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 Post subject: Stu42's Recovery Thread
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:36 pm 
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*Note: There will be a few quick posts on this thread, I started the lessons before I was approved to post.

Lesson 1 :

A: 1. I want to change. I don't like the person that I have been for a long time now. I started trying to end my addiction a few months ago. I thought then, that if I could not do the actions, my brain would just heal itself. Wrong. The actions stopped, but I was the same emotionally immature person that I was. The same lack of true feelings, the same poor thought out decisions. The same importance placed on instant gratification instead of true contentment. I am still killing my marriage, I am still not the dad I should be, I am still not the man that I should be. I am committed to changing, because the person that I am disgusts me. If it were another person, I would not want to be around them. I want to be someone that I actually like.

2. I feel that guilt and shame will be something that I struggle with for a long time. Not only do I feel it for all the things that I've done, I feel it for the person that I am. I still have a hard time when confronted with a (nother) bad decision that I've made. I want to curl up in a ball, and feel the bad feelings wash over me. Or hide under a blanket, from my own feelings. I know how that sounds. I know how it feels. I also, intellectually know that as long as I let those feelings overwhelm me, then I can't logically assess the reasons that I make poor choices. I can't change them if I let my guilt/shame take over. This is going to be a struggle for me.

3. I have the time to change. I've spent months trying to tackle my demons, only to finally realize why things are the way they are. I have to change the way I think. I realize that this is not an overnight thing. I know that I have weeks (months?) of active work before me that is only setting the ground work for long term change. I am not rushing this, but I am not slowing down either. I can commit to doing these lessons. I can use the time that I've spent on destructive things, and put it to good use.

B: Reasons To Change

I want to be truthful with myself and others.
I want to find enjoyment in actually doing the things I enjoy.
My relationship with my wife needs to change. I want to be the husband that she deserves.
I want to be proud of who I am.
I need for my values to be reflected in my actions.
I want to be a positive role model for my children.
I want adaptability. To not be angry/upset/frustrated anytime real life doesn't fit my inner picture.
I want to be decisive. To trust my decisions and not be full of self doubt.
I want to love the person that I am.
I want to be able to be counted on.
I want to not feel shame/guilt/embarrassment when I see or hear things that trigger those emotions and let them go.
I want to be able to enjoy movies or television with my wife without constant fear of what may be in them.
I want a healthy relationship with my parents before it's too late.4
I want to be me. To know who I really am, and not try to be someone else.
I want to be unashamed of myself, me beliefs, my values. To be unconcerned what others think of me.
I want my actions to reflect my priorities.
I want long term health to be more important than instant gratification.
I want to feel things. To understand these feelings and either enjoy them or deal with them in a healthy manner.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:57 pm 
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Lesson 2: My Vision

I want to be a good husband. To be a loving, truthful husband to my wife. To live an open, honest life. To not hide my thoughts, feelings, and actions, not only from her, but from myself. I will be able to show my love, my happiness, my sadness, even my anger in a healthy way. To be a provider, not in just a financial sense, but in a personal level. I want to be a husband who relieves his wife of troubles, not causes them.
I want to be a good father. Going forward, to be an example of what a man should be. Looking backward to let my missteps and failings show the dangers of emotional immaturity. To not be ashamed of who I was (am now), but to use it to show a contrast with who I am (will be).
I want to be a good man. I want to continue to be a strong worker, but to keep that part of me in check. To be a balanced individual, able to be fulfilled and content without expecting everything to be perfect. I want to be dependable. For it to be known that if I say something, it happens. I want my life to reflect my priorities and my values. To look at me is to see me. My good, my bad, without pride or shame.
To be myself. Not putting on a show, or an act for the people around me. To not care what total strangers think as long as the people that I love are satisfied. To speak up when needed and to be able to shut up and listen when that's needed. To be a leader for my family-- someone I can be proud of.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Lesson 3

B; Loving Husband, Truthful, Transparent, Honest with myself, able to show emotions, able to handle emotions, financial provider, strong leader of my family, fulfilled, okay with imperfection, dependable, put my family first, unashamed of myself, humble, supportive husband, example for my children, not ashamed of my addiction, Teacher to my children, dependable worker, true prioritizer, balanced, happy, self assured, truly be me, not worried about other people's thinking, assertive if needed, proud of myself, reliable

C; 1. Integrity, dedicated, sense of responsibility, developing patience, reliable, instilling healthy values in my kids, financial stability, sexual intimacy, forgiveness, self discipline, selflessness with loved ones, strong partner for my wife, being a good son, redeveloping intellectual depth, role model for my family, developing emotional maturity, being judged trustworthy, feeling unconditional love, sharing my true self, connected to my feelings, adaptability, vulnerability, communicating feelings, realistic, raising a healthy child

2. selfishness, sexual gratification, control, guilt, shame, secret only I knew, forbidden, fantasy fulfillment, sexual hunger, risk taking, physical pleasure, euphoria, bad feelings go away, empowered, curiosity, routine, compulsion/need


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:23 pm 
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Posts: 12
Lesson 4

1 Integrity
2 Loving Husband
3 Teacher to my children
4 Sense of responsibility
5 dedicated
6 truthful
7 developing emotional maturity
8 balanced
9 reliable
10 fullfilled
11 being a strong partner for my wife
12 financial stability
13 truly be me
14 instilling healthy values for my kids
15 selfless with loved ones
16 realistic
17 self discipline
18 dependable
19 happy
20 dependable worker
21 redeveloping intellectual depth
22 strong leader of my family
23 able to handle emotions
24 developing patience
25 honest with myself
26 supportive husband
27 adaptability
28 being judged trustworthy
29 transparent
30 put my family first
31 role model for my family
32 sexual intimacy
33 Feeling unconditional love
34 financial provider
35 able to show emotions
36 okay with imperfection
37 being a good son
38 sharing my true self
39 not worried about others' thoughts
40 communicating feelings
41 example to my childern
42 self assured
43 unashamed of myself
44 forgiveness
45 vulnerability
46 assertive if needed
47 proud of myself
48 humble
49 connected to my own feelings
50 not ashamed of my addiction


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 7:58 pm 
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Posts: 12
Lesson 5:

A, B, and C: After completing the last 2 lessons, I had some nagging feelings about my values. Most of those values can be summed up and combined with a larger, more encompassing value. Forest and trees. I have always said, especially in my work, get all of the trees right (details), and the forest (big picture) would take care of itself. I don't know if that's the case with this. All of the "little" values are important, but they all seem to flow back into the larger, "core" values that they associate with. I can already see that my top 20 or so may change. Not the core of it, but by looking at the values that are repeats, or better combined. I also have to be honest with myself. I put integrity at the top of the list, but it's never been there. I always thought it was important. Probably should be top. Never has been for me, Top 5...... easy, when I'm at my best. Of course, I've never been at my best. So, it moves. Still has a place in the top 5. I believe in it. I want to show it, to live it, but it's not been my top priority for my entire life. No... right now, Sense of Responsibility is #1. Maybe that changes later, if I get some kind of healthy realization. It has been number one for me since I was a child. The weakening and loss of it in my daily life shows how bad things are for me right now. It's been too easy to blow off responsibilities to the ones that I love. The rest of my top values are going to be the ones that reflect who I want to be..... really be. Who I personally CAN be. A few of those are going to shift. I tried to write a list of what a "perfect" me would look like. I need it to reflect what the "best, real" me would look like. It will change again, I'm sure. I don't know who I really am. I can only go with the things I always thought I should be. And how many things I lost along the way

D: My NEW top 15

1 Sense of Responsibility

2 Being a Good Husband

3 Being a Good Father

4 Truly Be Myself

5 Integrity

6 Truthfullness

7 Balanced

8 Realistic

9 Fulfilled

10 Reliable

11 Financial Stability

12 Dedicated

13 Put my Family First

14 Okay with Imperfection/ Adaptability

15 Sexual Intimacy with my Wife


After the list was made, I added Being in Touch With God, staying faithful with Him. (I placed it at 7... maybe should be higher).

I am currently and consistently achieving NONE of these things.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Posts: 12
Lesson 6

Realistic-

- Stop letting what I want or what I'm afraid of dominate my thinking
- Constantly reassess my thoughts and feelings. Ask myself "Is it real"
- When making decisions, look at all outcomes and throw out the ones least likely to occur.
- Continue doing this until I'm down to the most likely scenarios. Then decide based on them.
- Don't lie to myself. I don't live in an idealistic world, find the correct balance between idealism and practicality.
- Know there are times when all decisions are bad, or all decisions are okay. Learn to recognize and accept these times for what they are.


Financial Stability-

- Understand this is a long term goal.
- Pay off the car and outstanding debt before taking on more payments
- Look at budgets as realistic. We are NOT going to be able so save as much as I think we are.
- Consider a mortgage on the home for repairs/pool
- Be flexible. Don't get so tied up in one idea that you ignore every other option.
- Look at options to increase income. Revisit wife going back to work, taking a promotion at work, trying to find side work, etc.
- Pay all bills due on payday
- Balance the fiscally responsible thing with quality of life (vacations, out to eat, etc)


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 4:57 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 361
Hi Stu42,

Welcome to RN

If you really do want to improve your life and to recover from your addiction then you are at a good place to make that wish reality
Commit, fully and completely
Work through the lessons and understand them , if you miss something ask on the help forum , assistance is always on hand
Coaches and mentors are likely to drop by occasionally but if not, don't worry as this is generally a good indicator that you are on the right path

The path is long and difficult but it is well proven and you are not alone
We usually suggest completing about 3 lessons a week but spending time every day posting and reading
Get to know your addiction and see yourself with honesty and openness

Remember to work at your own pace and it's not a race indeed some consider recovery to be a journey rather than a destination

I look forward to seeing your progress on your thread

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 6:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2018 7:46 pm
Posts: 12
Lesson 7

15.) Sexual Intimacy with My Wife:
-Be fully engaged during our sexual encounter
-Stop at first hint of fantasy/guilt/shame
-Don't oversexualize simple hugs and touches. Sexual touch has a place, recognize it.
-Put sexual pleasure and long term intimacy over instant gratification
-Recognize in the moment that sex isn't about coming, take pleasure in the act itself.
-Go slow, make love slowly.
-There are times to be playful, or to enjoy the act itself.
-Learn to recognize what I want, and what my wife wants and don't be afraid to act on it.

14.) Okay With Imperfection/Adaptability:
-When things don's go according to plan, stop and think it through.
-Take breaths before speaking/freaking out. Work on remaining calm.
-"Then What"?
-Plans are good. They are not infallible. When making one of my plans, leave room for the unknown.
-Before lashing out, think about my feelings for the person I'm aiming my anger at. Remember the pain that I cause isn't worth the damage I may do.

13.) Put My Family First:
-In every situation, think about how it affects my wife and children.
-Don't let my tendency to be shy/avoid conflict allow me to let my family suffer.
-Be assertive when the need arises.
-Be defensive of my family in all situations.
-Be protective of my family in a proactive way
-be certain doors are locked, etc.
-Do the little things to make my family feel secure.
-When conflicts arise, look at my core values. Let them prioritize my decisions.
-Unless there is a major conflict in values, choose family over all others.
-If another choice has to be made, clearly explain them, honestly, and the reasons behind them.

12.) Dedicated:
-Stay focused. Being the person that I want to be requires focus.
- Prioritize based on my core values.
-When I start something, commit to finishing it.
-Be there mentally and physically.
-Be present for major things in my family's lives.
-Be present for minor things. Use y presence/attention to show how much I care.
-Be there for the time my mom has left. Support my dad and brother when that time comes.


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 8:25 pm 
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Lesson 7 (Continued):



10.) Reliable:
- When making plans, be realistic. Don't make promises I can't keep.
-Make sure not to make conflicting plans. This will be unattainable, and lead to not following through.
-When plans are made, make a plan of action (mental is okay) to get it followed through.
-Work- stick to the schedule.Be at work on time, make a schedule that don't require too much flexibility.
-Schedule changes should be reserved for emergencies. Proper cross training can help with that. The more I give, the more they expect.
-Even best laid plans can cause conflict. Don't make knee jerk decisions. Stop and consider the consequences of changing plans. Family First.
-When I say I'm going to do something, do it. This will involve some hard decisions sometimes. Keep in mind the importance of being able to be counted on.


9.)Fulfilled:
-Allow myself to take pleasure in doing the activities I like to do.
-Don't allow guilt/shame/sadness to put me in an emotional place that doesn't allow enjoyment.
-Focus on in depth happiness. Instant gratification is fleeting. Find my happiness in healthy places.
-Look at all experiences as positive. Enjoy the positive ones. Take the negative experiences and use them as opportunities to learn.
-Pull all the enjoyment that I can from simple work around the house. Washing the car, cutting grass, etc. Feel the sense of accomplishment and pride that can come from it.
-Keep in mind that everything doesn't have to be perfect in order to take enjoyment from it. It's okay to be happy even when things aren't going great.

7.) Balanced:
-I must understand there are many facets of my life. I can't ignore one for the other,
-Refer to my action plans for being a good husband and father.
-Take time for the things that I enjoy; sports, fishing, etc. There is nothing wrong with this in the proper capacity.
-These interests are not supposed to be my top priority. Don't get so caught up in them that I lose sight of things that are more important.
-Work has a place in my life. It is there to financially fuel the rest of my life- no more, no less.
-Give some of my wife's interests and hobbies a real chance. Try them again with an open mind.
-Take pride in my house/yard/car. Put the effort in with a positive attitude, maybe a feeling of accomplishment/pride will be my reward.

6.) Honesty:
-Stop lying to myself.
-Rely on my reality plan of action as much as possible.
-When something I do feels wrong, question it.
-Trust my wife to handle the truth. Accept the consequences of my actions.
-Don't lie.
-This includes half truths, intentional misunderstandings, lies by omission, etc.
-Learn to recognize manipulation tactics. Stop them.
-Think before I speak. I lose myself to fear, panic, a need to be seen in a good light, etc. Learn to stop the mental wheel spinning, slow down, talk slowly, thoughtfully. Be clear and truthful.

5.) Integrity:
-Once again, I must be honest with myself first.
-Don't live my life or make decisions based on what others may think, but on my own values and beliefs.
-Make my value and belief system the way that I approach anything, be it alone, or in a crowd.
-Make the same decision no matter who sees ir doesn't see.
-Actions and decisions are not a how. They are who I am.
-Life life with honor. Don't hide ,my thoughts and actions out of fear of embarrassment. If I feel like I need to hide my actions or thoughts, rethink them. Confess them.
-Be honest. Never lie to those I care about,


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 7:33 pm 
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Posts: 12
Lesson 7 (continued)

Being in Touch With God:
-Pray anytime the need is there, talk to Him.
-Read from the Bible weekly.
-Spend time outside to marvel in the world that He created.
-See my compulsive thoughts/actions for the sins that they are. God can/has forgiven them. If He can, I should be able to also.

4.) Truly Be Myself:
-You can't be yourself if you don't know yourself. Be honest about who I am with myself.
-Don't worry about what other people think of me. It is only important that the people who love me (including myself) think well of me.
-Form my opinions and don't hesitate to share them.
-Reconnect with the things I used to love to do, like fishing.
-Live my life based on my values.
-Don't bottle up emotions- feel them, analyze them, act on them if need be, but don't bottle them up.


3.) Being a Better Father:
-Set aside time weekly to talk to my sons. About anything, their interests, my interests, values, etc. No set routine or agenda, just talk.
-Set a good example going forward as to what a man should be.
-Show genuine interest in their interests, hobbies, likes, and dislikes.
-Support them financially
-Support them mentally and emotionally. Be positive, give them the confidence to open up about their feelings.
-Have set expectations for acceptable behavior. Be consistent. Call out behavior that don't live up to expectations.
-Apologize for my past behavior. Let them know that they are loved, not ignored. Be an example so they may not make the same mistakes that I did.
-Be honest with them.

2.) Be a Better Husband:
-Be honest- with myself and with my wife.
-Respect her boundaries- give her room to heal.
-Allow her the space to get away when she needs to.
-Trust her- not only to do the right thing, but to be able to handle the truth.
-Be a financial provider.
-Be a protector of the household.
-Be a leader of the household.
-Allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable to her. When she's vulnerable with me, don't use it for my own ends.
-Take pride in the material things that we have. Make home upkeep, vehicle maintenance, yard care, etc a priority.
-Be a problem solver, not a problem maker.


1.) Sense of Responsibility:
-Put the needs of the people that matter to me before my own.
-My family should come first, then extended family, others come after that.
-Don't neglect the responsibility that I have to myself. I cannot be there for my family if I am not healthy and able.
-Allow myself to feel responsible for the things that I can control.
-Give myself permission to not dwell or feel responsible for the things that are out of my control.
-The responsibility that I feel for my job, coworkers, and others need to be in the proper place.
-I should feel responsible and take pride in the protection and upkeep of our home.
-I have a responsibility to my family name/heritage. I should be proud to be a part of my family and dutiful in protecting it's legacy.
-I am responsible to myself to live a life based on my values. My success in this makes my life and everyone else's happy.


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 4:52 pm 
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Lesson 10:

IV:
I don't have anything stashed for sexually compulsive behavior. I always viewed porn on mobile devices using Incognito mode on Chrome.

V:
Any woman may be used as a compulsive sexual object. I still catch myself noticing and looking in an interested way. "Flash Fantasies" are still a threat. I try to stay on guard, but it sometimes takes me by surprise. So listing every woman that I may have used as fantasies or as things to look at would be a list too long to write. But to cop out like that isn't right either...... Coworkers, customers, my wife;s family, random women in public, large breasted woman in a store (this has become the symbol of "fogging out" in fantasy).
-Women on the internet: Facebook pictures, any pictures that I can use to satisfy the mental urge to look.
-Internet porn used for masturbation.
-Tina- Fantastical romantic affair. Nothing happened physically in real life. There was mutual interest, and shit talking involved. It was a long term, more "special" fantasy.
-My Wife: Used for unhealthy sexual activity, especially after stopping manual masturbation.

V Where:
-Bathroom: masturbation, watching porn, fantasy
-Bed: Sleep Sex- constantly waking my wife with sexual activity, even while I'm asleep
-Living Room Chair: viewing porn, pictures for fantasy
-Any Public Places- Looking at women, fantasy


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PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 5:02 pm 
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Lesson 12:

I actually see myself in a good many of these patterns. I did not think that I was at risk of relapse until this lesson. The fact is, many of these traits describe my thoughts, or actions. Not all of them, and not all the time, but to varying degrees.

-I minimize my bahavior
- I believe that what I am experiencing is my fate- "I deserve this; I'm bad and this is my punishment."
-I am inflexible in reevaluating my lifetime goals- all or nothing
-Experience negative selfish thoughts, " Why do I self destruct?"; roll in the guilt and shame until I just can't act.
-Experienced by my wife across the entire emotional scale
-Confuse recovery with other mental health issues
-Triggers are feared; life is altered
-Still controlling past behaviors, not learning new behaviors
-See life in episodes
-Measure success in abstinence rather than emotional stability
-Extreme emotions or next to no emotions... no middle ground


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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 6:19 pm 
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Lesson 13:

I)
-Doubt in my ability to change. Emotional and "self" doubt, not intellectual.
-Extreme negative emotion. Hopeless, depression, suicidal fantasies, hoping to just die and "get it over with", anxiety.
-Relief. Knowing that, while not normal, my thoughts and feelings are not unique. I am looking at my life as a tangle of "fixable" things.
-I am all across the board. I hop from determined to scared to depressed all in an instant. I exhibit many traits from the last lesson.
-I am motivated to live a life that I am actually proud of. I have lived in an illusion for years.
-"Powerless" is temporary. I can learn to control me.
-My feelings are the same as others'. I am deficient, not defective.
-Have removed "associated things". Changed morning routines to not have "alone bathroom time". Little internet activity. No reddit, facebook, or other sites that have been used for sexual compulsion.


II)
Some are consistent. Others, however, are not at all. It doesn't change how I perceive my recovery, though, it only gives me a clearer understanding on the things that I need to work harder on. My values are shredded after years of addiction. I need to stay focused on them going forward.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:45 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 361
Hi Stu,

Quote:
I actually see myself in a good many of these patterns. I did not think that I was at risk of relapse until this lesson. The fact is, many of these traits describe my thoughts, or actions. Not all of them, and not all the time, but to varying degrees.

It is an important realisation for a SA that they are not in fact unique and that their thoughts and behaviours are not uncommon. Add to that that there are many SA's that have recovery through this programme then you should have some added motivation that you are headed in the right direction.

Quote:
-Doubt in my ability to change. Emotional and "self" doubt, not intellectual.
-Extreme negative emotion. Hopeless, depression, suicidal fantasies, hoping to just die and "get it over with", anxiety.
-Relief. Knowing that, while not normal, my thoughts and feelings are not unique. I am looking at my life as a tangle of "fixable" things.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the trigger for most SA's to act out is because they want to change their emotional state (e.g. boredom or stressed to feeling great). An awareness of different emotions in yourself at this stage is very helpful as you can start to become aware of when urges are likely to come at you. The tools to help you with that will be learned over the coming lessons.

You're off to a good start, keep it going.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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