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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 10:28 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Value: Strengthen relationship with family:

-Spend time each day talking to parents, even if it's on phone.
- Be there for them so they can talk to you and act as their sounding board
- Treat them at least once a month for what they do e.g. Go to a restaurant.
- Tell them how much they mean to you regularly
-Improve communication with them. If your feeling low, don't close yourself off. If something happens, talk to them.

Talk to siblings often. Initiate conversation at least once per month.
-Spend a day with nephews and nieces every few months. E.g take them to the cinema.

Value: compassion for others

- make it a rule that if somebody does something to upset you, try to understand their motive and send a positive thought their way in return.
-whenever you have a negative thought about somebody. Challenge it and ask yourself why you think that way.
-don't objectify people. If you prejudge them, remember to think of them as people and individuals.

Value: Enjoying free time.

- this is linked with the above mentioned goals and values. You will derive happiness from practicing your values in your free time.
- Always leave aside a few hours per week and ideally 1 full day a week to enjoy your free time. E.g. Doing something that you want to do.
- Make a list of these things and set out a timeline for making them happen.

Value: Career

- work on yourself as an individual and work out what your week areas are and how you can strengthen them.
- research how other people became involved in their careers. Try and learn from them.
- work out how you can manage your partnerships better and how you can become a better networker.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Lesson 10

1 I'm not in a relationship and haven't been for a long time. I think the person I deceive most is myself. When I feel good, I've let up on practicing my values, not consciously but almost without realising it, until it's too late. One of the lessons to learn is that I need to be more honest with myself through tools like monitoring. I also put up barriers between myself and others so I don't have to share myself with anyone. I'm not good enough to be shared with anyone, which makes me upset to write, although this is what I feel on a subconscious level. Part of my recovery will have to focus on challenging these attitudes and beliefs.

5) People I use:

Cybersex partners I talk to online
Strangers I see

6) places I go:

Online chat
Shopping centre
Holidays and airports are a trigger for fantasy too

PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Lesson results:

01 Life Assessment 2
User Name Tobewellagain
04 Progress Summary I've felt more stable than I've done in a while but have had 1 slip last week. I've had lots going on which has kept my mind busy.
sa2 5
sa3 3
sb2 2
sb3 12
sc2 0
sc3 0
sd2 0
sd3 0
se2 0
se3 0
sf2 20
sf3 3
sg2 0
sg3 0
sh2 0
sh3 0
si2 0
si3 0
sj2 0
sj3 0
sk2 0
sk3 0
sl2 0
sl3 0
sm2 0
sm3 0
sn2 0
sn3 0
so2 0
so3 0
sp2 0
sp3 0
sq2 0
sq3 0
sr2 0
sr3 0
ss2 0
ss3 0
st2 0
st3 0
su2 0
su3 0
p1 1
p2 2
p3 1
p4 3
p5 1
p6 1
p7 4
p8 4
p9 1
p10 2
n1 2
n2 1
n3 1
n4 1
n5 1
n6 1
n7 5
n8 4
n9 3
n10 4
progress goals I have started the workshop from scratch. I've revisited my goals and they're mostly the same as the first time I wrote them. I've felt more calm and assertive and I can hopefully continue with this.
slip relapse proximity I engaged in cyberchat 5 nights ago which frustrated me. I'd been stressed and my mind dominated by a task I had to do at work. A short time after I completed it, I felt free and bored I guess and ended up engaging without thinking. It really frightens me.
likely triggers Going on a trip. Feeling bored. An event happening which makes me compare myself negatively to others.
top 3 values 2
top 10 values 5
emotionbased unhelathy 5
chores 28
family 20
friends 10
alone 10
sexual 5
romantic 0
recovery 5
healthiest Extremely Healthy
unhealthiest Extremely Unhealthy
overall Very Healthy
submit Submit Assessment

PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 4:34 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Below are the patterns which are present in my attitudes towards addiction. Over the last few months, I have begun to notice a change in my attitudes to a degree. I do tend to catastrophise and expect everything now and I think these are the biggest obstacles to me changing my attitudes. They prevent me from successfully challenging my limiting beliefs. I understand this on an academic level, but don't seem to always be able to apply this knowledge frequently. The limiting beliefs from the different categories are as follows:

They actively prepare their environment for successful acting out by: setting a preliminary foundation for excuses/alibis; seeking out times/situations where they will be unaccountable to anyone but themselves; laying the foundation for the emotional manipulation of others who may pose a confrontational threat (e.g. their spouse), etc.
They believe that they have suffered so many consequences from their compulsive behavior, that it will be impossible for them to reach their lifetime goals

They often jump from addiction to addiction, and are particularly susceptible to hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery. They put out fires by refocusing on other areas of their life. When these areas involve compulsive behavior — their use of addiction to manage their lives continues.
They believe that they are suffering from a disease that is beyond their control, but not beyond all hope.
They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges.
Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction.
They tend to focus on controlling past behavior, rather than learning new behavior.
They tend to see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process.
They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.
They often experience extreme emotions in relation to acting out — extreme guilt, extreme shame, depression, anger, hatred. Or, they experience very mild emotions — when it has become a pattern that they have resolved to accept as a part of their lives.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 4:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Lesson 13

I suppose the traits that I identify with are almost exclusively those of middle recovery. Not all of them apply though. For example I'm not yet at the stage where I see a potential trigger as an opportunity to learn. I still find them threatening. Not sure I'm encroaching onto the second question about values but I've started to perceive that my issues or habits are wider than just a sex addiction. I a also have an unhealthy relationship with food, whereby I use it to modify my mood. I think my values will enable me to address this in addition to the porn/chat addiction problems I have. I think my values are consistent but the challenge I have is to do with handling apathy. I need to take each day as it comes but if you have any guidance, let me know.

The traits I identify with are:

They have accepted that they have struggled with certain immoral behaviors that contradicted their values, but realize that what matters is what they are doing, not what they did. They realize that no successful recovery ever took place by changing the past, only by changing the present.
Their motivation to recover comes from the desire to live a life that they can be proud of, rather than a desire to create the illusion of a life that they can be proud of.
They make decisions based on what they believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what they think they can get away with. They know that whether these decisions end up being the right ones or not is irrelevant. That all that matters is that they were made with the right intentions in mind.
They are not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.
They perceive "powerlessness" as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing their urges.
They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.
They recognize that the feelings that they are experiencing are the same feelings that others deal with every day in many different situations. That they are not "defective", but "deficient".
They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life; not as an addict that is managing their life with healthy behavior.
They see their lives as a continuous process of growth and development, rather than an episodic book of starts and stops. (e.g. "When I was addicted" "After I recovered").
They will take a long, hard look at anything associated with their destructive past, and will voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from their life. This refers to pornography, internet accounts, etc. It does not necessarily refer to affairs where real feelings were experienced/exchanged.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Lesson 14 - Health Monitoring 1

1.Did I carry myself as a person worthy of respect today?
2.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?
3. Did I spend 15 minutes meditating today?
4. Did I either go for a run today or do exercises at home?
5. Did I eat healthily and mindfully today?
6. Did I talk with a friend today?
7) Did I read today?
8.Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do today?
9.Did I maintain a conscious awareness of how emotionally connected I was with each member of my family (e.g through conversation, shared activity, spontaneous affection or otherwise?)
10.Did I roleplay at least one reactive action plan today?
11. How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability at the moment?

PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:10 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Lesson 15: Perceiving you addiction

One of the things I've really tried to do is practice the values I've identified. I've had greater success with certain values more than others but the practicing of them has given me a bit more of a grounding. I've unfortunately slipped a couple of times since starting the workshop again and I've tried to adopt a more positive attitude in terms of how to address these slips. Ive previously associated taking a more positive view of my slips (in terms of them being an opportunity for learning) as me condoning my behaviour so I've tended to shy from it. However I've tried to look at the positives, however disappointing it's been to have yielded to an overwhelming urge. I don't know how to stop it from winning but I guess learning more about urges and my addition is the reason I am here.

PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:46 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Lesson 16: Positive role of addiction in my life

My addiction has been present in my life since I was a teenager and it was always the immediate boost that it gave me which caused me to fantasise, masturbate, view porn etc. When I was younger and now too, I always felt uncomfortable in my own skin and never liked myself much. This cued all sorts of anxieties prompted by innocuous situations. Eg if someone talked about me or commented on me, I'd get stressed out. I always felt like I was weird and so addiction was an immediate escape that helped me to escape those often overpowering feelings.

Life throws up challenges sometimes and addiction has always been a crutch. I suppose I have a tendency to worry about things, perhaps more than the average person and I also catastrophise situations in my mind. Addiction has been a means of helping me to stop these thought processes.

The idea of multiple addictions is interesting. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to food ( although perhaps that's because I don't perceive eating excessively as being in the same category of excessive sexual practices), however when I'm on edge I overeat junk food.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:41 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
I just wanted to check in here again as I've relapsed over the past month. Not sure what to write here at the moment apart from wondering why the hell I find myself in this situation. I guess I placed too much emphasis on one method of recovery around the time of my last post (meditation and self-hypnosis). I felt ok for a time and then started to act out a couple of times here and there until I binged. Coping with the shame and frustration of my setback made me act out all the more over the past week to the point where I kept forcing myself to act out all the more. Now I'm putting my head above the water again, I feel numb mainly with feelings of anxiety and shame, like I'm even further behind on the road than I was at the start. I'm also overeating again too. Any advice?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2015 2:52 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:13 am
Posts: 687
Look at lessons 61 and 62. Glad we are both back:)

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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 4:25 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Hi Theadog,

Hope you're well and thanks for your post. I've taken a look at the lessons and lots of the content rings true, particularly around complacency. I really struggle with handling compulsions and think it may have something to do with me equating thoughts about acting out as doing so. If i feel a desire to, it's already too late so im overwhelmed by it. I guess i need to take responsibility for my thoughts but they can come like a tidal wave out of nowhere and it's this that knocks my confidence. I think the most important thing is to look at my daily monitoring.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Lesson 17: Understanding addiction 2

Elements of compulsive ritual: engaging in online cyberchat

Sensory stimulation: Sight when I am looking at photos of people iIam chatting with. Touch if I masturbate.

Fantasy: Whole conversation is based on a fantasy of what we eo together.

Suspense: Waiting to see who will chat with me, what they'll say, if they send me pictures and to see if they engage in fantasy.

Accomplishment: a short term feeling of success if i orgasm.

Power: Did I manage to control the person I am chatting to?

Past: fantasy strategy ingrainrained in my mind

PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:14 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:13 am
Posts: 687
Wanted to get back to you on, as I had limited time the other day.

I've read through most of your posts to try and help figure out what is going on. I can see you want this. First you fit right in here, you are struggling with the same slips/ relapse as most of the others on here. In our black and white, all or nothing, perfectionistic stance towards ourselves most of us can not see that although we are slipping we are making progress. Also we HAVE to ingrain the concept that we do not measure progress by abstinence, but by the quality of our life.

" I
tried to ignore it by doing other stuff but it kept coming back. How the hell do I beat these urges? Before I know it, it's like I'm hypnotised. I wasn't really enjoying it, but stopping and facing up to my slip seemed worse. When I'm in a binge, I feel sick, deprive myself of sleep, feel terrible but it's like I have to persist. I know practicing my values and building them will make me less susceptible to acting out but how do I deal with these situations. if anyone has techniques, I'd love to hear them."

I see you writing that emotional management has been a problem since childhood, same as me. I would have to admit that I have been one of the most unstable, emotionally extreme people I know. For example I would feel shame and my solution would be to move across the country, ect. For me one solution was to find techniques to deal with the imbalance. This took a lot of time and trail and error. There are many, many formats, keep trying them till on clicks then do it over and over again, I had to write a formula down as I couldn't think straight when a compulsive event was upon me. I did go to counseling for emotional regulation and it helped tremendously. Here is one format from the workshop, it is a Supplemental lesson in partners workshop, scaffolding, very similar to the format I learn to regulate extreme emotion.

My advice would be since you are not in a relationship, to do all the lessons, get all the tools and then see if these relapses are still happening at the same frequency, I bet they will have decreased significantly. If they happen, get right back on the horse and put all your energy into learning more, think proactively to the future, not the past. I think you are still trying to will power yourself through them and it doesn't work. At this point in the workshop our values are still pretty vague and distant, we usually have not really made them part of our identity yet, our go to when stress starts. Maybe reading ahead in the lessons to see what is missing.

Another theme I see in you like me, is wanting to leave yourself behind, abandon yourself. I remember making a decision to not do that to myself any longer, I was taking me with me where ever I went, warts and all. I had to claim my vulnerability, weakness, right to make mistakes, be human along with my contributions, successes and strivings. As with most of us your shame is limiting the contributions you can make to the world, you don't know who out there can benefit from you being healthy, but there are so many. We need you on here, endless amount of men to help.

You are almost to urge control and decision making lessons, if I were you I'd get the intellectual knowledge and work on ingraining it later, your life is too important to meander through this. This is where a healthy use of willpower could be of use. If you get some montenum going this will be much more satisfying, you are tourturing urging yourself needlessly!

People who struggle to commit themselves... are really struggling with one of the most fundamental issues there is to struggle with: their own mortality. The realization that they have only a finite amount of time on this earth and a finite number of experiences to be had.
....recognize that there are limits to the life they can lead.
...they choose those areas of their life that they will commit themselves to mastering. Those areas that they want to anchor their identities to.

... And that is what you have to do now: learn to derive value from your life. This is not an easy skill to master. The learning process is complex, but you can begin....

But I Really Don't Know What I Want"
This takes us back to the mortality issue. At this stage, you likely have another ten to fifty years of active, quality life left. Within the concept of time, that is infinitesimal. But within our own egocentric existence, that is a lot of time. Forever, in fact. Think about that. You now have 'forever' to develop depth from within your values. You have 'forever' to develop maturity and skill in managing your life. And, you have 'forever' to potentially waste to inaction, fear and noncommitment. Your forever, anyway. It can't be argued that, as an adult, lacking a vision for one's life is tolerable, but any vision, even if it is the wrong better than having none at all. Why? Because it gives you something objective to work with. To evolve. Without this vision, the only way to manage one's life is by learning to manage emotions as they are experienced. Everything reactive. This, as opposed to taking a proactive role in establishing emotions through stability and value competency.

Subconsciously, closing off certain life options is to acknowledge the finite qualities of one's life. It is to acknowledge that time and experience are no longer infinite.

You and your life are worth it:). If I can do it so can you:)

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

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:38 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2015 12:14 pm
Posts: 132
Thanks Thea for your post. It's always good to read encouragement and support from others. How long did it take before you felt in control when faced with a compulsion? It makes me feel so weak. I definitely want to look at scaffolding.

The bit about not knowing what I want is true also. I guess I've spent so long being down on mysely that I don't always feel I deserve to be happy. Logically I know I do, but I sabotage myself emotionally.

Like you suggest I'm going to keep on with the lessons and really try to get to grips with the urges. They're just feelings after all, but it's so easy to write. Thanks though once again for your words of encouragement. I truly appreciate them.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:08 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:13 am
Posts: 687
How long to learn to manage these urges? Two and a half years, twice through the workshop and therapy on emotional regulation, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.. First time through I kept slipping like most of the people on here ( that's why I referred you to those two later lessons, make sure you understand the difference between slip and relapse. unlike many when I slipped I kept going in the lessons, more determined to find out what I was missing. I used my anger to learn, began to not turn it on myself.

Looking back first time through I was mostly being introduced, learning the skills, finding relief that someone "got" me and there might be a way out. I was still holding onto the addiction in case this didn't work, which I wondered if might be the case for you and most others.

Second time after a relapse (whole foundation crumbled). I was ready to do whatever it took. I didn't want to live this way any longer and was willing to go through the emotional pain of facing my life, admitting I was lost and making the effort over and over to find help. A big turning point was when I experienced that emotions are finite, I gave up, said bring on all the pain I am avoiding, thought I would lose my mind, grip on reality, then it passed in relatively short time and I was amazed the world was still there.
I thought the self loathing might be holding you back, like me, good you can see it. Again therapy, claiming the kid part of me, I was able to grow up. Like you said easier to write than do.
Now it is about recognizing the imbalance when it starts and turning to my emotional management strategy to regain balance, tons of tools for the toolbox in the workshop, keep trying till you find some that work. I am seeing that everyone needs to come up with one that works for them and it takes a ton of effort and focus. Scaffolding lesson one example. Also the concept of picking areas of interest that I want to attach my identity to is on my mind lately.

Keep going! As someone wisely put it!

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

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