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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
1. Actively committing yourself to change

I have been struggling with sexual addiction and specifically addiction
to pornography and masturbation for many years. I am married with two children.
I have had several periods of more than a year with
no pornography, and periods of a month or two with no masturbation.
I am now absolutely committed to permanently changing,
developing a healthy and real life, and destroying my addiction.
I am going to win.



2. Not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change

I will not allow guilt or shame to sabotage my commitment. Nor
will I allow laziness, sloppiness, dishonesty, sources of stress,
lack of willpower to stop me. I am going to change.



3. Allowing yourself time to change.

I am committed to doing this no matter how long it takes.





Reasons:


* I want a real life, not a fake life
* I want a life where I am in control, not out of control
* I want a life I can be proud of, and not have secrets
* I want to be true to my wife, to cherish and love her in an
honest way.
* I don't want to pass my problems onto my children
* I want a life where I am not ashamed of myself in a deep way
* I want a life where I can relate more deeply to people, friends,
extended family
* I don't want to turn out like my father.
* I don't want to be kind of person who exploits women
* I want to keep my sexuality for true love
* I want to be proud of myself.



Photograph exercise:

This was very moving. I was an innocent, loveable little boy.
My father physically abused me. Why? I have never forgiven him
for that. Why didn't he treat me properly? I deserved better.
I was vulnerable.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Lesson 2

My vision for my life:

1. I want a life based on integrity, honesty, courage, openness.
Where I have the courage to reveal myself to the world. To have
a real life with no dissebling or falseness. Where I am what
I seem to be. Where my priorities and my decisions are based on
my internal values instead of what I think others want.

2. I want a life where I value and respect spirituality, the sacredness
of every human being, and especially the sacredness of sexual love.
I want a life where the power and energy of my sexuality are used only
to deepen and strengthen my relationship with my wife, and not as a
secret tool to regulate my emotions.

3. I want to devote myself to my wife, to cherish her, love
her, take care of her, be honest with her, support her life,
share her life, be intimate and honest with her.

4. I want to fill my children with love and compassion,
teach them values, rear them well, provide for them, and give them
a good start to life.

5. I want to have a healthy body, and to enjoy physical activities
like sports and hiking. I want to be closely connected to the natural
world and to have an apprciation for its beauty and grandeur.

6. I want to contribute meaningfully to the community of people
associated with my career, to set myself goals, achieve those goals,
and derive pride and satisfaction from my achievements.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
List of Values
========


Personal Qualities
------------------
Being honest with myself and others
Sharing my true self with the world around me
Keeping in touch with my feelings
Devoting time to myself to make sure I get and stay emotionally healthy
Taking care of my body, prioritizing sleep, healthy eating, exercise
Being responsible and reliable
Spend time close to nature on a regular basis
Nurture my creative side
Setting realistic everyday goals, and accomplishing them
Celebrate and appreciate all my accomplishments, give myself healthy rewards
Nurture my spirituality


As Husband
----------
Be honest with my wife
Cherish, love and take care of my wife
Treat her with respect
Bring joy and happiness to her life
Be playful and spontaneous with her
Have frequent dates with my wife
Support her in her career
Remember the things that she likes
Give her breaks from kid minding
Being sexually intimate
Be always there for her to lean on
Being faithful and true to her, keeping the energy of my sexuality
just for her and to strengthen our relationship
Encouraging and supporting her pursuits and friendships
Spending time on my own pursuits, knowing it is good for our relationship.
Be appreciative of everything she does.
Appreciating her love
Sharing my feelings and vulnerabilities with her



As Parent
---------
Love my children
Teach them honesty, integrity, the virtue of hard work
Give them hugs and cuddles, play with them
Always make time for them
Be gentle, calm but firm and consistent when they misbehave
Try not to loose my temper with them
Always listen to their concerns
Teach them about love, and about healthy sexuality
Teach them to appreciate nature
Teach them to be self reliant
Teach them to be curious, questioning, to believe in themselves
Teach them to be tolerant and open-minded, by example
Encourage and support their friendships and interests
Be financially secure, now and in the future
Pick my daughter up early more often, do things together
Volunteer at their school
Be a role model for my children, in how I treat them and
their mother, in my career, in how I treat myself.


As Son
------
Love and support my mother
Keep in close contact with her.


As Friend
---------
Treat people with kindness and compassion
Make more effort to stay in contact with old friends
Be more open and courageous in attempting to make new same-sex friends
Be someone that friends can rely on
Bring light and joy to peoples lives
Showing my friends truth and vulnerability instead of always putting on a happy face.
Make more effort to stay in contact with extended family



As Coworker
-----------
Make more effort to remember names of everyone I encounter, and to use them
Take pride in my work and my accomplishments
Take care of the people who depend on me professionally
Be a responsible member of my professional community
Treat people with kindess and compassion
Be organized and efficient in my work
Have realistic expectations for my accomplishments,
and figure out how to avoid stress and worry about my career
Being a resource for others







Dark Side Values
==========

Feeling excitement
Thinking that a secret, interior world that I control cannot hurt me.
Exploring taboo things.
Getting a thrill from seeing private things in others lives
Deception and control
Showing a false front
Thinking of women as sexual objects and not as people
Blocking inconvenient thoughts like the real lives of porn actresses
Reveling in fantasies, a rich secret inner world
False beliefs like sex with beautiful women will magically solve
emotional problems
Subsuming all other priorities to getting a fix.
Feeling shame, revulsion.
Feeling despair at being powerless and unable to control my life.
The feeling I don't deserve any better
The feeling there is no hope for the future
Basing my self-esteem on the input of others
Feeling a need to escape from reality


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:26 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
Posts: 1626
Hi StrivingforHealth (great name btw :w: ),

Welcome to RN. It seems like you're here for the right reasons, and if your motivation to change is because you actually want to change your life and your sincerity remains, you can build a great life for yourself. :g:

For your reasons for change, they are generally positive, though they do contain some negative statements. Reasons for change stated in the positive tend to be much more powerful and sustainable over time. This can be done by simple rephrasing. For example, "I don't want to pass my problems onto my children" could be "I want to ensure that my children grow up healthy". The latter feels much stronger and more positive. Of course, the strongest reasons for change for you, will be the ones you write and connect with yourself.

For your vision, it is an excellent start, but it could be more specific in places. For example, in your section about health, you mentioned sports and hiking. These are excellent practical values. In contrast, in the next section, you mentioned "I want to contribute meaningfully to the community of people associated with my career, to set myself goals, achieve those goals..." This is a bit vague. Your vision is the place where you can (and should) set these career goals. Similarly, other things to consider are: relationships, friendships, family, religious beliefs (if any), career, hobbies, leisure activities, health, travel, goals, dreams, etc... Not that all these things must be included, just that you want to strike a balance. For a good example of a starting vision, and to see the principles of what makes a good vision, check out this recent post: http://recoverynation.com/bulletinboard ... =2&t=21100

Your values list is also a good start. If you decide to update your vision, your values list may also change. Don't worry about taking a couple extra days to get this right. Having your vision and values as a practical, useful source will be much more important in the long run.

Quote:
This was very moving. I was an innocent, loveable little boy.
My father physically abused me. Why? I have never forgiven him
for that. Why didn't he treat me properly? I deserved better.
I was vulnerable.


Yes, you did deserve better. This no doubt had an impact on your developing an addiction, and you will be looking at these issues more and putting them into perspective later on in the workshop. For now, focus on the road ahead. There is no better way of forgiving yourself for your own past and ending the impact these events had on your life, than by taking control of your life now.

Finally, we recommend doing 2-4 lessons per week, and working 15-30 minutes per day on your recovery, even if that is just journalling thoughts which many find useful. You must find your own pace, but something close to the above will keep you focused on the changes you're making to your life and allow you to maintain momentum to avoid complacency and get yourself through the occasional rough patches in early recovery. Coaches and mentors will drop by occasionally to provide feedback, but the workshop is mostly self-help. If you have a question, ask in your thread, PM a coach or mentor, or we encourage people to engage in the Community Forum.

I wish you well on your path to health! :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: Thu Feb 14, 2013 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Thank you Boundless for your insights and your help :)

Thanks also to all of you who contribute to RecoveryNation.
I have been trying various things for years to combat my addiction
and I think the lessons and community here are really going help me
make a real and permanent change.


Revised Reasons for Change:
---------------------------

* I want a real life, based on integrity and openness, not a fake life
* I want a life where I am in control, not out of control
* I want a life I can be proud of, and not have secrets
* I want to be true to my wife, to cherish and love her in an
honest way.
* I want to make sure that my children grow up to be healthy
* I want a life where I not ashamed of myself in a deep way
* I want a life where I can relate more deeply to people, friends,
extended family
* I want to be a father and partner that people can rely on,
confide in, be a source of love and stability and happiness.
* I want to be kind of person who treats women as people and not as objects, and who does not contribute to the culture of objectifying women
* I want to keep my sexuality for true love
* I want to be proud of myself.


I'll work on my revised vision for the next post.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:05 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:54 am
Posts: 1377
Hi Striving

I agree with CB - a good start. Great to have you here. One piece of advice for the vision that I found helpful.

Imagine a perfect day - what would it look like? Who would be there? What would you be doing in a ideal world? It is a way to give shape, form and a sort of reality to your values.

As CB said, this is the place to keep it positive - to give yourself sometthing to aim at. You are recovering the hopeful parts of yourself that have been eroded and mislaid by the habit of the sexual rituals.

This is where you begin the process of getting back in touch with those values. to feel how good and positive they are.

I dont mean to sound like a hippy here. But this is what is so smart about the structure of the lessons. To begin to place a counterweight against the sexual rituals - to realise how pointless and empty they are.

Take care and keep working the lessons. As we all say here, if tyou can devote 20 minutes each day to reading, thinking and/or writing, you will make progress. The more you put in the more you get out.

Shaw


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:28 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Thank you Shaw for your encouragement and helpful advice, and I'm
sorry to take so long to post again. I've been revising and
re-revising my vision, and now it finally feels right for me:


Revised Vision:
-------------

(1 and 2 are top priority right now, but that may change later
when I am more firm in my recovery from the addiction)

1. I want a life based on integrity, honesty, courage, openness.
Where I have the courage to reveal myself to the world. To have
a real life with no dissembling or falseness. Where I am what
I seem to be. Where my priorities and my decisions are based on
my internal values instead of what I think others want.


2. I want a life where I value and respect spirituality, the sacredness
of every human being, and especially the sacredness of sexual love.
I want a life where the power and energy of my sexuality are used only
to deepen and strengthen my relationship with my wife, and not as a
secret tool to regulate my emotions.


3. I want to devote myself to my wife, to cherish her, love
her, take care of her, be honest with her, support her life,
share her life, be intimate and honest with her.
I want us to grow old together, start new activities together,
visit new places together.


4. I want to give my children a good start to life. I want to
fill them with love and compassion, fun and spontaneity. I want
to teach them responsibility, integrity, self reliance and compassion
by word and by example. I want to ensure financial stability for them
and give them a good education.

5. I want to have a healthy body, and to enjoy physical activities
like biking, hiking, sports, rock climbing, skiing.
I want to be closely connected to the natural world and to have an
apprciation for its beauty and grandeur, and make time for outdoor
activities and enjoying sunshine.


6. I want to make space and time for solitude and peacefulness
in my life, to stay in touch with my true feelings and to stay
aware of what is truely important. I want to arrange my life and
career to avoid having too much stress and time-demands and pressure,
and sufficient calmness and free time.


7. I want to nurture my creative and artistic side by playing and
listening to music more.


8. I want to stay in close contact with my extended family,
my sister, mother, brother, and cousins, via visits and more frequent
phone calls. I want to stay in closer contact with old friends
via emails and facebook.


9. Part of what energizes and inspires me is figuring out new things
(my career is as a scientist). I want to nurture and reconnect with
the part of me that is excited and inspired by new frontiers, and I
want to make achievements that I can be proud of. I want to help
other people professionally, write a book, and eventually switch to a
different area of science.


10. I want to contribue more to my community, in the small ways that I
can, by volunteering at my childrens school, donating to
charities, maybe coaching a soccer team.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:02 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:15 pm
Posts: 291
Just popping in only to let you know that you have our support and good luck on your choice to lead a healthy life.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Thank you Coach HoneyCat :)


Here is my Prioritized list of values for Lesson 4:


Being honest with myself, keeping in touch with my feelings.
Sharing my true self with the world around me
Devoting time to myself to make sure I get and stay emotionally healthy
Taking care of my body, prioritizing sleep, healthy eating, exercise
Being faithful and true to my wife, keeping the energy of my sexuality
just for her and to strengthen our relationship
Cherish, love and take care of my wife
Be honest with my wife
Being sexually intimate with my wife
Have frequent dates with my wife
Sharing my feelings and vulnerabilities with my wife
Love my children
Teach my children honesty honesty, integrity, the virtue of hard work
Love and support my mother
Be financially secure, now and in the future
Spend time close to nature on a regular basis
Have realistic expectations for my accomplishments,
and figure out how to avoid stress and worry about my career
Be organized and efficient in my work, and do the best job I can
Give my children hugs and cuddles, play with them
Encourage and support my childrens friendships and interests
Make more effort to stay in contact with old friends, extended family
Be more open and courageous in attempting to make new same-sex friends
Showing my friends truth and vulnerability instead of always putting on a happy face.
Being organized and prudent in personal finances, being financially secure
Take care of the people who depend on me professionally
Be gentle, calm but firm and consistent when my children misbehave
Pick my daughter up early more often, do things together
Volunteer at my children's school
Nurture my creative side, listen to and play music

Being responsible and reliable
Setting realistic everyday goals, and accomplishing them
Celebrate and appreciate all my accomplishments, give myself healthy rewards
Nurture my spirituality
Always make time for my children
Treat my wife with respect
Bring joy and happiness to my wife's life
Be playful and spontaneous with my wife
Support my wife in her career
Remember the things that my wife likes
Give my wife breaks from kid minding
Be always there for my wife to lean on
Encouraging and supporting my wife's pursuits and friendships
Spending time on my own pursuits, knowing it is good for our relationship.
Be appreciative of everything my wife does.
Appreciating my wife's love
Try not to loose my temper with my children
Always listen to my childrens concerns
Teach my children about love, and about healthy sexuality
Teach my children to appreciate nature
Teach my children to be self reliant
Teach my children to be curious, questioning, to believe in themselves
Teach my children to be tolerant and open-minded, by example
Be a role model for my children, in how I treat them and
their mother, in my career, in how I treat myself.
Keep in close contact with my mother.
Treat people with kindness and compassion
Be someone that friends can rely on
Bring light and joy to peoples lives
Make more effort to remember names of everyone I encounter, and to use them
Take pride in my work and my accomplishments
Be a responsible member of my professional community
Treat people with kindess and compassion
Being a resource for others


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:12 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
I have not posted here in the last week or two because of an illness,
but I plan to post more regularly and frequently from now on.



Lesson 6:

Proactive Action Plan: Maintaining Physical Health
- Go to bed by 9:30pm everynight.
- Plan in advance for work deadlines in order to avoid having
to stay up late.
- Make time for short runs or bike rides every other day.
- Avoid eating sugar-rich or junk foods.
- Start playing squash and rock climbing. Find a squash partner.



Proactive Action Plan: Keeping in touch with my feelings
- Write in my Journal every day, and read every day.
- Devote some quiet time to myself every day, to mediate
and get in touch with my feelings, and keep track of
potential triggers and danger points.
- Be honest with myself in my journal.
- Listen to music for a while every day.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
More from Lesson 6:

Proactive Action Plan: My Spiritual Health
------------------------------------------
- Spend time close to nature on a regular basis
- Ride my bike regularly.
- Figure out a way to commute to work by bike.
- Go hiking regularly
- Having solitude, space, downtime with no electronic devices.
- Figure out a way to take both my kids bike riding with me.
- Take my kids camping
- Take my kids to parks regularly.
- Rent a boat on the lake this summer
- Get a paino for our house, and learn some beautiful pieces
- Play the guitar regularly
- Make time to listen to music regularly.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
More from Lesson 6:

Proactive Action Plan: Strengthen my Relationship with my Wife
--------------------------------------------------------------
- Tell her about my porn addiction problem. Help her understand
it and tell her how sorry I am for having violated her trust.
Give her time and space to figure out how to deal with it.
- Be faithful and true to my wife from now on, keeping the energy of
my sexuality just for her and to strengthen our relationship
- Cherish, love and take care of my wife
- Devote some time every day to having meaningful talks with her
- Be honest with her
- Being sexually intimate with my wife. Make sure that we talk
about our feelings and what she wants.
- Have frequent dates with my wife, movies, lunch, squash, hiking
- Sharing my feelings and vulnerabilities with my wife, with
regard to work and with regard to the addiction.
- Treat my wife with respect
- Bring joy and happiness to my wife's life
- Be playful and spontaneous with my wife
- Support my wife in her career, do my share of kid minding when the
kids are sick.
- Remember the things that my wife likes
- Give my wife breaks from kid minding
- Be always there for my wife to lean on
- Encourage and support my wife's pursuits and friendships
- Spend time on my own pursuits, knowing it is good for our relationship.
- Be appreciative of everything my wife does and of her love.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Lesson 10: Honesty

Quote:
I. Consider those lies that are still being perpetuated
in your life. Who you are deceiving. Why you are
deceiving them. Consider the 'risks' of coming clean.


I have not yet told my wife about my sexual addiction.
I understand that I need to tell her for a genuine recovery
and to have a healthy life. I am afraid that she may leave me.
Nevertheless I will go ahead and tell her.

I have never told my father how I feel about him or about
the physical abuse I suffered from him as a child. I relate to
him on a very superficial level, it is mostly a false front.
I have no desire to come clean or for a better relationship.
Risks of coming clean: he would reject my feelings and pain,
deny any culpability, I would feel hurt and invalidated.


Quote:
II. If you are involved in a partnership, choose now
whether or not you intend to continue deceiving them
in certain areas. If the answer is yes, acknowledge
that you are willing to jeopardize the future of that
relationship by maintaining the deception; AND,
admit to yourself that you are intentionally
sabotaging your own healthy foundation by allowing
such a huge crack to remain.


No, I intend to end the deception.


Quote:
III. If you are involved in professional coaching (or
outside counseling), choose now whether or not you
intend to continue deceiving those whom you are
working with. If the answer is yes, acknowledge that
you are not fully commited to ending your addiction.
Acknowledge that you are choosing to 'go through the
motions', rather than actively pursue real change.


I am not involved in coaching or counseling.



Quote:
IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items
stashed for sexually compulsive behavior. List these
items and their locations in your Recovery Thread.


For past four months, none.
Previously, lubricant and vibrators and dildos in bedroom.



Quote:
V. Make a list of all the people that you use as
compulsive sexual and/or romantic object. Post this
in your thread


For the past four months, nobody.
Previously, fantasies about some women I know, and
women I would see and scan when walking around in public.


Quote:
VI. Make a list of all the places where you go to act
out your sexually/romantically compulsive behavior.
Post this list in your thread.


For the past four months, nowhere.
Previously, my office at work and my office at home to access
internet porn and masturbate. My bedroom to masturbate.


I feel very ashamed to reveal all these things.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:59 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Lesson 11:
----------
Here is how these things have applied to me in my life. It
was very difficult to list all these behaviors, like pulling teeth.

Fantasy
-------
* In the past, fantasies when see attractive women in public.
Extended scanning followed by masturbation later.

* At present, scanning and fantsies much reduced, although
still a bit of a struggle.

* In the past, infatuation/fantasy with one particular woman,
extended fantasies when lying in bed, driving along;
fantasies when masturbating or having sex with wife.
No longer.

* Cues for obsession: stress, low self-esteem, boredom,
attractive women trigger thoughts of past rejections, lonliness,
acts as trigger.

* Boundaries violated: my identity, integrity and intimacy of my
marriage, my being rooted in reality, my self-respect.




Masturbation
------------

* Behaviors in past: use of vibrators, dildos in anus,
digital stimulation of anus and prostate.
Achieve orgasm, release
Often with fantasy,
often while viewing pornographic videos.
Followed by guilt, shame
No longer

* Cues: stress (work, addiction), shame, opportunity

* Boundaries violated: self-respect, intimacy, autonomy, order.



Pornography
-----------

* Behavior:
Distant past: images in magazines, movies in adult movie theatres,
streamed videos in adult stores.
rental of adult movies to play at home.
Recent past: images and vidoes over internet.
Time spent seeking most stimulating videos
Present: none
Masturbation, orgasm

* Cues: stress, emotional imbalance, opportunity, pressure builds up,
shame from addiction.

* Boundaries violated: self-respect, intimacy, autonomy, order,
integrity


Promiscuity
------------
No


Affairs
-------
No



Prostitution
------------
* Behavior:
Distant past:
Cruised for prostitutes (driving down certain streets).
Paid street prostitute for oral sex in car
Paid street prostitute to masturbate me in my home
Hired prostitutes for sex:
Went to brothel on a business trip, paid for sex.
paid prostitute to come to my home for sex (2 occasions)
Paid masseuse to masturbate me in massage parlor
Paid for lap dances at strip shows

* Cues: compulsion, shame at sexual inexperience, shame of addiction,
low self-esteem, stress, escapism, opportunity

* Boundaries violated: safety, security, integrity, self-respect


Rape & Sexual Violence
----------------------
No


Voyeuring, Exhibitionism and Stalking
-------------------------------------

* Behavior:
Distant past: Scanning appartment building with binoculars looking
for sexual activity
Listening to walls in hotels, appartment buildings
Observing neighbor in her kitchen through windows of house.
Going to strip clubs
Looking at "voyeur cams" on the internet

* Cues: lonliness, shame, stress, shame of addiction, boredom,
opportunity

* Boundaries violated: integrity, self-respect, intimacy


Last edited by StrivingForHealth on Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:09 pm
Posts: 93
Lesson 12
---------
In the past, I have engaged in many of the thoughts and behaviors
described in this lesson, but none of them in the recent past.

Over the past few weeks the belief and certainty has grown
inside me that I will overcome the addiction. I am finding
it easier to resist urges to ogle women in public, and to fantasize
in private. Most importantly I am making plans to disclose
with complete honesty to my wife next weekend. I have a vision that
the addiction is like an octopus with tentacles wrapped all around me
and around my throat, trapping me and squeezing the life out of me,
and these tentacles will turn into dust and fall around my feet.
My joy at this prospect is tempered though, I am filled with
uncertainty and trepidation about the disclosure, my wife will be
devastated and I don't know what the outcome will be for us.


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