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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:28 pm
Posts: 229
Location: Chicago
Lesson 5 exercises:
A. In previous exercises, you identified and prioritized a list of your personal values. This list should represent those aspects of your life that you want to use to define who you are and how you will be managing your life. Take a moment to look over that list with a fresh view. As you read through it, ask yourself, "Does this reflect the person that I am committing myself to becoming?" If so, continue on; if not, add those missing values that are congruent with the life that you want to lead and remove those values which are not.
B. Consider two or three major decisions that you have made in your life (i.e. marriage, career, getting a dog, etc.). Examine the values involved in the decision-making process that went into your options. Consider having to make those decisions today. Does your current prioritized values list reflect the choices that you would make? If so, then you have done a good job of creating a practical values list. If not, then you may still be leaning more towards 'idealistic values' than practical ones. You want...no, you NEED this list to function on a practical level. Continue refining it until it does.
C. Finally, examine the list one more time for its realism. Do this by briefly grasping each value and thinking about the role that it would play in your day-to-day life. This does not mean that you must use the particular value on a daily basis, only that it can serve as a realistic, functional part of the identity that you are building. For instance, if I choose 'spirituality' as a top priority for myself, but in reality I am only listing that value out of fear and/or social acceptance...then my list is not real. It is not practical. On the other hand, if I list 'Strengthening my relationship with my brother' — whom I have not had any contact with in twenty years and with whom I would like to rebuild a connection with...then that is practical. Also, remember to examine the values that are not necessarily socially accepted/idealized. This is critical. If you build a life based on what others expect from you, you will fail in your transition. If you build a life based on a mastery of what it is you truly value, then you will succeed. So examine values such as 'sexual gratification', 'being sexually adventurous', 'feeling sexually desired', 'being promiscuous', etc. If these are important to you, then prioritize them within your list. Leave them out because they don't 'sound right' and you are dooming yourself to that dual-identity that pervades sexual addiction.
D. Take the top fifteen values that you have currently listed and post them in your Recovery Thread. To be successful in recovery, you will need to learn to derive about 75% of your life's meaning and fulfillment from these values across any given week or so. It is okay if you are not currently doing this, because that is what the following two lessons are for: to help you develop this ability over the coming months.


I feel as though I’ve “cheated” a bit with this exercise; I’ve incorporated many more than 15 values from my original list into the below outline, where I’ve identified 15 macro values, many with sub-values attached. Maybe I’ll find this is too much, but for now it makes sense to me. It feels like examples of the values I’ve identified.

A couple of notable additions include developing healthy, exciting sexuality with my wife, which has long been a challenge in our relationship, as well as finding a spiritual center. Not religious, per se, but a place of peace and tranquility where I can seek balance when I start tipping too far one way or another.

It’s been a while since I’ve worked the lessons. I was feeling guilty about that, because it’s not consistent with several of the values listed below, but I have to say, doing this today has been really good for me. My sense of guilt has been replaced by a feeling of calm well-being. It’s enough to make me wonder why I ever seek unhealthy fulfillment rather than topping up on premium emotion, which runs cleaner and longer…by far.

    1) Be a good person
    a. A good husband by making my wife feel safe, secure, appreciated, and loved
    b. A good son, brother, friend to those I love
    2) Be physically and emotionally healthy
    a. Regular exercise
    b. Eat well
    c. Mindfulness practice
    d. Be aware of complacency
    e. Remember that most of the time, I cannot control the outcome, and be ok with that
    3) Develop healthy AND exciting sexual intimacy, both with myself and my wife
    4) Take (healthy) risks; set and stick to (realistic) goals
    5) Believe in myself
    a. Commit to decisions without constant second-guessing
    b. Have self-respect
    6) Put down roots
    a. Become a father and be good at it
    b. Own a home
    c. Save money and work towards financial independence
    7) Have adventures, large and small: especially travel
    8) Have a career that I respect
    a. Be respected in my professional life
    b. Advance my professional expertise/capabilities
    9) Be adaptable
    a. Find comfort within my own skin, both physically and emotionally
    b. Be less critical of myself and others
    c. Learn to accept and manage negative emotions; control them rather than being controlled by them
    d. Patience
    10) Integrity
    a. Align my actions with my intentions
    b. Keep my word to myself and others
    c. Be trustworthy, dependable, and reliable
    d. Set a good example
    11) Feel needed/desired/loved by others
    a. Feel validated
    b. Feel respected
    c. Feel appreciated
    d. Feel sexually desirable
    12) Curiosity
    a. Read
    b. Write
    c. Music
    d. Art
    e. Science
    f. Continue to learn and grow
    13) Develop a spiritual center and use it as a place to feel safe
    a. The outdoors?
    b. The idea that this is all a simulation to test my reactions?
    c. Notion of the world and others as weather: often predictable, never controllable?
    14) Respect and accept others even when I might not understand nor condone their decisions
    15) Derive happiness, fulfillment, and contentment from these values

Achilles


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