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PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:33 pm 
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Lesson 20 Mastering your Addiction


Future transitions in my life: Possibility of divorce, my wife could pass away before me, my mother is 88 and will undoubtedly die in the not too distant future. Both of my wife’s parents are in their 80’s and I will probably experience their passing as well. The death of a child or grandchild.


It would be an easy exercise to imagine addiction coming back into my life in one or more of these scenarios. To deal with the emotions involved. I could imagine it being a rapid collapse, or a subtle progression, I could see it either way. However, I am convinced I would take actions to prevent it from happening. I have worked hard (and continue to do so) in this and other programs ( Celebrate Recovery, Feed the right Wolf workbook, Joe Zychik’s book, etc.) I have turned over my life and my will to God and seek Him every day. I am NOT using religion to replace my addiction. I am learning to share my feelings and emotions as they happen

I have incorporated action plans, review motivations, go to prayer, healthy activities such as working out, working on my property, Bible study, talking to my wife honestly and openly about feelings and emotions, etc. I have full confidence that I will NEVER return to my compulsive behavior. The price is too high. My soul, my health, my wife’s health, our marriage, my relationships with my kids, grandkids, family, church, my life


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:19 pm 
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Lesson 21 Recovery Goals


I want to read through the Bible in a year.

•I will follow the you version plan of reading every day


•I will read the devotional that goes with the scripture each day


•I start my day with my Bible reading and prayer before I do anything else, if at all possible. Since January 2, the handful of times I have had to miss in the morning, I have caught up at some point during the day.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:06 pm 
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Lesson 29 The Role of Emotions


This is an exercise I want to do every day for awhile. I have never dealt with emotions, processed them, talked about them. Didn’t even admit that I felt them, or feelings. It wasn’t considered manly in my house growing up. As stated previously, I have been, and continue to be involved in other recovery programs. I have been practicing discussing my feelings and emotions with my wife as well as processing them in my mind as I experience them. I am not there yet, but have made much progress.


During this exercise, I experienced sadness (my dad dying, discovering one of my daughters was a cutter, the other an alcoholic; my wife dealing with all the pain and destruction I have caused); anxiety (my wife’s meltdowns, hopelessness, unanswered questions that I cannot remember what I was feeling when I acted out); embarrassment (I have a skin condition that a girl made fun of in the 4th grade, pooping my pants at school maybe 1st or 2nd grade, singing in front of people); anger (I fought a lot when I was growing up). All of these brought about heart racing, pounding, cold in the pit of my stomach


Extreme anxiety: My wife’s meltdowns. When she lashes out in pain, resentment, anger, hopelessness, etc. and says the most hurtful things she can think of. Of course, I can’t blame her, after what I have, and continue to put her through.

Least anxiety: staring into a fire, totally relaxing. Boating with my wife


I did not have the urge to act out. But I believe techniques and exercises learned in other programs has helped with that. And surrendering to God all my flaws, will and life.


I do want to do this exercise several days though to see if I can get more in touch with my feelings and emotions. Allow myself to try to identify which emotions might lead to the desire to act out.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:26 am 
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Lesson 31 Emotional Balance and Stability


Stressors over the last week: Facing possible divorce-extreme; wife’s meltdown-extreme; father-in-law in hospital-moderate; mother-in-law’s alzheimer’s getting worse-moderate; mother on verge of pneumonia-moderate


I have been deriving great pleasure and enjoyment from pursuing my top 15 values. I have been reading and studying God’s word daily, praying throughout every day. I derive great pleasure from reading God’s word and discussing it with my wife. He convicts my heart daily.


I have been sharing my feelings and emotions with my wife. I am enjoying that immensely. It fills my heart. I have been open and honest, even when I am concerned with sending her into a funk or meltdown. Getting in touch with my emotions has been a new and wonderful experience.


I danced with my wife and we went for a nature walk, both of which I want to do more. I am trying to show her I love her and how much I love her. I am not as good at it as I want to be.



My wife and I have been having intimate conversations, and healthy sexual relations. And spiritual connection.


We work out together. Except for the last several days. She hurt her back and we have been to the chiropractor to get it straightened out.


For the 1st time in my life, I have turned over my life to Jesus Christ. I feel free for the 1st time. I am experiencing thoughts, emotions, and feelings I have never experienced. I am sharing things I have never shared before. I am getting more pleasure and fulfillment from my values than I ever dreamed possible and more than outway the stress and negativity from my previous self (addiction, character flaws, etc.).


The meaning and stimulation I am getting from my values is way better, stronger, and more fulfilling than anything else I could possibly get from porn, pictures, masturbation, or fantasy. The former are all real. The latter, a vastly poor substitute.


The pattern I see in my life is that while stressors get me down, make me sad, anxious, etc. I am finding great balance from pursuing my values. All the little things I took for granted, God’s creation, leaves on trees, bugs, birds, looking deep into my wife’s eyes, emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy, and on and on. We have chickens and we hatched a chick in an incubator. I have been getting great joy out of caring for, feeding, watching it grow and get stronger.


My quality of life is better every day!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 11:39 am 
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Lesson 32 Evolving your Practical Values

Lesson 6 Proactive Action Plan I


SPIRITUAL HEALTH/INTIMACY WITH GOD

1.For the last several months, I start my day renewing my covenant with God and my wife (Job 31:1-4


1.I pray that God will help me and walk and talk with me throughout the day (Eph 6:10-18 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-6)


2.My wife and I started a Youversion daily bible reading plan (Jan 1 for her, Jan 2 for me. We read and discuss every day
Lesson 7 Building Proactive Action Plans II

It is not completed but II wanted to go ahead and post this.

Also a work in progress. Particularly the 1st one. I can see adding to it regularly. And some of the others as well

My wife and I continue to do our daily Bible plan. I have also completed some 60+ additional plans that are anywhere from 3 or 4 days each to 30 days. I continue to go to God in prayer multiple times a day and my wife and I almost always pray together before going to sleep


STRENGTHEN MY ROLE AS A PARTNER WITH MY WIFE


•Improving/maintaining communication. Share with absolute honesty/absence of secrecy. Express my emotions openly and spontaneously. Express my feelings and emotions with vulnerability. Monitor my wife for signs of frustration or meltdowns and do what I can to minimize the intensity. Monitor myself for signs of pride, ego, selfishness, hypocrisy, arrogance, deceitfulness, half-truths, and emotional instability. Initiate meaningful communication with my wife without her having to ask or initiate herself.

I am getting better at these. I know that I am not where I should be, but much better than I used to be.


•Organization, maintenance of the home. Discuss with my wife daily “to do lists” and prioritize. Help with chores like washing clothes, doing dishes, cleaning, sweeping/mopping floors, etc. Taking out trash, mowing the yard. Shopping without acting like I’m miserable, show enthusiasm and mean it.

Deriving more and more enjoyment from these and other activities. I get great pleasure from making our place look better and from physical activity


•Loving Her. Doing things for her like fixing her a cup of coffee, building a fire, really listening when she is talking, commenting on what she is saying, showing interest in what interests her. Physical touch, hugs. Verbal affirmation that she looks good, is beautiful, sexy, and how nice she looks when dressing to go out somewhere. Sticky notes, and verbal appreciation. Telling her I love her. Showing her I love her.

I continue to build on these. I admit that when she is in a meltdown, it is difficult. When she tells me to get out of her sight or not to touch her, I really miss these.

* Developing Sexual Intimacy: Experiencing love-making for sheer joy and enjoyment. Experiencing the emotional connection and depth, not focusing on orgasm as a goal. And recognizing and believing that is satisfactory for her, because she has told me so. Be consistent with frequency and initiation.

Great progress here. I am getting tremendous satisfaction and fulfillment from emotional connections through massaging, caressing and expressing that enjoyment as well as focusing on her pleasure and satisfaction during our lovemaking. For me, it is all about her and making her happy. And I love it.





TO BE HONEST AND OPEN


•Discuss my feelings and emotions when I have them. Say what is in my heart, not what I think others want/need to hear. Truth, not half-truths or embellishments, or spin to make me look good, at the same time taking into consideration others feelings. Willing to be embarrassed or vulnerable.

Becoming more aware daily of strengthening and improving these things.



INTIMACY WITH MY WIFE/SEXUAL, EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL, CONVERSATIONAL, AFFECTION


•Show her that I am concerned with her pleasure over mine. The experience of love-making for joy and enjoyment rather than a goal of orgasm. Emotional connection of being as close emotionally as is possible through the physical joining of our bodies.


•Sharing thoughts, feelings and emotions as I have them. Without filter, spin or rationalization


•Caress her without any sexual intent or innuendo. Hugs and kisses randomly throughout the day


•Ordinary, everyday conversation. Talking about God’s creation, kids, grandkids, church, family, daily schedules, each other

(See above)



TO BE SELFLESS

•Practice doing things for others, with no thoughts of reciprocity. Just thoughtful, kindness for others. Create habits that don’t revolve around how they benefit me. Open doors for people. Throwing away trash that isn’t mine. Doing chores for elderly or those less able than myself

I work on this every day. At our meals before church, I go around and pick up plates when people are through eating and throw their trash away. I open and hold doors for others. I particularly try to do things for elderly people who may need help with carrying things like groceries or whatever.



COMMUNICATE BETTER


•Share information. Really listen to what others have to say, without thinking about what I will say next. Empathize and look at things they say from their perspective. Actually learn about them, what makes them tick. Be humble, not trying to impress or show how much I know, or prove I’m right. Show compassion

I continue to work to improve and strengthen this area. I try to remember those at church who are having physical difficulties, or their family members in prayer and to ask about them when I see them.



HEALTH/PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, MENTAL, SPIRITUAL


•My wife and I do a walk video Mon-Fri. 30 minutes M-W-F and 40 minutes on T-T. We lift weights M-W-F. Trying to eat better, healthier. Not as much junk, grilling, preparing meals, not as many tv dinners.


•Intimate conversations with my wife. Common conversations socially. Letting others see my emotions. Many of the lessons on RN address emotional health and I am incorporating them and getting better (not there yet)


•Meditation. Again, lessons here on RN. Processing thoughts and communicating them more clearly.


•Daily Bible reading, prayer (both with my wife and just me and God) and discussion of those with my wife

I continue to get better at these. Working on them every day. Except when my wife is in a meltdown. Then my communication with her is stifled.



STRENGTHEN MY ROLE AS A FATHER TO MY CHILDREN


• Let my kids know that I love them.


•Let them know they can talk to me without judgement, condescension


•Talk to them about my addiction, recovery and hopefully and prayerfully help them gain some understanding of the things they have experienced as a result of my own faults

This is one that is not an every day thing. My kids all live hours away. I do text them or comment on facebook that I love them. And I am going to talk to them about my addiction in a few weeks



STRENGTHEN MY ROLE AS A GRANDFATHER TO MY GRANDCHILDREN


•Talk to them about life. Both positives and negatives and try to help them navigate both.


•Be at as many of their events as possible


•Play with them.


•Listen to them. Learn about their fears, joys, sorrows, loves and lives

We went to one of my granddaughter's birthday party and I played with her and her brother. My wife and I also had two other of our granddaughters during Spring Break and took them bowling, to the library, had a campfire and made smores. We had a really good time.



LIVE WITH INTEGRITY


•Be open and honest in all communication


•Say what I mean and mean what I say


•Be a man of my word


•Live according to my stated values


•Don’t embellish, tell half truths or spin things to make me look good

Again, working to do these every day. And being successful at them.



SERVE OTHERS


•My wife and I have committed to serving a meal before our Wednesday night church services


•I just finished teaching a Wednesday night class at church and asked to be used more frequently in this role


•Trying to be a help to my 12 step brothers to lean on, be leaned on and encourage them


•During and after our Wednesday night meal, I go around and pick up trash and plates of others so they don’t have to


•I volunteered to lead singing at church on Wednesday nights occasionally (something very much out of my comfort zone)


Nothing really to add. But am continuing these as well.



ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT MY WIFE


•Tell her that she is beautiful. And that she is all I want. From now on.


•Derive all my sexual satisfaction from her and only her


•Encourage her during our workouts, tell her how great she is doing


•Empathize and have compassion for what I have and am putting her through


•Allow her space when she needs it. Allow her to vent when she needs it. Not be defensive


•Allow her ALL the time she needs

Whenever I sense something is triggering her toward a funk or meltdown, I will apologize again for putting her through this.



TRAVEL


•We are going to Orlando to watch our granddaughter perform in Nationals Cheerleading Competition in May.


•We are going to Grand Cayman in Oct.


•We will go snow skiing next Winter


•We will travel to beaches at least once a year to snorkel. Places we have not been before to explore new beaches

All of this is in the future, but am very looking forward to all of these events. To enjoy my wife and life without compulsion or addiction.


Last edited by Bevo on Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.





3.I try to go to God in prayer at least every hour or so throughout my day.


4.My wife and I pray together every night in bed before we go to sleep.


5.My wife and I have committed to preparing and serving a meal for our church family before our Wednesday evening services, two weeks out of every six.


6.I just finished teaching a Wed night class on clothing ourselves in Christ and asked to be put more regularly in the teaching rotation



COMMUNICATE BETTER

1.For several weeks, I have gotten into the habit of sharing my thoughts and feelings with my wife. At 1st, at least 3 times a day. Now I try to do so just as every day conversation, as I think and experience those thoughts and feelings


2.I try to make sure I am communicating what I really mean. I have long had a problem with making assumptions and am trying to break that by asking for clarification from others and asking questions like “what did you hear or what did you get from what I said”


3.I have begun developing carrying on everyday conversations about simple things, like admiring God’s creation, new things I am hearing (just got hearing aids), birds that fly and sing in our yard, things concerning our workouts (my wife and I workout 5 days a week together), sermons, and just everyday life


4.I had a lengthy conversation with a young man and we talked about everything from politics, religion, music and life. It was amazing for me. I actually listened to what he had to say and asked questions to get his point of view! This is huge for me. I have LONG carried on conversations just for the sake of winning an argument, or proving I know more, or proving I am right. Not hearing what the other person is saying, but preparing my next statements.

I am getting better at this as well. I continue to be aware of asking questions of people so I can get to know them better and make comments on things they say instead of everything being about me.



HEALTH

1.I have started eating better. More vegetables, salads, prepared meals (grilling), and regular meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)


2.My wife and I do a walk video every morning. 30 minutes on Mon, Wed, and Fri and 40 minutes on Tue, Thur. I never would have done a “women’s” walk video before...too prideful. It wasn’t MANLY


3.Mon, Wed, and Fri we lift weights together. Again, for the most part, we do the same exercises, with the same weights (except for bench). I no longer feel the need to “prove” myself by doing more and skipping exercises that make me “look bad”. I have had several shoulder surgeries, so on shoulder exercises, my wife can actually do more or easier than I can


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:40 pm 
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I am moving my daily monitoring to here so that I can make adjustments to it as they evolve.

Lesson 14 Daily Monitoring I


1.Did I conduct myself worthy of respect today?


2.Did I initiate at least one meaningful conversation with my wife today?


• If not, how many days has it been since I have?


3. Was I attentive to my wife’s needs today?

4. Was I truthful in everything I shared with my wife today?

5. Did I follow through with everything I said I would do today?

6. Did I actively pursue at least 3 areas of my action plans today?

7. How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability at the moment?

8. I will read my daily Bible plan and spend time with God in prayer. Setting this one aside. It is ingrained since January

9. Did I process and handle my wife’s meltdown (if she is in one) in a healthy manner?

10. Did I show love to my wife today?

11. Did I demonstrate selflessness today?

12. Did I do anything to improve my health today? Physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Setting this one aside. I don't have to think about doing these. They are every day habits.

13. Did I communicate effectively with my wife today?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:04 pm 
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Lesson 33 Developing Emotional Maturity

I kept these on google docs. It is much easier for me to access and keep up with. Then copied and pasted onto here. I went ahead and put info for 5 days instead of three. Will continue the exercise for the full 7 days.


Monday: Took my wife to chiropractor. She was in a funk. Sadness, fear and anxious as I always am when she is in a funk or meltdown. I have gotten to the point where I no longer stress uncontrollably. I have accepted that she is struggling badly and that I cannot fix it. I hate it, I empathize, I hurt because she is hurting. But I accept that she may not be able to live with me, knowing what she knows...and what she doesn’t know because of the holes in my memory.

She left to go to our daughter’s. I know she will enjoy seeing her and and the kids. I also know they will talk about our situation. I don’t know whether that will help her or send her further into funk. Out of my control.

I will be home alone for 2+ days. I am sure my wife thinks I will choose to act out. We spent Saturday moving mom. On the drive we took notes for my spiritual inventory for Celebrate Recovery. Many painful memories. Reminding me of what an ass I have been and of scars received from my dad. The reason she went to our daughter’s is to give me time alone with less distraction in order to add to the notes. As I was doing so, I decided to take a break and walk down to look at the lake after the rain, still thinking on my inventory. I had my first urge in over 5 months. It was powerful, but because of work I have been doing over almost 6 months, I controlled my emotions quickly and did not act out in any way. No porn images or erection. I and my sponsor count this as a victory. Terry was skeptical. I also processed that and understand that she has been lied to and deceived for our 37 year marriage so it is understandable.

I texted and wished her a good night. Got no response. In the past, I would have assumed the worst, that she did not want any contact with me.

Insights: I no longer fear my wife's funks/meltdowns. I know that I cannot control them. But I can empathize, hurt because she hurts, remain calm, take whatever she has to say and respond as positively as I can. Not lose control, not contradict, not lash back. I can also fulfill a promise to tell her how sorry I am for all I have inflicted on her, how much pain I have caused, and that none of this is her fault and nothing she could have done would have changed my choices and decisions. I also believe that the work I have put in with this and other programs, and intense prayer throughout my day gives me tools and confidence that I am making positive changes in my daily life that will take me to full recovery. I experienced the pull of a powerful urge and did not act on it, except to pray and do my exercises to head it off, and let it subside.


Tuesday: Texted my wife good morning. No response. My brother-in-law came by to see/about her. Stayed about 45 minutes. I know he is concerned about her. We talked about his eye, his income tax, insurance and the camper. I texted my wife and expressed that if she did not want to hear from me, to please tell me. She responded and said she was not ignoring me, just that she had not read anything that she felt warranted a response. Spent time on my inventory. Way more bad than good. This makes me melancholy, depressed, sad, and angry at myself. Processed these emotions and feelings and dealt with them. Kind of expected another urge, but none today. Talked to my sponsor about my inventory and we are meeting tonight. A bit anxious about that, but again, I am dealing with it. I realize that the techniques I have learned have helped me to feel that the feelings and emotions will pass and that I can control them until they do. Meeting with my sponsor went well. We formulated plans to move forward both with my inventory and with finding a way to help Terry heal.

Insights: Effective communication. I am improving feeling emotions, processing them and dealing with them positively. I am not letting the bad outweigh the good. I am learning I can be alone, experience emotions and feelings, both good and bad, and deal with them in a healthy manner.


Wednesday: My wife will be home today. I am anxious because I know that she confides in our daughter. The result could be good or bad. I am continuing with my inventory. Trying very hard to balance good with bad. Good memories but bad ones too. Feeling very bad about my failures as a husband, father, a man, and a child of God.

Terry got home. BAD. Her faith and trust in God has been BADLY shaken. She is in a very bad place. Culminated with a rage at me and God. She left in the car and locked me out so I could not follow her. She went to the dam to think. She came back angry as she had left but she did allow me to kiss her goodnight. I went to bed. She came to wake me up, but I had not yet gone to sleep. She had found an article about Father’s wounds and wanted me to read it. It very much hit close to home for her and me. It was something she was looking for to help her have compassion for me. We talked until after 1:00 am. Went to bed, prayed with her head on my chest.

Insights: My faith and trust in God has been well-placed. He is speaking to both my wife and I and we are listening. I can look at what I have been in the past and know that addiction and character flaws do not have to define who I am and who I want to be. Neither does my dad. I am cautiously optimistic.


Thursday: Day started with intimacy with my wife! Took Terry to the chiropractor. Went to Walmart, Lowe’s, and to a nursery looking at plants. AWESOME time. I am learning to appreciate sights, smells...God’s creation as never before! We came home and pidddled in the yard, pulling up some poison ivy, vines, etc. Spent the rest of the day discussing, conversing, enjoying each other. Great day filled with love for my wife, life, God, and ended with intimacy with my wife! Nothing negative, all positive emotional stimulation.


Friday: Had an outstanding discussion with my wife about today’s Bible study, devotional. We discussed not only the text and its applications, but several points about my past and how these passages apply to us. She took her mother to get her hair cut. I texted her that I was thinking about her and how much I enjoyed our morning’s discussion. And that I loved her. She didn’t respond. In the past I would have carried on a conversation in my head and convinced myself that something triggered her and she was now in a funk/meltdown. I chose to believe that she was visiting with her mother/hairdresser and that she didn’t hear/see my text. Which was the case. We talked about her trip with her mom and what I had done while she was gone, which was some to-do list things. I then went out to work in the yard. In a little while, she joined me and we did some work together. Happy, concerned, slight anxious moment, joyful, contentment, huge emotional satisfaction.

Insights overall: I have experienced extreme highs and lows this week. I have successfully processed and evaluated emotions and feelings of both extremes. I am deriving great pleasure and enjoyment from having intimate conversations with my wife, experiencing God, His will, His creation, His word, prayer life, and receiving great stimulation (emotional and otherwise) from my values. The satisfaction I am experiencing FAR exceeds and outweighs any momentary pleasure I ever got from my addiction/character flaws. My wife is beautiful, and loving her the way I should is so rewarding. And I am finally trying live my life the way God planned and intended me to.


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