Recovery Nation

Ziggy's Recovery Thread
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Author:  ziggy [ Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 15: Perceiving your Addiction

1. Take a minute to review what you have learned over the past two weeks. Of what you have learned so far, think of one example of how you have actively integrated that information into your day-to-day life.

- One example is about the idea of tracking my progress and my behavior and seeing how my daily life aligns with the values that I want to have. What I have learned and tried to put into practice is about making it practical. Meaning not just some vague idea like, be more spiritual, but the actionable task should be something like pray every day. On top of this, reviewing how I have been doing must be practical as well - so not trying to spend too much time to review in detail how I succeeded or didn't succeed with my values today - because that will be too ambitious, and likely to get skipped, but rather to just do a quick review to see how I'm doing.

- Another example that I catch but do not always act upon is about absolute honesty. The idea is that honesty is not just about telling the truth and not just about not telling lies, but it is about putting yourself in the other person's shoes and thinking about what things I'm doing that they would want to know about, and what things am I doing that would upset the other person. So not creating a space where I know I can avoid the topic or discussing some action I'm doing, but looking directly at the actions I am taking and being honest with myself as to what kind of person I am being, and to be willing and open to the other person about what I am doing. I have been able to realize more and more when I am doing this, but I haven't always been able to share completely with my girlfriend about it. It is something I am aware of and need to work on a bit more.

Author:  ziggy [ Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 16: Understanding Addiction I

Consider the positive role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served? (Think short-term, not long.)

The purpose of this exercise is to demystify the addiction and understand from a practical standpoint why this path was chosen. The positive aspects of addiction are that it allowed me to deal with stress and negative emotions. It gave me a way to at least temporarily escape from the problems and stress of life. It gave me something to do when I was bored. It was something that was always there for me, and I didn't have to rely on the feelings or reactions of another person. It was something I could do on my own, when I needed it. It was something that I could do in secret and always hide and keep from others and allowed me to live a normal life on the surface.

Author:  ziggy [ Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 17: Understanding Addiction II

- Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in and identify the elements of this ritual.

- I would like to look at my most common ritual, which involves pornography and masturbation. There is normally some kind of trigger, either a thought pops in to my head or something attractive / sexual that I see on the internet causes me to want to act out. So there is some (small) amount of fantasy to visualize some stimulating image that I have looked at recently, that I then want to look at and experience again. At this point lingering on the fantasy, and depending on how much I fight it or redirect it, I eventually may give in and go to the internet to begin searching for pornography and stimulating images. Danger is there in terms of knowing that this is something I don't want to do but do want to do, and recognizing the potential consequences - and thinking about how I can get away with this act without telling anyone, and be able to avoid "lying" about it by just not talking about it. So for example I would seek out doing this late at night after my girlfriend is already asleep, to hopefully not get any questions about it, in the frame of - "what have you been up to?" There is suspense in looking up the most stimulating images, and the potential for finding new and more exciting images and videos that match what I am attracted to. There is sensory stimulation in the act of masturbation and attempting to last as long as possible and enjoy as many images as possible, there is accomplishment in finding a very attractive and stimulating image. This sense of accomplishment is often met with more desire to find an even more stimulating image - it is never enough. There is also orgasm at the end, which almost immediately brings with it guilt and shame and thoughts about how I will continue to move forward from here, how will I continue to try and stop this habit and where am I now? How far did I go, how does this measure up in my overall perception of myself and this addiction, am I getting worse, is there hope? There are all these kinds of thoughts at the end when reality sets in and I give myself a moment to think about what I have just done. Poly-Addiction is present in that I will often go to some other enjoyable, but to me shameful, activity where my threshold for giving-in is lower. This is to sometimes (unknowningly?) soften myself up to give in to pornography and masturbation later. So I would in the past use video games, more recently use time-wasting videos on netflix or youtube that are not stimulating necessarily but allow me to waste time and procrastinate doing things that I should be productively doing, so it gives me a release to boredom, laziness, that is at least part of the root of my sexual addiction. After spending some time doing these non productive things, My willpower can be softened and I often will eventually just give in to pornography and masturbation.

Author:  ziggy [ Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 18: Understanding Addiction II

- Consider one of your compulsive rituals - identify circumstances where each of the three filters have come into play.

Sample ritual - again, looking at pornography and masturbation.
Time - trying to make the ritual last as long as possible, attempting to prolong the physical pleasure and the excitement. Attempting especially to prolong the amount of new and stimulating things I see.
Intensity - looking for the most stimulating pictures and videos and attempting to get as close to orgasm as possible without reaching it. Thinking of different ideas of types of pornography and niches that have been pleasurable in the past, and websites that have been pleasurable in the past and trying to open as many pages as possible so that I can refer to them later, and the excitement about what I will find there, what new things will be there, or to look at something i have seen before and recall how pleasurable it was.
Habituation - going back to the same images or videos that were stimulating to me before, but also sometimes finding that they are no longer as stimulating. So having to continuously look for new pictures, and part of that is the excitement of wondering what will be next, what new pictures and videos are out there to discover that can make the experience more pleasureable. Then i would save this picture and leave to come back to it while still looking for more things, so part of it was the conquest to find more and more things, not stopping when something good was found but wanting to continue to find more.

Author:  ziggy [ Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 19: Understanding Addiction IV

- For the rest of today and for all of tomorrow, become hyper aware of the healthy and unhealthy rituals that you engage in - as you are engaging in them. Do not limit this awareness to sexually compulsive rituals or even to compulsive rituals, explore all of your actions for their ritualistic nature. ex. brushing teeth, eating, driving to work. Become conscious of your thoughts and feelings as you complete these rituals.
- Often I am seeking to satisfy some desire - this is the first thing that comes to my mind, and often I don't provide much resistance to the idea, even if it isn't the best thing for me to do. I tend to make snap judgments and go forward with them, in sometimes small areas of my life. For example - if I feel tired, I just collapse on my bed and go to bed - without brushing teeth or changing out of the day's clothes. Or I come home from work, I just quickly fix something to eat, without sitting down to eat, I just quickly eat it standing up in the kitchen and throw the dishes in the sink to worry about later. Or if I am working on something on the computer (like for example a recovery lesson), I will get to a point that is difficult or needs some extra thinking or etc., and a thought will go into my mind to check the news, or check what is on youtube, what is on facebook, etc. and I will easily allow myself to get sidetracked. I don't put up much of a fight when there is a thought or a stimulus towards immediate gratification. And then sometimes when there is a thought not to do it, I often squelch it very easily. This is the same thing that would happen when I want to act out - my mind of desire will work to squelch any thoughts of opposition, and just push away the mind of reason and long term thought. Afterwards, when I let the immediate gratification win, I will often feel bad - feel like I wasted my evening away, like I don't have self control - which I value - so there is an incongruency there that leads me to feeling negatively about myself, and always wanting to be better, but repeatedly failing at it.

Author:  ziggy [ Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 20: Mastering your Addiction

1. Examine your addiction and the role(s) that it has played in your life to date. Look across your life span and identify the progression of the addiction, the sustainment of it, the absence of it and/or the stifling of it. Look at the major transitions you have experienced and major traumas you have endured and identify the role that addiction played in helping you through that time period.
- Roles my addiction has played:
- As an exit from depressing thoughts and situations. That lets me postpone, at least for a little bit the reality around me - I can just escape and ignore life a little bit longer. Yet somehow life is always there waiting for me when I get back.
- As a way to relax when I am feeling bored. Somehow my mind just gravitates to wanting to play computer games, or watch videos or look at porn when I get this feeling of boredom. When I don't have anything pressing, when I don't have anything that I must do, I feel like I deserve a chance to relax, and the methods of relaxation that my mind gravitates towards are not what I value. So I always end up feeling worse at the end.
- As an outlet for feelings of desire that I want to succumb to - when I want to feel pleasure. It is something that reliably has been able to bring me pleasure, and something that has become a strong desire for me.
- Progression of the addiction:
- As time has gone forward (the addiction has lasted 25 years, with only short breaks of abstinence) I have gotten better at it, the addiction has become more natural and more ingrained in my life. When I'm feeling bored, it is easy to just do it - my values have become so eroded, it hardly takes a thought, it is hard to argue and fight it. It started very innocently, looking at magazines left around the house - my mom's fashion magazines, my sister's teen magazines, victoria's secret catalogs, and then once my friend showed me that you could just look up all of the things you might want on the internet (I had always been too afraid of search history and who would know about it, and possible consequences to try searching for stimulating pictures on the internet, but this friend let me make up my mind to overcome this fear). Then I could spend hours on the internet while everyone in the house was sleeping. When traveling, I always found a way to still get a fix somehow. I would sometimes get riskier and riskier with it - knowing that things were ok, I could be more daring with it, be as quiet as I could about it, and never get caught. Trying to quit was always something that couldn't last more than a few weeks, sometimes (rarely) a couple of months. Eventually I could always convince myself to just give it a quick try again and then I could quit again. I could always convince myself to do so.
- Major transitions, traumas, roles that it played:
- Getting Married - In getting married and the time leading up to it, my addiction was a source of great stress, because I could not control it, and I kept the fact that I could not control it a secret from her. After we finally got married, I was strong because I was able to draw a line to say, no more pornography after marriage. But eventually it was able to creep back in and I convinced myself that once wouldn't hurt, twice wouldn't hurt, and well... I never had a plan for solving it, just try harder, and the plan never included talking with my wife about it, and looking back I don't know how that could have worked.
- Getting Divorce - The relationship ended because of my addictions to pornography and video games. It was such a shock to me and such a terrible experience for me (I felt like I was a complete failure), and it was so difficult for me to just show my face and live - All I wanted was to have the appearance of being a good person, I wanted to have my selfish and addicted self, but I didn't want anyone to know about it. And the divorce made that more real, and more open, and that terrified me. So I had for a moment (about 3 months) renewed strength not to do this anymore, I started the recovery workshop again in earnest, and had a determination not to let pornography and masturbation come back. But eventually, things died down, emotion died down, and everything seemed okay again. I got bored again, I got desires again, and one little slip didn't seem like a big deal. And again I was able to convince myself to do it again.
- With the girlfriend I am with now - I finally see a ray of hope here, where I have been able to abstain from pornography longer than I ever have before. It has been a huge stress to finally tell her about it, and risk having her leave, and not having told her about it from the beginning.

2. Look to future transitions in your life. Consider many different situations that you will possibly face in the remaining years of your life, which could potentially cause major instability. Explore the roles that addiction could play in helping you manage these times. What would it feel like for addiction to come back into your life?
- Possible Future Transitions:
- Marriage - Addiction might want to convince me to do one last try - one last look at porn before marriage - it might put up a strong effort to convince me, and if I am not careful, I may make a quick decision and do it.
- Children - Again addiction may come in and want to convince me to try one last time, before having kids. Because of my strong desire to be a good role model to my kids, and not have this addiction be a part of me, ironically, the desire for pornography might again push to have one last look before becoming a father.
- Getting Fired from my job - This would be a very depressing time for me, perhaps addiction could play the role of cheering me up, and letting me escape the reality and all of the effort and work that would be needed to find a new job, and all of the pain from losing my present job.
- Retirement - perhaps this could lead to lots of moments of boredom, a feeling of lack of responsibility and perhaps this may lead me to indulge in pornography again.
- Death parents - This would be so painful, I wonder if it would steer me back to addiction if I am not careful.
- Divorce / Death of Spouse - if it is the influence of a spouse that is keeping me from acting out, then death or divorce may cause me to just want to give in again.
- It would just feel terrible to have addiction come back into my life. I can see more clearly now the warning signs - the behaviors I make that are not at all (at least on the surface) related to the sexual addiction, but point out that I am headed in the wrong direction and it will show up as resurfacing of the addiction if I let it continue. When I am diligent at not giving in to my immediate gratification mindset, things go smoothly, and my state of comfort with myself is high. This is normally when I am busy, when there are a lot of things going on for me to work on. When I am less busy, I have more free time, I fall into the trap of boredom and laziness, and it is easier for me to pick the wrong way to spend my time, and it leads me to lower my willpower, to let me creep over the lines I have drawn for myself, and slowly get back to a place that I don't want at all to be.

Author:  Kenzo [ Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

i Ziggy
great work with lesson 20

It would just feel terrible to have addiction come back into my life

more than just "feel"
embracing addiction is a choice, returning to it is also a choice
I believe that you will choose / have chosen wisely

Author:  ziggy [ Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Thanks for the encouragement Kenzo!

Lesson 21 - Monitoring your recovery goals

1) What large goals have you attempted in your life and failed? Why do you suppose you failed?
- In the past, I have failed at my attempts at recovery. I think the main reason that I failed in the past was complacency and laziness. As soon as the stress level would drop from a crisis situation that would drive me into serious recovery mode, I would start to get complacent, and have feelings that I have this figured out and that I will never act out again. Feelings that I don't need to continue to monitor my goals or continue on with the workshop. Then one day the desire comes up again suddenly and I act out. And usually the desire comes up because I have not been following my values in other areas. Though I may not have been acting out sexually, I may be acting out in terms of laziness, video games, procrastination, and ignore the parts of my life that I do value, long term. Such as improving myself, maintaining good relationships with friends and family, being responsible, being tidy, etc.

2) What large goals have you attempted in your life and succeeded? Why do you suppose you were able to succeed?
- Finishing my college thesis was a big goal that I was able to accomplish. Probably I was successful because even though it took me a long time to finish, and there was a lot of difficulty to it, and I didn't always stay focused on the end goal, I never doubted that I would do it. I knew that eventually I would finish, even with all the effort involved and the difficulty, I knew it would be done eventually. I didn't rush myself, but eventually I knew that I had to really buckle down and finish, and I stayed focused and did the work that needed to be done.

3) List one recovery goal that you have and break it down into as many smaller, measurable tasks as necessary for you to manage it successfully.
- Finish the recovery workshop by October 1st. (This is roughly 6 months from now, with a pace of 2 lessons per week, and about 50 lessons remaining, which seems to be not too aggressive of a pace judging by how fast I have been going so far. Though I really do want to finish the workshop sooner, this seems the most realistic).
- Sub-goals
- Finish at least one lesson during the week, and one on the weekend.
- For the lesson done during the week, do it right after getting home from work, before sitting down to cook and eat dinner. Don't let myself get distracted and lose sight of what I really want to accomplish (building and practicing life skills and emotional management) by chasing after immediate gratification and little distractions on the internet.
- For the lesson done on the weekend, make it the first thing that I sit down and look at on Saturday morning. At least read through the lesson and put down some thoughts about the exercises before going off to do something else. Don't expect to finish the lesson and exercises right away, but also don't put it off and then leave it for Sunday night and procrastinate.
- Keep up with monitoring goals during the workshop - find a time that works either in the evening or in the morning, or after work or etc. and make sure to keep track of if I'm on track.
- Really focus on being aware of when I am starting to slide and get lazy and complacent, and take the steps needed to get re-focused on the proper goal - whether it is reviewing what my values are, or reminding myself of all of the negativity and life destroying aspects of pornography, or etc.
- Milestones: These will help me know if I am on track or not.
- April 29 - Finish Stage 2
- June 17 - Finish Stage 3
- August 19 - Finish Stage 4
- October 1 - Finish Stage 5 (finish workshop)

Author:  ziggy [ Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

- Consider a simple ritual that you have engaged in:
- Identify 3 or for elements of the ritual
- for each element, assign a number for relative amount of stimulation from the element
- consider the effects of the three filters on each element.

The behavior I am thinking of is what has happened lately - feeling bored, not wanting to do anything, and then either going to a website about video games, or going to netflix to watch somethign, or typing in a semi-safe search term where I can see a seductive and attractive woman pose without nudity and then briefly look through the search results. The ritual starts with a feeling of not wanting to do the chore or task that I believe I should be doing right now - like doing another lesson, or cleaning up my house, reflecting on my day, or any number of tasks that I have set for myself in my values list. Then I open my phone or browser window and type in a search term that I know will not accidentally show anything too explicit. This way I feel like if I keep this very short and don't look at "pornography" I can keep from mentioning this to my significant other.
- Sensory (visual) - looking through attractive and stimulating pictures.
- Time - these are short sessions so time effect is generally small
- Intensity - medium, there is definitely a reaction, but it is not that strong.
- Habituation - the habituation has not really set in since I have not viewed explicitly pronographic images in a while, so it is still providing a lot of stimulation.
- Danger - Will I accidentally see something that could be considered "pornography" and then feel that I have to tell my significant other about it? (Knowing that this is against my values and I am just tricking myself, and that it is something I don't want to do.)
- Time - short
- Intensity - medium
- Habituation - medium
- Suspense - Will I find a new stimulating image as I go through the search results?
- Time - short
- Intensity - medium
- Habituation - small
- Accomplishment - feeling some of the stress relieved by briefly viewing some images and it not being "too bad" in terms of addiction. The feeling of finding a loophole, but not really, as this will only erode at my values and lead me to want more and more, and keep me from full eliminating this addiction.
- Time - no effect
- Intensity - small
- Habituation - has caused this effect to give less stimulation - feeling guilty about it.
- Poly-Addictions - giving in to other forms of wasting time that are against my values, this can tend to soften up my willpower (because I am already going against my values) and cause me to be more likely to engage in the compulsive ritual.
- Time - end up spending a lot of time on other things - that I feel are not value added.
- Intensity - not a lot of stimulation gained
- Habituation - has definitely set in.
| Element | Lvl | Time | Intens. | Habit | sum/n |
| 1. Sensory (visual) | 3 | 3 | 4 | 8 | 9 |
| 2. Danger | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 4.8 |
| 3. Suspense | 2 | 3 | 4 | 7 | 5.6 |
| 4. Accomplishment | 2 | 1 | 3 | 4 | 3.2 |
| 5. Poly-Addictions | 1 | 7 | 3 | 2 | 2.4 |
| sum | | | | | 25 |

Author:  ziggy [ Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 23: Practical Uses for Measuring

- Share a brief summary of what practical uses the skill of measuring compulsive rituals can have in your recovery.
- I believe the main practical use for measuring is to help me more careful and more deeply look at each step of my compulsive chains and gain more awareness about them. To push me to look much more deeply and leave no part of (especially) my mental behavior unexplored to be able to really look into what are the triggering events, and what are successive events that lead up to the place where I feel out of control and feel like it is too difficult to make a change. I feel that to be successful, I really have to preempt my behaviors and make a stop to them at the earliest possible point, or the emotional stimulation roller coaster will just take control, and I will feel helpless. Once I get to a certain point in the chain, my mind is set a certain way, and it doesn't want to hear good advice or practical recommendations, it just wants to be stimulated and satisfied. So my hope from learning about measuring compulsive rituals is that I can understand much more deeply about all the actions I am taking and their effect on this compulsive chain, and to be able to predict and prepare myself for difficult times, triggering events, and situations in the future.

Author:  ziggy [ Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 24: Identifying Compulsive Elements

- Create your own Wheel of Sexual Compulsion more closely tied to your behavior. List all the elements involved in your addiction as a whole.
- My wheel of sexual compulsion is mostly the same as the one from the workshop, but have tweaked it a little to fit more close with my experiences.
- Visual Sensory Stimulation
- Physical Sensory Stimulation
- Fantasy
- Danger
- Suspense
- Accomplishment
- Past
- Procrastination activities (internet, computer games)
- Past (high expectations growing up)
- Choose a real-life example of EVERY major compulsive sexual ritual that you engage in and break them down into their smallest elements.
1) General: Don't feel like doing any of the things I feel I "should" be doing, so I just want to procrastinate and look at porn
1. Get home from work and feeling tired after working all day
2. Fix something quick to eat because I don't feel like spending a long time cooking
3. Sit at the computer with my food and start looking through news and email
4. After finishing with news, I still don't want to do anything "productive" (cleaning up, working on a lesson, ) yet.
5. Go to youtube or twitch or some other place to procrastinate
6. Start having thoughts about looking at porn (**maybe this is the "starting point" of the ritual?)
7. Push away thoughts, knowing that it has been a long time since I looked at Porn and Masturbated, and I don't want to ruin that. Also because scared of doing something that I would feel guilty about and need to confess to girlfriend about, or that I would need to try and avoid talking about.
8. Switch to something more productive so that I will have something to tell my girlfriend when she asks me what I have been doing all evening. (We don't live together)
9. Chat with my girlfriend in the evening, and already I thinking about what I will get to do once she is asleep and I will be free without worrying about her messaging me or calling me at a bad time or asking me about what I am up to.
10. We decide to go to bed. I have been anticipating this, knowing that I am not actually going to go to bed yet. After this she won't be able to ask me about my evening or call me in the middle of me doing something shameful.
11. We say goodnight to each other, and I go over to the computer to start wasting time again, to enjoy doing things that I feel shameful about - maybe reading about video games, or watching people play video games - since I have stopped playing video games and don't want to start again, but I they still have some pull over me. Reading about them and watching them is a way to experience them a little bit (in fantasy) without actually playing them.
12. I find myself hoping to stumble upon an attractive video game streamer or run in to an add or article on a video game site that is arousing.
13. Eventually go to bed, feeling unfulfilled.
14. Go to sleep, wake up in the middle of the night and have a strong urge to look at a sexually stimulating image. At this point, my willpower is not very strong, and I easily succumb to it. Open up the incognito browser on my phone and type in a search term. Something that is relatively benign, maybe "babe" that I know will produce stimulating images.
15. Take precautions not to look at anything that is explicitly pornographic, with the misguided view that if it isn't porn, I don't really need to tell my girlfriend about it. Like having safemode on the search, and only looking through the images in the search, not following them to their original websites. Or if following to the website, make sure it is one I "know" would not have full nudity. All the time looking through pictures, terrified that I will accidentally stumble upon something explicit, that maybe the "safe" filters didn't block.
16. After looking for a bit, desire subsides a bit and I get frustrated with myself, and somewhat satisfied with the visual images, at least temporarily, and I clear the browser tabs and close my phone and try to go back to sleep.
17. Some sense of accomplishment that I didn't look at anything explicit, but still got my "fix."
18. Of course difficult to sleep because of the guilt and shame I feel. Knowing that I should not have done it, and the rule about it not being "porn" is just a made up idea I have that is not true to the spirit of recovery and honesty.
19. Eventually calm myself down enough to go to sleep.
20. Wake up again and want to look at some explicit pictures again. This time, I need to go more stimulating, so I continue to look for more images, new images, and think back to especially stimulating images I saw in the past that I could look at that wouldn't be explicitly porn, and try to remember and find them again. What was that porn star's name? Maybe I can find her on Instagram?
21. Needing more and more explicit pictures without looking at nudity. Seeing a semi transparent shirt - well since I've gone this far, I guess I might as well look at more like this. End up spending more time on it and looking at more and more pictures.
22. Fighting the urge to masturbate, and at times, I really want to, but have been able to treat this as a firm line that I do not want to cross. Several times I stronly consider giving in and just binging and going all the way, but am able to stop myself.
23. Mind is finally able to convince me to stop and go to sleep.
24. Morning comes, I wake up and call girlfriend to wake her up. I try to steer the conversation away from any questions that might bring up what I did last night.
25. The call ends and I feel a sense of relief and accomplishment that I was able to get away with it.

2) Memory of past sexually stimulating image makes me want to look at it again
1. Recently, something in my daily life triggered the thought of an image I had seen in a web banner ad to pop into my head.
2. Often I will find myself scrolling through news articles to get to the bottom where I may catch a glimpse of an arousing picture pointing to another article. You won't believe what these celebrities look like today!
3. I wanted to see it again, so I went back to the website that I had seen it before.
4. The ad wasn't appearing so I kept refreshing it until the ad appeared. This was a creation in my mind to allow me to find a loophole where I could look at somethign seductive without feeling the need to tell my girlfriend about it.
5. After a while decide that I might as well just search for this ad in google, and not kid myself about it. So I find it and find links and go a little deeper into arousing images from this original starting point ad.
6. Eventually find some more stimulating images, then feel bad and guilty about it and stop.
7. Clear my browser history and direct my mind to something else.
8. Guilt keeps poping up and stress about wanting to tell my girlfriend but not wanting to tell her
9. Go back to my recovery lesson to try and make up for what I have done and make myself feel better.

3) Just finished a very stressful task, and feel relieved. Suddenly I have a lot more free time, and I want to relax a little, so I want to look at porn.

4) Working on something stressful so want to relieve some pressure by looking at porn

Author:  Kenzo [ Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Hi Zig
So I want to look at porn.

Why Porn?
Why not the news, a film, a book, a journal, the sky?????
You can choose what you look at but why look at what harms you?

you know which choice to make, just do it and keep on doing so

Author:  ziggy [ Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Hi Kenzo, thanks for the encouragement. That is a good thought to focus my mind on.

Lesson 25: Identifying Compulsive Rituals

1) Develop your own compulsive ritual. List the primary elements in a similar fashion as exampled in the Lesson.
- Compulsive Ritual: Looking at pornography
1. Feeling stressed about all the things I need to do
2. Have a thought aboout wanting to look at an arousing image from the past
3. Think about the image, but don't feel a strong emotional pull to it so able to let it go.
4. Continue to have these thoughts, and let them go, but eventually go a little further with them
5. Imagine the search terms I will use in the search, and what I will look at
6. Come up with a search that I am very curious about and want to see what it is
7. Type a search term and click the link and then quickly close the window.
8. Finally decide to go ahead and look - ends up being not very explicit.
9. Get bolder and type in another search term
10. finally make more searches and look at more things
11. Have strong urge to masturbate, but resist
12. Wonder about what girlfriend will say, close windows for fear that she will suddenly message me while I am looking
13. I don't get texted, so desire comes up again and I look again
14. look more, then finally go to bed, still feeling very aroused and mind is racing - feelings of guilt and shame as well as feelings of wanting to look at more
15. Wake up several times during the night to look at more
16. Finally sleep through morning

Author:  ziggy [ Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 26: Mapping Compulsive Rituals

Map out one of your rituals, make sure to choose a specific ritual that you have engaged in. Go deeper, list the behavior associated with each element.

Recent experience looking at porn

1. Have a feeling of being a little bit relaxed. Some stress has been lifted, some task has been accomplished, or I feel like I have done pretty well today, and some of the self generated stress to live up to my own standards has subsided, I feel like I can let go a little bit, do something that I enjoy, rather than do something I feel like I should do -or- alternately, I feel very stressed about something, and I want to postpone or procrastinate or stop thinking about it. I want to escape from my stressors. Possibly both of these feelings.
2. Have a thought of a stimulating image or attractive person I have seen on the internet and remember being aroused by.
3. Have the urge to see these images again, and even more - have a curiosity of what are similar images I can find - has this person posted new images - are there older images that I haven't seen yet? Are there similar models that I can find with some searches, is there a way I can look and search in order to get out of taking responsibility - can I look at attractive images, without calling it porn, can I get away with it? How will I avoid having to explaining myself, and face consequences of these actions. These are all thoughts that I have. I think the key point is this curiosity - what is the new thing that I will see - I was aroused before, what new things will I discover? How can I figure out how to look at these images without taking accountability? The curiosity and the challenge / accomplishment are drivers.
4. The anticipation and imagining what I will look at and how I will do it serves to increase my excitement and change my emotional state, to make the desire stronger, I have more ideas so that when I am finally doing it, it will be more satisfying.
5. Realize that the longer I entertain these thoughts, the more of these thoughts that I listen to and think about and dig more deeply in to, the more likely it is that I will eventually forget my values and my future pain and choose to perform the action.
6. Eventually enter a search term into the web browser, maybe shut it right away, maybe close it right after the results appear. Eventually just let the urge take control - not worrying about consequences, not wanting to spend the time to weigh the pros and cons, not wanting to do the work of monitoring and defending my values, just wanting to feel satisfied and feel better, I go to a "safe" page where I think it will be arousing but I can not break my promise of looking explicitly at porn. I have drawn a line in a spot that conflicts with my values but allows me to satisfy my urges.
7. Repeatedly look through pictures, and then close the browser after some time, and then when the though comes back, it easily overpowers my thoughts of not doing it because I have already started looking, so what is the harm?
8. See more and more arousing images, the desire to masturbate increases, want to just give in, but the feeling of disappointment and shame I would have from masturbating is strong enough to keep me from doing it.
9. Eventually stop, try to go to bed, but thoughts of disappointment and worry about how to hide this from my girlfriend and thoughts of looking again flood my head and my stress level is very high. I feel terrible, try to calm myself and tell myself it will be ok. Tell myself I am making progress. Have thoughts of how will I ever solve this.
10. Eventually fall asleep, but perhaps wake up in the night to look at more images on my phone.
11. Eventually wake up in the morning and feel sad and ashamed, have a new resolve not to do this anymore, this makes me feel a little better. Try to connect with the feelings I had last night, to understand them better, but really feel unable to connect. Who was this person that I became? I cannot connect to their mindset and emotions. In the morning, it feels like something I would never do. At night, I feel like I can't help but give in. Feel depressed that I will not figure this out.
12. Have a resolve to have a good day, to perform a lot of values based actions, not to give in to immediate gratification, this makes me feel better.

Author:  ziggy [ Tue Apr 30, 2019 6:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Ziggy's Recovery Thread

Lesson 27: Identifying Compulsive Chains

Provide an example of two compulsive chains in your life. The first should be where multiple rituals are engaged in simultaneously - thus enhancing the overall amount of simulation derived from the behavior. The second should be an example of how you have strung together several rituals back-to-back to extend the stimulation you were deriving.

1) The first example is multiple rituals engaged in simultaneously. For me, this could be using video games and time wasting websites as well as pornography and masturbation together. Wasting time, and avoiding things with long term benefit (that are difficult to start) is one way I use to manage my emotions. It gives me a moment to step away from reality and just enjoy something that is a distraction until I go to sleep or finally convince myself to do something productive and meaningful. Since I have sworn off video games, I have, however, still used sites that talk about video games or sites that show video game streamers to help me get my desire to see what is new and what I have been missing (habituation - it sometimes has been a long stretch, and I'm curious - has this video game I used to play come out with a sequel? What are the hip games that people are playing these days? What is the latest and greatest? What am I missing out on?) So here, I would erode my boundaries a bit by allowing myself to waste time with this, allowing myself to do something that I can do that is contrary to my values (that I would feel shameful telling others about). This is a place where then maybe I see a stimulating image on a game website, or maybe an attractive streamer - it can start to become sexually related. Once I have started to cross boundaries, once I have softened myself up a bit, it can be easier for me to succumb to my mind games and try to look at something that is arousing. I'm already wasting time, I already have the mindset of - I'm bored and I don't want to be productive, how can I seek immediate gratification? If I allow myself to start to look at things it can be a very slippery slope and suddenly I'm looking at things that are a lot more explicit - since I have already crossed this boundary, I might as well continue. In the past I would oscilate between time wasting things and pornography and go back in forth. When I was bored with one I would succumb to the other, and then to the other. In between with bits of guilt and shame and feeling bad for myself and a determination to never do this again.

2) The second example is a chain of rituals back to back. I would slowly over several nights, throughout a couple of weeks get more and more daring with my viewing of arousing material in order to satisfy my emotions. It started with an ad on a website that was arousing. And then I found the ad on another website one day that I was familiar with. A few nights later, I was thinking about this ad, and I went to the website. This was easy to convince myself - because I wasn't doing anything explicitly "wrong" in my mind - this was just visiting a normal website. Then the ad didn't appear so I would refresh the website over and over until the right ad appeared. I would feel a rush of excitement and achievement, having found the ad and being able to see it with a perfect excuse - it was just on a website I was visiting - and not needing to tell anyone about it. Then since this stimulation was minor, just as suddenly I felt bad and would close the website, feeling ashamed and upset at myself. Then a few minutes later I would do it again. After some time, a thought came into my head to search for this ad on google. Perhaps there is more to this ad, perhaps the website has something sensual in it. The thought would come and I would chase it away. But eventually it kept coming and I just started typing in the search term into google (what is the harm in just looking for this ad?). The cycle would repeat over several nights, getting more daring. I would finally go to the website and see a few things and shut it. I would see models from this company on another website - a clothing website, and start to browse this "harmless" clothing website, that included a lot of attractive models. At each point I would erode my boundaries a little bit. At each point I would put up a fight, but night after night I would tell myself, I've already gone this far, I'm not doing anything worse... with none of it being explicitly pornographic, so why do I need to tell my significant other? And each time, with habituation setting in and wanting to see something a little more explicit, a little more daring. Then I started to recall models that I have looked at in the past, and wanted to look at their instagram pages, convincing myself that it is not explicitly pornographic, so I can just go ahead and look, since I am crossing these boundaries already. All the time feeling shame, feeling terrified of if my girlfriend asks me about how my recovery is going, or if she will pick up on what I am doing. Knowing also that I need to be doing this recovery for myself, not in fear of repercussions from my girlfriend so being frustrated that the only deterrent seems to be fear of my girlfriend, not desire to end this addiction and live a meaningful life. In this way my mind has been able to rationalize this behavior and slowly ramp up the intensity and explicitness of my behavior through a string of chains, saying, I'm already doing this, let's just look a little more.

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