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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 9:06 am 
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Lesson 17 - Understanding Addiction II

Exercise:
Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in. Identify the elements of this ritual, and post them in your recovery thread.


The main ritual that I struggle with is pornography and masturbation. Considering the steps of a ritual that I have engaged in, there is first the thought and desire that enters my mind. Usually this is the memory of a previous image that I found very stimulating. It may or may not be triggered by something I see, like a stimulating ad, or thumbnail picture of a video in my youtube feed. Then the desire arises in my mind to want to see this image again, and even about what else I could look for and go after--what unfinished image and video searches did I not complete the last time that I acted out? Normally I will try to stop these thoughts and put them away and think about other things, but often they will keep coming back, and if I let myself linger a moment and give in to the thoughts, I will start to build a lot of anticipation about what I have seen before and what is still out there to enjoy. And my thoughts will start to turn at some point to how I can act out without getting caught, without having to flat out lie to my girlfriend about it--but to be able to just not mention it. Then I will start to do a search for something--it always starts out as minimally as my mind can trick myself into doing, like a scroll through instagram, or searching for this ad that was stimulating in the past, and starting to slowly look at progressively more stimulating non-nude images. I can fool myself and say, oh I wasn't looking at porn, but actually I have already broken the boundary that I have set for myself. And slowly looking and closing the browser and feeling the intensity of emotion and guilt and shame and disappointment that I have crossed this boundary I set for myself, and a boundary that I know my girlfriend has. And then I continue and finally I see enough that I know I will act out, but I don't want to be caught, so I need to wait for my girlfriend to fall asleep and there is suspense because I know I cannot act out yet. And then when it is time for bed, I am so friendly to her and so cheerful, knowing in the back of my mind, I just want this part of the evening to be over so that I can go act out--it just feels so hypocritical and disgusting to act this way. And then I pretend to go to sleep and give her every impression that I am going to sleep and then I go to the computer and start watching the images I missed and searching for new images, and seeing what is new since the last time I acted out. And then I masturbate and keep looking until I get tired of it and finally orgasm. And then I feel tremendous shame and try to go to sleep, and tell myself it will be ok, and tomorrow will be a new day and I can start my streak over again, and just try to soothe myself so that I can get to sleep and fool myself that it will just be ok and I can do this and just will myself to fix it.

Elements:
Sensory Stimulation - the act of masturbating and holding off from climaxing
Fantasy - images in my mind that I saw in the past that initiate the desire and that I linger on
Danger - the possibility of getting caught, the possibility of getting asked if I have acted out recently, the possibility that she will just know by my actions and the guilt in me
Suspense - having to wait until after she is asleep, the suspense of finding or not finding the most arousing image or video
Accomplishment - finding the images that are extremely arousing for me, finding an old image again that I remember was very arousing, but I didn't quite remember where it was
Poly Addictions - sometimes I waste time on the internet in other ways, watching videos on youtube or watching people play video games because I just don't feel like doing anything productive, this brings me shame and negative feelings for wasting my time and can lead to me wanting to act out. That I start to already go in this direction that is against my values, and brings me disappointment, and so my mind makes it a little easier to start acting out. I'm already adding to my negative emotion, and acting out helps me to manage it.
Orgasm - at the end, this is part of the ritual as well.
Rationalization - after acting out and it is over, I try to make myself feel better to lessen the negative impact and protect myself from the truth. I reassure myself that I can change. I look at the date today, and project 3 or 6 months into the future and say, ok that will be ok if I am 6 months sober by then. Ok it wasn't so bad that I acted out today, I still will be clean soon. And I give myself hope that I can just tweak my mindset and get back on track and just give myself reassuring and understanding words.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:14 pm 
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Lesson 18: Understanding Addiction

Consider one of your own rituals and identify how each of the three filters have come into play

Considering the ritual of pornography and masturbation:
Time- I'm not sure if I can fully 100% of the time get the difference between time and habituation, but I feel like time is more directed at a specific instance of acting out - and reaching a certain point past which a certain element becomes painful (physically or emotionally) and so you want to stop. Habituation seems more as something that usually develops over time over several instances of acting out, where something that used to give you pleasure or enjoyment is no longer interesting - boredom sets in.
As far as the influence of time in my compulsive rituals, take sensory stimulation / masturbation - there is time to attempt to prolong the the experience before climax, time in continuing to search for more and more stimulating images, and waiting to find the most stimulating before orgasm. Time spent watching and rewatching a particularly stimulating scene until I am bored of it (but maybe this is habituation) and want to go on to the next one. I think it has an effect on the danger element, if I am worried about getting caught this is in the back of my mind and I don't want to spend too long on the ritual - I will start to get more and more anxious. Also it has an effect on the element of suspense - will I be able to find the stimulating image I stumbled upon some nights before? Do I keep looking or be satisfied with what I have found already - and then starting to realize how much time I have wasted and just wanting to end the ritual.

Intensity - For me the strongest part of this in my compulsive behaviors is finding the most stimulating image, and not as much the physical stimulation of masturbation, though that is there as well. Intensity also plays a role in the fantasy - being able to recall images from past behaviors and creating desire in my mind to want to act out again. There is also an intensity to the accomplishment when I am able to find particularly stimulating videos.

Habituation - In my typical rituals of porn and masturbation, habituation is driving me to look at more and more stimulating images because the old ones are not as stimulating as before. It will make me want to progress from looking at non-nude photos and stimulating ads to videos and then nudity and then people having sex. It will make me want to act out in different places to make it more interesting - the bedroom, the computer room, the bathtub - where the stimulation of the warm water can make the experience more intense. It causes me to seek out more and to act out for longer searching and searching for more interesting things, and to purchase pornography rather than "only" what is available for free.


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2020 11:48 am 
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Lesson 20: Mastering your addiction

Exercises
1)Examine your addiction and the roles it has played in your life to date. Progress, sustaining, absence of it, transitions in your life.

It started in my teenage years, the end of middle school and start of high school. It was a pleasurable experience for me. It was powerful and there was a lot of emotion to it and I wasn't able to control it once I discovered it. I would seek it out in magazines and ads and try to satisfy my craving. It allowed me to reduce my stress, allowed me to avoid boredom, and in general to procrastinate and avoid doing things I didn't want to do. My first encounter was accidentally happening upon a playboy magazine that was left on our doorstep by a neighborhood kid and then waiting until one day I was alone in the house and started masturbating to it and I didn't even realize about climaxing and what it was and what would happen and everything was just a shock to me. After I encountered it, I just wanted the feeling again - as the lessons have describe, this was so pleasurable for me, that it got prioritized over my other values. My values were not able to develop properly. I would tell myself that this is bad and that I shouldn't do it, but I didn't really feel that in my core. I had shame and the shame was strong enough to keep me from it sometimes for weeks at a time, but when the desire was strong, I could never really convince myself that it was a bad idea. I could always get away with it, and the pleasure it brought was too hard to resist. I could always do it just one last time - what was the big deal? I could stop later. Let me have pleasure now. Whenever I felt bored or I didn't want to work on something, porn was my companion. When I was young, I think i would get a craving for it and then had to find a way to satisfy it with what magazines were available at home. The desire was strong and I usually didn't really fight it.
Transitions- from teenager to young adult - from high school and into college - it has been so long ago that it's hard to remember. I sustained it by continuing to feed it and only having a surface level of shame - never enough to try to really work at fixing my problem. Even having a girlfriend in high school, it didn't really matter. I just hid it from her and we never talked about it. I fueled this lifestyle with video games and just kept running from my emotions, and ignoring the trouble I was causing myself. A friend of mine then showed me how easy it was to look up porn on the computer - something I had always been afraid of. That somehow I would get caught and get in trouble, but I discovered there really were no consequences - none from external authorities. Then things of course accelerated. The computer in the living room - already something I used to play games on was now my porn machine when everyone else was asleep or away. And I could keep on living this secret double life - always with the feeble effort to stop and saying to myself that that was the last time. That would at most last a couple of weeks.
There were times when I would do it several times a day, times I would skip out on family events with great anticipation because I knew it would mean my family leaving the house empty for me to engage in it without fear of getting caught. I stayed home in college and continued to use the shared computer, eventually I became more bold and started paying for porn sites. Once I had done it once, it became easy to do it again. I would always cancel it right away, right after orgasm. But the membership would still be valid for the whole month - so who was I kidding - I would go back to the site many times in the month to see what else there was to see and make the most of my subscription. Eventually I got my own computer in my own room that I didn't have to share with anyone, and just enjoyed it in my own room. If anyone knew anything about my habit it was never mentioned. No one seemed to suspect it at all. I had somewhere in my heart established values that porn is bad and it was embarrassing to think about and if people asked me what i do for fun, I was terrified to tell them what it really was - porn and video games.
Then grad school came, and I ended up staying at the same university and staying at home again. I met my future wife, and she opened up to me about her past and so I told her that I had a problem with porn, but that I had put it behind me. At that point I had been sober about a month and falsely said to her it was no loner a problem. I was able to hold it back for a little bit but didn't really have a plan for stopping other than willpower and that I loved her. A month or two later I did it, and I didn't let her know and struggled with it. Some time later she confronted me about it, and eventually we made up, but the habit never went away.
Eventually we got married. When we got married, I could keep it a secret that I still had my porn habit - of course i tried really hard not to act out after getting married, but again this only lasted a couple of months. I had not laid down a foundation to fix my habit, i was just counting on willpower. But I could not keep secret the extent of my video game addiction. Now eventually when we got used to each other and it wasn't fresh and new anymore, I just wanted to play video games rather than spend time with her. Next it just became a way of life - she wasn't on my mind anymore. Work, video games, and porn is what I thought about, and she was just getting in the way of that. There was no room to have a wife. One day I got sloppy and left some browser history on my computer and she confronted me about it. I don't think we had talked about it since we got married. Of course this was a big crisis and I promised to change. I think this is when I joined recovery nation for the first time. This started the recovery / relapse cycle where I would be passionate about changing for some time, but not have the right motivation and determination to continue. I wanted to keep the terrible things from happening (keeping my marriage from failing) but I didn't really want to stop, I didn't want to be a different person. I think I had trouble finding meaning and joy in my life outside of porn and masturbation. Everything in my life was doing poorly. I was neglecting my parental relationship, my relationship with my wife, my spiritual life, my friends, my job. I just felt that I wanted to run away from the pain and stress and just feel pleasure from acting out. Eventually the relationship with my wife came to a head. She threatened divorce if I didn't stop, she moved in with her sister for a few days because she couldn't take it. I made some promises that I would change, and I broke all of them. I installed a porn blocker, but I found a way around it, which was even worse - because it gave her a false sense of security that things were ok, and meanwhile I was bingeing on pornography and masturbation the whole time. At the very end, we went to visit a counselor - it was her idea, someone that her friend recommended. There the counselor asked about my porn habit, and I revealed that I had done it recently, and my wife was unaware of it. After the session that was it. She was done. Throughout the time we were together, I had tried not to lie to her about it, but I was constantly being deceptive to her and misleading and trying to paint a different picture for her than what was really happening. In the end she had once asked me if I had done it recently and I lied to her point blank that I hadn't done it. The fear of her knowing the truth was too great and I walked over even that boundary that I had set for myself. It finally came apart and she left me, and I finally told my parents about it and my stress level was so high and I just felt terribly depressed and started the workshop again. And just telling people about the divorce and people asking about it and not being willing to explain more to anyone about why it happened, it all just felt terrible, and the addiction left for a while and I was able to work on recovery again But nothing really stuck. I gradually let the lessons slip away, gradually stopped talking about it with my parents, and eventually the stress died down, and I was all alone, just myself now, and I had not built up the foundation I needed, and it happened again.
At the end of my marriage it had progressed terribly - we had started sleeping in different rooms, and like a thief, when she still thought the porn blocker was working, I would lie in bed in the room below her and medicate my pain and stress and failure with more porn and masturbation, rather than trying to fix our relationship. Once I was on my own, I didn't have to hide anything. I could binge as much as I wanted. Play video games and watch porn all weekend long. I was finally free. No one looking over my shoulder no one worrying about what I was up to. Never living up to my potential and never moving forward with my life. I attempted to start a few relationships, but without forming a real understanding in my heart of what a relationship is really about besides hugging and kissing and fooling around and having fun with someone and remembering their birthday. I was never really able to get intimate with anyone, and it was because of my continued shame at my habit and my lifestyle. After every ritual, every time I finished acting out, I would say, ok, I just need to be sober for 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, then I can start saying I am clean again and feel good about myself again. But there was never any serious effort to quit. I never really put in the time to rebuild my values from the ground up and start over. It was all about medicating my emotions and just feeling good. After work, feeling tired, not wanting to do something boring or difficult like cleaning dishes or cleaning my house or even exercising, I would just sink into distractions - video games and porn. As long as I kept playing video games, I could not kick the porn habit either. The two were intertwined - both linked in my ind with pointless time wasting, with being a failure (all or nothing) and so if I was doing one, why not do the other one -> porn.
The next transition was to meet my current girlfriend - and actually her previous boyfriend had had a problem with porn and video games as well - so she was very wary about it. She asked me early on in the relationship about porn - that she wanted nothing to do with it. And I told her it was a problem for me in the past - which was basically a lie, because I had only been sober for about a month or two, and did not have the foundation in place to keep it up long term. I avoided telling her that my marriage fell apart because of pornography and video games and just told her the reason was video games - because I had started masturbating again and didn't want her to probe and ask about that and find out more. So this game of omission and secrecy and planning my rituals for when I could optimally avoid revealing what was really happening started up again in this relationship. And my life continued to stop progressing -> never going through all of my shared belongings from the previous marriage, never finishing with the past and just getting older, moving forward but standing still. The progress made recently has been positive - feel myself really deriving meaning from other parts of my life, I have kicked the video game habit, but I can see the desire is still there, and the doorway to using porn to satisfy my fluctuating emotions is still there. The daily and weekly monitoring has helped to keep me on track, but I need to keep moving forward and not get complacent or and not give up. I sincerely hope this time in the recovery workshop will be my last.

2) Look at future transitions -
In the past, addiction has helped me numb the pain in all different kinds of moments and points in my life. When stressed, when bored, when ashamed, when disappointed, when happy and feeling good about myself - after just having completed a really difficult week at work for example, I would feel relieved, and just tired of pushing myself to work so hard and just ready for a break and there was porn to help me out.
Future Marriage - I may feel, that I have finally made it again and let myself get complacent. It may creep in again. This is where I think daily / weekly monitoring really needs to be ingrained in my heart - when I see the signs of it - starting to waste more time on the internet, starting to linger and look at triggering ads, etc. I need to do a check on myself and see where I stand, where is my meaning and stress coming from?
Future Divorce / Break up - I think this would be pretty devastating, and I think the only thing that would really cause this in my future is if I fall back to my old habits of porn and masturbation. I feel like it would look much the same as my last divorce, and that is very scary. That's why I need to build up my foundation and my meaning now - I'm not sure how I would really handle this. I think I need to focus on the now to prevent this and stay focused.
Death of a loved one, loss of job - I think I understand that my compulsive behavior will not help me through these events, the key for me is to have enough other values to pull from so that I am not grasping for a way to fix the pain by porn - to ingrain good ways to feel good, not necessarily the easy ways that I have always used before, that end up ruining my life in the end.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 10:00 am 
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Lesson 21: Recovery Goals

A. What Large goals have you attempted in your life and failed? Why?
Certainly at going through recovery in the past. I have attempted recovery several times but have been unsuccessful. I failed at having a loving and harmonious partnership and that led to divorce. As for why these failed, it seems to be that I didn't treat this goal as something that I really cared about or wanted. I didn't understand what the goal really meant and what was really required to get there. I wanted the appearance of the goal or the illusion of the goal without laying the foundation to really work on it. I wanted to be able to think and have the emotional comfort of knowing I am "working on it" or that I am "being married" without really working on what is needed to get there - once the minimum bar was met, I could go do other things. But this is absurd, because there is no such thing as a minimum bar for recovery and marriage. If I have this mindset, then I have already failed before even starting. If I am trying to just do the bare minimum, then I am absolutely missing the point. It's like the idea of being sincere. How can I do the bare minimum at being sincere? The sentence doesn't even make sense. It shows a lack of understanding of what sincerity is. And I had a lack of understanding of what recovery and marriage were. I need to really understand and connect to what recovery and a healthy loving marriage really mean in practice on a day to day basis. What does it practically mean to achieve these things.


B. What large goals have you attempted in your life and succeeded? Why?
I completed school (college) and finished a big personal project for work. For school and for work, even though I would procrastinate a lot, eventually there was enough pressure created from the fear of failure that I was able to motivate myself to do the steps necessary to finish. So, actually, this seems like a terrible motivation when looking back on it and exactly not the motivation I am looking for when working on my recovery. The behaviors I have ingrained since young are the same ones that will get me into trouble if I try to follow the same path in recovery - waiting for fear and pain to be motivators. Since they are not reliable in the framework of recovery. For school and work, there has always been accountability, and the overall performance was very public - the output was clear to everyone. This is not something that I have in recovery - because I can always be deceptive about it and hide things - I can always get away with it if I am just willing to jeopardize my values for it. This motivator needs to come from my life meaning and my joy and desire to transform my self into something that I create myself, not something that I settle on because of habits I have ingrained since I was young.


C. List one recovery goal you have and break it down into smaller, measurable tasks to manage it successfully. Make the goal specific.

My recovery goal is to complete all of the lessons of the workshop by September 10th, 2020. This would be six months since the time when I came clean with my girlfriend. This means I want to do 3 lessons per week, which I think is very reasonable. Especially since I have been through this workshop a few times before, and I have at least some understanding of the material, even if I still have a lot to learn. I think if I keep putting this off and keep letting it drag on, I will get complacent again. I need to keep the fire going. I believe I can break this up into manageable time spent every day on this, even when I am busy. I can set aside time for myself, ideally in the morning to work on this, and if I prioritize it over youtube watching, it can get done. This means I want to complete by:

May 25 - Stage 2: Addiction (up to Lesson 28)
June 27 - Stage 3: Life Skills (up to Lesson 42)
August 5 - Stage 4: Urge Control (up to Lesson 59)
September 10 - Stage 5: Health Maintenance (up to Lesson 73)

I think trying to keep a strong tangible mindset of 3 lessons per week will be helpful in guiding me and keeping me on track.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2020 6:53 pm 
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Lesson 22: Measuring Compulsive Behavior

Consider a simple ritual that you have engaged in, and identify 3-4 elements. For each element, assign a number for the relative stimulation gained from it, then apply the three filters, and consider effect of the filters on the stimulation derived from each element.

I would like to explore my most recent ritual, where I feel the desire for stimulation, either from stress, boredom, or just wanting to take a break, so I browse a website, hoping to be able to see something attractive, but not too seductive and revealing to be considered "pornography", so that I can have a "clean" conscience and be able to say that I haven't looked at porn afterwards. To do the crime but not suffer any consequences.
Elements involved:

3-Sensory Stimulation - Visual - to see something I find attractive
2-past - remembering attractive things I saw before and trying to see them again, to find them again
2-Accomplishment - to be able to get my fix without breaking any rules - even though deep down even having this thought is already crossing boundaries and detrimental to long term health.
1-Danger - the risk of "accidentally" seeing too much - seeing "porn" or seeing something that I will feel guilty about later.

The filters:
Sensory Stimulation (3)
Intensity - goes up and down as browsing through pictures to see if there is something stimulating, but don't want to be overstimulated because of my inner conflict with not wanting to do this. So I will consciously hold back. At the peak maybe 6, for brief moments.
Time - increases to a point as getting excited about potentially seeing something attractive that I have seen before, but then drops as I get tired of it and worry that I have spent too much time on this or risk seeing more than I want to see. Rating: 4
Habituation - Have not looked at "porn" in a while, so the stimulation of browsing these less intense, less seductive pictures is heightened. Rating - 8

Past (2)
Intensity - This is a main driver as I am searching for an attractive image I saw before, but don't exactly remember where it is or how i found it the first time. The excitement of maybe seeing it again goes up and down as I search for it. Rating 6
Time - goes up and down, as I search and as it seems more likely that I won't find it, this drops. Rating 4
Habituation - I haven't gotten tired of seeing this image and the memory of it is very appealing to me. Rating 5.

Accomplishment (2)
Intensity - Goes up until I reach a point that I see more than I wanted and begin to question what I am doing, during the act, it can be high, but once I cross this boundary it feels like I have not accomplished what I wanted. Rating 0.
Time - as it moves on, I get more stressed that I am spending too much time on this so it tends to decrease over time. Rating 4.
Habituation - no real effect here. Rating 1

Danger (1)
Intensity - goes up as I browse and get close to the edge of what I am comfortable looking at - in the state of the ritual - though when outside of the ritual I am not happy with doing this behavior at all, and what I have done. Rating 6
Time - over time it goes up and down - at moments it seems riskier and other times less risky. Rating 4.
Habituation - This is still intense for me as I am not used to a lot of stimulation lately and desires are creeping back in. Rating 4.

Overall Rating - 28.5


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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2020 8:57 pm 
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Lesson 23: Practical Uses for Measuring

Briefly share what practical uses measuring can have in your life

I see it as a tool I can use to slow down my sudden reactions and compulsions and stop myself to ask what I am doing and what do I expect to gain emotionally from it. It will allow me to break down and analyze the individual steps I take in the ritual and why, and determine how my emotions are affected by it. It will allow me to compare this action/ritual with others and get a better assessment of where I am relative to other behaviors I have done in the past, rather than an binary view of - I looked at porn / I masturbated. By shining a light on it and viewing it more closely, I can understand it better, and it will be less mysterious to me. Then it will feel like something I can actually conquer.


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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 10:38 pm 
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Lesson 24: Identifying Your Compulsive Elements

Exercises:
1. Create your own wheel of sexual compulsion.

These are common elements I find in my sexually compulsive rituals:

To begin:
- Feel boredom
- Feel good that I have accomplished something and so I feel like I deserve a break
- Feel like I don't want to do what I need to do next (house chores, lessons, etc) and want to take a break
- Feel the desire to look at something sexual - usually a past memory of something I have looked at before that I found attractive
- Wonder what new sensual things are out there on websites I haven't visited in a while
- Feel that now is a moment when I won't be caught - that I can do what I want without repercussions

And then:
- Give in to something small without completely going to look at porn - for example a website that has had a seductive ad in the past - Maybe I will see it again or something similar
- Slowly give in slightly more and more, getting more daring, perhaps clicking a link, continuing to scroll and look for something
- Feel suspense - will I accidentally see more than I want to? Will I still be able to deny looking at porn
- Have this conflict internally between wanting to get my fix, and see something sensual, and not wanting to see something sensual - because I'm terrified of the consequences
- Eventually see something beyond the boundary that I am comfortable with

And then:
- Give in and start looking at porn / more and more seductive images - all or nothing - if I've already looked at something questionable, might as well go out with a bang
- Give in and start masturbating
- Hunt for an image from the past that was very attractive
- Hunt for the most sensual images I can find
- Feel stress about the time I'm spending on this and if I will get caught
- Feel excited about very sensual images, feel intense pleasure
- Feel accomplishment for finding a very pleasing image, or finding the image I was looking for from my past

And finally
- Orgasm
- Finish without orgasm - get tired of what I am doing - the images I'm seeing are not sensual enough
- Feel disappointment - why did I trade my values for this? It wasn't worth it
- Worry about how I will hide this or explain this to my girlfriend if she asks


2. Choose a real life example of every major sexual ritual you engage in and break down to component elements

1. Look at sensual "non-porn", hunting for a fix without "breaking rules"
- Feel bored
- Feel now is a moment i won't get caught
- Give in to something small - an add or swimsuit search
- Feel suspense about seeing too much
- Back down and close the website
- Potentially repeat again / fall asleep

2. Look at porn
- Feel desire to look at something sensual - something from the past
- Wonder what new sensual things are on old websites I have visited
- Give in to something small (non porn)
- Slowly get more daring
- Cannot resist anymore and finally click something that is porn - or too reckless and see something I don't want to
- Give in and just look more and more
- Search for the most sensual images
- Search for old images I remember
- Finally get tired of it and stop
- Feel ashamed and disappointed
- Worry about what I will do, what girlfriend will say

3. Look at porn with masturbation and orgasm
Starts as #2, but with a slightly different ending
- Find an extremely sensual image and give in and start to masturbate
- Feel intense pleasure and accomplishment for finding these images
- Orgasm
- feel ashamed and disappointed
- What have I done? Why, for what?
- Worry about what I will do, what girlfriend will say

All three of these are made up of components of the above elements - and can vary based on the circumstances - what emotions I am feeling at the time, but all come from these basic elements for the most part. And going through with the act to a certain degree.


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 8:36 am 
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Lesson 25: Identifying Compulsive Rituals

Develop your own simple compulsive ritual. List the primary elements as in the example from the lesson.

1. Have a thought about an attractive image I had seen in the past and the desire to see it again (Beginning of Ritual)
2. Push the thought away - I don't want to do this again.
3. Thought continues to return.
4. Feeling that I have been productive and need a break
5. Without giving myself time to overthink it or overrule it, I sit at the computer and start typing a url (Point of No Return)
6. Know that I want to see something sensual / sexual and attractive to ease the pressure I feel, but experience conflict in not wanting to act out again.
7. Start looking past thumbnails of seductive / attractive "non porn" images, to try and relieve the pressure I feel
8. Click on an image, and then just glance at it quickly and close it back.
9. Stumble upon an image that is maybe more than I want to see, and quickly scroll past and feel guilty
10. Rationalize and debate with myself - try to comfort myself. Was that considered porn? Will I have to tell my GF about this? Was it too far? I only looked briefly. It was an accident.
11. Feel I have had enough and the urge to act out has calmed down a bit, but is not completely satisfied.
12. Close my incognito browsing window and try to get back to what I was doing and comfort myself. That was bad, but I was able to not act out "fully". Feel accomplishment in soothing the urge without going too far. (End of the Ritual?)
13. Await the next urge...


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 7:33 am 
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Lesson 26: Mapping Compulsive Rituals

Exercise: Map out a compulsive ritual, with deeper awareness from the previous exercise. Should be a specific ritual instance, rather than a general behavior. List the behavior/thoughts associated with the element of the ritual.
  1. Feeling tired of doing what I am doing and want a distraction
  2. Have a thought of an attractive image I saw in the past and brief intensity of anticipation thinking about it and briefly visualizing the pleasure of following through with it - going to look at it, and the excitement of finding something new and exciting and pleasurable.
  3. Push the thought away - There is the feeling of stress for the consequences if I act out and follow through that deters me.
  4. Thought continues to return, each time building a tingle of anticipation and trying to convince me to move forward with different tricks - just a quick look, we don't have to take it very far, won't look at porn, won't masturbate, just take a quick look, we won't have to tell anyone about it. At this point I may not give in here, but do waste some time on the internet, watching videos, not being productive, and I don't feel proud of it. Then go back to doing something that I feel I need to work on - being productive.
  5. Feel I have been productive and could use a break - feel accomplished that I have done some values based actions, and now I deserve a break. If gf asks what I have been up to, I can tell her the good things and leave out the bad things without strictly lying about it. Just omitting. Have a feeling of safety - it's safe to act out now without consequences - i won't go too far, won't last very long, won't masturbate, won't tell anyone. It feels ok to do it - in my mind I have mitigated the emotional consequences. Have a good feeling of accomplishment and want it to continue.
  6. Without giving myself time to think it through too much, I go to the computer and type a url. The anticipation and excitement is high - I'm actually doing it - and I push away any thoughts that might stop me from progressing - I actually push the good thoughts away, so that I can make sure that I go through with what I am doing. (this in my mind is the point of no return)
  7. Feel conflict between wanting to act out to soothe the negative emotion, and the future consequences of acting out. Feel stress about what I am doing. Worry that I will see something too explicit and the emotional consequences of that. But the anticipation is very high, the excitement of what I might see, what might be out there is too high, and it pushes me forward. Stress level is also very high. Emotion is very intense.
  8. Start looking through small thumbnails of pictures of different women to find something attractive, and excitement and suspense builds. It is hard to see exactly what it is, so the excitement in clicking on one is high - not knowing exactly what is behind it. I am on edge.
  9. Click on an image, to see it more closely and see what other pictures are available, and quickly glance at it and close it. Don't really give myself time to become aroused by it. There is an image tracking accountability software on my computer that tracks what is on my screen and analyzes it and gives a daily report. Currently the report only goes to me, but it is enough of a deterrent that I don't want anything to appear on the report. At this point I start to feel a little relief of the stress to act out and also a bit of frustration. The conflict between wanting to and not wanting to act out means I don't really satisfy the desire and at the same time risk going too far so my stress goes up and I start to feel like I don't want to do this anymore.
  10. Stumble on an image that is more than I want to see, and quickly close it and move on. Feel intense stress. Was that considered porn? What have I done? I am playing with fire. Feel stress and not really satisfaction from seeing this attractive image.
  11. Debate and rationalize with myself over what I saw. Try to comfort myself and make myself feel better. If I really feel that I have gone to far - there is risk that I would just want to go all out and start to look at all kinds of things, so I don't want that. Soothe myself and tell myself it's ok. This helps drop my stress level down.
  12. Feel I have had enough - the urge has died down, being somewhat satisfied and the risk/reward of continuing doesn't feel worth it. Emotion has died down a little. There is even a sense of boredom and this is too much effort for not really getting satisfied.
  13. Close browser and get back to what I was doing - continue to comfort myself and feel accomplished that I was able to get some satisfaction and still feel ok about it. Think about the deception I will need to do - not talk about it with my gf - being able to say I didn't look at porn, and avoid mentioning that I was looking at attractive women in very revealing clothing. Still feel guilty and stressed but try not to let these thoughts overwhelm me. Encourage myself and tell myself I did well in not fully acting out. This helps drop my stress. (this is the end of the ritual... kind of)
  14. Wait for the next urge to come up - happens several times a day - as soon as I feel bored or accomplished, or tired of working, and in a safe place to act out, the thoughts go back to acting out again.


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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 3:31 pm 
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Lesson 27: Identifying Compulsive Chains

Exercise
Provide an example of two compulsive chains in your life. One with multiple rituals engaged in simultaneously - to enhance the overall stimulation, and the second how you have strung multiple rituals back to back to prolong the stimulation derived.

I'm not sure if I take part in any simultaneous rituals. The most complicated ritual would be viewing pornography and masturbating, in the bathtub to provide additional stimulation of being in a warm environment. I guess I have also tried porn video games, but generally I haven't added other things simultaneously that I am aware of.

On the other hand, for as long as I can remember, I have managed my life with back to back distractions and escapes from discomfort; seeking escape from reality and stress. It feels like my whole life is just stringing together rituals to keep my emotions in check. For a long time, it was porn and video games together. When I wasn't doing one, I was probably doing the other. More recently it has just been other distractions. Whenever a hint of discomfort - boredom, not wanting to do a lesson, not wanting to clean dishes - my mind is easily convinced to follow a distraction - to go on the internet to watch Youtube, or watch people play video games, or check the news and maybe stumble upon a seductive ad or click bait. My mind can always trick me - We'll watch some self improvement videos, so it's not wasting time. When I can't take the stress or consequences of acting out sexually, I can still distract myself in these other ways. It could be spending a long time cooking, it could be trying out a new fountain pen, listening to a podcast, there are all kinds of ways I use to avoid achieving my goals - or even thinking about them. Because it is too scary to think about where I am and how far I am from them. When I feel safe, and able to convince myself that I won't go all the way and that a short look is no big deal, I will use porn/seductive images to feel better. And then if I have looked at porn recently - I get a might as well attitude, and will try to find a way to have a longer porn binge. When all else fails, I will go to sleep - whether a nap in the middle of the day or a "nap" at 8pm - sleep is my favorite way to escape and avoid whatever emotion it is that I am trying to avoid. Then in the morning, I wake up with a feeling of invincibility - I don't have the desire for porn and I can't imagine what that feeling feels like. Until slowly, during the day, the urges come back and the cycle just continues day after day, another life goal is never met, another milestone slips away, with no purpose or meaning, just distraction.


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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 11:44 pm 
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Lesson 28: Developing Compulsive Chains

Exercises
  1. Develop a compulsive chain of your most recent acting out behavior
  2. Review it to ensure you recognize how each element affected your emotional state
  3. Thinking as an addict look for areas where you could add additional destructive elements that would have (most likely) increased the overall stimulation of the event. Should be realistic

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  1. The night before had repeatedly looked at some sensual images and felt guilty. Decided not to tell my gf about it because it wasn't "porn" and I didn't masturbate. In this way I had already opened myself up for the mindset of I've already gone this far, no harm in doing it again.
  2. Throughout the day, thoughts came up to act out again, but was able to push them away without thinking too much about it.
  3. Later in the evening, started to think about it more, and started to have lingering thoughts of how I would act out, if I were to do so - what I would do, how to best do it without getting caught, how I could conceal it and not mention it if asked about it in the future. This built up my anticipation.
  4. In the evening, called my gf and told her I was tired and going to bed. Tried to be as nice and engaging as possible so that she wouldn't suspect anything of what I was planning in the back of my mind. I knew I was actually tired, part of me wanted to sleep, but part of me was very excited about the prospect of opening the door to looking at seductive images without any repercussions - since I wasn't going to tell my gf about it anyway. This built up my anticipation even more, and increased my feeling of security that it would be safe to act out - I wouldn't get a call from her while acting out for example.
  5. Wished gf good night and hung up, and then tried to go to sleep - probably just to be able to say that I went to sleep after the conversation, if the question came up in the future - more opening up the door to acting out safely later that night.
  6. Not long afterwards, probably just a few minutes later, the thought entered my mind to go look, and the feeling of excitement was intense and I loved the feeling and I wanted to indulge it so I didn't fight it. And let this feeling pull me out of bed and over to the computer.
  7. Started to take the steps to act out - deactivated the websites from my blocked list, logged in to the website for viewing, opened another page for a list of potential models to look at, with a list of women that I found stimulating in the past.
  8. Started browsing through the images. This time more daring than the night before. Feeling confident I could take this a little farther and not feel I needed to tell my gf about it.
  9. Found some attractive images, and opened them in new windows to save them for later. Searched to figure out how to increase the sizes of the images on the website to increase the intensity.
  10. Had some fear about what the screen logging and monitoring software would pick up, but the report only goes to me - in the past, the shame and thought of having this recorded and logged was enough to deter me, even with no outside person reviewing the report. But now I had grown more bold, and reviewed what it had logged from the night before, and was no longer worried about it - the urge was too strong for me to care.
  11. Had some concern about clothes being too see through in the women, or seeing the shot of a woman from the back naked - whether this would be considered "porn" in my view, and whether I would need to tell my gf about it. So avoided and skipped past these questionable images. My mind was still focused on security and what I could get away with, while still being "honest."
  12. Let myself stare at some attractive pictures. Tried to avoid watching videos - felt this would be too sensual - thought that I would regret this, so avoided it.
  13. Finally got to a point where I was getting tired of it - filter of time had reached its peak and the pleasure was now dropping. All these images were running together, looking the same. Felt ready to quit.
  14. Closed all the windows and took a last look at the photos in different tabs that I had saved as very attractive and stimulating.
  15. Went back to bed and tried to go to sleep. Tried to soothe myself with thoughts of I didn't do anything worse than last time, it will be ok, I don't have to tell my gf about it.
  16. Thought to go back and look at more keeps coming back. Images of what I saw, as well as ideas of other things I could have searched for but forgot about.
  17. Tried to fight urges with thoughts of feeling what it would feel like to go through with it and how bad it would feel, and how bad it is for society - the example this sets for other women, especially young women, and what expectations this sets in men and how bad it is.
  18. Managed to finally fall asleep.
  19. Woke up around 4 am and the urge was back. Very strong and this time did not want to fight it, just wanted to go back and look again. Felt tremendous excitement and anticipation.
  20. Got on computer and started routine again. This time more daring than before. Looking at videos too now, less concerned about seeing too much.
  21. Was tired so reached a point where I wanted to stop and closed all the browser tabs.
  22. Frustrated at myself that I am unable to stop.
  23. Tried to keep myself from repeating this by changing the password on the web address blocking / monitoring software account and wrote it down and went and put it in my car so that it would be hard to just get up and look at these things again - adding some friction to doing it.
  24. Felt good about myself that I found a way to make this harder and potentially prevent this in the future. Felt good that I am "working on it"
  25. Tried to get back to sleep. Worried that I won't be very rested and when I call gf in the morning she will know that something is up.
  26. Work through my head how I will hide it from my gf when she asks how my morning went.
  27. Finally get to sleep
  28. Decide to tell her about it and just take whatever happens. Feel good that I am going to tell her and also scared about the reaction. We were planning to meet that day to hang out, so was afraid she would ask about it and the truth would come out anyway, so decided to tell her about it first to get it out there so I wouldn't have to stress about it all day.
  29. Told her about it. Felt relieved but stressed. She was upset at me and gave me some advice and things to think about. I just accepted it all and felt ashamed. Was not able to give her answers.

How could stimulation be increased?
  • Masturbation and orgasm
  • Look at more explicit porn
  • Find past porn images and videos that I have found very stimulating and look at them again
  • lie down and get in a comfortable position to masturbate and enjoy rather than just sitting at the computer
  • Have the sound on my computer and listen to audio from the videos
  • Connect to a bigger monitor to be able to view the images larger and more clearly
  • Allow myself to indulge for longer
All of these would have made me feel more stressed and guilty as well - that I was going too far with it.


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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 10:15 pm 
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Lesson 29: The Role of Emotions

Exercises
Find a place to be alone. For at least 15 minutes close your eyes and feel. Think of things that are important to you. Values, regrets, traumas, wonderful moments. Let yourself experience whatever emotions come freely. Focus on each of the emotions you experience from these thoughts.
Consider a milder compulsive behavior. Get in touch with the feelings generated with this behavior. Forbid yourself to act if triggered - focus on the anxiety. Get in touch with the stress this is building. Either now or soon, you will have the challenge of acting or not acting on these feelings. Feel the consequences of the decision to act out, and the decision not to.
  1. Describe the emotions you experienced and the thoughts that triggered them
  2. Describe the extremes of your experience with anxiety. What has been the least anxious state and the most extreme?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  1. Thinking about my values, I first experienced stress that I wasn't living up to them. That I was wasting time, not focused, and lazy at times, and that I didn't live up to who I wanted to be. I felt a feeling of stress and I tried to understand that stress. Then I would think about places where I was living up to my values, in talking more to my parents, being more open and honest with my gf, and not doing things that I feel I need to hide from her. And this felt peaceful. I also just felt peace sitting down and experiencing -- I found a place under a tree and sat and there was a gentle breeze and birds singing and it was very pleasant. Calming. This kind of feeling of --what is there to worry about? I tried to connect to my traumas and regrets. but it felt so distant. The feelings of continuing to follow this habit, of having my marriage end. All were so terribly painful, but I couldn't connect to it. Then I thought about the future, getting married again, having kids, having someone to share life with, and this was very pleasant, just nice, but it also felt numbed somewhat. Like I wasn't feeling the full joy and didn't really connect with it.
    regarding the compulsive behavior - I felt the pleasure of the physical stimulation, the intense desire and lust, the attractiveness of the artificial bodies that I search through and find that are most seductive to me. The anticipation of what else I may find. The memory of a past image and the hunt and anticipation of finding it again. The physical stimulation to provide pleasure without leading it to the conclusion yet. The imagination that I am being pleasured and desired by those women.
    The stress to act out is wanting to experience this again, but stopping myself. Knowing I have done this so many times before, and knowing the potential pleasure I could be feeling and wanting to feel it so badly, but not wanting the consequences of it. Not wanting to be unable to stop myself again. Not wanting to have to tell my gf that I failed again. Not wanting to be a part of this societal problem that is corrupting the world and knowing I am indulging in it and helping it continue.
    Experiencing the fantasy of it and knowing there is a limit to the good I will feel. And then, let it go and just let it pass. Let it die down and go away.
  2. As for my least anxious state, it would probably be a moment of relief after having finished something very difficult and stressful - generally involving others' judgement of me. Just finishing a big presentation for example or also after the stress of telling significant other I had a slip/relapse. The time of little anxiety is often the worst for me - I don't push myself very hard and will often give in to time wasting, non value congruent activities (because I've earned it) that eventually leads to porn again. My most stressful moments are are of course those times right before the relief mentioned above. The anxiety related to what people will think - putting myself out there and waiting for the response.


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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2020 6:06 am 
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Hi Ziggy
Quote:
Thinking about my values, I first experienced stress that I wasn't living up to them. That I was wasting time, not focused, and lazy at times, and that I didn't live up to who I wanted to be. I felt a feeling of stress and I tried to understand that stress. Then I would think about places where I was living up to my values, in talking more to my parents, being more open and honest with my gf, and not doing things that I feel I need to hide from her. And this felt peaceful. I also just felt peace sitting down and experiencing -- I found a place under a tree and sat and there was a gentle breeze and birds singing and it was very pleasant. Calming. This kind of feeling of --what is there to worry about? I tried to connect to my traumas and regrets. but it felt so distant. The feelings of continuing to follow this habit, of having my marriage end. All were so terribly painful, but I couldn't connect to it. Then I thought about the future, getting married again, having kids, having someone to share life with, and this was very pleasant, just nice, but it also felt numbed somewhat. Like I wasn't feeling the full joy and didn't really connect with it.
regarding the compulsive behavior - I felt the pleasure of the physical stimulation, the intense desire and lust, the attractiveness of the artificial bodies that I search through and find that are most seductive to me. The anticipation of what else I may find. The memory of a past image and the hunt and anticipation of finding it again. The physical stimulation to provide pleasure without leading it to the conclusion yet. The imagination that I am being pleasured and desired by those women.
The stress to act out is wanting to experience this again, but stopping myself. Knowing I have done this so many times before, and knowing the potential pleasure I could be feeling and wanting to feel it so badly, but not wanting the consequences of it. Not wanting to be unable to stop myself again. Not wanting to have to tell my gf that I failed again. Not wanting to be a part of this societal problem that is corrupting the world and knowing I am indulging in it and helping it continue.
Experiencing the fantasy of it and knowing there is a limit to the good I will feel. And then, let it go and just let it pass. Let it die down and go away.
As for my least anxious state, it would probably be a moment of relief after having finished something very difficult and stressful - generally involving others' judgement of me. Just finishing a big presentation for example or also after the stress of telling significant other I had a slip/relapse. The time of little anxiety is often the worst for me - I don't push myself very hard and will often give in to time wasting, non value congruent activities (because I've earned it) that eventually leads to porn again. My most stressful moments are are of course those times right before the relief mentioned above. The anxiety related to what people will think - putting myself out there and waiting for the response.


great awareness :g: :g: :g: :g: :g:
and honesty :g: :g:

do keep it up

_________________
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: Sun May 31, 2020 6:28 pm 
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Hi Kenzo,
Thanks for the encouragement! I do feel like I'm making a lot of realizations going through these lessons again, but I need to remember them and act on them. They need to stick!


Lesson 31: Achieving Balance and Stability

  1. Make a list of all stressors affecting your emotional health in the past week. Label them as mild, moderate, severe, or extreme.
  2. Look at your values list. The majority of energy being drained (stress) should relate to the pursuit of the top 15 values in the prioritized list. Is this the case? If not, what does it mean in terms of how you expend your energy?
  3. In a healthy life, the majority of meaning and stimulation you gain should be related to your highest values. Is this the case? If not, what does it mean in terms of the quality of your life?

A.
  1. Pressure to finish the number of lessons I have planned on this week vs how many I actually do. (Mild) Related to My Values of => Emotional maturity, Having a plan for my life
  2. Stress that my girlfriend may finally have enough and leave me (moderate) Related to my Values of => Understanding others, Having empathy for others, Caring about people in my life
  3. Pressure to make progress on cleaning through my house to begin moving out (Moderate) Related to my values of => Understanding my purpose, Having a plan for my life, and Caring about people in my life
  4. Pressure to use up food in my fridge before it goes bad, and also to eat healthier (mild) Related to my values of => Taking care of the world around me
  5. Pressure not to sleep too early even if I am a little tired because I want to do more productive things (mild) Related to my values of => Being disciplined, Having a plan for my life, Emotional Maturity.
  6. Stress from wasting time on watching YouTube or other time wasters (mild) Related to my values of => Being Disciplined, Emotional maturity, Having a plan for my life, being present in the moment.
  7. Stress from badly wanting to act out and preventing myself from doing it. (severe) Related to my values of => Being Disciplined, Emotional Maturity, Being present in the moment, Caring about people in my life.
  8. Stress from finally acting out and then having to either tell my gf about it or to try and minimize it and avoid telling her (severe) Related to my values of => Understanding my purpose, Being sincere and honest, Caring about people in my life
  9. Stress from trying to getting things done I need to accomplish at work and thinking about all the things I need to do. (moderate) Related to my values of => Having concern and empathy for others, Being good at my job.
  10. Stress from interacting with coworkers, and communicating with them in a good way and not taking out my frustrations and emotions on them (moderate) Related to my values of => Emotional maturity, Understanding others, Being good at my job, having empathy for others.
  11. Stress about am I using my time wisely, am I doing what I should be doing? What is most meaningful and beneficial? (moderate) Related to my values of => Understanding myself and my purpose, Having a plan for my life.
  12. Stress from needing to finish a task I promised for a friend, but it will take some time to do, and I would rather just relax. (moderate) Related to my values of => Being sincere and honest, Concern for others.
  13. Stress from thinking about when I will accomplish all the things I have planned and everything that I want to do. (moderate) Related to my values of => Understanding my purpose, having a plan for my life

B. Beyond the values listed next to the stressors above, there are things that stress me, that I value, but I don't want to value. They are presently part of my values, but I don't want them to continue to be. For example, I am stressed about what people will think about me -> related to my ego, and having a good image in front of others. I want to appear to other people as good, intelligent, attractive, funny. But I don't want this to be one of my values. This also has to do with the shield I put up to appear a certain way, to appear better than I am to people to avoid talking about all the things I do that I am ashamed of.

C. As far as generating meaning, I feel it does come from my values -> The relationships I have with family and friends, the sense of accomplishment and peace when I do something difficult, for example doing well at work, being able to remain disciplined with completing my lessons and daily chores rather than taking the path of laziness and relaxation and wasting time. Of course, I experience a lot of emotional stimulation from other things - entertaining videos, relaxing, napping, but it does not provide meaning. And the more I put off what I really want to accomplish (my values) the more and more stressed I feel.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:20 am 
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Lesson 32: Evolving Practical Values

1. Review progress on the 15 proactive action plans
2. Update proactive action plans as needed


1. In general I have not been keeping up with the proactive action plans. Reading through them, there is a lot of things there that I want to do and strive for, but I think I put down too many things to work on, and there are too many things to try and do and remember. I started doing daily monitoring a while back, and that lasted for about 1-2 months, and since then I have not been doing well in keeping track of trying to gradually strengthen my values - this lesson has been a good reminder that I need to keep moving forward on my values and my recovery can't be about just eliminating something I don't like about myself, but has to be about putting up something that I value in its place.
I think I have a few too many steps planned for each proactive action plan, so I wanted to simplify and rearrange things a little bit. Although some of the things on my list I have indeed started doing, it has not been planned and methodical. This is a reminder to keep these things on my list as things to move forward on and gradually develop. For some values I discovered, I hadn't even written down any plans a tall.

2. I decided to rearrange and reword things a little bit so I could connect to them better, and just put down 2 things to work on per prioritized value.

1. The Eternal - Be in the moment. This moment and life as part of a continuum. Not to be perturbed and disturbed by my emotions - they will pass. Be patient
---think about where my motivations come from - values or emotions? instead of giving in to them right away
---When feeling a strong emotion, try to understand it better, stop and think about it
2. The Joyful - To find joy and meaning in life, to be excited, grateful, in awe, and happy about living my life, overcoming the next challenge. Life is not a series of chores to accomplish so that I can take a break and relax. Life is about living life!
---When feeling down, just take a moment to smile, and think about one thing I am grateful for
---When I feel that life is a chore, think about how wonderful it is to be alive. Try to connect what I am doing to value and meaning
3. The Sage - Build up and develop one's wisdom - the unity and connection of all living beings, understand myself better, understand my purpose, focus on what is meaningful
---Read through spiritual teachings everyday - Bible, sutras, etc.
---Read through my recovery notes everyday
4. The Steward - To Take care of things. Keeping things tidy, taking care of the world around me, taking care of and caring about others, exercise, eat well, take care of the body, don't waste money
---keep my kitchen clean everyday
---when I feel it's a chore, think about my future self, and why I want to keep my kitchen clean
5. The Curious - To really have a love of learning. Read and learn things, and strive to put it into practice. How can I do this better, how can I improve, try new things, ask questions, try to understand self and others, trying to understand the world through observation and question and curiosity
---several times during the day, when I think about it, think about what is difficult and what is easy, and how I can improve what I am doing
---ask questions about how things work, about my mindset and other people's mindset - build my depth of understanding
6. The Reverent - Be cautious, Humble, respectful, propriety, remember names, grateful, think about God, teachers, parents
---be cautious and careful when walking
---When praying, feel grateful and really focus - don't get distracted
7. The Vanguard - To be a leader and an example, to Have courage to do what is difficult, and to be strict with myself, be willing to endure discomfort, don't allow myself to procrastinate, be more confident
---When I want to go to sleep and just relax, think about the feeling and what it leads to and see if that is what I really want
---sit up and stand up straight
8. The True - Be honest and sincere, with oneself and others, put forth one's full effort, put my heart into listening when someone is speaking, my heart into doing when I am working on something
---when I can, reflect on where I am trying to hide who I am, and what I am ashamed of
---try not to let myself succumb to distractions when I a thought suddenly pops into my head
9. The Creative - Experience and share the Joy and awe of this world - the arts - writing, singing, drawing, music, design, crafts, programming - and share this with people
---when cooking, focus on it and think about how I would share it with others
---Try to spend some time every week on art, or writing, or music - learning about it and improving on it - and how it can be shared with others
10. The Teacher - Have a desire to teach others - when learning, think about how I might explain it to someone else, practice explaining things to help understanding, be excited to speak and teach and share
---Spend time understanding my beliefs better
---spend some time each week, learning a topic I am interested in, and practice explaining it back and how to share it with someone - so that I really understand it
11. The Covenant - Set goals for myself, and reflect on them and keep myself on track. Repent for things I have done and keep my vows and goals in mind
---Before going to bed, reflect on how my day went
---Pray every day, and think about what I can change and improve
12. To be a good son
---try to call or at least think about my parents every day
---when talking to my parents, think about their point of view and try to really listen
13. To be a good partner
---When speaking to gf, think about her point of view and what she is trying to say and why, understand her better
---Think about what things I do that I would not want to share with her, how can I eliminate these things? Think about how good it feels not to have anything to hide
14. To be a good brother
---think about my sister and how I can improve my relationship with her
---try to call my sister at least once a week
15. To be a good friend
---think about my friends every week
---keep in touch with at least one friend every week


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