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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:38 am 
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I have decided to start the workshop again. It's been tough recently and I've definitely been guilty of the stop/start aspect of recovery, whereby I've been acting out at least once every couple of weeks for the past few months. The worst episode took place recently during my holiday away. Being away from home and having less than usual to think about has always been a known trigger. I handled things well for the first 5 days then the compulsive thoughts set in. With willpower I succeeded in not acting out for a couple of days and then I succumbed to the compulsion. It's hit me really hard and has made me question whether I'll ever be able to manage this. However, I'll only ever learn if I take proactive steps to learn, which is why I'm starting again, with anxiety it has to be said.

A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
3) allowing yourself time to change.
Consider where you feel you are in relation to each of these recovery keys? Briefly share your thoughts in your Recovery Thread.

1) As I write now, I will actively commit myself to change. As someone prone to using emotions to manage my life, I guess The danger in the past has been that the emotional improvement I feel from a period of abstinence makes me forget my addiction, causes me to rest on my laurels and then leaves me prone to relapse. I known I need to work at this though as everything I've ever succeeded in has needed effort and commitment.
2) This is also a major one. I'm deeply ashamed of myself and who I am. I rationally understand my addiction but in practice, these logical reasons count for little emotionally. I always put myself down in lots of scenarios and I don't know if this is a cause or consequence of my addiction. I think I need to make overcoming this shame central to my recovery efforts but I'm not sure how yet.
3) I want everything now, this has always been a problem. This is about managing my expectations. The more effort I put into my recovery, the quicker it will happen, but time is still needed. I think the other aspect of this is that it's not necessarily going to be a smooth process and I needs anticipate there being ups and downs. It will be important not to equate a down with a total failure which is what often happens in my catastophising mind.

B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently change your life.

1 I want to live an authentic life where people know the real me.
2 I want to form honest relationships with people where I can share my whole self without being ashamed or embarrassed.
3 I would like to form a lasting and meaningful romantic relationship.
4 I want to be able to travel with the threat of acting out eliminated.
5 I want to use my free time in a productive way, to learn and develop.
6 I want to find out who I really am as a person.
7 I want to live a life with self-control and self-discipline.
8 I want to build my confidence to enable me to do things that I wouldn't imagine doing now.
9 I want to feel normal.
10 I want to live a healthy life, where I care about my mind and body.
11 I want to live life in accordance with a set of defined values.
12 I want to be free from behaviours triggered just by my emotions.
13 I want to succeed in achieving the greatest goal I've ever embarked on.
14 When I get to the end of my life, I want to be proud of the way I've lived.

C I've looked at a picture of myself when I was around 5 years old. I'm smiling and look happy. There's a vulnerability in my eyes which is sad though. I feel apprehensive for the child, knowing what future is in store, the sad times, the times when he won't develop properly emotionally but will embark on addiction. He is innocent there though. I wish I could wind the clock back and do things differently, but the mistakes have been made and it's already too late. I feel regret, but I know that child deserves to be happy as much as the next person.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:00 am 
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:g: in case that didn't work it is a smile. Yes traveling can throw us off. Lots of times we are unaccountable to anyone or anything, like you said out of our routine. One concept that made a major difference in my perception and recovery was all change creates some stress and imbalance. So like you, I can recognize it, not go around insisting I am ok:), and turn to my action plans and values to help return to balance quicker.

Wishing you well,
Theadog

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


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 7:03 am 
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Sorry just saw you are starting again. I know I would not be where I am without doing it twice, the first time through let me test the waters, intellectually understand, get some stability, taste of health, the second time I could go deeper. Good for you, wise choice.

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


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2015 5:13 pm 
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Thanks Theadog for your support and kind words. It's good to receive feedback and encouragement for people who have been there themselves. I'm feeling a little low at the moment which is to be expected I guess, and it's this structure which is important. One thing I've learned over the past few months is that it's this framework which is lacking and that leaves me at the mercy of my emotions and automatic reactions. When I'm not thinking compulsively, it's hard to comprehend why I can't control my actions when an urge hits. This is what is most frustrating for me at the moment.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:39 am 
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Ok I have given some thought to how we begin to create internal structure instead of depending on an outside source:). There are probably many ways but since we are doing the workshop.... I think one way would be doing our action plans over and over and over. Creating new ones as new situations arise. For me my values were too vague to go on in the beginning. Now I can feel stress and emotion arising and think what value is appropriate here? For me patience is always a place to begin. So early on I would look back on my action plan on patience, adding more as I learned more. So I would breath, go slower than I normally would, think I have all the time in the world, ect. This is just an example in your situation when you feel the very beginning of the possibility of acting out, emotional imbalance, you could make yourself do one. In the beginning I think it is discipline, will power, unnatural like. I can guarantee if you do them long enough they become ingrained, part of our identity, just like our addiction was.

I don't know how far you have gotten in the workshop in the past. If you haven't gotten to chaining the behavior, urge control and decision making I would recommend continuing on. We really are not expected to know how to stop slipping until farther in the workshop, of course not encouraging slipping, too much guilt and shame, we know that:).

Thanks for bringing this up made me think deeper on it, I don't want to go recovery relapse anymore.

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


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:53 pm 
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Lesson 2 My vision

In developing this vision, I've reviewed the one I did when I first started the workshop earlier in the year. Most of it is still applicable to me, although I added a section on self-discipline and self-control which I'd like to develop.

Revised vision

At the end of my life, I want to look back and be able to say that I am proud of how I have lived my life and what I have been able to achieve. The values of love and compassion are central to my life, in my interactions with people, from my loved ones to strangers who may have behaved impolitely towards me. I do this by always trying to empathise with people and recognising that being judgemental or trying to compare myself to others is never going to be positive. Most importantly, I'm a person who has learned to love himself- I show myself compassion and recognise that I can't truly love and be compassionate towards others if I don't love myself. I can accept praise when people saying positive things about me.

Learning how to meditate and factoring daily practice into my life is important. I show compassion to myself through meditation, focusing on the good things I do and not dwelling unhealthily on the negative, but using it as an opportunity to learn. Through being happy with myself and living life with compassion and integrity, I am able to help others by being a mentor, confidant and trusting friend who can be relied upon, not just to friends but to family members and colleagues too.

By making peace with myself and learning to be confident in my own skin, I open my heart to the possibility of sharing my life openly and honestly with someone, mind, body and soul and maybe even have a child of my own.

Self-discipline and order are important to me too. Just as it's important that I fulfill promises I make to other people, it's important to fulfill promises I make to myself. I'm a person who sets himself goals and always tries his very best to succeed in achieving them.

My family are important to me and I am always there to support them in whatever way I can, there to laugh and cry with them, be their shoulder to cry on. I have also learned to share more of myself with them too, even if it's just to tell them I've had a bad day. In addition to meditation, I use prayer and hypnosis to look after my mind and recognise that having a healthy mind and body are the key to living a soul-fulfilled life. I do an average of 30 minutes of exercise per day and also eat healthily, overcoming my emotional attachment to food. I eat plenty of fruit and limit my intake of junk.

I fulfil a purpose in life through my career. I work diligently and see every task I am given as an opportunity to learn, always trying my honest best. Acquiring new skills allows me to proactively pursue a job in the field of urban redevelopment. This pursuit of a better job and my operation in it are always done in a way which ensures my values of fairness, compassion and integrity remain central.

I earn enough money to pursue some of my more expensive hobbies. I manage my finances carefully and save money to make at least two overseas trips per year. Travelling enables me to broaden my horizons and learn about different cultures. In my spare time, I read books which I enjoy and learn and practice foreign languages too. I spend time with my dog, whom I love dearly. I take her on a special walk at least once per week and play games with her. Spending time with friends and family, engaging in shared passions makes me tick, whether that's a trip to the cinema or theatre or just a coffee and lunch to put the world to rights.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:02 pm 
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Thanks Theadog for another insightful post. I think it's definitely the lack of willpower in the face of an urge, which cause me the most problems. I equate my inability to control my urges as a failure and this causes me to spiral downwards emotionally and feel like I've failed. I think this structure is important like you say, particularly when the emotional attacks don't relent. I just need to crack on with the workshop and the action plans.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:59 pm 
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Lesson 3

Love
Compassion
Patience
Empathy
Self-love
Mental wellbeing
Meditation
Learning
Integrity
Helping others
Trustworthiness
Good friend
Self-confidence
Romance
Openness
Honesty
Experiencing fatherhood
Self-discipline
Order
Keeping promises
Motivation
Effort / trying my best
Love for family
Prayer
Hypnosis
Exercise
Eating healthily
Food
Career
Reading
Fairness
Financial security
Happiness
Prudence
Travel
Learning a new language
Love for my dog
Cinema
Theatre
Museums
Be a good son
Be a good brother
Be a good uncle
Be a good colleague
Always trying my best
Delivering quality
Sense of humour
Taking care of my appearance
Sexuality
Living a meaningful life
Being loved by others
Wisdom
Comfort

Dark side:

Impatience
Depression
Needing immediate gratification
Weakness
Laziness
Lack of self-discipline
Inferiority
Fear
Lack of self-control
Lust


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:57 am 
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Posts: 132
Lesson 4 - Prioritising Values

Mental wellbeing
Meditation
Self-love
Patience
Love for family
Compassion
Motivation
Effort / trying my best
Learning
Self-discipline
Taking care of my appearance
Sexuality
Financial security
Empathy
Exercise
Eating healthily
Integrity
Love for my dog
Be a good son
Helping others
Trustworthiness
Good friend
Self-confidence
Travel
Romance
Be a good brother
Be a good uncle
Be a good colleague
Openness
Honesty
Experiencing fatherhood
Learning a new language
Order
Keeping promises
Prayer
Hypnosis
Food
Career
Reading
Fairness
Happiness
Prudence
Cinema
Theatre
Museums
Always trying my best
Delivering quality
Sense of humour
Living a meaningful life
Being loved by others
Wisdom
Comfort


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:36 am 
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Posts: 132
Lesson 5- Top values

1. Looking after my mind through meditation and reflection.
2. Practicing compassion and love for myself.
3. Strengthening relationship with my family.
4. Self-discipline in pursuing my goals.
5. Taking care of my appearance.
6. Looking after my physical health.
7. Strengthening my friendships.
8. Spending time with my dog.
9. Exploring the role that sexuality plays in my life.
10. Acquiring knowledge.
11. Travelling
12. Career
13. Enjoying my free time.
14. Exercising compassion for others


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 1:26 am 
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Posts: 132
Lesson 6 Proactive action plans

Value: Looking after my physical health:

Physical exercise:
-Commit to undertaking at least 20 minutes of physical exercise three days per week
-Recognise that you will sometimes feel tired and lethargic when thinking about having to do exercise but that you will feel rewarded and disciplined once you have done it.
-For the time being focus on aerobic exercises e.g running while you gain confidence and to help you achieve your weight loss target of 30lbs.
-in the office, commit to walking up the stairs at least twice per day rather than taking the lift.
-Take dog for a really long walk at least once per week.

Diet:
-Commit to eating chocolate, crisps, sweets, cookies and cakes only once per week and then only if it's a special occasion.
- for the most part, this limitation won't bother you but recognise that you will really crave something sweet occasionally but that not yielding to the craving will feel better than the momentary pleasure the sweetness will give you.
-Eat 5 portions of fruit or vegetables per day
- think about the food you eat. Don't eat food just for the sake of eating.
-Allow yourself to eat out once per week.

Value: Looking after my appearance:
-give yourself time each day to make sure you look your best.
-eg after a shower, ensure you have time to make sure you are presentable.
- have a haircut at least once every five weeks
- buy a new clothing item at least once every three months on average.
- make sure you always floss your teeth at least once per day
-make sure your shoes are clean
-make sure you remain clean shaven.

Sleep:
- make sure you give yourself 8 hours of rest per night.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:39 am 
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Posts: 132
Lesson 6/7

Value: Strengthening my friendships

-Meet up with a friend at least once per week, even if it's just for a coffee
-Share yourself with your friends and ask them how they are doing too
-For your three good friends who live further away, message them regularly, at least once per month, to see how they are.
-Arrange to see these friends at least once per year
-Try not to be as reclusive as you are if invited to a group event. Make the effort to attend if a friend invites you.
-Look for opportunities to make new friends, either by participating in new activities or by joining an online community.
-Recognise you have a tendency to withdraw from people because of your self-confidence issues, not feeling good enough. Remember that these are just thoughts and that when you're in a social situation, you'll probably enjoy yourself.

Value: practicing compassion and love for myself

-Live life in accordance with the values you have identified, using daily monitoring to check your progress.
-Use self-love as the theme of meditation at least once per week.
-Each day, write down at least one deed, act or achievement that makes you feel proud of yourself.
- Use NLP techniques to keep in check that negative inner voice. Link this in to your meditation sessions.
-Remind yourself that life is tough sometimes and that recovery isn't going to be easy. Some days will be tougher than others and when you have a tough day, be proactive and do a lessons learned.
-Give yourself time in the day for you. Don't be a workaholic and knock yourself off balance. Take a lunch break and take time to collect your thoughts.


Value: Self-discipline in pursuing my goals
-Follow your monitoring plan once you develop it. Link any consistent failure to adhere to plan into a lessons learned exercise enabling you to understand and refine your plans.
-In a sexual sense, persevere when you feel an urge to MB prompted by boredom, anxiety etc. find something else to do. In the first instance, meditate.
-Tidy your living and working areas to help to clear your mind. Make an effort to clear one drawer per week over the course of the next few months.
-Plan as much as you can. Plan for unfamiliar situations, anticipating challenges and urges and identify ways of minimising problems.
-Read about motivation and how you can build it. Learn about positive visualisation so that you can picture the path to success.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:40 am 
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Lesson 6/7 continued

Acquire knowledge

-Travel
-make at least one long-haul trip, one medium-haul trip and a couple of city breaks each year. Ensure you thoroughly research all aspects of these trip in advance of leaving so that you can fully enjoy your time there and learn as much about the place as possible.

Recovery
- commit to learning about how you can manage your life. Undertake the full recovery nation workshop in a committed and structured way. Although life and events sometimes crop up, commit to investing yourself in completing 2 lessons per week.
- Read about recovery in other formats, e.g website.
- Learn about meditation and NLP. The biggest insights will come through practice but read about new techniques.

Reading:
- devise a list of 10 books you have wanted to read and give yourself at least 30 mins per day to read them. Read a book while you're travelling to and from work.
Attending a course:
- develop a bucket list of courses you would like to undertake and investigate financial and time commitments required to complete them.
-Seek to sign up to at least one course in September.

-Culture
-see at least one exhibition or attend at least one cultural event per month in your area


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 1:07 am 
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Strengthening friendships

-Meet up with a friend at least once per week, even if it's just for a coffee.
-Share yourself with your friends and ask them how they are doing too.
- Initiate conversations with your friends rather than always waiting for them. If they're too busy to meet or talk, don't take it personally.
-For your three good friends who live further away, message them regularly, at least once per month, to see how they are.
-Arrange to see these friends at least once per year
-Try not to be as reclusive as you are if invited to a group event. Make the effort to attend if a friend invites you.
-Look for opportunities to make new friends, either by participating in new activities or by joining an online community.

Spending time with my dog

- Take her on a special walk at least once per week
- Spending at least 20 minutes per day playing with her and/or training her
- Buy her a special treat once per month
- Reflect on what she can teach me. Loyalty, fun, friendliness


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:41 am 
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Value: Look after my mind through meditation and reflection

Meditate for 15 minutes each morning. Recognise that you won't be an expert at first but that the more you do it, the greater the benefits.

Read about meditation and spirituality. Try to learn about yourself and let yourself be without being judgemental.

Use your mindfulness to think about those aspects of yourself which are often the root of your emotional hurt. Make each a subject of your meditation which you focus on for a while.

NLP/self-hypnosis

Utilise some of the NLP techniques you have learned about to practice how you can healthily respond to trigger situations.

Prayer:
Incorporate daily prayer into your life which focuses on your achievements and what you have to be thankful for. Reflect on what you can control and can't control and accept that bad things happen which you're unable to effect.

Fulfilling your life's vision and following the action plans for other values e.g physical exercise, communicating with friends and family will all help you to look after your mind.


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