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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 1:34 am 
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Over the last few years there has been an underlying tension between my wife and myself. We get on well most of the time but small things can be blown out of proportion by both sides and there is a lot of sniping that goes on. Since D Day around 5 years ago I feel like I have been on the naughty step and that my wife always holds the trump card in any argument. I feel like our relationship had turned into more of a brother and sister relationship where we got on well and enjoyed each others' company but there were issues emotionally which led into our (in my view) virtually non-existent sex life. I had tried to raise the issue of sex on two occasions over the last few months and they were not well received but also not dealt with which added to the tension. I had also come to the conclusion that my wife was always getting her own way which was getting me annoyed and I had started to make a stand on certain things. If I am honest, I have been in turmoil over the last month or so where I feel like I have come through the RN lessons and put them into practice ready to dedicate myself to my wife only to find that she wasn't there waiting to receive it. I have felt almost cheated and at weaker moments have even queried to myself why I have bothered putting in so much effort.

A couple of days ago my wife said that she wanted to buy some garden furniture and I said that I didn't like it and would rather than we didn't buy it. She persisted over half an hour trying to persuade me and I continued to stand my ground. She then got exasperated and suggested that perhaps we shouldn't be married any more. It opened up a conversation that we should have had a long time ago and was like a pressure release for both of us. As part of that conversation my wife said that she still thought about D Day virtually all of the time (as do I) and wondered if she could ever get past it, she was also bitter about how she felt she had been forced into how to deal with it when it happened, we went to therapy with someone who seems not to have helped her much and she told me things he had said to her which were not appropriate for a therapist. She then went on to tell me that she was still angry about how I held her partly to blame about everything I had done. I stopped her and told her that was not the case but she pointed out that was what I had said at the time. I told her that I was not in a great frame of mind and was in survival mode back then. I said that she was not at fault for anything I did and the blame for all of it rested firmly with me. She reminded me that I had insisted back then that her not having sex with me for 4 years when our son was born was part of the reason that it happened. I said that it could be argued that having no sex for that period of time could have been a factor but that I should have taken responsibility for it and talked to her about my concerns at the time but I had chosen not to do that so therefore the fault rested with me and me alone. She quickly said that this was one of the biggest obstacles for her that made her so angry even now and that she wished we had had this conversation a long time ago. The first conversation was left with us both getting a sense that the relationship couldn't survive what had happened and I was fairly sure that we would break up.

A sleepless night and a long day yesterday thinking everything through and working out how life would look following a split, a complete mess of emotion, logistics and financial chaos. Last night we talked again and there was a sense of calm and no tension. I explained what I thought about the underlying tension between us in recent times and that I felt it revolved around D Day and that if we were to stay together then she would need to get past that although I wouldn't blame her if she felt that this was not possible. My wife ended up saying that overnight she had given things a lot of thought and the point about me not attributing any of the blame for what I had done against her was a massive thing. After a lot of discussion and soul searching we appear to have got to the outcome that we will stay together. She says that she will do her best to try and put it past us now and look forward. Fair play to her if she can manage that but I admire her for trying to do this. So within 24 hours we have gone from being together to thinking that we were going to split up to then staying together, it has been an emotional rollercoaster.

One of the last things that she asked me is how sure I was that D Day wouldn't happen again in the future. The first thing that popped into my head was RN and that I now have the tools and experience to do just that. It was the first time I have ever looked at her and been confident that I was telling her the truth when I said that it would never happen again. It was a very strange feeling as I had thought that in the past on many occasions but not really ever believed it. RN has saved me and it appears to have saved my relationship, it has pulled us back from the edge of the precipice that I was fairly sure that we were falling into. If CoachJon is looking down and seeing if his legacy survives him then he can take comfort that his hard work is still achieving its goals and I owe him a debt of gratitude for that.

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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 11:31 am 
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I was interested to read some posts on the Partners' forum today about boring sex. The theme was that the SA will often show little or no interest in having sex with their partners or engage in exploring new and exciting ways of developing their sex lives together (e.g. dressing up, undressing, experimenting, etc). I have no doubt that this is a widely experienced thing by the partners but in response from our side in case they are reading here, I can say that this is not always the case. In actual fact, on reading those posts, I was struck by the irony of how I feel like I am in the same situation so it is not exclusively a partners' thing although I would accept that I may be in the minority with this. But the comments and frustrations struck some chords with me.

Anyway, the main point for making this post was more to draw out something else which I noticed which may be of benefit for both sides. Masturbation is no doubt one of the main contributing factors to the SA and their low interest in having sex with their partners. I would say that until joining RN I masturbated on a daily basis virtually every day since I was 12 years old. There are two problems with this in relation to partners, firstly that the urge is taken away to some extent once that event has taken place and speaking personally having a second orgasm of the day takes more motivation than the first. Secondly, and more ashamedly, to be able to sustain such regular masturbation for me required ever increasing stimulation (the lessons refer to this as "habituation") so the search for something new and more exciting to think about whilst masturbating is endless. By comparison, the partners represent a "known entity" and can not therefore possibly compete with that which is unfair.

So, enter my arrival at RN and a commitment made immediately to stop masturbating. I didn't think I could possibly achieve that but I quickly came to realise that, not only was this possible, it actually changed a lot of things in me. I became more easily aroused when I allowed that to happen (and by that I mean that when I was with my wife which is the only time that I would allow urges to carry on) and I was able to get lost in the flood of emotions whilst focussing on my wife and enjoying that I was having "healthy sex". I was also able to climax reasonably easily (no necessarily quickly which is different) which in the past could be more tricky where you are most used to your hand which is a less sensitive feeling. As mentioned earlier, my problem was that my wife wasn't really interested but that's another story.

If there are SAs reading this post and you are a regular masturbator and can resonate with the frustrations expressed by the partners and can relate that with the comments made by your own partner, then I would suggest you give this a go. You may be surprised in what you find. Not only will you feel good about yourself by having only healthy sex, it will hopefully bring you closer to your partner and at the very least show that you are willing to try and make an effort. After the damage we've caused it really is the very least that we can do isn't it?

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L2R

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 1:32 am 
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I have been on RN for nearly 9 months now. I have enjoyed the learning and have felt a great deal of relief to know that SA was not something that I was born with, I was not unique and that there was a way out of the hole at last. The lessons appealed to my logical way of looking at things and I got my head around it quickly. If I am honest it all felt a bit too easy which in the back of my mind made me wonder if I had truly absorbed the learning or it I was paying lip service to it. In the past I had given up smoking, I also had problems with alcohol and stopped drinking nearly 2 years ago. For me though, SA was the biggest one and I knew would be the hardest nut to crack. But I completed the lessons, took on a mentoring role and I knew that I understood what I had learned because I could apply the learning to others' threads.

I had always dreamed of having a life with my wife where she was the only one that I ever thought about and that she would be enough excitement for me but I had always got so much excitement from elsewhere, I had an affair and had seen escorts but the majority of the day to day excitement was about fantasising about other women and masturbating regularly about it. My wife could not compete with that. On joining RN I stopped masturbating and stopped thinking about other women and got to a stage where I was only thinking about my wife and only wanted to have sex with her. I felt like I was on a real high and that I had really achieved something that I did not think was possible. I had arrived at my destination only to find that she didn’t seem to have any interest in having sex with me. I had spent so much time getting my own head straight I hadn't stopped to think that she might not be in a place to fit in with my new life and plans. We have spoken a couple of times about our sex life and it is a subject that is quickly dismissed, I have been more or less told that my expectations of having sex more than once every couple of months are unrealistic. I have tried to find some middle ground that may suit both of us but it has been left as a "wait and see" and this has changed nothing.

This left me feeling like I had just finished my first marathon and found that everyone at the finishing line had gone home. I felt lost and wondering why I had put so much effort into trying to fix myself. We went on holiday to London a couple of months back which is my hunting ground from a former life filled with many exciting memories. Whilst there it dawned on me that maybe my wife and I would never find common ground and may not have a future. If we split up then I would be free to do whatever I wanted in relation to sex. In an instant my head filled with thoughts of visiting escorts and sleeping with anyone that I chose too and the excitement went off the scale. I haven't been right since and almost got to the stage of hoping that we would break up so that I could get the excitement that I wanted, it was so appealing.

Over the ensuing weeks I had a personal battle against all of these feelings. Perhaps like many relationships I feel like my wife calls the shots and whilst I am the only breadwinner I need to ask permission to do things which she does not. If we disagree on anything then she almost always gets her own way. I was probably looking for things to target with my frustrated mindset and this seemed to be the obvious one to go for so I started to dig my heels in on certain things that I didn't want to do and it was causing a lot of tension. In some ways, she probably did need to be told that for us to have a future together there needs to be some give and take on both sides and that she can't get her own way all of the time but to be fair to her after 20 years of it she didn't react well. Things came to a head a couple of weeks ago when I dug my heels in about a garden seat that she wanted that I didn't and she sighed and said that maybe we shouldn't be married any more. I wasn't expecting her to say it but my emotions surprised me, part of me felt terror of us potentially breaking up and then part of my got a rush of excitement that the door to sex elsewhere could be opened up. We had a long chat and were actually honest with each other for the first time in a very long time.

My affair was about 6 years ago and she referred to me having said at the time that she was partly responsible for that because she had refused to have sex with me for 4 years up to that point. She said that she was still really angry about that and that she still thought about the affair most days when she saw me. I told her that I didn't think that now and that it was none of her fault. She challenged me and said that she didn't believe me. I told her that whilst not having sex with me for 4 years might have given me cause to think she was being unreasonable, I should have spoken to her about it at the time rather than taking things into my own hands and having sex elsewhere, I should have given her the chance to deal with it but I didn't. She said that this made a huge difference that I was taking all of the blame and that she wished we had had this conversation years ago. The conversation was all calm and amicable and by the end of it I think we both felt that we were likely to break up. We slept on it and then the next evening chatted again and agreed that the previous conversation had made a difference and that we should try and start again. Most of me felt relief knowing it was the right decision for us both to be happy and if I am honest a small part of me felt disappointment at the opportunity to follow the excitement disappear.

Now I know that the door on me leaving has been closed, it has made it easier to shut out the lure of sex elsewhere, the excitement was coming not from acting out whilst married (which RN had covered off) but on the possibility of having sex elsewhere if we did break up - that would be possible if I became single again and I wasn't ready for it. Now I know that I am staying I have been able to shut that door again and stop thinking of the alternative which has brought some peace of mind back to me again. Over the last couple of months my head has been all over the place and I have really struggled. I have also felt like I am a fraud providing feedback to other members of RN (even though I can ironically detach myself from my own situation in order to give feedback in line with the lessons) if I can't get my own head in order. I feel like I have regained control over the last week and have peace which is a welcome change from the turmoil of recent times.

I have taken a break from mentoring to give myself time to truly get my head in order. I did my weekly health monitoring this morning and the difference of this week versus last week is incredible. It has been a tough journey but I feel like and in a mindset now where I not only understand the learning from the lessons but am actually feeling that I am genuinely living it too. It is early days but I feel like I am on the right track again.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:30 am 
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L2R,

Quote:
If we split up then I would be free to do whatever I wanted in relation to sex. In an instant my head filled with thoughts of visiting escorts and sleeping with anyone that I chose too and the excitement went off the scale. I haven't been right since and almost got to the stage of hoping that we would break up so that I could get the excitement that I wanted, it was so appealing.


As SAs, we often hold onto parts of our addiction as escape routes when we fear pain. Ie, "if she leaves me, at least I'll have my addiction." Please note these reflections by Coach Jon on passive/active recovery:

Quote:
A Passive Recovery from Addiction
A passive recovery from addiction involves the blind following of a prescribed treatment program, usually supervised by a therapist. “Recovery" is measured solely by your behavior. Are you attending the counseling sessions? The support meetings? Have you read the assigned material? Completed the assigned exercises? Taking the prescribed medication? A consistent "yes" to these questions will project the illusion of a person in recovery. Still, your underlying thoughts will not have changed. Your ingrained desires will not have subsided. All that will have changed is the depth of your secrecy and the belief that—after yet another relapse—you can't really change. A passive recovery looks good, even feels good for a while, but as the initial euphoria of recovery fades and your support system eases its grasp, the chaotic feelings will return — as will the compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts that have been used to manage them. Choosing an active recovery means more than simply controlling compulsive thoughts and behaviors; it means making the choice to eliminate the addictive patterns from your life. An active recovery means that you have taken responsibility for your life and, more importantly, it means you want to take responsibility for the rest of your life. Those who have made an active commitment to recovery will begin to hate their compulsive behavior. They will see its devastating consequences and vow to conquer it. They will see recovery not as a punitive consequence of a failed life, but as an extraordinary opportunity to become the person they know themselves to be. They quickly learn that what defines them is not their addiction, but their values. And then, they begin to protect those values with the same tenacity that a parent would protect a child.


But appears you have an evolving awareness and thus the ability to choose the patterns of comfort/instant gratification in the face of pain or the long haul towards a fulfilling life.

Quote:
It has been a tough journey but I feel like and in a mindset now where I not only understand the learning from the lessons but am actually feeling that I am genuinely living it too.


So, L2R, welcome to active recovery.

Lastly,

Quote:
I have also felt like I am a fraud providing feedback to other members of RN (even though I can ironically detach myself from my own situation in order to give feedback in line with the lessons) if I can't get my own head in order


I respect your decision to take a brief pause from mentoring--there is, after all, such thing as compassion fatigue and it's important to step back for self care.

But in the meantime, please consider this:

We are all imperfect beings; our imperfections do not void our right or ability to help others.

As humans, we have an inborn calling to give back to our tribe. In the RN tribe, coaches/mentors are indeed wounded healers. But when we tend and listen to another's story we are also healing the resonating wound within ourselves.

Be Well,

Anon


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:52 am 
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Hi Anon,

A few months back I offered some feedback to you and you wrote in response
Quote:
L2R,

Don't know if you believe in God/Universe/Bhudda/signs, but just want to let you know that again the Universe is speaking through you to me. Just last night my wife asked me about my reflections on my trip. I unfortunately tapped into the negative, "I did well in sticking to my action plans, but..."


I am not a particularly religious person (although I do respect others' personal beliefs) but I do believe in fate. I have tended to find during my life that things have a funny way of happening at the right time when particularly needed. You have no idea how perfect the timing of your feedback was and in particular posting the refresher of CoachJon's teaching about passive recovery.

I will write more when I am ready but thank you for posting what you did and when you did it, it is much appreciated.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:34 am 
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I have been spending a lot of time away from RN recently trying to reflect and to get my head around where I am in this moment in time with my recovery. I have been particularly interested in reading some of the posts of others. Kenzo's thread interests me as I can see some very real parallels between his journey and my own to date. I know that escorts was his thing and I did go through a phase of that myself, but my SA was more wide ranging in activities. Where I see the similarities lie is the successful career and having this clever little secret that no-one knew about on the side which fed my addiction and then all hell letting loose when my wife found out about everything some years ago. I somehow get a sense that how I would think, scheme, plan and react to sexual situations would have been very similar to him. The reason that these parallels interest me is that I now look at Kenzo and see someone who in my mind has "recovered", he needs to guard for complacency of course, but the penny has firmly dropped for him. It gives me inspiration that if I was very similar to the old Kenzo then I can certainly become very similar to the new one too. This post is aimed at trying to understand where the gaps may currently lie and to encourage some thoughts and guidance from Kenzo as and when he may drop by.

When I analyse where I am in recovery there is a big obstacle that keeps hitting me in the face and that is the rush of excitement brought about by something that would instinctively have led me to act out in the past. I have done all the lessons and I understand the theory and the logic behind them. I have action plans in place for each scenario and generally employ these well and quickly when the need arises. But I would be lying if I said that I no longer got the sense of excitement from these situations when they arise which has made me question my recovery. Anon provided a very timely piece of feedback to me recently which provided the highlights of CoachJon's teaching about the difference between an active and a passive recovery. It really resonated with me because I could identify with some aspects of the description of a passive recovery whether that be through either laziness and be less efficient in applying the action plans, maybe it is some degree of cockiness in that I think I have SA licked and can stupidly think that I let my guard down a bit to enjoy a bit of the rush before applying the plans or perhaps I have just been kidding myself that I have truly taken on board the lessons at all.

I want to give an example to demonstrate what I mean, I have used a random example here but this could equally apply to any of the areas that I am vulnerable to and have action plans in place for. My office overlooks a block of apartments and the flat directly opposite my window is owned/rented by an attractive young woman and her bedroom window is about 20 feet from my desk. It is a top floor flat with windows at the front and back. In the past (pre-RN) I have looked in when her window is open in the hope of seeing her in a state of undress. Most of the time I saw nothing but on occasions would see her walk past the window and would get a huge rush of excitement that I may at last see her naked which has not happened yet. Her routine is to open her window at about 8am after she is showered and dressed so I wouldn't be able to see her naked after that point. But it is very hot weather at the moment, the sort of weather that people who normally don't sleep naked would sleep naked and she could easily and unusually leave her bedroom windows open to let a breeze in through her bedroom overnight. Let's say that I arrive in to work at 6.30am as usual and her windows are open and without realising it my eyes have recognised that her window is open and that I can see that she is stood with her back to me and is completely naked. If I keep looking I have a fairly good chance that she will turn around and after 4 years would at last see her full frontal. All of this mental processing in practice happens in a split second. Let's say that my action plan kicks in and I choose to look away. In that split second I know that I would have just experienced a real rush of excitement and anticipation even if I did look away. My action plan would be along the lines of recognising that my values would wish to respect her privacy and that I would be also violating my own and my wife's values by consciously voyeuring another woman if I continued to look. I would feel some discomfort for a short while as I battle against the realisation that I have missed the opportunity but it would soon pass. I would then feel good about myself for having avoided acting out.

The action plan would do its job and I would avoid acting out but I would have fought off the rush of excitement that I initially experienced. If I try and envisage how the old Kenzo may have acted in similar circumstances pre-RN then I have a sense that he would have acted very similar to me pre-SA and can therefore relate to the rush of excitement that I am describing. However, if I now consider how the current Kenzo would act I get a sense that when his eyes recognised that there was a naked lady visible through an open window, he would instantly look away as to continue to look would be a terrible violation of his and her values and he would not get any sense of excitement from the situation. On the one hand I am encouraged that I can also get to that stage but on the other have some frustration that I feel nowhere near there yet. I don't know what needs to happen in order to not experience the rush of excitement albeit briefly, is it just experience (Kenzo has been a member of RN for many years compared to my several months) or is it that I am fundamentally missing something that is needed for the penny to drop? I understand the logic that to continue to look would be a compulsive behaviour and afterwards I would feel rubbish about it (and I have this in my sign-off to keep reminding me of it) but somehow it doesn't seem to remove the sense of excitement form certain situations. I thought that it was as a result of 30-40 years of acting and thinking in a certain way and that it will take more than a few months to rewire my brain. I can be patient but I need to know that I focussing on the right things and not just engraining new but ineffective habits.

Kenzo my friend, when you next stop by and if you can offer me some guidance I would be extremely grateful. I can't speak for others but I would be fairly sure that I am not unique in how I feel about this and others may be able to learn from where I am currently and how to move forwards towards recovery.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:37 am 
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Hello L2R
Quote:
Kenzo my friend, when you next stop by and if you can offer me some guidance regarding where I am currently and how to move forwards towards recovery. I would be extremely grateful.


OK my two peneth

First you need to remove your hand hovering over the panic button, you are doing better than OK, you are on track but you are allowing those self doubts to exist and thus fear that they may grow and you will embrace them, yes that is a possibility but it wont just happen , it would require you to choose to let it happen, will you do that? Of course not
You have been active herein for 9 months and completed the lessons in circa 3 months, IMO a little too quickly,

You give an example for your concerns and then write

Quote:
However, if I now consider how the current Kenzo would act I get a sense that when his eyes recognised that there was a naked lady visible through an open window, he would instantly look away as to continue to look would be a terrible violation of his and her values and he would not get any sense of excitement from the situation


I would do as you say NOW!

But after some 17 months of joining RN and after the completion of the lessons, would I have done?
NO
Quote:
From my Thread
Sept 2011
I am admitting to a slip in my recovery

I NEED TO START OVER
I NOTE the 30 th September as my new birth date

I believed that I was further into recovery than it seems I am
I became complacent and took my eyes off the monkey on my back
I was travelling overseas all last week and on Friday morning had completed all of my work
I was tired and frustrated it had been a long hard week
I had telephone conversations during the week with my ex and we had said some pretty volatile things to each other so I also know that I was riddled with anger
These are not excuses they are the background facts

I went onto my lap top to get my boarding cards to come home and then started surfing
I ended up on a porn video page and was drawn in, NO I actually chose to enter, I must face it the choice was is and always will be mine

I failed

I went in then withdrew., but went back again
Pornography has never been my drug of choice and I now realise that my action plans have all been about the four pillars of my addiction
Scanning
Prostitution
Masturbation
Exhibitionism
I now realise that I need to put plans into place for everything sexual

I watched the porn videos but I did not masturbate, indeed I did not get aroused, that should not have surprised me as I said Porn never turned me on , but more so I was wearing my male chastity device which prevents this possibility
I am sure that had this not been so I would have masturbated,so why did I choose to go on
Yes the answer is simply to provide instant gratification a decision made on emotion
I knew this but still went ahead
I also went onto a contacts site
again something I have never before done
I could have been looking for a substitute way of getting sex with strangers as My promise to myself and my action plans have given me the resolve and strength never to return to a prostitutes

I take two strengths from this slip and a whole boat load of weaknesses
the strengths, I did not masturbate albeit I am sure that I would have had I not been policing
and I did not sign up for the contacts
the weaknesses
I became complacent
I realised that I was not as far in recovery as I thought
I said my recovery would never become addictive, well maybe it needs to be
I believe that my honesty was lacking as I tended to excuse myself from participating in the RN programme recently
I also believe that my action plans focussed only on the pillars of my addiction not on any and every sexual possibility
Finally I realised that as most people join RN they join for their partner and after a while realise that they need to be there / here for themselves
In my case the way reversed
I signed on and participated for me but as time progressed I switched my focus onto my ex
I desperately wanted to make amends but look what I did instead

So what now
I will become addicted to my recovery
I will start again
I will make my weaknesses my strengths
I will not make excuses
I will not become complacent
I will seek out and accept support
I will revert to doing this for me


Most of all I will remember exactly how I felt when I slipped and how I still feel today
I never want to feel this way again
I need to evaluate was I in recovery or simply abstinence?
I apologise to all out there as my case demonstrates that the fight is long and hard, take care and be aware


Why not start over, not because you need to but because you want to, remembering that you would be starting from a great position not ground zero and you would be mentoring yourself, hence double value attained

Quote:
I have been spending a lot of time away from RN recently trying to reflect and to get my head around where I am in this moment in time with my recovery
.

You know that these are not mutually exclusively separate entities , you can and probably should do and fully embrace both, remember Anon’s comments re active vs passive recovery



Quote:
This post is aimed at trying to understand where the gaps may currently lie and to encourage some thoughts and guidance from Kenzo as and when he may drop by.


IMO the main gap is simply due to time, currently you perhaps overthink your emotions, wish to test yourself and your action plans, prove to yourself that the current you is the real you the you that you set out to become, take it easy, you are on track

Quote:
But I would be lying if I said that I no longer got the sense of excitement from these situations when they arise which has made me question my recovery.


When I decided to stop masturbating completely I felt much better but had no proof of being better , so I decided to test myself by masturbating, but not to completion, it was easy there was my proof????????
So I proved it again then again
WTF I was simply not proving anything, quite the contrary I was acting out, so I decided to stop testing and to stop looking for proof
As in physical health you just know when something is not right . its the same with recovery, you will grow and know if actions are required and you will choose to act upon that knowledge


Quote:
I want to give an example to demonstrate what I mean, ............



Quote:
In the past (pre-RN) I have looked in


What about the present? The future, are you tempted to look in?
Do you want to look in and if so why?
Do you look in?
The thrill and anticipation of seeing her, or the testing and proving of yourself?

What would it give you to see her naked and full frontal, NOTHING but guilt, guilt perhaps that you might wish to justify and excuse because it was a test or just a glance and your action plans worked

Sex exists and as Industry and commerce have recognised sex sells sex is everywhere, on TV, in magazines, newspapers, advertising hoardings on every high r se building, We cannot avoid sex and sexual images but we can dismiss them taking them for what they are , an illusion, in recovery reality transcends illusion

Now close the blinds or move the desk, and get on with living

Hope this two perhaps three peneth helps

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Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:20 am 
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Thanks Kenzo, you've taken a lot of effort to give me some well needed feedback with proverbial kick up the backside and that is appreciated as always. I have got so much from that and hadn't read that part of your thread before which gives me further encouragement that my journey is not unique. The bit that jumped out most of all to me was

Quote:
As in physical health you just know when something is not right . its the same with recovery, you will grow and know if actions are required and you will choose to act upon that knowledge

You've hit the nail on the head. I know it's not right at the moment and I've just been kidding myself that it is. Ironically I started to read through my thread again from the beginning this morning before you replied. I have now decided to start over again as you suggest. I need to go through it all again with a fresh pair of eyes and not rush it, I need to make sure that I am truly digesting everything rather than ticking off another lesson done. I did take it in the first time round and understand the theory but I don't think I had given myself enough time to digest each lesson and turning the theory into practice before moving on. It has also left me a bit clueless with nowhere to go having completed the workshop and wondering what's next so I would welcome having some structure back again too pending fully digesting it all this time. If I do absorb and apply it properly this time then I shouldn't feel like that at the end of the workshop. Again, I will "just know" that it is right.

As a mentor I feel like I have let others down a bit if they keep track of my thread for hope and inspiration but, as your 2011 post stated, it just goes to show that it isn't an easy path and takes effort and determination to get there. But at the end of the day this is about me rather than worrying about other passers by for now and I am going to focus just on that. I know the tools are here to recover fully and I now have renewed determination to get there starting from right now.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 8:38 am 
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The Lessons second time around for me.

LESSON 1

A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change
My intentions were genuine the first time around but something was missing. I fear I may have at least in part engaged in a passive recovery process as many of those features resonate with me. I feel like I have gone through the motions of understanding the theory but have somehow not managed to believe them fully and put them into practice. I am never going to recover if I don't fully commit to it. I feel like I've been reluctant/scared to let go on the compulsive behaviours or certainly the excitement that I derive from them. If I am going to commit then I need to commit fully and this time I must let go. I know intellectually that the excitement achieves nothing other than guilt and shame but I must mentally process that, believe it and fully commit to that moving forwards. This is certainly a massive point for me to overcome which will then allow the rest of the learning to fall better into place. If I was fed up of feeling crap the first time around then I am well and truly fed up of it this time around. I am now "all in".

Coach Jon wrote in Lesson 1
Quote:
"should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit to recovery"

This hit home and I need to have at the forefront of my mind. Accordingly I have changed this over on my sign-off.
 
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
I could dwell on what I could have differently and avoid further regrets but that will get me nowhere. The slate is now wiped clean and I am starting again. Just get it right this time and I can regain some pride in myself.
 
3) allowing yourself time to change.
This is another key area for me, I was probably a little too focussed on the end game and completing the workshop which meant too much speed through the lessons. I am not moving on to the next lesson this time until I feel like I have absorbed what I need to. To be fair, I did grasp the intellectual side of things quite quickly before so the difference this time is applying it to my own situation and being comfortable that my mindset is being realigned to where it needs to be each time. I may still therefore be able to move reasonably quickly through some of the lessons but I will know when I come across some which are sticking points for me and I will take my time on those more this time.

First time around I wrote
Quote:
B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently change your life
1. I want to be honest with everyone and have nothing to hide
2. I want to start liking myself again
3. I want to be transparent with my wife about everything that I do
4. I want to feel like the chains that have been binding me for so long have been released
5. I want to look my son in the eye and feel confident that I will always be there for him
6. I want to feel like I am the person that others who don’t know my secrets believe me to be
7. I want to feel confident that I am able to enjoy everything I have worked so hard to build up over the years
8. I want my family to be proud of me and for me to know that their pride is well founded
9. I want to prove to myself that it is not inevitable that I will lose everything
10. I want my mind to be at peace and to be away from the exhaustion of holding and acting on the secrets
11. I want to have some certainty over having a bright and happy future ahead of me around my family.

These all stand true now. I can say that for a long time through the programme these were holding true but over the last couple of months some darker thoughts have come back which have moved me away from some of them. My renewed commitment means that I can get this back on track again.
  
First time around I wrote
Quote:
C. To see your addiction within the scope of your life span
Looking at a photo of me when I was about 4 years old brings two immediate thoughts to mind.
Firstly, that there was a time where I was not plagued with all of these damaging thoughts, desires and secrets and my mind was free of that and happy and positive. My addiction is therefore something I have learned at some point and as a result I have the ability to unlearn it. This fact makes me feel more positive.
Secondly, I felt very emotional as I feel like I have let that young boy down by causing a part of his life to end up in such a bad place.
All of this has reinforced my determination to succeed with the programme.

I stand by my original comments. On reflection, my addiction has probably gone on for nearly 40 years. I think that I underestimated what was required in order to change and believe in my new way of thinking for something which had become so engrained.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:25 am 
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LESSON 2

There were a number of things stated within this lesson that jumped out at me and they all point towards the area that I felt I was missing first time around. I have copied these below so that I can have these as a reference and helpful reminder.
it was not the addiction that triggered the life crisis...it was the lack of healthy life management skills that triggered the addiction.
Quote:
The learning process is complex, but you can begin by establishing a vision for your life that is based on mastering those values that you hold dear. Then, developing a passion for pursuing that vision.

Begin that process now...commit to that mastery now...because these are skills that you will need for the rest of your life, and upon mastering these skills, you will find you no longer need, nor crave as intensely, the short-lived biochemical shots of emotion that your compulsive behaviors produce.

In a healthy life, pursuing your vision with passion will give way to developing true depth in your life. When that happens, you will no longer be vulnerable to emotional instability.

In most addicts, passion is the primary driving force in decision-making...and one of the goals of your transition to health is to develop depth instead.

Think about the difference between being in a marriage as a man who is keeping all options open, and being in a marriage as a man who is committed to developing infinite depth within that marriage. The former is based on fear of not losing out on things, the latter is based on a commitment to one's vision of being in a partnership.


I had reworked my original attempt at a Vision at the time and I am still comfortable with this, the reworked version is below:
Quote:
My Vision (Reworked)

To be seen as a man who is respectable, generous, loyal and completely trustworthy.
A person that family, friends and colleagues can turn to in their time of need knowing that they will willingly get my time, help and support to help them through their crisis.
To also be seen as a loving husband who appreciates his wife and sees her as his best friend, there to provide love and support through the good and the difficult times.
To be a caring father who is there for his son and will encourage, nurture, coach and help him to be the best person that he can be.
To be a successful business leader known for my creativity, vision and energy and surrounded by a team of individuals that feel valued, motivated and lucky to be working with me.
To be someone who is seen to be successful in business but achieves the right work/life balance
To be known by family, friends and colleagues for being someone who is calm, unconfrontational and will use his sense of humour to bring a smile to their faces and brighten their day

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:24 am 
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Over the weekend I have been taking time to reflect on the opening lessons and see if I can identify where the gaps are between what we are being guided to do and what I actually did first time around. One point that Anon made to me was that addicts like to hang on to certain parts of their addiction in order to have something to fall back on if recovery doesn't work out. Lessons 1 and 2 make a point about "fully committing" and if I look back now I would argue that I wasn't committing fully. I think that the big acting out stuff was taken care of but the (arguably) lesser such as scanning or thinking back to occasions where I had acted out were not always avoided or certainly not headed off as soon as they should have been. The door needs to be closed completely for a fully commitment.

The other point which resonated with me was something CoachJon said about excitement. He described the rush of excitement that an addict craves as being
Quote:
"short-lived biochemical shots of emotion that your compulsive behaviors produce."

I know that this is a key thing for me, despite having gone through all of the lessons I am left with the lure of the rush of excitement and feeling that I am depriving myself of something if I avoid it. For me to recover I need to not see it as something that I crave. I went out with a colleague after work one night last week to watch a football game in a pub and I was stood at the bar waiting to be served. I stopped drinking nearly 2 years ago and achieved that by viewing alcohol as something that I don't want. The person in front of me ordered some pints of beer and then a couple of shots. Even when I drank I used to hate shots, I didn't get the point of having a shot of pure alcohol whose only purpose seemed to be to get you drunk really quickly. So I liked CoachJon's analogy to the rush of excitement being a shot of emotion because the purpose of that shot is to give you a pure rush of excitement which, like alcohol, is not a good thing or something to be craved. This mental image is helpful to me in my attempts to change my view of the emotions generated by compulsive behaviours.

LESSON 3

It is helpful reading back through these early lessons to help rebuild the groundwork for the lessons that lie ahead. It is also nice reading them and then trying to digest them rather than getting the exercises done and then steaming ahead. Previously I was keen to press on to find out what the secret was to recovering but now I see that I was missing the wood for the trees and the secret is in taking your time to digest it all as you go along and then it will all fall into place.

In terms of my values list I am broadly happy with them as previously but I have made a couple of tweaks and added a new one to the end which now gives me the following:

Refined Values List
To be faithful
To be trustworthy
To be honest
To be reliable
To actually be the good person that others see me as
To feel relaxed and have a clear conscience
To prioritise the things that are most important to me
Take time to talk to my wife deepen the connection with her
Take time to talk to my son to better understand him
Making time to spend quality time with my family
To take time to appreciate my wife
To find and engage in healthy activities and pastimes that interest me
To plan for the future positively 
Physical healthy pleasure with my wife
To avoid rising to statements made which can avoid unnecessary conflict
To keep fit and healthy
Bringing my sense of humour to others
To take time to reflect on and appreciate my life and those around me

Everything else stands that I wrote before

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:43 am 
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Hi my friend
Quote:
"should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit to recovery"


and

Quote:
The door needs to be closed completely for a full commitment.


Nothing more to say, that says it all :g: :g: :g: :g:

Well done you, now you know that you have choice :w:

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Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:59 am 
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Thanks Kenzo, I'm surprised how much I am seeing the lessons differently with a fresh pair of eyes and a bit of experience. There is a lot of stuff which should be fairly obvious to the reader but you need to take a moment to digest it and apply it to yourself before moving on. I get a strong feeling that I was too quick to try and get off the mark first time around, I am seeing some benefits from getting the foundations laid better by taking more time to think about the first few lessons.

LESSONS 4 & 5

I'm happy that the reworked values posted under Lesson 3 do the job for me. I can see that making decisions in line with all of those values will give me the contented life that I am seeking.

Over the last few days since I started again I am noticing how often inappropriate thoughts try to spring into my head. I can see that I had got really lazy at fending them off and instead was tending to dwell on them for a while first. I'm sure that the renewed habit of batting them away again immediately will not take too long to engrain and maintain with a zero tolerance approach towards anything that conflicts with my value set.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:43 am 
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LESSON 6

First time around I wrote
Quote:
To avoid conflict
• Respect others may have a different view point to me
• Try to understand where they are coming from to have formed their opinion
• See if there is a compromise position where we can achieve win/win
• Be calm in my responses even if there is disagreement - remember that the argument is lost when the tempers are lost
• Choose my battles, if the concession is a small one then let it go
• See it as a positive challenge not to get uptight when I am not getting my own way

To find and engage in healthy activities and pastimes that interest me
• Identify pastimes or resume past hobbies that interest me
• Set aside periods of time (e.g. lunchtimes at work) where I can enjoy them and relax and switch off from work briefly
• Talk to my wife about having engaged in those activities so that I can share my experiences
• Recognise that I am engaging in activities that interest me but in a healthy way and that I can discuss openly with others

To keep fit and healthy
• Maintain the current exercise regime of taking spinning classes 3 times a week
• Use stairs rather than lift at work
• Maintain healthy diet
• Keep treat foods for weekends

I am still comfortable with these as they stand. The thought occurred to me that over the course of the workshop first time around I produces action plans for a variety of things but I never look at them. Perhaps I took the view that I instinctively knew how each should work but that is a dangerous strategy. I have now started a list of my action plans and will have these all in the one place to look at regularly in order to keep the detail of them fresh in my mind.

Another key phrase came up in this lesson which is
Quote:
"Your goal in recovery is not to learn to manage addiction, it is to learn to manage your life."

It is easy to get fixated on trying to solve "the problem" rather than seeing the reality which is to try and learn a new, better and more efficient way of managing your life. If you can get that right then the bi-product is that "the problem" will also be solved but I need to see the bigger picture. I like the statement and have added it to my list of favourites which I am reading through on a daily basis!

Something interesting happened this morning. Prior to restarting the workshop I was commenting in my thread the example of trying to avoid the perceived excitement of looking into an apartment that my office overlooks. Over time I had come to realise that the girl living in there opens her window after she is dressed but the daily anticipation of whether today she might have opened it up before she got dressed was always in the back of my mind and perhaps today could be the day that I see her naked. Each morning that I arrive into work the first thing I did was to look at her window and see if it was open yet and it never was. Last night it was particularly muggy and when I arrived in her window was open and she would almost certainly not have got up yet. So today could be the day. The first time round the workshop I can remember thinking that I was feeling myself recovering (which I probably was) and was keen to test myself out against temptation - I see that sort of theme in a number of others' threads early on in the programme. This time round I have felt the opposite, I have wanted to avoid anything happen to test me until I felt that I had re-established the foundations of the early lessons so that I felt much stronger and confident. So this morning's window incident was not welcomed after only 5 days back into the workshop again. However, I feel very differently this time around having spent large amounts of time thinking about my value set and trying to engrain the importance of every single decision that I make being aligned to them this time, there can be no exceptions which I where I felt that it went wrong the last time. So, lots of images of my values were flooded through my mind and the temptation of the window would be a clear breach of them. I am also liking the perception of the rush of excitement from compulsive behaviour being like a shot of alcohol (i.e. a shot of emotion) which makes it easier for me to see it as something that I neither want not crave. In a flash the potential lure of the window was avoided and it happened before a sense of the shot. First time round I don't remember the process happening as quickly as avoiding the shot so maybe I have got a better way of managing it this time. There was no sense of discomfort as the shot hadn't arrived. I hope for more success like that as I move on.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:24 am 
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LESSON 7

This is another lesson relating to Proactive Action Plans. A statement was made which really landed with me
Quote:
"You will evolve your proactive action plans through your health monitoring system. Over the next three months, this will be done for you (letting you know when to assess, update, etc.) but do recognize that you will need to take full responsibility for evolving these tools long after the workshop has been completed. Far too many people abandon this tool because they can 'do it in their head'. And yes, when your life is going well, you likely can manage such things in your head. Value-building should become a quite natural process in your life. But make no mistake, when life isn't going so well...when your thoughts/emotions begin to fall out of balance...your ability to manage your values efficiently will be compromised. And without this system ingrained, you will be vulnerable to the 'shortcuts' that feed addiction."

I made the comment yesterday that there were a lot of commitments made by myself as I progressed through the lessons that I did not follow through on, one of which was to regularly look at my action plans and in all honesty I rarely ever looked at them. Another hard lesson learned there then. So I now have a new system. I have all of my notes relating to RN in one place and this comprises of the following which I will now use:

- My Visions [I will read through these daily]
- A list of my values [I will read through these daily]
- Weekly Monitoring [I will read through these at the end of each week as a review - I was doing this already]
- A list of the key phrases that have resonated with me through each of the lessons second time around [I will read through these daily]
- A list of all of my proactive action plans [I will read through these daily and ensure that they are tweaked as necessary to remain relevant and practical]
- I have written a statement at the bottom of all of my notes which say "Did you read all of that consciously or were you thinking of something else?" This is to head off the natural tendency to be seeing it as a chore and not be taking it in as I am reading through everything. This could be monotonous but it needs to be repetitive in order to engrain it.

In terms of the exercise I have gone through all of my remaining proactive action plans from the last time and refreshed them as necessary in order to make them relevant to me at this point in time. I will keep an eye on them and change further in my notes as necessary so that they remain live. These are now as follows:

To be faithful/trustworthy/honest/reliable
• Repeatedly remind myself of the importance of a full commitment to my values and make no exceptions when making decisions
• Remind myself of the principle of the rush of excitement from compulsive behaviour being compared to a "shot" which gives you a pure intense rush and then leaves you feeling guilt, shame and regret immediately afterwards
• Remind myself that my own efforts to beat this addiction prior to joining RN have always failed so this tried and tested method is the only route to happiness for me
• Remind myself that there are other long standing members of RN whose past and attitudes to sex was very similar to mine and they have fully recovered using the RN tools - if there is a full commitment then this works!

To actually be the good person that others see me as
• Put myself in the shoes of my work colleagues and friends and picture how they view me as a decent person with strong values
• Picture how good that would feel to be living my life as they view me and be inspired by it
• When going back through the lessons for a second time take a note of any key phrases or statements and take time to absorb them on a regular basis until they engrain

To feel relaxed and have a clear conscience
• Take time to think how good it feels to be approaching my biggest worry so positively
• Enjoy the peace of mind that I have through avoiding the pursuit of my former activities

To prioritise the things that are most important to me
• Understand that the most important things in my life all need to have some of my time allocated to it including:
○ My wife
○ My son
○ My wider family
○ Hobbies and pastimes
• I have a skill at being able to effectively prioritise my work so I can easily apply the same skill to prioritising my time to the other areas above too
• Make a conscious weekly review of whether I have allocated the correct amount of time to each category over the course of the last week

Take time to talk to my wife deepen the connection with her
• Make better use of the times that we already have set aside to talk (e.g. whilst dinner is cooking, after our son has gone to bed)
• Have any possible distractions turned off (e.g. phone, TV, crossword, etc)
• Actively listen to what she is saying and show understanding and interest by asking questions and passing comment on what she is saying
• Have topics of possible conversation ready to raise myself by thinking this through ahead of going home from work
• Make a note of what she and my son are due to be doing the following day from the kitchen calendar to help me proactively ask how those activities went rather than having her bring them up to remind me that is what they were doing

Take time to talk to my son to better understand him
• Make a point of sitting with him when he is watching TV to keep him company which he likes
• Listen to his accounts of computer games that he enjoys to learn a little about them
• Ask questions about his progress on the games rather than waiting for him to tell me first so as to show more interest
• Chat to him during his bath time rather than losing myself in thought elsewhere

Making time to spend quality time with my family
• Take more advantage of time together over weekends (e.g. breakfast, afternoons, etc)
• Encourage playing board games, etc after lunch on Sunday afternoons
• Ensure I am back home by 6pm weekday nights even when busy at work

To take time to appreciate my wife
• Now I am free of inappropriate distractions I can spend time looking at and appreciate what is right in front of me
• Tell her that she looks good when she does
• Notice when she is wearing something new and compliment her on it
• Thank her for looking after our home, preparing meals, etc

To plan for the future positively
• Look forward to the possibilities that lie ahead now that I have confidence that me and my family will form part of that future together
• Look ahead to holidays that can be arranged for the year ahead now that the "wait and see" approach is no longer necessary

Physical healthy pleasure with my wife
• Take the emphasis off of sex being so important and don't expect it on any given day or time
• Don't always be the one to initiate or wait for it to be initiated, try and keep some variety and see what naturally happens
• Encouraging more non-sexual contact (e.g. hugs, tactile, etc) to have a feeling of greater closeness

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