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 Post subject: ZGGTR's Recovery Thread
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:37 am 
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Lesson 2:

My vision is to simply be the man that my wife deserves and one where people that I've interacted with will look back and say "That guy led an awesomely good life with no regrets." This vision also shows that I've overcome the lying and dishonest addiction of my past.

Growing a old with my wife and sharing all the swashbuckling adventures with her along the way. A life where people are jealous of the love we have for one another and say there should be books or movies written about our lives together.

This life will not only include helping those less fortunate than ourselves , but also continuing to travel and sail around the Caribbean....maybe crossing the Atlantic once or twice as as well. Of course this vision also includes having a small farm / B&B that we can come home to. Complete with chickens, a few goats and a horse or two. This farm / B&B will also be 75%-80% off the grid (wind and solar) and serve as a bright example of how you can combine both healthy living and sustainable energy in a comfortable setting and environment.

I used to say when I died I wanted to come sliding into the pearly gates feet first with my clothes on fire saying "man what a ride". However, now I would be happy and hope that is more of walking up to that same gate holding my wife's hand and saying "Damn it was a good life, here is to another lifetime of joy together"


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3355
Location: UK
Hello ZGGTR
and welcome to RN

did you post your response to lesson one?
in particular reasons for wanting to change and reflection upon the pre addicted you ?
it is well worth doing

your vision is OK and its yours but could it be better?
could it be considered as focused only on the bigger picture and your relationship with your wife
both great but perhaps it could include for example, honesty, friendships, security, ............................the list is almost endless

now if you really do want to improve your life and to recover from your addiction then you are at a good place to make that wish reality
Commit , fully and completely
work through the lessons and understand them , if you miss something ask on the help forum , assistance is always on hand
coaches and mentors are likely to drop by occasionally but if not, don't worry as this is generally a good indicator that you are on the right path

the path is long and difficult but it is well proven and you are not alone
we usually suggest completing about 3 lessons a week but spending time every day posting and reading
get to know your addiction and see yourself with honesty and openness

remember to work at your own pace and its not a race indeed some consider recovery to be a journey rather than a destination


remember the only person that can make these changes is you, so the hard work needs to come from you
looking forwards to reading your posts and wishing you all the best

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:40 pm 
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Lesson 4

Being a better husband to Gardener Girl, a husband she deserves
Honesty, not only with others but also myself
Develop a healthy, active lifestyle
Become more self aware and emotionally stronger
Living a life of integrity
Living a life of care and compassion for the people and world around me
Living for the positive moment (not dwelling on the past)
Become more playful and laid back, similar to how I used to be
Become realistic, realizing some dreams will be just that, dreams and nothing more.
Become less confrontational
Be more understanding and open minded

*Thank you for the additional input. I am actually working on the individual and couples path simultaneously so some posts are delayed while we work together on those as well and will continue to post on both as I and we work thru this.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:11 pm 
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Lesson 4 and 5

After thinking about this more I've added a few others to my initial list. I have a feeling this list may still continue to grow as I continue down this path of recovery.


Being a better husband to Gardener Girl, a husband she deserves
Honesty, not only with others but also myself
Develop a healthy, active lifestyle
Become more self aware and emotionally stronger
Living a life of integrity
Living a life of care and compassion for the people and world around me
Living for the positive moment (not dwelling on the past)
Become more playful and laid back, similar to how I used to be
Become realistic, realizing some dreams will be just that, dreams and nothing more.
Become less confrontational
Be more understanding and open minded
Seen as a mentor
Lend a helping hand to those in need
Learn to be more patient
Become more organized
Being a great friend, one that can be relied upon
Being a great boss to my employees


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:02 pm 
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Lesson 6

1. Honesty, not only with others but also myself
* Accept that I am not perfect
* Understand that it is ok to feel the way I do
* Realize it's ok to be different
* That I do have a problem and need to work hard on recovery

2. Develop a healthy, active lifestyle
* Continue to run and bike even if I don't enjoy it...eventually I might
* Enjoy it for the moment, knowing it will be worth it in the end
* Use that time to clear my mind and only focus on finishing the run/ride

3. Become more playful and laid back, similar to how I used to be
* Enjoy life
* Enjoy my life with Gardner Girl
* Enjoy the small things in life
* Work is work but life is even more important
* "Don't worry Be happy" Bobby McFarrin was right on with that.
* No matter how successful I may be at the end of the day...always remember point 1

4. Become less confrontational
* Not everything needs to be debated
* I don't need to die on every hill
* Ask myself if it's really worth it?
* Bob Marley said it best "Don't worry about a thing, everything little thing gonna be alright"

5. Become more organized
* An organized mind seems to lead to an organized life.
* Start in the garage and continue it thru the rest of my life.
* Develop a Things To Do List. Not only for my work but for my life
* Add things and cross them off as they are created
* Some items may take days, weeks, months or years..... others mere minutes


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:56 pm 
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Lesson 7

6. Being a better husband to Gardener Girl, a husband she deserves
- This will take most of the values already listed. Some of those are:
- Honesty not only with myself but also with her
- Continue the open communication that is so vital, not only for recovery but for us as well.
- Continue on my road to recovery


7. Become more self aware and emotionally stronger
- Take time to "check in" with myself
- Understand how to control my emotions and react rationally and accordingly
- Learn to take short comings and criticism in stride, it's going to happen


8. Living a life of integrity
- Be me and nothing more. If it's not what you like, c'est la vie.
- Don't kick a man while he is down, offer to help him up
- Do what I say and say what I do


9. Become realistic, realizing some dreams will be just that, dreams and nothing more.
- Time to grow up and focus on life's important dreams, not petty ones.
- Don't dwell on the past
- Incorporate past dreams by finding similarities or common themes with larger, more important
dreams


10. Living for the positive moment (not dwelling on the past)
- Strive to look for the best, not at the worst
- Realize yesterday is done. Learn from it so not to repeat, but today is today
- Take the best from the past, leave the ugly stuff behind and live a happy life
- Buy a random person a cup of coffee


11. Lend a helping hand to those in need
- Take someone less fortunate to lunch
- Volunteer or donate to charitable causes
- Treat a homeless family to a home cooked meal (if I can convince GG)
- Sponsor a family for Christmas (if I can convince GG)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:51 pm 
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Lesson 10

**This lesson is a bit confusing because I don't know if I am being asked to look at the past behavior or my current state. I am going with the current state because I it seems the examples are all present tense.

IV: I can happily say that I have no hidden books, mags, emails, websites, pictures or any other items anywhere. I've deleted every website login or email account I've had as well.

V: I can also say that for the past month (since realizing I needed to change and starting my recovery) I have not acted out, looked for ways to act out or tried to hide any unacceptable activities. While I may have used the Internet as a compulsive means to act out in the past that ship has sailed so to speak.

VI: Similar to above I have not frequented the internet porn sites or Craigslist that I was so brutally addicted to in the past.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:07 pm 
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Lesson 12

Since the assessment for lesson 11 seems to be a casualty of the site crash I'm moving on to lesson 12.


If I were to look at this from an honest perspective I'd say I am somewhere between group 3 and 4. I recognize that I must continue on to complete my recovery but also very curious where this road leads and what I can learn from it. I am on a constant lookout and keeping a "weather eye" out for the triggers and pitfalls that I so easily fell for in the past. Yet I am also looking forward to the day I can truly be free of the addiction and compulsiveness that I know is still lurking just below the surface. I also look forward to the point I can share the struggles that I have overcome with others sharing this tumultuous time, be it in a 12 step group or thru the forums here. In short I would say group 3.5 is where I am currently at.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:53 pm 
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Lesson 13

While reading the section I immediately started picking out things and saying yep, know that feeling....check. Some of those were:

Early Recovery
Individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.
- Since this is not the first time I've tried to change I experienced this feeling. However, I can say after hitting bottom it was the first time I admitted To myself I had a problem. Not that I didn't try to stop before, but those times had all the warning signs and I ignored them

They tend to experience relief in having their behaviors understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of their life. Unfortunately, this tends to overwhelm them.
- However, instead of feeling overwhelmed it lead to the second item on the early recovery list......depression, anxiety and hopelessness. I couldn't stop asking myself why did I, how could I, etc. and because I didn't have the answers it feed the depression and lead to "beating myself up".

They tend to explore many different trigger situations to see how well they can handle themselves. To see "how far they have come". This is a behavior that is often witnessed in adolescent wound care.
- I haven't actually tried exploring. I know it is wrong and do not need to see where I'm at along my recovery. But I have spoken to GG when I realized that I was close to a trigger event or something had triggered the thought of acting out. That has shown me how far I've come because in the past I would not have said anything and lived in that moment and acted out.

Middle Recovery
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.
- See above. I have left that guy behind and started fresh. I know there is a long road ahead but if I keep a keen eye out and learn new, healthy alternatives this will soon be just another chapter (hopefully short) in the book of life.

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.
- 'nuff said. That later part has always led to bad decisions and trouble.

Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity.
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.
They see their lives as a continuous process of growth and development, rather than an episodic book of starts and stops.

Late Recovery :
While I find some similarities in my thoughts and actions I would be dumb to think I am here. I am happy to identify some of the items listed in this category happening but realize there is more work to be done.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:59 pm 
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Exercise 14

1. Did I carry myself as a person worthy of respect today?
2. Did I spend time on self reflection today?
* Was it quality time?
* How much time did I invest?
3. 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.
4. Did I initiate at least one meaningful conversation with GG today?
* If not, how many days has it been since I have?
5. Was I attentive to GG's needs today?
6. Was I truthful in everything I shared with GG today?
7. Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do today?
8. How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability at the moment?
9. Did I act out today?
* Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
* Was I conscious of the situation and triggers involved?
* If no, did I role play a past or possible future compulsive ritual to ingrain confidence in my ability to
manage these rituals?
* Did speak to GG about the relapse?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:19 pm 
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Exercise 15

Exercise 15

This one was a hard one because there are a lot of things that I have learned and pinning down just one is difficult. I guess the one that might have made the biggest impact and been the biggest integration is this: I'm not alone and many people that faced this addiction have not only beaten it, but have come out better than before.

So how do I integrate that? I have admitted that I had a problem and have committed myself to change. Not just the SCA part of my life but all parts, because they ultimately lead back to that compulsive addiction in some form. I've created new routines to avoid falling back into the "comfortable norm". I've started effectively communicating GG and others to avoid the pitfalls that accompany the shortsighted and self preserving communication of the past. In short, I know I have a problem and the only way to beat it is learn from not only those that have beaten it and come out stronger....but also learn from the stories by those that have fallen and needed to start over or recommit.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:28 pm 
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Lesson 16

I really am struggling with this exercise. If I look at the aspects of my addiction...the porn, the masturbation and the infidelity, I really do not see any positive aspects that could be associated with my behavior.

I actually had to cheat a little and read a few other Recovery threads to see what others on this journey posted for this exercise. This is not to copy so to speak but we are all on this path and hopefully one day someone may find help reading my thread.

Anyway I still really don't think of anything positive because they were nothing more than "perceived" positive aspects.
- Did I find that I was able to handle stressful situations? Yes, but then again I also added way more stress to my life.
- Did I feel sexually desirable? Yep, but then again I didn't like myself after acting out.

So I am still struggling with this exercise. I can see where it might have been a short term positive, but in reality it was nothing more than an illusion I was creating to justify it in my weak mind.


***** Hopefully this is what the lesson is looking for and I welcome input from the group as I really struggled with it.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:44 pm 
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Lesson 17:

SC Wheel:
Past
Fantasy
Sensory (visual)
Orgasm
Accomplishment


When acting out there has always been the stigma of the PAST and this turned into a FANTASY. There was a shame/fear because my FANTASY is not considered mainstream by many and I was fearful of how GG would take it. Seeking the VISUAL fulfillment led to arousal and ultimately ORGASM. I can't say there was a sense of accomplishment because I typically felt depressed after acting out. But why would I have acted out if I was not looking for some sort of accomplishment. So yes, I'll say ACCOMPLISHMENT would follow orgasm. Although I am not sure what brought me back to the acting out each time, perhaps it was the actual FANTASY and PAST.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:03 pm 
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Lesson 18

TIME: Many things done in excess in life tend to lose their appeal, can become boring, mundane or any other adjective that fits. I found this true with my addiction. The more time I spent acting out the more I would dive further into the fantasy, porn and acting out.

INTENSITY & HABITUATION: While diving further into the hole I would find that other things would lead me to arousal, pleasure and orgasm. Thus the intensity was increasing with each dive as I explored other avenues to my addiction. As this became a habit I needed more and more each time I acted out and the intensity increased.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:08 pm 
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Exercise 20:

1. This exercise starts back at a very young age, in fact I can't remember exactly how old I was. I vaguely remember this moment in time but it is still the spark that started it all. Because I was so young I didn't know that what was happening could be labeled as abuse. It was just something that brothers did....right? Fast forward about 10 years and the spark caught enough air to become an ember and began to smolder. This time that ember was caused by a stash of porn mags in the detached garage. After looking at them, fantasizing and exploring I invited a friend to look at them with me. Now that I understand the cycle of addiction I understand and can see the progression from just looking at pictures to acting out. Looking back holistically I feel this ember is what started the fierce fire that I'm fighting today, that was the first time I acted out sexually. We can fast forward 5 -10 more years and the addiction had pretty much become a secret part of me, fantasy, self gratification and all. By know the fire had started and was well on its way to a full on forest fire. This fire was at the point where it could have been extinguished with a fire extinguisher had I admitted I had a problem, but no. Problem, I have no problem I can stop at anytime. This would last for a few days, weeks ore even months but it always came back and each time the fire was bigger. At this point the wild fire would need a fire truck and possibly a tanker truck to make sure the embers were completely out. Again I'd tell myself I didn't have a problem, sadly it was all I'll conceived and half hearted attempts. Now in my defense I truly did mean and try to stop but didn't accept that It was an addiction so they fell flat each time. Fast forward to the past two years. Stress, stress at work, stress at home, stress that life gives you (death of a parent) all fanned the flames of my addition. The fantasy and shame kept growing. The habituation and frequency feed to an increased need for more. The fantasy was quickly morphing into contacting people. The contacting people finally ended with acting out with another person outside our marriage. At this point the fire trucks are pointless as they are now dealing with a major forrest fire that is consuming everything in its path. Fire trucks have been replaced with helicopters and planes dropping fire retardant to block the path and regain control. When facing a divorce, and losing the love of my life I was finally ready to admit that I HAVE A PROBLEM. Houston didn't have one, but I sure did. It was at that point a plane dropped the first deluge of water and extinguished a small portion of that fire. 1% contained, still a major problem, all hands on deck and birds in the air, but 1% contained and this fight has just begun. I will say that the last part of that story was just around 2 months ago. The planes are still in the air, the smoke jumpers are still attacking the brush but we are slowly reining the fire in, 14% contained and gaining ground with each day. Every day is a good one and every day without acting out is even better. ....15% contained.

2. Fast forward to future transitions in life see me with 20% contained and gaining no ground each day. I am learning to live with life's challenges and although I can't change them, I can change how I deal with them....25% contained. I am still finding it hard to see how my addiction could play a positive role other than getting me to the realize I needed help, had a problem and then began learning how to positively change and understand my addiction, as well as how to deal with it. Having said all that I am learning that I need to look out for my old habits creeping back in. Withdrawing from meaningful conversation with GG, not talking about urges, hiding email accounts etc. this would be a gradual relapse so I would need to be extra vigilant as life's stresses continue to come my way. To combat this I will steal the Serenity Prayer.

"Grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

This is very true as I commonly fought with things I could not change rather than accepting them and doing what I needed to do to ensure I don't let it consume me like it has in the past. All birds are still in the air, trucks are on the ground and the smoke jumpers are on standby....30% contained and gaining ground a bit each day.


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