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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:06 pm 
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Lesson 16 Exercise:
I. Consider the POSITIVE role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served (think short-term, not long)?
Understanding the functional role of your addiction is important in removing the power, mystery and fear from that addiction — to begin seeing it in terms of practicality, rather than as some kind of supernatural fate or disease that you are doomed to suffer.
Share a few positive aspects of your addiction in your recovery thread.

This exercise made me think hard about when this all started. When did I start using romantic love, physical affection, sex, verbal affection to manage my emotions? I have always had these tendencies from when I was a child and it did show up in my prior relationships but it felt like I managed it to a point during those relationships until it got to be too much for whoever my girlfriend was and I am became a mess in a desperate attempt to avoid the breakup. Things went differently with my wife because she was such a different person than I anyone I had ever dated and to a point she did not indulge romantic fantasy that much. So it was still there, but for a long time the calming effect of our marriage somehow over rode my love addiction and I had enough self esteem and positive things that I was providing to myself to avoid leaning to much on romantic fixes. Occasionally I would hope for something different or more from her or want physical reassurance when I was experiencing increase stress or decreased self esteem. She took on a different, nonromantic role to shield me from stress and bad feelings. Things I should have been able to manage on my own. This was pretty well engrained in her to the point that even today she has a hard time asking me to help her when she is too busy or stressed. Or she braces herself when something disappointing happens waiting for me to decompensate.

Still the Love Addiction lurked in the backround and began to get more noticeable after I finished my training and took on the stress of a new job where I did not fit in and was not treated well. It was so stressful thinking about going to work starting the day before my first shift I would get pretty anxious and look to B to sooth me, hold me or have sex. Most every shift was bad to the point I was just gritting my teeth waiting to get to my days off, all I could do was space out in front of the TV with a drink. Even my first day off I felt like I was still trying to rid myself of the worry and bad feelings. I think that I relied way too much on B to make me happy on my days off. She was almost 100% my social life. If we didn't do something fun, date, or have sex on my days off it felt like I didn't do anything worth while or have a "real" day off. I used love and affection to inoculate myself against the anxiety and stress that I knew was looming. I could not deal with my feelings at the time and tried to compartmentalized and stuff them away and medicate with good feelings taken from her.

This was a functional pattern I suppose if not the most rewarding or intimacy building one for B. We didn't fight and felt relatively happy most of the time but I know I wasn't giving her what she would like from a mature relationship. We were close but we did not have true intimacy that comes from being totally open about yourself with your partner and respecting boundaries. I just floated through my days never really dealing with my deeper problems, never taking charge of my own happiness, never being as giving as I could have been.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:05 pm 
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Lesson 17 Exercise:
I. Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in. Identify the elements of this ritual and post them in your recovery thread. It is important that you understand the principles involved in identifying the stimulating elements of compulsive rituals...so if you are not comfortable with this concept, ask questions! Also, recognize that the elements listed above are not the only elements associated with compulsive behavior. And so, you will want to identify those elements that are specifically related to YOUR compulsive behavior.


This is a common one regarding my love addiction and it is a trigger. In fact I am dealing with it today. It is almost 100% in the fantasy area. It usually involves having some time off either a day off or sometimes after work. I will come to a point in the day or the week where I feel like I have worked hard and want to do something that will make me feel like I have some kind of balance to my life, something fun and rewarding, something that seems like it gives me quality of life. Often this feeling is stronger if I am under some stress having worked too hard, not getting along with B, other totally unrelated life stressors. There is a feeling that I am not living how I want to be living, like my lifestyle does not match my personality, who I am.

Then I will start to fantasize: Wouldn't be nice? Wouldn't it be nice to taking B out on a date. She's in a good mood, I'm feeling good. We are going to have some really nice food and conversation and a few drinks. I will make her laugh and we will really start talking and BSing and having a great time. And I know that she is happy with me, she is into me. That validation feels so great, that takes away all self doubt and makes me forget about the stressful stuff. I makes me feel like its ok that I work too much cause I have quality of life: I am taking my beautiful wife out and we are unstoppable. And I also am pretty sure that we are going to have really hot sex when we get back home and that is the BEST end to a day that I can think of. Literally, doesn't matter what else happened, if she desires me in that way and I get to make love with her it is the ultimate goal realized.

So a lot of that is in the fantasy category, clearly: A relationship will take away my stress and make me feel good about myself and my life. My life feels suddenly complete. Sex is the cherry on top. That feels like the life I should be living where I am confident, supported, adored, doing things I find pleasurable. I suppose there could be a little of the Control category in there but not in the sexual sense. More like I play my cards right and things will go well with me with my woman which is odd because the real reason she would behave that way around me would have more to do with trust and love and feeling supported, not because I take her out or say the right things. Accomplishment category applies as well when I get my "reward" for working hard in the other areas of my life.

The darker side to this fantasy is that often I feel like I can not get these things from my wife. Time limitations are huge, she is frequently stressed and tired and not up to playing the role I would like. And she frankly does not feel romantically toward me these days given all that has happened. So thats what leads to acting out online with other women or even if it hasn't gone that far in a while, at least keeping secrets from B about what I am going through.

'


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:02 am 
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Lesson 18

Consider one of your own compulsive rituals. Identify circumstances when each of the three filters (time, habituation and intensity) have come into play. Make sure that you understand each filter to the point where you are able to identify them as a ritual is being performed. Post these personal examples in your recovery thread.

This is a tougher one for me because this model seems like it applies better to the sexual addiction model than love addiction.

With my love addiction fantasy mode Time really doesn't play much of a role. It can happen quickly or the feeling can build slowly over days. Generally the quicker I can get some positive feed back from B, physical affection, spending time together, making love, the quicker I feel btter and my cares about whatever or concerns about our relationship disappear. I definitely do not seek to prolong the fantasy.

Intensity- This may play a role. When I am feeling good about myself, relationship or life I think that I am more satisfied with occasional brief interaction such as a quick hug or time in the evening to talk, time to cuddle in bed. I am probably more patient when it comes to sex which is a constant mismatch in our relationship. The more concerns I have about the relationship or more stress I am under, the more I want specific romantic time like a date, physical affection and sex.

Habituation: I don't think I ever feel habituated to B or being close to her. I am never bored interacting with her or being a couple with her.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:51 am 
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Lesson 20

Look to future transitions in your life. Divorce. Death of a partner. Death of your parents. Death of a child. Loss of a job. Retirement. Having another child. Empty-nest syndrome. Consider many different situations that you will possibly face in the remaining years of your life. Situations that could potentially cause major instability to an otherwise balanced, fulfilling life. Explore the role(s) that addiction could play in helping you to manage these times. What would it feel like for addiction to come back into your life? Would it be a rapid collapse or a subtle progression? What signs would you look for? What actions would you take?

This was an interesting and useful exercise. It is hard to know what my relationship situation would be in the future whether I will still be married to B or alone or with someone else. Having a partner would impact how my love addiction would play out. I suppose in general I would seek comfort and understanding from someone. This could be in a healthy way, I have had recent stressful event that I handled with the support of my partner and felt closer to them for it and like I could help myself better as a result. It could also slowly creep into a needy addicted way of thinking. If I was along maybe seeking a relationship pure for the romantic thrill as an escape from my "real" life. Maybe becoming unsatisfied for inadequate reasons with my current partner and wanting "more" and thinking about going outside the relationship again. I think I would recognize those old worries, fears and anxieties, I have before but I have also missed them before. Those feelings are distinct if I am self-monitoring and take the time to question why I am feeling a certain way or if the solutions I am coming up with are really the best options. II know this stuff and have these tools if take the time to use them. There might be very short term thinking, selfish thinking, positive fantasies "if only things were like this..." negative fantasies where everything seems dark and I feel I have very little options.

I hope that if I felt these things I could take a step back and see I have a choice on which path to follow now that I understand a little bit better how my emotions influence my thinking in unrealistic ways and how those behaviors can be an instinctive coping mechanism that I reach for without realizing it. I think I would stick to healthy behaviors first-self care, meditation, exercise. I would try to go back through some of my lesson here dealing with stressors and reactions to them. I would definitely trying to widen my timeline and big picture view. To identify ways to cope that I know I can provide myself (that's a good test- are my solutions dependent on me or someone else's reaction to me). I would try to be grateful-that always helps. The big one is just going back and asking "who am I and is this behavior consistent with the me I know myself to be" Look at my values- is this thinking in line with my values, would this action be one based in integrity or the selfish quick fix? You can fool yourself only by willfully covering your eyes. If you force myself to look, the better more true-to-myself me will take over and do the right thing.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:30 pm 
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Lesson 21 Exercise:
A. What large goals have you attempted in your life and failed? Why do you suppose you failed? Inattentiveness, lack of understanding of the process, what would be involved.

B. What large goals have you attempted in your life and succeeded? Why do you suppose you were able to succeed? Stuck with it with a firm belief that it would be worth it in the end and took an interest in process, focused on short term goals and small successes.

C. List one recovery goal that you have and break it down into as many smaller, measurable tasks as necessary for you to manage it successfully. If you find this difficult, then you are probably starting off with too general of a recovery goal. Make it specific.

To show total integrity to the people I love in my life over the next 3 months.

-Be self aware so you can be open about who I am to others
-Think about decisions in the context of my values and review my values often
-Monitor negative and fear based thinking which might cause me to be untruthful or tell lies of omission
-Meet responsibilities with a positive attitude, don't let the lack of good things in my life right now cause me to fall down on doing my work


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:05 am 
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Lesson 22 Exercises

I'll be honest I do not get this exercise at all. It is fantastically complicated and I feel like the more complicated something is the less likely I am to use it. I do not see how I can apply this to what happens to me in love addiction. It is not an isolated compulsive act. It is a dysfunctional coping mechanism, it is a vague form of fantasy thinking but it doesn't really involve the multiple elements listed on the pie chart and I do not see how to apply the time or habituation filters on it. It might be something you can apply to a sexually compulsive act but I don't think this is personally useful. I will try and keep an open mind and stick with the lessons but this doesn't feel applicable.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:24 am 
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Lesson 23 Exercise:
In your recovery thread, share a brief summary of what practical uses the skill of measuring compulsive rituals can have in your recovery. Don't just copy the headings of this lesson, take a minute to see how you can practically use this information in YOUR life.

I am not sure if mathematical measurements of rather subjective emotional things can be useful to me. What I do recognize as being practical and useful to me in the past was the ability to be aware of my emotions and in a habit of stopping and questioning myself as to why I was feeling something, if it was accurate, was I framing it in a correct way, could something else be going on. I think there was also an ability to follow my emotion or a thought out into the future to see where this might lead and if that was someplace consistent with my values. I think that would be a good place to get back to.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:10 pm 
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Lesson 24 Exersize
Create your own Wheel of Sexual Compulsion that is more closely related to your behavior. This can be done by simply listing the cumulative elements involved in your compulsive behavior. This shouldn't take you more than five minutes. List these elements (associated with no particular ritual — but more your addiction in general) in your recovery thread.
II. Choose a real-life example of EVERY major sexual ritual that you engage in

Again, this model seems based on sexually compulsive acts and does not translate well to my love addiction. I don't know if it is a ritual but I can identify what leads to love addicted thoughts and taking this out on B or acting out in the extreme cases.

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.

2. Feel lonely and unhappy. I feel trapped in a life that I do not want and would like to change but can not.

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

4. I feel underappreciated. I think lots of 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.

6. 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

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

10: Usually stops there but could easily escalate to looking at online personal ads or hook up websites.

to explore later: where in this list could the thinking be caught and diverted to a healthier place


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:56 am 
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Hi Phoenix
Quote:
I'll be honest I do not get this exercise at all. It is fantastically complicated and I feel like the more complicated something is the less likely I am to use it. I do not see how I can apply this to what happens to me


looking at your subsequent posts I think that perhaps you are getting the gist of the process
break down the elements of the process
addiction and the related acting out is simply a process
a process that involves emotion and action followed by consequence, repeated over and over becoming progressively more significant

we need to stop that wheel and then derive and follow our new healthy recovery wheel
dont be phased by the exercise
break it and hence you and your actions in the process into bite size chunks
analyse each chunk and learn from your analysis
I guess the main point is that you need to know what you are dealing with before you can effectively (and effectively is the key word) deal with it

Now my question
I see that you have separated your monitoring from your thread
I wonder why?
does it make it easier
will that aspect of recovery become lost in the annals of time as your monitoring pattern evolves
just asking
not suggesting,

keep on going

_________________
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: Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:03 am 
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Thanks Coach Kenzo. "break it and hence you and your actions in the process into bite size chunks
analyse each chunk and learn from your analysis" I get what you are saying here. When I was feeling a lot healthier last year, I was able to do this. Stop a thought or emotion turn it over and around before acting on it or blindly following emotion. I will try to keep the spirit of this in mind as I work through the exercises.

Also I separated the Monitoring Log and the Recovery Thread so I could access them more quickly. It helps me to go back and read what I have written from time to time and remind myself of my direction so having them separate makes them shorter and easier to scroll through.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:14 pm 
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This was spot on: Because you are relying solely on your emotions to guide you, you are unable to engage in a rational decision-making process — something that is key to a long-term, healthy, fulfilling life. When basing your decisions on emotions, you are unable to consider the long term consequences of your actions in your decision-making process. You are unable to see the reality of the situation that you are facing. Intellectually, you may very well understand the consequences of your actions, but emotionally...they don't register. And they won't until those consequences are put into play — which by that time, is almost always too late to be useful. Such a pattern is found at the very root of addiction: the process of basing decisions on immediate emotional need, as opposed to long-term decision-making and healthy boundaries.

I'm keeping above as a reminder of what happens to me in a nutshell. Why I make decisions that I know are not the best but I feel that doing that thing to make me feel better is more important than anything else.


Lesson 25 Exercise:
I. Develop your own compulsive ritual. Make this relatively simple. List the primary elements in a similar fashion as exampled above in Compulsive Ritual: Exhibitionism. Post this ritual and its elements in your recovery thread.

I revised a rough draft of this from the prior lessons:


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.

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.

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.

6. 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.

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.

10: Usually stops there but could easily escalate to looking at online personal ads or hook up websites. If the thoughts are more on feeling sexually deprived then I may want to masturbate with or without porn.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:10 pm 
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Lesson 26 Exercise:
In the previous exercise, you were asked to label the elements involved with a particular ritual. In this exercise, you will be delving deeper into your awareness of that ritual. Here, you are asked to 'map out' one of your rituals. Make sure that you choose a specific ritual that you have engaged in (as in, last Thursday before work, I looked at porn); rather than a general compulsive behavior (as in, in the past, I looked at porn).
The main difference between what you did in the previous exercise and this is that you are no longer listing the elements of the ritual. Instead, you are listing the behavior associated with that element. For example, in the past exercise, it was sufficient to label a voyeuristic ritual with the element 'sensory stimulation — visual'. No longer. From this point forward, all rituals should be identified in terms of the specific thoughts/behaviors associated with the elements. And so, today, your 'element' will read something like this: "I would focus my eyes on her and inconspicuously follow her around the store."
Post this more advanced ritual in your recovery thread.

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.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:50 pm 
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Lesson 27 Exercise:
Provide an example of two compulsive chains in your life. The first chain should be where multiple rituals are engaged in simultaneously — thus enhancing the overall amount of stimulation derived from the behavior. The second should be an example of how you have strung together several rituals back-to-back and thus, extended the stimulation you were deriving. Post these examples in your recovery thread.

I am not really seeing how this applies to me. Maybe when feeling a lot of want and loneliness from the LA I will also associate lack of sex with the problem and will masturbate if I am feeling sexual but it is not compulsive or done when I am not feeling sexual


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:56 pm 
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Lesson 28 Exercise:
1. Develop a compulsive chain of your most recent acting out behavior.
2. Upon completion of this chain, review it to ensure that you can recognize the way that each element affected your emotional state.
3. Thinking as an addict, look for areas within this chain where you could add additional destructive elements that would have (most likely) increased the overall stimulation of the event. The actual events that you add should be realistic, and related to the chain itself. For instance, someone viewing porn might add the element of setting up a Power Point slide show of the images. Someone engaging in escort services might add the element of videotaping the encounters. Share these in your recovery thread.

See Lesson 25 and 26

I think the destructive elements would be thinking about other relationships I could have with other people, viewing online personal ads which make me fantasize about having a more romantic relationship with another person


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:28 pm 
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Lesson 29 Exercise:
The role of emotions in motivating behavior is a critical aspect of understanding addiction. Without emotions, addiction does not exists. Without that intense need, that desire, that craving...addiction does not exist. To better understand this principle, you are going to be asked to do something that will require a signficant emotional effort on your part.

A. Find a place where you will be alone and safe. Ensure that, for the next fifteen minutes, you won't be interrupted for any reason. Fifteen mintues (or longer, but not less than). Then close your eyes and just feel. Think of things that are important to you. Think of your values. Think of your regrets. Think of trauma that you have experienced. Think of wonderful moments. Let yourself experience whatever emotions that come freely. Focus on each of the emotions, and DO NOT OPEN YOUR EYES! (this is an important part of the exercise). Stay in touch with the feelings. Experience the emotions that come with these thoughts. Forget about your physical self...focus only on the emotions that you are experiencing.

Now, consider one of your milder compulsive behaviors. Try to get in touch with the feelings that are generated with this behavior. If you find yourself getting triggered to act, forbid yourself. Then focus on the anxiety that is produced with that decision. Really allow yourself to get in touch with the stress that is building. Consider the reality that, either during this exercise or soon thereafter, you will face the challenge of deciding whether or not you should act on these feelings. Begin to feel the consequences of both your decision to masturbate, and your decision to remain committed to recovery.

After you have done this for fifteen minutes (or longer), and before you engage in any compulsive behavior, open your eyes and complete the following:

A. Describe the emotions that you experienced and the thoughts that triggered them.

Helplessness, Internal empty feeling of want, sadness that my life is not how it should be or how I would like it, dissonance with the person I feel myself to be, anxiety that I am destined to feel lonely and sad

B. In assessing your own anxiety, describe the extremes of your personal experiences with anxiety. What has been the least anxious state you have experienced and the most extreme anxious state you have experienced?

Least anxious would be my camping vacations when I have nothing to do and time to be in the moment, most anxious would be the times I have betrayed B and I have had to face her with my lies.


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