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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
Up until today, I would not say I have done anything to actively commit
myself to change. I've been waiting to finish reading a book and for my
first appointment with a therapist and just trying to get through each day
without giving in to being preoccupied with fantasies or acting out in any way.
I understand that I am the only person who can fix this and I commit myself
to it, no matter what. No matter what I lose that I now have, even if I lose
my wife I will not go back to this half-life.

I'm not sure what to think about guilt/shame sabotaging my commitment. It
is pretty intense right now as I'm having a rock bottom experience. I have
had suicidal thoughts if only briefly when the pain is at its peak, but I have
not decided to give up my commitment for the addiction to fix my guilt.

Allowing time to change is I think the hardest. I have only stopped, this time,
for a little over a week and to slip back feels like it would be devastating and
if it would be a slip up with another person I know my marriage would be
over. With Summer coming on, even 90 days seems to long but thinking
about how ingrained everything is, I think it too short. So, I at least
understand this will take time.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:56 pm 
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Posts: 95
I don't want to spend the rest of my life being alone
I want to have healthy sex
I want to use all those hours that I give to my addiction to enjoy life
I want to like myself
I want to feel affection
I want to be around people without scoping them out and without worrying that they might make an advance and feeling like I wouldn't be able to cope
I want to trust myself and have others trust me
I want to be a sexual being without shame or guilt
I want to feel like I have something to offer
I don't want to feel scared that I will lose control again


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:12 am 
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Recovery Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:32 pm
Posts: 4572
re: "I don't want to spend the rest of my life being alone...
I want to use all those hours that I give to my addiction to enjoy life"

I'm going to assume that you are sincere in wanting to push beyond this addiction for good...and so, I will respond as such. Meaning, I will try to share with you the straightest path to health.

First step for you is that there will need to be a deepening of the way that you approach your addiction/life. We will start with your motivators listed above. It will be critical for you to recognize that ending your addiction will not translate into 'hours of enjoyment'. It will be just the opposite. You have developed this addiction because you DO enjoy the temporary, delusional feeling of emotional fulfillment you experience while engaging in such rituals. And so, at least initially, your abandoning your addiction will create a situation where you feel MORE ALONE and LESS fulfilled. The pain of life will be more raw and the lonliness and isolation will GROW. Again, initially. As your values become more defined and ingrained, these patterns will give way towards real change...and these changes will give way to a permanent shift in your identity. But know that this won't come with your decision to recover. That decision comes with the additional commitment to yourself that you are WILLING to intentionally feel the pain of your life without trying to medicate that pain (by returning to your addiction).

The next step for you will be to literally give yourself time to make changes to your life. That means setting aside the next two, three months to rebuild a new foundation WITHOUT placing pressure/expectation on yourself. It will take that long to lay this foundation...and that is if all goes smoothly. So for the next few months, suspend all expectations you have to accomplish anything in your life...and just begin to 'do your best' to learn. Focus not so much on the intellectual, but the practical learning. Give yourself these few months, stay active in your pursuit, and you WILL have laid the foundation for ending your addiction permanently. And for building that life you have envisioned.

_________________
Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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 Post subject: confusion
PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:25 pm 
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Posts: 95
This last bit is difficult for me to understand because not placing pressure/expectation on myself seems dangerously close to giving
myself an excuse to engage in rituals.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:39 am 
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Recovery Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:32 pm
Posts: 4572
re: "This last bit is difficult for me to understand because not placing pressure/expectation on myself seems dangerously close to giving
myself an excuse to engage in rituals."

I hate to simplify it to this level, but I will:

If you are looking for such excuses...they will be easy to find. On the other hand, others have read the same exact message and saw it not as a potential excuse to act out, but as an opportunity to commit themselves to real change. If it helps, try seeing it as establishing a temporary truce between you and your addiction. In war, a truce eases the pressure among two battling enemies so that progress can be made without further destruction. That is what you are shooting for. Creating a safe environment where you can grow without further destruction taking place.

Now, can that truce be taken advantage of by those with unhealthy motives? Can they use it as a means of getting the other side to 'let down their guard' so that an offensive can be launched? Yes. But it can also be used be those with healthy motives to end the conflict without further bloodshed. That is what you need to do now...use this time to end the conflict. Take the next few months to allow yourself the freedom to recover. You know your motives...and so, you know whether or not you will sincerely make the most of this truce. Or, if you will use it to sabotage your recovery. But understand this, unlike war, this battle is within you. You are on both sides...and so, there will be no 'sneaking up' on the enemy. There will be no tricks. You will need to sit down with your addiction...look it in the eye...and make the decision to exterminate it. Now. Because you want to end the battle. Not because you fear future destruction if that battle continues.

Or...

Don't. Continue to put pressure on yourself...continue to force your addiction into submission. Just don't expect real change to occur--as you have already learned from past experience. The changes that occur will be fleeting.

And a clarification: giving yourself this time to recover does not mean that you are free to act out. Not at all. You have the RESPONSIBILITY to use these coming months to develop a healthy foundation for your life. Anything and everything that threatens that healthy foundation must be acknowledged and acted upon to the best of your current ability. But without the 'all or nothing' pressure attached to it. Simply wanting to change is not enough to be able to change. There are skills involved that must be learned through experience. That takes time...and effort.

Good luck. This should be an exciting, but determined time in your life.

_________________
Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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 Post subject: re: re: confusion
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:03 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
So, don't give myself up to my addiction but don't believe that the 'cold turkey' approach will get me anywhere?

I've known for a few years now that I have a problem, but I've been telling myself that it's just "bad habits" not an addiction. The realization of just how far wrong things are is frightening and, so, the pressure on myself. Right now, it's just hard for me to separate the commitment to change permanently and the commitment to stop now. The permanent change is what I want. It is the priority. It's just if I'm at a point where I can think "Do I do this or not?" then I don't want to do it any more. But maybe I'm beginning to see what is meant...I've been in such a shock from the rock-bottom experience and from the admitting just how far my problem goes and how much of my life revolves around it that I'm holding too tight of reins on my mind. I need to relax. And, that can mean I end up thinking in ways from time to time that really frighten me now. But, if I realize a choice, I still resolve now to stop it at that point, which is not the same as stopping myself all up to hide from those choices. This might take a little time...


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 Post subject: Ex 2: Values/goals?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:46 pm 
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Posts: 95
This is my vision of who I want to be.

I want to be a present person. When love and affection are offered by those close to me, I want to feel it. I want to have something to offer as well. My wife has such a love and a sweetness for me and I want to experience it fully. I want a life with her, not just a life where she hangs around hoping I'll finally open up. I don't wan to miss out on this amazing opportunity to be close with her because I'm always on the look out for the next short-term excitement. I want to have a real sex life with her where I pay attention to her enjoyment not out of pride but out of love and caring; a sex life where we can both learn what we enjoy. I want a few close friends in this life. I want to be an honest and forthright person, with my wife, my family, my friends, in general. I have always admired stories of people who selflessly spend their lives taking care of other people. Somehow, I know that is the fulfilling way to lead a life. I don't want to selfishly do things for others out of a sense of martyrdom any more and I'm not saying I want to give up all other goals/values in my life. But, I want to be a generous person and do what I can.

I want to be an outdoorsman. I enjoy being outside: hiking, sailing, running, camping, riding...and this is an aspect of myself that I want to develop; to spend time on. I want stay fit enough to enjoy these things for years to come. I want to feel connected to nature and see its beauty all over the world. I want to do these things with my wife, who enjoys them to, I know, and who increases my enjoyment of them.

I want to be a scholar. I want to be respected as knowledgeable and capable in my profession. No reason to lie about that, but that's not all this value stands for to me. I want to feel like I'm doing a good job. I also want to be an educated, well-read person, and have interests outside work that I pursue.

I want to be a musician again. I want to be able to use music to express my feelings and to enjoy them more.

This is my vision of who I want to be. It's short enough to acknowledge the finiteness of my life, I think. It encompasses enough that I will be challenged.


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 Post subject: W1D3
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:37 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
all of the primary ways that you (do & want) derive stimulation from your life
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A)
Enjoying life's simple pleasures
Feeling accomplished
Competition


Sharing my true self with the world around me
Accepting love, praise or criticism from others
Loving others
Being loved by others
Strengthening my role as a husband
Showing appreciation towards others
Bringing joy to others
Establishing emotional and sexual intimacy with my wife
Connected to my own feelings
Being Honest
Feeling needed, desired, loved by others
Taking care of myself
Sense of responsibility
Accountability
Be a good listener
Connecting with people important to me
Being nice & polite
Not follow the path of least resistance
Respect others
Patience
Living with integrity
Living with compassion
Strengthening my relationship with my family
Being dedicated
Being playful
Being dependable
Being considerate of others
Being considerate of myself
Developing emotional maturity
Feeling appreciated
Developing sustained friendships
Humility
Companionship
Improving my social interactions
Fidelity
Taking care of others in need
Feeling happy and content
Accepting responsibility for living my life
Selflessness: Being charitable, giving

Living an adventurous life
Connecting to purpose, meaning in life
Passionate about life
Facing my fears
Overcoming challenges

Spending time out of doors
Exercise, Physical health & Staying active
Appreciating natural beauty/nature
Engaging in sports
Travelling (U) Plan, organize and take trips (P)
Practice music
Listen to music
Pursue hobbies

Being respected as an expert in my field
Be a well-rounded person
Excellence in my work
Life-time learning
Reading tear-jerkers
Reading Literature
Scholarly pursuits
Developing intellectual depth
Providing quality in my work; Striving for excellence
Being respected as a professional by others
Financially preparing for retirement
Accomplishing goals
Organization
Travelling (U) Plan, organize and take trips (P)
Practice music
Listen to music
Pursue hobbies

Being respected as an expert in my field
Be a well-rounded person
Excellence in my work
Life-time learning
Reading tear-jerkers
Reading Literature
Scholarly pursuits
Developing intellectual depth
Providing quality in my work; Striving for excellence
Being respected as a professional by others
Financially preparing for retirement
Accomplishing goals
Organization
Intellectual growth





B)
Being always on the look out for other options
Wanting world-wide recognition
Immediate gratification
Living an exciting life
Physical pleasure
Sexual excitement
Feeling sexually desirable
Experiencing the forbidden
Physical attraction
Pressure to accomplish
Distracting myself
Dreaming/Fantasy
Feeling macho


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 Post subject: W1 D4
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:13 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
Top 18 (no order)
1 - Being Honest
2 - Strengthening my role as a husband (U) Establishing emotional and sexual intimacy with my wife (P)
3 - Fidelity
4 - Feeling needed, desired, appreciated, and loved by others
5 - Providing quality in my work; Striving for excellence in my work
6 - Exercise, Physical health & Staying active
7 - Living with integrity
8 - Accepting responsibility for living my life
9 - Engaging in sports
10 - Listen to music
11 - Being considerate of others (U) Being nice & polite (P)
12 - Feeling accomplished
13 - Reading Literature
14 - Accepting love, praise or criticism from others
15 - Connected to my own feelings
16 - Travelling (U) Plan, organize and take trips (P)
17 - Taking care of myself (U) Enjoying life's simple pleasures (P)
18 - Appreciating natural beauty/nature (U) Spending time out of doors (P)


Connecting with people important to me
Being loved by others
Being respected as an expert in my field
Being respected as a professional by others
Not follow the path of least resistance
Reading tear-jerkers
Scholarly pursuits
Feeling happy and content
Facing my fears
Overcoming challenges
Passionate about life
Sense of responsibility
Bringing joy to others
Connecting to purpose, meaning in life
Respect others
Patience
Humility
Sharing my true self with the world around me
Loving others
Intellectual growth
Living with compassion
Pursue hobbies
Being considerate of myself
Showing appreciation towards others
Be a good listener
Developing emotional maturity
Developing sustained friendships
Companionship
Improving my social interactions
Strengthening my relationship with my family
Practice music
Developing intellectual depth
Being dedicated
Being dependable
Life-time learning
Being playful
Be a well-rounded person
Living an adventurous life
Selflessness: Being charitable, giving
Taking care of others in need
Accountability
Competition
Financially preparing for retirement
Accomplishing goals
Organization


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 Post subject: Exercise 5
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
- Enjoying my sexuality
- Integrity
- Establishing emotional and sexual intimacy with my wife (P)
- Feeling needed, desired, appreciated, and loved by others
- Providing quality in my work; Striving for excellence in my work
- Exercise, Physical health & Staying active
- Engaging in sports: skiing, hiking, sailing
- Feeling accomplished; Not follow the path of least resistance
- Accepting love, praise or criticism from others
- Travelling/Seeing new things
- Enjoying life's simple pleasures: pets, Reading for enjoyment, Listen to music, etc.
- Appreciating natural beauty/nature (U) Spending time out of doors (P)
- Being respected as an expert in my field
- Bringing joy to my wife
- Being considerate of others (U) resisting rude urges


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 Post subject: M1 w1 D6
PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
Exercise 6

3 simple Proactive action plans
----------------------
- Exercise, Physical health & Staying active
. Take daily (30 min. min) walk if nothing else
. Try biking to work first nice weather morning after cold is gone
. Go to gym once a week
. Don't give up if miss day/week but try again at 1st opportunity

- Travelling/Seeing new things
. Spend 15 minutes a day planning a trip
. Take wife someplace new at least 1 every 2 months

- Enjoying life's simple pleasures: pets, Reading for enjoyment, Listen to music, etc.
. Take a bubble bath once per weekend
. Play a CD during cleaning morning
. Brush pets on weekend
. spend a little time every other day having tea on couch


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 Post subject: Ex 9
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
“If my partner did the things that I have doneÂâ€â€


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 Post subject: Ex 10
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
I.
My family: that everything is OK. Could hurt respect to wife for putting up with it.
Vet: that we didn't bend rules to get cats in boarding.
Employer: that I'm working hard. Could impact my contract that I haven't been and won't be working hard for awhile.

IV.
No active stashes of items. Have memorized websites URLs, good cable channels and times to look on TV. Have made purge sessions of digital material. Can still be more digging through directories, checking more backups that nothing still exists. Lots of possible material still exits in house:
wife's comics, medieval story books with semi nude illustrations, illustrations in how to be better lover books (or maybe wife through those out--don't know). Haven't used lotion for anything but dry hands over last month.

V.
No longer actively using people as compulsive/sexual objects.
People I have used in past include Rebecca, Orlagh, Serena, Felicity, Alicia, Brandee, Wanda, Steffi, that swiss girl, Siv, Julia, Conny, Hannah, Hanne, Ellen, that other norwegian girl, Svetlana, Claudia's daughter, Maura, Katie, Zita, Steffi's friends, ...

VI.
Not active.
Restrooms, staying home alone: masturbation
fantasizing: walking around college campuses, beaches, walking past building to look in windows, laundry room


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 Post subject: Ex7
PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:52 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
Proactive action plans
----------------------

- Integrity
. Attack truth head-on, admit worst part of things first
. Say "I'm not sure" about past motives when not clear or "I'm not yet ready"
. Be clear when offering worst-case interpretations
. Make a habit of pausing before answering/deciding things

- Bringing joy to my wife
. Risk reaching out even when I don't feel worthy
. Spend time thinking what she would like
. Think up ways to get-away during hours shops are open & get little presents
. Praise her every time I truly feel it
. Spend time being near her

- Establishing emotional and sexual intimacy with my wife (P)
. Absolute honesty past/present
. Express feelings/affection
. Reach out as we both probably need hugs
. allow for sex not always going all the way
. release from performace pressure
. allow that we may not be ready for frequent sex & need to learn how all over again

- Feeling needed, desired, appreciated, and loved by others: Accepting love, praise or criticism
. Listen to appreciate instead of feeling unworthy
. Don't close myself off to praise and compliments
. Imagine how it would feel if I felt worthy when I hear "I love you"
. Focus on listening/remembering criticism for afterward when I calm down

- Appreciating natural beauty/nature (U) Spending time out of doors (P)
. daily walks
. weekend picnics in forest
. plan longer hikes/camps/etc.

- Enjoying my sexuality
. SAFE: not secret, not abuse, not feeling compulsive, but emotional
. realize that for awhile my focus if 1st that nothing bad happens and 2nd focus on emotional and intimate

- Providing quality in my work; Striving for excellence in my work
. Take responsibility for focusing on one project for long enough to progress
. Weekly work on "the list", daily write ideas down and don't lose them
. Let go of projects that seemed to be a "good idea" but don't go anywhere

- Being respected as an expert in my field
. Practice 1 month rule for working in the dark
. Honestly re-evaluate projects not moving towards publishable in 2 months
. Every 3 months, begin circulating manuscript
. Prepare 1, 5, 10 minute sales pitches and use them

- Exercise, Physical health & Staying active
. Take daily (30 min. min) walk if nothing else
. Try biking to work
. Go to gym weekly
. Don't give up if miss day/week but try again at 1st opportunity

- Travelling/Seeing new things
. Spend time weekly planning a trip
. Take wife someplace new at least 1 every 2 months

- Enjoying life's simple pleasures: pets, Reading for enjoyment, Listen to music, etc.
. Take a bubble bath once per week
. Play a CD during cleaning morning
. Brush pets once a week, spend a little time with each every day
. spend a little time every other day having tea on couch

- Engaging in hobbies: music, skiing, hiking, sailing
. Take time to plan activities
. Make list of necessary supplies
. Start small weekly fund

- Being considerate of others (U) resisting rude urges
. working on patience, much of my rudeness is too automatic

- Feeling accomplished; Not follow the path of least resistance


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 Post subject: Month 1; Week 2; Day 5
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:28 pm
Posts: 95
I find the following unhealthy recovery patterns apply to me:

1 - "Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction."

This is a hard one as my wife also wants to protect us from triggers. Right now, I feel like I recognize the behaviours, but I keep hoping that I'm still going to learn some good tools later from the workshop that I can use to deal with triggers.

2 - "They tend to focus on controlling past behavior, rather than learning new behavior."

This is my focus right now, today. I must change it.

3 - "They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction."

This is a real danger for me.

4 - "They tend to hyper analyze their actions, thoughts and feelings...and make the possibility of living a "normal" life all but impossible."

This is also something my wife and I have started. A daily going over of how I did today. Often it leads to analysis as well. "Normal" life does not feel possible, *yet*.

5 - "They continue to identify themselves with their addiction and cannot imagine a life without such an association."

I don't think this one so much, but it could happen and so I must put it here.

I also see that I'm not going the extra mile enough with the workshop presently.


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