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PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:02 am 
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LESSON 26

Again, I am comfortable with the ritual that I had mapped out first time around.

The object of the lesson is to start to gain an awareness of the change in emotional state when a given set of circumstances occur which lead to the rituals commencing and how that state alters throughout the ritual.

I now believe that it is possible to unlearn the habit of making decisions based on emotions and I am making far more progress on that now. I am also aware that the original engraining took nearly 40 years for me and so it will not be completely unlearned again overnight. Some things (engrained) have become instinctive which include reactions to given situations. It takes time to bring yourself back to the present to realise that the situation is nonsense and a decision based on emotions is not necessary. The trigger for bring you back to the present is the sense that an urge or compulsive behaviour is approaching. It is interesting reading back my mapped ritual under this lesson because I can still remember the emotional change in me through that process at the time. It can be similar to blowing up a balloon and then letting the air rush back out into your mouth so that it produces a tingling feeling in the top of your chest. At the time this ritual happened I wanted more of that feeling and got to a point where I felt that I no longer had control over stopping the process so followed it through to its conclusion.

Now I look at the ritual and see it as one of the worst cases of "Power/Control/Danger" that I ever experienced. Alongside the affair that I had this was one of the biggest highs that I ever got. It is interesting now looking at it with a fresh pair of eyes to see that the rush of excitement was not in fact coming from the fact that I ended up seeing this girl naked but from the control that I exercised over her. That suddenly makes it less personal and more of a mechanical thing which in turn makes it feel less natural. That sits very well with the following point made in the lesson:
Quote:
"By learning to break down the elements of your existing ritualistic patterns, you are providing yourself a concrete, objective means for seeing the role that your compulsive behavior plays in your life. In other words, what you have previously accepted as natural, can now be experienced as artificial."

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:15 am 
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LESSON 27

I am generally being far more conscious at the moment of how I am feeling and how I know that I would ordinarily have acted in a given set of circumstances in the past. The point of this lesson is that that habituation will require additional stimulation to be provided in order to either gain at least the same high as before or alternatively to enable the act to be prolonged but to maintain the level of stimulation.

If I look back I can see how my rituals had become more complex or extended over time in order to maintain stimulation. It has also been interesting to monitor how my mind had got engrained into craving excitement throughout the day. If I am a bit bored doing a task at work I can sense that my mind would ordinarily drift into thinking about all manner of inappropriate things in order to seek a quick shot of emotion to carry me through. My day would then be filled with a constant flow of positive and negative emotions. No wonder I would feel knackered most of the time.

So whilst I am have been making myself aware of those feelings I have been making a point of trying to avoid situations where I am having an extreme shift of emotions, I can sense it is happening (e.g. a bad thought about to emerge and I can see it coming) and I have been able to stop it in its tracks and have been thinking hard about me longer being an addict and I don't need to want that sort of unhealthy excitement in my life any more which then quickly turns in to thinking about my family and my life without addiction. It then gives me a very different feeling of satisfaction which is the depth that CoachJon refers to. All of this has been giving me a sense of calm which is very welcomed. I think it is also helpful that I know this time that there are no exceptions, I'm not saving certain small things which I can still secretly get a rush from, I am "all in" and that feels good.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:57 am 
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LESSON 31

Identifiable Stressors
In-laws staying in house on holiday with us
Son does not listen a lot of the time which winds me up
Pressure I am putting on myself to get RN right this time

Energy drained from Values List
In the most part this is the case but I am expending a lot of energy on RN and trying to take everything on board. It seems to come in waves, I appear to get my head around something and then it feels a bit different again then next day and then it is back on track again. I think it is a case of overcoming the behaviour which had previously become engrained over a long period. One of the targets from the beginning of the workshop though is to become passionate about my values and I am spending a lot of time focussing on those and how much they mean to me. There is going to be a period of transition where that fights against my old behaviour and I remind myself of why my values are more important and then I am OK again but it is draining a lot of energy doing that.

Meaning from Values List
I can tell that the time I am investing in my values is paying off. Since my heart to heart with my wife a month or two back the whole atmosphere in our house has changed and it is far more positive and close. All of that makes it easier to have a clear sight of my values being so important and it is this that gives me fulfilment and satisfaction.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:17 am 
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LESSON 33 & 34

By going through these two lessons again I am reminded of how my feelings are unchanged from going through them the first time around. In each case I found the lesson interesting but found the exercise very uncomfortable. I understand that the exercise is about gaining an appreciation that compulsive behaviour brings emotions which are in fact finite in their nature but it requires you to allow yourself to thinking about compulsive acts. Having got used to not thinking about that I have found the whole process quite unsettling. Although I don't feel happy about experiencing the rushes of emotions again I appreciate that the urges can be powerful but are not something that can not be overcome which is what I believe they were aimed at achieving.

That said, I have gained more positive things from observing more naturally how my emotions change and what part, if any, that my values play a part in influencing my decisions. Whilst one part of me feels like I have done something wrong from allowing myself to think about acting out (see above), on reflection I realised that there is a positive to be taken from this in that I did not actually act out and it was my values that brought me back to where I should be again. This led me to think further about my values. This time around I have been making a real point of giving them lots of thought and trying, as CoachJon suggests, to develop a "passion" for them. This morning I was thinking back a year ago prior to joining RN I can and I can see that I would make decisions based purely on whether the given situation would instantly make me feel better. If, for example, it occurred to me to look for some nude images on the internet then I would just do it but would feel awful about it afterwards. My values would not come into my mind until I felt bad about the situation later. Now, my values are at the forefront of my mind and that has made a big difference to me. I need to remember though that the process of recovery is a transition and I can't expect to from "addict" to "recovered" in one quick step. I need to realise that I will be vulnerable to my reactions to my emotions and that it will take time and dedication to get there. I need to be less hard on myself and should give myself more praise on focussing on my values more and by absorbing far more of the learning this time around.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 2:50 am 
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Over the weekend I have been continuing to pay attention to my emotions and potential urges. I have also spent more time thinking about emotions during urges being finite and in particular have struggled a little bit to get my head around that. As I am a visual learner I then thought about the emotions generated by an urge being in a kind of cloud being emitted around me. I then pictured this image of me being contained within a large frame or box. I then pictured stepping out of the box and leaving the cloud being contained inside of it and then me putting a hand on each opposite corner of the box and compressing it until it was a very small box in my hand. I kept crushing it and then it disappeared. As that happened the emotions disappeared with it. This has been quite effective when I have been thinking about it since then as I think it helps me disassociate myself from the emotions as I step outside of the box. Over the course of the weekend I have not really then had much in the way of negative emotions and have had a sense of calm about me which is very unfamiliar. I will be on my guard but I feel like I am heading in a direction that I hadn't been in before. We'll see how it goes.


LESSON 35

I have reworked my weekly monitoring which has involved a few tweaks and this now reads as follows:

WEEKLY PLAN

a) Have I been managing urges quickly and positively and ensuring that I do not dwell on them?
b) Have I been proactive is asking my wife about activities that she and my son have engaged in that day with prior reference to the home calendar?
c) Have I taken time to undertake activities each day that I enjoy to have some "me time" (e.g. reading, crossword, etc)?
d) Have I been tactile with my wife (e.g. hug when I get home, touching her leg in bed in a non-sexual way, etc)?
e) Have I been engaging in active listening when talking to my wife at home and avoiding distractions?
f) Have I spent some quality time with my son and engaged in conversation around his interests?
g) Have I used the stairs at work every day?
h) Have I avoided being drawn into potentially confrontational situations?
i) Have I spent time visualising my recovery being about managing my life rather than managing my addiction?
j) Have I spent time each day visualising the importance that my wife and son have in my life and how they should be prioritised above anything else?


Question #1: Over the past seven days, from what areas of my life did I derive the majority of my meaning and fulfillment. Think specific actions you experienced, not general ideals. "On Tuesday, I took out my guitar and just played for my kids. Took the time to teach them a few notes. It was meaningful to me." This, as opposed to...'music, kids...'

Question #2: Over the past seven days, where did the majority of my energy go? As in, was there chronic stress/pressure/boredom I had to manage? Were there any major traumatic events? Any intense emotional events?

Question #3: Given the meaning that I derived this week and the events I had to manage — how well did I do in maintaining emotional balance through healthy means? Were there times when my life management skills were inadequate and I ended up turning to artificial means (e.g. compulsive behavior)?

Question #4: Looking ahead to the next seven days, are there any significant events that I need to prepare for, so that I am not caught off guard? Deadlines, reunions, holidays, dates, etc.
Beyond that, monitor anything that is important to you. Your relationships, your health, your progress towards certain goals. Anything can go on your Weekly Monitoring as long as it is consistent with your emerging value system.

Question #5: Have I had any events or incidents that have taken place over the last week which have caused me significant negative emotion (e.g. argument with wife, staff not doing what I expect of them, my football team lose, etc)? If so have I felt the need to adjust my emotional state to compensate for it even if that meant an urge that I have then headed off? If so then I need to better anticipate these situations and develop action plans on how to deal with them.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:30 am 
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LESSON 36

In my original response to this exercise I made reference to my weak boundaries in relation to sexual behaviour and compared the to my stronger boundaries in relation to alcohol. I still like this comparison. I stopped smoking and drinking (at separate times) a number of years ago. For each I had a strategy of reminding myself whenever faced with an opportunity to smoke or drink that it was not something that I wanted or needed and after the initial stress subsided I was able to enjoy the feeling of satisfaction of making a healthy decision. After a while this habit became engrained to the point that it is just a natural way of life for me now and I experience no stress when faced with an environment that cigarettes and alcohol and freely available. I see now that I have created and embedded firm boundaries which align to my value set.

I have made some big steps forward in relation to sexual behaviour and engraining how I approach decisions when faced with compulsive thoughts. This is actually very similar to where I was when I stopped smoking and drinking. I can therefore take comfort that this is actually a well trodden path for me. As I continue to place lots of focus on my values and have clarity on what would constitute a clear breach of them, I am establishing boundaries and, with time, these will become just a natural way of life for me which will not generate any stress when a potential opportunity for unhealthy behaviour presents itself.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:25 am 
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LESSON 37

The first time around I wrote
Quote:
I. List three of your highest values (values prioritized within the top five). 

To be faithful
To be trustworthy
To be honest

II. For each value, list at least five concrete boundaries (rules) that you will use to protect that value. 

To be faithful
1. I will not have sexual contact with anyone other than my wife
2. I will not have a sexual discussion with anyone other than my wife or coaches as part of my recovery on RN
3. If I see a woman I will not allow myself to be drawn into my ritual fantasies
4. When I experience moments of boredom, stress or frustration I will not allow myself to get drawn towards my rituals
5. I will conduct myself in a way that my wife and son will be proud

To be trustworthy
1. I will be transparent with my wife in everything that I am doing
2. I will encourage my wife to contact me at any time to reinforce that I am always where I say I am
3. I will demonstrate that I will always do what I say I am going to so


To be honest
1. I will lead my life knowing that I should be able to relay everything I say and do to my wife
2. I will not leave details out of recounts to my wife for fear of it painting me in a poor light as this may unintentionally create an impression of concealing something else
3. I will give honest opinion on important things when asked by my wife even if I know that this will lead to a potentially confrontational situation

III. Absolute boundaries are those boundaries that under no circumstances will you ever cross. These must be realistic AND you must hold them in reverence. Typically, everyone should have at least three such absolute boundaries. List three that you will use to help manage your life.

1. I will not have sexual contact with anyone other than my wife
2. I will not have a sexual discussion with anyone other than my wife or with coaches as part of my recovery on RN
3. I will conduct myself in a way that my wife and son will be proud

I remain comfortable with my responses to I and II but I would restate III as follows:

1. I will not have sexual contact with anyone other than my wife
2. I will not do or say anything that I could not tell my wife about
3. I will respect peoples' privacy

The first one is fairly obvious. The second one is broad but easy to remember and will cover a wide range of areas that should not be abused. Quite simply, if I am doing or saying anything that I would not be able to share with my wife then it is clearly not something that I am proud of doing. It aligns very well with my vision and putting my family first. The third one is aimed at heading off the temptation to scan and objectify women. This has become so engrained since an early age that I can find myself doing it without thinking. I have been making concerted efforts to avoid this by having in mind that oggling a omen is a complete violation of their privacy and this boundary will help address a very important area.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:14 am 
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LESSON 38

I decided to do the exercise before I looked back to see what I said the previous time.

The two biggest threats to me are Inappropriate Emails and searching for Celebrity Photos.

Inappropriate Emails
This is headed off by my absolute boundary of "I will not do or say anything that I could not tell my wife about". To be honest, this boundary will head off almost any inappropriate behaviour and will be the cornerstone of recovery for me.

Celebrity Photos
On the basis of these being "hacked" photos and therefore shared without the owner's permission my absolute boundary of "I will respect peoples' privacy" will apply well here. This boundary is intended more to avoid scanning and objectifying women but would work well here too.

I feel comfortable that these 3 absolute boundaries should cover most if not all scenarios.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:18 am 
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I do my weekly monitoring on a Friday and for the first time in a long time I was able to breeze through each of my questions and answer them in the affirmative. I do sense that I have managed to absorb a lot more now and am able to better apply it to myself and adopt it rather than seeing the lessons and exercises as tasks and theoretical things. The difference is quite marked. I can sense feeling tired because it has taken a lot of emotional energy to keep the right thoughts and frame of mind at the front of my mind at all times. This will be needed until it becomes engrained but it has become easier as the days and weeks have gone by so I can tell that it is working better this time. I have a real sense of calm about me though as I sense I am headed in the right direction which is welcomed.

Today is my last day at work for 2 weeks as I will be on annual leave and going away with my family. I really need a break from work and am looking forward to my time away with them. I will not be logging into RN during that time but will continue to have the right thoughts going through my head and continue to digest and absorb everything and put it into practice. I think a short break away from the reading and exercises may be no bad thing either.

Since my turning point conversation with my wife a couple of months back our relationship has been very different. We are far more relaxed with each other and are both more caring and considerate of each other. There is less tension in the air and we have become much closer. We obviously needed our heart to heart and we both acknowledge that we should have had that conversation a long time ago.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:44 am 
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I am now back from my holiday with my family. I have had an enjoyable and relaxing time with them and it has presented me with an opportunity to reflect on the second trip through the lessons thus far whilst having a break from RN and the workshop for a couple of weeks. Overall I feel far happier that my head is in the right place and that I have been managing my life in a better way. For example, being on holiday presents ample opportunity for scanning which I am pleased to say was successfully managed.

The thing that dawned on me though is that I can see that I am getting back towards the place that threw me last time around. I had a vision at the outset when I joined RN that I would go through the programme and it would help me to stop acting inappropriately and would get me to a place where my sole focus was on my wife and my family rather than fantasising about other inappropriate things. I pictured having a normal and healthy sex life with my wife and everything would be as it should be. When I got to that stage last time I suddenly felt lost as my wife was rarely interested in sex and I felt that I had done all of that hard work to be the person that she would want me to be and then she wasn't interested. On reflection, the main issue was that where I got to was not what I was expecting and I wasn't ready and prepared for that place.

This time around I am looking at things differently so am not panicking but it still presents a problem for me. I want to live my life through my values so I have no concerns about ridding myself of my previous behaviour and keeping myself only for my wife. However, I need to also take into account my wife's unwillingness to engage in conversation about our sex life. I have tried to have 2 conversations with her about this over the course of this year and she has been very dismissive of the subject. I had thought that the last conversation had cleared the air a bit and was left with her preferring to "see how things go naturally" rather than trying to plan anything. To be fair, a few days later we had sex twice within the space of a couple of days but now we are nearly 3 months on with absolutely no signs of any further interest. I am not keeping a firm count but we have probably had sex around half a dozen times over the course of the last year which averages once every other month. I don't know if this is "normal" or not but my sense is that that is low for a couple in their late forties. I don't want to raise it again as it will likely only serve to wind her up further and I don't want that. But I am left with no clarity on what to expect. In the past we have gone 4 years with not having sex and I don't want to be there again. Trying to be impartial about it, if I was offering advice to another member I would be encouraging them to discuss it with their partner and I am not quite sure what else to do. Part of my feels like it is my penance for what I did and in some ways I can accept that. Last night I wondered how I would react if my wife made a move on me. Part of me felt irritated that I am just expected to be ready and willing every day and night until we get to a point days/weeks/months/years down the line where she suddenly feels in the mood and that I am expected to just be grateful for that. Part of me feels like rejecting her advances and saying that I don't want it to be like that and we need to discuss a way that works for both of us rather than there being an expectation that I should be there and ready at all times. I can see no other way of providing her with incentive to put herself into my shoes. I think that for this to work we need to discuss our respective preferences and see if there is some middle ground for us to work on. Up to now that hasn't happened. To do anything else is likely to be unsustainable. I am still not sure how to approach this.

On a separate note, the first time around the lessons I made a commitment to stop masturbating. CoachJon makes reference to this early on and recommends abstaining for a while whilst the lessons get underway. I completely understand that logic of that as you can not start to live by your values if you are fantasising in that way too. For the most part this was fine but I noticed that after a period of abstinence (say a few weeks) I got to a point where I just felt it frustrating not having any kind of release. It then became more of an effort to avoid inappropriate thoughts which could get exhausting. I know that there is no such thing as "normal" but if my sex life with my wife involved a frequency of, say, once or twice a month then this "build up" would avoided naturally. The problem is going a few months at a time and it becomes frustrating. I found that it just puts more pressure on our sex life or rather lack of it. So something needs to give and I have been spending time thinking about that. Where I got to is perhaps somewhat unconventional but I thought about the idea of masturbating from time to time (for the sake of argument let's say once a week) where I focus solely on enjoying the feeling of doing it rather than my usual method which would be to fantasise about inappropriate things. I ran this possible approach through my set of values and in particular through my Absolute Boundaries which are as follows:

1. I will not have sexual contact with anyone other than my wife
2. I will not do or say anything that I could not tell my wife about
3. I will respect peoples' privacy


The first boundary is technically breached as I would be having sex with myself rather than my wife but I know that the real intention of that boundary is to avoid having sex with other people. If I masturbated without thinking of anyone else (my wife included) then I don't think I would be experiencing a deceitful act of disrespecting my wife in any way - particularly as I would be doing this in place of having sex with her which she doesn't want.

The second one is interesting too, when I told my wife several months back that I had stopped masturbating she told me that was odd and that I shouldn't stop. I think it probably took the pressure off of an expectation of her needing to replace that sexual activity herself but nevertheless her comment means that she would not have a problem with the act itself (particularly I think if I am not thinking about other people at the time). If she asked me if I was masturbating could I be honest and say Yes? Actually, I think I am comfortable with that.

The third one is more intended to head off scanning and objectifying women but would also pass the test on the basis of my not thinking of other people during the act.

So, bizarrely, it seems to not breach any of my values whilst relieving the frustration created through the lack of bedroom activity. I have therefore experimented with this and so far it seems to have had the desired result. I am not naive enough to realise that there is no risk attached to this and I could see a situation where I try to convince myself that it is OK to relax some of the rules a little and before I know it I am headed back somewhere that I don't want to be. However, this is maybe the compromise situation that addresses some of my frustrations but not at my wife's expense.

I can see that approach as being contentious and may attract comment accordingly from coaches and mentors and my produce an interesting debate. I would also stress to any passing traffic that I am taking this approach having gone through the workshop entirely once already and am half way through the second time too and I am trying to apply my learning to this approach. I have not taken the decision lightly and I would not recommend that anyone follows me and sees this as a free pass to immediate gratification because that it certainly now how I am seeing this. May be I am being too open and honest as usual and maybe this won't work down the line but I am still here to learn too and I will be the first to admit that.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:11 pm 
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Hello L2R,
Quote:
may attract comment accordingly from coaches and mentors and my produce an interesting debate

Indeed, but I’m not here for debate. I’d recommend posting your thoughts regarding healthy masturbation on the help forum, as it could promote excellent discussion.

As for my intention for stopping by...
In February 2018 you detailed out your decision not to tell your wife about RN. I was not a mentor at the time so kept my observations to myself, but did agree with Kenzo’s comments (yet comepetely empathizing with your concerns). However i must note that it’s not realistic to expect true physical intimacy when emotional intimacy is impaired by selective honesty.

I’m curious if you’ve revisited that decision recently. I ask because I just read through a couples workshop lesson “Obstacles in Recovery” and thought of you. It resonated with me and I wondered how your perspective and awareness in your relationship might evolve. For me, it was understanding that I couldn’t put a time stamp on my wife’s recovery seeing that she was a veteran of trauma I caused. The couples program also offers recommendations on healing contracts and communication skills—something you’ve mentioned wanting to improve with her.

As is with all programs, it’s just just a guide and plants a seed. There are so many variables impacting the quality and status of a relationship and one workshop can not possibly address it all. If not discussing RN, perhaps you’ll at the least explore non-violent communication skills (NVC) to enhance how the both of you manage conflict and triggering discussions.

Be well,

Anon


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:57 am 
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Hey Anon, thanks for stopping by.

I have thought about talking to my wife about RN on a number of occasions but always end up in the same place. She is sceptical and also a very private person and does not like discussing her private life with anyone. It was a huge battle trying to get her to go with me to see a therapist after D Day several years ago. It took a lot for her to open up and it ended up being a bad experience for her which was the last nail in the coffin. I had suggested recently going back to see him or someone else and she was very resistant and dismissed the conversation very quickly. I can see that she would potentially get real benefit from talking to someone about anxiety which is a key theme for her but she won't listen to it. Her preference is to have her head in the sand and just get on with things. I find this frustrating as she won't be able to move on properly by bottling things up but I am not going to be able to convince her. If I mentioned RN to her this would produce several things:

1. It would drag D Day up again which she recently made clear that she does not want to think about any more
2. She is very sceptical and I fear she would not give RN a chance to see if it works, she would make her mind up that it is nonsense quite quickly. She would see the couples programme not for the value that it provides of a forum for a couple to engage in healthy conversation but rather airing your dirty washing for all to see. (As I write those words I can hear Kenzo saying "You think but you don't know" but I have known my wife for 20 years and we know how each other ticks. I just know that RN would not be for her and she would end up ridiculing my work on here which would make me angry.)
3. I know that she would paw over everything I have and will write on my thread which in turn I know will potentially affect what I write. I wouldn't start lying on my thread but I know that I would not write with the same level of honesty and openness as I currently do. I find it helpful to share what I am thinking knowing it is anonymised. I know that you have an understanding with your wife that she will not read your individual thread which is commendable but I don't think that would happen for me.

Overall, I do feel uncomfortable that there is one thing that I am not being honest with her about in being a member of RN but I have now mentally rationalised that by knowing that my membership is helping rather than hindering our relationship with the work I am doing on here. If push came to shove and somehow she found out then I would be able to look her in the eye and explain my reasons for not telling her which would be 1-3 above.

I guess that the purpose of my last post was to make the point that whilst my wife and I generally communicate very well and get on very well, there is little or no communication around this important area. I can not make her communicate despite having tried hard to get her to do that. If I keep on at her then it will merely increase tensions. So instead I am trying to find a way forward that I do have control over. I need to find a way of coping with our sex life being less than I would like. I accept that I have contributed to the issue through my past actions and in many ways would not blame her for her lack of interest if that is the reason. When we got married I made vows of fidelity (which I breached) but I did not make a vow of chastity. So contemplating healthy masturbation as a means of coping whilst not violating my values is a way of trying to achieve both. On paper it sounds like it may work but we will see.

In the meantime, I am interested in your point about NVC and I will certainly look into that as I had not heard that phrase before. Thanks again for your continued interest and support.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 320
LESSON 40

I'm not sure if this is directly answering the question but what I found quite interesting was to put myself into my wife's shoes and to picture what I would need to give me confidence that my partner was being faithful to me. When I had my affair several years ago I thought I was being very clever in hiding what I was up to and when D Day arrived my wife told me that she had suspected things for a while which surprised me. Looking at it now, it was probably not the clever arranging of hotels around business trips and convenient excuses as to where I was that was giving me away, it was probably more the way I was generally acting and my lack of being present. I get a sense from my wife now that she has no suspicions (justified) that I am up to anything and I think that comes from me being very relaxed around her and open and willing to discuss anything with her. When I am away on business trips I tend to text or phone her regularly so that we still have a laugh when I am away whereas before my contact would have been more factual which would be lining up reasons that I would be out of contact for a while. I have nothing to hide now so, for example, I won't now be on a PC and it always shows the same search engine page very time she walks past me as I quickly switch over from the porn I may have been looking at. She can look at my iPad and phone and knows my PIN numbers and when she has asked to borrow one or the other whilst at home I will happily hand it to her and walk off so she has full access to everything - in the past I would have been protective over her having, say, my phone in case I received an email from someone that I didn't want her to see. Also, I am far more present now and do not spend periods of time gazing into space and when I do and she challenges me on what I was thinking about I can tell her immediately it was about the impending important football game that my team is about to play or whatever, there are not obvious pauses whilst I make something up or give some vague answer to cover my tracks. I think that I am also being more thoughtful now and will help her where I can, say, in the kitchen if she is doing something and I can help prepare something or clear something away to make her life a little bit easier - that attentiveness has led to her being closer to me as there is a better connection.

So having wondered why I got caught out at D Day, I can now see a whole host of reasons why that happened when I compare how I now act around her with a clear conscience. I also used to get comments that revolved around me acting selfishly and only thinking of myself and that rarely happens now which is hopefully a sign that I am not just thinking of myself any more.

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L2R

"Should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit to recovery"


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:21 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3665
Location: UK
Hi L2R
Quote:
I got to that stage last time
I pictured having a normal and healthy sex life
I suddenly felt lost as my wife was rarely interested in sex
I felt that I had done all of that hard work to be the person that she would want me to be and then she wasn't interested
.

Remember that there are no I’s in team

Relationships are not about I

In your journey you got to a point and faltered, you did not fail, so do not fear that point go past it, rise above and counter your doubts, I know that you can and so do you,

Quote:
I need to also take into account my wife's unwillingness to engage in conversation about our sex life.

The why not engage in conversations about your love life?

All factors in your thread lead me to believe that yes she loves you but does she respect and trust you?
The comments above could give her reasons to take that stance, is sex more important than intimacy?
You say you need relief, but how far removed is that from the thinking of an acting out addict?
You are well into recovery and way beyond that point so please just reflect and re-evaluate


Quote:
we have probably had sex around half a dozen times over the course of the last year I don't know if this is "normal" or not but my sense is that that is low for a couple in their late forties

What is normal?
You are a couple coming out of a devastating trauma but you are a couple, you need to do this recovery and healing together but also on your own at your own pace with your own reasons and aspirations

But

Quote:
put herself into my shoes.

Have you tried hers?
Partners very rarely contemplate or understand the workings of an addicts brain, how could they when mostly we can’t ,also why should they really want to, they want reassurance, love, empathy, truth ........................................................................................................

OK masturbation, this can be healthy but also destructive when it becomes compulsive

Quote:
I made a commitment to stop masturbating.
I thought about the idea of masturbating from time to time (for the sake of argument let's say once a week)

Already considering a frequency, is that healthy? Would it be often enough?
Dont answer me but ask the questions to yourself

Quote:
I told my wife several months back that I had stopped masturbating she told me that was odd and that I shouldn't stop.
If she asked me if I was masturbating could I be honest and say Yes? Actually, I think I am comfortable with that.

So why would you not tell her of your change of mind?
Perhaps because of how you feel she would view it, a potential reversal of progress?



Quote:
As I write those words I can hear Kenzo saying "You think but you don't know" but I have known my wife for 20 years and we know how each other ticks.


Know what you believed was how each other ticked ( past tense) would be more accurate
Post D day and into recovery and healing you are both different people, changed forever and trying to get to know each other warts and all , all over again, but do remember the head start hat you got over her, you knew about your problems your addiction your lies etal prior to D day, she did not
So when you did start to move forwards as you certainly have she was still swirling round in the abyss of your doing, she is till playing catch up but will get to where you are eventually

So my advice or what it is worth,
Quote:
I am trying to find a way forward that I do have control over

consider her and her needs as being more important than you and yours and that control is no longer yours, accept that
Stay strong Choose wisely



Quote:
May be I am being too open and honest as usual and maybe this won't work down the line but I am still here to learn too and I will be the first to admit that.

The RN community welcomes and celebrates that attitude and as you know the only one here judging you is you

So back to your journey

_________________
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: Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:14 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 320
Thanks Kenzo, your feedback is always valued, even when it is of the "tough love" variety! :w:

There is an old adage that says when you receive a work email from someone that has irritated you then you should avoid the temptation to reply straight back but rather take time to digest what has been said and to sleep on it before responding by which stage you should have achieved some degree of perspective. There were some comments made in there that hurt a bit if I am honest but I need that right now. Looking at things again this morning, the reason they hurt is because could see that some of them were not complimentary but were true. I genuinely feel like I am stood in the doorway to recovery and am virtually ready to walk through. For me to feel 100% about anything I do I need to have a very clear vision of what I am trying to achieve and then I can commit to it. There are a million pieces of information buzzing around my head about recovery and at times it can be difficult to see the wood for the trees. Everything is starting to settle but are some bits and pieces which I need to get full clarity on before I can absorb and apply it.

But having slept on it I feel like I have been able to get a better perspective of where I am heading:

1. My idyllic picture of how my life should be with my wife is one of balance and equality where one does not hold the trump cards over the other and control the relationship. Maybe in an ideal world that can happen and maybe it will for us in due course but for a long while I was playing with a completely different pack of cards. If that means that my wife holds the trump cards for a while then so be it, that's only fair. If we are to eventually reach equality then it will come by me being supportive, loving and encouraging rather than attacking her over my perceived loss of control.
2. Taking that point forward, our sex life has been another big thing for me, letting go of a life of constant thrills and emotions to fall back to a "normal" sex life (whatever that is) is one thing but I perceive instead that the sex life I am falling back to is less than normal (rightly or wrongly) which has compounded the problem. The gap between the two is essential a concern over "not enough sex" which, coming from an SA, is not a good conclusion to be drawing. So, overnight I have made a decision to forget about all of that and just see what happens. I will start a new mindset that has no expectations over sex at all and then I will see what happens. If we go another 4 years with no sex then so be it. Anything beyond that is a bonus. That statement gives me a bit of a gut wrench if I am honest but I sense it is the right one to make and CoachJon makes reference to making a change that gives no sense of loss means that no real change is being made.
3. I actually stand by my previous comments on masturbation, I do think that there is a way of this being healthy but it is a narrow tightrope that can easily go wrong. I will be interested to read others' comments on my post to the Community Forum but for now will revert back to normal service on that front.
4. When I started out on RN I hoped for a future that removed my compulsive behaviour and left me with a good sex life with my wife. Instead now I am looking ahead and contemplating a life with little sex within it (sorry lots of "I's" rather than "we" there but intended!) Actually, and somewhat unexpectedly, that doesn't scare me. Whilst I had envisaged RN removing my addiction from my life I wasn't expecting it to ultimately potentially remove sex from my life in the main. But my addiction arose out of sex and my fantasies around it from an early age. I had similar battles with drink and with drink taken out of my life completely I don't give it a second thought, when I tried to have just one glass occasionally that did not go well. So I sense that a mindset of no expectation of sex at all will bring me some peace and a clear mind to focus on my values and my relationship with my wife and family with no unnecessary pressure. I have no doubt that sex in the marital home will crop up from time to time but that should be well received if I am not expecting it.

So that's my new plan and I will see how this goes. It feels right and I feel relaxed about it. As I say, I definitely feel like I am on the doorstep and am ready to walk through. Certainly when I picture what I was like exactly a year ago just before I joined RN I do not recognise that person now so I know I have made real progress. Every member on RN wants to say that they have recovered and some allude to that. It scares me a little if I am honest to be saying things like that as I am weighing several months of better behaviour against 40 years of poor behaviour, the change takes some getting used to and complacency is always a threat. If I am honest, I also feel the pressure of being a mentor and the expectations I put on myself of the validity of me offering others guidance when I haven't got my own act totally together. But mentoring for me is probably more about sharing insights to others through my own mistakes and learning points which do not suggest that I need to be fully recovered to make them. So where I am along the path to recovery? I do not consider myself recovered and I actually don't think that I ever will, I sense that I will always have in the back of my mind that I need to be on guard to avoid any potential slippage into my former life. But I do feel like I am a long way along the path to recovery and that I am about to enter a new phase which no longer sees myself as an addict. I will be continuing through the rest of the programme in the meantime as I have picked up a lot of things that I missed or had forgotten on the first time around.

_________________
L2R

"Should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit to recovery"


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