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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:02 am 
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Further to my slip which I wrote about yesterday, I read advice in the community support forum originally written by Coach Jon about how to handle these situations.

I've looked again at my vision and values and they still feel right to me. The values seem correct although I haven't been spending sufficient time practicing certain ones, most notably meditation/ nap/ looking after my mind. In terms of my self-control value, I've been doing well in particular areas e.g. food intake and my job, but I haven't in others, e.g. controlling my urges - hence my slip. I know that practicing my values will reduce my propensity to act out, but I'm keen to learn techniques to help me successfully deal with urges as willpower isn't enough.

I've mapped out what happened before and during my acting out. I'd been feeling out of balance in the lead up and also out of routine. I'd been out for two evenings on the run and on way home I saw someone in train station and began to fantasise. I stopped but began to feel disappointed in myself. I tried to ignore feelings by reading. I went to bed and refrained from masturbating. Woke up next morning but felt tired and glazed over as if the ritual wasn't complete. I went to work and waited till I got home to look at porn and engage in online chat until 3am. Went to sleep for a couple of hours and then woke up again where I acted out for the whole day until the ritual was over.

I've analysed what I've mapped out. I know my life has been less structured than usual over the past few weeks. I've rested on my laurels given that life hasn't been bad recently. I felt happier and neglected myself.as I said, I hadn't been meditating or practicing NLP techniques on triggers. I need to learn more about the tools at my disposal because, although I ignored my urge on the first night, I failed to keep on ignoring it and that scares me a lot.

For the next 4 days, I've planned my time and activities. The following four days I'll be out of routine and so will need to plan for these too.i think I need to take each day as it comes and will refine my goals to focus on NLP/meditation and organisation for the short term.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:26 pm 
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Lesson 22 (recent slip ritual)

To practice this lesson again, I've reviewed my most recent ritual from the slip described in my last posts and determined the following elements:

Past: T2, I8, H2
Suspense: T10, I9, H2
Sensory (Vision): T7, I9, H4
Power: T6, I6, H6
Fantasy delusional: T8, I5, H3
Orgasm: T2, I4, H2

I think element 5 drove the ritual on this occasion, so I'd score it as 3. Orgasm is a 1 and the others I'd score 2.


Last edited by Tobewellagain on Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 5:18 pm 
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Lesson 23

Having recently just slipped, I'm realising I have a tendency to see my rituals as one entity and measuring the elements which make it up seems like it might help in demystifying the ritual. I can really relate to the point made in the lesson that it can feel like there is an inevitability about acting out when the initial trigger comes into your head. I've not managed a way to stop this up to now but viewing the ritual in a mathematical way might make it easier for me to intervene and regain control.

I think measuring the elements could also be factored in to my daily monitoring. By studying them, I'll be able to identify patterns which I've been oblivious to up to now.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 10:42 am 
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The past couple of weeks haven't been good. I've been bogged down in compulsive behaviour and I have absolutely been neglecting my recovery. I still feel my values and vision are right but I would like to return to lesson 14 on daily monitoring before I carry on any further. I feel like I haven't put as much into the lessons after 14 as I did to the ones before. My motivation and structure has ebbed away. I'm struggling to handle urges and so feel demotivated at the moment. When I go into the trance, willpower disappears and this is what frustrates and scares me. It has to be in my control as it's in my mind but I just can't solve it. I'm going to refresh my monitoring and redo the lessons from this point:

Lesson 14 Health monitoring 1

Did I carry myself as a person worthy of respect today?
Did I engage in any compulsive behavior today?
If yes, did I maintain an awareness of the elements involved?
Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
If no, did I role play a past or possible future compulsive ritual to ingrain confidence in my ability to manage these rituals?
Did I take time today to think about the deeds, thoughts and achievements in my life that I can be proud of?
If not, how many days has it been since I have?
Did I meditate today and take time to enjoy the calmness of a quiet mind?
Did I contact a friend today to see how they were doing?
Did I undertake 30 minutes of NLP or self hypnosis today on my triggers?
Did I hold a meaningful conversation with my parents or siblings today where I was attentive to their needs?
Was it quality time for each of us?
Did I organise myself today, both in work and in my free time?
Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do today?
Did I work on my recovery today? E.g. Do a lesson. If not, how long has it been?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2015 4:53 am 
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Lesson 15


Although it's been longer than a few weeks since I completed the first bunch of lessons, I do understand the importance of values in forming the basis of a healthy life. I've managed to implement a number of my values practically since I started the workshop and I enjoy the structure they've given me e.g. eating healthily, spending time with friends and family. I think when you're feeling better, happier and more stable, it's easy to begin to rest on your laurels and then over the course of a few weeks, slip back into compulsive behaviour, missing a lesson here, a monitoring session there which, alone, don't make much of a difference, but, collectively, can undermine the whole basis of recovery.

I guess it shows that the whole basis of addiction, i.e the primacy of emotions over values, is still very much there. I.e. I feel good so my life is good. Then something bad happens or a negative emotion is experienced and you fall back into the trap. Lesson 15 raises the question of how my addiction developed in the first place and the truth is, I think I just fell into it. When I learned to masturbate, it felt good. I suppose I always had a difficult relationship with my father from a young age too so never grew up with much confidence. Looking back, I was sensitive to criticism, implications that I was an odd kid, off the rails who needed to see a shrink and so at a crucial time in my life I probably felt embarrassed a lot of the time. This feeling has never gone away totally. I'm quite a closed person and find it hard to open up, for fear of making myself vulnerable, but looking back learning to masturbate, then moving on to fantasy and porn were effective means of managing emotions. I never perceived this at the time though. This, combined with my difficulty in opening up to people has been toxic I guess. These are the issues I need to overcome in my quest for health.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:06 pm 
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Lesson 16: Understanding Addiction I

Belowin bold is what I wrote when I first did this lesson last month. The same applies now, but looking at the role my addiction plays in general (and not in specific scenarios), it's a sure fire automatic way of making me feel better (numb) in the short term. I've honed it to perfection when I look at it and it's all about making me forget myself. I've never developed adequate emotional skills because of it. I think what made it appealing was that it was in my control and I didn't need to look outwards for emotional satisfaction ( to places where I either believed i didn't deserve it or where I felt I wouldn't receive it anyway. It's ironic then that it controls me rather than the other way around.

My addiction to porn, masturbation and fantasy has served as my emotional crutch for as long as I can remember. It took me 10 years to realise the detrimental impact it's had on my life and it's served as my primary emotional management tool, generally if I'm experiencing a negative emotion. It can be a simple drip, drip drip of stress and then when it gets to boiling point, I act out. That trance like state offers a temporary refuge from my thoughts and negative emotions, even though It comes back worse after a binge.

It's also a tool I've used to manage big causes of upset too. I suppose I suffer from low self worth (ironically as a consequence of addiction in part) and whenever someone says something to me which I perceive as offensive or even if turmoil is caused by me comparing myself unfavourably to other people, then I often use my addiction as a means of escaping the negative emotions. I've even used it in circumstances where I've felt bored. The sad thing is, it's so fused into my brain that I don't think about the why. I guess the lesson makes a lot of sense in that it's as simple as me feeling a negative emotion and me reaching to my addiction, often without a second thought or at least a true appraisal of the consequences.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:22 am 
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Lesson 17: Understanding addiction 2

The elements of the wheel from the last ritual I engaged in were as follows:

Sensory (Visual) watching pornography and receiving photos from people I was chatting with.
Sensory (Touch) I masturbated eventually
Fantasy: imagining scenarios and playing these out with people I was cyber chatting to.
Suspense Wondering who I was going to chat to next, what they might say or suggest. This was most powerful. Also wondering what porn I might hit on.
Power. Knowing that for me it was just fantasy and that the content of the chat was just fantasy. I was in total control of the scenario.
Past. Repeating the exact same ritual as before as I knew what I was getting.


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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2015 8:49 am 
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Lesson 18

Role of filters:

In terms of the online chat/ porn viewing ritual described in the last exercise, the filters played the following roles:

Time: I would play a long waiting game at the start of the ritual to wait for somebody to begin to chat to me. It had to be the right person and I could wait for literally hours to really engage in a conversation without becoming board. I'd eventually hit a limit though, where I decided I couldn't wait any longer so would instead speak to a person who I'd have ignored at the beginning of the ritual.

Intensity: I managed to perfect the persona that would give me the most stimulation. I would never chat to somebody as myself but would always assume another name, age etc. I I honed this to perfection to make the conversations and the responses to things I would say more intense.

Habituation: this usually kicks in first in the porn viewing part of the process where movies or photos lose their potential to stimulate so that more extreme scenarios are needed. This is reflected in my cybersex conversations too.


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 11:08 am 
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Just wanted to check in here as I have been struggling again and have acted out twice over the past four days. Feel numb at the moment but I know the feeling of dread and horror will hit soon. Feel like I've lost myself and the small foundation I'd started to build. I know my life is in my hands but why can't I withstand my compulsion to view porn. Searching for the solution feels like a holy grail, I know I have to practice my values though. I've been coasting for too long.


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PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 11:08 am 
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Just wanted to check in here as I have been struggling again and have acted out twice over the past four days. Feel numb at the moment but I know the feeling of dread and horror will hit soon. Feel like I've lost myself and the small foundation I'd started to build. I know my life is in my hands but why can't I withstand my compulsion to view porn. Searching for the solution feels like a holy grail, I know I have to practice my values though. I've been coasting for too long.


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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 4:29 am 
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Lesson 19

I've managed to not act out in any way for a week. The point in the lesson about using rituals as a means of managing emotions is definitely one I can relate to. Most times I've acted out, it's been as a means of countering negative emotions I might be feeling. There have been occasions though where I've been feeling great and then it just hits me. One tendency I have is to compare myself unfavourably to others. this has been an issue in the past? I'll observe my thinking over the next few days to see what insights I can obtain.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:21 pm 
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Just wanted to check in here as I've lost my way recently. I've had a couple of acting out episodes and my lack of motivation is making me feel pretty low. I've fallen back into a trap of overeating after losing weight in the first part of the year and I'm struggling with it. Then my acting out episodes hit me hard. I'm trying to think about what's stopping me. Is it a subconscious fear of change or of failure? Not sure whether I need to start this again. I've looked through my earlier lessons and my vision and values feel right to me. I'm stopping myself from working on this and it's damn annoying.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:48 am 
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Daily Monitoring

I think this is one of the exercises I've struggled to implement on a daily basis. There are a small number of things I really want to focus on at the moment and they are:

Did I engage in any compulsive behavior today?
If yes, did I maintain an awareness of the elements involved?
Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
If no, did I role play a past or possible future compulsive ritual to ingrain confidence in my ability to manage these rituals?

Did I work on my recovery today, I.e. Do a lesson, practice a reactive action plan/ do a visualisation exercise?

Did I eat healthily today and mindfully?

Did I do any exercise today e.g. Go for walk or run?

How is my general mood and emotional state today?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:33 am 
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Wanted to say hello:)
Your idea on focusing on the daily monitoring is a good one. It was also a good idea with the slips to go back and see what areas needed to be focused on. Of course slips are never encouraged, but this early in the workshop they are pretty common, although I know you have done parts of the workshop before. After reading your thread I was thinking about ways we could stay out of the recovery relapse cycle, as that was my history also. I would do "good" when I had the structure of recovery, not so good without it. Seems to me we need to find ways to build internal structure and self monitoring could be one way to start to do this. Recognizing, accepting and admitting when I am off balance has also been key, this is a normal state of humans:). When I recognize it early I can start to figure out what needs I am not meeting within myself. Like you the early years were not easy, did not build any confidence as a child. I look at this process as reparenting myself; sometimes I need compassion and understanding, sometimes I need a firm in control stance. If you can't get out of the slipping cycle jon had a three day plan around lesson 64? That helps us stabilize.

I found out the hard way if we skim over some parts of the workshop the the last ten lessons are complicated, overwhelming because the simpler skills have not been ingrained. Monitoring is a great example of this. Somewhere jon talks about about monitoring eventually being like an internal navigation system, that tells us when we are off course. But at first we need to look at the map and compass constantly. Monitoring is a mainstay after we end the workshop so good job catching this.

It is very hard not to get bogged down emotionally when we do things that we feel are "wrong". Like you said we feel bad, use are addiction to better than feel worse which makes us want use the addiction again, an endless cycle. The next section on urge control will address this. I would encourage you to follow the instructions and do what jon says and write your values on a piece of paper and pull them out to create a break. First time through I thought I could do it my head. I have learned jon sometimes packs a lot of wisdom into one little sentence and it more beneficial if I do what it says, thought I could pick and choose first time through:)

You speak of motivation waning and jon talks about the inevitability of this, you are right on schedule here:). He discusses how emotions motivate us to the workshop, the fear of someone leaving, losing something we want ect. The key is to begin to make decisions logically and following through, no matter what our emotions and thinking say, "your a loser, your never going to make it why try ect."

I don't know if you read the community post on perfectionism that coach boundless wrote it may be helpful as it looks like you, like me would like emotional perfection:). I have found I still get emotionally overwhelmed but the time in it is much shorter and less intense. Looking at our black and white all or nothing thinking can help here.

As you know there are so many skills farther down the line that will help, I hope you keep keeping on. We need all of us on here:)

_________________
"When everything else is stripped away the essential is reveled." B.K.S. Iyengar


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 12:23 am 
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Lesson 16 (revisited)

My addiction has played a positive role in my life. It has fused into a part of my identity without me realising it. I suppose it's positive aspect is best explained in terms of it being a quick and efficient way of reducing negative emotions caused by all sorts of different thoughts and experiences (which in turn have been caused by the addiction itself).

E.g. I do suffer from self-confidence issues/ low self-esteem. If I observe my inner voice sometimes, I talk to myself in ways that I would never dream of talking to others. I compare myself unfavourably to other people, stress myself and then use my addiction to basically numb these feelings.

It also serves as an identity anchor. Sometimes, if things are going well and I haven't acted out for a while, I become nervous. Life almost becomes too good, like I have very little to worry about, so I act out! It's almost like it's not just my addiction but my battle against it is now a part of my identity, and so I have to act out to satisfy this part of me.

It's also been a boredom alleviation, although not so much recently I feel.

I guess I'm a very closed and independent person who doesn't like opening myself up too much to people for fear of rejection and humiliation. My addiction is a sure fire way to alter my mood and emotions without needing another person and I feel in some way that this is the key reason why it was able to take such a hold of me when I was still a child.


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