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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 437
Hey Anon,

Your absolute honesty in your thread is always appreciated and will hopefully encourage others on their own recoveries.

A thought occurred to me when reading your latest post which i thought i would share with you. It perhaps just reinforces what you said yourself but it may provoke some further thought for you. I know that you, like me, have read through all of Kenzo's thread since he joined RN. One thing that jumped out at me that when he was going through his recovery stage (I would suggest that this was really his second tour of the workshop) he often commented that he was concerned he was getting depressed. It led me to question why that might be and i came to the conclusion that perhaps we addicts, having led a life full of excitement through acting out, when we come to recover and remove those things from our lives it is very easy then to suddenly feel we have gone from one extreme to the other and we have nothing (probably no rushes of extreme excitement) to look forward to. It would be almost like a grieving process of giving something/someone up. I would go a stage further and say that if we addicts do not recognise this stage of transition then we are probably either not changing or we are just kidding ourselves that we are. I can certainly say that i have experienced this and have at times looked to the future and thought "is this it for the rest of my life?" It is that thought that then led me to make a point of introducing healthy new interests into my life so that i don't go on a complete downer. Anyway, the point of raising this is not to suggest that i think you are depressed but rather for you to consider where you were (i.e. Excitement of affairs, the chase, etc) to one where you are left with C as you partner (in every sense of the word) for the rest of your life. It probably puts C in an impossible situation as no-one can live up to that shortfall in unhealthy excitement but i do think it is a quite normal emotional situation to go through in such circumstances. I suppose what is more important then is what you do about it. That is probably not for me to comment on and i know you seek counsel from professionals who are far better qualified than me to help guide you in that regard but i would say that it would seem obvious that something in your approach to your relationship with C needs to change. I keep recording to my own thread that in recovery you only get out what you put into it and maybe some creative thinking about how to help reignite things and where you may get the opportunity to fall for each other again by spending more quality time together alone might be the way forward. As i say, that is for you to decide but any change for the better needs some sort of energy put into it for it to have a positive effect.

As always, my comments are merely aimed at providing you with some food for thought and please feel free to ignore, some, most or all of what i have said. Either way, it is nice to have you back on RN, the place is better for you being on it.

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L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
L2R,

Spot. On.
The emptiness that we often feel when removing behaviors is absolutely a sense of grief. We've eliminated something that 1) was ingrained in our identity 2) gave us pleasure 3) comforted our discontent. Of course we'd mourn it, feel an emptiness, miss it. Kenzo has pointed out that just because we feel empty, does not mean we are empty. And you're right, it is absolutely something that C cannot compete with. The excitement and thrill will not be the same... I must create it in a different way that is healthy and involves C. Is this a form of me holding onto my addiction? Missing my acting out behaviors could be interfering with my connection with C. Your suggestion about my approach to my relationship intrigued me. As I look back at my posts regarding intimacy with C, I make it sound like it's a chore... Time to change my approach.

---
So what worked when I began my recovery? Listing my reasons for change, willingness to leave old patterns behind, a vision of health and identification of values. How can I apply this to my next goal of strengthening my emotional and physical connection with C?

Why I want to change:
I want to integrate healthy interactions that fully replace the acting out behaviors of my past
I care about my relationship with C and want it to be everlasting for me, for her, and for our kids
I want to pass on a generational pattern of healthy love and connection
I want to fulfill my capacity as a loving and loyal partner
I want to allow myself to be loved and allow myself to love others regardless of my past
I want to make decisions in regards to ALL my relationships that are filtered through my values

Vision of Health: Developing a renewed connection with C
In my vision... I am fully committed to my wife by putting her needs above my wants. I care for her through thoughtful acts. I sit with her in times of pain with true empathy. I respect her and leave behind my criticism for her, and instead show her unconditional support. I show my love and commitment in ways that she needs: Physical touch and words of affirmation. I stay present with and in the moment with her through mindfulness. I allow myself to HAVE FUN and ENJOY the excitement of true connection. I allow myself to feel the downs that may come when we go through the 'routine' that comes with longterm relationships. I show gratitude for everything she does for our family, herself, for me. I show gratitude for her 100% grace and forgiveness of how I hurt her in the past. I take pride in knowing her, loving her, being married to her. I pay attention to and respect boundaries she has set. I trust her wisdom and guidance by not allowing my ego to get in the way. I am absolutely honest and have constant lines of communication with her. I am aligned with her in our parenting and how we love our children.
In my vision... Our physical intimacy is simply an expression of our connection, love, and commitment to another. It is a form of trust building. Of energy. It is fun and exciting. It is a form of communication with each other. It is renewed. When it is "vanilla" I understand that it is simply a season of our relationship. When it is "routine" I will still initiate because it is simply another way to tell her I love her. When I am uncomfortable, I will tell her and work through it as a team.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
With my vision of health written down, I can now proceed in extracting the values that will be the lens and filter through which I'll make decisions regarding this goal of developing a deeper, healthier, intimate connection with C.

Connection, Love, Communion, Empathy, Wisdom, Gratitude, Grace, Kindness, Thoughtfulness, Authenticity, Vulnerability, Trust, Respect, Mindfulness, Companionship, Teamwork, Modeling healthy relationship, Communication, Compromise, Learning, Loyalty, Patience, Honesty, Fun, Boundaries,

From this list, I choose a top 5....

Communication
Trust
Patience
Fun
Modeling a healthy Relationship

In my next post I'll begin working on some action plans with these values. In the mean time, I'd like to do some daily monitoring for this as an experiment.
Daily Monitoring
Did I talk with C about more than work and the kids?
Did I model a healthy relationship to our children by expressing and showing love to C in a respectful, loyal, and fun way?
Did I use my patience and mindfulness to listen to her actively and fully today?

----
As a side note in regards to my addiction recovery, I want to note here an at risk situation. C and I do a workout class together and have since become regulars and friendly with other participants and the instructors. This poses an opportunity for me to act out in multiple ways. 1) Getting attention from instructors/other class members through socializing. I get a rush and feel myself attention seeking when with others. 2) I do feel tempted to stare at other women in their workout clothes. 3) I have felt intense urges to research/stalk specific instructors.
So far, I've made decisions to stay in the moment and move past these urges. The discomfort of putting them aside and not 'scratching the itch' is easily conquered. I have plans to discuss this with C as a form of additional accountability.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Value action plans help me to “live it breathe it”. It feels a bit weird to make this process of building a healthy relationship into somewhat of a checklist... but I feel these type of baby steps can help me turn it into a routine and authentic natural behavior.

Action Plan: Communication / Trust / Fun
My vision has been serving me well. I’ve had meaningful physical intimacy with C—more in the past few weeks than we had in the entirety if 2019. The internal fear of intimacy still exists. Urges to soothe that fear by fantasizing about others is still present. However in the act when those show up I choose not to entertain those thoughts. I remember my intentions to connect with her as a form of communication and that is helpful to keep me grounded.
Next Steps: I will continue to initiate physical intimacy when I sense I’m physically able.
I will take note of how my stress and emotions play into my capacity to connect.
I will give myself permission to make “the act” fun, instead of a chore I must do against my will to maintain my relationship.

Action Plan: Gratitude
I often lose sight of this. My top five values I selected didn’t even have this one. It’s super important to me and therefore i want to work on it. I sometimes catch myself taking things for granted. C’s own therapist originally said she should leave me. Yet here she still is. Faithful and believing in me even when I couldn’t do that for her in the past. And although each and every day that I choose recovery I honor her, there are other ways for me to express my gratitude.
Next Steps:
I will continue my meditation practice as a means to start my day grounded in peace and my values
I will communicate with C my daily intentions
When I am struck by her or things she does I will view it all through a lens of gratitude and appreciation. I want to take a perspective of, “wow, how awesome is it that I will learn and grow from [insert any positive or perceived negative situation here] with C by my side?”


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
In a previous post I wrote:
Quote:
I want to note here an at risk situation...I have plans to discuss this with C as a form of additional accountability.

I was not proactive and did not discuss it. I played mental games with myself to avoid it.

C brought it up last night saying, "I've been feeling really uncomfortable lately at our exercise class and need to know if I'm just being crazy." She described what she perceived about my behavior. That I appear to almost go in a trance, that my eye movements change, my speech and body language changes. "It feels like some calculated attention seeking and I don't like how it makes me feel. Am I crazy?"
In the past, I would have immediately gone on the defensive with manipulation, gaslighting and fear mongering.
But not this time.
I told her she's right and that I noticed it too. That I wrote about it on RN. That I knew something was up. That I felt I had it under control. That I had intentions to speak with her about it. But chose not to. I felt horrible for how I made her feel and apologized for that and also for not coming to her sooner about it.
We talked about how in the past, this type of behavior was always the beginning of a ritualistic chain and eventually it would lead to scanning, targeting, priming, and then the oblivion of my acting out.
She said, "Thank you for this. It makes me feel validated. So, what is your action plan?" That next part caught me off guard. I didn't have one and began to get anxious. There were three things that were fueling my anxiety: 1) I know better. How do I not have a plan? Why didn't I think to come up with a plan when I first became aware? 2) Black and white thinking of, "I've ruined it for us. I can never go back." 3) The anxiety that comes with actually letting addiction go/choosing not to act out

I am not surprised by these responses and am prepared to manage them in a healthy way. I will start by utilizing the RN action plan worksheet:
Situation I'm preparing to manage:
I take an exercise class with C. I am stimulated by the physical movement, music, and people. I am at risk for acting out to increase the stimulation I receive from this experience.
Options:
Go to class scan other participants as potential targets for stimulation (through eye contact, conversation, objectifying their body)
Take advantage of conversations as means to get attention (through inappropriate jokes, self-deprecation or putting C down)
Never go to class again. Avoid any form of socialization.
Go to class without a plan and just 'wing it'
Go to class with a plan of setting an intention to stay present and nourish my body through movement, not fuel my addiction. Be open to conversation if it is initiated by others and then make conscious healthy choices within my values and boundaries.
Potential Consequences:
I have seen the consequences of acting out and know what I could lose. The pain of that outcome is always greater than the discomfort of denying urges. Instant gratification cannot compete with the benefits gained from a healthy life.
If I choose to go with my healthy plan, I'll feel proud, make C proud, make my connection with C stronger, build a greater defense against acting out in the future and end a generational cycle of addiction by setting an example for our kids.
Decision:
I choose health.

Some final comments...
I've read that during the healing process, the partner of an addict must learn to regain their trust in their instincts. Our partners know. And they deserve nothing but absolute honesty, 100% of the time. Her instincts have always been impeccable. She always knew something was going on. She always knew I was cheating on her those years ago. She always knew when I was acting out. And she knows the warning signs of when my behavior starts on the compulsive chain again. And sometimes, she knows before I do.

Her use of the word "trance" in describing my behavior at this exercise class was such a huge red flag for me. When I allow myself to be in that trance, I choose to let go of all conscious value based decisions. They are instead compulsive and based off of emotion. In that trance I can claim to, "Not know what I'm doing". I can claim ignorance. We know this is where danger lies. She was right and I was at greater risk than I even knew.

In the past I would be beating myself up silly over this. I am beginning to truly accept that my recovery is still young--which means that I will make mistakes. That it will return in different ways. But that each moment, is an opportunity to practice health. To choose health. To choose my values. I am proud of my continuously deepening awareness of my behavior.

I am so full of gratitude for her forgiveness and grace.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:22 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3944
Location: UK
Hi A

Quote:
In the past I would be beating myself up silly over this. I am beginning to truly accept that my recovery is still young--which means that I will make mistakes. That it will return in different ways. But that each moment, is an opportunity to practice health. To choose health. To choose my values. I am proud of my continuously deepening awareness of my behavior.


We all; make mistakes, but that should mean that making mistakes is a given, we need to learn from them as I believe you are doing

Quote:
I am so full of gratitude for her forgiveness and grace.

:g:
remember that we also need to forgive ourselves and that is the hard part

_________________
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: Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Kenzo,

Thank you for the encouragement. Forgiveness is so incredibly hard, but a must to fully heal. “Beware the naked man offering his shirt.” Can we really expect to practice forgiveness and compassion if we have not mastered the ability to give it to ourselves first?
——
A few weeks ago I had a dream about the individual from my last affair. In it, I knew we were not to speak. I did everything I could to not make eye contact with her. But the urge to peek was there. The urge to somehow make contact (even if through various degrees of separation) was there. And I did under the guise of random justifications.

I woke up feeling guilty, that in my dream life, I didn’t make a choice filtered through my values. I felt guilty that I gave in to the calls of this siren.

But it was just a dream. I will always have the ability to choose behaviors that match my identity and values. I will stay vigilant.

It’s been almost 3 years since the end of that affair, and I do occasionally still have random thoughts of her. Earlier in my recovery, they felt like haunting ghosts and I did everything to resist them. The more I resisted them, the more I suffered. Today, as they come I let them in and just as quickly let them go. They are just thoughts. I don’t ruminate on them. Just as quickly as they come, they go. I don’t judge myself for the fact that they appear. I take pride instead, in my choice to let them

Right now, I’m on an airplane headed for a 3 day work trip. In the past, trips were opportunities to act out. Today, I have full faith in my ability to not fantasize, objectify or prime women. My biggest risk is inauthentic attention seeking behavior. The rush of a new routine has me anxious/jittery and I’m worried that I’m on the edge of a manic state. However, I’m extremely proud that I’m aware of this and making plans to manage it.

My intentions are not to fight the anxiety as that never works. I will instead roll with it. Use coping skills to be present. I will fulfill my values. I will socialize to a healthy extent and continue to stay sober. I will remember that this is a work trip, not a vacation. I will return to my hotel room if I’m noticing unhealthy urges. I will stay in contact with C via text and calls. I will return from my trip proud of my ability to stay true to my identity.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:55 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3944
Location: UK
Hi A
great to see how well you are :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g:

I know that I am knit picking but
Quote:
I will return to my hotel room if I’m noticing unhealthy urges.
needs to be followed by

Quote:
I will fulfill my values.

knowing this ensures that

Quote:
I will return from my trip proud of my ability to stay true to my identity.

and you will stay on track in your journey thereafter

OR ELSE :s:

_________________
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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