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Munkfish recovery thread*
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Author:  munkfish [ Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:22 pm ]
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To gain a deeper awareness during my day to day tasks. How can I take such tasks as food shopping, laundry, cooking and integrate aspects of them into my values, instead of doing them just to get them done.

This is my focus for daily development over the comeing week.

My observations for today.

I just kept checking in with myself on everything I did today. I want to get a feeling of the energy behind my actions. What I noticed was a feeling of emotional tension that I had not really seen before. A kind of 'Trying to get somewhere'. It has been very useful to just pause for a moment and acknowledge this tension before engaing in any action. This has bought a bit more presense to my tasks throughout today.

Author:  munkfish [ Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:52 pm ]
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Exercise 33.

Today I have felt alot of saddness. Every time I stopped to check in with my emotions saddness was there. I feel sad about a PM that I sent to CoachJon the other day in which I communicated in a very unskillful way. I feel sad about my past actions of viewing porn and the fact that it has taken me so long to come to this point of readyness to end my addiction. A few weeks ago I found a website about a woman called Shelly Lubben. She's an ex pornstar, who got out of the industry and now runs a charity called The Pink Cross, which supports ex pornstars in thier rehabilitation. I started to read some of the stuff yesterday and continued today. Some of the things I read made me feel so sick. It has blown a part of my fantasy away. That fantasy being that porn actresses are enjoying what they do and do it because they love sex. Most of them have been sexually abused as children. Allot of them use exsessive Alcohol and drugs in order to cope with the emotional trauma from the work they do. Allot of them have STD's. I feel like a corner has been turned now. I am no longer willing to give my time to something that creates so much pain in the lives of so many. I realise that I still must develope some emotional maturity and integrate the lessons of this programme into my daily life. Even though it feels like a corner has been turned, it's really just a beginning.
I feel grateful that I was able to be sad today without trying to get my old quick fix.
Yesterday I threw out my old porn dvd's. I knew that there was one missing and I couldn't find it anywhere. Amazingly my wife found it last night! I put it in the trash this morning and felt a kind of anxious saddness of 'That's it!' I realise also that I am closeing the door on my old fantasies of the Thai go go bars, Massage parlours. The Amsterdam red light district. The misstresses and Dominas. I feel like a part of me is fadeing away and there is some anxiety with that, but also there's joy at the prospect of freeing my energy for new challenges in the real world.

Author:  munkfish [ Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:48 am ]
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Exercise 33. Day 2

Today was a good day as far as connecting with this exercise. I am begining to notice that there is allot of subtle anxiety and nervousness in the background. It's been very useful to take time to stop today and it seems that in bringing a little awareness to these background emotions, they somehow lessen their hold. I can also start to see how this background nervousness feeds other compulsive patterns such as eating when I don't need to. Surfing the web for sports news etc. It's much less extreme but it seems to have the same makeup as my main addiction behavior of masturbation and porn. Awareness is deepening here and it feels good.

I also notice some anger here. I don't want to go into this too much because I'll be at it all night, but..... I feel such dissapointment in the gross ignorance of humanity. I'm not saying that everyone of us humans are ignorant but allot of us are. The other day I watched a documentary on Google Video called Zeitgeist. It goes into a really good explanation of how our governments use the media to abuse their power and keep us in a state of fear and to keep us from thinking for ourselves. The only thing I can do is end ignorance here, where I am. One of my teachers once said that this is the place to begin. He said that once you end ignorance in yourself then you can begin to support others in ending theirs. It feels like trying to empty the Ocean with a tea cup but thats what I choose. Hope some of that made sense to anyone trying to read it.

Author:  munkfish [ Fri Aug 29, 2008 3:42 pm ]
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Daily development.

Eating seems to be a good one for me. Tends to be a time when I lack presence. Stuffing my face, unaware of the millions of people in Africa, who are faceing death from starvation. It has been good to see this pattern today because it's also a way of emotional numbing. Stuffing food whilst stuffing emotion. Eating isn't exactly a daily task, but more a necessity. I am grateful to uncover any form of compulsive pattern though and this is one more that I have become aware of.

Author:  munkfish [ Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:33 pm ]
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Exercise 33. Day 3.

I've noticed certain things I do when I'm in a state of emotional avoidance. Biteing my finger nails, clicking my fingers etc, all have some kind of nervous emotional energy behind them. These fidgets seem like nothing but what I'm beginning to see is that they are subtle ways of avoiding emotions. What happens when I avoid an emotion? It gets bigger until some major acting out occurs. I am going to use clicking my joints etc as a sign that some form of emotional discomfort is present and a warning signal to pay attention.
I'm also seeing that allot of my negative emotions are resulting from negative self talk. Whilst on the train to work this morning I started feeling stressed about my day ahead. It was then that I saw how my thoughts were feeding the stress. Instead of continuing with my negative thought I simply stopped and reflected on the stress and other emotions that had been generated and guess what..... The stress disappeared :D
This exercise has been very good for me over these last days and I'm excited to see what more will be revealed.

With regard to my daily developement. Today I have been at work all day and have not had much in the way of tasks other than my work. I did my work well today and that felt good. I mention doing my work well because this is my main insight of today. What is becoming obvious is that whatever I do, it is important to do it well. Be it something as mundain as cleaning my teeth or takeing out the trash. What do I mean by doing it well? To do it with presence. That is the start of this daily developement because it is only through haveing presense during even the most mundain tasks that I will be able to find aspects within them that can be integrated into my values. I feel like I've made a good start.

Author:  munkfish [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:11 am ]
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Exercise 34.

A. The most obvious one for me was after my mother died. I had been through one of the most powerful and painful and relieving moments in my life. The undertaker was coming to take the body away and so I had a few minutes just sitting with her body. Myself and the rest of my family had opted not to have her coffin open at the funeral so I knew after I walked out of her room that I would never see her again. I left her room and went straight to the bathroom with my latest porn magazine. I masturbated and had my orgasm very quickly so I could leave the house before the undertaker came to remove her body.

B. It's a feeling of intense discomfort that grows and grows. There's a tightness accros my chest and a feeling of I'm going to die if I don't masturbate or look at porn. The anxiety fuels my thought process and It's like a pendulum that swings between extreme fantasy and desperately searching for ideas or things to do that would offer relief. The desperation builds as I realise that nothing will deliver the instant relief that porn and masturbation will.

Compared to other feelings of anxiety this one is different. It's different because It usually (but not always) happens when I'm alone and noone will find out. Knowing that the solution or instant gratifcation is just seconds away is really tough. When Anxiety arises at other times, for example, at work or out shopping with my wife, there is no chance to masturbate or view porn. I then have to find more healthy ways of being with the anxiety, these are always more in line with my values.

C. A high level of excitement is present and an anticipation of what might be found in the next clip. Maybe this will be the one. The thoughts and fantasies run unristricted and uninhibited, but there's a desperation to them, in that the level of intensity must be sustained for as long as possable. The feeling is very trance-like and I'm compleatly lost in it. What seems like 10 minutes can be 1 hour. Everything is forgotten as I loose myself in the fantasies and images. My values, my tasks for the day, my emotions, my problems...... The fact that I'm a married man with responsabilities..... Everything is swallowed up and I'm lost in the trance. Occasionally a thought sneaks though, a thought of intelligence that tells me to stop but it is nothing in the face of this behavior. I look at woman performing sexual acts that I would never dream of in a sober state, but I'm not sober and all of these boundaries colapse during this acting out.

With regard to my daily developement. I can see that presence is needed in everything I do. This is the key as far as I'm concerned. I make a concious effort to bring presence to whatever daily tasks I need to engage in and this is an excercise that I will keep developing.

Author:  munkfish [ Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:36 am ]
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I made this post today in the community forum. I post it here also as I see it as a great lesson learned.

I have been going well in my recovery so far. However, over the last 3 days I notice that I have got complacent in a few areas. I had noticed this and was going (groan) to do something about it Confused I also notice that I have been keeping a record of how long it has been since I stopped, which I knew was not a good focus but I somehow kept it going in the background. I have learnt a valuable lesson today. Today for the first time since a few weeks I visited porn sites. I then began to masturbate. I am not happy about this, but what happened after I started this behavior was quite increadable. It was like my values came in and sabotaged(in a good way) my ritual. It was like I actually couldn't do it anymore. I stopped what I was doing and now I am writting this. What I can see is this.... That my recovery has really begun. The thoughts that came to me during my ritual were absolutly clear. I could see that by continuing I was betraying myself in a very deep way. I saw my vision of the life that I want lead and I saw that in that vision there is no place for this behavior. There's no way that I am going to return to my old life, no way. I don't hope that I will recover, I know that I will recover. That doesn't mean that what happened today is okay. I don't want to rationalize here. I know that I'm at an early stage, but I've turned a corner, and whilst what happened today was not good in many ways, I feel that it has served me somehow.
The area's where I got complacent were.
Allowing other compulsive behaviors such as eating, websurfing etc to run unchecked.
I also have neglected one of my important values which is to take good care of my body.
This afternoon I allowed myself to search facebook for pornstar fanpages. All of these things together contributed to the moment when I typed in the name of a clip site and began to look at porn. It could have been a point of no return, but it wasn't. Maybe the point of no return has come for me, in that, I now know that I am on the train to health. I have a oneway ticket and I don't intend on looking back.

Author:  munkfish [ Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:37 am ]
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Exercise 35.

Here is my new weekly monitoring plan with 5 of my 15 values for focus. These are in no particular order.

1, To take care of my body.

Eat healthy nutritious food at regular times.
Do Yoga and breathing excercises every morning/evening.
Take my herbal suppliments.
Engage in activities that promote inner calm. Such as, walking in
nature, and meditation.
Reduce Alcohol and Sugar consumption.
Drink plenty of water.
Get enough sleep.

2. To be at Peace within myself.

Investigate the validity of any disturbing/stressful beliefs and self talk.
Read spiritual books that point to peace within myself.
Continue my commitment to this workshop.
Call friends who share the same purpose (especially at times when there is an apparent absence of peace. The times when I am more likely to act out)
Do Yoga, breathing excercises and meditation on a daily basis.
Spend time in the company of my elders, guides and mentors, whenever
To know that true peace doesn't come with a quick fix. In order to have
peace within myself I may also need to face the pain within myself.

3. To develope my work and do my work fully.

Attend skills/training courses when possible.
Attend retreats and workshops that are aimed at empowering/awakening myself.
Integrate any insights, recognitions into my work.
Meet or talk with people who also work in a supporting role. Share and exchange ideas, recieve feedback, do excercises together.
Make sure that I am walking my talk (honesty is absolutly key here).
Arrange regular sessions with my mentor to discuss my work and how I might improve my effectivness.
Realise my limits as a therapist (I can only speak from my recognition and experience. Not from abstract theory or ideology).
Learn from any mistakes.
Committ fullly to this workshop.

4,To deepen the intemacy within my marriage. On all levels.

Have at least one true conversation with my wife per day.
Maintain absolute honesty.
To check in with her on a regular basis so as not to allow distance to develope.
Follow through on any committments that I make to her.
Remain present open and loving. Even when she's angrey and negative towards me.
To tell her that I love her on a regular basis.
To accept that all of the above may not be easy.

5, To grow in maturity on all levels.

Learn to stay with or feel through my emotions instead of reacting to them by seeking pleasure/escape.
Maintain absolute honesty and face the consequenses this may have.
Learn to stay with my wifes emotions and anger rather than reacting to her. Presence is the key.
Accept that none of the above will be easy and say yes anyway.
Committ fully to this workshop.
Spend time with people who support this value and, who themselves live by it.
Learn from my mistakes and committ to change.
Say yes to life (as much as possable Wink )

Author:  munkfish [ Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:04 pm ]
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Exercise 33. One week later.

So to sum up at the end of this week long exercise. I can say that my overall effort level, as far as this exercise goes, has been good. I feel like I've made some really good discoveries into how my emotions function. The main danger is letting them run unchecked and then engaging in compulsive behavior as a copeing strategy. It doesn't even need to be compulsive porn viewing. It can be eating, none pornographic web surfing.... Anything can be used as an avoidance. If I continue in avoidance patterns it will eventually lead to flirting with porn and masturbation. That is what happened yesterday, and although I broke the ritual and learned a huge lesson from it, it's clear that all compulsive behaviour is emotional avoidance.
As I have curbed my compulsive behaviors by bringing awareness to them, my emotions and stress have intensified as I face upto the fact that my days of porn are over. It's not easy, I sit there sometimes, knowing that the means to instantly manipulate my emotional state is just a couple of clicks away. But I know the darkness that's there and I'm not going back. I've got way to much to achieve in this life. Way to many goals to reach. These goals can only come through the learning and integration of good life skills, and porn and masturbation are not good life skills.

Author:  munkfish [ Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:16 pm ]
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In summing up my daily development this week. It has been a huge benifit to bring awareness to my day to day tasks. I'm going to continue doing this because it really supports me in my weekly development/monitoring, in my main value of coming to peace within myself. I also see that somehow I must find a level of stimulation in doing my tasks i.e cleaning, shopping, laundry. I have managed this stimulation through just staying present with whatever I'm doing. a couple of years ago I was told by a Zen Master that we only ever have one thing to do and that is the task we are doing in this moment. I'm beginning to really understand her teaching now. I am feeling ready to move onto weekly development now, and that feels good.

Author:  CoachJon [ Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:54 pm ]
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re: "I feel sad about a PM that I sent to CoachJon the other day in which I communicated in a very unskillful way."

What you are developing at this stage in your recovery is emotional maturity. That, unfortunately, requires the experience of not only realizing that you are indeed emotionally immature, but doing so at a time when you are extraordinarily vulnerable to your emotions. So, you will find yourself experiencing more pronounced emotional experiences...from the extremes of some (rage, depression) to the more common and likely (short fuse, rapid mood swings). It's just part of the process. And since you ARE eliminating your typical response to such emotions (escaping through acting out) will indeed experience such instabilities.

But, this is how you develop emotional maturity. Not by wishing that things didn't happen, but by lifting your head, recognizing that they did...and moving forward. That goes for major issues (like your addiction) and very minor ones (like your tone in one harmless email).

re: "That fantasy being that porn actresses are enjoying what they do and do it because they love sex."

You have just hit on why it is so important to take the coming lessons on sexual values and personal boundaries so seriously. Many have such mistaken values that have evolved to help perpetuate their addiction.

re: "Even though it feels like a corner has been turned, it's really just a beginning."

Yes, it is.

re: "Yesterday I threw out my old porn dvd's."

I hope that you celebrated this event. If not, do so now. Treat each other to dinner or something. Not because of the act itself, but because of the courage and commitment that was behind that act. You must reinforce it because it won't be the last time you are faced with such decisions. In fact, your response to such future events will be one of those responses that you must ingrain as natural and fulfilling--not as effort.

re: "overall"

You are doing some great work here. I can see the difference between the intellectual, passive approach and this more proactive, personal approach loud and clear. So here is what I want you to do.

Take a break from the workshop.

Take a break from the workshop. All lessons, forums, etc. However, you are NOT breaking from recovery. And so, your task over this next week will be to continue implementing what you have learned to this point (including the daily monitoring) and, to look for opportunities throughout each of those days to further your recovery in very natural, fulfilling ways. DO NOT allow yourself to act out over this week. DO NOT allow yourself to lose focus on the life you are building. DO NOT see this as a 'break' from recovery. It is every bit as important as you taking this next week to complete seven more lessons. Moreso if you do it right.

Why am I asking you to do something that seems so contrary? Especially given that you seem to be in such a stable pattern for learning? For exactly that reason. You are settling into an excellent learning pattern right let's step away from that and focus on gaining meaningful experience. Just for this next week. Then, we will return to the lessons.

Trust me on this. Take this next week to just 'enjoy' recovery. Enjoy the fruits of being in recovery. Enjoy the relief that comes from beginning to naturalize your recovery efforts. I am only asking you to do this because I sense that you are beginning to turn an important corner...and want to make sure you turn the right corner. :wink:

As for talking next, let's talk at the end of this week-long awareness journey. Have fun with it! Use it to relax and distance yourself from the process of recovery. Again, just for this week. Don't worry about what we are going to talk about at the end of it, just allow yourself to be casual and open when we do talk. :wink:

Author:  munkfish [ Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:48 am ]
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Thanks Jon. I'll use your advice. I will be back in a week and I'll send a session request, so we can talk a week from today.

Author:  CoachJon [ Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:52 am ]
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Too late. You are so far along in the lessons, that I confirmed a session for tomorrow. THEN you can take your week to develop experience! :wink:

Author:  munkfish [ Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:26 am ]
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I'm back now after a week away from the forum and lessons. It has been a good productive week and I have definitely gained some meaningful experience. I have had a chance to integrate some of the earlier lessons in a deeper way and that has been valuable. This week wasn't without it's hitches. But I feel like I used those hitches well and I extracted some good learning which has strenghened my resolve and vigilance. Yesterday, I began to just be with my emotions, in doing this I found what I would call a deeper grounding or foundation. I can really begin to see my emotional immaturity now. It's not great, and it's not like I enjoy seeing it, but I realise it is necessary if I am to make a full recovery and live my life to it's full and true potential. So I return stronger, wiser and more determined. On with the lessons, but in a slightley different way that's somehow more whole.

Author:  munkfish [ Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:56 pm ]
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Regarding the conversation I had with CoachJon today. This area will be one that I'll be paying particular attention to over the coming week.

I will make constructive use of my time. whenever I find myself useing my time in less than resorceful ways, I will use it as an oppertunity to turn my attention towards something useful i.e. Researching/laying foundations for my comeing move to London.

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