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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:00 pm 
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Lesson 42 Exercise:
I. If there are any questions that you have about anything related to compulsive chains, rituals, elements and/or measuring emotions...ask them in the community forum and/or our next coaching session. It is essential that you have a working knowledge of these concepts — as they are fundamental to a health-based recovery.

II. In the next coaching session, you will be asked to share the following:
to identify the ELEMENTS associated with a simple compulsive ritual that you have previously engaged in (think Wheel of Sexual Compulsivity)

Viewing pornography and masturbating:
1. Sensory ~ visual, tactile (touching myself), hearing (sound track).
2. Danger: will my wife catch me?
3. Suspense: will my Wife catch me before I'm done?
4. Accomplishment: I didn't get caught
5. Power: I “controlled” all aspects of the “sexual encounter”.
6. Past: past successes “prove” that I don't have to risk NOT satisfying my partner, relaxing me.
7. Fantasy: Sometimes I put myself “in” the scene, usually though I am a voyeur.
8. Orgasm: well of course.


to walk through a single compulsive ritual and identify the BEGINNING of that ritual; the POINT OF NO RETURN; and the time that you would CREATE A BREAK

As above, viewing pornography and masturbating.

1. BEGINNING: May have started just before from a fight with my Wife, earlier in the day, that morning or days before, it varies drastically.
2. POINT OF NO RETURN: this was always when I actually started to think about viewing pornography ans I usually went emotionally and mentally “numb”;
3. CREATE A BREAK: the best time that I found to create a break was at the same time I actually started thinking about viewing pornography but before the “numbness” set in.


To walk through a complex compulsive ritual involving several single rituals in a single event (e.g. porn and alcohol; masturbation and voyeuring)

Several years age we used to go to the movies. We enjoyed action/adventure films and I particularly enjoyed those with a strong heroine/villainess.
1. Suspense: anticipation of the characters, actors/actresses and story before we left, on the way and in the theater waiting;
2. Sensory: visual of the movies itself and the sounds (voices, effects);
3. Suspense: waiting to get home, wondering if my Wife noticed anything, anticipation
4. If it worked out, searching for the “right” pornography to recreate the movie
As above
5. Sensory ~ visual, tactile (touching myself), hearing (sound track).
6. Danger: will my wife catch me?
7. Suspense: will my Wife catch me before I'm done?
8. Accomplishment: I didn't get caught
9. Power: I “controlled” all aspects of the “sexual encounter”.
10. Past: past successes “prove” that I don't have to risk NOT satisfying my partner, relaxing me.
11. Fantasy: Sometimes I put myself “in” the scene, usually though I am a voyeur.
12. Orgasm: well of course.


To share the dynamics of a compulsive chain (e.g. multiple rituals) and how that chain effects your overall life management needs/skills

Not sure about this one, our lives are, at this point, VERY reclusive and quiet.

I don't have a specific example, most of my life has been one long compulsive chain, at least for the last forty years, probably more. It has involved multiple affairs along with sexualization of almost EVERYTHING

The effects are that I am a sex/love addict and have crippled, almost non-existent life management skills that, while improving, have a very long way to grow.

Two days ago I hit a ANOTHER wall. But, with my Wife's help (not sure why She bothers anymore) got a good framework from here to work with and am moving on with a lot of “soul searching” going on in the background…..again.

This happened several times before and I was told that I shouldn't start over but move on through the lessons, reviewing as necessary. I didn't take that advice before, I am now (thanks Coach Sandalwood).


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:25 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.

My core identity still needs a LOT of examination, sorting out and rebuilding although I can see that this is ongoing. My core identity is the real me that is under all of the layers of experiences, both good and bad, and layers of addictions I created to help me deal with all of the experiences that I saw as negative or overwhelming. My core identity is where my real values are, many in hiding. These real values, along with the boundaries that are there or are in process are the “tools” that will get me to (establish) a healthy life as well as maintain it.

B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.

Values-based experiences will reinforce the healthy values in my core that currently exist, or provide a base for new health values (or the ones that have been so buried by my addictions) to take root and grow.

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?

As much as I hate to admit it, I am just really starting to become aware of my core identity. I thought I was before but that was a gross misinterpretation, or outright lie on my part. Emotional numbness is an almost constant companion again, although not as badly as before.

In destructive behavior, I ignore the “good” parts of my core and allow the “feel good at any cost” instant gratification broken values and non-boundaries take over.

The consequences from the destructive behaviors are destructive too. They generate a LOT of guilt and shame, beating down my self-worth and self-respect even further causing a further “need” to relieve the pain.

However, I have made some more responsible, healthier decisions recently (not acting out as much as I “needed” to) which has helped the build up the weakened values and boundaries. A good, but odd feeling.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:54 pm 
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Hi 63 ish
Quote:
My core identity still needs a LOT of examination, sorting out and rebuilding although I can see that this is ongoing. My core identity is the real me that is under all of the layers of experiences, both good and bad,


:g: :g: :g: :g: :g:
great stuff my friend
now lets take those experiences learn from them and expunge but not forget the bad
its not easy and I know that you know that
but recovery is the foremost target
all else is a bonus that can only be derived from that recovery

_________________
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


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:29 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. If you would like, use the following worksheet to help you: Mapping a Compulsive Ritual

From Lesson 43:

Several years age we used to go to the movies. We enjoyed action/adventure films and I particularly enjoyed those with a strong heroine/villainess.

Element 1: Excitement
Element 2: Suspense
Element 3: Anticipation
Element 4: Impatience
Element 5: Excitement
Element 6: Disappointment (if it wasn't as good as I “wanted”)
Element 7: Elation (if it was as good or better)
Element 8: Suspense
Element 9: Danger
Element 10: Anticipation
Element 11: Excitement
Element 12: Danger
Element 13: Suspense
Element 14: Accomplishment
Element 15: Power
Element 16: Control
Element 17: Relief
Element 18: Excitement
Element 19: Relief
Element 20: Pleasure
Element 21: Disappointment
Element 21: Guilt
Element 22: Shame


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. Share this in your recovery thread. In the previous exercise, you were to reinforce your ability to identify separate emotional elements in a single compulsive ritual. Here, you will begin to isolate those emotions from your core identity.

“4. If it worked out, searching for the “right” pornography to recreate the movie
As above” This is the POINT OF NO RETURN

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.

1. Suspense: anticipation of the characters, actors/actresses and story before we left, on the way and in the theater waiting;
2. Sensory: visual of the movies itself and the sounds (voices, effects);
3. Suspense: waiting to get home, wondering if my Wife noticed anything, anticipation

Removal of ANY of these elements (or all) would effectively stop the chain.

For me the anticipation, coupled with my “need” to be entertained somehow at all times is at the root of most of my compulsive behaviors. I did not learn how to accept/embrace/be content with boredom, which I now understand is just everyday life.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:42 pm 
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Lesson 46 Exercise:

A. In the long run, addiction is eliminated by altering the existing compulsive behavior (destructive, based on immediate emotional needs) to more stable, constructive chains that solidify the foundation of your life in a progressive manner. Before such compulsive chains can be reversed, it is necessary to begin mastering the ability to reverse single compulsive rituals. Begin this process now by considering a previous compulsive chain, identify the element immediately preceding the 'point of no return' and then rewrite the remainder of the chain so that your actions are based on healthy values, rather than immediate emotional response. Share this in your recovery thread.

Again from Lesson 42:

Several years age we used to go to the movies. We enjoyed action/adventure films and I particularly enjoyed those with a strong heroine/villainess.

1. Suspense: anticipation of the characters, actors/actresses and story before we left, on the way and in the theater waiting;
2. Sensory: visual of the movies itself and the sounds (voices, effects):
3. Suspense: waiting to get home, wondering if my Wife noticed anything, anticipation ~ This would be the POINT OF NO RETURN.
To rewrite:
2. Sensory: visual of the movies itself and the sounds (voices, effects).

On the way home, discuss my REAL feelings about the movie AND characters/actors/actresses with my Wife and LISTEN to Her to get Her ideas, thoughts and feelings about the evening. Values: 1. Self-awareness, 2. Loving, 5. Transparent honesty, 7. Self-respect, 8. Respect for others, 9. Communication 10. Empathy.

If possible, continue conversation at home, then retire for the evening, not allowing any fantasies to intrude. Values: 1. Self-awareness, 2. Loving, 7. Self-respect, 8. Respect for others, 9. Communication, 10. Empathy.

Using my values/boundaries as filters is NOT something I have done much of, a little, but not much. Before, when I did, it usually didn't make much difference, but I now know why at least.
It also strikes me that having a simple, honest and open conversation with my Wife, is so supportive and reinforcing of so many of my values.

The flow chart concept really hit home with me, I guess because of my background and my generally “linear” way of thinking. Anyway, it REALLY made sense to me, more so then some of the lessons did, and I really, really, really HATE to admit that.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:18 pm 
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Lesson 47 Exercise:

1. Just as you have with your values and your emotions, it is time to transfer the knowledge that you are developing to a practical application in your day-to-day life. This cannot be done without first developing an awareness of the times when such information is applicable. Over the next 48 hours, envision at least ten different REALISTIC scenarios where you may encounter a compulsive urge in the future and document these in your recovery thread.

2. With each scenario:
Identify how you would know when that urge/ritual would likely begin, when the likely 'point of no return' would be and when you would 'create the break'. Do this in your head.
Anticipate the emotions associated with that particular ritual, isolate those emotions from your 'core identity' and prepare yourself to make a values-based decision (versus an emotions-based decision). Do this in your head.

1. Wife decides to leave
A. POINT OF BEGINNING would be with Her telling me She has had enough, NO MORE CHANCES, I'm NOT working my REAL recovery and She is going to heal and move on;
B. POINT OF NO RETURN would be when it sunk in that it was happening just as She warned me over and over.
C. The BREAK POINT is RIGHT NOW before it gets to the POINT OF BEGINNING.
D. Emotions: Sadness, shame, guilt, anger, resentfulness, fear, worthlessness, defeat

2. Sleeping with my Wife again
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when I find out that I will be sleeping with Her again;
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, when we actually lie down and settle in for the night;
C. BREAK POINT, right now, knowing that it is possible however unlikely it seems;
D. Emotions: fear, apprehension, anxiety, elation, hopefulness, satisfaction/pride

3. Talking with our son again
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when I find out that he will talk with me;
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, at the POINT OF BEGINNING
C. BREAK POINT, right now, as above, knowing that this is remotely possible
D. Emotions: fear, anxiety, happiness, anticipation, puzzlement, hopefulness

4. Lose our home
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when it becomes blatantly obvious that we can't keep it;
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, same as the POINT OF BEGINNING;
C. BREAK POINT, right now, knowing that we are OK for now but it is always possible;
D. Emotions: Anger, resentment, fear, apprehension, guilt, shame, hopelessness.

5. Get a job again
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when I am offered the job;
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, when it sinks in that I have been offered the job;
C. BREAK POINT, right now, knowing that it is a good possibility that this will happen;
D. Emotions: elation, excitement, fear, apprehension, happiness.

6. Lose a job again
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when I am notified that I am being let go;
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, right after I am notified of being let go;
C. BREAK POINT, now, knowing that if I do get a job, being let go is always a possibility;
D. Emotions: Anger, fear, guilt, shame, self-righteousness, resignation.

7. Meet one of the “special” women
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when I recognize the she meets those “special qualifications” I have used in the past
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, same as the POINT OF BEGINNING
C. BREAK POINT, right now, BEFORE it happens
D. Emotions: “love”, lust, “friendliness”. “helpfulness”, “compassion”, note that these are all my addictive side of these emotions, not my real side;

8. Meet one of the “special” men
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when I see the qualities that I “admire” (wish I had but am to fearful to show)
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, same as the POINT OF BEGINNING
C. BREAK POINT, right now, before it has a chance to get started.
D. Emotions: admiration, wishfullness, jealousy, envy; false friendliness, helpfullness, interest.

9. Shopping trip to Super-Store
A. POINT OF BEGINNING, when we decide we need to go shopping;
B. POINT OF NO RETURN, right after we decide to go shopping
C. BREAK POINT, NOW before it starts
D. Emotions: fear, apprehension, nervousness, guilt and shame for previous behaviors, resolution NOT to act out again.

I went ahead and documented all of these, for practice.

I stopped at 9 because I can see a DEFINITE pattern for me in all of these, actually in all of my addictive behaviors. It appears that the point of this lesson was to drive home the idea that I must be prepared for these scenarios BEFORE they start, or I am once again FUBAR.

Healthy anticipation and preparation are, for me at least, the most useful and effective tools I have right now. This preparation MUST consist of refining my Values and Boundaries and ingraining them, over and over. I see that going through these (and other likely) scenarios will be of enormous value for me since we are so isolated right now.

OK, just looked ahead at LESSON 48, so the last statement above is redundant, or anticipatory....


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Lesson 48 Exercise:
1. If you do not know how to role play .... but in maintaining your proficiency down the road.

2. For each of the next three days, find an opportunity ..... even if the behavior is unrelated to sexual addiction.

3. When you feel that you are proficient with how to use each of these skills, say so in your recovery thread.

Mastered? Not in any sense, but I am getting more proficient at role playing/visualization, but because of the way I acted out, I was pretty damned good at it in the first place, as I suspect most of us here are. The difference is that I'm now finally using it constructively vs. destructively, a HUGE shift for me at least. I still have to be aware of the process since I'm NOT clear of the destructive thoughts yet, but I am able to stop them and “throw them out” now.

I'm getting a “mental hold” on anticipating, specifically on urge promoting situations. It stunned me when I recognized that almost ANY situation it basically neutral, but, depending on the circumstances, can be either be urge promoting or not. The difference is in me and how I choose to perceive the situation……

The part of this lesson I've had the most trouble with is actively seeking opportunity. I have been the “couch potato” and not the “world class athlete” for many decades so THIS is definitely the toughest one for me to break through. I'm also avoid confrontation as much as possible, though I'm getting better at this. I am actively working on all of these, but still allow mostly fear (with a healthy measure of guilt and some shame mixed in) to get in my way to much.

Working with these three will probably be ongoing for the rest of my life, which is NOT a bad thing at all.

By the by, I recently read “The Secrets of Meditation” by Davidji, and have begun meditation at least once daily. It's only been two weeks +/- but I believe I can feel some small differences/improvements. Time will tell.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:54 pm 
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Lesson 50:

A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)

Positive: Emotional balance restored (although not as quickly), pride in myself, self-satisfaction, learning from choice, positive feedback to core values, boundaries reinforced and strengthened.

Negative: Urge denied, emotional “quick-fix” denied, selfishness denied, creates more temporary imbalance (but only temporary), feelings of emptiness, temporary irritation temporary anger, temporary resentment.

B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)

Positive: Urge allowed, “quick-fix” rebalances emotions, selfishness boosted, irritation anger and resentment postponed, emptiness and loneliness temporarily averted.

Negative: Pride and self-satisfaction eliminated, emotions-based learning reinforced, negative reinforcement to core values, boundaries further weakened/destroyed


C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?

Values-based: Reinforce and “fine tune” my real core values and my real boundaries, boost my self-esteem, boost my feelings of self-worth, help rebuild my Marriage and other personal relationships, allow me to look ahead with positive anticipation and help me see that I do “fit” in this world.

Emotion-based: Further erode my core values and boundaries (if I have any left), further negatively reinforce my core values, further destroy my marriage and all other relationships, leave me terrified enough of the future that I refuse to face it.


D. Document your thoughts in your recovery manager.

I have, for most of my life, felt that I “didn't belong” with people because I wasn't good enough. I “had” to pretend to be someone/something I am absolutely NOT to feel anything near worthy enough to be with others, especially my Wife.

If Recovery Nation has taught me anything, it is that I AM good enough. Of course feeling this and ingraining it so I can act with/on it is a huge challenge, at least for me. I have finally realized that life is one long work in progress.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:40 pm 
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Lesson 51 Exercise:

To make a healthy decision — to master the skill of making healthy decisions — you must gain confidence in quickly and accurately identifying what options are available in any given situation, recognize the consequences of those actions, and ultimately, trusting yourself to choose the option best suited to promoting your values.

This is pulled from my previous Lesson 51. I have projected the ritual since I don't currently have a job, but will soon so it all still applies and this is one area of my life (my love addiction) that is critical both to me and my Wife so I am concentrating a lot of effort here…..

Share the following in your thread:

A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)

1. I finally get a new job, but it's in an area that I have a lot of experience in, so it quickly
became routine and boring.
2. There are several new co-workers that “fit” my definition of a “love interest”, both in my department and in other areas;
3. I am attracted to one in particular. She is younger than me, seems friendly and in need of a “friend”.
4. I find out from co-workers that, because of her ex (or some other “reason”) she “needs” saving.
5. Her personality fits the stereotype that I find almost irresistible.
6. I step out of the office at lunchtime to the parking lot to eat in our vehicle and she is there in her vehicle too.
7. I strike up a conversation with her.


Options:
A. Ignore all of the “special ones” unless I absolutely need to interact with them;
B. Pay close attention to the one “special one”, “out of curiosity”;
C. Ignore what my co-workers tell/warn me about;
D. Pay close attention to what I hear, true or not;
E. Excuse myself and go back to work;
F. Have the conversation.


B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)

Option B. and D. crosses boundary of no interest in ANY woman other than my wife;
Option F. crosses boundary of NO unnecessary conversation with ANY woman other than my wife.

In the case of a value conflict whichever value causes a positive influence would override.

C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:

i. You make the decision to act on this option

A. Ignore all of the “special ones” unless I absolutely need to interact with them.
Consequences: short-term stress from “old self”, co-workers and women; pride in self for values-based decision, ability to communicate with my Wife honestly about what happened; reinforcement of decision-making abilities; reinforcement of self-confidence.


C. Ignore what my co-workers tell/warn me about;
Consequences: short-term stress for deciding to ignore co-workers, forgoing my curiosity and possibly angering co-workers; as above, pride in self for values-based decision, ability to communicate with my Wife honestly about what happened; reinforcement of decision-making abilities; reinforcement of self-confidence.

E. Excuse myself and go back to work;
Consequences: short-term stress from NOT taking opportunity to talk to any of them, from NOT making emotional decision; again as above, pride in self for values-based decision, ability to communicate with my Wife honestly about what happened; reinforcement of decision-making abilities; reinforcement of self-confidence.

ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option

A. Ignore the new hire unless I absolutely need to interact with her.
Consequences: short-term stress relief; guilt and shame for failing to follow my values, guilt and shame for hiding it from my Wife, negative reinforcement of decision-making abilities and self-confidence.


C. Ignore what my co-workers tell me;
Consequences: short-term stress relief for deciding not to ignore co-workers, satisfying my curiosity, not angering co-workers; as above guilt and shame for failing to follow my values, guilt and shame for hiding it from my Wife, negative reinforcement of decision-making abilities and self-confidence.

E. Excuse myself and go back to work;
Consequences: crossing the no-talk boundary, finding out more about them for “ammunition” to “fall in Love”, guilt and shame for actions that force me to lie to my Wife long-term emotional stress from taking opportunity to talk to her, from making emotional decision; again as above, multiple negative reinforcement of values; decision-making abilities and self-confidence.

iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others

If acting on A. C. or F., same as above, factoring others into this, given that I act on values-based decisions, would have no serious effects.

iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret

Again, the positive reinforcements would remain. The possible short-term problems with co-workers or the women are removed with no effect.

I can see a definite pattern here….. removing the emotions from the equation helps make the consequences of a given decision/action, both short- and long-term, far clearer. It clarifies the effects of either type of decision and, for me, makes taking responsibility for those consequences not easier, but less difficult.

Growing up requires being responsible for your actions and the consequences from them. This was and continues to be a hard lesson for me. After so many years of categorically refusing to be responsible, actually being responsible feels strange and VERY uncomfortable, not in a bad way, just strange.

“Growing up is hard to do….”


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:28 pm 
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Lesson 52:

This exercise may be difficult for certain types of thinkers, so simply do your best.

Consider a situation in life (outside of addiction) where this 'isolation' of feelings/emotions has been known to occur and/or might prove beneficial. For instance, certain Eastern practices where people can isolate the physical pain they are experiencing from their spiritual selves and thus, manage that pain with ease. And no, you can't use that as your example! There are thousands of such potential applications — albeit not as dramatic. Share this in your thread.

1. Law Enforcement Officer called to a domestic violence problem, making a traffic stop, making ANY kind of arrest, patrolling pretty much anywhere;
2. Armed forces in combat
3. Taking a “critical” exam of any kind;
4. Doctor/nurse in an emergency situation;
5. Veterinarian in an emergency situation;
6. Funeral Home director;
7. Clergy counseling family after death of member;
8. Grocery checker dealing with angry/irritating customer;

9. Law Enforcement at scene of accident;
10. Law Enforcement notifying “next of kin”;
11. Me in my day-to-day life.

And it's only taken THREE YEARS for this to finally sink in…..


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:39 pm 
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Lesson 53 Exercise:
When it comes time to actually make the decision as to what action you are going to take next, it is not always easy to separate the healthy options from the destructive ones. The ones based on values versus the ones based on emotions. Often, these two areas overlap. This is where experience, time and a commitment to make what you believe to be the best choice at that time comes in.

A. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbation to be against your values — and therefore, a destructive act. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbating to be within your values — and therefore, a healthy act.

This one is easy, for me. Masturbation, unless with my Wife, is completely unacceptable period. I view it as adultery, also absolutely unacceptable under ANY circumstances.

B. In your recovery thread, list other common value conflicts involving sexual and/or romantic behavior that you have found yourself engaged in? Or that you may find yourself engaged in, given your history.

Fantasizing used to be a major problem for me. I used it all of the time, not just sexualizing, but all kinds of situations to provide relief from my fears and feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-esteem and lack of self-worth.

This kind of behavior violated/violates my values of Self-awareness, Loving, Trusting, Forgiveness, Transparent Honesty, Intimacy, Self-Respect, Respect for others, Communication and Empathy. Not all of them, but almost.

My romantic behaviors with women other then my wife were much the same, living mostly in my imagination where I spent a lot of time as I couldn’t/wouldn’t deal with reality. The exception to this was my last affair. I had move from my imagination to reality. I still saw her as being like the “ideal” that I had created in my imagination which she was NOTHING like, so apparently I was still at least partially in my fantasy world.

As above this behavior violated/violates my values of Self-awareness, Loving, Trusting, Forgiveness, Transparent Honesty, Intimacy, Self-Respect, Respect for others, Communication and Empathy.

I lived in my fantasy world so much for so long that I could easily slip back and forth without even noticing any transition. It happened a lot, in any kind of stressful situation, and if a situation wasn’t stressful enough, I would intentionally make it that way. I didn’t learn how to deal with real life growing up; trauma in my life showed me how to “slip away” to a place that was not bad as I perceived reality to be.

I am seeing the real world as NOT as bad as I thought it was, it is actually a nice place most of the time. This is a HUGE step for me.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:44 pm 
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Lesson 54 Exercise:

In your recovery thread:

A. Select a VALUE-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some NEGATIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

Several of our granddaughters graduated from High School this past summer. One we could not, by any means, get to, it was 700 miles away and our non-existent budget just didn’t allow for gas to get there. One was for the step-daughter of our youngest son, a bright but very confused young woman see below. The other was one of our daughters’ daughters and was only about 100 miles away so I decided to go, attend the ceremony and the barbecue afterwards. The ceremony itself was a nightmare with a huge crowd, indoors in the summer heat. Negative consequences were: I lost the fight to not scan, I subjected my Wife and others to terrible disrespect , I subjected my Wife to a lot of pain, disappointment and anger, I made a fool of myself just trying to stare at the ground and move through the crowd, I made a complete idiot of myself in general.

B. Select an EMOTION-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some POSITIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

As above, several of our granddaughters graduated from High School this past summer. One was for the step-daughter of our youngest son, a bright but very confused young woman. This ceremony was local so we went. After arriving, I chose to stay in our vehicle in the parking lot so as not to have to deal with all of the people, NOT to have to fight myself so hard about the scanning and NOT to subject my Wife to that disrespect and pain. So even though I wasn’t there, I was. The positive consequences were: I didn’t have to face the “maddening crowd: (AVOIDANCE), I did not scan (without the crowd to freak me out, I had much more control) so I was able to be completely honest with my Wife, I was satisfied that I made the right choice for me at the time (blew up in my face later however).

I chose this particular event because it involved both values-based and emotion-based decisions within the same general episode. The positive consequences of the emotion-based decision did, however, become VERY negative. Since then my son refuses to see me, talk to me, answer calls or e-mails nor have I been allowed to see any of his children since. I can understand his anger, what I did was a VERY shitty thing to do to him and our granddaughter. My Wife has, at least been allowed to visit a very few times.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3351
Location: UK
Hi 62
Scanning is a difficult topic and has been debated herein on RN many times
It was also the most difficult trait of my addiction to admit to and then recover from
Hell I admitted using prostitutes but denied scanning

however I ask
are you scanning?
if so why and how are you planning to stop

or
does your wife view you as scanning because she still views you as you were

dont ever use this question as an excuse but please do question the reality and the post an action plan to address it

_________________
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


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 234
Lesson 55:
Practical Decision-Making: Past

You have made many decisions in your past that have been greatly influenced by the emotions that you were experiencing at the time. Choose a compulsive sexual event and dissect your decision-making in relation to that event. Look for the following:

I understand that this lesson did not technically require posting, but, after going through MANY of these events, it became VERY clear that the answers to these questions were almost the same, in every case. A distinct pattern became obvious to me that I felt I should share.

1. Were you aware that you were experiencing a compulsive sexual event at the time?

No, that thought never crossed my mind, or if it did occur to me I chose to ignore it or shove it behind a screen of disassociation.

2. How intense were the emotions that were triggered by this event — BEFORE you chose to act on it?

The emotions ranged from VERY intense to mildly bored but most were moderately intense. Using a 1 (as low) to 10 (as high), some were down to 4~5 but most ran from 7~9 with an occasional 10.

3. At any point did you look to your values in a sincere effort for guidance in your decision-making?

No, or if I did, as above, I ignored them or hid them behind disassociation.

4. After making the decision to act on this sexual event, how long did the emotions elicited from the event last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. affair lasted two weeks)

It varied, depending on the event itself, but ranged from an hour or so to, in one case, several years.

5. In the aftermath, did you make a conscious effort to evaluate the consequences of your decision? If so, what did you conclude? If not, do so now. What were the consequences — even if benign?

Never, until “D” day.

6. If there were consequences, how intense were the emotions elicited from those consequences? How long did they last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. guilt continues two years later; was caught by wife, distrust continues two years later, lost friendships continue, etc.)

Extremely intense at first, using the above scale, 9~10. Some have lessened to 4~5 over the last 3+ years (since “D” day) but are still there, others still remain very intense when they surface, 8~10. I still feel extremely guilty at times, probably always will, and extremely ashamed at times. My Wife still does NOT trust me at all, but that is a totally justified consequence of my behaviors. I no longer have much contact with my daughter and her family, but I didn’t have much before “D” day either (all they know about my addictions is that I am having some emotional issues). I no longer have any contact with my youngest son or his family, but that too is a consequence of my choices.

It has been a long, extremely painful learning curve for my Wife as well as myself, but I am grateful for it. As it stands now, I have the tools, the desire and awareness to get healthy; I am the only thing that can stop me.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:31 pm
Posts: 234
Lesson 58 Exercise:

Define the five rituals that you will most likely face in the next two years. For each, develop an action plan in five minutes or less...that focuses specifically on the immediate action you will take upon the awareness of the ritual; the anticipated emotions you will feel after you engage in that behavior; and the likely mind-games that you will play to get you to abandon your values-based decision making for emotion based decision making.

Post these in your thread.

1. Scanning
A. Refocus my eyes on something, anything else;
B. Picture my Wife in front of me (if she isn’t actually there);
C. Focus on how much I love her and how much this would hurt her;
D. Quickly run the consequences through my values
E. See how intense and short-lived the emotions IF I scan;
F. See how intense the emotions and satisfaction/pride are if I DON’T scan
G. Remind myself that she/they are people not “objects for my pleasure”;
H. Mind games: I won’t get caught; So what, I’ve been “good”; But it feels so good for a few seconds;

2. Fantasies
A. Pull myself back into “NOW”;
B. Remind myself that I am NOT who I fantasize myself to be;
C. Remind myself of how many decades of my life are lost to that bullshit;
D. Remind myself that I love and respect the real me;
E. Remind myself that my Wife loves and respects the real me;
F. Mind games: No one will ever know, it’s all safe in my head; It can’t possibly hurt anyone; It’s not like
I believe that I am who I pretend to be in my head; It helps alleviate the boredom.

3. Falling in “love”
A. Pull myself back into “NOW”;
B. Remind myself that I LOVE my Wife and She LOVES me;
C. Remind myself that there is NO place in my life for anyone but my Wife;
D. Remind myself of my values and ask where this could possibly fit;
E. Remind myself of the consequences that I am already faced with for this same behavior;
F. Mind games: But she is so much like (the imaginary construct of) my mother; we will just be friends; It
doesn’t mean anything.

The lesson asks for five, but these are the three that I will be faced with for the next two years, probably longer. All of my addictive behaviors have pretty much been derived from these three with minor variations.

My guilt and shame for my acting out over the years all fed back into further crushing my almost non-existent self-esteem. If I feel so very worthless, I “need” a “fix” to feel better, which NEVER worked for anything but “justifying” my behaviors.

I am starting to recognize the feelings that precede the “auto-pilot” kicking on and have actually been able to “break” before acting out. It’s NOT been easy and it is still a struggle, sometimes a huge struggle to keep myself together, but it seems to be getting a little easier each time just as Coach Jon predicted.

What is so disturbing to me at least, is that we have been VERY isolated over the last three plus years. I am still looking (but not to successfully finding) for a job almost exclusively online and my Wife works from home. We have few friends and have been disowned by our kids so we are pretty much only with each other.

This is disturbing to me because I fear going back to work and having to deal with people again and my Wife is VERY unsure about my recovery (as She very much should be given all of my bullshit over the last three+ years).

We are both working through this now, but I am NOT looking forward to having to deal with people again. I have always felt horribly inadequate and have used my addictions both to sex and to love to help feel not so inadequate if only momentarily. I spent many years hiding in my fantasy worlds where I was, or at least felt I was in control, since I felt I had no control over my life, I just let it happen (path of least resistance that always turned out to be me allowing my addictive behaviors to “run wild”.

I do know that I have the tools to give me the control now if I choose to use them.


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