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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:53 pm 
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Rough week of the flu. It could have been worse. Normally when I get sick I feel frustrated about all the work and other things I’m missing out on, but thanks to my epiphany from my last post I accepted the resting time and was in a decent mood throughout being sick.

Love addiction stuff keeps sneaking up on me in ways that aren’t obvious at first. There is strain in my relationship because I feel dependent and resentful of that dependence, and it took me a while to realize that it’s probably because I no longer have my pressure-relieving extra relationships. I feel unappreciated and undervalued because I’m no longer getting validation from other people. I know I should be focusing on increasing my own self appreciation and value, but it would be nice if it came from my partner too.

The upheaval is too complicated to go into detail here, and I’m still sorting it out anyway, but the bottom line is that I’m wondering how, after years of being the screwed-up one with poor self-esteem and poor emotional management, I will ever be able to attain the status of an equal partner in this relationship. I’m not sure it’s possible, and I’m not sure that always feeling like the lesser person will be enough for me.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:53 am 
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I'm feeling a bit better emotionally but I realized I'm still sick and that was affecting my mood earlier, making everything seem worse. I'll leave my last post up because this is an issue, just not as much of a life or death issue as it seemed when I wrote it.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:40 am 
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HI Changing

I hope all is well with you. Sorry to hear you have been having a tough time. Illness, depression and SAD are no laughing matter. Nor is your understandable slow-down on the lessons. It is a long haul, one that tests you and demands so much.

CB has given excellent advice.

What is also impressive is that you are aware of your issues. This is the importance of awareness. Even when we hit the skids, or lose some motivation, if we know it we can make some form of response. Create action plans.

The important thing right now is to accept your motivation is lower, that you are feeling depressed, and make the necessary adjustments. In some ways, you have a chance to observe yourself in the sort of stressful situation we all face, and which tests our recovery.

I go through exactly these phases. For example. I havent been on RN much in recent months. It began as a break after 3 years of the ups and downs of recovery. Of working here as a mentor. I needed some space to live my life - to see what recovery was like away from the forums.

Now I want to be back and am enjoying it. I recognised one need and now I am recognising another. They didnt make me panic, but each gives me huge value.

It is a balancing act between this acceptance and also realsing that acceptance can have its dangers. That it can slip into passivity, denial and self-delusion. Just keep this in front of you right now.

Don't push yourself unnecessarily - that can cause unwanted stress. But keep asking more of yourself. See this as an opportunity to learn.

One final thought. Do you have a light machine? Friends of mine use this for SAD and it helps. There is one that slowly brightens as you wake up in the morning which one friend swears by.

Take care out there. You are doing well.

Shaw


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:40 pm 
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I had been feeling pretty bad for a week or ten days but I traced the anger and tension to a new medication I was taking. I've stopped taking it and feel like my normal self again.

Exercise 40

I. Choose someone in your life that you feel close to. A spouse. A child. A parent. A friend. Rather than assuming what boundaries they have; or what values they want protected...take some time to step into their lives. Refresh those perceptions that you have. Consider how you can HELP THEM reinforce those boundaries. Post a few thoughts about this in your thread.

II. Consider what you could do should YOU become aware that you have violated a boundary of theirs.

III. Consider your reaction should they tell you that you have violated a boundary of theirs. Think beyond defensiveness...keep working until you grasp a healthy reaction.

There are a few areas I can think of where I’ve violated someone’s boundaries. Some of them involve tickling my kids. I’ve always made a point of stopping when they said stop, but I could have been more respectful of their personal space in the first place. With a relative who’s been having problems, I tend to take it upon myself to give advice and try to solve all of the problems with practical solutions, but when we finish talking I feel that I’ve crossed the line. Occasionally in the past I pushed someone to have sex when they weren’t in the mood, because I needed to avoid rejection. There’s one time in particular when I felt that I had been overbearing about it and really made the other person uncomfortable, and I felt ashamed afterward.

My youngest son has said he doesn’t want me to tickle him at all and I promised not to do it any more, so that is resolved. It’s important to me that he knows he’s in charge of his own body. With my relative, I can help reinforce their boundary by being a more respectful listener and maintaining some detachment. I can remind myself that we are separate, different people and they have their own way of dealing with things. I think doing this will improve the quality of our communication. Pushing someone for sex is not something that happens anymore but if I felt like doing that, I could remind myself that the other person is separate from me and entitled to their own moods and reactions, and that if they don’t feel like having sex it’s not a reflection on me or the quality of our relationship.

In any of these cases, if I realize I’ve violated a boundary, this calls for a sincere apology and probably for asking them to let me know where they felt I crossed the line and if they have ideas about what they’d like me to do differently. My feelings would probably be hurt at first but I need to focus on their feelings and on resolving the situation.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:48 pm 
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Hi Changing for Good

I'm glad you feel back to your normal self again. I wanted to let you know that your post has really helped me, especially when I've encountered exercises that are more difficult for someone with love addiction.

Best wishes

Unicorn


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:44 am 
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Last night I had a dream that I was at a workshop that I attended before and I was having a relationship with the teacher. In real life, I was never attracted to this teacher but in the dream I felt flattered that he was interested in me. I felt special and chosen. When I woke up, I realized that craving that feeling has been the core of my love addiction. If someone was attracted to me and romantically interested, I felt special and if the relationship was inappropriate or faced obstacles, I felt even more special.

Dreams like this have been a trigger for me in the past because once I woke up, I craved that feeling of romance. Today I didn't feel tempted to go through any of my old behaviors, even though I felt a little wistful about missing that feeling.

The dream reminded me that one thing that's changed over the past couple of years is that it's easier for me to tell when I'm not attracted to someone. In the past if I admired someone or thought they were funny, I would start having romantic thoughts about them, like that was the only way I knew how to connect. Now I know several smart, funny, creative people and it's clear to me that I'm not attracted to them at all. I'm relieved to be able to make that distinction.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Exercise 44

A. Describe in your recovery thread the role that your core identity will play in helping you to establish/maintain a healthy life.
B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.
C. Take some time to examine the current state of your core identity. How in tune with it are you? When you engage in activity that is destructive, what role does your core identity play in that decision? How is it affected by the consequences of that decision?

My core identity gives me a foundation for living my life in a way that’s true to myself. I am learning to make decisions based on what I want, not on what I think I should do or how I should feel. This has been surprisingly effective. I half expected that if I went through the day consulting myself about what I felt like doing, I would be reading a book and eating snacks all day. Instead, I’ve gotten more done than ever before and felt better while doing it, because the things that I’m doing serve my core identity. It likes having a neat house and taking care of errands right away instead of postponing them. By listening to my core identity, I feel like I’m making my own choices instead of rebelling against choices that are imposed on me.

It seems like I may have missed the point of the question with that answer, like I should be addressing my core identity in relation to addiction, but it is all connected. Consulting myself about decisions throughout the day has given me more self-confidence and more of a sense of who I am, which helps give me strength to avoid compulsive behavior.

The values list has been hugely helpful in keeping me focused on the things that matter most to me. When I’m feeling low and thinking that I haven’t accomplished enough lately, I think of my values and whether I have acted on them. Realizing that I have exercised, spent time with my kids, etc., I realize that I am doing the things that are most important to me. That lifts some of the vague pressure to achieve.

The more I do things based on my values, the more I feel like I am living well, and that makes my core identity more positive. I feel like a good person, so I feel more worthy than I used to.

My core identity is doing pretty well. I’m feeling better about myself than I ever have, though I still have some days when I feel depressed or when I feel socially awkward, or just “not good enough.” I feel more aware of my core identity and more connected to it because I am constantly pausing to think about what I really want. The negative behavior that still shows up the most is that I am critical and judgmental of other people. I slip into that when I’m not feeling as good about myself, but these days it gives me an uncomfortable feeling, like it’s an old piece of clothing that doesn’t fit right anymore.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:54 pm 
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Lesson 45 Exercise:

A. Map a compulsive ritual that is based on your unique behavior. Ensure that you identify at least five elements that are involved in stimulating your emotions during this act.

B. For each element, consider the likely impact that removing that element from the chain would have on the remainder of the event. Remember, decreasing immediate emotional pleasure (through guilt, fear, suspense, anxiety) is a technique used to ultimately increase the overall pleasure experienced during the act.

C. At what point in the chain is the 'point of no return'? The point where you know that you will be completing the act.

D. Consider the element identified just prior to 'the point of no return'. This is the element that you will want to isolate and use as your primary trigger for breaking a compulsive urge. Eventually, you can isolate multiple elements, and thus create multiple points where a compulsive event can be effectively stopped, but for now we will focus solely on this one element.

E. With the element isolated from the ritual, begin to see this element in terms of the role it plays in perpetuating the compulsive event. For instance, if the element is 'an attractive woman smiled at me in a public place'...and this element triggers the fantasies that lead to stalking, then it will be the emotional elements experienced with the woman smiling at you that will be your focus. This is the element just prior to 'the point of no return' — which in this case, happens to be the fantasizing. The role, then, that this element (the woman smiling at you) plays is to trigger fantasy.

II. Document A, C, and D in your recovery thread, but feel free to write your thoughts on any other part as well.

Ritual: Checking up on people online
1. I have a stretch of unoccupied time
2. I’m reading stuff online and feel restless
3. I wonder how one or more of my exes is doing
4. I start searching for info on them
5. I try to find out as much as possible about what’s been happening in their lives lately
6. Once I feel caught up or fed up, I stop

Emotions of the ritual:
1. I feel bored and aimless
2. I feel restless and start to feel a little depressed that I’m not doing anything productive
3. I feel curious and anxious that I don’t know what’s happening in my exes’ lives
4. I feel curious, fearful that I might learn something unpleasant, and excited that I might get “good news”
5. I feel powerful because I’m gathering information and I know things about them even though we’re not in contact
6. I feel sad or depressed because their lives seem better than mine in some way, or I feel relieved because they are doing just as I expected

Removing the stage of empty time would change the ritual because I wouldn’t have the leisure to get started on it.
Removing the stage of restless browsing would remove the opportunity to be reminded of my exes and it would make the tools for checking on them less readily available.
Removing the stage of curiosity would mean I would avoid dwelling on thoughts of them that lead me to feel anxious and curious.
Removing the stage of searching for info would stop me from acting on my feelings of curiosity and anxiety and I wouldn’t expose myself to the information.
Removing the stage of gathering information would help me avoid comparing myself to them and I wouldn’t end up feeling depressed or reassured, or vaguely embarrassed about doing the checking.

The point of no return is when I click on their names to see what they’re up to.

The element just prior to the point of no return is the moment of curiosity/anxiety when I think of my exes.

Thinking of my exes and wondering how they’re doing triggers anxiety that they might be moving on with their lives, feeling happier without me, and then I feel like I have to find out if that’s true.

Thoughts:
I've had some trouble with writing out rituals because the ones associated with love addiction can be fuzzy. Also, I'm removed from almost all of my compulsive behavior now so it feels like I keep coming back to the same couple of rituals for these exercises. In the grand scheme of things checking up on exes doesn't seem like that big a deal. On the other hand, I don't enjoy feeling that anxiety and my reactions to the information I find affect my emotions for the rest of the day, or sometimes longer.

Figuring out the point of no return and what triggers it is helpful because it clearly shows how the ritual unfolds step by step and I'm starting to see what I could do to derail it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:14 pm 
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Earlier today I had hurt feelings, the kind of feelings that have made me withdraw from people in the past. I’ve been a member of a club for the past three years and have started feeling comfortable going to meetings and chatting with people there. I’ve become casual friends with one of the members and we’ve gone out to lunch a few times. Today I saw a post about how several of the club members (including my friend) had gotten together and formed another smaller club for the same activity. I hadn’t heard anything about it. This isn’t the first time this has happened. There have been other times when they posted about going out to eat together or other things.

I felt really left out and I didn’t understand why no one in that group thought to invite me. Other times when things like this have happened, I’ve taken it personally and felt rejected, like the others didn’t want me in their group. I assumed there was something about me they disliked. Today I noticed that although I felt hurt, it was hard to stay on that train of thought. It seemed more likely that I was overlooked rather than deliberately excluded. Being overlooked isn’t nice either, but at least I feel a bit stronger now and not like I need to figure out things to change about myself in order for people to like me. Or like I should give up entirely.

I have to admit I did have a few minutes of thinking this is why I avoided people for years. The way that groups and friendships work is still a mystery to me. When I’m involved with an organization like this, or even when I’ve taken online courses, I see the other people becoming closer and treating each other like long-lost friends and I don’t understand it. What are they doing that’s making them feel closer? What am I missing?

For now I’m feeling pretty good about just showing up at meetings and get-togethers and not trying to find best friends there. It’s enough to be part of something and to consistently be involved. But there will be a time when I want deeper friendships and I’m not sure how that’s going to happen. That’s a need that I used to fill with online flirtations. When stuff like today happens and makes me feel like I’ve been invisible at all these meetings, I wonder how I’m going to create closer relationships. Most of the time these days I feel like things are slowly unfolding and I’ll figure it out when it’s time. I can see positive developments in that I don’t dwell on the feelings of rejection like I used to, and my values list has helped me clarify that I want my obituary (years from now, hopefully!) to show that I was involved in my community. Hopefully the other stuff, the deeper friendships, will come in time.

Even typing that last line made me feel anxious, which is a big reason why I'm putting that stuff on the back burner for now.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:30 pm 
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Monitoring my feelings about chatting online…

I woke up this morning already feeling like logging onto the site again. Yesterday followed the usual pattern of returning after an absence: a nice catching-up chat, people were excited to see me so I got lots of attention, and I ended up feeling happy that I’d gone on there.

From past experience (a lot of past experience) I know that there are diminishing returns here. If I log on again today, people will be less excited to see me and I will settle back into the routine. At some point I will probably feel hurt and ignored as people become used to having me around again and they’re too busy to give me much attention. So I know that logging right back on is not going to yield the good feelings I crave.

It bothers me that I still crave them. I can sense how easy it would be to make the chatroom a daily hangout again. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising after almost two decades of socializing online. One year away clearly isn’t enough to break the habits.

It feels like there’s a crazy amusement park that I used to live in. I made my way outside the gates and closed them behind me and I’ve been living in the real world and it’s been wonderful. All this time, I knew the amusement park was still there but I felt it was a waste of my time and I wasn’t very tempted to go back. But now I’ve opened the gates again and I can see it all there, beckoning. Ever since I logged off yesterday, I’ve been much more aware of the chatroom there waiting for me and I’ve been curious about what’s happening there. It’s like I opened myself up to it again.

The love addiction elements that are already in play again are:

--Wanting more attention, a closer connection with one old friend I was talking with. Looking for a spark of romance.

--Needing control. There’s one person on the site that I had drama with in the past and I found myself thinking about whether he would hear that I had shown up and how I could control that situation.

--Devoting energy and mental space to the memories of people there, things I had nearly forgotten that are now stirred up again to create a new distraction.

--Temptation, the urge to log on again even though I have other things to do today.

On the positive side, I’m aware of all this stuff thanks to my work on RN. However, it’s scary to think how fragile my recovery might actually be.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:54 am
Posts: 1377
HI Changing

Interesting recent threads. It is good when that you write:

Quote:
I’ve been thinking about how the lessons I’m doing now don’t feel very relevant to me because I haven’t been engaging in my love addiction behaviors for the past year. The only one I’ve done is checking up on exes, which is a mild vestige of my previously raging addiction. I’ve had very little desire to chat online. In fact, I’ve actively avoided it because it seems like it’s counterproductive for me right now.

but I - and I think you - detect some ripples to this came surface. We may address the surface symptoms of our issues - porn, sex, love addiction - but it takes a long time to wrestle our underlying problems to a standstill.

There are signs that these underlying issues may be present and correct:

Quote:
I woke up this morning already feeling like logging onto the site again. Yesterday followed the usual pattern of returning after an absence: a nice catching-up chat, people were excited to see me so I got lots of attention, and I ended up feeling happy that I’d gone on there.


Quote:
It bothers me that I still crave them. I can sense how easy it would be to make the chatroom a daily hangout again. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising after almost two decades of socializing online. One year away clearly isn’t enough to break the habits.

External validation is a powerful factor for many of us here - sex/porn is a good way to battle insecurity, and of course to create insecurity. Feeling attractive, or just plain wanted, is a powerful counterbalance to more negative feelings.

I may be wrong, but I just sense that all is not 100% right here. You have clearly got a lot of insight, and made a lot of progress. But as we progress through recovery, our goals and targets shift. Don't move your focus altogether - but examine similar compulsive patterns wherever they raise their head.

for me it was about dealing with procrastination - a huge part of my own sexual rituals.

Like you I also struggle with peer groups and peer pressure - I feel wounded at slights real and imagined.

Is some of this going on for you right now? If so what is your action plan?

Shaw


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:54 pm 
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Shaw, I can't believe I didn't make any connection between the recent friendship issue and my decision to go online, even though the friendship post was right there on my screen! That probably was a subtle factor. Less subtle factors are that I'd had a dream about the site the night before I decided to log on, and I have a family event coming up that I'm dreading. I didn't realize that I didn't want to go until I finalized the plans today.

After I posted my thoughts here and got off the phone from making the family plans, I was in a terrible mood. I felt disappointed in myself because although I still felt tired and fed up by the thought of getting involved in the chat site again, the underlying need for attention and gratification is still there. I had a few thoughts of failing at recovery, though I recognized them right away as all-or-nothing thinking. I had been hoping I could chat online now and then and be casual about it and that is obviously not true. After thinking about it more, I realized I was being unrealistic and probably unfair to myself. The needs that I was fulfilling online for much of my adult life go back even farther, to being in grade school. That's not something that's going to transform in one year. It's like I was expecting myself to have become a different person.

You were right about the underlying problems. Those are so hard to pin down and deal with. It almost seems like I was deliberately giving myself an in-the-moment problem with urge control so I would have something obvious to work on. Building self-esteem, confidence, competence, and a spiritual connection are much harder to do and the progress is not as easy to measure.

Procrastination is an issue for me too. I am self-employed and during my recovery I've had some surprising work successes, yet I still have trouble motivating myself because the fear of failure, or even the fear of struggle, is always right there. It's so much easier to go for the quick shot of good feelings. I've felt like work has been slowing down lately, which is scary, and I'm sure that's another factor that made this seem like a good time to go say hi in the chatroom.

I'll give some thought to specific action plans. I did manage to work through my bad feelings about the family event by acknowledging that I am choosing to go. I have a strong value of being reliable and kind, so I wouldn't feel good about backing out and disappointing people. Now that that's clear in my mind, I can approach the event without feeling like a victim and I can make the best of it.

Thanks for the feedback. It was just what I needed to hear today.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:18 pm 
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I’m going to dump my thoughts here:

After my last post I had been feeling much better. I didn’t end up logging on again all weekend and after the first day the urge was fading. I made sure to do the things that make me feel centered, like meditating and writing in my journal, and that was working. As I gained more perspective I realized that I’d avoided being online for a year because I knew it would bring up negative feelings…so why was I surprised and upset when that’s exactly what happened?

Yesterday one of my exes, S, wrote me and said he was having “a breakdown.” We had an intensive, obsessive affair ten years ago. Since then we’ve been in touch off and on and we know each other well by now. We made a couple of attempts to get back together but the spark was never there in the same way it was in the beginning, so for the past few years we’ve been friends who catch up once in a while.

I was really torn about his message. Part of me felt an immediate need to find out what was going on and help him. The other part felt that he is not really part of my life anymore and it would be a bad idea to get pulled back in. I felt some resentment that after not emailing me for months, he expected me to respond to his problems. I was also suspicious that, since he was having relationship problems, he might be suddenly interested in me again. That’s been a pattern.

This kind of situation creates a lot of confusion for me. He and I have a long history. That kind of history is hard for me to let go of. I feel tenderness toward him and I feel connected to him. But I wonder whether that connection might just be a thing of the past that I’m clinging to. I wonder whether it’s one-sided, because I wouldn’t turn to him to talk about my problems. Then again, I am in a relationship where I can talk about everything with my husband.

Today I felt like logging on again. Not just being online to say hi, but the whole craving a connection with someone. I’m sure some of this was hormonal, but a lot was stirred up by logging on recently and having a good time. That weakened my resolve to stay out of chat rooms and concentrate on living.

I did talk to S on the phone for a while and listened to his troubles. It felt good that we’re both in an older wiser place and that I know him well enough to offer insights. But after our talk, flickers of fantasy were popping up: maybe we would finally rekindle our old spark, maybe now that his relationship was ending we would get involved again, maybe we have a special connection…or maybe it wouldn’t be with him but with someone else online, maybe I should go back and chat more.

None of these took hold, they all popped up and vanished again quickly, but it was disturbing that they showed up at all. At that point I was really craving all the same old feelings, all the dark value indulgence of chatting online and feeling smart and desirable and funny. I had to go out for a while and I felt torn like I used to, like going to see friends was taking me away from the computer and I was missing out by not being online.

When I got home S had left me a message that he’d talked with his girlfriend so I logged on to ask what happened. At this point I was shifting from a friend offering support and advice to being too involved and invested. I had offered my advice so now I needed to find out how it went.

He filled me in and I offered more thoughts. In the meantime another old friend got online and I talked to him a bit and he was trying to flirt. Sometime during these conversations my interest and craving waned. Talking to S about his relationship helped me adjust my thinking and get back to being detached. He is with his girlfriend and he has his own issues to work out and our relationship is over, even if I miss the intense feelings we had way back when. The other person flirting with me just made me feel tired, like there was no point. And I looked at who was chatting in the room and didn’t feel like interacting with any of them.

I’m not sure if the final score on this day is in the positive or negative. I did get caught up in an online person’s problems and it did distract me from daily life. I do feel more connected to the online world overall. I did have moments of missing the old excitement. In the end, though, it seems like my current self won out and I swung back toward a more realistic view of what I want and where I stand. Or maybe I’m kidding myself and this is some slow slide back into old habits. One thing about addiction is that it makes it very hard to trust myself and my own perceptions.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
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Hi Changing,

Quote:
One thing about addiction is that it makes it very hard to trust myself and my own perceptions.

True - and this is why our vision and values are so essential. They can act as the plumb line to measure our actions against. We can take any behaviour or action and ask ourselves if it lines up with our list of values, if it does we go right ahead, if it doesn't then we need to re-assess the behaviour and change any actions that are taking us out of alignment with the things we value.

Looking back at your original values (which you clearly gave a lot of thought to) they're more than capable of providing you with a balanced and fulfilling life - and have proved to be so these last few months. I'd suggest having another read through them then weigh up how 'feeling connected online' and 'maintaining contact with ex' sits alongside them. If they sit comfortably in alignment with them then you'll know you're on safe ground and can continue on with confidence. Conversely if they seem to be veering away from what you've deemed important then you can course correct with behaviours more conducive to the life you want for yourself.

Hope that helps a bit, it's a technique I used myself this week when I was considering some activities that had healthy elements (travel, being outdoors, physical activity) but when lined up against my values overall didn't measure up so well with my values of being more social and developing a relationship. So I've decided against it for now. When something's out of alignment with certain values but in alignment with others I tend to err on the side of caution (sometimes belatedly!) and concentrate on activities that sit more in synch with all of them - can always re-visit the activities at a later date to see how they measure up after further growth.

Newme


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Hi ChangingForGood,

Quote:
My therapist said that going back to it gave more energy to those old neural pathways and reminded me of how good the addiction could feel.


Yes, when it comes to emotional stimulation...this is basically how elements are added, rituals develop, and eventually expand in the 3 filters or expand into chains. As you use a particularly behaviour or ritual to give yourself emotional relief, you prioritize that for the future and the behaviour becomes more ingrained as one that "works", in terms of finding emotional relief. Compulsive behaviours are very effective at short-term emotional relief. It is in the long-term that they do the most damage...though in actuality, the "short-term" and "long-term" is only within our perception. Even though the damage appears to be caused after the fact, those are just the consequences; it is actually caused right when we engage in the action.

Quote:
I was confused about whether the goal of recovery is to avoid the problematic, triggering situations (is that the "emotional anorexia" that Coach Jon described?), or to learn to be in those situations without acting compulsively.


The "goal of recovery" is ultimately just living out your life in accordance to the life vision and values that you hold dear to yourself. :w: What you're describing (being in triggering situations) is really just a tool/skill that will help you achieve your goal of leading a balanced life and making healthy decisions. But I know what you mean.

Here at RN, we do not teach avoidance of triggers, as some other recovery methods do. The reason for this is because when it comes to sexual and romantic stimuli, in our society, there is basically no ending to triggers. And, there IS an ending to triggers...but that ending lies within the changing of your own perception, rather than avoiding triggers. Triggers are just a learned emotional association with a given external person, object, situation, etc. But as you will learn, this emotional association lies only within your perception. The external trigger itself, is neutral. So, what must be done is re-learning how to perceive these situations in a new way, without allowing intense emotions to dictate your actions. This is hard at first, but becomes easier as you become clearer in your identity.

For more on this, you may want to read this lesson. It is further on in the workshop, but I found it to be instrumental in ending your addiction and learning to see the world in a new way.

http://recoverynation.com/recovery/reco ... op_066.php

Quote:
I felt discouraged about ever being able to be in the old chatroom without being tempted to flirt and start a relationship. My therapist gave me a clear answer that it's a slippery slope and it's not likely that an addict is going to be able to indulge just a little bit. She mentioned "bargaining" and that struck me as what I was doing when I thought maybe I could chat online once a week. It's obvious to me now that I'm not able to chat without the risk of old behaviors getting revived.


Can you engage in behaviour that had previously been compulsive for you in a healthy way? Yes, and this goes back to the fact that the compulsivity of the behaviour does not lie in the behaviour itself, but in the patterns surrounding the behaviour. Change those patterns, and it is possible to go back and use behaviours that were previously compulsive, in a healthy way. Of course, at that point, you will perceive them differently, and you will consider them in terms of the risk and consequences (both positive and negative) and the value they have for your life, rather than just in terms of immediate emotional gratification. It will be a decision you make, rather than feeling like something that "just happens". But, it is possible.

Am I saying that online chatting right now is good? No. Given your uncertainty around this area at the moment and the fact you're still figuring yourself out, I would agree with your therapist in at least saying that you should probably not engage in it for the immediate future. Most likely at this point, it will at best just confuse you as to whether what you're doing is "right" or not, and at worst allow you to start deceiving or sabotaging yourself. I also agree that if you're "bargaining" and trying to "talk yourself into" behaviours, there's obviously a value conflict there.

Does that mean you can never chat online again without risking a relapse? Not necessarily. That's all-or-nothing thinking. Could it potentially be the case? Sure. But that should be made as a healthy decision, rather than a blanket rule, and is best left to when you are clearer in your identity down the road, as at that point, you will be in a better place to decide whether it can be healthy for you, and be able to gauge the risk you take versus the potential value and the boundaries necessary to prevent yourself from going overboard. All I'm saying is that you will have to decide for yourself what actions you take and what you value.

Hope that helps! :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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