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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 1:38 am 
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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.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 7:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:13 am
Posts: 687
Hi,
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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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:59 pm 
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Thanks Theadog. It's good to know you've succeeded tooand motivating to know that real recovery is possible. It's about changing mentality I guess and recognising that not every day is perfect. I guess the all or nothing principle of the addict has been telling me that any minor sleep equates to failure and so I use that idea to justify acting out but also escaping from the feelings. Easy to appreciate why values are so important as an anchor. I need to challenge my ild ways of thinking too and start questioning my thought processes. Demytifying my addiction will cause its grip on my life to loosen. Thanks for taking the time to wite to me.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:17 pm 
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Lesson 18 Understanding addiction 3

A ritual I partake in that contains the filters of time, intensity and habituation:

Online chat and porn:

Create profile.
Choose images.
Create persona.
Approach people.
Wait for photos to be requested.
Allow chat to be developed.
Once no more photos or chat is forthcoming, try someone else.
Develop chat so I am in control.
Look at porn in between to fill in the boring part of the ritual.

Elements of sensory visual, sensory touch, fantasy, suspense, power, orgasm.

Filter of time in waiting for the right person to chat too, length of space between responses, creating persona and for photos.

Intensity: type of photo, touch while masturbating, theme of porn. Geaphicness of chat.

Habituation: Type of porn, more graphic cyberchat, speak to newer people, change persona


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:51 pm 
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Posts: 132
Lesson 20

I guess I was ok until the age of 11 although the foundations of my addiction were, in hindsight, already established by that point. I had pretty low self esteem as a child and never felt comfortable in my own skin. One way in which this manifested itself was through me closing myself off emotionally from others, for fear of being humiliated or hurt. When I discovered masturbation and fantasy, I used it as a way of managing my emotions, without having to rely on other people. I didn't consciously do this, but it very quickly became my crutch. I suppose my addiction helped to exacerbate my feelings of separation and loneliness, becoming a vicious circle. I also became adept at living a double life, always keeping my private life very private. All through my life since then, I've used addiction to regulate my emotion, to the extent that I worry that I no longer know who I am without addiction. When doing the last lesson of observing my compulsion, I realise the extent to which I rely on a string of habitual thoughts and actions to live my life but an underlying sense of fear still remains.

I have experienced episodes in the past where I have felt emotional hurt and it's caused me to turn to my addiction to block out the pain. I can also envisage scenarios where a relapse might slowly creep up. I think in both instances, it's important to build up a healthy values system as a means of properly handling emotional difficulty I.e. Confront the pain rather than try to suppress it.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:50 am 
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Posts: 132
I've been away travelling for a few weeks and towards the end really started to struggle with the lack of structure, leading to me acting out. I want to refocus on my values and monitoring which I've not engrained. I'm fed up of wallowing, I need to find a way of using my emotions to live me life. It's the reason I act out but conversely the reason I don't practice recovery when I feel ok.

Here are my monitoring goals again:

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?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2015 5:59 pm 
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Lesson 21

A) Goals I've failed to achieve.

An example would be failing to incorporate meditation into my life. I think one of the main reasons I've failed to do this comes down to self-belief and self-worth. Subconsciously I believe learning to meditate would produce lots of benefits but it feels like I sabotage myself as part of me believes I don't deserve to be happy. There may also be an element of fear too. I've been like I am for so long that a part of me fears the change that meditation might bring about. I guess also the lack of accountability is another reason. If I don't meditate, life doesn't immediately get any worse, it just doesn't get any better. Another example of the pitfalls of living an emotions-based life rather than a values-based one.

B) Goals I've succeeded in achieving.

An example would be obtaining my degree. It took a lot of study and effort but I did it in the end. What helped was that it ticked all the boxes of being SMART. It was a clear objective that was measurable, relevant and time bound. I knew when I had achieved it and could quantify the success. I also had a support network and accountability.

C) I want to have incorporated 20 minutes of meditation into my life by 1/2/2016.

This would involve meditating for 10 minutes each day by 1/1/16.
I will create a meditation corner in my bedroom instead of using my bed.
I will create a schedule of subjects to meditate on, so that from Jan 1 to Feb 1 I am meditating on a personal theme (e.g. Self-esteem) at least three times a week.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 3:37 pm 
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Lesson 22

Ritual measured:

Cyberchat ritual

Elements identified: Sensory visual; Suspense; Sensory touch; Fantasy; Power; Orgasm

Values:

Fantasy 3
Time 8, Intensity 8, Habituation 8
Total 12

Suspense 3
Time 5, Habituation 5, Intensity 8
Total 6.5

Sensory Visual 2
Time 7 Habituation 7 Intensity 8
Total 6

Sensory Touch 2
Time 2 Habituation 2 Intensity 8
Total 4

Power 1
Time 6 Intensity 5 Habituation 5
Total 2.66

Orgasm 1
Time 2 Intensity 6 Habituation 2
Total 1.66

Total. 32.8


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:15 pm 
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Just wanted to check in here before I proceed with the workshop. It's been a while since I did a lesson, I've been really up and down over these past few months and have gone off the rails in terms of my recovery. I suppose I've perceived myself as a failure for not pursuing my recovery which has discouraged me even more. The pattern has been a week of no acting out, followed by a binge and so on. My mental state over this time hasn't been great, my routine has been almost robotic and I really lost motivation for lots of things. Even though I was using my porn/cyber rituals, it hasn't occupied as much of my time as in the past. However, I noticed how I've used food as an emotional crutch, overeating all of the wrong things. It's made me realise that the porn use is a symptom rather than the cause of the problem. It is a serious symptom though as it almost reinforces my problem and solidified it every time it occurs.

Not sure why I'm writing the above, I wanted to try and get it off my chest. As much as I've wanted to come back and proceed with my recovery, I suppose I've been fearful in a way and the longer I've left it, the harder it's been. It seems strange to just throw myself back into it after such a gap. I guess I need to revisit my values (which still hold true to me) and then make a pledge to get back on the horse after falling off. If anyone has any advice, it would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 9:52 am 
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Posts: 132
Been acting out more and more regularly and it's always the same old ritual prompted by the same old triggers. I go for a while without doing it and then it's like life is too straightforward so I spoil it. I don't know why the hell in so scared.i hate the fact that I can't or at least don't know how to control urges. I hate not being able to control myself. Right now, I'm struggling to see a way out because whenever I visualise a more positive future, I know that I'll prevent myself from achieving it. Really not sure what to do because I damn well want to change. I'm gonna start again from scratch and see how I get on.

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.

1) I want to change massively, not for anyone else as no one knows I'm struggling but I want to change for myself. All I can do I suppose is commit myself to truthful lily following the lessons and actively adopting what I learn to the best of my ability. At the same time, I need to learn from my mistakes and not be lulled into a false sense of security and happiness after a short period of abstinence. Resting on my laurels will be the biggest challenge. I face along the way.

2) Guilt and shame run through me and have done for my adult life. I've always felt strange because of my addiction and hate the spotlight being on me. Because of my shame and guilt at my weakness, I'm a private person and find it difficult to open up. One of the ways I want to try overcoming this is by opening up more on my thread, posting about my feelings and not hiding away so much. This will give me an outlet to talk and express myself.

3) I want to live a healthy life and that's my goal. To make it SMART it feels like I need to put a timescale to it. I know it's not going to be as easy as flicking a switch but I suppose if I actively try to change it's only then that time becomes an issue..

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. Don't stop at three or four obvious ones, really examine your life and what is important to you. Phrase these in the positve. For example: " I don't want to keep deceiving my wife" would serve you better if written like "I want to be honest and transparent with my wife". Positive statements have much more power in our mindset than negative ones. List these in your recovery thread.

I want to be proud of myself
I want to achieve my dreams in life
I want to establish a romantic relationship
I want to fulfil my potential in life
I want to feel in control
I want to have self-discipline
I want to find out who I am
I want to overcome jealousy of others
I want to walk up the street and be free
I want to go on holiday and not worry about the urge striking
I want to be content with my life
I want to have the capacity to love

These are all true today.


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PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2016 2:13 pm 
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Lesson 2 Vision:

I've updated my vision and incorporated some changes. It remains broadly similar though.

I want to be a person who makes a positive difference to people's lives, someone whose compassion and understanding have a positive impact on people, just like the main character at the end of 'It's A Wonderful Life'. 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. I empathise with people and recognising that being judgemental or trying to compare myself to others is never going to be positive. would like to be a person who shares himself, his experiences and feelings with the people around him. I want to be an emotionally intelligent person, intelligent enough not to be governed solely by my my emotions, a person confident in my own skin and in who I am. 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.

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 am an organised and disciplined person with a structure to life that enables me to achieve my goals. 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.

******


Some other observations on the lesson which I wanted to comment on were around the statement of ignorance breeding fear. I can relate to this, there's a part of me that hasn't engaged with recovery for fear that I'll fail. It sounds stupid when I write it down as I'm guaranteed failure if I don't try. However, by not learning about recovery, it's almost like I'm protecting myself from disappointment.

The other comment was around depth. It's not a concept I find easy to understand, partly because my emotion driven approach to managing my life has preventing me from doing so. It's like asking a blind person to experience sight, to a degree, but it m looking forward to trying. My addictions aren't just related to porn. I also have unhealthy relationships with food, Internet and even work on occasion. I use and pursue all of these to excess as emotional management tools.


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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 3:33 am 
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Posts: 132
Lesson 3

I think my values, or those I aspire towards, are largely the same as the last time I did this exercise, with some additions:

Living life with integrity
Using meditation and prayer to be more spiritual
Being disciplined/ self control
Be more open with people about myself and my opinions
Love myself/be kinder to myself
Take care of physical appearance, hair, teeth, skin, clothes
Exercise
Healthier diet
Seek a meaningful career
Earn enough to live a nice life
Seek to learn, develop knowledge
Learn languages
Work based learning
Find out more about local history
Spend time with my dog, go on walks
Look after my Mum
Communicate with other family members more
Meet with friends
Go travelling
Being assertive
Being determined
Being kind to people with time/thoughts
Spending time to enjoy freedom
Being organised and tidy
Confidence
Self love
Practice languages
Go to cinema and theatre
Being tenacious in pursuit of my health
Showing appreciation for what I have
Strengthening my role to friends
Sense of humour
Sense of honour
Sexuality
Experiencing a relationship
Experiencing fatherhood
Respecting Earth
Being compassionate
Being reliable
Being playful
Being a good son
Being a good sibling
Being a good uncle
Being a good nephew
Delivering quality in work
Always trying my best
Developing emotional maturity
Being more rational
Loving others
Allowing myself to be loved
Pursuing a career change
Honesty
Diligence
Prudence
Generosity
Being positive
Helping others
Engaging in politics
Being confident in my own skin

Dark side

Fear
Habit
Thoughtlessness
Immediate gratification
Self hatred
Comparing myself to others and falling short
Boredom
Weakness and surrender
Depression
Laziness
Lack of motivation
Secrecy
Thinking I'm undeserving
Jealousy


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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 5:12 pm 
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Posts: 132
Lesson 4 Prioritising Values

My list is much the same as last time. My main question is around aspiration v reality. I guess some of the stuff I've prioritised isn't true of my life at the moment but I would love to get there with it. Hope it's not too idealistic.

Living life with integrity/ honesty
Look after my Mum/Being a good son
Communicate with other family members more
Spend time with my dog, go on walks
Seek to learn, develop knowledge
Love myself/be kinder to myself
Meet with friends
Being disciplined/ self control
Healthier diet
Exercise
Using meditation and prayer to be more spiritual
Always trying my best
Seek a meaningful career/ Pursuing a career change
Earn enough to live a nice life
Take care of physical appearance, hair, teeth, skin, clothes
Being kind to people with time/thoughts
Being a good sibling
Being determined
Being assertive
Being compassionate
Allowing myself to be loved
Being reliable
Go travelling
Learn French, Italian
Learn about Project Management
Find out more about local history
Be more open with people about myself and my opinions
Being organised and tidy
Being a good uncle
Being a good nephew
Spending time to enjoy freedom
Adding people to Linked in and Facebook
Hug self
Practice languages
Go to cinema and theatre
Being tenacious in pursuit of my health
Showing appreciation for what I have
Strengthening my role to friends
Sense of humour
Sense of honour
Sexuality
Experiencing a relationship
Experiencing fatherhood
Respecting Earth
Delivering quality in work
Always trying my best
Developing emotional maturity
Being more rational


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 6:28 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3798
Location: UK
TBWA
welcome back
in march you wrote .
Quote:
It's been a while since I did a lesson, I've been really up and down over these past few months and have gone off the rails in terms of my recovery. I suppose I've perceived myself as a failure for not pursuing my recovery which has discouraged me even more.

unfortunately this is not unusual but nor should it be considered as acceptable


you then said
Quote:
Not sure why I'm writing the above, I wanted to try and get it off my chest. As much as I've wanted to come back and proceed with my recovery, I suppose I've been fearful in a way and the longer I've left it, the harder it's been. It seems strange to just throw myself back into it after such a gap. I guess I need to revisit my values (which still hold true to me) and then make a pledge to get back on the horse after falling off. If anyone has any advice, it would be appreciated.


I expect that you felt that you needed a crutch, a support to help fill a gap being left by a "friend"
addiction is no friend and I believe that you have now discovered that you are your own crutch, your own support :g:

it is best that you have discovered this for yourself and that you are now back in the programme or as you put it on the horse
keep with it my friend, after all look at what you gain measured against the cost of continued addictive behaviour

this time lets get the job done, focus and work at it and the rewards are there, is it easy? No but its not that hard when you realise that urges are negative and exist only because we allow them to

good luck

_________________
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 May 11, 2016 5:56 pm 
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Posts: 132
Thanks Kenzo, what you say really resonates. The fear of the unknown can sometimes be overwhelming which is why I've felt pulled back towards my addictive behaviour. It stops the anxiety and negative emotions momentarily, although when they come back they're even worse. One of my challenges is expressing myself, for lots of reasons, and so sharing my thoughts and feelings on here is helpful to me. Receiving your feedback is motivating too so thank you again.


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