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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:59 am 
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I read Kenzo' recent post the other day with some awe like i am sure many others did. With every word you read it jumps out at you that he has fully recovered and does not entertain one moment of inappropriate thought, it is all brushed aside without thinking now. Wow, what a place to be. I then read his final sentence saying that he was now taking a sabbatical from RN and my stomach turned in a knot. I have been asking myself over the last day or two why i had that reaction.

It seems fairly clear to me today that my response was caused by a sense of responsibility being passed to us mentors in the great Coach's absence. Of course there is no issue with that because i am sure that between us we can offer appropriate guidance to anyone who needs or asks for it but i clearly have a sense that Kenzo protects all those on our side of the fence on RN. I took my thinking a stage further and wondered whether my reaction was because it makes me feel like i have a responsibility not just for myself but for this community to stick to my commitment of leaving my past behind me and to look forward and lead a healthy life no longer as an addict. I think there is something in that, not that i am now scared to do that but i think the reality of it suddenly hit me. I reminded myself that i have all the tools that i need which i have gleaned from THE COACH, i only need to stick with my plan of having let go and trusting in what i have learned and moving forwards. I also believe that it is a compliment to the mentors that Kenzo feel comfortable leaving our side of the fence in our hands. We addicts are quick to self loath but slow to self praise where deserved. It gives me a feeling of liberation even if that does have a dash of anxiety attached to it!!

A new year though, a new decade and i hope a fresh start for many who look to rebuild their lives here. You only get out what you put in so let's all get on with it!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:39 am
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learningtorun wrote:
It seems fairly clear to me today that my response was caused by a sense of responsibility being passed to us mentors in the great Coach's absence.

Exactly what I thought when I read it too LTR :g:

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T


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 305
L2R,
Two things...
1)
Quote:
Am I a good person for knowing i will not take advantage of her or a bad person for even having those thoughts in my head?

All people, addicts or not, have thoughts. Some unusual. Some dangerous. But the difference between a healthy individual and a struggling addict is what we decide to do with those thoughts. So you had a thought of taking advantage of a woman. What did you do with that thought? Ruminate? Act on it and begin old patterns and compulsions of acting out? My guess is that you didn't. You made a decision that was filtered through your values. I wonder what it would be like for you to practice allowing the thought to come and go as you did... then taking pride in your ACTION instead of judging the thought....

2)
Quote:
I took my thinking a stage further and wondered whether my reaction was because it makes me feel like i have a responsibility not just for myself but for this community to stick to my commitment of leaving my past behind me and to look forward and lead a healthy life no longer as an addict.


One of the biggest transitions an individual can experience is the sudden absence of a mentor or the loss of a parent. It is at this moment that everything they taught us springs into action. You speak often of standing at the open door. I wonder how you'll pursue this next opportunity of health.

It is uncomfortable to walk into the unknown. And as you know, this is a primary theme amongst us addicts. What choices will we make when we're uncomfortable?

Be well friend,

Anon


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:34 am 
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Hi Anon,

Thanks for stopping by, your observations and feedback are always insightful.

On the first point, you are quite right, i forget that the difference between us and non-addicts is to not act out rather than to have the thought in the first place. I sense that the search of perfection and not even having the thoughts in the first place is not realistic, does not in itself represent recovery and will therefore be detrimental to me.

On your second point, you are again absolutely right. It would be good for us mentors to be in a position where we have all moved forwards in our own recovery journeys as well as having kept our side of the site afloat by the time that Kenzo returns.

Thanks again for your support.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:48 am 
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I have been thinking about what things could risk derailing my recovery. Now i have taken the bold step of walking through the proverbial door and slammed it shut behind me, i have been aware of the feelings of vulnerability that are not unexpected. So what could throw me off course?

This has led me to remind myself about what i already know will threaten me sooner or later and so being prepared for it now will help me as and when the time comes that they come at me when i least expect it.

My stance is to dismiss any inappropriate thoughts immediately and allowing zero time to dwell on them. This has actually proven to be the most successful thing that i have introduced over the last several months. Previously i had spent a lot of time finding ways of managing the stress of an urge once it has taken hold but actually it takes almost no stress at all to bat it anyway before you have paid any attention to it. It is an embarrassingly obvious strategy which i ended up finding the hard way (as usual!). I can not have all my eggs in that one basket though and i need to be savvy enough to realise that after 40 years of acting out i would be wise to have further layers of defence than just that from which i can draw as and when needed.

I feel that there is a world of difference between the theory and practice of recovery. In the cold light of day the workshop makes complete sense as you are coming at it from a perspective of "I want to do the right thing and not act like an addict". However, when you are in a live situation it feels very different and therefore the importance of linking the theory to the practice can not be overstressed. So what happens when an urge hits then? For me i can see it like a trancelike state where any sense of reason quickly goes out of the reason. I feel my brain choosing to block the very good reasons not to act out (my values) and my focus will go to the perceived enjoyment i will get from a rush of excitement, all of which is very much enhanced by a good sense of anticipation through planning and fantasising about the outcome. If i give into it then i am released into the indulgence of excitement and then i know (in the cold light of day) that in the instant that the act is achieved (and by this i literally mean within a second or so) i have instant regret and self-loathing. The veil that i have self-imposed over my head that stops me from looking at my values is removed and the possible consequences of my actions are suddenly thrust into the forefront of my mind. The important lesson to learn is that they were always there, it is merely that brain has learned to prioritise the excitement over the consequences because that is the drug that it seeks at the cost of almost anything else. And that is exactly what the principle of immediate self-gratification is all about. A key for me is that it is something that i have "learned" to do and not something i was born with (remember that photo of yourself a s kid in Lesson 1?). The challenge is that i learned it and engrained it across the last 40 years so of course it will take some effort to retrain my brain (or rather unlearn that). So what is necessary is to make a point, however uncomfortable it may feel initially, of knowing that my values will cause me to regret acting out and that ultimately is why i am here on RN, if that didn't bother me (as my brain will try to convince me is the case - just this once or just a little taste will be OK won't it?) then i wouldn't have joined in the first place. I am here because i have well and truly had enough. So this needs complete trust in your instincts, in the cold light of day i know that choices aligning to my values will lead me in the path i want to go down and if they don't then i need to stop in my tracks and remind myself to trust my instincts.

At times i wonder if i will ever achieve this long term but then i remind myself that i have been through very similar journeys with smoking and alcohol both of which i gave up years ago. I can remember how it initially felt stopping both in the first few weeks and how vulnerable i felt (sounds familiar?!) about how i would react when temptation and opportunity struck. Back then i stuck to my guns as i realised that both were ruining my life and i wanted to have a future life free of them. Of course i had urges early on but i batted them away and avoided dwelling on them. After a while i had engrained new habits which made avoiding thinking about those drugs almost effortless. Cigarettes and alcohol hold no appeal to me at all now so i know that with some applied effort on the same basis that quite soon the new habits will be engrained about sex, my third and final drug of choice, and then i will have no more significant barriers to me pursuing and enjoying the life that i want.

Suddenly i am feeling less vulnerable about it all.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:25 pm 
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Today has been a strange kind of day. I had quite a hectic morning with a number of things coming up that needed to get sorted out at work. By mid afternoon the urgent stuff had been resolved and then i was back on the other tasks which are less time pressing. As i eased off the gas peddle i could sense feelings of boredom creeping in along with a sense of entitlement to a treat because i had been working hard this morning. It is funny when you are alive to recognising how you are feeling and paying attention to your thoughts how your brain can so quickly move from being productive to feeding excitement inducing thoughts into your mind. I suppose it has been well drilled over the last 40 years or so to do that and i can see how easily i used to fall foul of it. So my ramblings of last week have been helpful as i can very much see the appeal of listening to those signals but i am sticking to the thought of the reality of the situation that even though these thoughts offer the appeal of a rush of excitement, i will be through the other side of it and feel rubbish about myself again before i know it. So they have been extinguished quickly and the stress goes with it. The other lesson i have learned though is if i just kick it away and do nothing else then it will come back again quite quickly for another try. So finding something else to focus on for a short while that i enjoy that is healthy by way of a break from work is also helpful, it gives me the treat i was seeking but in a healthy way and creates a long enough disconnect from those original thoughts for them to be more easily held at bay. It is really all about reprogramming your mind on how to think and react. It all takes a bit of effort until such time as it is engrained but it is entirely doable. Also reminding yourself of what went well (i.e. a plan followed through with the right outcome) is a helpful thing rather than dwelling on a potential negative (e.g. that the unhealthy thoughts were coming through in the first place). I think that Anon's comments to me of last week were very pertinent, as i strive to consider myself no longer as an addict i should be reminded that non-addicts also naturally have inappropriate thoughts pop into their heads, so it is about how those thoughts are managed appropriately that is key rather than getting frustrated that they have come to mind in the first place as that is not realistic.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:53 am 
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I am currently sat in a major city airport waiting for a flight back home later today having flown in this morning. I don’t often come here but have been here a number of times in the past. When I had my affair many years ago there was one meeting here and before then I had seen a couple of escorts here too. I have had a strong sense of pulling today where those memories having been trying to pop into my head. I probably notice it here more than in London (where most of my acting out took place) because I still visit there regularly on business. It is the feeling of going back to somewhere that feels weird and I have felt uncomfortable for most of the day. Interestingly I have felt no urges though, just feelings which are a mix of excitement (memories) and disgust (recall of acting out).

I was sat down in a waiting area earlier and a policewoman walked past me and sat down beside a girl the other side of me. I hadn’t noticed she was there (that in itself is probably a good sign of progress as I hadn’t scanned those around me, that used to be a given) and she had her hood pulled up and was rocking forwards and backwards. The policewoman was clearly concerned about her and I sense that she thought she was a runaway and was asking to see some ID and then went off to check it.

One of gifts (actually curses) i have is the power to manipulate people. Over the years I had become proficient at picking up on who would be prone to be turned to my will and quite often these women would be the last people that anyone (including them) would think capable of being unfaithful. I felt that I had a radar that was always on the look out for potential opportunity. Without that my life may have been very different! So the girl sat next to me was clearly very vulnerable, probably had no money or anywhere to stay. I would have to say that I have never picked anyone up on that basis but I have fantasised about it in the past (the whole power and control thing is a key theme for me). I could sense that I would feeling a sense of excitement if I was to allow it in (which I didn’t) but also a sense of concern that if the policewomen did not help her and take her to somewhere that she could get shelter and support that she could end up in a very bad situation - if I was capable of thinking about manipulation then there were far worse people than me around that would do much worse things. I felt this kind of push-me-pull you situation. To be clear, even in my past I would not have taken advantage of this situation, I guess I liked the challenge of people more stable and supposedly unturnable, but I could still sense uncomfortable feelings around it all. The girl ended up getting up and started to walk off. Part of me felt nosey and sorry I would hear what the outcome was and whether the police would help her and the other part of me felt worried about her. Then a voice said to me “It’s OK sir, we are keeping an eye on her” - it was the policewoman again. I clearly looked like a concerned citizen. I smiled back but immediately thought two things. Firstly, I wondered if I felt disgust as my thoughts might have been other than concern for this young woman and then quickly realised that I had not been fantasising, it was actually a genuine concern for her welfare. I actually felt like I deserved the policewoman’s kind words because, for once, I was looking out for someone rather than putting my own selfish needs first. That felt really weird, walking away from a situation and feeling good about myself is going to take some getting used to!

A final thought for today is that whilst I have felt uncomfortable for a big part of today, it has not once crossed my mind to develop any inappropriate thoughts. It occurred to me that I felt very similar once I stopped drinking, developing new habits requires a change of thought process and engraining new habits. No one likes change and it takes effort to stick to the plan and it will feel uncomfortable at first. So my feelings of discomfort are actually welcomed because it shows real change and a new way of thinking and living. Who’d have thought!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 410
One of the healthy recovery patterns that CoachJon identified in those that have recovered was that:
Quote:
"They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life; not as an addict that is managing their life with healthy behaviour."

That phrase has stuck in my head for some time. It comes to mind particularly when reading other peoples' threads where they talk about how long a streak they have gone without acting out and take pride in how well they are doing. Of course they are when compared to their lives before the streaks started but will they ever fully recover? The point that CoachJon is trying to make here is that if you see yourself as an addict then you will always be an addict. A person that is pleased with themselves that they have gone a whole week (or whole month - think about Dry January bragging by many in your workplace!) without having a drink or a bar or chocolate are actually fully focussing on something that they want and are depriving themselves of. That approach is setting yourself up to fail and sooner or later it will probably happen, streaks are just that, periods until they end.

My mindset is now very different, i am not seeing myself as having stopped acting out for a particular period of time or that i am depriving myself of something. I am now seeing myself as someone who has chosen now to live their life differently. I came to RN because i was fed up with how all the stuff i was doing made me feel, i was doing it because i thought it was giving me something i wanted but i always felt rubbish afterwards so clearly i didn't want it after all.

One area of frustration that i have had is that i know how much good work i have put into this and i have been (if i am being totally honest with myself) a bit disappointed not to get recognised for any of it at home. Rather than receiving compliments i would often find my wife snapping at me unnecessarily about many trivial things and that would make me angry. But addicts are selfish people and make everything about them. I remember that those selfish acts inflicted pain and misery on my wife and therefore i have no right to have any expectations of her now. Kenzo has mentioned this to me before and i haven't wanted to hear it, but as usual, there is probably more wisdom and benefit to me in the words i don't want to hear than the backslapping ones that i do. Over recent times i have been throwing these thoughts around in my head. I came to the realisation that i am doing this for me first and foremost and with no expectations of others through the process. If this proves to be successful and i change back into the person that i want to be then i will be the person that others want me to be as well. I have realised over the last few weeks that my wife's sniping has broadly stopped and we feel much more relaxed and closer to each other. I don't think that this is coincidence. I believe that where i now have a new outlook it has made me more relaxed and more easy going about things which has had a positive affect on my wife's interaction with me. I think she is picking up on the vibes of how I am changing for the better. It is a much nice place to be.

So if you are passing by and some of these traits i mention above apply to you then you could do well to see how a change of mindset might reap rewards for you too. Kenzo also makes the pertinent point about it not being about whether we should make choices or not, making choices is a given, so it is really instead comes down to choosing WISELY.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:05 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3856
Location: UK
Hi L2R
Quote:
I think she is picking up on the vibes of how I am changing for the better. It is a much nice place to be.


for the both of you :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g:

well done,
as my ex often says to me
Do not f*** it up

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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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