one and a touched a bit upon this in the first question. This is something that I need to keep in the back of my mind at all times. Every time I commit to some sort of recovery plan, I magically think that my life is going to change immediately and I’ll stop acting out and everything will be fine. Then, when a set back or relapse occurs, it’s a catastrophic failure that leads back to addiction. I need time to change. Period. I also need time to want to change. I feel that the more I improve my life and implement healthy habits, the more I want to change. For me, I believe the beast of addiction will be an enemy felled with a thousand cuts. A death by degrees and not a swift and crushing deathblow.

Reasons for change

1. I want to realize and become the creative-self that I have always imagined myself to be.
2. I want to be a participant in the world instead of an observer.
3. To have a healthy relationship with someone whom I love.
4. To have a fulfilling career where I am able to support myself.
5. To no longer be a slave to addictive behaviors.
6. To feel a sense of purpose and a connection to others.
7. To live a life of love, courage, and understanding instead of fear, guilt, and shame.
8. To have to confidence to seek out my desires
9. So I can feel healthy both mentally and physically.
10. To have a rich social life.
11. To be independent and not dependent on others emotionally or physically.
12. To be attractive, mentally and physically. To attract people and enjoy friendship and camaraderie, and intimacy.
13. Have the means to travel and see different places.
14. Leaving a legacy where people saw me as an amazing human being and my creative work having reached people.
15. To share in human experience and be in touch with what is going on in the world.

(Some of these overlap, but hey, I’m not perfect).

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 2:26 am 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3944
Location: UK
hello call me
I don't know if anyone remembers me, but I was on the forums a few years back.

I remember you welcome back

I didn't finish the program because I ended up talking myself out of it.

ask yourself why and I guess the answer would be that you were afraid to let go of your acting out, you would miss it
RN shows you how and why you need to fill that gap healthily, using values

I've recommitted to doing the lessons here, because I think they will greatly aid in my recovery along with therapy, and SAA meetings . So without further ado
: :g:
lets get it done
good luck

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

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:58 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Thanks Kenzo, I remember you too. You were right though, I talked myself out of it because I was afraid of letting it go. The thing is, I'm still afraid, but at least I have the courage now to pursue a path that will allow me to maybe let go of it. Plus I realize now that recovery is going to take awhile and just because unsavory behaviors aren't immediately ceasing doesn't mean that I have to give up on recovery. The main logic that has been driving me is that, if these type of behaviors can be ingrained, then other healthy ones can be ingrained as well. If I just keep on the path, even when I fall off, I'll be in a better place.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Lesson 2 Exercise: Life Vision

I want to live the life of an artist and a creator. To recapture the unbridled excitement I had for creating when I was a child. To once again feel the rush of inspiration and the thrill of making something. Not only that, but I want to feel comfortable with myself and creative processes--to not feel dread and animosity towards the work that I am doing, or to be too focused on the outcome. To become the creative person that I truly am and always imagined myself to be.

I want to take initiative in my life and become indepedant. Find a means of supporting myself financially and to carry obligations. I want to find the love, courage, and confidence in myself to carry this out. I want to move out of my parents' house and have a place of my own, where I can live in relative comfort. I maybe want to start a business of my own of sell things that I create. Stuff that really matters to me because I created it with my own two hands and put a bit of my soul into it. I want to get myself out there and start a blog so I have a means of voicing my opinion and sharing my creativity with other people. I want to be able to use all the skills at my disposable to see my artistic vision come to life and to not neglect certain aspects of myself that I don't find "to be truly me".

If its truly in me to be an artist, I feel as if I am not ready for it right now. I would want people to remember my work, but right now, all I want is to be remembered as a good person. I want to be remembered as a beautiful human being who was driven by passion and a love for his fellow human beings. Someone who energized others through his childlike curiosity and love of the world. Someone who never stopped learning and always remained a scholar to the ways of the world. Someone who never stopped learning and growing.

I want to be in a loving relationship with a beautiful woman. Someone whom I can share the deepest intimacies with and to hold nothing back. A woman who is simultaneously my best friend and most intimate lover. With this person, I want no pretense or secrets to come between us. To always have an open, honest, and loving relationship where we communicate and are never afraid or reluctant to share our feelings.

Finally, I want to feel a connection to the world and other people. To no longer feel like I'm simply an observer in my own life, but to feel like I am part of a living, breathing world. To be accepted and love by people and to have a connection to all living things. To have friends and admirers. To be healthy, attractive and confident. To travel places and see new things and meet new people. To share in human experience and to experience the world. And to above all, to be happy.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Lesson 3: The Role of Values

Life Values

1. Creating/being creative
2. Feeling inspired/having creative ideas
3. Feeling comfortable with my work and creative process
4. Humbleness and modesty
5. A sense of humor
6. Financial independence
7. Sense of value and purpose
8. Sharing my ideas with others
9. Cherishing all facets of myself
10. Knowledge and learning
11. Physical attractiveness
12. Passion and love of life
13. Passion and love towards others
14. Having energy/sharing energy
15. Confidence
16. Courage
17. Introspection
18. Friends/family
19. Social Interaction
20. Acceptance
21. Intimacy
22. Sexual attraction
23. Sexual intimacy
24. Honestly
25. Being vulnerable
26. Health
27. Connection to the world
28. Connection to people
29. Appreciation of life/nature
30. Appreciation of beauty
31. Emotional sensitivity
32. Connection to my humanity
33. Emotional maturity
34. Productivity
35. Organization
36. Assertiveness
37. Self-acceptance/love
38. Seeing new places
39. Meeting new people
40. Experience/ worldliness
41. Patience
42. Work ethic
43. Determination
44. Sagacity
45. Kindness/generosity
46. Art/humanities
47. Skill/craft
48. Manual dexterity
49. Job/career
50. Passion
51. Charisma
52. Self-expression
53. Having fun
54. Happiness
55. Physical strength
56. Bringing joy to others
57. Living an exciting life
58. Risk-taking
59. Feeling unconditional love
60. Wisdom
61. Being identified by others as charming and warm
62. Adaptability
63. Personal Independence
64. Power
65. Control
66. Improving my social interactions
67. Building things
68. Forgiveness
69. Self-discipline
70. Open-minded to the beliefs of others
71. Feeling masculine
72. Feeling feminine
73. Feeling appreciated
74. Feeling empowered
75. Providing quality in my work
76. Living with integrity
77. Being an inspiration to others
78. Staying active
79. Being dependable
80. Taking care of myself

Addictive values

1. Fear of the world
2. Fear of people and relationships
3. Fear of the future
4. Selfishness
5. Guilt
6. Shame
7. Procrastination
8. Apathy
9. Rage
10. Resentment
11. Inner-conflict
12. Rejection of creativity
13. Dependency
14. Disconnection with the world
15. Disconnection with people
16. Anxiety
17. Idleness
18. Ennui
19. Cynicism
20. Self-doubt
21. Impatience
22. Lack of control/self-discipline
23. Emotional Immaturity
24. Neglect of craft
25. Neglect of relationships
26. Being undependable
27. Complacency/ avoiding risks
28. Meekness
29. Loss of self-esteem
30. Negative body-image
31. Lack of identity
32. Lack of life purpose
33. Misanthropy
34. Unproductivity
35. Poor work ethic
36. Sexual gratification
37. Objectification of women
38. Misogyny
39. Feeling unloved/incapable of being loved
40. Dishonesty

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:40 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Exercise 4 Prioritizing Values

1. Creating/being creative
2. Financial Independence
3. Personal Independence
4. Sense of purpose and value
5. Job/career
6. Emotional Maturity
7. Confidence
8. Self-acceptance/love
9. Productivity
10. Organization
11. Control
12. Self-Discipline
13. Social Interaction
14. Health
15. Courage
16. Connection to the world
17. Connection to people
18. Happiness
19. Self-Expression
20. Knowledge and learning
21. Power
22. Staying Active
23. Introspection
24. Feeling Inspired/having creative ideas
25. Feeling comfortable with my work/creative process

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:38 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Exercise 5: Value Congruency

Just as a note, I would like to say that creating this list has been much better this time around. Before, I felt like I got caught up in way too many values and I overthought the exercise. This time around, I feel like I have really boiled down what I need and value the most in my life into its essentials. I feel pretty good about this list and I feel like it is super-practical:

1. Creating/being creative
2. Development of skill/craft
3. Independence
4. Sense of purpose and value
5. Developing emotional Maturity
6. Confidence
7. Self-acceptance/love
8. Productivity
9. Organization
10. Self-Discipline
11. Motivation/happiness
12. Health/beauty
13. Courage
14. Connection to the world/people
15. Knowledge and learning

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Exercise 6 Building Proactive Action Plans I

Proactive Action Plan: Organization
• Personal
o Maintain a planner/organizer at all times.
o Maintain a wall calendar and participate in crossing off the days.
o Keep track of upcoming appointments and events.
o Write important information down: phone numbers, names, addresses, etc.
o Anticipate tasks/events and get them completed ahead of time if possible. For instance, for a birthday, I will think of gift ideas and obtain the gift weeks prior to the event. Don’t wait until the last second!
• Home/work area
o Keep my room tidy and clean. This includes vacuuming every week, making sure clothes are put away in drawers or on hangers, and other objects are put away as needed.
o Maintain a clutter-free and clean work area with plenty of room to work. After working, clean work area and ensure tools are put away.
o Keep important documents in physical containers (filing cabinet/ folders/ binders) and keep digital files properly named and organized into folders.
o Try to organize my room as much as possible.
o Realize that this may take time and effort. I shouldn’t do this during the day (staying home during the day is bad) and I should limit the time spent organizing. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!
• Job Search
o Keep an organized collection of cover letter/resume templates and other professional documents.
o Maintain Linkedn Profile.
o Don’t job search with too many windows or tabs open because it’s distracting.

Proactive Action Plan: Health and Beauty
• Sleep
o Don’t stay up past 11:00pm.
o Wake up in the morning as early as possible. 10:00am is a good start.
o Limit stimulating activities before bedtime: videogames, exercise, etc.
o No creative work before bed.
o Don’t eat after dinner
o Try to clear you mind when you sleep. Don’t dwell on worries or other thoughts.
• Diet
o Watch overeating, especially around dinner time.
o Eat throughout the day
o Eat as healthy as possible and avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, and overly-processed foods.
o Drink water throughout the day. Stay hydrated.
o Take NAC every day and other supplements as needed.
o Eventually experiment with different meal plans to maintain variety and excitement in diet.
• Exercise
o Go to the gym 4-5 days per week: 2-3 days lifting and 1-2 days cardio.
o Eventually change routine to avoid burnout/boredom.
o Keep track of lifting numbers.
• Beauty
o Maintain appearance through daily hygiene: showering, applying deodorant, brushing teeth, wearing retainer, etc.
o Keep hair combed and other hair trimmed/cut
o Straight razor shave every Monday/Tuesday. Take time to appreciate myself in the mirror as well as the feeling of the shave. Turn it into a positive ritual.
o Start dressing better.
o Avoid looking in the mirror too often and scrutinizing appearance.
o Realize that there is no pressure for me to get “dressed up” every day.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Exercise 7: Proactive Action Plans II

And here's the rest of em'.

3. Proactive Action Plan: Independence:
• Financial
o Find a job by searching every day.
o Make enough money to buy personal objects, pay for gas, pay monthly student loan, pay for therapist appointments, etc.
o Make enough money to support a more active lifestyle.
o Keep track of bank account and spending.
• Personal
o Avoid parental attempts at coddling.
o Make my own appointments and schedule.
o Be more assertive around parents regarding activities.
o Realize that I don’t need to share everything regarding my life with my parents.

4. Proactive Action Plan: Building skill/craft
• Commit to daily exercise of craft of my choice.
o Drawing exercises through a text of my choice.
o Story writing and/or blog writing.
• Do the work and don’t over think it.
• Don’t spend more time than necessary on assignments and don’t over-exert.
• Take pressure off myself to do “good”
• Realize that I don’t have to make “art”.

5. Proactive Action Plan: Creativity
• Have fun by completing side-projects that are in contrast to the skill-building exercises.
• Keep track of these projects in an organized binder.
• Take pressure off of myself to be an “artist” or to create “art”. Always focus more on the action and not the end result.
• Foster creativity by writing down ideas.
• Take time each week to think about creative direction: what do I want to create? What can I create with the skills that I’m choosing to develop?
• Take time each week to find inspiration; remind myself why I create and do the things I do.

6. Proactive Action Plan: Knowledge and Learning
• Maintain an open mind, especially when it comes to contrary opinion.
• Incorporate more reading into my life.
• Be willing to learn new skills that could help me in my professional life.

7. Proactive Action Plan: Developing Emotional Maturity
• Commit to Recovery Nation exercises on a daily basis.
• Attend weekly SAA meetings.
• See therapist when funds permit.
• Maintain sobriety from pornography/masturbation.
• Be mindful of addictive/compulsive behaviors and rituals.
o This includes romantic/sexual obsessions, fantasizing, scanning for women in public places, pressuring myself to find as romantic partner, and non-sexual /romantic obsessions.
• Be aware of negative self-talk and combat it with positive affirmations. Reframe the situation in a positive light.
• Awareness of feelings/mood throughout the day.
• Learn from relapse: if I acted out, what caused it? What were the rituals that led to that point? What emotions or feelings was I experiencing?

8. Proactive Action Plan: Motivation and Happiness
• Dedicate time in the evening to de-stress.
• Improve work and life balance.
• Change up schedule to mitigate boredom.
• Keep motivation levels up by staying inspired through quotes, music, artwork, etc.
• Keep a recovery binder full of inspirational stuff.
• Be aware of stress levels and feelings of boredom in routine. Know when to rest and change it up.
9. Proactive Action Plan: Connection to the world
• Get out of the house each day.
• Be more active socially and on social media. Make more connections with people.
• Spend more time with friends and reconnect with old ones.
• Expand culinary horizons.
• Keep up on current events.
• Think about travel goals.
• Make an effort to be present in the world each day.

10. Proactive Action Plan: Sense of value and purpose:
• Build sense of identity by developing skills and making progress in recovery.
• Be productive.
• Gain experience in places you think you would like.
• Explore career options and artistic ones.
• Maintain sobriety.
• Start a blog, voice opinions.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:06 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Exercise 12 Recognizing Unhealthy Recovery Patterns

At this point in my recovery, I find myself more or less in category 4. I feel like I’m working through the program with sincerity, and I feel good each day that I complete the lessons. The only problem is that I still feel like I’m holding on to my addiction. My willingness to change still isn’t completely 100%, but that’s something that I’m still working on. It has gotten better over the years—I don’t have the animosity and the cynicism that I used to—but I still feel like part of me wants addiction. I feel as if this wont change until I make more progress in the areas of my life that needs the most attention, ie a career, sense of true identity, independent, etc.

Here are some of the traits that I have when it comes to unhealthy recovery patterns:

“They believe that they are suffering from a disease that is beyond their control, but not beyond all hope.”
I don’t have the panic and the fear that plagued my life in the early days of recovery, but addiction can still feel like a monster to me.
“They believe that they are defective in the sense that their emotions, urges, impulses, etc. are experienced with much more intensity than "normal people". And this puts them at a disadvantage for living a "normal life".”
I still have a tendency to think this. Often, I really can’t differentiate between my actual identity and my addiction. Sometimes I feel like I am more emotional than others—I always felt that was the artist in me—but that remains to be proven.
“They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges.”

I don’t buy—nor did I ever buy the “powerless over addiction” talk you hear in AA groups. That being said, I still feel like I don’t have power over addictive urges.

“Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction.”

“They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.”

Again, I never really believed the whole “Oops, you acted out, there goes all that work down the drain” philosophy, but I still feel like I might be putting too much emphasis on abstinence. Although, it is very important for me at this stage.
“They often experience extreme emotions in relation to acting out — extreme guilt, extreme shame, depression, anger, hatred. Or, they experience very mild emotions — when it has become a pattern that they have resolved to accept as a part of their lives.”

I’ve been getting better with this but still have problems really kicking myself when it comes to acting out.

“They continue to identify themselves with their addiction and cannot imagine a life without such an association.”

I still see myself as an addict, but isn’t that calling a spade a spade at this point? I guess there’s a distinction between creating an identity out of a malady versus having that malady be a small part of your identity. Does a person with cancer build their identity around having cancer? Most likely not. They are just a normal person who developed a disease. How do you kick this negative way of thinking though?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:20 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Lesson 13: Healthy Recovery Patterns.

I would definitely say that I see more unhealthy patterns in myself, but here’s what I’ve seen regarding the healthy ones:

“In early recovery, individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.”

I unfortunately still have reservations and doubts about my recovery. I feel like I’ve been in a relapse/recovery cycle for awhile now, and staying in that place for any long period of time really kills the belief in yourself.
“They perceive powerlessness as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing urges”.
Definitely this.
“They will take a long, hard look at anything associated with their destructive past, and will voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from their life. This refers to pornography, internet accounts, etc. It does not necessarily refer to affairs where real feelings were experienced/changed.”

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:21 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Health Monitoring I

1. Am I staying organized by writing things down, keeping a daily planner, and maintaining a wall calendar?

2. Am I staying healthy by eating good food, eating regularly, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep?

3. Am I gaining independence by earning money, and managing my own obligations?

4. Am I doing daily exercises to improve my craft?

5. Am I allowing myself to be creative and find inspiration? Am I putting pressure on myself to create “good” work?

6. Have I been reading more and learning new things?

7. Have I been doing daily recovery exercises, attending SAA meetings and seeing my therapist? Have I been scanning for women and fantasizing? What was my mood like today? Did I act out?

8. Have I been allowing myself to relax in the evening? I am getting bored of my daily routine? Have I been finding motivation in the things I enjoy?

9. Did I get out of the house today? Have I been talking to my friends recently?

10. Was I productive today? Do I feel a sense of accomplishment or direction in life?

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:22 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Perceiving Addiction

I feel like I have a much better understanding of the recovery program this time around. I also have a much better idea of what I want out of my own personal recovery. The last time I did the lessons, I felt like I was trying to do too much and many of my proactive action plans were too ideal. That’s why I burned out so easily and rejected the program.

In terms of new knowledge regarding the nature of addiction, I haven’t gotten any information since I’ve done these parts already. What the program has really been giving me though is the correct way I should perceive addiction. It’s made me aware of a lot of the less-desirable opinions I still carry about my addiction, and provides a blueprint for how I should perceive a healthy recovery. Most importantly, it’s given me an awareness of the thoughts that I have during the day—the obsessive behaviors and the romantically obsessive ones.
The romantic behaviors are the most important for me to acknowledge because they feed back into my addiction. Previously, I just wrote them off because I felt like it was more acceptable to have romantic thoughts than sexual ones. And because I couldn’t see a clear cause-and-effect with my addiction and romantic behaviors, I just generally assumed that one had nothing to do with the other. I would act out to a woman I saw at the gym but I wrote that off as okay because it wasn’t looking at porn and that it was “natural”, except it was encouraging more compulsive behavior. After doing the Honestly in Recovery lesson, I feel like I have a much better awareness of the lies I feed myself to further my compulsive behaviors.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:23 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Understanding Addiction I

I think that the most obvious positive effects that my addiction has played (in the short term) is that it’s provided me with a lot of pleasure and fun. Not only that, but it’s comforted me in times of emotional instability and has allowed me to cope with events in life. It’s also spared me from instances where I could have been embarrassed. I’ve use my addiction to alter my perception of reality and my mood. In the morning, masturbation was there to act as my cup of coffee. At night, I used porn to get me to sleep after a rough day.
I used my addiction when I was rejected by women, or more often, to comfort myself when I didn’t even have the courage to approach them at all. Of course, this just fueled the addiction even more, but it allowed me to survive, albeit poorly. Addiction was there when it was too cold outside to do anything, when I didn’t have any friends, or when I was obsessing over something silly. It was the ultimate comforter. I used addiction through moments of soul-breaking loneliness—when I thought life was hopeless and that I was unlovable. When women didn’t want me, and I didn’t want myself.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:24 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:44 pm
Posts: 87
Understanding Addiction II

One of my sexually compulsive rituals contains the following elements:
1. Sensory Stimulation
2. Fantasy/pressure
3. Past
4. Discouragement/deflation
5. Fantasy
6. Orgasm

The scenario would play out as follows: I go to the gym and see a pretty girl working out (Sensory stimulation). Because I feel that I’m a young man who desperately needs a girlfriend, (Or rather, I’m seeking stimulation or someone to fill an emotional void) I feel the urge to go over and talk to her. She’s so beautiful and maybe she’ll be the one to make me forget about my loneliness (Fantasy/pressure). However, because of past experiences, ie my anxiety, my inability to approach women, self esteem, etc this causes me to not follow through. I become despondent and depressed (Discouragement/deflation). I then go home and alter my mood the only way I know how (fantasy). I imagine being with this pretty girl at the gym, making love to her, being her boyfriend, being intimate with her. I would do almost anything and we’d be in a beautiful, passionate relationship. This is finalized with masturbation and orgasm (orgasm).

I used to think that this sort of thinking was normal. After all, I’m just a man who wants to have a girlfriend. However, what’s wrong with this picture is this obsession with a stranger and my objectification of them. Most importantly, it’s this urge to have someone—to not be lonely—that needs to be addressed. I feel like a normal person would see an attractive girl, acknowledge it, and then be on their merry way.

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