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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 5:53 am 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3975
Location: UK
Hello rm
Feeling such shame and self-loathing that I can't talk about this with anyone

As THE Coach Jon says early in the programme we need to put our enevitable guilt and shame to one side FOR NOW

I make up excuses...
whats new? we all did / do that is part of our addictive self you know that when you say

It's clear to me that the secrecy and isolation contribute to active addiction and poor life management skills.

I need to get into therapy, attend 12-step meetings, work with a coach and consistently talk to other real live people who won't think I am a monster. That monster -- that's my identity, that's the addiction I can't leave behind, and I'm choosing to give up and stay a monster forever instead of finding the courage to move ahead. So I stay stuck. No one can fix this but me.

You need to do yes YOU , nobody else
you are no monster
your addiction is no monster
your addiction is destructive but only because you allow it to be, it only exists in your head and only because you let it
addicts hold their addiction close because of fear of letting go - just in case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

believe me letting go is the only way and the rewards, unbelievable

you can do this so lets get it done :pe:

Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:16 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:12 am
Posts: 24
Additional work on lesson 12

Those who struggle with major relapse, tend to exhibit the following patterns:
They often feel forced into recovery (e.g. legal consequences, social expectations, treatment demands)

Applies to me maybe 5% -- I do worry about being found out somehow.

Their motivation for recovery comes from an attempt to appease others (e.g. to save a relationship; to deflect attention from the behaviors)

Again, this applies to me but only in a minor way

They minimize their behavior (e.g. "It's not how it seems"; "It's not that big of a deal.")

Not an issue -- I know exactly how damaging my behavior is--it's undermined my efforts to grow and connect in every aspect of my life.

They actively prepare their environment for successful acting out by: setting a preliminary foundation for excuses/alibis; seeking out times/situations where they will be unaccountable to anyone but themselves; laying the foundation for the emotional manipulation of others who may pose a confrontational threat (e.g. their spouse), etc.

No, I don't do this.

They believe that they are uniquely defective and/or damaged as human beings

Damaged and defective? Yes. Uniquely? No. Many people struggle in this world, with SA and other afflictions and traumas.

They believe that they have suffered so many consequences from their compulsive behavior, that it will be impossible for them to reach their lifetime goals

This applies to me maybe about 10%. I do wonder about the fact that I don't have a family. Maybe I would have had kids, and now it's too late. In some ways, though, that was a conscious choice to choose other values, e.g. my career.

They believe that what they are experiencing is their fate

No, I don't believe in fate in any aspect of life.

They are inflexible in re-evaluating their lifetime goals (e.g. "Since I have failed so far at being a professional actor, athlete, writer, etc., I can't be successful at anything." "Since I cannot be around to raise my children, I will always remain unfulfilled as a parent.")

I think I struggled with this when I was younger and more immature; I don't think it is an issue any longer, at least not in a major way. Maybe about 10-15%

They suspect that they will never be able to overcome their urges, and so their goals are to establish the appearance of change, rather than to pursue actual change.

No, I have had extended periods of sobriety. I know it can be done. I want actual change.

They find comfort in being able to use "powerlessness" as an excuse for continuing to engage in their behavior.

Comfort? No.

Relapse triggers are seen as opportunities to act out.

Interesting. I will have to think about this. This might apply to me.

They often attempt to "prove" their sincerity to others through voicing dreams, sharing words and making promises, rather than through their actions.

This also might apply to me. There's that ugly dishonesty thing rearing its head.

They find comfort in knowing that they can play the "relapse card" should they ever be caught acting out

No, not at all.

They often experience selfish thoughts when caught acting out (e.g. "Why didn't I see this coming?" "Why didn't I cover that up better?" "Why do I cause myself so much pain?")

yes, I think I would have to say this applies to me.

They tend to be experienced by significant others across the entire emotional scale. Their emotional experiences are usually presented in their extreme: from shame and embarrassment, to aloofness, to placing their partner on the highest pedestal — the relationships tends to continue shifting between extremes. Which stage is currently being experienced by others will be directly related to the person's ability to manipulate others, how many times they will have been caught in contradicting behavior, and how willing/able the significant other is to leave the relationship.

I don't think this applies to me, but I'm not 100% certain. Maybe.

Those who find relative success in recovery over the course of many, many years, tend to exhibit the following patterns:
They often jump from addiction to addiction, and are particularly susceptible to hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery. They put out fires by refocusing on other areas of their life. When these areas involve compulsive behavior — their use of addiction to manage their lives continues.

I think maybe this applies in terms of food addiction; periods of extended sobriety have also been periods of compulsive eating.

They believe that they are suffering from a disease that is beyond their control, but not beyond all hope.

Probably this does apply to me.

They believe that they are defective in the sense that their emotions, urges, impulses, etc. are experienced with much more intensity than "normal people". And this puts them at a disadvantage for living a "normal life".

Trauma. Yes. Though that's not a "reason" or an "excuse." I don't think I'm entitled. I do think I'm defective. Those defects can be repaired. But they are there.

They tend to confuse addiction recovery with general mental health issues — creating a hypersensitivity to all of the emotions that they experience. Depression, anxiety, anger — they are all tightly related to "recovery" and an imbalance in one often leads to an imbalance in the other.

No, I don't think this applies to me.

They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges.

This makes sense. I don't think I'm totally powerless in all areas of my life. I do think it's impossible to recover on my own, without a program or without a Higher Power or without support, learning new skills -- sheer willpower isn't going to do it.

They often attempt to convince others of their recovery by offering their "new identity" as proof. Again, most often seen with hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery situations.


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

No. I don't go around worrying about triggers in the media, at the mall, and so on. I live my life.

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

Maybe about 20-25%

They tend to see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process.

I definitely do this. It makes for highs and lows that are too extreme.

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

this is definitely something that seems familiar.

They often experience extreme emotions in relation to acting out — extreme guilt, extreme shame, depression, anger, hatred. Or, they experience very mild emotions — when it has become a pattern that they have resolved to accept as a part of their lives

yep, this also is me.

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

Hah. Yes.

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

I wish I could NOT identify but that seems like sheer denial.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2020 8:11 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:12 am
Posts: 24
Lesson 13

In early recovery, individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.

Doubts, yes. Significant? I'm not sure. I go back and forth. Sometimes it seems so simple and other times it seems impossible. This cycling, I think Jon would have said, a sign of early recovery -- as opposed to that certainty that recovery will happen, no matter what.

In early recovery, extremely negative emotions are the norm: especially as they relate to depression, anxiety, hopelessness and suicide.

Yes, although some of the anxiety and depression are responses to the pandemic, election, etc.

In early recovery, they often "test the waters" of recovery by attempting recovery for a few days, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few weeks, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few months, then acting out. A weaning behavior similar to a toddler giving up a security blanket.

Yes, this is familiar. I have phases where value-based decision-making is in place, and working for me, then I act out.

In early recovery, they tend to explore many different trigger situations to see how well they can handle themselves. To see "how far they have come". This is a behavior that is often witnessed in adolescent wound care — where the adolescent almost compulsively tears open their bandages to "check the wounds". Of course, just like with addiction, such behavior is often problematic — as it opens the individual up to additional infection. But it is a behavior that provides comfort to the adolescent — no matter what stage of healing the wound may be in.

Yes, this is also familiar. I could seek ways to be more aware of this chain of behaviors.

In early recovery, they tend to experience relief in having their behaviors understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of their life. Unfortunately, this tends to overwhelm them, distract them, etc., but it is fairly common...and a good sign that their desire to change is sincere

No, I don't expect or seek understanding in all areas of my life. I feel I'm pretty much on my own with this and my other life issues as well.

In early recovery, these individuals may be all across the board in terms of treatment, and may display many similar traits as to those in the "Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle With Relapse" category above.


In early recovery, they perceive "powerlessness" as "helplessness" and "desperation".

Sometimes, yes.

In early recovery, significant others tend to experience these individuals as very needy, pathetic, "lost souls".

I have experienced this phenomenon in the past. I get tired of being the designated one. I don't want any more relationships where I'm seen as the one with the f-ed up mind.

Middle/Actual recovery
They have accepted that they have struggled with certain immoral behaviors that contradicted their values, but realize that what matters is what they are doing, not what they did. They realize that no successful recovery ever took place by changing the past, only by changing the present.

Not so sure about the "immoral" here but I think it's meant to indicate a violation of my own values, rather than some sort of externally-based value system. But yes, I would say that this applies to me to some extent.

Their motivation to recover comes from the desire to live a life that they can be proud of, rather than a desire to create the illusion of a life that they can be proud of.

Yes, I truly want that life I can be proud of.

They make decisions based on what they believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what they think they can get away with. They know that whether these decisions end up being the right ones or not is irrelevant. That all that matters is that they were made with the right intentions in mind.

Sometimes, but not consistently.

They are not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.

Most of the time, but sometimes not.

They perceive "powerlessness" as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing their urges.

I don't feel this way right now, but it's interesting to consider and something I will reflect upon.

Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity.

No, I wouldn't say I'm at this place yet.

They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.

Maybe? Another one to reflect on.

They recognize that the feelings that they are experiencing are the same feelings that others deal with every day in many different situations. That they are not "defective", but "deficient".

I'm not sure that the world is so chock-full of healthy people managing their trauma with high emotional IQ, but okay, I can see the importance of not seeing myself as "defective".. deficient is a useful term.

They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life; not as an addict that is managing their life with healthy behavior

Hm. Not sure I'll ever get to this or even if it would be something to aspire to... I guess this is where Jon and the 12 Steps part ways

They see their lives as a continuous process of growth and development, rather than an episodic book of starts and stops. (e.g. "When I was addicted" "After I recovered").

Sometimes. I can be very binary in the way I conceptualize my life's journey, and it's not helpful.

They will take a long, hard look at anything associated with their destructive past, and will voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from their life. This refers to pornography, internet accounts, etc. It does not necessarily refer to affairs where real feelings were experienced/exchanged.

I'm still clinging to a couple of things.

They tend to have an emotional relapse in terms of the consequences that they have effected on others — especially those closest to them. This frequently triggers true remorse, temporary depression, temporary helplessness — but is soon resolved with a commitment to making it up to people in other, more healthy ways.

I feel this deeply.

Significant others tend to experience these individuals with cautious optimism. They can see the changes taking place, but remain unable to commit to their partners fully — as they continue to doubt their own judgment (a consequence of the shocking discovery of the addiction's reality).

Yes, this is true 100%.

I won't even go through the "Advanced Recovery" items because as I read them, it's clear that they don't apply to me, except this:

They have developed the ability to produce the same emotional stimulation from value-based actions as they once derived solely from impulse-based actions

I think this is a skill I learned the last time I did this workshop, even though there are other crucial skills that I haven't mastered yet.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:51 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:12 am
Posts: 24
Lesson 14: Health Monitoring Phase One

    1. Did I make my bed today? (orderly environment)
    2. Did I do some kind of movement today (yoga, walk, dance class)?
    3. Did I do the dishes today? (Orderly environment)
    4. Did I work on my research project today?
    5. Did I write in my journal and/or do a RN lesson?
    6. Did I pray today?
    7. Did I do any recovery-related reading today, and/or listen to a recovery-related podcast?
    8. Did I go to a meeting today? Have I gone to any meetings this week?
    9. Have I connected with a friend or family member today via phone, email, or text? Which ones? is there anyone I am avoiding? Is there anyone I should make a special effort to reach out to?
    10. Did I do a Spanish lesson today?
    11. Did I meditate today? (doesn't have to be more than 4-5 minutes)
    12. Did I monitor my emotions 3x a day?
    13. Did I act out today?
    14. How much time have I spent online (non-work related) today?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:26 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:12 am
Posts: 24
I. Take a minute to review what you have learned over the past two weeks. Of what you have learned so far, think of one example of how you have actively integrated that information into your day-to-day life. Share this in your personal thread.

I ended an online affair with a married man because it violated my values and necessitated lies and a secret life.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:10 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:12 am
Posts: 24
Consider the POSITIVE role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served (think short-term, not long)?
Understanding the functional role of your addiction is important in removing the power, mystery and fear from that addiction — to begin seeing it in terms of practicality, rather than as some kind of supernatural fate or disease that you are doomed to suffer.
Share a few positive aspects of your addiction in your recovery thread.

Distracted me when I was bored, anxious, and/or lonely
Made me feel attractive, soothed my ego and self-doubt, increased feelings of confidence
Helped me avoid looking at unhealthy relationships (e.g. when I was married)
Feelings of accomplishment and (temporary) empowerment
Cycle of shame and guilt kept me preoccupied so I didn't have to recognize other forms of emotional discomfort
Romantic fantasy offered escape, hopes of the "perfect" relationship
Made me feel special, unique, fed my ego
Excitement of risk and "adventure"
Intense physical sensations that distracted from/provided temporary relief from issues of poor physical health e.g. insomnia, chronic headaches.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:09 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:12 am
Posts: 24
Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in. Identify the elements of this ritual and post them in your recovery thread. It is important that you understand the principles involved in identifying the stimulating elements of compulsive if you are not comfortable with this concept, ask questions! Also, recognize that the elements listed above are not the only elements associated with compulsive behavior. And so, you will want to identify those elements that are specifically related to YOUR compulsive behavior.

Ritual: masturbating on webcam (this is the worst thing I do)


--touch--usually in a specific way, self-stimulation, I don't spend much time with intimate touch -- in fact I am never touched by other people except medically especially now that there is COVID
--sound --very important
--visual --more the sense of being looked at than what I see, actually
--smell and taste, not at all

--major element, pretending I am attractive and desired

--being recorded, someone finding out that I do this shameful thing
--some one I know seeing me
--so yes, there is real danger...sometimes I am able to halt the ritual by thinking about the potential consequences of acting out...sometimes the adrenaline and fear heighten the overall sense of over-stimulation

--will I find the person who responds to me in the "right" way?
--major element

--sense that yes, I am seen, I am desired, I am beautiful and loved
--I made someone else climax, yay me -- this is related to

--I have power over the men who want me, I am powerful and womanly and feminine
--both this an accomplishment are major elements and part of the reason why I find this behavior so addictive

--not sure where this fits in, but it probably does.. need to think about this more

--as I try to stop acting out, I indulge in compulsive eating
--at this point in my life, eating is out of control and my relationship with food is extremely unhealthy
--smoking used to be part of the ritual but I was able to quit that habit

--comparative minor element, often doesn't even happen
--I can't orgasm with a partner

PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:12 am
Posts: 24
Consider one of your own compulsive rituals. Identify circumstances when each of the three filters (time, habituation and intensity) have come into play. Make sure that you understand each filter to the point where you are able to identify them as a ritual is being performed. Post these personal examples in your recovery thread.

I don't understand this exercise very well, but here goes.

Sensory--overstimulation to the point of physically harming myself
Fantasy--loss of sense of time
Danger--the more time I lose, the higher the danger that I'll be caught, this stresses me out because I'm trapped in the compulsion to continue until I'm 'done' (even though I don't always know what that means since I often don't orgasm) but at the same time I don't like the danger--so there is a cycle of adrenaline and fear
Suspense -- I keep looking at the clock, how much time am I wasting, how much time before I am late for something important, when will I find what I need -- I am often acutely aware of time
Accomplishment -- not sure how this applies
Ditto power
ditto past
ditto poly-addictions
orgasm -- it often takes a long time?

Sensory: seeking out skilled, creative people to act out with, using objects, dressing a certain way -- all of this has escalated in intensity (closely related to time and habituation, all three function together)--also using pornography to heighten intensity visually
Fantasy -- more and more extreme fantasies
Danger -- not sure how this applies here
Suspense -- not sure
Accomplishment -- this feeling has to be very intense and my need for it has escalated
Power -- also very intense, slightly positive comments are not enough, I have to be told I'm the best
Past -- not sure? maybe in terms of animating certain extreme images or fantasies?
poly-addictions-- not sure? I rarely drink, don't use drugs, am usually chemically sober when acting out in the sense of alcohol and drugs
orgasm--if it happens it is very intense so I do seek that although often I have to give up

Sensory: highly routinized use of visual and aural cues, certain website. Deeply ingrained. Major filter.
Fantasy: yes, to the point where I am often not aware I'm doing it
Danger: have I become habituated to danger? oh yeah, it is appalling to recognize how much so
Suspense: I have become habituated to the suspense of the "search" and the stimulation of "will I find the right one"
Accomplishment: have become habituated so that once is not enough, I need to do it over and over again
Power: not sure
Past: not sure
poly-addiction: not really a factor here
orgasm: not sure?

ugh this exercise was emotionally disturbing, I feel very unstable and unsafe now

PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:18 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:29 pm
Posts: 94
Hi rm959229

Well done on keeping on working through the lessons and posting them online. I noticed that you had a bit of a negative reaction to the latest lesson and hope that this has died down now. I can remember feeling a similar thing when I completed that particular lesson. Some of them really resonated with where I was at whereas others were really very tough to get anything out of at the time. Looking back on the workshop now, I think that's absolutely fine. Its not a mechanical process where everything has to be done exactly 'right' to work for an individual. As long as the overall movement is in the right direction then thats the key thing.

[/quote]ugh this exercise was emotionally disturbing, I feel very unstable and unsafe now[/quote]

I also noticed in a previous lesson where you talked about RN and the 12 Steps parting ways. I struggled with this at first, but actually found it to be liberating after a time. I found for myself (this is just my experience) that the 12 Steps had locked me into seeing myself as an addict, and that I found it very difficult to perceive of myself in a healthy way - not even being able to conceive of a time when I wouldnt have to attend face to face meetings. I've been amazed how that mentality has changed over the course of the workshop.

I also noticed that you posted a very brief comment about ending an affair with a married man. Well done for having the courage to be honest and to post that. You're doing a great job. Keep up the good work.


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