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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:04 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:22 pm
Posts: 138
Hi,

I am doing the workshop for the second time now until lesson 60. I am trying to quit pornography since 3.5 years, since 2.5 years with the help of recovery nation. The last year was from my life episodes my hardest year yet with many suicidal episodes. I was constantly traveling until I decided to abort 2 weeks ago because of the too intense depression. I am 23 atm and aborted to move back to my parents. I have grown in some aspects over the years but in total feel a massiv need for psychotherapy.

My trip began with the idea of learning how to deal with my addiction in an unstable environment. I was partially succesfull, which means, that I was able to go partly for a month without acting out but I still did on a monthly basis.

I noticed I am able to handle my life quite well after establishing a routine and sometimes occasionally act out due to complacency (3-4 months). Yet, as a student my entire schedule and my main activity studying, gets overthrown every 4-5 months. I had multiple instances where I was forced to move physically somewhere else where I couldn't take anything with me and where the time was too short (1-3 months) to build up a real life.

So, I am asking how are values supposed to generate satisfaction as an endresult? Are they giving background satisfaction as pride, where the occasional thought or confrontation with a situation where pride is involved for example to one of my biggest values "honesty" or does it have to be a regular weekly thing.

For example honesty: I have no girlfriend atm. My parents know about my addiction and I tell them about it whenever I am in a troublesome situation. Also I talk with friends openly not only about addiction but other lifes issues, dreams, hopes, etc. Yet I can't say that this occures multiple times per week but rather on a basis of 3 weeks. So how can this generate enough stimulation, even with the other values? Also a lot of my values were locally restricted as "Friends" or timewise restricted like "Success in my studies" (e.g. summer and winter breaks).

I tried to learn to make new friends fast, yet due to my addiction I turn mostly depressed, antisocial, suicidal, which makes it hard to make new friends especially with the backthought that it will only last for a few weeks (as it has been in the past). Also my intention is to build a new life in my new studytown, but I can the earliest move there in a month. Are there suggestions for short-term satisfactory activities that keep me away from pornography?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hi Rising,

Good to hear from you, though sorry to hear that you have been struggling so much. I remember similar times earlier in my recovery. Keep working at it.

From reading this post (as well as reading the last few posts of your recovery thread), I get the sense--and please correct me if I'm wrong--that you are still fundamentally "running" from your addiction and your compulsive behaviours. I get a sense of desperation when it comes to your emotions and your fantasies, and a need to maintain structure in your life...and while structure is good, keeping a highly structured life can also mask an underlying fear of "losing control"...therefore you hold to that structure and fill your life with activities to continue distracting yourself from your emotions. If you happen to fall out of that structure (as things tend to go with life sometimes), you panic, which can ironically lead to the same emotions that drive urges and compulsive behaviours in the first place.

Now, if what I'm saying above sounds true...there's no need to panic. All this indicates is that more skill development, awareness, and insight into how your emotions work is needed.

If you're still fundamentally afraid of your emotions, then you are still not understanding the concept of finite emotions on a practical basis (as opposed to solely an intellectual basis)...ie. that your emotions have limit in their intensity, and impermanent and fleeting, meaning that they will pass. This is a skill that is absolutely necessary to understand on a practical basis in order to end your addiction. So I would recommend that you review lessons 29-35; as well, for your most recent compulsive rituals that you engaged in (whether they are sexual or not), use the tools from the earlier lessons to map those out and come up with realistic plans for what to do if you find yourself in them again. Feel free to message me if you need any more guidance re: emotions.

Remember: life, in a sense, will always be an "unstable environment". Things will happen that you could not plan for, and you will have to react to those things the best that you can. However, developing an understanding of your emotions will allow you to react to these things based on your core values, as opposed to ever-changing emotions.

Quote:
I had multiple instances where I was forced to move physically somewhere else where I couldn't take anything with me and where the time was too short (1-3 months) to build up a real life.


These are instances that, if possible, you must plan for in advance. Times of transition will by nature always be more stressful and uncertain. For example, in my own life, I just finished my job and I am not sure what I'm doing next. This is both stressful in a way, and exciting. But as you transition to a healthy life (however you define that for yourself), you will get better at "rolling with the punches". But for now, while you're still working your way there, plan as much as you can, using your values list, your vision, your proactive action plans, your reactive action plans, and any other tools you find helpful.

Quote:
So, I am asking how are values supposed to generate satisfaction as an endresult?


Values generate satisfaction simply by doing them. That may seem like a simplistic, even ridiculous, answer, but it's true; values (and the positive emotions generated from them) are enacted only through action. The value and the action itself are inseparable. The value does not "come to be" without the action. It's like exercising. You don't really value exercise (it has no benefit for you, and has no reality in your life) unless you actually do it.

Quote:
For example honesty: I have no girlfriend atm. My parents know about my addiction and I tell them about it whenever I am in a troublesome situation. Also I talk with friends openly not only about addiction but other lifes issues, dreams, hopes, etc. Yet I can't say that this occures multiple times per week but rather on a basis of 3 weeks. So how can this generate enough stimulation, even with the other values?


All your values flow into, and are interconnected, with each other. You obviously can't be honest all the time...well, actually, one could philosophically argue this point, that with moment-to-moment genuine action, you are "being honest", in a sense...but the point I want to get across is, you can't study all the time, and you can't be honest all the time. There is a time to be honest, there is a time to exercise, there is a time to be with friends, and there is a time to study. But don't think that when you're exercising, that doesn't affect your study or your time with your friends, vice-versa, and etc. Do you get what I mean here?

Quote:
Are there suggestions for short-term satisfactory activities that keep me away from pornography?


This is tough to say, as no one here would have any idea what you're interested in. But consider where you will be, and what kinds of things are around you that hold a genuine interest for you. Take the time to make a list of things you can do. And again, even this statement here indicates what I was mentioning before...that you are still focused on avoiding your compulsive behaviours, as opposed to pursuing a healthy life.

Final points: as always, if you are having suicidal thoughts, please make sure to talk to someone about them: whether that is someone you trust like a friend or family member, calling a support line, talking to a doctor...and if you ever feel like acting on them, calling 911 immediately or going to an emergency room. This is important; please take care of yourself.

Also, as you noted a need for psychotherapy: have you ever talked to a professional about this? If not, that may be helpful; even when you are open about your addiction with family or friends, a professional would be able to help you get to the root of some of the issues driving your addiction and your other mental health struggles. If this is financially possible for you, you should consider talking to a counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. and I'd encourage you to do so. :g:

Hope that helps. If you have kept at it this long, evidently a part of you really wants to change. The fact that you're struggling does not negate the progress you've made so far; it just indicates more work and understanding is needed. Keep at it. :g:

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:22 pm
Posts: 138
Hi,

I have some troubles to relating to a lot of stuff of the lessons. At the moment, there is no real finity of emotions for me. I feel a lot of emotions as physical pain since my meditation retreat. And my emotions don't last for just a few hours but for weeks atm. Ii feel like shit and in physical pain for the entire day for sometimes weeks at a time. For short episodes after working out I feel ok for 2 hours and then back to shit. The workouts themselves cost me a lot of motivation and energy, which is why I am not even sure if they are worth it for 2 hours relief.

I don't see how I am running away from life as I am overall satisfied with my life. I might have some troubles with my family but besides that, I am doing well in my studies, I am fit, good-looking, most of the time confident, have little debt and a lot of job opportunity, a lot of freedom, job opportunities left and right, some good friends (even when not here), reevaluate most situations in a positive light. I do not have a gf and am ok with not having one as well.

The only thing I wish to is to be not anymore addicted to porn. It pains me, hurts, depresses me, makes me lazy, makes me anti-social, kills a lot of emotions for 3-4 weeks at a time and for another 2 month at least cuts my potential. And as I relapse at the moment about every 2-4 weeks, life is just hell. In the last 7 month every relapse was a unique event, where I couldn't identify any pattern as my entire life had no pattern. Atm I am again in a transition place where I do minor things, but mostly kill the time somehow to start a new life in my future study town. But even there, I have massive doubts, to be able to manage to build anything if i constantly relapse. Everything just becomes dreadfull, painfull, and I don't feel capable of even doing the most minor shit. I cry almost every day and most of the time I don't even know why. Existing just seems not really worth it...

Also I gain minor satisfaction to act from some values, but not while close to a relapse where I am constantly in. And even then most satisfaction is fleeting and small. And even then I relapse. I felt amazing, had a great routine, strong values, no worries, did all the stuff I do and I still relapsed... The likelihood goes down in a satisfied life, but yet I even relapse then. I have no urges (since months), I feel no need to act out, yet when confronted with an opportunity, I have 3 windows of conciousness, where I feel absolutely nothing, but only have the thought "ah fuck it. just a peak" and relapse. If there would be an emotion to deal with, I would be glad about it, but while I relapse, I am more a robot then a human. I thought I could raise my conciousness of my emotions with meditation, but in the end I feel everything negative just way more intesively and mostly as physical pain which is driving me insane. So I abandoned that until I am stable again.

And in the end I am sorry to spread my unhappiness and burden anyone with all this shit and I feel ashamed of being this way...


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:41 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hi Rising,

Quote:
I don't see how I am running away from life as I am overall satisfied with my life.


This isn't what I meant (or what I intended to mean). What I said was that you could still be "avoiding" your compulsive behaviours, which would still indicate a misunderstanding of how addiction functions in your life. As you say here, "the only thing I want is to not be addicted to porn anymore." This basically implies that this behaviour is somehow separate from the rest of your behaviours (both the good that you describe and the bad). But even if you can't identify the patterns yet, keep working at it. I have struggled with lots of behaviours where I recognized there was an emotional incentive towards it, yet could not identify the "reason" for it for quite a while.

I also read a number of contradictions (or what sound like contradictions) in what you're writing. You say that you're overall content with your life, yet you also say you are crying almost every day. You list off a number of things that are going well for you, yet say that your entire life has no real pattern. Again, something sounds off here.

What you describe is the classic recovery/relapse pattern. Feel like shit, relapse, feel guilty (but simultaneously great), go a couple weeks again, feel like shit...repeat. If you go back and look at the recovery motivations in lesson 1...I guarantee you that this indicates that your current motivation to recover stems from avoiding the negative consequences of your behaviour. So, when you feel like hell, you act out...then you feel better (but also guilty), but since they're both emotions, they don't last. Over the span of 2-4 weeks, those fade away, and then as soon as you experience another emotional imbalance in some way, you act out again. If that sounds accurate...we have all been there. I have, as has probably most everyone else on this site. So there is no need to fret. However, this does indicate that your motivation will need to change. One other thing I noticed regarding this:

Quote:
I have no urges (since months), I feel no need to act out, yet when confronted with an opportunity, I have 3 windows of conciousness, where I feel absolutely nothing


You say that "If there would be an emotion to deal with, I would be glad about it." Do you think feeling absolutely nothing is not itself an emotional state? If you go back and read the Orientation lesson, this sounds strikingly like that "emptiness" phase that Jon notes...and this is also why, if you only have emotionally based reasons for recovery (as I just described above), you will not make it through this phase. I remember going through this phase myself and the huge amount of discomfort you feel...like you can't feel anything, and the fear that you might not feel anything again. Ironically, if you go through this state, that is in some ways a good sign, as that indicates that real changes are going on in your core identity. However, because it is so uncomfortable, it is when you recognize this phase that you must remain most focused on your recovery work, as this is when it is most likely for you to go back to the comfort of your addiction.

Hopefully this possibly triggered some kind of useful insight in you. However, I would also recommend that you talk to a professional (doctor, therapist, psychologist). The crying all the time, feeling incapable of doing minor things, feeling worthless...while it is normal to go through all of these at times in the process of recovery, it is not normal for them to last for months. If you talk to a professional, you can be open about your struggles with addiction, as they are bound by confidentiality, so that will help them get a full picture of what you're struggling with. I honestly think that would help at this point.

Quote:
And in the end I am sorry to spread my unhappiness and burden anyone with all this shit and I feel ashamed of being this way...


Again, we have all been there. There is no reason to be ashamed (though having felt this myself, I know you can't help it). As usual, focus on where you are going from here.

And again, if you have any more questions or want to work on anything in particular, let me know.

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hey Rising,

I had a few more thoughts for you specific to meditation, from my own experience.

Quote:
I thought I could raise my conciousness of my emotions with meditation, but in the end I feel everything negative just way more intesively and mostly as physical pain which is driving me insane. So I abandoned that until I am stable again.


This is an important thing to realize, and I've experienced that myself. This has been left out of a lot of mindfulness and meditation narratives; that meditation has the capacity to make you feel worse for time as well (as most people just think of meditation as "blissing out", decreasing stress, something to that nature.) However, while this is something you definitely must watch for and be aware of, it is not true that meditation is the "cause" of this.

Rather, when you meditate, emotions, feelings and thoughts that have previously been crammed down into your subconscious start arising. Initially, this can be overwhelming. Meditation, for such a simple activity, can be incredibly powerful. I too have experienced physical discomfort that I could tell later was from something that was arising mentally. And especially when you've struggled with mental health in the past (regardless of the issue)...as I have...this can be overwhelming and in some cases potentially dangerous if you don't have the right guidance and support (hence why a lot of meditation teachers emphasize the need for a teacher who has experienced these things themselves, even though meditation is initially simple to learn on your own).

Much like when people initially start recovery and feel like garbage, people misattribute the source of these feelings. The impulse is to blame recovery (or meditation) as the cause of this...rather than the previous actions and behaviours that actually caused these feelings in the first place. The ruse here though is that when you start feeling these emotions, because they are uncomfortable...even with the knowledge that, they will pass, your mindset is still one of instant gratification. So even if you stick with them for a bit...they become more uncomfortable, you become impatient...and eventually you return to some behaviour you'd previously used, because at least in that case, there was a certain outcome. All feelings will pass. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will pass right away. Anyone going through this process has built up years of emotional conditioning...what I have experienced almost like "walls of emotion". And, this is where the finite aspect of human emotions comes in. As you stay with these emotions and accept them (through meditation...or eventually, through any activity in your daily life, as this process will generalize to your life in time), they will change...and these walls will start to break down. The trick here is not to get discouraged if this doesn't happen "right away"...and again, to be careful and ask for help if necessary (as noted in my previous post, from professionals potentially). This feels very uncomfortable when you start...but gets much easier with practice, until it becomes second nature, and when you are no longer afraid of any emotions...then you will be the driver of your life.

Hope that helps. Again, if meditation does not feel comfortable for you at this point, don't engage with it until a time when you feel more comfortable with it. However, I hope this explains how meditation isn't the cause of these feelings, it just makes them known and allows for a slow, controlled way of how to accept them as they arise.

Cheers,

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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