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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:42 pm 
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Posts: 16
I have been going through the exercises in the recovery workshop for a while now but I have been keeping track of everything on my own in a journal. I have decided that it will be more helpful to post my work on here and receive feedback from the community.

I will start with some of my backstory for anyone who is interested. I am in a relationship, we have been together for 8 years married for 5. I initially started my recovery because she started to find out about what I was doing. At first I didn't take it very seriously but I have been putting more and more effort into this as time goes on. I have been in real recovery for about 4 years but pretty much gave up for almost a year ending this February when I have started actively seeking recovery again.

My problem with pornography started in my early teenage years when my family first got the internet in our home but I have been masturbating compulsively since I was around 10 or 11. I also struggle with many methods of escapism and distraction and often disassociate. I have had a problem with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember and often feel worthless and hopeless. This makes it hard to maintain much motivation and I tend to gradually lose interest in anything I start. I struggle with self-care all the way down to basic hygiene and my lack of self-worth makes it difficult to invest in self-improvement.

I have managed to make some improvements in my life and have built something that I would be upset about losing but I continue to risk everything. I am currently working full time, going to school, and we are talking about buying a new house. I don't have the time to waste with compulsive sexual behaviour or pornography. I don't have the capacity to deal with any more stress. I need to find a way to stay fully engaged with my recovery all the time, right now!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:20 pm 
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Lesson 1 exercises:
A. 1) actively committing yourself to change: I am able to commit to change but it usually fades. I gradually lose sight of what I can achieve and feel hopeless about life. My view of the world gradually narrows until all I can see are the immediate challenges I face and I sabotage my own motivation. I need to find a way to stay in the mindset that I am in now. I know I am capable, I need to remember that.
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change: I have succumb to this in the past, after a small mistake I feel that all is lost and give up entirely. Lately after making a mistake is when I gain a sense of renewed enthusiasm to prove I can do better.
3) allowing yourself time to change: This one is tricky, I have allowed myself far too much time to change. I have used this as an excuse to put off work that I need to do. I will not allow myself too much time to act but allow myself time to achieve results. Not changing is only acceptable if I am making an effort, doing everything I can, and learning from my mistakes.

B. Reasons why you seek to permanently change your life.
1. I want to live an authentic life with nothing to hide and no one to hide from.
2. I want to develop a real intimate relationship with my wife.
3. I want to rid myself of shame for my actions.
4. I want to be honest with my wife.
5. I want to care for my wife and protect her from harm.
6. I want to use my time to improve my life and the lives of those I care about.
7. I want to care for myself.
8. I want to live up to my full potential.
9. I want to start working on my goals and persueing my interests.
10. I want to prove everyone who doubted me wrong, including my own negative thoughts.
11. I want to be in control of my own life and not at the mercy of impulses and emotional reactions.
12. I want to feel like I deserve love from myself and others.
13. I want to be able to accept that my wife loves me and cares about me.
14. I want to be mindful of the feelings of other and the consequences when I make decisions.
15. I want to feel proud, accomplished, and satisfied with my life.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
Lesson Two
Establishing a Healthy Vision for Your Life:

I am self assured, confident, and efficient. I believe in myself and what I am doing. I am proud of myself and set and example for my peers. I act carefully and with intention and I take care of the people that I care about. I am able to be vulnerable when it is safe to do so and I have an honest, trusting, and intimate relationship with my wife. I am able to go to her with my troubles and she trusts me enough to look to me for support. I am present and focused on the task at hand and I am able to complete my obligations on time. I take care of myself by being aware of my emotions and not neglecting them nor my hygiene. I manage my time well enough to pursue hobbies and interests. I make time for learning and new experiences.

I am successful professionally, I complete tasks at work to an acceptable level and on time. I am focused and present and I take initiative socially and professionally. I am seen as approachable and trustworthy, and people are able to look to me to set an example and seek me out for help and advice.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:02 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
RW,
Quote:
I need to find a way to stay in the mindset that I am in now. I know I am capable, I need to remember that.

Which wolf wins? The one you feed. It is entirely up to you. Your firm commitment to your life beyond addiction will make all the difference—don’t forget that it is your choice.

So welcome to RN.
The circumstances which bring you here may indeed be unique, but the path you will take to recover from them is not. What am I saying? You’re not alone and recovery is possible.
If health is what you want, then commit to yourself with conviction and complete the exercises with absolute honesty. The path is long and hard, but it has been done countless times before you.
Although we recommend completing around 3 lessons a week, we encourage you to read or post daily. That being said, recovery is not a race and it’s important to go a pace with which your body and mind can safely handle—many believe recovery to be a journey, not a destination.
If you find yourself challenged or have questions with one of the lessons, utilize the help forum as help is readily available.
Coaches and Mentors are likely to drop by occasionally. If they don’t, no worries, it’s generally a good sign that you’re on the right path.
Quote:
I want to live up to my full potential

RW do you accept this invitation to your new life? The choice is yours.
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live with ease,

Anon


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:57 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
anon523 wrote:
Quote:
It is entirely up to you. Your firm commitment to your life beyond addiction will make all the difference—don’t forget that it is your choice.


Thank you, I know you're right. I struggle with this, I lose hope gradually and lose energy to put into growth and self-improvement. I start to doubt my ability to get better even though I know I can do so much better.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:26 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
Exercise 3: These are my values.

Learning
Growth / improvement
Honesty
Being trustworthy
Integrity
Compassion
Intimacy
Courage
Self-confidence
Understanding
Empathy
Vulnerability
Honour
Mindfulness / being engaged with reality
Helping My wife heal from the damage I caused her
Composure
Calm
Control
Focus
Self-affirmation
Self-care
Health
Hygiene
Logic
Exploration
Independence
Autonomy
Trusting my wife
Doing the right thing
Self-awareness
Know my limits
Being considerate
Humour
Adventure/ excitement/ exploration
feeling secure
Helping others
Caring
Healthy attachment
Balance
Intelligence
Intellectualism
Analysis
Finding and maintaining motivation
Organization
Being reasonably prepared
Problem-solving
Following through with what I say I'll do
consistancy
Professianal improvement
Dealing with problems insted of ignoring them
Developing my emotional intellegence
Creating / building something / creative outlet
Developing healthy sexuality
Feeling attractive / desired
Support my wife
Staying connected to nature
The ocean
Improve communication


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:39 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
Exercise 3 part 2: The Dark Side.

1.Lack of effort
2.No standard
3.Easy way
4.Avoidence
5.Lack of foresight
6.Instant gratification
7.Self-sabatoge
8.Creating barriers
9.Keeping secrets
10.Ignoring problems
11.Disconnection
12.Isolation
13.Stagnation / lack of groth or improvement
14.Incongruency with my values and how I veiw myself
15.disregard for those who care about me
16.Disregard for personal health


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:45 pm 
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Posts: 16
Lesson 4 Exercises: Prioritising Your Values
I only prioritised the top 15(or so) values in my list and I have combined several that are related. I think this captures what is important to me and the life I want to live well.

Learning / curiosity
Growth / improvement
Honesty / Being trustworthy
Integrity / Being true to myself
Self-care
Support, encourage, care for my wife
Intimacy / vulnerability
Touch / physical affection
Courage / Self confidence
Adventure/ excitement / exploration
Empathy / understanding / compassion
Safety / comfort
Mindfulness / being engaged with reality
Sense of humour / fun
Intellectualism / intelligence / logic
Creativity / building / making


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 6:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
Lesson 5: Identifying in-congruent values.

I had a thought the other day. I know that I have a tendency to focus on what is wrong in my life, what upsets me, what I feel my life is missing, etc. I think that this has made it easier to continue to engage in the behaviours I am trying to eliminate. "I have had a bad day so I'll give myself a break." type thinking. I have learned to look for reasons to be upset so I don't have to hold myself to any standard, I don't have to try. So I end up making a lot of excuses and putting just about everything off until the last minute. I have been making a point to do the things I need to do regardless of any excuses I come up with, it's not perfect yet but I'm getting better.

Learning / curiosity - I have always been very curious and I get a good sense of accomplishment from learning something new or achieving the next level of a skill.
Growth / improvement - This kind of ties in with the last one. This is not something that I have always put time and effort into but something that I am learning to do and to enjoy. In my professional life as well as personal it is proving to be an invaluable skill to identify areas that need work and follow through on making those changes
Honesty / Being trustworthy
Integrity / Being true to myself - This is very important to living your life according to a value system. I have had a weak sense of self in the past and I am beginning to build that now, to find myself and start to get comfortable and familiar with who I am.
Self-care - I never learned to take care of myself. I feel very behind in this area. It is important that I learn this skill, it is directly tied to self-worth.
Support, encourage, care for my wife - This is very important to me but something that I have failed to do. My experience with others being supportive of me is not a good example. My family has always claimed to be supportive but often undermined any effort to improve.
Intimacy / vulnerability - Again, this is something I am pretty much learning from scratch. My family would tell you they are close but they barely know each other. I frequently feel lonely and long to be close to someone but the thought of it also terrifies me.
Touch / physical affection - This is the way that I prefer to communicate affection. I'm sure there is some developmental explanation for it but for the time being I'm not concerned with trying to change it.
Courage / Self confidence - This has often been a hold up for me, I have a tendency to choke or give up at at the last minute. I've been clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Adventure / excitement / exploration - This is definitely something I want to have in my life. Some of the greatest satisfaction I have felt was from going new places and gaining new experiences.
Empathy / understanding / compassion - I believe this is an important quality for everyone to have and will help me to stop hurting those close to me.
Safety / comfort - I have struggled to feel safe for as long as I can remember and I think that a majority of the unhealthy coping mechanisms that I have developed are due to this.
Mindfulness / being engaged with reality - I have found that why I can remain mindful and engaged with reality my life is easier. I have also found that becoming detached and losing touch with reality is one of the most reliable warning signs I have been able to identify.
Sense of humour / fun - My wife and I share a sense of humour and both get a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction out of making each other laugh. This is very important to me
Intellectualism / intelligence / logic - I am an intelligent person and I have always been interested in exercising these skills. This has often been alienating for me but I have learned to embrace it to some extent.
Creativity / building / making - I have trouble feeling a sense of accomplishment and one of the ways that I have been able to is by actually creating or building things.

My life has been incredibly busy lately. I work and go to school full time and we are in the process of selling our house and buying a new one. I regret not having the time to work on this more but objectively know that it's unreasonable to expect any more of myself. The real challenge will being getting back into the habit of working on this regularly now that I will have the opportunity. I keep a paper journal that I have managed to use most days.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:56 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 411
Hi RW,

Quote:
I regret not having the time to work on this more but objectively know that it's unreasonable to expect any more of myself. The real challenge will being getting back into the habit of working on this regularly now that I will have the opportunity. I keep a paper journal that I have managed to use most days.

It is interesting how many members excuse themselves from being away from RN for weeks/months at a time by saying that they just do not have the time. By contrast if you asked any SA how much time they wasted acting out in the past the number would be a huge number of hours. So they found time to act out but can't find time to recover. You are not alone with that but the statement is weak. Right off the bat in Lesson 1 CoachJon states:
Quote:
"should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit to recovery"

He is saying that if you really want to recover then you need to be "all in" otherwise it won't work. It is easy to put excuses in the way but essentially you are just kidding yourself. I estimate on average each lesson should be something around half an hour to read the lesson and then provide a response to the exercise. I would also suggest that 3 lessons a week would keep sufficient momentum going to keep the learning fresh and to progress well. That's 1.5 hours a week, is that too much of a commitment? Only you will know the answer to that like most things in life you can only expect to get out what you put in.

Good luck with your deliberations.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:05 pm 
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Posts: 16
My initial reaction is to argue. I have often used not having enough time to work on this as an excuse. I have less time now than at any other point in my life but technically I do have time. I struggle with a lot of guilt admitting my shortcomings and this is something that I have been trying to get better with. Any time I decide I am too busy, too sick, too tired to do something I feel guilty about it weather or not it's justified. This makes it incredibly difficult to judge objectively what I should expect of myself.

Your response really struck a nerve with me because it plays off of the guilt I already feel, questions aspects of my life that I am questioning myself. My initial reaction was defensiveness. After thinking more about this and discussing it with my wife I concede; you're right. There was a week that I literally didn't have time to work on this but there was a month or so that I put less time in than I should have.

This touches on another pattern I have identified in my life. It's not only a matter of time but also of energy. There is only so much I can do effectively in a day, week, etc. I feel exhausted most of the time and feel like I need a break or time to recover but I can't seem to get it. I try to plan for this occasionally but its always ruined by a sense of guilt, feeling like I'm wasting time, or waiting for someone to get mad at me. So I take time to relax, don't relax, and end up just as tired and further behind. I never really developed a sense of urgency or motivation of my own, I use the people around me to tell me what I should be doing. There is a set of skills for productivity that I don't have.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:07 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
RW,
Quote:
This touches on another pattern I have identified in my life. ... I feel exhausted most of the time and feel like I need a break or time to recover but I can't seem to get it. I try to plan for this occasionally but its always ruined by a sense of guilt, feeling like I'm wasting time, or waiting for someone to get mad at me. So I take time to relax, don't relax, and end up just as tired and further behind.

This resonates with many and you are not alone. But don't forget that humans can only grow when we are uncomfortable and pushing our limits. I know you're tired, but keep reaching. As you continue through the lessons, you'll learn in detail how our emotional imbalances play an integral part to feeding our addiction. Allowing these patterns of guilt/waiting for someone to get mad at us increases the emotional imbalance and thus our urge to soothe it with acting out. But, I won't spoil it for you. Just know that recognition of patterns is invaluable. Because when the beginning of the pattern starts up again, you always get to choose--am I going to respond/act/decide differently or am I going to do the same damn thing I do every time? That inquiry isn't meant to guilt you--instead I hope it empowers you to understand that your fatigue/guilt/sense of wasting time does not have to control you. How would you PREFER to respond to this pattern? Figure that out first. Then choose whether you are going to respond differently.
Quote:
I never really developed a sense of urgency or motivation of my own, I use the people around me to tell me what I should be doing.

Many people that find RN start out because of external motivators (spouse threatens divorce, therapist told me to, don't want to lose my kids, etc.) THAT IS OKAY. Start there. In time, as you develop your new and improved foundation of values, your motivation will build from "doing it for them," to "doing it for me." But you must be willing to commit and give it time. Don't forget that in August you said:
Quote:
I don't have the time to waste with compulsive sexual behaviour or pornography. I don't have the capacity to deal with any more stress. I need to find a way to stay fully engaged with my recovery all the time, right now!

and...
Quote:
1. I want to live an authentic life with nothing to hide and no one to hide from.
2. I want to develop a real intimate relationship with my wife.
3. I want to rid myself of shame for my actions.
4. I want to be honest with my wife.
5. I want to care for my wife and protect her from harm.
6. I want to use my time to improve my life and the lives of those I care about.
7. I want to care for myself.
8. I want to live up to my full potential.
9. I want to start working on my goals and persueing my interests.
10. I want to prove everyone who doubted me wrong, including my own negative thoughts.
11. I want to be in control of my own life and not at the mercy of impulses and emotional reactions.
12. I want to feel like I deserve love from myself and others.
13. I want to be able to accept that my wife loves me and cares about me.
14. I want to be mindful of the feelings of other and the consequences when I make decisions.
15. I want to feel proud, accomplished, and satisfied with my life.

How bad do you want it, RW?
Quote:
There is a set of skills for productivity that I don't have.

You missed a keyword: Yet. You don't have them yet. This program can give you some starting blocks to build those skills. You can do it. Everyone is here to support you.

Be Well,

Anon


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
I have been having a really hard time working on this stuff lately. I go through this cycle over and over: my life gets hectic and I don't find the time to work on myself or my recovery, I feel okay and am doing well so I let it go but then I fall out of the habit and can't get back to it. I start to feel guilty about my lack of work and feel overwhelmed by what I have to do. Then my wife starts to get frustrated with my lack of action and withdraws, which causes me to become anxious and insecure. My emotions then start to affect my whole thought process, I start to feel hopeless and depressed, I'm less productive and tired all the time, I have no motivation.

I am afraid sometimes that I can never be healthy, that all of the effort I put in is only delaying the inevitable. The worst part is that I know none of this is true but I feel like it is. I have a lot of trouble believing in myself, I try to force it but it feels fake.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:23 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3880
Location: UK
Hello Wolf
a month ago you wrote after input from L2R
My initial response is to argue

I put it to you that you are still arguing but against yourself
I will not sugar this post but please do remember that a kick up the arse is less than a yard away from a pat on the back
you can change
but you need to want to

Quote:
I have been having a really hard time working on this stuff lately. I go through this cycle over and over: my life gets hectic and I don't find the time to work on myself or my recovery, I feel okay and am doing well so I let it go but then I fall out of the habit and can't get back to it. I start to feel guilty about my lack of work and feel overwhelmed by what I have to do. Then my wife starts to get frustrated with my lack of action and withdraws, which causes me to become anxious and insecure. My emotions then start to affect my whole thought process, I start to feel hopeless and depressed, I'm less productive and tired all the time, I have no motivation.


is simply a list of excuses
excuses that you are putting in place so that you can carry on doing what you do requiring no effort nor commitment

Quote:
I am afraid sometimes that I can never be healthy, that all of the effort I put in is only delaying the inevitable.

As you said yourself that is simply bull shit, again an excuse
Quote:
I have a lot of trouble believing in myself,

No surprise there, but are you simply seeing yourself as an addict, why not envision what and who you want to be and believe in that totally and completely, what do you have to lose?
SFA I think
Quote:
I try to force it but it feels fake
.
I feels fake because it is fake
But you can CHOOSE , make that choice once and for all
Choose wisely


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


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:35 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:00 pm
Posts: 16
Kenzo, you are right. I do argue with myself and it all comes down to the choice I am making, or many choices every day. The choice is easy, I know what I want. My problem is that I am not used to trusting myself, eventually I start to doubt myself. Historically I have not been trustworthy, I have not made good decisions or taken care of myself. There are so many things I know but still question. I struggle a lot with anxiety and identify in a way with people who have OCD. There are many similarities, for example, with some one who has OCD and knows the door is locked but feels compelled to check, again and again...


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