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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:49 am
Posts: 67

Thank you so much for kind and thoughtful observations. It really means a lot as I sometimes feel very alone during this difficult time doing difficult work. Having someone else's perspective helps me appreciate and trust the significance of the this line of thought a little more. I really liked your thoughts on what a relationship is, two separate independent parts relating to each other. On one hand this is a small shift in thinking but a really profound one for me. There is no perfect oneness that I should be seeking with her just two people choosing to share and trust in each other. And this relationship is not some sort of life support machine that I am bound to and need to program or manipulate to produce the good feelings I thought it ought to. Its just two people relating, organic, random, you put some work and understanding into it, maybe enjoy what comes out of it, it grows together or grows apart, no guarantees. The lack of control actually feels like a huge relief to me. The relationship is not responsible for anything, only I am. Thanks again for your thoughts.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:49 am
Posts: 67
Exercise 44
For a moment, imagine your life apart from your physical being...apart from your possessions...apart from your friends, your family and every other living being. What you are left with is your core identity. It is who you are. It is this identity that then allows you to relate to your physical self, your friends, your family... As you know by now, part of the role you must fulfill in transitioning away from addiction is to rebuild your core identity. This core identity — and your ability to isolate the addiction from it — is critical to urge control.
A. Describe in your recovery thread the role that your core identity will play in helping you to establish/maintain a healthy life.
B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.
C. Take some time to examine the current state of your core identity. How in tune with it are you? When you engage in activity that is destructive, what role does your core identity play in that decision? How is it affected by the consequences of that decision?

A. As I understand it, my core identity is a critical part of a healthy life. This is the self that I must be true to. This is the part of me that knows what is right from me and where being my genuine self comes from. I must know this part to be honest with myself and honest with others about who I am. I must know this place to be able to give myself what I need to be fulfilled instead of looking for that from other people. Being linked so closely with my core values, it is the guardian of determining what is right or wrong. It will give me the answers that are correct for me and guide me through difficult times.

B. This is like exercising a muscle or engraining a new habit. The more I can slow down and think about my values before acting the stronger the link to my core identity. I will be aware of my true self and make decisions that always reflect that- these will be right for me and things that I can be perfectly honest about to others. Instead of making inconsistent and possibly harmful decisions based on fear, anxiety, over attachment to the future, romantic feelings or desire for pleasure, I now have a model of what it feels like to make the right decision for me, the one that is in harmony with my self.

C. Last week I was really feeling pretty in touch with my core identity, I was acting in a more thoughtful way to make sure I was acting in way that was true to myself. The last few days, not so much. More fear and anxiety based making some interactions with B stressful and left feeling that I was not representing myself in a way that I was proud of. I realized something felt wrong and that I had drifted away from my values and was out of touch with my core identity. This incongruent and uncomfortable feeling is what resulted by making emotional based decisions

PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:17 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:49 am
Posts: 67
Lesson 45 Exercise:
I. Identifying the impact of emotions in compulsive urges is essential to objectifying that urge. In previous exercises, you have identified compulsive rituals that presented a linear look at your emotional state across a single action. In this lesson, you are being asked to isolate those emotional elements to the point where action can be taken that will break the chain itself.
A. Map a compulsive ritual that is based on your unique behavior. Ensure that you identify at least five elements that are involved in stimulating your emotions during this act. If you would like, use the following worksheet to help you: Mapping a Compulsive Ritual

B. For each element, consider the likely impact that removing that element from the chain would have on the remainder of the event. Remember, decreasing immediate emotional pleasure (through guilt, fear, suspense, anxiety) is a technique used to ultimately increase the overall pleasure experienced during the act.

C. At what point in the chain is the 'point of no return'? The point where you know that you will be completing the act. Share this in your recovery thread. In the previous exercise, you were to reinforce your ability to identify separate emotional elements in a single compulsive ritual. Here, you will begin to isolate those emotions from your core identity.

D. Consider the element identified just prior to 'the point of no return'. This is the element that you will want to isolate and use as your primary trigger for breaking a compulsive urge. Eventually, you can isolate multiple elements, and thus create multiple points where a compulsive event can be effectively stopped, but for now we will focus solely on this one element.

E. With the element isolated from the ritual, begin to see this element in terms of the role it plays in perpetuating the compulsive event. For instance, if the element is 'an attractive woman smiled at me in a public place'...and this element triggers the fantasies that lead to stalking, then it will be the emotional elements experienced with the woman smiling at you that will be your focus. This is the element just prior to 'the point of no return' — which in this case, happens to be the fantasizing. The role, then, that this element (the woman smiling at you) plays is to trigger fantasy.

F. Once the role of the individual element has been identified and isolated from the whole of the experience, it is time to evaluate what is the best action to take in response to this trigger. That will be the point of the next lesson. For now, begin intellectually putting all of the pieces (emotions, values, ritualistic chains, artificial stimulation, etc.) together to solve the puzzle of your addiction. Because it will be when you have mastered the integration of these parts into a functional life management strategy, when you will have put yourself in a position to eliminate the pattern of addiction from your life.

1. Usually some stress is present: lack of sleep, things broken around house, too many things to do and not enough time, working too much, disruption of down time or time with family and B, a fight with B, B moody and withdrawn because of her own issues. Stressors above make wish for comfort from B. I wish she would hold me, show pleasure with being with me, want to make love, want to go out with me. Things that would take me away from the stress and unpleasant things. It feels like having that from B would be a balance to the unpleasantness of life.

2. Feel lonely and unhappy. I feel trapped in a life that I do not want and would like to change but can not. I think about what I could have done differently so I ended up with a more exciting life. One that fits how I see myself better.

3. I feel like B could help me if she would listen to me and try to change our circumstances so we can have more time together or with kids, so that regular love making was a priority, so that she could pay me a little attention instead of always being on her computer or running errands trying to get things done. I think that this would be a solution or fix for what I am feeling that would not involve making a major change in my life. Since I love my wife and many parts of my life this seems like a fix to the uncomfortable unsatisfied feelings I am having.

4. I feel underappreciated. I think lots of other women would love someone to find them attractive, is affectionate and helpful and pays attention to them.

5. I feel further deprived of the emotional and relationship goodies that would make me feel happier, less stressed, like it was all worth it. I think that having more romantic attention, more sex, more fun is what I need and what I deserve.

6. If I attempt to get these from B it usually fails and I feel rejected. I withdraw so that if B does try to eventually move closer I do not notice or pull away

7. Thinking gets negative and focuses on the things that make B hard to be around, hard to be happy and upbeat with. Focuses on all our differences, things she recently has said that make me feel like we want very different things, instances where she wanted more space instead of being closer. These all seem like clear indications that maybe she is not what I need in a partner.

8. Start fantasizing about what it would be like if she treated me different. If she had more desire, if she had more free time, if we had different life. Start to wonder if we should even be together.

9. Feel like I could go online and find someone else who would value the things I have to give, who could give me attention or simply would want to have sex just for some physical touch and sexual relief. Usually recognize that this is actually unlikely and maybe not even necessary. Just engaging in the fantasy or even interacting with a woman might make me feel better.

10: Usually stops there but could easily escalate to looking at online personal ads or hook up websites. I think just looking at the ads might be enough, give me some hope of change or thrill of thinking about possibilities. Actually answering the ads does little because it is very very unlikely to get a response. If I did get a reply however that would be thrilling even though I know I will never answer back or meet anyone. If the thoughts are more on feeling sexually deprived then I may want to masturbate with or without porn.

5 Emotionally stimulating elements:

1. Stress/anxiety of life events,
2. Perception that my life is not my own or not how I want it to be-longing/sadness,
3. Perception that B is distant or non appreciative, wanting affection/sex with B but not asking for it in a healthy way or showing it, instead just sitting back and cataloging all the things I think I am lacking- longing/frustration/disappointment
4. Longing for a fantasy version of the relationship,- loneliness/sadness
5. Thinking that I need something different and there is no way that I can get it from B or myself which leads to justifying acting out behaviors or not being truthful- withdraw/isolation/desperation
6. Fantasizing or seeking out stimulation that relieves this anxiety- hope/excitement/stress relief

Point of no return: Thinking that I need something that only a romantic relationship can give me- sex, affection, self-esteem, happiness/quality of life, excitement

Actions which could interrupt this pattern: When I feel that desperate/lonely/anxious/sad feeling connected with wanting a romantic relationship to fix my problems the first action would be to consciously stop and ask myself is the place I have been before? If the answer is yes I need to immediately explore what I can do ON MY OWN to relieve this feeling. This might be immediate- go for a walk, exercise, meditate, doing something relaxing that gets me out of this negative state. I also need to think about what elements in my life I could modify TODAY or in the short term that could be meaningful and satisfying- going and doing something new or productive, doing something I find fun or creative, reminding myself of all the great things I have in my life already, finding satisfaction in the interactions I already have, interacting with B in non romantic ways and enjoying our friendship.

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