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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 287
10/17/17
Lesson 1 Exercises:

A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change


I’m currently in the one day at a time status. With 83 days behind me I’ve learned that I have good hours, bad hours, good days, bad days, good weeks, bad weeks, etc. But I WANT to love myself. I want to show myself compassion, so that I may show compassion to my wife and parents. I WANT to stop this cycle of addiction and neediness that exists in my family. I WANT to teach my girls (because I know they are always watching) how to live wholehearted lives. Every minute that I don’t act out, my commitment does grow. However, there are many times where I have trouble identifying what gives me hope. There are times where I struggle with the idea of recovery, because of my own personal judgments about addicts and the seemingly looming relapse. I pray. I journal. I go to therapy. I do my homework. Because deep down I am DONE acting out. Deep down I know that my addict is trying to kill me. And I won’t let it.
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change

My guilt/shame have definitely made me feel like “I’m not good enough” to recover. I know that my guilt/shame around a LOT of my self-image, identity, and decisions have the potential to sabotage my commitment. Because when I feel attacked, I get defensive—when defensive I want to run, and when I want to run my commitment is in limbo. My addiction voice tells me “I told you so”. I also struggle because when my addiction voice is not as strong, my BPD has a chance to be needy. It becomes a pity party. I have learned that I need to listen to these voices. Let them guide me by choosing THE OPPOSITE.

3) allowing yourself time to change.
I have been trying to rush this process because I fear the unknown. I fear that my wife will leave me if I don’t recover fast enough—I fear the pain that I am no longer soothing via my addiction will consume me if I don’t recover fast enough. I’ve tried to rush my recovery by going too quickly through the 12 steps. Doing so triggered me greatly and put me into a brief dissociated and depressed state. I must never forget that recovery takes time and that feelings come and feelings go. Even when I'm dissociating it WILL end. I even made an effort to contact a hypnotist (looking for the easy button) and was rejected because he doesn't work with love addicts. But all for the better. It helped me realize that I was simply in pain, clawing at anything to help me recover. I was able to work with my therapist on slowing down and learning to feel the pain. That it is necessary to understand it, allow myself to feel it, in an effort to heal from it.

B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently change your life. Don't stop at three or four obvious ones, really examine your life and what is important to you. Phrase these in the positve. For example: " I don't want to keep deceiving my wife" would serve you better if written like "I want to be honest and transparent with my wife". Positive statements have much more power in our mindset than negative ones. List these in your recovery thread.
1. Through changing my life, I will teach my children how to face conflict with resilience
2. Through changing my life, I will teach my children how to communicate effectively
3. Through changing my life, I will teach my children how to love themselves so that they may love others
4. I want my intentions and actions to match
5. I want to make honest decisions that better my relationship with my wife.
6. I want to feel connected and like a contributor to society—I will do so by loving myself and improving my self-esteem by believing I am enough
7. I want to create a family of support and love by first improving myself
8. I want to truly finish something that I’ve started by committing to recovery
9. I want to experience the joy of true intimacy
10. I want to honor the commitment I’ve made to my wife
11. I want to make honest decisions where my actions are eqiuvalint to who I am, not who I’m afraid to be.
12. I want to have a better spiritual connection to God and the Universe
13. I want to be transparent and rid myself of secrets.
14. I want to have meaningful and appropriate long lasting relationships/friendships

10/19/17
85 Days

C. I found several pictures of me from age 10 months to about 2 years. All when we still lived in Florida. They seemed like such happy times. They were pictures of me before my addiction. A time of when I had no fantasizing thoughts. Just joy, vulnerability, exploration, and trust in my family members. I only desired to be supported and taught by my brother and family. I felt a mix of emotions as I looked into my eyes, into baby Anon's eyes. As I recalled textures of the burgundy carpet in our Florida home. The colors of the couch with brown “hills”—remembering the wicker corners that I used to climb on. No worries, just innocence, exploration, happiness and play. But then we moved to Pennsylvania and things began to change. My memories are different. Stress. Nightmares when I looked at the corner of my room ceiling. Feeling/hearing anxiety pounding in my ear in the kitchen of 209. Not wanting to tell anyone out of fear. Pressure to do activities. Church. Playing alone a lot. Making up stories and fantasies to stay entertained and distracted. 1994 my fantasies really began to develop. Masturbation. Confusion and feeling misheard or misunderstood. Gymnastics. Pleasing my parents. Chores. “Yes, Sir” “Don’t say ‘I don’t know’.”

I feel love for the child in the pictures, but more sympathy and pity. I need to work on emotionally connecting with her. She seems so distant—she seems like a child I do not know. A life that I certainly have not lived. She felt like no one was listening. But I am. I will listen to baby Anon. She was misunderstood as an angry baby. She was not angry—look at this happy child. She just wanted to be loved. I will love her. I’ll tuck her hair behind her ears. I’ll play with her. I’ll raise her to believe she’s enough.


Last edited by anon523 on Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:10 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Lesson 2 Exercises
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 287
10/20/17
86 days


Write out your vision. Use any format you would like. As a general rule, the more personal, the better. Post this vision in your Recovery Thread. There is no right or wrong to this vision...though it should be comprehensive enough for a stranger (such as a coach or mentor) to read it and have a pretty good idea as to what you value and the life that you want to live.
As we review these visions, what we will be looking for is the following:
1) Is it practical or is it idealistic? Practical is what we are shooting for. Idealistic visions feel good, sound good...but they serve very little purpose, other than to create unrealistic goals for which failure is already guaranteed.
2) Is this vision capable of sustaining a healthy life? Are there enough values identified that have the potential to generate fulfillment. To counter instability. To drive decision-making.


Resilience. I want to finish things I’ve started, even when they are uncomfortable. I want to leave behind a legacy of resilience. I want my children to learn that even when things are uncomfortable, there are ways to push through and learn because the journey is just as valuable as the destination. I want my children to know that they don’t have to run away from their fears. That they can push beyond their comfort zone.
Compassion. I want to love myself so that I may love others. I want my children to learn that through kindness and self-compassion they can believe that they are enough.
Respect. I want to treat others the way I want to be treated. I want to respect my wife’s goals and boundaries. I want to respect myself by having healthy boundaries. I want to respect my children by putting their needs above my wants. I want to respect myself and others by making HONEST decisions. I want to respect myself and others by living a life where my actions and intentions MATCH.
Appreciation. I want to have gratitude for what I have, give gratitude to the contributions of others. I want to believe that through gratitude and appreciation of others and what I do have I will learn to be content with who I am and what I have.
Connection. I want to replace my “urge to merge” and need for comparison with the ALREADY existing connection I have with my family, earth, and universe. I want to believe that by simply being alive and a part of this universe I am connected. That the very atoms that make up me, are from the atoms that make this universe. The universe is in me and I am therefore connected. With this belief, I will no longer fear rejection/abandonment because I am already connected. Doing so will allow me to experience intimacy on a whole new level: physical and emotional with my wife, true healthy friendships with others, and deep love for my children and self.


Last edited by anon523 on Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Lesson 3 Exercises
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 287
10/20/17
86 days

Lesson 3 Exercises:
B. On your computer, extract the values from the vision you have created and list them. Your goal for this lesson is to create a single, comprehensive list that involves all of the primary ways that you derive stimulation from your life. Or, those areas that you want to derive stimulation from. Most lists will contain between 50-100 items. When you are done, post this list in your recovery thread.

1. Connection
2. Appreciation
3. Resilience
4. Respect for myself
5. Respect for my wife
6. Respect or others
7. Self compassion
8. Compassion for my wife
9. Compassion for my parents
10. Raising emotionally healthy children
11. Guiding and teaching my children
12. Forgiving myself
13. Forgiving my mother
14. Forgiving my father
15. Forgiving my brother
16. Supporting my children above my wants
17. Supporting my wife above my wants
18. Putting other’s needs before my wants
19. Ending a cycle of BPD/addiction
20. Starting a new legacy of addiction free living
21. Surviving addiction
22. Integrity: where my intentions and actions match
23. Showing gratitude for my life
24. Showing gratitude for my relationships
25. Believing in myself
26. Honesty
27. Being known as responsible
28. Living with courage and bravery in the face of pain and fear
29. Pushing beyond my comfort zone
30. Emotional intimacy
31. ALLOWING myself to experience true physical intimacy
32. Enforcing healthy boundaries with myself
33. Overcoming personal struggle
34. empowerment
35. Being trustworthy
36. Strength
37. Friendship
38. Discipline
39. Creativity
40. Allowing myself to be loved
41. Allowing myself to be vulnerable
42. Helping others
43. Being an inspiration to others
44. Being dedicated and following through on commitments
45. Being playful
46. Being considerate of others
47. Being considerate of myself
48. Being a role model for my family
49. Being a role model for others
50. Competition
51. Physical beauty
52. Physical health
53. Being a teacher/mentor
54. Feeling appreciated
55. Being recognized as an expert in my field
56. Developing healthy relationships
57. Patience
58. Connecting to a purpose
59. Adaptability
60. Avoiding conflict
61. Improving social interactions
62. Fidelity
63. Feeling content
64. Tolerance
65. Selflessness
66. Wise mind

2) Consider the 'dark side' of your decision-making. The compulsive behavior. The sexual behavior. Take some time to extract the values that went into those behaviors, and list them as well.

Feeling wanted
Feeling needed
Feeling euphoria
Feeling attractive
Feeling unattainable
Feeling unique and special
Sexual
Power
Control
Feeling deep connection to another being “urge to merge”
Living an exciting life
Taking risks
Feeling a sense of danger
Planning for the future
Dreaming of bigger things
Perfection
Selfishness
Rebellion
Freedom
Escapism
Pride
Anger
Living a pain free life
Instant gratification
Taking the easy route
Relaxation


Last edited by anon523 on Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Lesson 4 Exercise
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:23 am 
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Posts: 287
10/23/17
89 days
“And because emotions have the capacity to skew your perceptions, they have the capacity to numb reason.”


Lesson 4 Exercises:
A. In the previous exercise, you identified a list of the majority of your practical and universal values. Now, prioritize this list. This should take you about fifteen minutes at the most. If it is taking you longer than that, you are thinking too deeply. The deep thought was in constructing your vision and extracting the values...this is the 'easy part'. Simply identify an initial order of prioritization that 'feels right' to you.
Take a snapshot of where these values lay in terms of helping you to achieve your vision. DO NOT worry if a particular value is a few items above or below another (for instance, don't worry about choosing between 'Strengthening My Role as a Father to My Son' and 'Strengthening My Role as a Father to My Daughter'). You should be looking for a general sense of prioritization — not an exact representation. Remember that values change. Priorities change. And so, to try to imagine all possible situations for which prioritization may apply would paralyze you. So don't. Think only in the current moment — and in relation to what you believe would be the most direct path to building that vision in your day-to-day life.


1. Integrity: where my intentions and actions match
2. Supporting my children above my wants
3. Supporting my wife above my wants
4. Respect for myself
5. Respect for my wife
6. Raising emotionally healthy children
7. Guiding and teaching my children
8. Self compassion
9. Compassion for my wife
10. Ending a cycle of BPD/addiction
11. Being a role model for my family
12. Being trustworthy
13. Compassion for my parents
14. Allowing myself to be loved
15. Allowing myself to be vulnerable
16. Forgiving myself
17. Forgiving my mother
18. Forgiving my father
19. Forgiving my brother
20. Connection
21. Selflessness
22. Wise mind
23. Being a role model for others
24. Starting a new legacy of addiction free living
25. Surviving addiction
26. Fidelity
27. Showing gratitude for my life
28. Showing gratitude for my relationships
29. Believing in myself
30. Honesty
31. Being known as responsible
32. Living with courage and bravery in the face of pain and fear
33. Pushing beyond my comfort zone
34. Emotional intimacy
35. ALLOWING myself to experience true physical intimacy
36. Enforcing healthy boundaries with myself
37. Overcoming personal struggle
38. empowerment
39. Strength
40. Friendship
41. Discipline
42. Creativity
43. Appreciation
44. Resilience
45. Being dedicated and following through on commitments
46. Being considerate of others
47. Being considerate of myself
48. Being a teacher/mentor
49. Developing healthy relationships
50. Patience
51. Connecting to a purpose
52. Feeling content
53. Tolerance
54. Improving social interactions
55. Feeling appreciated
56. Helping others
57. Being an inspiration to others
58. Being recognized as an expert in my field
59. Physical beauty
60. Physical health
61. Adaptability
62. Avoiding conflict
63. Competition
64. Being playful


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:28 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 287
10/24/17
90 days

Side note: today marks 90 days since the true discovery/diagnosis/acceptance of my love addiction and beginning of the end of my bottom line behaviors. I’ve struggled with obsessions, fantasy, and romantic intrigue for my entire life. The first obsessions/fantasies I remember are from age 5. I have 25 years of reinforced addiction to unravel and am taking it one day at a time. I continue to see my therapist weekly and make efforts to continue open dialogue with my wife. I’m taking an active role in my recovery by praying for strength in the AM, praying and giving gratitude in the PM, and working with purpose on the exercises in this workshop. I am not new to the world of therapy, mindfulness, and DBT, and am actively applying coping skills in addition to reminding myself that I always have a CHOICE in what I think about and how I act on those thoughts. The exercises on creating values have been very powerful so far—reminding me that actions/thoughts/behaviors based off of emotion can lead me to risky situations. But if I rebuild my values and instead make decisions based on what I’ve identified, I’ll be on a path to living a healthy, whole hearted, and fulfilling life.
Lesson 5 Exercises:
A. In previous exercises, you identified and prioritized a list of your personal values. This list should represent those aspects of your life that you want to use to define who you are and how you will be managing your life. Take a moment to look over that list with a fresh view. As you read through it, ask yourself, "Does this reflect the person that I am committing myself to becoming?" If so, continue on; if not, add those missing values that are congruent with the life that you want to lead and remove those values which are not.


Yes. This list reflects the person that I am committing myself to becoming. But it is daunting and I am afraid of failure. I know this is just my discomfort speaking—I’m so used to my self-pity party and being miserable. The idea of healing and discomfort that comes with it is scary because it is unknown. But deep down I do want to end this cycle of addiction/BPD and am ready. I want that voice to be heard and lived.

B. Consider two or three major decisions that you have made in your life (i.e. marriage, career, getting a dog, etc.). Examine the values involved in the decision-making process that went into your options. Consider having to make those decisions today. Does your current prioritized values list reflect the choices that you would make? If so, then you have done a good job of creating a practical values list. If not, then you may still be leaning more towards 'idealistic values' than practical ones. You want...no, you NEED this list to function on a practical level. Continue refining it until it does.

Marriage
My wife and I married because we had dreams we wanted to build together. We loved each other. We respected each other. We encouraged each other to pursue their dreams and wishes. We wanted to build a life together. We brought the best out of each other. I dated and married her because she inspired me to constantly better myself. I was attracted to her structure and willingness to love unconditionally—things that are hard for me. They were ideas and concepts that I valued and wanted to live. We got married so that we could grow our family and raise children. I married her with dreams of having healthy children, financial success, exploring the world, happiness, and connection.
When looking at my list, I currently have integrity at the top. I think this is important, but definitely idealistic and am going to change it. I need to be honest with myself and it is not the main reason why I married my wife. Creating a healthy legacy is what is important to me.

Job
I chose my career path for several reasons. The ability to teach and see my lessons be put into practice—to know that I’ve made an impact on someone else’s life. To know that I have contributed to the bigger picture by impacting someone else. It gives me a sense of immortality—to know that my lessons will be carried on in someone’s life. Whether it’s as simple as coaching a sport or life changing such as healthy behavior change—to know that I’ve made positive difference is important to me. It gives me purpose. In addition, my own experiences allow me to use my intuition to connect and empathize with others—this is energizing to me.

As I consider my choice of career path and look at my values, again it’s reinforced that the idea of legacy needs to be near the top. I also need to bring connection, purpose, and being part of the big picture closer to the top.

C. Finally, examine the list one more time for its realism. Do this by briefly grasping each value and thinking about the role that it would play in your day-to-day life. This does not mean that you must use the particular value on a daily basis, only that it can serve as a realistic, functional part of the identity that you are building. For instance, if I choose 'spirituality' as a top priority for myself, but in reality I am only listing that value out of fear and/or social acceptance...then my list is not real. It is not practical. On the other hand, if I list 'Strengthening my relationship with my brother' — whom I have not had any contact with in twenty years and with whom I would like to rebuild a connection with...then that is practical. Also, remember to examine the values that are not necessarily socially accepted/idealized. This is critical. If you build a life based on what others expect from you, you will fail in your transition. If you build a life based on a mastery of what it is you truly value, then you will succeed. So examine values such as 'sexual gratification', 'being sexually adventurous', 'feeling sexually desired', 'being promiscuous', etc. If these are important to you, then prioritize them within your list. Leave them out because they don't 'sound right' and you are dooming yourself to that dual-identity that pervades sexual addiction.

In looking at my list it’s true that I put idealistic values close to the top. But what’s really important to me is my legacy and connection. I am going to really evaluate this list and make a better effort to be honest with myself instead of putting what I “think” should be at the top.

D. Take the top fifteen values that you have currently listed and post them in your Recovery Thread. To be successful in recovery, you will need to learn to derive about 75% of your life's meaning and fulfillment from these values across any given week or so. It is okay if you are not currently doing this, because that is what the following two lessons are for: to help you develop this ability over the coming months.

1. Growing a healthy legacy (free of addiction and BPD, children that believe they are enough and live courageous and resilient lives)
2. Connection to others and a purpose
3. Being a teacher/mentor
4. Helping others
5. Creativity
6. Appreciation
7. Being known as responsible
8. Feeling content
9. Integrity: where my intentions and actions match
10. Wise mind
11. Living with courage and bravery in the face of pain and fear
12. Supporting my children above my wants
13. Supporting my wife above my wants
14. Allowing myself to feel vulnerable and loved
15. Physical Security and Safety -> financial success, home, car, job (material things)

P.S. I do worry that my Borderline Personality Disorder is interfering with my ability to identify appropriate goals and values. I know that it significantly impacts my self image and distorted thinking on top of my addiction. Regardless, I am aware that values can change overtime. I'm just concerned that my need for connection (and fear of rejection) is a manifestation of my BPD and not a true value. I will keep my finger on the pulse of this and continue to be mindful and aware as I continue to identify my true values so that I may make honest value based decisions.


Last edited by anon523 on Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Lesson 6
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 287
10/25/17
91 Days



Lesson 6 Exercise:
A. Of the top fifteen values on your Prioritized Values List, develop Proactive Action Plans for two or three of the more simple ones. For instance, "Strengthening your relationship with your wife" is complex. "Developing a closer bond with 'Chewie', your dog" (probably) isn't. For now, choose 'Chewie'. Post these plans into your recovery thread.
Note that your goal here is not to map out perfection. You only need to map out the next few steps in the developmental process of strengthening and/or maintaining this value (if it is already at full strength).


In my action plan, I have listed where I am on the stages of change. This helps me better develop my action plan on what I need to do to effectively change my behavior in these values.

Creativity
1) Do a craft/art with the kids on weekly basis (action/maintenance)
2) Make a home video of kids (action/maintenance)
    Be mindful of moments that I want hold onto—either experience from my own memories or by creating a video
    Write down ideas of mini-documentaries or of the kids
    Worry less about what OTHERS will think of this
    Focus on how it makes me feel to create instead of to “show” for attention
3) Play guitar / record music (contemplative/planning)
    Enjoy the music I create, the feeling of the strings on my fingers
    Record for myself and for the sake of creating, not for attention from others
4) Journal (action/maintenance)
    Writing is a great outlet for me to safely express myself without judgement from myself nor peers as it is private.
    I will continue to write as I need—similar to people praying when they are in need
5) Work out once a week (pre-contemplative)
    Doing a stretch session, mobility session, swim laps, or workout is a way to use my body creatively
    Begin to hold onto the vision of what my life would be like with more physical activity
    Consider the positive impacts it would have on my life “what’s in it for me?”
    Consider how my physical activity behavior habits now will impact my life
    Know that I deserve to take care of my body just as I'm taking care of my mind
6) Reach out to Mike to collaborate (Contemplative)
    Expressing creativity is also fun when working with a safe friend.
    Doing so would allow me to have a sense of connection, explore another viewpoint, and gain enjoyment from finishing a project
7) Work on a creative project for work (contemplative/planning)
    This is something that I often procrastinate on.
    I will consider how this will impact my consumers, clients, company, and personal career
    I will follow through on project ideas on a quarterly basis
8) Work on a home improvement project (contemplative)
    Make a list of on-going projects and prioritize them
    Identify fiscal/physical needs to complete project
    Completing the project will engage my mental and physical stimulation
    Completing the project will give me pride and ownership of my home, in addition to expressing commitment and responsibility

Physical Security and Safety
1) Continue to make honest decisions that do not negatively impact my work (action/maintenance)
2) Be proactive in my work and projects (action)
3) Make smart financial purchase decisions (action/maintenance)
4) Organize my home (action/maintenance)
    If I see something that needs to be done, DO IT
5) Keep home/car clean (action/maintenance)
    Clean car on monthly basis
6) Do chores (maintenance)
7) Do home improvement projects (contemplative)
    Increase my feeling and ability to be responsible
    I can teach the kids to take care of things they own.
8) Express gratitude for what I have (contemplative)
    I can pray and express gratitude on a daily basis
    Doing so would keep me mindful of the moment and create less longing for “more”
    Doing so would build my ability to feel content
    With more gratitude I would see and believe that I am secure and safe


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 Post subject: Lesson 7
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:58 am 
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Posts: 287
10/26/17
92 days


A couple completed action plans for lesson 7.

Growing a healthy legacy (free of addiction and BPD, children that believe they are enough and live courageous and resilient lives)
1) Make honest decisions
  • Pray daily for courage and guidance to make honest decisions
  • Express gratitude for daily strength
  • Communicate with absolute honesty
  • Maintain an absence of secrecy
  • CHOOSE to change my thinking when obsessing instead of allowing it to continue for comfort
  • Put my children’s needs before my wants
  • Put my wife’s needs before my wants
  • Learn to decipher then act on my own needs INSTEAD of my wants

2) Pay attention to my emotion management and how it impacts my relationships
  • Express my emotions openly to my wife
  • Express my emotions with vulnerability to my wife
  • If I’m unable to communicate effectively (DUE TO MY BPD NOT FEAR) then let wife know, but respectfully

3) Show them how to face their fears instead of running
  • Act and respond based on my values, not based on emotion
  • When in pain, experience and accept the pain and acknowledge that it will not last forever. Accept that I’m in pain, and that it reminds me that I am alive!

4) Teach them to treat their peers/others/future spouse with respect
  • Teach them through example on a daily basis
    a. Treat my wife with respect
    b. Support my wife’s goals
    c. Encourage my wife through compliments and endearment
    d. Use manners
    e. Eliminate unnecessary criticism of my wife and children
    f. Be mindful of my triggers for criticism
  • Teach them kindness
    a. Show compassion to my mother by reaching out to her and initiating conversation each month
    b. Show compassion to my brother by reaching out to him and initiating conversation each month
    c. Show compassion to my father by refraining from trying to change him and accepting the love he is able to give
  • Encourage my children to follow their dreams
    a. Support them in whatever path they choose, even if it does not align with my dreams for them
  • Support and validate their emotions
    a. Show patience by allowing them to cry and throw a tantrum
    b. Show validation by helping them express their emotions verbally
    c. Show validation by helping them express their emotions in a healthy way
    d. Show unconditional love by comforting them even when they are frustrating me

3) Teach them self-love
  • On a daily basis, tell MYSELF in the mirror a good thing about myself.
    a. Take care of myself, so that they learn to take care of themselves
    b. Continue to reinforce pride and confidence in their abilities, being, and emotions
    c. Show them how to take responsibility for themselves (proper hygiene, exercise, self-respect)
    d. Continue to make honest decisions and be absolutely honest with myself

Being a teacher/mentor
1) Listen with intention to the speaker
  • Wait for the speaker to finish before interjecting
  • Use reflection appropriately

2) Empathy
  • Seek more than to acknowledge.
  • Seek to feel in alliance with the individual.
  • Seek to understand instead of seeking to be understood.
  • Use my listening skills
  • Be vulnerable
  • Use intuition when seeking to share

3)Teach
  • Educate only when asked to or there is “buy in”
  • Teach, don’t preach
  • Learn from who I am teaching
  • LIVE what you teach
  • Believe in what you teach
  • Seek alignment instead of lecturing
  • Make intentions to grow the individual, not to be understood or to sway opinions


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 Post subject: Lesson 7 cont
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 287
10/27/17
93 days


Connection to others and a purpose
1) Pray
  • I will pray in the AM and PM daily, asking for strength, guidance, and giving thanks
  • Praying reminds me that I’m not alone, that I’ll always at least have god and the universe—someone is always listening.
2) Meditate
  • I will mediate a minimum of 3x a week to feel connected with my body, mind, and spirit
3) Exercise
  • I will find time to exercise so that I may feel connected to my body and a community of fitness
4) Acceptance
  • I have fears of abandonment and rejection due to my upbringing and emotional immaturity. The fact is, that just by being alive I am always connected. Through meditation or positive self-talk, I will begin to believe my connection.
  • I will say 2-3 positive to myself in the mirror daily
  • I will actively work on accepting myself, living with courage, making honest decisions based on my morals and values, not emotion, so that I reduce the amount of comparison I make (comparison is the thief of joy)
5) Healthy relationships and communication
  • I will identify healthy boundaries of friendship
  • I will abstain from unhealthy relationships and communicate to my wife when this has occurred
  • I will initiate intimacy with my wife
  • I will initiate absolute honest conversation with my wife
  • I will communicate to my wife when I am struggling, when I am succeeding, when I lapse
  • I will tell and show my wife how much I love and appreciate her on a daily basis
6) Consider SLAA groups
  • When approved by my therapist and spouse, I will find a SLAA group and frequency that is appropriate to my recovery
7) Contribute, Philanthropy and giving back
  • Continue to do my job effectively and hold the big picture in mind without it negatively impacting my relationships
  • Get involved in some type of charity or philanthropy to give back to my peers, family, or community
8) Empathy and Compassion
  • I will show compassion to my immediate family by seeking understanding instead of seeking to be understood
  • I will seek greater understanding of the impact of my past actions and own the consequences
  • I will open up to my family by reaching out to them on a monthly basis
  • I will express empathy and compassion to my wife
9) Vulnerability
  • I will let myself be seen
  • I will lean into discomfort and joy
  • I will show gratitude
  • I will believe that I am enough
  • Read Brene Brown Books
  • I will purchase one book on tape and listen to it during my commute to work


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 Post subject: Lesson 7 cont.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:37 am 
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Note: in reading Lesson 12, I realize that I've been in the mode of measuring my recovery in my abstinence (by counting my days sober) instead of measuring my recovery by the positive benefits I have to gain (such as emotional stability and personal satisfaction). I've decided to stop counting my days sober for this reason. Instead, I want to begin noting the positive impacts recovery is going to, is already having, on my life.

Positive Impacts: Continued awareness of the integration of my addiction and my identity. Greater mindfulness of my actions and words, apologizing quicker for the instinctual criticism of my wife and further communication to her on where it came from and why I had an outburst.

Lesson 7 cont.
Living with courage and bravery in the face of pain and fear
  • Own my mistakes and take responsibility for my actions even if that means sacrificing my own preservation
  • Instead of running from my pain and problems, stay and self soothe in healthy ways
  • Acknowledge and accept when I am uncomfortable and remember that “this too shall pass”
  • Let myself be seen in my relationships
    a) Practice absolute honesty with my wife
    b) Initiate conversations and intimacy with my wife
    c) Allow myself to be myself in social situations
    d) Journal and speak with my therapist about inner homophobia
  • Let myself be seen in my work
    a) Continue to push myself to branch out of my comfort zone and participate in various projects
  • Let myself be seen in my community
    a) Participate in philanthropy or give back to the universe in some way (even if it is as small as recycling or as big as charity work)


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 Post subject: Lesson 10
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:43 am 
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IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items stashed for sexually compulsive behavior. List these items and their locations in your Recovery Thread. If you are uncomfortable sharing this in the forum, email or PM the list to a Coach.


I am a fantasy/obsession/romantic delusion love addict. I have blocked all individuals of my addictions, abstain from stalking/following strangers on social media, and do not visit any porn/youtube channels on the internet.

V. Make a list of all the people that you use as compulsive sexual and/or romantic object. Post this in your thread.

In the past it has been a significant amount of people. Coworkers, clients, therapists, neighbors, strangers, friends, acquaintances, celebrities, movie characters, video game characters. My obsessions/fantasies/romantic delusions have been as small as 1-3 second images in my mind to as significant as affairs. Currently, I struggle with

• Waitresses/Flight attendants: obsess and fantasize exploiting them for their job of ‘service to me’. Their job is to serve me food, not make me happy.
• Pregnant women
• Straight women that are older than me
• Kristen: most recent affair. All communication/interaction has ended but I still obsess and fantasize. However, these days, fantasiesleave my brain much quicker, and there is more time between each fantasy. When she pops into my brain, I am actively CHOOSING not to continue the fantasy and think about something else.
• Other strangers I find attractive-I objectify them in my mind.

VI. Make a list of all the places where you go to act out your sexually/romantically compulsive behavior. Post this list in your thread.

• I do not go out to act out.


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 Post subject: Lesson 7 cont
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:09 am 
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Appreciation
  • Accept the appreciation I’m given as truth
  • Show gratitude
  • Love myself
  • Respect myself
  • Respect others

Feeling content
  • Believing that I am enough
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Putting projects and the “need” for new relationships/friendships on hold.
  • Lean into joy and discomfort


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3771
Location: UK
Anon
Quote:
I realize that I've been in the mode of measuring my recovery in my abstinence (by counting my days sober) instead of measuring my recovery by the positive benefits I have to gain (such as emotional stability and personal satisfaction). I've decided to stop counting my days sober for this reason. Instead, I want to begin noting the positive impacts recovery is going to, is already having, on my life.


Eureka
:g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g: :g:

well done to you
recovery is now there for your taking

_________________
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: Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:48 am 
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Kenzo

Thank you for reading and for your support.


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 Post subject: Lesson 11
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:16 am 
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I wanted to take the assessment a bit further. So this post is going to be very long as I really explore my patterns.

Positive impact of my recovery so far: Deeper awareness of how my addiction is integrated in my past identity. Solidified need to recreate my identity and make value based decisions.

Lesson 11

I am here to destroy these patterns in my life. First I must honestly and openly identify the patterns and behaviors. I will explore their origins, my perceived benefit, the elements, ritualistic patterns, triggers, and boundaries that they violate.
I struggle with a love addiction that involves patterns of fantasies, obsessions, romantic delusions, promiscuity, affairs, romantic stalking, pornography, masturbation, and exhibitionism. My behaviors and patterns intertwine with each other with varying intensity based on external and internal triggers.

Promiscuity: In high school I struggled with low self-esteem and emotional neglect. I had emotional imbalances as I struggled with depression and anxiety. I had an inner homophobia in addition to feeling unwanted by my parents and brother after coming out to them. I didn’t want to be associated with other gays because of my personal judgement of them. I had very little self-respect and strong feelings of guilt and shame. Being at a boarding school, I had significant opportunity to meet and “grow” relationships. I looked at it like a game and bragged about cultivating relationships with girls as if they were a garden “I must weed out the boys, tend to the relationship with constant attention and fertilize it by becoming everything they wanted”.
I gained a sense of purpose, power, and accomplishment from chasing girls and getting to makeout with them. I was addicted to the chase and soothed my feeling of emotional neglect by receiving sexual attention from others. Once it became “serious”, I often cheated on them because I became bored. I almost always had the next girl lined up to prevent feeling any type of abandonment at the end of the relationship. I had a sense of “anything goes with boys” because I was a lesbian so “it didn’t matter because I wasn’t attracted to them”. I can recall being in a classroom of 4-5 boys and having a sense of power as I went to each one and teased them and tried to turn them on. I would then deny them anything and felt an immense feeling of accomplishment and control. This got me into trouble twice (once in high school and once in college) where I actually feared for my safety as I made two men angry by denying them. I was thankfully able to talk them down from sexually assaulting me.
In my adult years, I have often bragged that prior to meeting my wife I was on the “girl of the month club”. That every month I had a different girl in college. I was constantly seeking new women to date. There was one instance where I had arranged 3 different girls to meet me at a bar on my birthday and I switched between kissing each of them without their knowledge.
Looking back, I can see clearly now how my addiction was completely intertwined into my developing sense of self. I used it to create a sense of purpose in high school and college. I “became” movie characters like Sebastian from Cruel Intentions because I didn’t know or love my true self. I emulated their actions and character. I was emotionally immature and clung onto sex as my balancer and identity. I made excuses of “it was just me in high school” “this is what gay people do in society” “I’m a player” “I’m accomplished because of my list of women” “it was my experimental years”. But in reality, this was an intense time of building and giving into my addiction. Today my promiscuity is “limited” thanks to my commitment to my wife and also my wanting to distance myself from the identity of “sexual predator”. I have, however, had two affairs and will examine that in later.

Exhibition: I want to say that all “rambunctious” high school kids act out and flash people. I want to say that I went to a “hippie” school so it gave me a free pass to be naked and one with nature. And, perhaps we all fed into each other, but the fact is that I was a developing love addict and used it for more than the average “experimental” high school and college student. Streaking at my highschool. Flashing friends. Streaking and running with my best friend. I got a rise of excitement and attention from flashing people. I can recall me and my brother doing it to other people. Even today, I occasionally flash my wife. It comes to me instantly—an urge for attention and “being silly” and then I’ll flash her my breasts or genitals to shock her. This shows my skewed sexual boundaries and poor intimacy/social skills.

Fantasies: I have 3-5 second fantasies that occur daily. If I allow them, they can last longer. Most recently, I’ve been putting a stop to them a choosing not to continue the fantasy if it pops into my brain. They involve interactions with strangers or my current obsession target. The subject of my fantasies range from conversations (fiction or real), acts, or replaying of images and memories. In the past, I would actually set aside time to fantasize and masturbate. Either when at home alone or for longer periods of alone time during college. Until the discovery of my addiction, I’d use porn or erotic fan fiction to trigger me. If I had an intense obsessive target, I would also go to bed earlier in an effort fantasize or dream about the target.
In high school classes I’d fantasize to pass the time. As a child I can remember going on field trips and being sad when the bus was close to dropping us back off at the school—it meant an end to my escape and fantasy time. I used fantasy as a form of self-soothing in boring, stressful, or high pressure situations. As an adult I use fantasies to pass the time, run from uncomfortable situations, or gain personal enjoyment from a public situation. I am triggered by feeling stressed, criticism, conflict, abandonment, changes in my mood (I have bi-polar and borderline personality disorder), boredom, songs, visual attraction, porn, sexual/romantic scenes in movies or games and public places. My longer fantasies occur during my driving commute to work, travelling or in the shower. Shorter ones happen anywhere and throughout the day.
The boundaries that I violate by allowing this pattern to continue is autonomy, emotional cheating on my wife, intimacy (because I’m not sharing the experience with my wife), objectifying and exploiting another individual, and interference with my true values and morals. After a fantasy, I feeling angry at myself for not having control. I occasionally stop the fantasy by literally yelling at myself to stop or “shut up!” Last year I attempted to use a kinder voice to settle my fantasies and obsessive thoughts my treating myself like a child and saying “you’re ok.” I want to attempt to reintroduce this approach—the exercise in Lesson 1 where I looked at my addiction in it’s lifespan and images of myself as a child was helpful to remind myself that I will reparent my inner child. I was simply a child that lost her way.
Fantasy example trigger and ritual (reminder that I am safe, the suicidal thoughts are often associated with my BPD and I am being treated):
  • Trigger/Cue: Argument with wife
  • Emotion: anxiety, anger
  • Physical response: tension in hands and face, burning chest, pain
  • Distorted thoughts about emotion and symptoms: abandonment, rejection, it’s not working out, this isn’t worth it
  • Fantasy: I need an easy fix and should kill myself, divorce, or run away.
  • Result: Feeling soothed that I always have an “easy out/option” of running away

Obsessions:

I have been obsessing since kindergarten. I have struggled with obsessions with friends, classmates, teachers, celebrities, strangers, past lovers, and unavailable women. I have been triggered into obsessions during times of low self-esteem, life transitions (such as new jobs, new baby, new relationship, death in the family), high stress times, conflict with a current relationship, and breakups. My obsessions are intertwined with elements of fantasy, masturbation, romantic delusions, and romantic stalking. It is true that I often didn’t realize I was obsessing until after the fact. This causes the relationship to be very tumultuous and draining on both myself and the target. I’d constantly be thinking of them, fantasizing, texting/calling them. In situations where I was in a relationship with an obsession, the connection was chaotic and I had concerns of their fidelity—even if I wasn’t being loyal myself. I often projected my fears onto them, to the point that they pushed me away. This lead to a “I told you so” self-fulfilling prophecy of wanting their love yet not feeling I deserved it therefore self-sabotaged. I feared their abandonment and rejection, yet never let them get to close to me. I did everything I could do to make them fall in love with me in a “needing to be needed”. I would be willing to sacrifice my own boundaries by oversharing details of my life or by doing things I didn’t want to do in order to make them happy. I would also feel an immense relief when feelings were reciprocated this happened in my two affairs. The reciprocation was so powerful that it lead me to cheat on my wife. Former obsessions were extremely hard to get over especially if they were a romantic partner.
These obsessions impacted boundaries of myself, my wife, and target. I was unable to withhold my own values and morals and sacrificed my own identity to match what I perceived my target needed. I disrespected the boundaries of my wife and target.

Romantic Delusions: My romantic delusions jump to instant intimacy—which is unusual since I so greatly fear true intimacy. I fantasize about writing over the top love letters that make my target swoon or shock them. I have written these letters in the past several times, my first one being to a target in 3rd grade. I became extremely angry in the face of unrequited love in elementary school and junior high. My romantic delusions lead me to believe that my life could be better if I were with them. My fantasies intensified, and I would stalk them on the internet, social media, or driving by their house. Delusions are triggered by also often media. For example, watching a celebrity dance in a video—she breaks the 4th wall and I felt like she was dancing for me. Voiceover characters and finding their voice sexy, I’d jump to stalking them and fantasizing about being with them or saving them. Times of high stress and intense visual or mental attraction would trigger these.

Affairs: As previously discussed in promiscuity, I have a pattern of infidelity that began before my marriage. I have committed two, Single, sustained affairs during my marriage to my wife. I felt that I could fall in love with each individual or at least live another life with them. I considered them rain checks—that if my marriage failed with my wife then at least I’d have a backup relationship. The affairs turned into thoughts of “if I had met you before my wife I’d be with you” as distorted rationalizations for continuing the correspondence. During each, I began to pick at “faults” in my wife -- an effort to justify my affair. It fueled the affairs in that I’d find attributes about the individual and hyperfocus on them—“my wife doesn’t do this”. My most recent affair was first a target of romantic delusion, obsession, and fantasy. Upon learning the feelings were reciprocated the emotions elements intensified greatly. Feelings of suspense, danger, extreme high self-esteem, increased my substance abuse. Each affair required intense emotional investment on my part. My wife noticed quickly and both came to an end because she discovered them. The extreme guilt and shame upon being caught increased my feelings of wanting to run and self-soothe in instant ways. I violated my self-respect and respect for my wife by lying and omission until being caught. I violated her trust, I violated my true values. I put my wants before my children’s needs.

Romantic Stalking
: My romantic stalking started at an early age. Even before the internet I used the phone book as a child to try and look up where a teacher lived. I paid attention to the type of cars teachers drove in elementary school. With access to the internet and social media I was able to gather information on my targets with even more ease—this provided instant gratification and self soothing. My targets range from strangers, celebrities, co-workers, people of authority, and lovers. I never jeopardized my own safety or broke the law during romantic stalking. I have, however, driven by people’s work or homes to feel a sense of “closeness” to the target. The elements and perceived benefit from romantic stalking was “safe” relationship building. I could create a sense of intimacy with the target without actually becoming intimate and feeling rejection. I got a sense of accomplishment and power if I was able to find them and gather more information on them. I am often triggered by extreme stress, my poor relationship/intimacy skills, media, social situations. My longing for “safe” intimacy is also a trigger. I violated the boundaries of my target and my wife. I feel shame and guilt for my actions and violate my own integrity. I violate social acceptance as I come clean about my romantic stalking and fear the judgment of others.

Pornography: I have used pornography for masturbation and mind numbing purposes. More often than not, I feel guilt and shame after masturbating and viewing porn. I most often use videos to trigger me. Some of these videos are not sexual in nature but do involve the gentalia (childbirth, desperation). I have also used erotic fanfiction. I’m cued by boredom, stress and new targets of fantasy. Triggers of bored, curiosity, and stress have lead me to search for pornographic images. Viewing it violates my self-respect as I almost always feel guilt and shame after using porn to masturbate. It violates the intimacy with my wife because I do not involve her.

Masturbation: I started masturbating at a young age. I used it for comfort when I went to bed and did not know it as being sexual. I fantasized about saving classmates or teachers while masturbating. Upon discovering that it was a sexual act, I stopped for a few years middle school before beginning again. In college, I had a much greater masturbation problem and would masturbate for hours simply for comfort or to put myself to sleep. Not for the sexual aspect of it, not really thinking about much, but just to comfort and self soothe.
I have often preferred masturbation to sex with my wife for several reasons. “the work” that’s involved and also the discomfort of physical/emotional intimacy and connection. I also often don’t allow her to touch me and simply grind on her as a means to orgasm as it’s difficult for me to relax and climax otherwise. I have used masturbation as a form of stress and anxiety relief. I also have used it to physically reinforce my connections to targets by fantasizing about them while masturbating. The way I masturbate violates my self respect and the intimacy of me and my wife.


Last edited by anon523 on Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:54 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Lesson 7 cont
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:41 am 
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Positive Impact Reflection: Although I'm uncomfortable, I am looking forward to experiencing joy on a truer level. A level of depth and longevity. I should note that this is a milestone achievement for me. To be looking at the road ahead as fruit giving instead of punishment. It will be difficult. It will be uncomfortable. But the journey will be rewarding nonetheless. I'm starting to believe. I'm not ambivalent, I know I may have hiccups and days/times where I want to run again. But I already have pushed forward. I hope to look back on this in times of need. That I can have hope. Every ounce counts.


Upon completing Lesson 7 I'll be posting another reply to have them all together. Here's a few more.

Being known as responsible
  • “dress for the job you want” and live the part by taking care of things as I see them. Ex. If I see the trash is full, empty it!
  • Protect my family from things that are in my control
  • Owning my mistakes and maintaining resilience and courage
  • Stepping up to challenging situations and taking ownership
  • Make value based decisions
  • Hold the big picture in mind when acting or speaking
Allowing myself to be vulnerable and loved
  • Lean into discomfort
    a) If I notice something is on my wife’s mind ask
    b) If she asks me a question engage, don’t give excuses like “I’m tired” or “nothing”
  • Lean into joy
    a) Initiate emotional intimacy by eliciting her thinking
    b) Initiate physical intimacy
    c) Practice wise mind so that you may feel joy
    d) Practice self-love by saying nice things to yourself
    e) Reparent your inner child by being kind and guiding her
Wise mind
  • Listen to my urges and choose the opposite path
  • Bring logic into decision making and emotional situations “is this true?”
  • Practice mindfulness daily
  • Practice meditation 3x weekly
  • Seek to understand rather than being understood


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