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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:06 am 
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Lesson 36 Exercise:

I. Describe a scenario from your past where not having a well-defined set of boundaries has prolonged and/or intensified the personal consequences that you have experienced.

Despite knowing that I had committed to not viewing pornography, I allowed myself to look at sexually suggestive pictures of nearly naked women on Instagram. Because my boundary was not well-defined, I told myself that because the women were wearing bathing suits/lingerie/whatever, it wasn’t pornography. I proceeded to compartmentalize this behavior and continue viewing these images on Instagram. Eventually, sensing something wasn’t right, I was confronted by my spouse, which resulted in my disclosing this activity, prolonging and exacerbating marital discord.

II. Describe a situation in your life where having solid boundaries will assist you in managing the event in such a way as to protect your value system.

I want to build trust with my wife. Even though it is difficult to share my compulsive behavior struggles with her, I believe that honesty must be the foundation of our relationship. I am establishing a boundary that I will tell her within 24 hours about any struggle I have related to sexual integrity, which includes:

    Masturbation (this includes any self-stimulation with or without orgasm)
    Viewing sexually-suggestive or explicit images (this includes images seen intentionally or not; “images” includes videos/film/movies/television programs)
    Engaging in any form of exhibitionism/voyeurism (this includes actions that generate sexual energy, irrespective of whether or not I am seen or intend to be seen; whether or not I see anything; whether I am at home or away from home)
    Anything related to lingerie/women’s underwear
    Dishonesty (if I default to any aspect of dishonesty (minimization; omission; lying; etc…)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:58 pm 
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Lesson 37 Exercise:

I. List three of your highest values (values prioritized within the top five).


Guided by honesty/Live with integrity/Be transparent and open with the good and the bad/Be of strong character/Be trustworthy/Build trust

Be a good father and role model for my kids

Be a good partner to my spouse/Build emotional and physical intimacy with my spouse

II. For each value, list at least five concrete boundaries (rules) that you will use to protect that value.

Guided by honesty/Live with integrity/Be transparent and open with the good and the bad/Be of strong character/Be trustworthy/Build trust

    Do not keep secrets, especially from my spouse
    Share slips and struggles the day they occur
    Live without fear of being judged or abandoned
    Articulate my needs and desires and advocate for myself
    Be honest with myself about the impact of my lying
    Be honest with myself about the challenges and risks associated with my attention issues and desire for excitement/stimulation/activity.
    Put truth and honesty first, far before self preservation or self image

Be a good father and role model for my kids

    Be vulnerable in front of the kids. Show my emotions. Be open.
    Be patient. Be gentle. Show love.
    Accept them as they are, and demonstrate that acceptance through my words and deeds.
    Keep our Sunday night dinner tradition alive.
    Support them, and do not criticize.
    Demonstrate that I take working on myself seriously. Report progress.

Be a good partner to my spouse/Build emotional and physical intimacy with my spouse

    Be honest, transparent, trustworthy and have integrity
    Regularly share with her what I’m doing to improve myself. Initiate daily these conversations. Don’t rely on her to start conversations.
    Don’t be defensive or reactive. Don’t feel like you have to respond to every perceived criticism. Pause and take time to understand from where her words are coming from.
    Show your interest in her feelings. She can’t read your mind! Inquire. Often.
    Express my emotions openly and regularly.
    Be vulnerable, and do so without fear of being judged or rejected.
    View her as my partner, not an adversary. Winning an argument is not winning.
    Appreciate and be grateful to have an opportunity to work on our relationship.

III. Absolute boundaries are those boundaries that under no circumstances will you ever cross. These must be realistic AND you must hold them in reverence. Typically, everyone should have at least three such absolute boundaries. List three that you will use to help manage your life.

    Absolute boundary #1: I will not lie about anything I do, either directly or by omission, that is a violation of sexual integrity (as spelled out in Lesson 36).
    Absolute boundary #2: I will act in the way that I want my children to act if either of them were in this situation.
    Absolute boundary #3: I will be honest in all of my personal and professional dealings, even if doing so requires confrontation or a difficult or uncomfortable conversation.
    Absolute boundary #4: I will not engage in a sex-related activity unless any other person involved has explicitly given consent.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:55 pm 
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Lesson 38 Exercise:
I. Review the boundaries created to protect the values listed in the previous lesson.

DONE

II. Consider at least two situations where this value may be threatened. Are the existing boundaries enough to protect against this threat?

    While backpacking, I come across someone skinny dipping in an alpine lake.. My value of not engaging in a sex-related activity unless the other person has explicitly given consent is then threatened because that person has not explicitly given consent to be watched. To avoid crossing this boundary, I must immediately turn away and take active steps to remove myself quickly from the area. The “consent” boundary is sufficient to provide clear rules for this situation.

    Using that same scenario, after seeing the naked person, I would stick to my honesty boundary by telling my spouse all the details of that incident within 24 hours. That boundary could be threatened because, in this scenario, I didn’t intentionally seek to see someone naked. Without this boundary, I could justify not telling my spouse because I didn’t intentionally participate in a voyeuristic activity.

III. If not, evolve your boundaries so that they are capable of allowing you to manage those situations.

Share your work in your recovery thread.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 8:18 pm 
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Lesson 39 Exercise:

The following is intended as a step-by-step guide for rebuilding your sexual values and for developing the boundaries that will protect those values. It is not intended to be completed in a matter of hours, but to be developed over the course of weeks, months and years. This is certainly not the only way to develop healthy sexual values, but it is a guaranteed effective way.

Step 1 Take Inventory of Your Current Sexual Values

Your first step in redeveloping healthy sexual values is to brainstorm a list of all sexually-related values that you currently hold. Don't worry about how socially acceptable this list may be, nor concern yourself with whether a particular value is healthy or unhealthy. Your goal here is only to identify your current thoughts/attitudes relating to your own sexuality.

I am struggling with this exercise. I don’t consider some of the things below as “values,” nor are they all things I believe to be true. Some are things I’ve fantasized were true, but know in reality they are not. Some listed below simply are wishful thinking, or thoughts I’ve had to justify out of control sexual behavior. I also have had difficulty coming up with a huge list (“hundreds?!”).

    Sex must be consensual.
    Lying to one’s spouse about sexual behavior is a disrespectful and a violation of marital vows/sanctity.
    Sex is a normal, healthy part of being human.
    It is normal to feel excited by nude/nearly nude bodies that are attractive to you.
    It is not OK to leer at women.
    It’s OK to admire a woman’s body if she is unaware of the look.
    Prurient interest in minors is wholly inappropriate in all circumstances.
    Sexual behavior that is compulsive is unhealthy.
    Using sexual behavior to mask feelings, or to “feel” something is an inappropriate use of an otherwise important and healthy desire.
    Masturbation is a normal, healthy activity when used in moderation and not as a substitute for human connection.
    I have wished for women to want to see me naked.
    Pleasing a woman sexually (giving her an orgasm) is my responsibility and my enjoyment of lovemaking is dependent on whether she orgasms.
    Being naked outdoors in nature is stimulating.
    Being naked outdoors is OK if no one sees you.
    Fantasizing occasionally is normal.
    Fantasizing about situations and not about specific people/women is uncommon.
    Wearing women’s underwear/lingerie/stockings is exciting.
    Wearing women’s underwear is sexy because it’s taboo, and the “secret” nature of doing so is a turn-on.
    I want women to appreciate my body (and the rest of me, too)..
    I enjoy performing oral sex.
    Hairy genitals are unattractive/shaved genitals are attractive.
    I enjoy being told what to do sexually.
    Being sexually adventurous is fun and healthy for a committed couple.
    Occasionally watching/viewing pornography with your significant other is OK.
    Sex is one of the ways of showing my spouse I love her
    Sex is one way I feel loved.
    I have a higher sex drive than my spouse.
    I sometimes feel the need to orgasm to relieve anxiety, or to redirect my focus away from thinking about work or other stressful matters.
    Sex outside of marriage is wrong.
    I enjoy being watched.
    Men’s underwear is unnecessarily boring.
    Inserting safe things in one’s anus feels sexy.
    Lying about sexual activity of any sort is a form of adultery.
    Birth control/safe sex is equally the responsibility of the man.
    No means no.
    It is healthy to be sexually adventurous, within shared boundaries, with your partner.
    A significant amount of pornography, but not all, is exploitative of women.
    One can’t have an erotic-ectomy. One should not feel shame/guilt for what turns them on (with some serious exceptions).
    Sex/pornography can be addictive.
    Compulsive use of sex/pornography is, ultimately, a choice. Men/women have the ability to exercise their freewill to choose another way of coping/managing anxiety/distracting themselves.
    Lying to one’s spouse about sexual behavior is a disrespectful and a violation of marital vows/sanctity.

Step 2 Define an Ideal Ending

Your next task is to create an ideal set of sexual values that you will strive to achieve in recovery.

    I will be completely open and honest with my partner about all things sexual.
    I will be a compassionate, considerate sexual partner; as opposed to a sexual performer.
    I will not engage in sexual behavior that I believe to be high risk for destructive/addictive consequences.
    I will never engage in sexual behavior that places myself in physical, legal or social danger.

Step 3 Define a Beginning

I. Take out the list of current sexual values that you developed in Step One
II. Remove each value that is unrelated to, irrelevant towards and/or contrasting with the values identified in Step Two.
III. All remaining values on your list should now represent your current healthy sexual values; and all should be related to helping you achieve your immediate developmental goals.


    Sex must be consensual.
    Lying to one’s spouse about sexual behavior is a disrespectful and a violation of marital vows/sanctity.
    Sex is a normal, healthy part of being human.
    It is not OK to leer at women.
    Prurient interest in minors is wholly inappropriate in all circumstances.
    Sexual behavior that is compulsive is unhealthy.
    Using sexual behavior to mask feelings, or to “feel” something is an inappropriate use of an otherwise important and healthy desire.
    Masturbation is a normal, healthy activity when used in moderation and not as a substitute for human connection.
    Being sexually adventurous is fun and healthy for a committed couple.
    Sex outside of marriage is wrong.
    Lying about sexual activity of any sort is a form of adultery.
    Birth control/safe sex is equally the responsibility of the man.
    No means no.
    One can’t have an erotic-ectomy. One should not feel shame/guilt for what turns them on (with some serious exceptions).
    Sex/pornography can be addictive.
    Compulsive use of sex/pornography is, ultimately, a choice. Men/women have the ability to exercise their freewill to choose another way of coping/managing anxiety/distracting themselves.
    Lying to one’s spouse about sexual behavior is a disrespectful and a violation of marital vows/sanctity.

Step 4 Define Your Existing Vulnerabilities

With the knowledge of where your current sexual values are, coupled with the goals you are striving for, it becomes necessary to identify potential obstacles that will need to be overcome in order for you to successfully reach these goals. For now, you have successfully completed this step when you have identified the most common, or the most likely obstacles that you will face in developing new sexual values.

Obstacles to reaching goals:

    Learning new ways to handle boredom and loneliness.
    Ingrained triggers that shift thinking toward compulsive behavior.
    Established tendency to seek out immediate gratification.
    Lack of intimate (emotional/social/physical) connections.
    High degree of stress about status of marriage.
    Other life stresses (parent, work, kids, misc. projects).
    A decrease in urgency of completing my work, or motivation to do so.
    Lack of focus, and my attention deficits.
    Under-developed emotions, which lead me to want to use compulsive sexual behaviors to “feel” something.

Step 6 Select Initial Value for Development

Step six begins the active learning process. Step six requires that you select a single sexual value from your current foundation of sexual values to begin actively developing.

Lying to one’s spouse about sexual behavior is a disrespectful and a violation of marital vows/sanctity.

Step 7 Define the boundaries that will protect the selected value

With the value being developed selected, it is time to create the rules that you will use to protect this value.


Lying to one’s spouse about sexual behavior is a disrespectful and a violation of marital vows/sanctity.

    I will tell my spouse about any violation of sexual integrity within 24 hours of the incident.
    I will regularly share with my spouse information about any struggles I am having with maintaining my sexual integrity. I will initiate these conversations regularly.
    I will be honest and open with my spouse about my sexual wants and desires.
    I will tell my spouse when I masturbate, whether or not I orgasm.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:35 am 
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Lesson 40 Exercise:

I. Choose someone in your life that you feel close to. A spouse. A child. A parent. A friend. Rather than assuming what boundaries they have; or what values they want protected...take some time to step into their lives. Refresh those perceptions that you have. Consider how you can HELP THEM reinforce those boundaries. Post a few thoughts about this in your thread.

Given the hurt and pain that my repeated lying about violations of my sexual integrity have brought to my spouse, I choose reflect on how I can help my spouse reinforce her boundaries.

She has set a boundary that she will no longer tolerate being lied to. The stress of not knowing if I’m being truthful is too painful, too stressful and too injurious to her physical and mental health that she can no longer tolerate being with someone whom will not be open, honest and transparent

To her, the anxiety that flows from having had the fundamental sense of comfort that comes from trust ripped away is overwhelming. One should be able to feel that the person you love will not violate your trust at all, let alone do it repeatedly. As a result, a sense of safety and contentment has been ripped away. This violation of her boundary makes her feel lost, unmoored, rejected and taken advantage of. Rather than experience the safety and intimacy of a deep, committed relationship, she lives in fear, on guard and hardened in anticipation of more lies and violations of trust. As a result, she finds that she has lost her sense of self. She can’t trust her own instincts, as my lying tests what’s real and not real in her life. So, she feels turned upside down and inside out, swirling in the conflicting emotions of a sincere desire to experience an intimate, trusting relationship with the person she loves and an overwhelming need to protect what’s left of her personal integrity and love of self. Because she has had to devote so much emotional energy to coping with my lies, she has less of herself to share with others...our kids, our families, our friends and her other interests and passions. All of this brings about a sense of loss and regret, which at times can be emotionally crippling.

II. Consider what you could do should YOU become aware that you have violated a boundary of theirs.

The most important thing I can do should I violate one of my spouse’s boundaries is to be open, honest and transparent about it. I need to have faith in her...trust her. I must show respect for her by being honest, being humble and being vulnerable enough...strong enough...to show my foibles. I must put her legitimate need for complete honesty above my penchant for self protection.

III. Consider your reaction should they tell you that you have violated a boundary of theirs. Think beyond defensiveness...keep working until you grasp a healthy reaction.

If informed by my spouse that I have violated a boundary of hers, my first reaction must be to listen. Hear her out. Take a breath and seek to understand and appreciate where she is coming from. How does she see what has happened. Look at the situation through her eyes, with careful reflection of the place of broken trust and emotion hurt from which she is coming. Consider how difficult it is for her to raise this boundary violation with you. Know that she has been hurt by boundary violations more times than any one person should ever have to come to terms with. Know that she is as sad as she is angry or disappointed. Be strong enough to empathize with her and her perspective. Look deep inside and seek to feel what she is experiencing. After all that, then respond with honesty, empathy, understanding and love and reach out with words and hands as you do so.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:39 pm 
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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.

My envision my core identity as my soul’s power source, something to check on when the mental lights flicker. I picture looking deep inside when I’m confronted with a boundary and value challenging situation. Deep inside I find my core identity box. I quickly open it and am able to validate my gut feeling of what is right and wrong. I have done this for years with my life beyond issues related to sex. I have made tough choices around honesty by looking inside that box and checking whether a given decision is in keeping with my integrity. My core identity today will guide me in all matters, including those related to sex. My core identity is guided by honesty and integrity. I will look inward when decisions regarding compulsive behavior choices arise.

B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.

I feel like core identity is what’s at the center of one’s values. Maybe my core identity is like the sun, and my values are the planets and moons that orbit around the sun, held in place by the sun’s gravitational pull, it’s warmth and its life-giving attributes. Using my values as a basis for daily decision-making will help hone, sharpen and solidify my core identity. Through repetition of responsible and values-based decision making, I will develop my core identity as a life-long beacon.

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?

I think right now I am modestly in tune with my core identity. For a long time, I have cruised through life guided by a solid core identity framework. It’s kept me out of many dark places, but has not been refined and complete enough to be that beacon. I need to build out that framework into a whole core identity. I think that by practicing values-based decision making, I can get there.

When I engage in an activity that is destructive, my core identity retreats. It is still there, providing some guidance...a weak light in the darkness. It tells me that lying, for example, is wrong, but it hasn’t provided me with the strength to choose truth over pain avoidance and obfuscation. When compulsive or destructive behaviors have been in the offing, my core identity has been overpowered by the desire for immediate gratification, and the twin powerhouses of compartmentalization and justification. I need to strengthen my core identity so that it can overpower my well-worn grooves of poor decision making, compartmentalization and justification. I need to learn to feel gratified by simply making the right choice and doing the right thing.

My core identity is affected by the consequences of destructive actions by retreating into the background, almost like it’s hiding out while bad things happen so it can live to fight another day. It feels like my core identity is waiting for the right moment to emerge to take its right place in the center of my internal universe. My job is to create the right enabling conditions so my full-strength core identity can emerge for good.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:38 pm 
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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

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.

II. Document A, C, and D in your recovery thread, but feel free to write your thoughts on any other part as well.


Map a Compulsive Ritual: Outdoor Nudity/Exhibitionism

    Drive to a trailhead to run/hike. (anticipation, joy)
    Start run/hike, bound for a remote area. (anticipation, joy)
    Strip down to just shorts and shoes on this warm, sunny day. (very mild excitement, joy)
    Feel the warmth of the sun or a warm breeze on my skin. (peace, joy)
    Enjoy feeling of physical exertion, sounds of shoes on trail and envelopment in nature. (peace, flow, joy)
    Experience moments of monotony or boredom. (frustration, anxiety)
    Feel desire for excitement and/or distraction. (excitement, anxiety)
    Choose to go off trail into a more remote location. (excitement, anxiety, anticipation)

      <<POINT OF NO RETURN>>

        Intensely scan surroundings for signs or sounds of other people. (anticipation, excitement, control)
        Remove my shorts and sunbathe naked on a rock. (excitement, control, achievement, fear, worry - about being seen)
        Stand up naked to ensure there still is no one around. (excitement, control, achievement, fear, worry)
        Masturbate to erection. (excitement)
        Ejaculate. (comfort, relief, serenity, excitement)
        Put shorts back on. (control, achievement, guilt/shame)
        Resume run. (achievement, guilt/shame, joy)

          The element just prior to the POINT OF NO RETURN is choosing to go off-trail to a more remote location. The decision to go off-trail, which is in response to a growing sense of monotony or boredom, is a response to a perceived “need” for immediate relief of that boredom...the “need” to be entertained...to create excitement, which comes from taking the risk of getting naked outdoors and, despite the remote location, being seen or stumbled upon. Even though the risk is intentionally low or very low, the fact that there remains a chance of being caught in the act of being naked heightens the anticipation and the sense of power or control. The power/control feeling stems from a feeling that my senses are so acute and so attuned to my environment that I can outwit/out-see/out-hear anyone that might be ambling by in my vicinity.

          If I choose not to leave the trail, I can break the compulsive chain. I can recognize and manage those feelings of monotony and boredom and desire for immediate gratification and excitement through other means


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          PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:36 pm 
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          Lesson 46 Exercise:

          This next step in urge control is quite simple. It is the transition in thinking from the identification of a time where action can be taken, to the realization that action will be taken. It is the realization that you are in control over whether you continue engaging in your established compulsive ritual, or whether you engage in alternate behavior that will establish new chains — preferably, ones based on values.

          A. In the long run, addiction is eliminated by altering the existing compulsive behavior (destructive, based on immediate emotional needs) to more stable, constructive chains that solidify the foundation of your life in a progressive manner. Before such compulsive chains can be reversed, it is necessary to begin mastering the ability to reverse single compulsive rituals. Begin this process now by considering a previous compulsive chain, identify the element immediately preceding the 'point of no return' and then rewrite the remainder of the chain so that your actions are based on healthy values, rather than immediate emotional response. Share this in your recovery thread.


            Drive to a trailhead to run/hike. (anticipation, joy)
            Start run/hike, bound for a remote area. (anticipation, joy)
            Strip down to just shorts and shoes on this warm, sunny day. (very mild excitement, joy)
            Feel the warmth of the sun or a warm breeze on my skin. (peace, joy)
            Enjoy feeling of physical exertion, sounds of shoes on trail and envelopment in nature. (peace, flow, joy)
            Experience moments of monotony or boredom. (frustration, anxiety)
            Feel desire for excitement and/or distraction. (excitement, anxiety)
            Choose to go off trail into a more remote location. (excitement, anxiety, anticipation)
            <<POINT OF NO RETURN>>
            Explore surroundings and new terrain. (curiosity, peace, flow joy)
            Return to trail. (satisfaction, peace, flow joy)
            Resume run. (peace, flow, joy, satisfaction)


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          PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:44 pm 
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          Lesson 47 Exercise:

          1. Just as you have with your values and your emotions, it is time to transfer the knowledge that you are developing to a practical application in your day-to-day life. This cannot be done without first developing an awareness of the times when such information is applicable. Over the next 48 hours, envision at least ten different REALISTIC scenarios where you may encounter a compulsive urge in the future and document these in your recovery thread.

            While staying in a hotel on work travel, I could experience a compulsive urge to look out my hotel room window and scan other windows in hopes of catching someone in a state of undress or having sex.

            While staying in a hotel on work travel, I could experience a compulsive urge to be intentionally careless about walking around my room naked, potentially visible to someone looking at my room’s window.

            While staying in a hotel on work travel, I could experience a compulsive urge to view softcore pornographic movies on a premium cable channel that is part of the room’s TV channel line-up.
            While in a bookstore/library/grocery, I could feel a compulsive urge to look at sexually-suggestive books or magazines.

            While hiking/running in the backcountry, I could feel a compulsive urge to sunbathe naked, or hike off-trail naked or nearly-naked.

            After a hike/run, I could feel a compulsive urge to bathe naked in a mountain stream, justifying it by wanting to wash off the sweat/dirt/grime before a long drive home.

            While home alone, I could feel a compulsive urge to watch sexually-suggestive videos/movies on streaming services available on my television.

            While in certain towns/cities/places, I could experience a compulsive urge to stop by a place people are known to sunbathe nude “just to see what’s going on.”

            If I have access to an unmonitored non-work computer or phone, I could experience a compulsive urge to look at Instagram or some other “mainstream” social media tool or photo-sharing site and “accidentally” see some sexually-suggestive material.

            While at home or in a hotel, I could experience a compulsive urge to video myself masturbating as a ritualistic reminder of past violations of sexual integrity.

          2. With each scenario:

            Identify how you would know when that urge/ritual would likely begin, when the likely 'point of no return' would be and when you would 'create the break'. Do this in your head.
            Anticipate the emotions associated with that particular ritual, isolate those emotions from your 'core identity' and prepare yourself to make a values-based decision (versus an emotions-based decision). Do this in your head.
            Choose one such scenario and document it in your recovery thread.
            If you are not in coaching, feel free to post additional scenarios for review.


          While staying in a hotel on work travel, I could experience a compulsive urge to be intentionally careless about walking around my room naked, potentially visible to someone looking at my room’s window.

          This urge/ritual likely would begin as soon as I walked into my hotel room. The “likely point of no return” is when I decide to remove my clothes (for any reason...changing from work clothes into running clothes, etc…).

          I could create the break by having in advance a clear plan for managing the moments when I need to remove my clothes (curtains closed; honest reason for needing to remove clothes, i.e. under covers and preparing for sleep or bathing).

          Emotions likely to be associated with this ritual: boredom, desire for immediate gratification, excitement, control, achievement).

          Emotions likely to be felt after successfully breaking from ritual: relief, accomplishment and peace.


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          PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:21 pm 
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          Lesson 48 Exercise:

          For each of the next three days, find an opportunity to complete each of the three skills mentioned in this lesson: role-playing/visualization; anticipating; actively seeking opportunity. It doesn't matter what you apply these skills to — even if the behavior is unrelated to sexual addiction.

          When you feel that you are proficient with how to use each of these skills, say so in your recovery thread.


          I think I have a good handle on role-playing/visualization. However, I need to work on actively seeking opportunity. Right now, I don't yet fully have the"intentionality" required to master "actively seeking." When I wake up in the morning, I find myself not pondering important matters, such as those discussed in Recovery Nation. I am jumping into the day, preparing for work, chasing kids, squeezing in a workout. Similarly, throughout the day, I often am mentally racing from one thing to another. I need to continuously work to slow down and ponder, concentrate and become more intentional. That said, I do find myself slowing down and thinking about values/character/growth far more today than I ever have before. Still, I feel I can, and will, do better as I progress. I need to work hard on actively (I can't bring myself to use made-up word "proactively!) seeking out opportunities to do priority things, such as improving communications and the frequency of reaching out to my wife.


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          PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:37 pm 
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          Lesson 50 Exercise:

          Once you have applied effective urge control — once you have identified the emotional elements of a compulsive urge, isolated the element that exists just prior to the 'point of no return' and put yourself in a position to make a rational decision in what was once a compulsive moment — the next step is to make the decision and accept the consequences for whatever decision you make.

          A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)


          Positive: For now, I think the positive consequences of using a health, values-based decision to manage a compulsive urge will be satisfaction, continued growth in self-confidence and self-assuredness. Ultimately, I think the positive consequence of choosing to make a decision based on values will be simply making that choice without a lot of forethought or subsequent thought...it just will be. As a result, I will continue to feel more and more that I am fully present, healthy and moving toward a life of fulsome fulfillment. I won’t have to live with mental asterix next to every day that I made a decision based on a “need” for immediate gratification or on a bent coping strategy.

          Negative: The “negative” consequences of making a values-based decision, at least in the near-term, is the loss of that feeling of immediate gratification and/or the loss of a tool to manage boredom, create distraction or cope with difficult feelings. As I have moved through this program, I have felt less and less that desire for immediate gratification or artificial and external ways to deal with boredom/distraction/coping. Progress!

          B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)

          Positive: At this stage of my work, I really don’t see a true positive outcome. Sure, there may be some immediate gratification, some excitement and temporary relief from boredom, but all that will be outweighed by the negative feelings of having crossed my boundaries and the knowledge that I now must follow-through on my commitment to my spouse to tell her that day about the violation of sexual integrity.

          Negative: Overall, following through on the compulsive ritual will bring about negative results. I will feel less solid, less secure, less grounded, less successful and less strong. I will feel dishonest. I will feel like I am letting down my spouse, my kids and the rest of my family. I will feel like I am failing, which will set back the progress I am making in self confidence and self esteem.

          C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?

          Making values-based decisions will enable me to stay on a path toward building, or rebuilding, my self confidence and self esteem. I will feel like I am continuing to grow emotionally, becoming more in tune with how I am feeling. Values-based decision making will keep me in a place where I can be vulnerable, and capable of deeper and deeper intimacy with my spouse, kids, friends and family. I will be able to tackle situations from a position of emotional connection and strength, rather than from an arms-length, intellectual place.

          D. Document your thoughts in your recovery manager.


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          PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:30 am 
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          Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 7:50 pm
          Posts: 52
          Lesson 51 Exercise:

          To make a healthy decision — to master the skill of making healthy decisions — you must gain confidence in quickly and accurately identifying what options are available in any given situation, recognize the consequences of those actions, and ultimately, trusting yourself to choose the option best suited to promoting your values.
          Share the following in your thread:

          A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)

          B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)
          C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:
          i. You make the decision to act on this option
          ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option
          iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others
          iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret

            Drive to a trailhead to run/hike.
            Start run/hike, bound for a remote area.
            Strip down to just shorts and shoes on this warm, sunny day.
            Feel the warmth of the sun or a warm breeze on my skin.
            Enjoy feeling of physical exertion, sounds of shoes on trail and envelopment in nature.
            Experience moments of monotony or boredom.
            Feel desire for excitement and/or distraction.

          BEGIN TO CONSIDER OPTIONS

          Option #1: Stay on trail; continue run without responding to urge
            You make the decision to act on this option: pride in making a values-based decision; pride in sticking to my boundaries
            You make the decision NOT to act on this option: excitement; anticipation; anxiety about succumbing to inevitability of compulsive urge.
            You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others: This would only happen if I told my spouse. She would feel relief and gratitude for me reaching out to her and sharing a struggle and my successful management of the situation. This would enhance our closeness and progress toward intimacy.
            You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret: I would have missed an opportunity to enhance closeness and intimacy with my spouse.
          Option #2: Change music; listen to podcast to shift focus; continue on run without responding to urge
            You make the decision to act on this option: pride in making a values-based decision; pride in sticking to my boundaries
            You make the decision NOT to act on this option: excitement; anticipation; anxiety about succumbing to inevitability of compulsive urge.
            You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others: This would only happen if I told my spouse. She would feel relief and gratitude for me reaching out to her and sharing a struggle and my successful management of the situation. This would enhance our closeness and progress toward intimacy.
            You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret: I would have missed an opportunity to enhance closeness and intimacy with my spouse.
          Option #3: Call spouse to discuss situation
            You make the decision to act on this option: pride in making a values-based decision; pride in sticking to my boundaries; pride in showing vulnerability; enhance closeness, trust and intimacy with my spouse.
            You make the decision NOT to act on this option: excitement; anticipation; anxiety about succumbing to inevitability of compulsive urge; disappointment for letting fear and distrust win..
            You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others: She would feel relief and gratitude for me reaching out to her and sharing a struggle and my successful management of the situation. This would enhance our closeness, trust and progress toward intimacy.
            You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret: I would have missed an opportunity to enhance closeness, trust and intimacy with my spouse.
          Option #4: Continue sliding down the compulsive chain (see below) - violation of boundary/values; would feel bad about myself for succumbing to compulsive urge; wouldn’t feel comfortable telling my spouse; wouldn’t want my kids to behave in this way

          Option #5: Stay on trail and do something significantly less than stripping naked, but still slightly exhibitionistic to satisfy urge and desire for excitement -- violation of boundary/values; would feel bad about myself for succumbing to compulsive urge; wouldn’t feel comfortable telling my spouse; wouldn’t want my kids to behave in this way

          Choose to go off trail into a more remote location.

          <<POINT OF NO RETURN>>

            Intensely scan surroundings for signs or sounds of other people.
            Remove my shorts and sunbathe naked on a rock.
            Stand up naked to ensure there still is no one around.
            Masturbate to erection.
            Ejaculate.
            Put shorts back on.
            Resume run.

          What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)

          I don’t see a circumstance where an option would create positive and negative influences in my value system. In the compulsive chain above, there seems to be a clear delineation between responsible (positive influences) and irresponsible (negative influences) options.


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          PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:20 pm 
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          Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 7:50 pm
          Posts: 52
          Lesson 52 Exercise:

          This exercise may be difficult for certain types of thinkers, so simply do your best.
          Consider a situation in life (outside of addiction) where this 'isolation' of feelings/emotions has been known to occur and/or might prove beneficial. For instance, certain Eastern practices where people can isolate the physical pain they are experiencing from their spiritual selves and thus, manage that pain with ease. And no, you can't use that as your example! There are thousands of such potential applications — albeit not as dramatic. Share this in your thread.

          What I am looking for is your skill in understanding the concepts involved with isolating emotions and what it will 'look like/feel like' in real life application. If you can't think of anything, say so in your thread and I will provide you with an example.


          Here are a few examples of real-life experiences isolating emotions:

            Many times in a professional setting, I have felt strong emotions well up based on a perceived slight, or an impertinent tone in an e-mail message. In almost all of the occasions I have with great deliberation paused and examined how I was feeling. I took the time determine what was the right values-based and professional response and communicated (or chose not to communicate) in a manner that was fully inline with my professional boundaries and values. This self-examination sometimes happened as I stared at a draft of an e-mail response, the writing of which may have served as a get-it-off-my-chest exercise. Almost always, however, I choose not to send that message and take genuine satisfaction in responding as a professional.

            I have done a bit of ultra-running, participating in races of 50 or 100 miles. After the first 50 miles or so, one must learn to manage emotion and physical discomfort in order to keep moving forward. Even while major parts of the brain and central nervous system is telling you to stop, you have to intentionally separate those feelings from the reality of what you know your body can do.


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          PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:36 pm 
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          Posts: 52
          Lesson 53 Exercise:

          When it comes time to actually make the decision as to what action you are going to take next, it is not always easy to separate the healthy options from the destructive ones. The ones based on values versus the ones based on emotions. Often, these two areas overlap. This is where experience, time and a commitment to make what you believe to be the best choice at that time comes in.

          A. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbation to be against your values — and therefore, a destructive act. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbating to be within your values — and therefore, a healthy act.


          Masturbating anywhere other than completely in private is against my values.

          Masturbating at home or in a hotel room with windows closed would be within my values. The example given in the lesson of masturbating while in bed with mind racing is a useful case study. I have been in that situation before...say, where I woke up in the early morning and started thinking too much about work or another anxiety-producing issue. Masturbation may be a way to shift my mind away from that stressor(s). In this moment, masturbation is within my values.

          B. In your recovery thread, list other common value conflicts involving sexual and/or romantic behavior that you have found yourself engaged in? Or that you may find yourself engaged in, given your history.

            For about 15 years I have regularly groomed/shaved/trimmed my pubic hair. Usually, this now is as routine as shaving my face. Occasionally, the act of shaving down there is stimulating. I am not a hairy person. I have no chest hair, and keep the minor hair growth on my shoulders and lower in check. My self-grooming preference, as well as what I like on a woman, is little to no hair down there. I sometimes feel conflicted as to whether or not this “manscaping” is more loaded for me than I am willing to admit/address.

            Additionally, I regularly fantasize as I fall asleep, or upon waking up. I don’t fantasize about specific people. I fantasize about situations. I rarely fantasize any other time during the day/night. Similarly to the masturbation example above, the fantasizing is a way to distract my mind away from work/life anxieties. I feel conflicted about whether this brief fantasy periods is appropriate and OK.


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          PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:44 pm 
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          Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 7:50 pm
          Posts: 52
          Lesson 54 Exercise:

          In your recovery thread:

          A. Select a VALUE-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some NEGATIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

          One recent morning, I met a couple of friends at a local trailhead to go for a before-work run. After the run, one of the guys said that when he was waiting for the other two of us to arrive, he saw a naked women walk by a window in a house near the trailhead. I made a values-based decision to tell my wife about this. The negative consequences that resulted were that she now is triggered when I return this nearby trail to run. Additionally, my sharing this incident creates additional anxiety for her when I go out for a run. She now worries that my running there is triggering me, and fears that I will and have returned to the trailhead in hopes of seeing the woman.

          B. Select an EMOTION-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some POSITIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

          After a run in the mountains, I stopped by a creek well off a road, stripped naked and bathed in the creek. After the rinse, I laid on a rock in the sun to dry. The positive consequences of this, in addition to getting clean, was that I felt excited, energized and had all my of my senses heightened. I felt vulnerable as a result of the risk, which was stimulating.


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