Recovery Nation

Personal Development Forum
It is currently Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:55 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 237 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 3:02 am 
Offline
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3798
Location: UK
Hi my friend
Quote:
There were some comments made in there that hurt a bit if I am honest but I need that right now.

Remember that a kick up the arse is just over a foot away from a pat on the back! :s:

Quote:
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


IMO you are already through that door , perhaps fearful of what lies ahead, brought about by that always there, “the unknown”
I always remind myself of a conversation I had in my head early in my career
Quote:
I said that I know where I am
I know where I want to be
But I have no idea how I am going to get there


Did that fact stop me from committing? of course not ,and nothing will stop you from doing so either

Quote:
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.

That I guess applies to us all but as we know our worlds are not ideal and neither are those of our partners, so we need to deal with that, and deal with it you will.

You are not alone in your now different relationship, remember that your wife will also be missing sex but she needs the whole spectrum that accompanied sex previously, she needs to heal, help her do that
.
Quote:
my previous comments on masturbation, I will be interested to read others' comments on my post to the Community Forum

You and me both, I am so glad that you opened it to both sides

Quote:
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.


Absolutely and you are doing that, the community I am sure appreciates your input and I know that it will help you as it does me in our own journeys

Quote:
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,

Is it a place or a journey, is it any different to any other aspect of healthy life
I dont know and nor do I care, I do know as you do , that it is right and you , like me and all of the others that commit and perceiver here on RN are certainly better off for being here

_________________
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


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:17 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
Thanks Kenzo, last week was a big week for me where I felt that a lot dropped into place.

LESSON 42

I would say that one of the key points that I picked up by going through the lessons the second time around was to do with seeing emotions/urges as finite. It is easy to read those words and then move on but it is important to actually have a functioning awareness of what that means in practice in order to work with it. In my past I can certain relate to experiencing situations where I would be triggered by something that would get me aroused and then I would quite quickly get to a situation where I felt that I had no control over what I was doing and there was no turning back. I can remember reading years ago about Michael Douglas saying that once he got the urge to act out that he had to keep going until he satisfied the urge and felt that he had no control over it. I'm sure every SA on RN will be able to relate to that comment. But it simply isn't true and you do have control over your emotions and urges. As a visual learning I developed an image this time akin to stepping out of the screen from a given situation that was clearly capable of leading to compulsive behaviour and framing it in a big box. I then pictured squeezing the box in both corners and shrinking the box until it fitted in my hand and then I threw it on the floor and it exploded into a small cloud of dust. The imagery probably serves more as a distraction than anything else as by the time I see the cloud of dust any emotion that I was experiencing has disappeared. But what it does show me is that having an urge does not mean that a chain of events has been started which can not stop until it concludes. For me, this is the key part of the lesson and once that point is absorbed it breaks down a lot of the myths surrounding addiction. It means that addiction is all about perception rather than being a disease or mental state that is so engrained that it can not be reversed.

Whilst there are 73 lessons, members should have broken the back of the workshop by the time that this lesson has completed. If that is not the case then I would suggest that something has been missed along the way. Second time round I feel very differently at this stage than I did before.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:56 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
No exercise to do on today's lessons so it has led me to ponder further on things alone.

For a long while I have got a sense that my journey over my first year on RN would have had similarities to that of Kenzo (and I will say straight away that I do not intend this to develop into a stalking exercise, ha ha!) However, there are things that Kenzo has said to me and experiences he has shared which make me feel able to relate to the man that he was on joining RN. Whilst our fixes were generally different our backgrounds sound similar and I certainly get a sense that how he felt and who he was on joining RN was similar to me. Anyway, as my first anniversary on RN approaches I thought it would be interesting to read through his thread from the beginning and cover the first year. It has been a fascinating read and certainly an interesting one to see the person that we all see now as the bullet proof coach as being someone far more vulnerable and finding their way in their early days of recovery. I have found his story most helpful and encouraging as it shows the value of the workshop and how someone's journey takes a path from fear and disillusionment to learning, calmness and health. Again, I can see similarities with my own state on arriving at RN last year and how much I have changed over the last 12 months too. The thread has grown to a considerable size over the years but I am interested to keep following the journey to see how it develops to current date.

In terms of learning points, I see that Kenzo after a year was still practicing action plans on a daily basis. That made me gulp a bit if I am honest. For a little while now I have had a sense that my own action plans all more or less headed in the same direction regardless of what they related to and if I am honest I have been applying them more generally than specifically for some time. I have got great value out of the simplicity of articulating my 3 Absolute Boundaries (from second time through the lessons) on the basis if I have these in the forefront of my mind then the opportunity to create breaks, if ever needed, are almost instantaneous if I see that any one of these might be threatened. It seems to work for me but I now wonder if I am introducing complacency by having the whole thing covered off by one concept rather than engraining them all individually. I will reflect on this and make a decision.

That aside I have found the last week or so to be quite liberating. A change of mindset from where I feel that I am in the process of recovery has instilled a new confidence and sense of calm about me. Situations where that have occurred where I know I would have been triggered in the past have just not bothered me at all. I have had a hard few days at work where companies that I am dealing with (one in particular where the person involved is normally very reasonable and pleasant to me) have been aggressive and rude to me with no real justification. There has been a misunderstanding about something which I think is more caused through their fault than mine but I have been trying to take a stance that is attempting to defuse the tension but she is just piling it on and being more and more aggressive which is out of character. It has upset me and made me think about it a lot over the last few days. It occurred to me this afternoon that despite such extreme negative emotions this week, not once has any urge or compulsive thought entered my head. I sense that is real progress but need to guard for complacency. I do feel like I found what I was looking for during my second trip through the lessons and I am so pleased that I decided to do that. I am also enjoying mentoring again and feel/hope that I am adding some value and pointers to those that need it.

All in all, it's OK at the moment.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:40 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
Further to my post of last night I have reflected more on my comment about action plans and whether I need to regularly review each one to keep it fresh in my mind or whether a more general approach would be OK.

Each morning I read through a list of key quotes from CoachJon that resonate with me in order to keep these fresh in my mind. Two of these jumped out at me this morning in this context:
Quote:
"should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit to recovery"

and (in relation specifically to action plans)
Quote:
"Far too many people abandon this tool because they can 'do it in their head' "

Although I have a sense of calm at the moment and no urges I am potentially playing a dangerous game. If an urge does pop up then I need to be ready for it and therefore I must not be lazy or complacent and should review my action plans each day. I have now copied these into a place to enable me to do that more easily.

When reading through the plans this morning it covers all likely scenarios for me to be tempted to act out. I have got into the habit of not thinking about that sort of thing which is probably where the sense of calm has come from. I noticed feelings of slight discomfort reading through the various scenarios. I believe the discomfort comes more from being reminded of the horrible stuff I used to do though rather than having temptation to do any of them.

I feel happy that I am not taking shortcuts through recovery though, the guidance and plans are there for a reason so let's do it the right way and then I should be fine.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:09 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
LESSON 44

My view on my core identity is very different to how I would have perceived it the first time around. The lesson itself really resonates with how I can see that addiction and compulsive behaviour develops, it revolves around ignorance because the SA does not appreciate how the engraining process develops where decisions are being made based on their emotions rather than values and each decision makes it feel more natural. It is then easy to see how there is a feeling that an SA was born that way and has no control over urges once they arise.

I am able to stand back now and see it for what it really is. I understand why I made decisions the way that I used to and I am now able to identify with my core self and through that use values to appreciate the implications of decisions that I am making before I actually make them. Part of the solution now is being aware of what was broken and that it needs to be fixed. The other part of it is then knowing that urge itself is an unhealthy thing that will take me away from my values and so the allure of the urge is I fact illusionary - it will not provide me with what I want. As part of the feedback I am giving other members I am drawing their attention to the brain trying to shut itself off to the emotions that we will experience after acting out because that will risk stopping us from acting compulsively. Remembering how a SA feels immediately after acting out needs to be part of the process of contemplation otherwise the event is not being seen through its entirety. If a SA stands back and really considers how they would feel afterwards and that they have the opportunity to apply a break then many would do so. As I am now a good way along in the recovery process I can see that now and in answer to the question of the exercise I can definitely now feel like I am more in touch with my core identity.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:20 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
LESSON 45

A. Map a compulsive ritual that is based on your unique behavior. Ensure that you identify at least five elements that are involved in stimulating your emotions during this act.

I have decided to use the following ritual on the basis that, whilst I no longer do this, it would be on my list of things that I may still be vulnerable to if I were tempted to act out again.

1. I drive into work and am feeling a bit bored (EMOTION) at the prospect of spending the day in the office
2. I look up to the higher up apartments in the block next to my office and notice that the window that my office window looks into is wide open which excites ((EMOTION) me
3. I know that this window belongs to the girl's bedroom that lives in that apartment and she will be due to get out of bed shortly to get ready for work which intensifies the feeling of excitement (EMOTION)
4. I go up to my office and go to the window and feel anxious (EMOTION) that I may have already missed her getting ready for work but then am relieved (EMOTION) to find that her light is still off
5. I keep an eye on her window over the next half hour or so waiting for her to get up which gives me a feeling of anticipation (EMOTION)
6. I notice the light turn on and I see her moving around within the apartment which is arousing (EMOTION) and very exciting (EMOTION)
7. I see her standing in front of her mirror and am frustrated (EMOTION) to see that she has chosen to wear a top whilst she applies her make-up and does her hair rather than being naked
8. I watch her for half an hour whilst she continues to get ready which I find really frustrating (EMOTION) and I get anxious (EMOTION) that she will not get undressed and dressed before others arrive in the office which would mean I would have to stop looking
9. She moves just out of sight but I can see her remove her top and can just see her bare back and I realise at that moment that she is naked and it gives me huge excitement (EMOTION) and anticipation (EMOTION) that she might turn around and let me see her naked
10. She then reappears in front of her mirror dressed for work which provides huge disappointment (EMOTION) that another opportunity to see her naked has passed me by
11. I decide to turn myself on (EMOTION) by picturing/fantasising (EMOTION) what it would have looked like had she done what I wanted in my mind
12. I get aroused (EMOTION) and then head off to the bathroom
13. I masturbate and quickly climax (EMOTION)
14. I clean up and feel guilt (EMOTION) and shame (EMOTION) over what I have done and promise myself not to do it again


C. At what point in the chain is the 'point of no return'? The point where you know that you will be completing the act. Share this in your recovery thread. In the previous exercise, you were to reinforce your ability to identify separate emotional elements in a single compulsive ritual. Here, you will begin to isolate those emotions from your core identity.

I guess Point 7 is the PONR as I feel like I have now moved from thinking about what I would like to see to actually experiencing trying to see it. At that stage I would be thinking "Well I have got this far I might as well carry on" which is definitely the PONR concept.


D. Consider the element identified just prior to 'the point of no return'. This is the element that you will want to isolate and use as your primary trigger for breaking a compulsive urge. Eventually, you can isolate multiple elements, and thus create multiple points where a compulsive event can be effectively stopped, but for now we will focus solely on this one element.

Point 6 is the element immediately before PONR although in practice now I head it off at Point 2 before I allow any form of emotion about the event to enter into my mind. I have now learned to anticipate that I will automatically look up to the window driving in and whilst I will see it I will immediately apply the break and think of something else. I am able to do this so quickly now that it does not generate any stress because the break is applied before I get any sense of the emotion from the ritual potentially starting.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:49 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
LESSON 46

I stand by the response I gave to this exercise the first time around where a break can be applied by reminding myself of my values before the chain is allowed to develop too far.

I posted some thoughts to Ace's thread this morning in response to him commenting on how he can feel cheated after having decided not to act out rather than feeling satisfied from having avoided it. There is some relevance to this issue and this lesson. Having now had nearly a year's experience of practicing action plans and digesting the information from RN, I would say that for me the process of reacting to stimuli has become far more proficient. In my mind I recognise a stimulus and how my core identify has previously reacted (unhealthily) to it and then goes through the process now of running it through my values and determining options and then making a healthy choice. Now, this all happens in a split second but it is more of a manual process to start with. I would head off any potential issue in reality so quickly that it is before the stimulus has had time to stimulate me. I don't know if Ace takes interest in my thread but this is another important point which should be grasped. If Ace (or whomever and I know that I have been there) is left reflecting on a potentially missed opportunity and feels cheated then it is likely that the person has spent a fair bit of time getting excited about it in the first place before allowing their values to kick in and making a healthy decision. But picture, after a lot of practice, being able to head off a stimulus before it has had the chance to excite you (because you have allowed no time to dwell on it) then you will not have the sense of being cheated because you have not had to stop the excitement in its tracks. Picture a child that you hold an ice cream in front of and allow them to see how good it looks and the ice cream starting to melt down the cone and they start licking their lips and then you take it away from them. They will feel cheated out of something because they had had time to anticipate how good it would taste. How would the child react if you hadn't shown it to them? They would be none the wiser and experience no stress from the situation. So not allowing yourself time to get emotion from a stimulus before you head it off will give you considerably less stress and senses of being cheated.

A nice lesson to get your head around this one.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:36 am 
Offline

Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:21 pm
Posts: 38
learningtorun wrote:
LESSON 46

I stand by the response I gave to this exercise the first time around where a break can be applied by reminding myself of my values before the chain is allowed to develop too far.

I posted some thoughts to Ace's thread this morning in response to him commenting on how he can feel cheated after having decided not to act out rather than feeling satisfied from having avoided it. There is some relevance to this issue and this lesson. Having now had nearly a year's experience of practicing action plans and digesting the information from RN, I would say that for me the process of reacting to stimuli has become far more proficient. In my mind I recognise a stimulus and how my core identify has previously reacted (unhealthily) to it and then goes through the process now of running it through my values and determining options and then making a healthy choice. Now, this all happens in a split second but it is more of a manual process to start with. I would head off any potential issue in reality so quickly that it is before the stimulus has had time to stimulate me. I don't know if Ace takes interest in my thread but this is another important point which should be grasped. If Ace (or whomever and I know that I have been there) is left reflecting on a potentially missed opportunity and feels cheated then it is likely that the person has spent a fair bit of time getting excited about it in the first place before allowing their values to kick in and making a healthy decision. But picture, after a lot of practice, being able to head off a stimulus before it has had the chance to excite you (because you have allowed no time to dwell on it) then you will not have the sense of being cheated because you have not had to stop the excitement in its tracks. Picture a child that you hold an ice cream in front of and allow them to see how good it looks and the ice cream starting to melt down the cone and they start licking their lips and then you take it away from them. They will feel cheated out of something because they had had time to anticipate how good it would taste. How would the child react if you hadn't shown it to them? They would be none the wiser and experience no stress from the situation. So not allowing yourself time to get emotion from a stimulus before you head it off will give you considerably less stress and senses of being cheated.

A nice lesson to get your head around this one.

''So not allowing yourself time to get emotion from a stimulus before you head it off will give you considerably less stress and senses of being cheated.'' This is really true,if you don't allow to get emotion from a stimulus in the first 3 seconds, the urge goes away...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:58 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
Thanks for stopping by and for your comments BBfM.

Please note that the only people who should post to your thread other than yourself is coaches and mentors per the forum rules. It is a good idea to look at others' threads as it is a good opportunity to pick up key thoughts as you did in this instance. What you could do is refer to another person's thread (e.g. mind in this instance) and record your thoughts on it in your own thread and that is perfectly in order to do.

Thanks again for showing interest in what I wrote.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:16 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
Something occurred to me over the weekend which surprised me a bit. I was walking through our town with my wife and son to go to lunch somewhere and noticed that I was looking at the various people that walked in my direction. I have done this for as long as I can remember (childhood probably) and in more recent times I have thought of this as an opportunity to see anyone coming towards me that I might know so that I can nod to them and say hello as they pass. I do it for men and for women which made me feel in the past like there was no problem with doing this. However, I noticed on Saturday that when I see an attractive girl coming towards me that I don't know I am making an immediate break not to objectify. This was somewhat unexpected and when I thought about it as I walked along I realised that in the past I must have been doing this almost subconsciously to scan women that were coming towards me. I had up to now viewed scanning as making a point of looking for women that appealed to me and then objectifying them. To be fair, I was clearly doing that in the past prior to the break being applied but I hadn't registered it that way because I would do it (but no for for objectifying reasons) for men too. After a while I found it a bit tiring having to constantly apply a break and I quickly came to the conclusion that it amounted to me stopping myself from scanning.

As I say, it came as a bit of a surprise to me and so I now need to engrain a new habit of not making a point of looking who is approaching me. I am mindful that I may now meet acquaintances who tell me that I had completely blanked them in the street the other day but I can't see that there is a half-way house. It will also be a very well engrained habit to break but I will persist with this and see how I get on.

If any coach or mentor passing by has a view then your thoughts would be welcome!

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:44 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
LESSON 47

Having read through the list of possible scenarios from my first response to this lesson I think that this still broadly covers the likely scenarios. The only exception to that would be becoming aroused from recalling previous occasions where I have acted out. If I let my memory replay the events then quite quickly it can develop into a very strong feeling of excitement and arousal. Once I am aroused then it could be quite conceivable that I could look to act out in some way and even do something completely unrelated to the memory that started it. I have noticed that the longer I go without having sex the length of time it takes to become aroused is much less and the feeling of arousal is much more intense. On reflection it is this concept that led me to considering whether healthy masturbation could help as it would provide some release and then would take the edge/pressure off and leave things easier to manage.

However, I have come to realise that whilst that "release" would make any urges thereafter easier to manage for a while it is not really "managing" the urge. In many ways it is giving the urge more strength because it is essentially recognising that it is powerful and has some kind of control over me - that does not fit with the recovery model at all. So instead I need to ensure that in the event of me experiencing an urge which can not be batted away in the blink of an eye (and to be honest there are not many occasions that this happens now) I need to have a more effective action plan to manage it.

My first response to this lesson was as follows:

Quote:
8. Finding myself legitimately left alone in a meeting room with someone that I had previously engaged either in inappropriate emails and/or sexual activity with in the past

Urge Beginning
Being left alone in a meeting room with someone I had previously had some sexual engagement with would create a sexual tension where you know that both of you are recalling what you had done in the past which would create some arousal and sense of power and control.

Point of No Return
Bringing up the subject of past sexual activity would open up the conversation which would give them the green light that you were thinking about it and wanted to talk about it again.

Create the Break
I would recognise immediately on being left in the room alone with them of how my mind could quickly drift and get out of control so I would not allow that to happen.

Emotions
I would remind myself that any sense of excitement would be a purely emotional reaction to the recall of the previous events. I would think about the guilt and shame that followed those events at the time because they had violated my values and I am no longer prepared to do anything that potentially violates my values now. The potential emotions based "sugary" fix from acting out would be replaced a less dramatic but more comforting healthy good feeling that I had successfully managed an urge that has kept me aligned with my values.

My view now is that my action plans tend to refer to reminding myself of my values (as a general statement) and that the emotions from the urges are temporary. Reading them back now they are not powerful enough to head off live situations in the event of a strong urge. I therefore produced a new style of action plan which will be more direct and provides more detail on the values at risk together with a sterner reminder of the implications of acting out as follows:

General Action Plan
I sense the onset of an urge
I immediately remind myself of the key elements of my values that are at risk:
- To be faithful/trustworthy/honest/reliable (FTHR)
- To be the good person that others see me as (GP)
- To have a clear conscience (CC)
I remind myself that if I was to act out I would be left with a horrible sense of guilt and shame [Item 5 (guilt/shame) of the chain in my recent post always follows Items 1-4 (the urge through to acting out)]
I remind myself that I joined RN because I was sick of feeling like this
I choose to not act out
I feel the sense of satisfaction that I have made a values based decision


This plan can be more or less bolted on to each of my existing action plans. I have spent some time going through this envisaging various scenarios and it seems to be more effective. It is also helpful that it provides more detail on my values but in a way which I am able to remember them - in a live situation I may not have my values to hand to read through. I have added acronyms to the end of each one to better help me remember them. Interestingly I have found that trying to remember each of the acronyms and what they stand for provides a complete distraction and by the time I have recalled each of them the intensity of the urge is waning already.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:45 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
I have been away on business the last couple of days which brings both threats and opportunities. The threats are due to potential opportunities but I am not really finding business trips stressful from a recovery perspective now as I do not swell on what I could potentially get up to. The opportunities are opportunities to put some of the theory into practice. In particular I spent a lot of time running through my new General Action Plan in my mind so that I can start to engrain it so that it will be there and automatic when and if needed. There were a number of situations such as at the airport where I saw young women that in the past would have got my mind racing. I able to head these off almost immediately now but I nevertheless ran through the General Action Plan anyway to help engrain the process which was helpful. At some point I will face something where there will be some urge attached to it and it will be interesting to see how effective the new plan is under those circumstances. I was also able to start breaking the habit of looking/scanning people that walk towards me. It is surprising how much I do that almost without thinking but I was able to try and head off that happened when I could feel myself starting to do it.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:24 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
LESSON 51

I stand by my original response to this exercise.

A key paragraph that stood out to me in this lesson was:
Quote:
“In order to master urge control, you must first learn to isolate your emotions from your identity. You must learn to see your emotions as a tool for assessing your environment, rather than as a tool for decision making. In practical terms, all this means is that when you feel an urge to act in a destructive way, you recognize that this feeling you are experiencing is an emotional reaction to be interpreted, not an impetus to act. Once you have made this realization, you have 'isolated the urge'. The next step is to process it. "

Isolating the urge from your core identify sounds so simple and in theory it is. Perhaps in practice it should be too but that is a big task when you have spent the last 40 years making decisions based on your emotions. Practice is clearly the key to this but it is a complete shift in thinking to feel a strong urge and then almost put it on ice whilst you make a rational decision based on your values. There is a lot of posts where members clearly struggle with this and Anon mentioned it in her recent post and I can completely relate to it too. I would actually go a stage further and say that I feel that the biggest obstacle is in fact after you've created the break, have processed the options available, made the values based decision and then manage the emotional stress of having decided not to act out. I would suggest that the quicker the break is created the weaker the urge and easier the process. And the lesson goes on to say:
Quote:
"To master a healthy decision-making process, take those 30-60 seconds after the urge has been felt and before the trance sets in, and use them to examine the options that you have available to you. Set aside the urge temporarily, set aside the stimuli that you are facing. Set aside your emotions. Do this for just for those few seconds, so that you may truly develop a deepening self-awareness. This step should be rather simple, and can be accomplished in a matter of seconds."

Time is therefore of the essence. Nipping things in the bud will save a whole lot of stress. If I am honest I would say that new joiners are likely to struggle with this initially as they get their heads around them actually having control over their decisions so that they can stop the process and for more well seasoned members there is a real risk of complacency that we have done the workshop, we have the toolkit and we let our guards down by not applying the break quickly enough. Our memories of acting out are still fresh enough in our minds to know that we remember how enjoyable those feelings of anticipation and excitement were. Trying to have a brief taste of those feelings is so tempting but incredibly dangerous. It all comes back to my ever useful quote in my sign-off, if you want to recover you must be "all in" or it won't work.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:29 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
LESSON 52

A couple of years ago I was taking a flight with my family to go on holiday. We were sat on the plane which had a lay out of 2 sits on either side of the aisle, my wife and son were on one side and I had the aisle seat on the other next to them. We sat at the start of the runway, the engines revved up and we started to move and quickly pick up speed. We were about to take off when there was a loud bang from the engine and the pilot slammed on the brakes and ground to a halt. It turned out that a buzzard had flown into the engine and stopped it. The plane sat in silence for a few moments and then suddenly everyone looked scared and anxious. We then noticed an airport truck drive past and look along the length of the plane from outside and for a moment people were thinking that the engine might be about to explode and set the plane on fire. My wife is a somewhat anxious person at the best of times and she looked scared and asked me what was happening. Whilst I started to feel adrenalin running through me when the plane ground to a halt I instantly went into another mode. I shook off my fear and started to work out what I would need to do to get us all safely off the plane, I checked where the emergency exits were and figured out how I wold shepherd my family out. I was very focussed but calm. As it turned out, the plane didn't blow up but we had to leave in an organised fashion and catch a separate plane a little while later. That showed me that, when necessary, I am capable of detaching myself from my emotions in a panic type situation and to think calmly and clearly.

I think that the crux of the whole workshop comes down to this lesson. If you can master this skill then you will recover, if you don't get your head around it then you won't. In particular the following points are what need to be absorbed and mastered:
Quote:
"You are not expected to simply ignore your emotions but rather, acknowledge that they are a potential threat to your value system and act accordingly. Separate those emotions from your decision-making. Make your decision. Then anticipate and manage the emotional aftermath."

and
Quote:
"At first, this will likely be difficult. But, with just a little practice, it gets significantly easier...and in just a short period of time you will be an absolute master at isolating your emotions during a compulsive urge. When you get to this point, the 'aftermath' will be little more than a nuisance — easily brushed aside. But again, it won't feel that way at first."

No-one said that this was going to be easy. Managing the stress of the emotions generated from the denial of acting out is really hard to start with. The offsetting benefit of the feelings of having made a values based decision feel somewhat negligible initially in comparison to the sense of denial but it soon changes. There is so much trust needed in recovery. You need to have complete trust that following your values without question will lead you to recovery and happiness even when you are faced with turning down an opportunity to act out which can bring such strong allure. But CoachJon states
Quote:
"Remind yourself that the intensity of these emotions are finite...and manageable. That the worst you will face in the aftermath of your values-based decision is emotional discomfort triggered by self-denial, grief, lost opportunity, etc. This discomfort is just that — uncomfortable. It is not life-threatening."

I stand by my previous comments that the whole process is a lot easier if you are able to apply a break the instant that you can sense the onset of an urge as allowing it time to develop makes the emotions that you need to contend with stronger and more of a challenge. But they remain just that, a challenge, those feelings are finite and therefore we can control them.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:23 am 
Offline
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 363
LESSON 53

Again I stand by the response to this exercise the first time around.

In light of the last lesson or two I have been giving a lot of thought to what is needed to get the "lightbulb" moment on urge control that CoachJon refers to. I mentioned in my last post that I intellectually understand the concept of creating a break and then considering your values which will help you make the right decision. Unfortunately in practice this can be really hard to do when an urge is very powerful (and CoachJon to be fair does make reference to this point too). So I feel that the hardest part of the process is managing the stress created by the decision not to act out.

Fortunately I am not getting much in the way of urges these days but I need to expect these from time to time. As it happens one such instance happened yesterday. Perhaps part of the problem in them not occurring very often is that you almost forget how powerful they can be. I thought hard about my values but felt that this was doing very little to help me make the right decision. I then thought of the shame and guilt that I knew would follow if I did choose to act out and that helped a little. And then I thought about the consequences of acting out if I was caught. Maybe I would get caught this time or maybe the next but given time that would be almost an inevitability at some stage. I know that I am on my last life and making the wrong choice would lead to losing everything, my wife, my son, my house, my plans of retirement, etc, etc. I then concentrated on this in relation to my young son particularly and pictured my wife and I asking him to sit down on our large sofa in his school uniform looking a bit scared that he was either going to be told off about something or be told of some bad news. We then tell him that I need to leave and he collapses in a heap of tears. I then pictured actually leaving the house and having him hanging on to my arm and trying to drag me bag in begging me to stay. I instantly got very choked up and emotional and the excitement disintegrated and the urge was history.

Should I be looking at it that way, I don't really know for sure, it probably isn't text book per the workshop but what I think it does is to give me a very strong feeling that is directly linked to my values. Rather than seeing them as a life I am striving for I can also use this image as the consequences of not making values based decisions because I would lose (amongst other valuable things to me) my daily contact with my son who forms a core part of my values. Either way, it is powerful and it worked. I can picture facing another urge and triggering that image again and it will have the same effect. I suspect that quite quickly the urges will dissipate again as my brain comes to realise that it is pointless to keep trying to throw temptation my way. I will keep an eye on this and see how it goes but I do feel like I may have found my lightbulb which connects the theory to the practical way of implementing it at long last.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 237 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group