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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:22 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Lesson 17 Exercise:
I. Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in. Identify the elements of this ritual and post them in your recovery thread. It is important that you understand the principles involved in identifying the stimulating elements of compulsive if you are not comfortable with this concept, ask questions! Also, recognize that the elements listed above are not the only elements associated with compulsive behavior. And so, you will want to identify those elements that are specifically related to YOUR compulsive behavior.

Attending a Social Event
Group Social environment (SENSORY/ANXIETY & STRESS)
Drinking to loosen up (POLY-ADDICTION)
Scan attractive women (SENSORY)
Seek attention by saying shocking/sexual comments (CONTROL & POWER)
Seek attention by saying comments/jokes at wife’s expense (CONTROL & POWER)
People think I’m funny (ACCOMPLISHMENT)
Feel guilt and shame next AM (GUILT/SHAME)

PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:27 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308

Exercise 18
II. Consider one of your own compulsive rituals. Identify circumstances when each of the three filters (time, habituation and intensity) have come into play. Make sure that you understand each filter to the point where you are able to identify them as a ritual is being performed. Post these personal examples in your recovery thread.

Each step in my romantic stalking is an increase in the intensity of the stimulation I receive. EVEN the erasing of history serves a purpose as it increases the amount of emotional discomfort that requires soothing.
Romantic Stalking
See attractive individual on regular basis (SENSORY/PAST)
Scan them each time I see them (SENSORY) Filter: Intensity
Look for identifying information such as name tag, license plate, office number (POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Begin fantasizing with new found information (FANTASY/CONTROL/ACCOMPLISHMENT) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Find ways to purposefully cross paths (SENSORY/CONTROL/PAST/ACCOMPLISHMENT) Filter: Intensity/Habitutation
Utilize information to stalk on internet for pictures/family members/friends/address/work (POWER/CONTROL/ACCOMPLISHMENT/SUSPENSE/SENSORY)
Erase any history of stalking (GUILT/SHAME/ANXIETY) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Use additional details for more detailed fantasy (FANTASY/SENSORY) Filter: Habituation
Set aside time to fantasize for longer periods of time such as commute to work or going to bed earlier (FANTASY/PAST/POWER) Filter: Time
Do drive-bys of their home or work (SUSPENSE/DANGER) Filter: Intensity/Habituation
Begin Masturbation to Orgasm on regular basis (FANTASY/ORGASM) Filter: Intensity/Habituation/Time

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:49 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Lesson 19 Exercise:
There is no written exercise associated with this lesson. Instead, there is only a call to deepen your awareness of how you go about deriving stimulation in your day-to-day life. For the rest of today...and for all of tomorrow...become 'hyper-aware' of the healthy and unhealthy rituals that you engage in — as you are engaging in them.
Because you will not be held externally accountable for what you are being asked to do, it will be easy to chalk this up as a 'break' from having to do anything further with this lesson. That would be a very big mistake. Your success will be defined by the skill you will develop in personal awareness. So please, do exactly as you're being asked here: become hyper-aware of all rituals you engage in over the next few days. Do not limit this awareness to sexually compulsive rituals... or even to compulsive rituals. Explore all of your actions for their 'ritualistic' nature. Brushing your teeth. Eating. Driving to work. Become conscious of your thoughts/feelings as you complete these rituals.
Feel free to share any insights in your recovery thread, but you do not have to.

All human behavior is driven by the emotional stimulation it provides.
For some, this will mean the exact same thing. But for others, they will see a difference between pursuing pleasure and minimizing pain. Both interpretations are correct for our purpose.
In a nutshell (and open to much philosophical debate), all rational human action can be broken down into the desire to achieve a more pleasurable emotional state.

I’ve been speaking a lot with my therapist about “moderation”, my black and white thinking, and my recovery patterns noted in Lessons 12 and 13. I still fear triggers, I still feel myself wanting to pursue fantasies when they arise during boredom/stress.
“Over the next few months, challenge yourself to master this connection between your behavior and your emotions. The next time you are sitting in your car fantasizing about the driver next to you...make a conscious assessment of why you are fantasizing.”

Why am fantasizing? Boredom. Stress. Wanting stimulation. Feeling empty. My addiction is still impacting my life. I can give myself a little compassion here as it’s only been a year, but I cannot become complacent.
A healthy person may still fantasize about what that affair might be like...even allow themselves to become stimulated at the thought. But their long-term values will take precedent in the decision-making process. The immature person will anticipate the intensity of the emotions they will experience in the here-and-now — and base their decisions accordingly.

When I read this I felt myself wanting to justify. Wanting to say, well, it’s just a fantasy and I’m not choosing to act on it… but I know this is dangerous. The “act” here is choosing to continue the fantasy. L2R pointed out my fear of being exposed/triggered to memories of my past. It is true. But in addition I also have noticed an uptick in urges and “missing” the stimulation I received from my addiction. I have one foot in the “door” and one foot out.
I’ve noticed that during my non-sexual rituals the volume of my sexual fantasy/thoughts intensify: driving, grocery shopping, dish washing… in these ritualistic auto-pilot situations I’m more prone to fantasy. A potential solution is to become extra mindful during these tasks. Staying in the moment by using my 5 senses, staying here in the now. I know how to do mindfulness-I teach it for a living for god’s sake. But the call for instant gratification is strong.
Just the other day, I found myself faced with an opportunity to act out. I felt weak and the urges strong. I was given an opportunity to recommend a restaurant that I’ve scanned/romantically staked a server. I was able to push through and choose another option. But I felt weak that I had the urges in the first place. Felt emotionally and physically exhausted from managing that trigger/opportunity. And although I felt good about my decision to choose a value’s based decision, I still felt guilty for having the urges in the first place.

In lesson 62, Coach Jon discusses “emotional relapse” and how this is expected... to struggle with urges thoughts and desire. It doesn’t matter that this expected. I need to take this as a cue to apply my action plans as not to fall into behavior slips or behavioral relapse.
I need to separate the emotions from the urge. Going into darker days, increased stress at work, preparing for some projects at home and preparing for my vacation I’ve begun to develop some emotional imbalances. I must recognize that these spikes and dips in emotions are temporary. They have limits in their pain and are never above a 60/100. I can handle that. However I know this is a red flag and am ready to apply my proactive action plans and review lesson 60.

4. On the Discovery of Being “Off-Track”
Most everyone, even the sincerest of individuals, will occasionally open their eyes to the realization of "What in the hell am I doing?!" To their best intentions for health, they have found themselves returning to destructive behavior for temporary emotional relief. Most often, this return will include behavior from previously ingrained patterns, but it can also be seen in the development of new compulsive behaviors that can have similarly devastating consequences.
When you have found yourself to be 'off track', there are certain actions that you must take to prevent a full relapse from completely destroying your life. These actions are not intended to shield you from taking responsibility for what you have done, only to ensure that you get back on the right track as soon as possible. The destructive consequences will remain for you alone to take responsibility for.
Action to take: (Action Plan)
I. Regain Stability — this means emotional and behavioral stability. It is imperative that the first goal is to regain balance in your life. Without it, you will remain vulnerable to continued acting out. For most, this means a recommitment to recovery...which as we know, provides a temporary balance only.

I need to speak with C about what’s going on. This transparency will give me accountability and support. It will help me regain balance and clarity. I will also need to tap into the things that bring me true joy: creativity, connection with C, connection with children.

II. Evaluate/Update Your Values — another means for regaining stability, updating your values will begin to provide the initial clues as to where you struggled in relation to life management.

Although I recently updated my values, I have not written them down in a new values card. This is an absolute must as it’s been a valuable physical cue. Because I haven’t written them down, I have not ingrained them into my spiritual practice. I’ve been neglected two parts of this practice for a few days. This has to change now.

III. Update/Refine Your Goals — yet another means for regaining stability, updating your goals will provide the most obvious clues as to where you struggled in relation to life management. Most often, those who relapse will have completely lost control of the goals that they are working on — and thus, completely lost control of their ability to manage their life. The most important aspect of goal management in relapse is to REDUCE the number of goals that are being attempted; and to SIMPLIFY the goals that will continue to be worked on. This means that, while a goal may have originally had a month time frame for completion, it should be broken down into more immediate, specific tasks that can be accomplished in a matter of days. Set yourself up for success, not failure.
OK, refining goals to: maintain emotional and physical intimacy with C. Continue to be active presence with my children.

IV. Develop a Three-Day Time Management Schedule — set-up a time management schedule for the upcoming three days and follow-it. This does not have to be a minute-to-minute, inflexible time management schedule, but it should be a clear, stable map of what you will be doing with your time over the next several days. There are numerous reasons for such a schedule, but the most important is to regain stability and control. To remove the emotional aspects of decision-making form your life management tools for a few days.
• FULL spiritual practice in AM
• Set aside committed daily time on RN
• Complete smaller tasks that I feel the urge to procrastinate on
• Commit to daily monitoring
• Continued Self-Care plan (involving healthier nutrition)
• In the event of fantasy, create break and fantasize about healthy decisions instead
• Daily connection/presence with C
• Daily connection/presence with children
• Seek out small opportunity to express creatively

I will complete the following upon completing the above.
V. Map Out the Progression of the Relapse
VI. Analyze the Relapse
VII. Assess the Signs of Relapse

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:51 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308

Lesson 20 Exercise:
1) Examine your addiction and the role(s) that it has played in your life to date. Look across your life span and identify the progression of the addiction, the sustainment of it, the absence of it and/or the stifling of it. Look at the major transitions that you have experienced (childhood to prepubescent teen; prepubescent teen through teenager; teenager through young adulthood; young adulthood through adulthood; explore also any major traumas that you have endured (parental divorce, sexual abuse, moving to a new school or neighborhood, etc.) and identify the role that addiction (or the rituals that eventually developed into an addiction) played in helping you through that time period.
Your goal is to develop a fluid understanding of just how these patterns progressed from early sparks (harmless fantasy, etc.) to an eventual wildfire (e.g. addiction).

Long story short: Family of origin, hyper relgiousity, emotional neglect, coping with boredom/stress/anxiety, lack of foundation of values and emotional immaturity when faced with transitions lead to wildfire.

My Mother has Biploar, Borderline Personality Disorder, and ADHD. She was sexually abused as a child and grew up knowing that she was an “accident”. I was her 4th pregnancy, but second child. I know she struggled coping with her miscarriages. She carried me in a womb of anger and resentment, as my Father had an affair during her pregnancy.
My Father is a stoic Japanese American. His parents were interned in the camps in the US during WWII. He grew up in a time of racism and poverty. He was raised with verbal and physical abuse and was never taught unconditional love. He would spend his entire life trying to prove his worth to his parents, never receiving what he needed.
There are three defeiciency stories that I was told frequently about myself almost like a nightly bed time story: since birth I have always been a sprinter and a “runner”, that I was always an “angry baby,” and always struggled with moods and tantrums.
Regardless, my childhood up until age 3 was happy. Looking at pictures of that time my whole family seemed happy. Then we moved to another state.
It was at this time that anger and tension began to build in our home. I was raised in a hyper-religious environment: the church of Christ… c in church is small, because nothing is greater than Christ… this was a cult. Black or white thinking, women were inferior to men and to remain silent. Children were to be seen not heard. Sermons focused heavily on the “wrath of God” instead of love. We were not to dance or spend time with people not of Christian faith. I developed a fear of God and significant anxiety that I was going to hell for making any small mistake. We went to church Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and Wednesday evenings. It was an hour commute each way. A total of 6 hours in the car each week required me to come up with ways to pass the time—enter fantasy. I utilized fantasy to cope with the boredom.
My Father does not know how to play (with anyone, really) and never spent time with me. He was extremely emotionally distant and never showed anyone in my family (including my mother) affection. My mother was too caught up in her own mental health struggles to give me care except for my basic needs. My brother is 5 years older, so he and I had different interests. That left me alone. And so enter fantasy again. I would learn to play by myself and create fantasy worlds with my toys.

Upon beginning kindergarten, I was flooded with attention from classmates and teachers. To have a true connection and have people care about my well-being unconditionally was eye opening. My obsessions with peers and teachers began at age 5.

My father was verbally abusive to my Mother. They fought often during this time. When they began to bicker, my brother would take me outside or into the basement to play with me as to protect me from them. He and I had always been close regardless of our age difference. He protected me like a parent. Stressed, bored, and neglected as a child, I began masturbating around age 7. Not knowing it was sexual, it was just for emotional comfort. Later in elementary school I realized I was supposed to hide it and felt shame and guilt.

Fantasies built into being a hero or martyr. The only way I’d get the full attention and love I wanted would be through some extraordinary act or my own death. I began fantasizing about dying around this time. My obsessions built into fast storylines. I explored romantic stalking by taking note of a target’s car, finding them in the phonebook, etc.

My brother struggled with his studies, being bullied, and often got in fights with my Father. We finally left the church. And then he was sent to private school and later a boarding school. One would think that his departure would allow for more attention for me. It was quite the contrary, I was left alone because “I was OK and didn’t need it.”

My obsessions would turn into a wildfire in middle school. Obsessing over girls and teachers. Thinking they were the one for me. Or that I’d save them some day. Masturbating and fantasizing about them when bored, stressed, or even happy. My obsessions gave me purpose. I began to struggle with increased anxiety and depression. Fantasies and obsessions with celebrities began.

Highschool. I struggled with my sexual orientation and feared the stereotypes of lesbians. I didn’t connect or associate with other gay students, instead targeting, pursuing, and courting straight girls. My priming behavior began and I treated it like a game. Cheating behavior also began at this time, as once the “chase” was over I became bored and without stimulation. So I began adding different elements and filters (suspense, danger, power, time, habituation) to keep me going forward. Still not enough I increased my promiscuity to include boys as a means of control. I then I began to emulate characters from movies like Cruel Intentions, Donnie Darko, and Garden State. I became completely lost in fantasy. Teachers and friends would point out my risky behavior. I came up justifications and any form of self preservation I could to avoid pain. I began drinking my Junior year, and would use alcohol to sleep with straight girls. Two times during high school my behavior jeopardized my sanity and physical safety. Having been sexually assaulted twice. My relationship with my mother was extremely rocky during high school. Her love and care was so unpredictable and inconsistent. I grew to not trust her.

College was one of the hardest transitions. Caught up with an obsession, I didn’t put any thought process into my college choices. Unable to cope with being a little fish in a big pond and separated from all establish forms of acting out, I fell into severe depression and coped with an eating disorder. I suffered from panic attacks as I tried to manage the withdrawl from my targets. One of my obsessions would last over 7 years. After a suicide attempt and hospitalization, I transferred to a different school. Trying to be my friend, my mother would share that she too almost committed suicide. It left me with feelings of not being good enough for her to stick around. I was devastated. Regardless, I returned to school.

At this time, my parents divorced. My mother went into full manic mode, becoming sexually promiscuous herself. Completely unaware of personal boundaries, she tried to treat me as a friend sharing explicit details of her adventures. I began to find new targets to cope, and was able to create a solid friend support system. I then transferred my acting out to PMO. I’d be in bed for hours, sometimes missing class. In my final year of college, I began dating off of websites. I always had a backup. At my worst in terms of promiscuity, I had a night where four different girls were lined up. I went from one bar to the next to hook up and drink with each. I bragged on having so many sexual conquests.

Upon receiving news that a former conquest of mine was murdered, without the emotional maturity to handle such a situation, I spiraled into a severe depression and would attempt to take my life twice. I was hospitalized for a several weeks. Even while hospitalized, I found ways to act out. Obsessions with doctors. Masturbation while in solitary confinement unit. Obsession and priming of heroin addict patient. Priming and obsession with other patients. My mother became combative, accusing me of playing the victim and wishing that if I survived this I’ll learn to treat my friends better. I was released, and finished my final year in college.

Then I met C. She made me want to grow up. She made me want to change my behavior. I knew something was off, but was still completely ignorant to the fact that I was addicted to my behaviors.

We’d date, break up, get back together again. Eventually got married. And everyone’s comment at my wedding, “never thought we’d see Anon settle down.” C was never one of my targets. She was also only the 3rd lesbian I’ve ever dated. She was different and I did want to change. I just didn’t know how. I got a job in a place where policitcal correctness did not exist. Sexual innuendos were encouraged, sex with clients wasn’t uncommon, and it was a sexually harassing workplace environment. We began the process of starting a family. She became pregnant with our first child and a few months in I began to realize my life was changing. To cope, I began to prime a client of mine. The obsession built. Romantic stalking. Delusions. Verbal abuse of wife. Secrets. Then full on affair. The birth of our first child would lead to euphoria. The addiction was stifled. I didn’t need it because of the stimulation of the birth. Then fatigue set it. The affair continued. We began to think about the idea of being together. That we loved eachother. That she’d leave her husband and I’d leave my wife. Then came my first D-Day. C found pictures of J in my email. My mother would get involved, manipulating both me and my wife. This act of her actually brought C and I closer together as we found a common enemy during this time.

I found a therapist. We got couples therapy. Began to heal. We both took responsibility. I was STILL unaware of my addiction. I got a new job. Found a healthy career path. Rekindled our relationship. Raised a beautiful child. My addiction at this time was stifled with the stimulation of new beginnings. My acting out was existent but extremely limited such as over sexualized comments, mild flirting, and infrequent masturbation. C and I decided to try again to grow our family. Surprise twins. I held my shit together. Knowing what “went wrong” with the transition of the birth of our first child, C and I put 110% effort into hanging onto each other and supporting each other. We were a solid unit. But again, the stimulation wore off, the fatigue set in. I became obsessed with our nanny. I did not allow it to turn into an affair, but knew something was wrong. I began to prime clients again but toed the line of “appropriateness”.

Then I met K. She was an undiagnosed sex addict. Has had multiple affairs throughout her marriage. Alcoholic. Everything about her was infectious. It didn’t take long for this to escalate. Full blown acting out: Romantic stalking. Priming. Delusions. Poly addiction. Obsessions. Masturbation. Affair. Planning our life together. D-Day #2.

This was it. I had officially hit rock bottom. Found a therapist who immediately identified my sex and love addiction. C found RN. And here we are today. A year out from my final D-Day on the path to health. Wanting to end the generational patterns of BPD and emotional neglect. Wanting to live a fulfilling life managed healthily via my values.

2) Look to future transitions in your life. Divorce. Death of a partner. Death of your parents. Death of a child. Loss of a job. Retirement. Having another child. Empty-nest syndrome. Consider many different situations that you will possibly face in the remaining years of your life. Situations that could potentially cause major instability to an otherwise balanced, fulfilling life. Explore the role(s) that addiction could play in helping you to manage these times. What would it feel like for addiction to come back into your life? Would it be a rapid collapse or a subtle progression? What signs would you look for? What actions would you take?

Considering what wrote above, the only thing that stifled my addiction was extremely stimulating events (birth of children). When the stimulation faded, my addiction returned subtly. Upon the return, based on opportunity, the collapse is then rapid. Major transitions lead to poor self-esteem and significant risk of impulsive behavior (including acting out).
Looking to the future, death of anyone in my family, loss of a job, and transitions involving my kids would be stressful. I’ll need proper skills in place to manage these. I’d need to be what I’ve done two days ago.. recognize my complacency. The subtle changes in my behavior. Initiating action plans. Involving C…

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:03 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Week long vacation. Prior to going, I felt a void… “missing” my acting out behaviors, the instant gratification, and the stimulation in provided. I did my action plans and committed to “When you Find yourself off track”. Caught in thoughts of, “WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?” As I wanted to pursue thoughts and memories of my old affair. I felt a distance from C, lack of urges to be physically intimate (which lead to more stress and guilt).
In reflection, I see that this was all from the stress leading up to (and the anticipation of the stress during) my vacation. Travelling with 3 little kids is tough. I experienced a lot of mom guilt as I managed their tantrums and needs while trying to relax on vacation. For the first time in a long time, I had pretty intense urges to drink. Regardless, I declined and logically worked through it: it wouldn’t serve me, it would interfere with my medication, I’d only feel worse, I don’t need it. Thankfully, I had zero urges to scan/act out during entertainment shows or even on the beach. Even if I did see an attractive woman, I wasn’t looking for her the next day or fantasizing about her like I’ve done in the past. The flights also went well, as I did not feel the need to exploit the attendants. Since I was not acting out, it gave me pause to realize how much I had utilized alcohol and the behaviors of my addiction to manage my life and stress in the past. I am now left to manage my life in the raw and with my values. It was draining. But I did my best to stay in the moment and express gratitude for what I had. But it was indeed a battle with my emotions and stress. I did end up snapping at the kids and wanting to retreat from the wife. But on the positive, I was able to push through and feel without numbing via my addiction. As Kenzo, L2R, my therapist and C have all pointed out, I must stop trying to “perfect” my recovery. It will not be perfect. It will not be flowers and butterflies. I will make mistakes. I will also experience intense emotions. I must have realistic expectations of health and recovery—which includes experiencing stress. And lastly, I must learn forgive myself for my past if I am to truly heal.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:25 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 416
Hey Anon,

It's nice to see you back and I was interested to read about your recent vacation. It sounds to me that there were a lot of positives to take from your trip even if they drained you emotionally. I reached my first anniversary on RN last week and took the opportunity of reflecting back on my first year. I know that you were not far behind me on joining and I wonder if you plan to do something similar at that time - the reason for raising it is to your point about the perfect recovery, it is very easy to critique ourselves too hard and not see progress but if you compare the current Anon to the one who joined RN (i.e. over a long period) then I am sure you will surprise yourself at the progress you have made.

As an aside, I was also interested to read your response to Lesson 20, an honest and vulnerable account of your life which provides good explanation of what brought you to RN. It also provides a good insight as to why C came into your life and why you value that relationship.


A clean life; a clear conscience

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:31 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Lesson 21 Exercise:
A. What large goals have you attempted in your life and failed? Why do you suppose you failed?

Keeping my marriage vows. I know I failed because I did not have the proper life management skills in place to manage regular life stressors. I did not have the knowledge nor emotional maturity. My marriage was built on a cracked foundation—one not built of values but desire. However, what I did have was the never-ending support. Something not even my parents were able to provide. And that support from C on top of my commitment to change is why I still have my marriage at all.

B. What large goals have you attempted in your life and succeeded? Why do you suppose you were able to succeed?

I graduated college simply because of these four main reason: I believed I could. I saw the benefits. I knew it was important. I had the support I needed.
IMO, if you break down any successful change or achievement, the parts that are within your control come down to those four things.

C. List one recovery goal that you have and break it down into as many smaller, measurable tasks as necessary for you to manage it successfully. If you find this difficult, then you are probably starting off with too general of a recovery goal. Make it specific.

I will continue to track the positive outcomes from my recovery (instead of measuring via abstinence) for the next 6 months.
• I will continue weekly work on RN.
• I will reread my previous entries to lessons as I work my way through round 2.
• I will continue weekly therapy sessions
• I will continue monthly couple’s sessions.
• I will be compliant with my medication.
• I will do a daily spiritual practice that include gratitude
• I will continue my daily intention journal.
• I will use daily/weekly/monthly monitoring as a mindfulness activity, NOT a pass/fail activity.
• I will continue to incorporate my connection/impact into my daily outlook-ESPECIALLY when I am stressed.
• I will include C on my discoveries and progress.
• I will take pride in my accomplishments.
• I will take any mistakes seriously but WITHOUT excessive self-flogging.

Just want to take note of other goals that are general…

I will improve my emotional and physical intimacy with C.
I will identify and evolve my strengths and values
I will stay abstinent from alcohol and replace this coping behavior with healthier behaviors.
I will find healthy ways to manage stress.
I will be more open to experiencing stress.
I will evolve my parenting.
I will evolve my career skills.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308

Really took your comment to heart and incorporated it into one of my recovery goals as recorded above...k eeping the perspective by taking healthy pride in my accomplishments, acknowledging my progress, and offering a little bit of compassion to myself (without enabling of course). Yes, my 1 year RN anniversary is coming up and I think a reflection would be really beneficial. As always, thank you for your support and input.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:02 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Aftershocks of the stress leading up to vacation have taken effect. When I'm stress I retreat and internalize. C is the one that suffers. Now that we've returned and my routine is back into swing, I begin to regain control of my emotions and C has her time to reflect.
"It just feels like you're returning to yourself without any acknowledgement that you were even gone. Like you disappeared for weeks then just show up and expect me to pick up where you left off like it never happened. Although having you back is the goal, it feels like you're neglecting to take ownership of how it affects me and avoid the vulnerability/intimacy necessary for us to get past this and future instances of your stress/depressed episodes."
I must learn to view what I originally see as a set-back as a set-up for me to excel.
In the past, I would interpret a conversation like this as "I've lost her, she hates me, she's leaving me." I'd be lying if I said I didn't have those thoughts here too. But I know I don't have to believe them.
She feels alone, abandoned and neglected. I am responsible only for my actions, I cannot be responsible nor control her feelings. This is not a cop out, what I mean is that I must be responsible for my actions and AWARE of the effect my actions have on her well-being. She, in the end, must manage her own emotions in the moment and I cannot control what she feels. HOWEVER, I must understand how my actions impact her and choose wisely.
This is not a set-back in my behavior. This is a set-up, an opportunity for me to practice emotional intimacy. To practice life management skills.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:54 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Lesson 22 Exercise:
Ritual: Scanning at restaurant.
Elements: Go as family to restaurant. Anxious about feeding the kids/their behavior (Stress/Suspense). I’m overwhelmed by sights/sounds/smells (Stress/Sensory). Waitress makes eye contact and smiles while taking my order (Sensory). I have a beer to calm me down (Poly-addiction). I also begin to scan to distract me from the stress. I catch waitress’ eye when she’s not at our table (Accomplishment). When she returns to our table, I search for her name on nametag (Stalking/accomplishment). I do it discreetly as not to be caught by wife (suspense/danger) She smiles as she serves me (suspense/Sensory) and I begin to fantasize about picking her up after her shift (Fantasy/Danger). I watch her do her job around the restaurant (sensory) and continue to think about what she’s like (fantasy). I am distracted from stress of children (accomplishment). Wife asks what I’m looking at and to pay attention (Guilt/Stress).
Elements: Sensory, Stress, Fantasy, Accomplishment, Guilt

Values Assigned
Stress: 3
Sensory: 2
Fantasy: 2
Suspense/Danger: 1
Accomplishment: 3
Guilt: 1


*Time – 6 Progressively increases my duress and need for emotional balance 10
*Intensity 6–continues to build until I manage artificially or I snap (at kids) or withdraw inwards (dissociation)
*Habituation 0 no effect

*Time – 8 increases stimulation, but the longer I go, the more likely I’ll get caught and feel guilt
*Intensity 4 –too much and I’ll be overwhelmed
*Habituation 8–I begin to gather more information about details of my target

*Time – 8 increases stimulation. The more time I give it, the longer the fantasy, the more Iget lost, the less I have to stay in the stress of the moment.
*Intensity— 10 the more I can focus, the greater the effecet
*Habituation 8 –I may add different aspects to the story to make it more exciting for me.

*Time 3–the accomplishment feeling is short lived. The longer I engage in the activity the more distracted I am, HOWEVER the more I engage in the activity the more guilt I feel.
*Intensity-3 Small doses keep me going. If there is a larger sense of accomplishment I feel unworthy and become sheepish and guilty.
*Habituation-0 not applicable

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:58 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
It’s recently been difficult to focus. This has been across the board—at work, with family, and my second round of RN lessons. And of course, Coach Jon mentions it just in time:
Worse, by not taking the time to understand what measuring compulsive behavior is all about, it may actually have a detrimental effect on your own you will find it easier and easier to pick and choose the recovery concepts that you enjoy. The ones that leave you emotionally stimulated.

Emotional stimulation. Always about emotions. It’s not emotionally stimulating because it’s not new anymore. And we know what happens next—switching from one task to the next to search for that stimulation, habituation, or abandoning it entirely for something (or, in my past, someone) new. So I realize, what I’m struggling with is that my motivation to continue takes effort. And that effort is perceived as a draining force, instead of a driving force.
Lesson 23 Exercise:
In your recovery thread, share a brief summary of what practical uses the skill of measuring compulsive rituals can have in your recovery. Don't just copy the headings of this lesson, take a minute to see how you can practically use this information in YOUR life.

Originally, measuring my rituals built awareness and understanding of the purpose my addiction had in managing my life. But now, measuring is a way to help me prevent slips and relapse. It’s also helpful even for my BPD and any episodes I have. To understand that each decision I make is for emotional stimulation—whether it’s choosing not to do something because it is not stimulation enough, or doing it because it makes me ‘feel good’. Having a measurement helps me see patterns. With these patterns I can anticipate what could come next and make better value based decisions.
Few recovery skills will offer you more assistance in relapse prevention than your ability to break-down and measure your behavior. Why? Because when most people relapse, they do so in a state of mind that is emotionally unstable. They have lost the connection with the roles that their emotions play in their day-to-day experiences...and more importantly — they have lost connection with the role that their values play in managing their emotions. And so, as they begin to return to more artificial means for stimulation (e.g. porn, affairs, prostitution, fantasy)...they are falling further and further isolated from healthy life management skills.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:19 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 416
Hey Anon,

Emotional stimulation. Always about emotions. It’s not emotionally stimulating because it’s not new anymore. And we know what happens next—switching from one task to the next to search for that stimulation, habituation, or abandoning it entirely for something (or, in my past, someone) new. So I realize, what I’m struggling with is that my motivation to continue takes effort. And that effort is perceived as a draining force, instead of a driving force.

I'm totally with you on that. When Kenzo suggested that I went through the workshop a second time around I groaned at the thought of it knowing what effort it took the first time around even though I knew he was right. Rightly or wrongly I adopted a different approach to the lessons the second time around. I honestly couldn't face going into the same detail in my responses to the exercises and in most cases my views were fairly similar to the first time. So I decided to focus more on reading the lessons to see if I missed anything rather than the responses to the exercises. This gave me a lot more enthusiasm as I didn't feel that it would weigh me down as much. There have been occasions of course where I have wanted to offer a new response to an exercise but that was my choice and I was happy to do it. In many cases I ended up posting my thoughts on going through the lesson for a second time and avoided recorded the exercise altogether (for the above reasons) particularly where I had found something I had either missed or forgotten about the next time around. You need to do what works for you and that keeps it fresh, if it becomes a chore then you will quickly (as you sound like you may be) run out of steam. Perhaps think about what you are trying to get out of it second time around and how you may best do that which will give you some enthusiasm (that is "enthusiasm" not "excitement"!) I can tell you though that I am on the home straight now on my second lap and it has surprised me how quickly it feels like I have made it through again, particularly the second half. It has certainly been worth it though.

Keep it going, I'm sure you will find it worth while when you've got there.


A clean life; a clear conscience

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:30 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
Perhaps think about what you are trying to get out of it second time around

An incredible point. I need to remember my intentions. I reviewed my answers to Exercise 1a of why I want to change.. 1st entry expressed wants, pain, and just checking the boxes. 2nd entry detailed my commitment to health and intentions to
fully ingrain the concepts into my being, take full accountability for my actions & consequences, learn to manage my emotions, make value based decisions, and be my best self!

I think I got lost in returning to "checking the boxes" again. Black or white thinking about committing to the program. Thank you for your input and reminder of my goals. To ingrain, learn, and maintain perspective. Extremely helpful as I go into lesson 24...although the details of my previous entry remain unchanged, my perspective has vastly improved.

When I first did Lesson 24, it was extremely triggering. I had to take multiple breaks to complete it. Breaking down my compulsive behavior in this way stirred up many urges, but also created a whirlwind of guilt. Judgment filled me: how did I not know? How could I have been so blind to these patterns? However, as I review the lesson again, I find myself with more distance from these behaviors. I'm able to look at these patterns with compassion... I responded the way I did to the first few elements of each chain because I did not have the emotional maturity nor life management skills to handle them. So, to read through this lesson again gave me clarity and perspective--look how far I have come, how much I have grown, the knowledge I have gained. This knowledge is a tool for prevention and learning, not a method of self-flogging and shame. I post my original entry for future reference regardless.

Lesson 24 Exercise:
I. Create your own Wheel of Sexual Compulsion that is more closely related to your behavior. This can be done by simply listing the cumulative elements involved in your compulsive behavior. This shouldn't take you more than five minutes. List these elements (associated with no particular ritual — but more your addiction in general) in your recovery thread.


II. Choose a real-life example of EVERY major sexual ritual that you engage in (these should be compulsive rituals, not healthy) and break each down into their smallest elements (based on the elements identified in your wheel of sexual compulsion).
Most people will identify two to four such Major Rituals. If you can identify with more than five such rituals, just list the most common five.
To be successful in your transition to health, you will need to master your ability to identify not only these elements, but also to recognize the role that they play in stimulating you. Don't settle for anything less than mastery here.

Masturbation to Desperation/Childbirth
1. Feeling bored, alone, or agitated,
2. Know I could contact C but it takes too much effort. Feeling lazy, fear intimacy (AVOIDANCE)
3. Experience urge to relieve myself through masturbation
4. Prepare environment for viewing porn (laying in bed, bunching comforter between my legs, grabbing phone)
5. Began searching internet for porn
6. Feel shame for wanting to view childbirth, go to xtube to view desperation videos first (PAST)
7. View desperation videos of men or women to get me excited
8. Sounds, squirming, holding back excite me (SUSPENSE/SENSORY)
9. Knowing I’ll orgasm soon, I give in and go to youtube and look up my go-to childbirth video (HABITUATION/INTENSITY/TIME)
10. Listening to her moaning and screaming (SENSORY)
11. Watching her contractions, struggle, hold back (SENSORY/HABITUATION/INTENSITY)
12. Excited by watching her struggle to give in-to childbirth (POWER/PAST)
13. Orgasm with birth (ORGASM)
14. Relief from orgasm (Power/accomplishment)
15. Shame, disgust, guilt. So I delete browser history.

Compulsive Fantasy Thoughts while Driving
1. Driving to work feeling lonely and bored (GUILT/SHAME)
2. Don’t like feeling this way (AVOIDANCE)
3. Use fantasy to entertain myself (FANTASY/PAST)
4. Relive experiences of memories of acting out (PAST/POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT/GUILT)
5. Feel relief from boredom and passing the time (RELIEF/AVOIDANCE)

Scanning at Restaurant
1. Go to restaurant and feel anxiety about family/kids/people/women/me
2. Begin scanning to avoid these feelings (AVOIDANCE)
3. See that waitress is attractive (SENSORY)
4. She reminds me of K (PAST/FANTASY)
5. Know it’s wrong because I’m married (SUSPENSE/DANGER/GUILT/SHAME)
6. Search for her name on name tag and proud that I have information on her (ACCOMPLISHMENT/POWER)
7. Want to increase feelings of accomplishment by making eye contact (HABITUATION/INTENSITY)
8. Make eye contact with a smile (POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT)
9. I exploit it and think she wants me likes me (OBSESSION/DELUSION)
10. Think about what she looks like naked, where she lives, if she’d talk to me (FANTASY/DANGER/SUSPENSE)
11. Distracted from family and stress of eating with family (AVOIDANCE)
12. Guilt for not being present and for not paying attention to family/wife and for having sexual thoughts (GUILT/SHAME)

Obsession and Delusion of K
1. First time I see her I find her attractive (SENSORY)
2. Replay first time over and over in my head for mental stimulation (FANTASY/SENSORY)
3. Began making eye contact in parking lot (HABITUATION/POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT)
4. Wondering if I’d be there at the same time (FANTASY/SUSPENSE)
5. Taking note of her car and looking for it on road (FANTASY/POWER/SUSPENSE)
6. Eye contact no longer enough, found other ways to feel connecte via interactions with husband and children (POWER/HABITUATION/ACCOMPLISHMENT/DELUSION)
7. Began trying to gather more information by stalking on internet and other resources (POWER/OBSESSION/ACCOMPLISHMENT/SUSPENSE/HABITUATION)
8. With more information I could think about her in greater detail (FANTASY/OBSESSION/DELUSION/SENSORY/POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT/INTENSITY)
9. Began masturbating to fantasies of her (ORGASM/FANTASY/DELUSION)
10. Priming ritual begins upon getting contact information. Excessive texting, talking about her, inviting her to our home (OBSESSION/DELUSION/POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT)
11. Upon learning of reciprocated feelings, thoughts completely consumed and thoughts of affair and new life with her begin. Make myself believe that she is perfect for me. Make myself believe that my wife is flawed and K is not (AVOIDANCE/FANTASY/OBSESSION/DELUSION/INTENSITY/HABITUATION/SUSPENSE/DANGER/PAST)

1. Previously friends; enjoyed company and conversation
2. Find her attractive (SENSORY)
3. Excited that she gives me attention and wonder what her intentions are (POWER/OBSESSION/DELUSION/FANTASY)
4. Know it’s wrong because I’m married (SUSPENSE/DANGER/GUILT/SHAME)
5. Intentionally have drinks knowing it will soften us both up and give me an excuse to be flirty (POLYADDICTION)
6. Increase feelings for her by paying greater attention to her attractiveness (SENSORY)
7. Test my boundaries by cursing, telling jokes, accidently touching her, calling her pet names (POWER/DANGER/SUSPENSE/HABITUATION/INTENSITY)
8. Feel comfortable and have fun with this type of behavior (POWER/ACCOMPLISHMENT)
9. Continue drinking to loosen my boundaries (POLYADDICTION/AVOIDANCE)
10. Wonder if this could continue further, looking forward to next time to get together and push boundaries again (FANTASY/SUSPENSE/DANGER)
11. Know this is part of my addiction, behavior, I’m married (AVOIDANCE/GUILT/SHAME)

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:41 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 308
It has been one year since joining RN.
One year ago, I was still struggling with accepting my addiction. I came here to save my marriage and children with a fragment of wanting to change. I was in the midst of shock and addiction withdraw. I measured my progress not by the benefits, but by days abstinent. Urges flooded my being, the idea of being able to move on from my most recent obsession a foreign concept. The physical pain was immeasurable—I’ve never experienced that type of pain before. Heaviness and burning in my chest—how could something all “mental” manifest in such physically painful ways?
For the majority of my life prior to the discovery of my addiction, my sole purpose was creating an image of perfection and avoiding pain no matter the cost. When you grow up as a child knowing you’re gay, in a hyper religious environment taught that God can indeed turn his back on you, you develop a skill set around lying to hide the truth. For more than 25 years I allowed my deficiency story to impact my decisions and behaviors. I so badly resisted the building pain of rejection of my true self that I was willing to destroy anyone and everything in my life as not to feel that pain. But in doing so, I fed my addiction and multiplied my suffering. My addiction was a place for me to hide from pain, true love and belonging. I had allowed my wounds to turn me into something that I was not. And so, in order to rid myself of this infection, I had to complete a meticulous debridement of my self-image, identity, and values. RN was a guide to do so.
Today, I find myself on a healthier journey. The majority of my energy is now focused on being a recovering perfectionist (ha!) and contributing to my values. I’m constantly building a definition of health that is not black or white—making sure that I have trust in my capacity to recover and do so imperfectly. Urges have subsided, awareness has grown, and forgiveness is beginning to build…
And that forgiveness piece is tied closely with accountability and acceptance. I could not be where I am today without the mistakes and failures I made in the past. I could not be here today, achieving my best self, without the neglect I experienced as a child. I would not have found RN and created a new life without my past. And because of this, I must learn to truly forgive myself and parents. You can only do what you know how to do. And now I know better and can do better.
Recently, C had a death in the family due to a drug overdose. We spoke in depth about it last night—how C’s mother wanted to distance herself from the family members caught in the throngs of drug addiction. So she made the choice to move across the country. Although the trauma carried with her and developed an addiction of her own, she did indeed become the catalyst to change. With the experience of addict mother, C has gone above and beyond—beginning to break the cycle. So as examine the death of her cousin from afar, we see where her life could have been. We see where our lives could have been had I not chosen to commit to health. We see the lives our children could have had were it not for our FIRM CHOICE AND COMMITMENT to do better than our past. Both of us had to make that decision and as Coach Jon says, that is the determining factor as to whether or not one will succeed in leaving addiction permanently behind.
RN has served as a resource, support network, outlet, and stepping stone to achieving health. It created an opportunity to dive deep in self-reflection and purpose. I know even someone without an addiction would benefit from the types of self-inquiry prompted in the lessons. My motivation to continue has now built beyond “saving my marriage” to saving myself. To living my best life. RN has impacted my understanding of grace and mercy, my awareness, and my connection to what really matters. RN has helped me “know thy enemy” as to better master it. RN has helped me understand the importance of knowing WHOM you came from, not just where you came from. Armed with these pieces of knowledge comes awareness and empowerment. And here I am today, choosing to be healthy. Choosing to leave addiction behind. Choosing to dump the lies and justifications. Choosing to be connected to what really matters—my values, instead of instant gratification.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:51 am 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3912
Location: UK
Hi A
My motivation to continue has now built beyond “saving my marriage” to saving myself. To living my best life. RN has impacted my understanding of grace and mercy, my awareness, and my connection to what really matters. RN has helped me “know thy enemy” as to better master it. RN has helped me understand the importance of knowing WHOM you came from, not just where you came from. Armed with these pieces of knowledge comes awareness and empowerment. And here I am today, choosing to be healthy. Choosing to leave addiction behind. Choosing to dump the lies and justifications. Choosing to be connected to what really matters—my values, instead of instant gratification.

: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

Now you are guaranteed that better more fulfilling precious life, happy and that for sure means really happy anniversary :sat:

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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