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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:41 pm 
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Recovery Workshop: Lesson Fifty-Five
Practical Decision-Making: Past

The lesson instruction indicated there was “no need” to post on this exercise, but I decided I wanted to answer the questions from the lesson. For purposes of answer the questions below, I opted to think about an extended period of multiple compulsive behaviors. I have been through several “discoveries” with my spouse. Each of these periods have been difficult, and each have happened after periods of new learning and personal growth...just not enough, or not the right kind of growth.

Were you aware that you were experiencing a compulsive sexual event at the time?

During most of my compulsive periods, I was unaware or unwilling to admit that my behaviors were compulsive. Instead, I just did them...without thinking. I learned how to very effectively compartmentalize pieces of my life. I created as bright of a line between those compartments as I could. At the time, I felt like I had them wholly walled off. I have learned that there was a lot of insidious and emotional harmful leakage between those compartments. I was living two lives, the one I hid from my spouse and others, and my public life. As we all know, it is pure fallacy that feelings can be permanently masked through compulsive behavior, and the such actions are completely poor substitutes for intimacy, connection and honesty.

How intense were the emotions that were triggered by this event — BEFORE you chose to act on it?

My compulsive actions created a lot of emotions, although would never have called them “emotions” then. I was operating purely on an immediate gratification basis. I felt bad, disaffected, inadequate, lost, unsure so I turned to sex-based behaviors for relief and distraction. I felt intense feelings of excitement and fulfillment. I was getting through these behaviors the feelings thought I wanted, but was unable or unwilling to seek in more honest, intimate and real ways.

At any point did you look to your values in a sincere effort for guidance in your decision-making?

No. I for far too long failed to sync my compartmentalized selves. I had difference sets of values for each compartment. I had a clear “no-lying” value for my work self, but lied repeatedly when in my compulsive sexual behavior compartment. I did not have clearly stated universal values. A result of this is that I didn’t (or don’t) have a clearly developed sense of self. Who am I? What do I stand for? What kind of person do I want to be? The work to unify my selves under a common set of clear value is new...and powerful.

After making the decision to act on this sexual event, how long did the emotions elicited from the event last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. affair lasted two weeks)

The emotions from individual compulsive acts lasted for anywhere from a few minutes to years. Some are still with me today as I recall specific events/images/etc… I have many emotional holes that were filled by these compulsive acts. Through them I received the validation and approval I sought in my “real” life. Feelings elicited by filling these holes with compulsive behavior were powerful, and for a time served a purpose. My work and responsibility now is to recognize that there are better, healthy and MORE powerful ways to be whole, and practice those ways until they are second nature.

In the aftermath, did you make a conscious effort to evaluate the consequences of your decision?

No. In classic compartmentalization fashion, I boxed away the negative feelings and consequences associated with those compulsive behaviors. I simply “chose” not to think about negative consequences. They only emerged, in a torrent (!), once I was discovered and the truth about my actions was forced from me.

If so, what did you conclude? If not, do so now. What were the consequences — even if benign?

With the greater clarity I have as a result of the cycle of lying and being discovered, I see that consequences are enormous, almost overwhelming. My marriage is in crisis. As a result, my relationship with my teenage children is strained. I haven’t spoken to any of my spouse’s family in eight months. My self-confidence took a hit. My sense of self was thrown into question. I nearly lost my home, and my family. My wife’s physical and mental health has been strained. There is little, if any, trust between my spouse and me. I am sleeping on a futon on the floor of my bedroom, which is step up from sleeping on the floor of the living room. Shame and guilt had a long-term hold on me. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on therapy, money that could have been saved for kids’ college, or spent on experiences that benefited us all. The list could, and does, go on...

If there were consequences, how intense were the emotions elicited from those consequences? How long did they last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. guilt continues two years later; was caught by wife, distrust continues two years later, lost friendships continue, etc.)

All of the emotions stemming from the consequences above have been incredibly intense. I feel as if I have been stripped to the core (which is nothing compared to what my spouse has had to endure). Collectively, the emotions and other impacts of those consequences have lasted for years, and continue today. I don’t know that I will ever be in a position of having moved beyond those consequences. And, that’s hard to say, let alone accept.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:05 pm 
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Lesson Fifty-Six - Practical Decision-Making: Present

You will face many decisions in the coming days, weeks and months that can potentially be greatly influenced by your emotions. Choose a potential compulsive sexual event and assess your decision-making in relation to that event.

Assess for the following:

Will you be aware that a compulsive sexual event is occurring? (at this stage, you should be)


Yes.

How intense do you anticipate the emotions triggered by this event to be?

I don’t anticipate those emotions to be especially intense. They may be compelling, but not intense. I really feel that for me the key will be thoughtful and deliberate self-awareness. Add in a dose of courage and commitment, and I feel like I can manage those emotions.

At what point in the decision-making process will you look to your values for guidance?

I will look to my values the moment I sense an urge or compulsion calling. In other words, I will look to my values before the point of no return.

Should you make the decision to act on this sexual event, how long do you anticipate the emotions elicited from the event will last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. online chatting will provide me with two hours of stimulation)

I expect the emotions elicited from a sexual event to last an hour or less.

Anticipate the consequences of your decision to act on the compulsive urge. What consequences might there be if you were caught? If you weren't?

If I were caught, and I have not established a lengthy period of honesty about other compulsive urges and actions, then I would be in serious jeopardy of losing my marriage, and connections to my kids and extended family. If I was not caught, I would have significant feelings of guilt and emotional discomfort. I would be uncomfortable with myself, and my self-confidence would be again in decline. I would not be able to look my spouse in the eye, nor myself in the mirror.

If there are consequences, how intense do you anticipate the emotions elicited from those consequences might be? How long might they last? Hours, days, weeks, years?

The emotions of the consequences would be severe. The feelings of weakness, loss, humiliation, failure and disappointment would be debilitating. Those feelings (and more) would last for years.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:05 pm 
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Lesson Fifty-Six - Practical Decision-Making: Present

You will face many decisions in the coming days, weeks and months that can potentially be greatly influenced by your emotions. Choose a potential compulsive sexual event and assess your decision-making in relation to that event.

Assess for the following:

Will you be aware that a compulsive sexual event is occurring? (at this stage, you should be)


Yes.

How intense do you anticipate the emotions triggered by this event to be?

I don’t anticipate those emotions to be especially intense. They may be compelling, but not intense. I really feel that for me the key will be thoughtful and deliberate self-awareness. Add in a dose of courage and commitment, and I feel like I can manage those emotions.

At what point in the decision-making process will you look to your values for guidance?

I will look to my values the moment I sense an urge or compulsion calling. In other words, I will look to my values before the point of no return.

Should you make the decision to act on this sexual event, how long do you anticipate the emotions elicited from the event will last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. online chatting will provide me with two hours of stimulation)

I expect the emotions elicited from a sexual event to last an hour or less.

Anticipate the consequences of your decision to act on the compulsive urge. What consequences might there be if you were caught? If you weren't?

If I were caught, and I have not established a lengthy period of honesty about other compulsive urges and actions, then I would be in serious jeopardy of losing my marriage, and connections to my kids and extended family. If I was not caught, I would have significant feelings of guilt and emotional discomfort. I would be uncomfortable with myself, and my self-confidence would be again in decline. I would not be able to look my spouse in the eye, nor myself in the mirror.

If there are consequences, how intense do you anticipate the emotions elicited from those consequences might be? How long might they last? Hours, days, weeks, years?

The emotions of the consequences would be severe. The feelings of weakness, loss, humiliation, failure and disappointment would be debilitating. Those feelings (and more) would last for years.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:42 pm 
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Lesson 58 Exercise:

Define the five rituals that you will most likely face in the next two years. For each, develop an action plan in five minutes or less...that focuses specifically on the immediate action you will take upon the awareness of the ritual; the anticipated emotions you will feel after you engage in that behavior; and the likely mind-games that you will play to get you to abandon your values-based decision making for emotion based decision making.

Post these in your thread.

Ritual #1: Home alone and begin to feel the need to disassociate/cure boredom/achieve exciting distraction/pursue immediate gratification.

Immediate Action: I will recognize that my emotions are looking to take control. I will pause this cascade and assess what is happening. I will deliberately and with focus review my decision-making options.

Anticipated Emotions: I will feel unsettled and unfocused. I will feel the beginnings of a compulsive urge, which will manifest in distracted, sex-focused thinking. I will imagine different ways of addressing my “needs.” I will feel the rumblings of entitlement, and the disquieting notion of inevitability.

The Mind Games: I will seek outlets for these emotions that somehow skirt just below the line of explicit commitments I have made regarding sex and honesty. I will tell myself that it’s no big deal, that it’s not really a violation of my values or commitment to my spouse. I will tell myself I will just do X for a few seconds/minutes.

Ritual #2: I have to travel on business, and stay in a hotel. I enter the hotel room and immediately am beset by feelings of pending compulsive behavior.

Immediate Action: I will pause to assess what thoughts and emotions are present. I will slow down and honestly assess where is my point of no return. After this thoughtful review, I will choose a course of action that is aligned with my values, my boundaries and my commitments to my spouse.

Anticipated Emotions: I will feel the desire for excitement. I will desire the anticipatory rush that comes from the possibility of seeing someone in a state of undress out my window, or being seen in my own state of undress by someone looking at my window. I will feel the urge to do something...anything sex-related as a means to bring excitement and cure my boredom. I will feel some entitlement. I worked hard/long hours today. I’m away from home/family/running routes. I’m owed.

The Mind Games: I will tell myself that I’m just looking out the window to see the view, that it’s not my fault if someone is not taking care to close their curtains. I will convince myself that “accidentally” walking by my window naked is OK. I will consider wandering about my room in my underwear because that’s I’m “still clothed.” Once I’ve dealt with any voyeuristic or exhibitionistic pulls, I will seek other outlets. What’s on HBO/Showtime/Cinemax? What porn titles are on the pay TV system? I’ll peruse them telling myself I’m not at fault if the hotel has premium channels. I’ll just flip by the show I know has nudity...just for a second. That’s OK. I’ll check the porn titles “just to see” what they have.

Ritual #3: I’m out for a trail run in a remote area of public lands. The sun is out, it’s warm and I feel the urge to sunbathe naked, or nearly so.

Immediate Action: I will pause, yet again, and assess what is happening to my emotions and mental space. I will examine why I feel bored, and in need of distraction and excitement. I will take a moment to appreciate the nature that surrounds me and allow myself to be filled by that pleasure, rather than act on a perceived need to find pleasure through distraction and sexually acting out. I will keep running, fully clothed, and celebrate at the end of the run another victory.

Anticipated Emotions: I will feel bored, and separate from the lands I am within. I will lose touch with the physical comfort that comes from pushing my body and connecting with the outdoors. I will feel some entitlement, and desire for distraction and excitement that comes with risk-taking. I will anticipate the feelings of accomplishment that comes from having my senses on high alert and not being seen as I strip and walk or sunbathe naked off-trail.

The Mind Games: I will tell myself that I’m not hurting anyone. I’m way off trail. No one will see me. I don’t want to be seen, anyway. I’m not out to scare anyone. I won’t do it for very long. I’m not going to masturbate, so it’s no big deal.

Ritual #4: I’m walking down the street/trail/wherever and see a pornographic/sexually-suggestive magazine in the trash/in the brush/wherever.

Immediate Action: I’ll glance down at the magazine/material and recognize this is a decision point...a point of no return. I’ll recognize that this was pure happenstance, not something I sought out or intentionally put myself in a position to discover. I’ll remind myself that this is a major decision point. It would be so easy to justify picking it up, but I will make the choice to make the difficult choice of walking on by. I will celebrate this win.

Anticipated Emotions: I will feel highly conflicted. I will see the magazine as a source of relief and excitement.

The Mind Games: I will tell myself that I can pick it up since it was nothing I sought out. I’ll tell myself that I’ll pick it up and dispose of it more properly, where another passer-by won’t find it. I’ll tell myself that I can flip through it “real quick” since I found it accidentally. I’ll feel like I’m not hurting anyone by looking at this “found” object. I’ll look at it, knowing that I’ll tell my spouse about it and shrugging it off because I didn’t do anything intentional to put myself in a position to stumble on this item.

Ritual #5: I will be home alone, either after waking up or before/after showering and will feel the urge to fantasize and masturbate while naked in front of a mirror.

Immediate Action: I will assess whether this urge to masturbate is within my definition of safe self-pleasure, or whether I am using the act to disassociate and seek relief from stress or anxiety. If it’s the latter, I will make a decision to return to my grooming/dressing activity without indulging in the compulsive ritual. I will celebrate this positive development.

Anticipated Emotions: I will feel a need for excitement, a lift. I will draw energy from the vulnerability that comes with my own nudity, perhaps as an “OK” substitute for seeing others naked (pornography). I will feel powerful and confident for being middle-aged and fit.

The Mind Games: I will try and tell myself that this occasional masturbation is within my boundaries, and it doesn’t matter how/when I do it. I will tell myself that I‘ve earned this type of release. I’ll whisper to myself that it’s OK since my spouse and I haven’t had sex for more than 9 months. I’ll tell myself it’s OK because I will communicate with my spouse that I masturbated.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:58 pm 
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Lesson 62 Exercise:

Develop three-five 'most-likely' scenarios where you might face relapse. Role play (in your head or with someone you trust) how you will manage these situations.

Scenario #1: I’m on a business trip and staying in a hotel. I will likely have the temptation to watch out my window in hopes of seeing someone in a state of undress, or the temptation to wander about my own room without clothes on in hopes of being “accidentally” seen. I will manage this situation by intentionally being aware of the temptation and managing it with eyes wide open. I will recognize that I have a choice, and that the feeling of not engaging in a compulsive act can and will be satisfying, too. I will choose not to move around my room without clothes, except at bedtime, and only if the curtains are closed. When tempted to watch out the window, I will seek other distractions to focus my attend elsewhere. Here, too, I will celebrate the accomplishment of resisting a well-worn temptation.

Scenario #2: I have some sort of “small” relapse or stumble upon some inadvertent sexually-charged experience and create an excuse in my mind for why I don’t need to share it with my spouse. The best antidote to this temptation is to keep up my current practice of sharing minor struggles and temptations with my spouse. Don’t let a body of “small stuff” build up to a point where I can tell myself that one more is “no big deal.” I will remind myself that I can trust my spouse, that she only wants me to succeed and success is being honest.

Scenario #3: I will be hiking/running/camping in the backcountry and will feel the temptation to remove my clothes and be naked in the warm sun. I will remind myself that those feelings likely are, in part, due to boredom and a desire for excitement. I will intentionally acknowledge the feelings/compulsions I am experiencing and directly mentally address them. I will recognize them for what they are...fleeting and unnecessary. I will tell myself that I can and will put those compulsions away. I will focus on my surroundings and drink deep of the place, the warmth, the beauty and remind myself that that is enough. I don’t need more. I will celebrate and feel gratitude for the ability and wherewithal to set aside the compulsion.

Explore one unlikely situation where you might face relapse. A situation that you couldn't possibly prepare for. Will your Relapse Plan allow you to manage it? Why or why not?

An unlikely situation, and one I’ve never experienced, could be that I’m on a business trip or a reception somewhere and an attractive woman approaches me, flirts shamelessly and provides all sorts of validation and affirmation (things I crave). I could be tempted to succumb to her flattery and engage in some sort of physical encounter with her. My relapse plan would lead me to intentionally explore what is happening with me emotionally, and prevent me from getting caught up in the perceived fulfillment that would come from surrendering to the temptation.

I think my relapse plan would help allow me to manage that situation. I have not been tempted in the past to engage in any type of affair with a physically-present person. It has, to date, been a line that I have not imagined being interested or able to cross. Still, I believe it important to be realistic that there was a time I wouldn’t have imagined doing many of the things I’ve done, or caused the amount of hurt I’ve caused.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 3:47 pm 
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Lesson 64 Exercise:

Take today to envision where you are in your transition to health.

What skills do you feel you have worked hard to develop?

I feel I am working hard to develop the skill of being honest about my sex-related challenges. I am sharing with my spouse my struggles and when I masturbate (which is about once every 5-10 days). This has, at times, been uncomfortable. I struggle with the one-way nature of this sharing, but am committed to continuing to do it anyway, even if it’s uncomfortable or makes me feel ashamed, managed and frustrated. I am learning that it feels good to be transparent, that I can be me and let the chips fall where they may.

I also have worked hard to view my compulsive behaviors as something that served a purpose, and it’s time to let them go because of growing emotional strength and maturity. It has been liberating to view these out-of-control sexual behaviors as something I used to fill a void, or a need, and that be address and being open about those holes/voids/needs I can grow stronger and less dependent on outside stimulation to cope with those issues.

I also am working hard to be more in tune with my feelings and what I am experiencing. I have had for many years a tendency (or survival mechanism) to live not in the moment, but in the milli-moment. I have not been reflective, just in a state of constant search for the next thing/stimulation/distraction/problem to solve. I am learning to be more reflective and more deliberate in my self-assessment and monitoring.

What skills need additional work?

All of the above need more work, and constant focus. I need to keep my focus on my values and the learning I have gained to grow toward them. Bottom line...my focus and long-term commitment to staying honest is what needs additional work and continuous vigilance.

Explore your attitude in regards to whether or not 'addiction' is a part of you; or merely a pattern that developed in your life.

As noted above, I see “addiction” or compulsion as a tool or coping mechanism that for a time (too long) served an important and valuable purpose. It filled a void that was created by not being taught (or by my avoiding learning) how to cope with stress/anxiety/fear through more appropriate strategies. So I don’t see addiction as part of who I am. I am not an “addict.” I am a worthy human being that adopted poor coping strategies for managing his life. I am capable of growth, change and becoming a whole and self-aware person. And, I aim to do that.

Explore your awareness as to the role that your compulsive rituals played...and what it would mean should they return.

These rituals served to bring excitement and a means to address boredome and the need for distraction, along with being use to cope with anxiety/stress/fear. I crave the excitement that comes from risk taking. I desire the validation and adoration that comes from the smiling naked women in pornography, or the people on webcams that want to watch me. These things filled up the spots inside that lacked validation, affirmation and appreciation. Those needs still exist, but I now know what they are and that I need to advocate for myself and be honest with myself and my spouse about those needs/wants.

Should those compulsions return, and I cannot bring myself to face the truth, it means my marriage is in jeopardy. It means I have failed my spouse, my kids, my parents, my in-laws and myself. It means I choose compulsion over living as a whole person.

Explore how you would respond? Explore your confidence level in that response.

I think I will respond to a return of compulsive behavior by being honest, with myself and my spouse. I think I have the tools available to me to analyze what is happening emotionally and why and to put the return of compulsive behaviors into perspective. I am confident in that response.

Explore your overall balance and stability...how much of your life is spent 'fighting urges, managing urges, acting out, engaging in recovery activities, etc.' versus how much of your life is spent just living.

Part of this is difficult to answer. I don’t think I spend much time fighting/managing urges. I don’t currently act out, other than occasionally masturbating, which I disclose to my spouse. In fact, I don’t consider that acting out. Yes, it’s an outlet, but not acting out, I believe. The difficult part is that I live in a stressful home environment with a spouse that has repeatedly been traumatized by my behavior. So, even as I crave moving forward living differently and seeing myself as someone that is growing and getting stronger, I get regularly pulled into the past and forced to confront a level of pain and sadness that I can barely comprehend. As a result, I don’t feel like I am free to get on with “just living.” I am doing what I can to “just live,” however, and I long for a time when each day is as glorious as the sunrise that begins it.

Assess your identity for hyper-sexuality. How prevalent is it?

I don’t identify myself as hyper-sexual, although I recognize I have used sex as an outlet far more than the average person, and used it for more than recreation. I used it to fill emotional holes and to compensate for missing life management skills. I want to have an identity that is built around goodness, honesty, hard work and caring for others. I expect I always will have an undercurrent of hyper-sexuality, however. I enjoy sex, and want to have an open, honest and adventurous relationship with sex. I want to explore my sexuality with my spouse. I don’t want to wall myself off from new experiences or excitement, provided those experiences are built around honesty, transparency, consent and intimacy with my spouse.

Assess your value system. How efficient are you in using it to make decisions, achieve balance, etc.?

I think my value system is sound. I have a strong sense of right and wrong. In the realm of sex, however, I have bent that value system to allow me to make decisions that brought me excitement at the expense of others. I haven’t always honestly considered complete consent, and that’s a place of work for me.

Share any significant observations (from the questions listed above or others) in your Recovery Thread.


Last edited by COGrow on Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:07 pm 
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Lesson 65 Exercise:

a) Envision your "life after addiction/life after recovery".

I view life after recovery as, simply, life, only without dark corners or unidentified/unnamed holes to fill with poor coping/compulsive behaviors. I envision a time where I, as a matter of course, live in a state of self-awareness, constantly checking in with my emotions and how they are showing up hour-by-hour, day-by-day. I see myself being aware of the choices I make, and making conscious decisions, knowing full-well and accepting the good or bad consequence that go with each decision. These decisions are made with an end in mind. If I choose to lie, it is because I have chosen a different life. If I choose to be honest, I choose to live a life as a whole person, a spouse, a father, a friend, a son, a brother and colleague. If I choose to lie, I choose to live a lie...live two lives, one of a compartmentalized mind and the another that I put on to fool those I engage with on a daily basis. I choose a life of peace.

b) Compare it to the vision that you began back in Lesson Two of the workshop.

What I wrote above is, perhaps to be expected, more succinct, but certainly in line with my Lesson Two vision. The underpinning of both is the notion of living as a whole person, being aware that I am enough and that I have the power to make choices, and learn from my mistakes.

c) They should be nearly identical. Are they?

They are far from “identical” in word, but very much alike in tone and theme.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:17 pm 
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Lesson 66 Exercise:

a) Consider your perspective towards potential triggers when you were in early recovery. Consider your perspective now. How has this changed?

I think that earlier in my recovery I viewed triggers as one dimensional, sort of in the vein of the “click here for free porn” variety. I didn’t have a significant challenge dealing with those types of triggers. I haven’t been drawn to click on the “free porn” link for a number of years. Today, however, I see my triggers as coming from within. Things like stress, anxiety, loneliness, fear, shame and guilt are the things most push me toward wanting to resort to sex-related coping mechanisms and compulsive behavior. These triggers, however, were hidden to me, subconsciously, but intentionally, hidden, I think. Today, I feel much more aware of these feelings, these emotions. I can more forthrightly look inward and see how these emotions are affecting me, and whether they are affecting me. I feel much more attuned to the whirl of feelings/senses/responses/triggers inside me. I have more skills today to step outside myself and look inside to assess what’s roiling and building, or what’s bringing me joy and contentment.

b) List five potential triggers for you — that may lead you into a compulsive crisis. How can you shift your perspective of each so that they are not only NOT a threat to your values, but you can actually use these triggers to strengthen those values?

Fear of disappointing others, or not measuring up: I can shift my perspective by calming myself with the reminder that “I am enough.” I can do my best and recognize it as such. I can remind myself that I have a unique collection of skills that do not need to be compared those those of others. I can learn to calm myself and be self-aware. I can grow my ability to trust others with my vulnerability. Making a mistake is not a bad thing. Not being honest about that mistake is.

Loneliness: I have a tendency to self-isolate, and not let other people in. This is a defense mechanism. If I don’t put myself out there, I don’t have to deal with potential rejection. This loneliness creates a void inside me, one I have sought to fill with distraction and compulsive sex-related behaviors. I can use these feelings of loneliness as opportunities to reflect and be self-aware. I can ask myself, “Why am I feeling loneliness now.?” The answer to that question will provide me with ways to manage the feeling. Reach out to a friend. Call my spouse. Check in with a colleague.

Stress: Life stuff can pile up. Work can become too consuming. Teenagers can be challenging. The list of un-done chores and unmet responsibilities can seem overwhelming. This can cause an urge to disappear, to distract, to act out. Instead, I can fall back on self-awareness. I can ask myself “Are these things really important? Do you need to tackle them today, tomorrow or at all?”

Boredom and a desire for excitement: This is a tough trigger for me. I want to liven up the mundane, the routine. Sex is an easy, fun and exciting way to do that. Here, too, I need to focus on self-awareness. Why am I feeling this way. Am I really “bored?” Am I simply falling back into old, familiar and previously-rewarded patterns of thinking? I need to remind myself that not falling for the “bored” excuse can be its own reward, too. I must find other ways to use my mind, other than slipping into past compulsive behaviors.

Work travel: This meta-trigger often encompasses many of the first four above. Everything is magnified when I’m away from home, away from routine, away from the familiar. I’m not being watched and don’t have to perform for anyone else. I can simply do what I want, be who I want to be. The opportunity for me today, however, is to be a self-aware, whole person. I can be a person that gets satisfaction from not acting out. I can derive excitement from staying true to my values, being transparent and being honest.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:21 pm 
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Lesson 67 Exercise:

a) List the most likely behavior that you will need to monitor for potential 'switching' and/or compulsivity now that the sexual rituals have subsided.

To date, I haven’t had an an issue with poly-addictions. My compulsive behavior pattern has been to stop one sex-related compulsion, then take up another. For example, I stop viewing pornography, but then dive into randomized Webcam sites. When I get caught doing that, I start secretly wearing women’s lingerie or underwear when home alone. Once that is stopped due to being discovered, I take something else, all the while making up excuses… “Touching myself without orgasm isn’t masturbation, so I’m not violating my promise to be transparent about times I’ve masturbated.” So, what I most need to watch out for is finding new outlets for sex-related compulsions. I need to continue living without those compulsions, whatever form they might take.

That said, I still know I need to watch for addiction transference. I will be mindful about maintaining a healthy diet and managing my junk food intake. I also will be careful to ensure I don’t abuse alcohol. I currently consume, on average, two beers per evening, occasionally having three. I must not exceed this current use, and look to cut back consumption over time.

b) Are these listed anywhere on your weekly monitoring so that you can objectively assess them?

The first issue I describe above is covered by my weekly monitoring. I also am well-aware of and cognizant of the need to watch the sugar (!) and beer intake. I will continue self-monitoring all of these things.


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