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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:04 am 
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Thanks LTR.

I appreciate your comments.

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2020 6:08 am 
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Lesson 41 & 42 Review
Quote:
Lesson 41)Mastering Boundary Awareness
Started the log for 1 month

Lesson 42) Mastering Rituals and Chains
I have read over the lessons 24 – 28, understand what I was doing and already feel I have moved on from them. Although will always be weary of the signs.


Lesson 41 has been one of the main ongoing topics for me:
There are situations that I have to discuss with W over the months, to make sure she knew what I was doing and why, there was occassional conflict. We have resolved these with conversation and worked out a plan each time.
For example - my SAA group allows both sexes to come to meetings although it is usually all males, but once a female did turn up without advance warning, so I told my W that evening and she was not happy! It was discussed and I agreed to leave if it happened again, I discussed this with my group so they all understood too.
It never did happen again but also W spoke to me again and it was decided that I would not have to leave but not engage in small talk with the person.
Now initially I felt frustrated by all this, because I had been honest and it would be affecting my recovery, but I also understood the issues W was still having. What I can say is that my values and boundaries , especially to W, were more important and there must have been some build up of trust for her to change her mind.

Lesson 42, As I said at the time, I have moved on, I never let myself slip back towards any rituals or chains that would lead me astray!
This has happened because of working this programme :w:

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:48 am 
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Lesson 44) Urge Control: Your Core Identity review

Quote:
Describe in your recovery thread the role that your core identity will play in helping you to establish/maintain a healthy life.
My core identity is making me realise what is important in my life, my marriage, my family, my work & leisure activities. In the first instance it has prevented me from even thinking about acting out, I have had no urges at all, I know the consequences are too great and for the first time in my life I think about these every day. It has given me a new lease of life.

Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.
I think about my values each morning, what is important to me and what is not, it is keeping me sober. As above I have had no urges as yet and feel good about that fact.

Take some time to examine the current state of your core identity. How in tune with it are you? When you engage in activity that is destructive, what role does your core identity play in that decision? How is it affected by the consequences of that decision?
I would say that I am totally in tune with it at the moment; one of the main things for me is openly discussing my addiction with W, and my day to day feelings right now.


I can definitely say that everything I wrote back in February has not changed.
There is one fault that sticks out for me at the moment and that is complacency, not the type that would lead me to act out, but the being proactive in my relationship. Things are just trundling along and it is my fault. W has so many issues with my past behaviours (quite rightly so)and it should be up to me to organise date nights/days or other joint activities and pull us closer together.

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 9:53 am 
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Lesson 45) Urge Control: Isolating the Emotions review

I cannot say much on this topic because I have stuck to my recovery, but one quote stands out as it has been important in the way I think about things now.

Quote:
B) If I remove boredom & excitement from this, then it probably would not start at all.


It is not the case that this is the only reason I don't act out, but if you combine this with a will to not go back to the old ways, it certainly works for me.

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 3:52 am 
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Lesson 46) Urge Control: Isolating the Decision - review

I posted this pretty much 1 year ago and have stuck to my thoughts back then, although I have had no urges to speak of, and as commented before, I do not allow boredom to kick in.

My SAA sponsor asked my a great question last week that is kind of pertinent to this too.
" Have you changed or just learned to master your addiction?"

Well I can say for sure that I have changed and I would say still changing.
My thought processes are different and I have lost so much of my selfishness - something I am still working on.
At present I do not have to think about not acting out as it does not enter my head, no longer do I have the situation where I am alone and have to say to myself that I need to use my control measures.
I am not going to be complacent about this though, which is why I still come to RN everyday and go to my SAA group once a week.

I do get satisfaction from feeling this way and it gives me confidence going forward.

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:34 am 
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The cost of porn!

In my now healthy existence, I can see things in a different light.
The amount of porn that I looked at over the years was excessive and I cannot count the number of wasted hours.
So in the first instance, the cost to my time and where it led me is incalculable!

However, there is another reality that I never cared or thought of in those dark days:
Who was making money from all this - very probably organised crime
Did the participants consent? A good question especially now as there is so much amateur stuff on the web and a recent case of rape in the news.
What does porn do to young minds? Teens and young adults that do not know better and have no idea of fantasy versus reality!
Objectification - of women especially!

I could go on & on, but it has made me realise that it is not a good thing and something I do not want to go back to.

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:08 am 
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Lesson 47) Urge Control: Isolating the Decision - review

Quote:
New Chain
1. Know that I am going to be alone: Early morning, W going out, working away from home.
Excitement, boredom
2. Think about what I can watch/read when having the free time.
Excitement, suspense
3. I stop here; I will not let it go any further.
If there is an urge I would fight the emotions by reminding myself of the long term consequences.
I immediately think about W and what would she think.
I think about my life in its current form of open honesty.
I still have this free time, but no longer think about wasting it on what my values say are wrong.
I know the time can be spent doing better things.
It gives me pleasure and I feel satisfied that I have, so far, beaten the curse of my life.

My outlook on my addiction is, that although you could say porn is not that bad, excessive use is.
To me it is the start of the slippery slope towards using prostitutes again, so I keep that in the forefront of my mind.


There has never been an urge since I stopped, there have moments when I am reminded of what I used to do!
I still have that free time in the morning, I still work away and W still goes out. What has made me happy with my recovery at this stage is the fact that although I have plans in place, the thought never occurs to me, I am already doing something else. ( I will not allow complacency to slip in though, I am forever watchful)
I am away overnight in a couple of weeks and my only thoughts of that evening were catching up socially with my work colleagues, where as before it would be about excuses to go to bed early and have a evening of porn or laterally book a prostitute.

There is no doubt that the processes I learned here have helped in all of this.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:46 am 
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Lesson 48) Proactive/Reactive Urge Awareness- review[/b

Theseus1112 wrote:
[b]Lesson 48) Proactive/Reactive Urge Awareness
Role-Playing/Visualization
I am alone for a few hours and my laptop is on & ready.
I have an urge to have a look at the websites I used to like, to see what new etc etc.
I know at this point, that my new values will kick in.
My self discipline first: I talk to myself and remind myself that this is not really what you want, it would be 5 mins of excitement that could cause years of misery.
Being a good & honest husband: I have reached a stage where I have a life with W that has no hidden areas , I want to keep that clear conscience.
Emotional maturity: I tell myself to grow up, remind myself, that I do not need this in my life.
I remind myself of all my other values & boundaries: All of which that I do not wish to break.

Anticipating
I look at the week ahead and view potential risk areas and times, I speak to W about them as the risk areas can be on both sides because this includes her feelings when I go out to work (I did visit prostitutes when I said I was working)
I go over them and put things to cover these times such as activities for me when I will be alone.
Constant communication if I am away.

Actively Seeking
I look at communication as being one of the factors in this, and I strive to tell W everything, even if I initially say it is only a little thing, not worth mentioning, I now tell W.
I like to let W know that I am there for her and ready to do anything she requires of me, even simple things like tidying up etc. I am more proactive in finding ways to help out without prompting.
Contacting my 2 children, I do not see much of them and now make sure I contact at least twice a week.


This was an interesting one to look back on, the reason being is this was my plan back then and now I live it everyday.
I am either lucky or more likely self-disciplined, but I never have urges.
Do I occasionally think about my past - yes, but that is all.
It is great to live a life without secrets, something that I have never had before and that was just about my whole life from teenage up!

Being out for work is a trying time, as I know W still has thoughts of what I could be doing or more correctly what I used to be doing. So I make sure I communicate as much as possible and let her know exactly where I am.

Lastly - I do think I am a lot more helpful, be it for W or my family and it gives me satisfaction to know I am there for them, rather my head being in a different world completely.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 3:32 am 
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Lesson 49) Life Assessment - review
Quote:
1. In relation to your general mental health, summarize your progression/regression over the past thirty days:
I am still sober after 3 months, with no urges so far. I use my systems for certain times to make sure I do not relapse, but these are a lot more natural now.On most days I feel satisfied and positive that I am now living an honest existence.


With the current crisis, my emotional state is very mixed from day to day, but it remains overall balanced.
Now 16 months sober the times of the day that I was at risk do not exist anymore, I never think of acting out!

Quote:
2. Document your experiences with the following:
I have had no relapse of any kind

Still no relapse

Quote:
3. Using the scale below, rate the positive impact that your recovery efforts over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)
5 - Family
1 - Friends
1 - Co-workers
4 - Career
5 - Finances
5 - Romantic Relationships
5 - Self-esteem
4 - Stress level
5 - Time management
5 - Hobbies

5 - Family
5 - Friends
5 - Co-workers
5 - Career
5 - Finances
5 - Romantic Relationships
5 - Self-esteem
5 - Stress level
5 - Time management
3 - Hobbies

Quote:
4. Using the scale below, rate the negative impact that your sexual and/or romantic behaviors over the past thirty days have had on your:
(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)
1 - Family
1 - Friends
1 - Co-workers
1 - Career
1 - Finances
3 - Romantic Relationships
3 - Self-esteem
3 - Stress level
1 – Time management
1 – Hobbies


1 - Family
1 - Friends
1 - Co-workers
1 - Career
1 - Finances
3 - Romantic Relationships
2 - Self-esteem
1 - Stress level
1 – Time management
1 – Hobbies

Quote:
5) Summarize the progress made towards your existing recovery and life goals over the past thirty days:
I do not know whether it is too early into my recovery yet, but I have had no thought of relapse. I continue to be completely proactive in wanting to end my behaviours forever. The damage I caused especially to W, has been enough to keep me on the right track, but I have to say that RN has been a massive help in re-wiring my thought process.

I would describe my recovery as well beyond my own expectations:
The things I wrote about W and RN above remain true, I would also ad that meeting with my SAA fellowship is a good positive help, although I do not agree with a lot of the 12 steps, I enjoy the power of the fellowship.

Quote:
6) Describe the closest you came to a slip/relapse over the past month:
There has not been a moment at all

Still never a moment

Quote:
7) List the most likely relapse triggers you will face in the coming month:
I cannot see a point coming up

These are tough times, but relapse is the last thing on my mind and will not happen

Quote:
8) Approximate (in percentages) the amount of time over the past month that you have spent:
30% - Engaged in value-based (top three values) activity
25% - Engaged in emotion-based (top ten values)
0% - Engaged in emotion-based,unhealthy Activity
10% - Life Maintenance Chores
10% - With Family (Quality)
0% - With Friends (Quality)
5% - Alone (Quality)
0% - Engaged in Unhealthy Sexual Behavior
0% - Engaged in Unhealthy Romantic Behavior
20% - Self-Improvement/Recovery

25% - Engaged in value-based (top three values) activity
25% - Engaged in emotion-based (top ten values)
0% - Engaged in emotion-based,unhealthy Activity
5% - Life Maintenance Chores
25% - With Family (Quality)
0% - With Friends (Quality)
5% - Alone (Quality)
0% - Engaged in Unhealthy Sexual Behavior
0% - Engaged in Unhealthy Romantic Behavior
15% - Self-Improvement/Recovery

Quote:
9) Overall, how would you rate your emotional state over the past thirty days:
a) At it's healthiest: Extremely Healthy
b) At it's unhealthiest: Healthy
c) Overall: Very Healthy

a) At it's healthiest: Extremely Healthy
b) At it's unhealthiest: Healthy
c) Overall: Very Healthy

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2020 6:23 am 
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Lesson 50) Values Based Decision-Making - review
This lesson was done over a year ago, an interesting one to look back on
Quote:
A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)

Positive - I will feel a satisfaction in knowing that my values were strong enough, to stop me from crossing the line and that I can walk around with a clear conscience.
Negative - Maybe a little frustration at not acting out, some anxiety in the short term.


I now have a daily satisfaction on knowing that everything I set up is working.
I have thought about my past activities, but there is no frustration whatsoever.

Quote:
B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)

Positive - I would feel good for 5 mins and then shame & guilt would wash over me.
Negative – The minute I act out will be for me going all the way back to the start. The consequences on my relationships maybe dire.


This has not entered my head, my values are too strong, and I value my life with my wife & family a hell of a lot more than 5 mins of excitement.

Quote:
C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?

Value based keep me “healthy” in so many ways, and give me a sense of purpose in my life.
Emotion based is a slippery slope back to where I was, but probably the loss of everything that is dear to me.


Value based IS keeping me healthy and giving me a much better way of living.
Emotions come and go and are a natural part of stress, so I do not let them linger.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:44 am 
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Lesson 51) Decision-Making: Identifying the Options - review

Reading over my post on this lesson about options, reminded me of a conversation the SAA group had last night regarding freedom.
In my past addictive life, freedom was all about my own selfishness and the options I chose were for personal gratification.
I never thought about the consequences of these options, so acting out always won.

My life now is different and I review my options and the consequences they have, not just for me, but for everyone around me.

Because I now live my life this way, I feel a different kind of freedom, one that is honest, has no hidden secrets and allows me to walk with my head held high.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2020 3:32 am 
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Lesson 52) Decision-Making: Isolating the Emotions - review

I still appreciate the content of this lesson a lot!

Do I still see other women on TV or on the street and find them attractive? - yes.
The difference now is that my brain does not linger - I move on very quickly.
I never look for porn and even if I come across anything resembling porn, I move on quickly, it has no part of my life now.

To me it feels easy to make these decisions, in fact I would say, after all this time in recovery and reading RN, it has become second nature.
(I do not mean this in a arrogant way, nor am I overconfident, it is the point I have reached and what I have achieved through RN)

Isolating my emotions has meant that I have never reached a stage of fighting with myself. I put that down to learning the lessons here and having strong values.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2020 3:06 am 
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Lesson 53) Decision-Making: Making the Decision - review
Quote:
A.
At this present time in my recovery I made the decision that any masturbation was unhealthy and I have not done so in the 3.5 months since I started. This has not been a problem at all and I am happy with the decision I have made. In the future, I want to continue in this way, as I see no real requirement for it, but if the occasion arose that it was a mutual agreement between W and me, then I would deem that to be ok.

This has not changed and I am still very comfortable with it.
W has asked me why I do not and my answer is that I spent more than enough of my life doing it and my new found way of living does not require it.
I am very surprised that the thought has not even come into my head!

Quote:
B.
In the past I would masturbate alone to fantasy thoughts, or porn that had nothing to do with my relationship. I now find all of this repulsive and no longer acceptable. It showed my immaturity.

I stay well clear of fantasy thoughts, occasionally they appear in my dreams, but I can live with that as long as they stay there. If they didn't
then I would need to make sure I still had the processes in place to deal with them.

On a side note:
Today is 18 months since I was caught and the day I admitted my problem for the first time.
Today is 18 months of changing my ways and being sober.
I will admit to having a lot of satisfaction from that and it has all been possible because of W supporting me and RN helping me.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 3:30 am 
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Lesson 54) Decision-Making: Assessing the Consequences - review
Quote:
A.
My biggest value based decision over the last year is the honesty I now have with W.
We have regular chats about my past behaviours and these are done in a calm manner by both of us.
The negative from this, is the overriding emotions of shame & guilt that this brings back to me every time. The positives outweigh this, knowing that I am communicating properly & truthfully, it gives me a sense of achievement.


This still happens although less frequently and yes there are still a lot of shame & guilt moments. On reflection, I need to check on W's mental health more often!
I have found that I think about the cause & effect of my decisions a lot more now and that is nothing to do with my previous behaviour, it seems to be something that has been helped by this workshop.

As far as B is concerned, I do not seem to make many emotion based decisions without a lot of thought going into it first.
In fact I would say that I need to make more emotion based decisions as far as W is concerned, such as buying her the odd gift or flowers etc

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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