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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Finally, Boundaries.

I've always struggled with this, perhaps that is partly why I took so long to complete this excercise.
The addictive 'part' of me does'nt want to give up these behaviours - they have been with me for so long.
Like a companion who provides short term good times and laughs but ultimately is nothing close to a true friend as he would stab you in the back at the first opportunity. I've had a few of them in my life.

Someone recently described different behaviours in recovery as Green, yellow and Red.

The Green are the healthy behaviours that keep an addict away from acting out, for me they would include;
GREEN:
• Going to bed early, preferably before 10pm,
• Putting away my phone to reduce temptation to browse my news Feed
• Listening to relaxing music or reading something light.
• Thinking about what I need to accomplish for the following day, what I am looking forward to
• Going to the gym and sticking with a routine where I can see my results improving
• Eating well, healthy nutritious meals
• Being cognizant of my wife’s feelings and needs, thinking before I say something that may upset her
• Spending quality time with my kids – enjoy them enjoying time with me, keeping calm when the disagreements begin, handling them with coolness and maturity.
• Getting work done – feeling accomplished, seeing my income exceed my outgoings.
YELLOW:
• Feeling despondent, apathetic, worrying about the future, will I have enough money, will my marriage survive, will my kids gel with me, will I finish life without understanding it or myself
• Letting thoughts of a pessimistic, unhelpful or unwanted sexual nature pervade my mind and then developing them – this includes my new Boundaries such as
• Checking my Newsfeed and clicking on images or content of a potential sexual nature – ask Why am I REALLY searching for this article about a female wrestler?
• When I see an attractive woman on the street or on television and beginning to fantasise about the way she looks or what could happen
• Recalling and developing memories of past sexual experiences with anyone other than my wife
• Using my phone to search for escort and porn sites when my resolve is low and the addictive voice tells me that its okay, everyone does it, its just a little porn, one last time, you can stop when you want to, you deserve it and will feel better, work harder after it etc.
RED:
• Any behaviours that lead to leading amore unhappy life
• Going to bed late, watching TV, being triggered by images, sneaking a peek which opens the door to lying and minimalizing.
• Missing exercise, less exercise means being in a lazy mindframe, craving junk foods and feeling ‘less than’ at my best, hating that feeling of kicking a ball with my kids and feeling light headed or out of breath.
• Sitting at my PC and spending hours browsing escort and porn sites, mb and feeling in a never ending loop, despair.
So In Summary, My new Boundaries include:

• Bed earlier than 10pm each night with my phone in the next room, listen to relaxing music and write out my plans for the following day or week to include things to look forward to.
• Ensure that I plan for exercise at least 3 and preferably 4 times per week, monitor and record those workouts.
• Check my News feed only one time per day for 10 mins max then put the phone away
• When working move my phone outside my office so that I can hear it ring but it is not at my fingertips
• Do not allow myself to drift into fantasy about real life or TV people remind myself that it is all false and is like drinking a gallon of cola – it gives an immediate buzz but that is soon replaced by a sickly feeling in the stomach coupled with regret.
• Never open an escort, massage or porn site they lead me to despair and depression.
• When speaking with another woman always do so pretending as if my wife was there with me so that I would never say anything inappropriate or flirtatious.
• Delete sexy whattsapp messages as soon as they are received, do not engage in ‘sex talk’ with friends – again it leads to disappointment, shame and upset.

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:25 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 292
Ace,
Excellent work on the boundaries.
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on commitment to recovery in the ongoing thread in the Recovery Forum.
You said,
Quote:
The addictive 'part' of me does'nt want to give up these behaviours - they have been with me for so long.
Like a companion who provides short term good times and laughs but ultimately is nothing close to a true friend as he would stab you in the back at the first opportunity. I've had a few of them in my life.

If you knew a friend that was in an abusive relationship, how would you tell them to get out? If their excuse was, "i'm afraid to be alone," how would you respond? Ace, how might you apply that own advice to yourself and your recovery?

Coach Jon wrote about passive/active recovery. Something to consider:
Quote:
A passive recovery from addiction involves the blind following of a prescribed treatment program, usually supervised by a therapist. “Recovery" is measured solely by your behavior. Are you attending the counseling sessions? The support meetings? Have you read the assigned material? Completed the assigned exercises? Taking the prescribed medication? A consistent "yes" to these questions will project the illusion of a person in recovery. Still, your underlying thoughts will not have changed. Your ingrained desires will not have subsided. All that will have changed is the depth of your secrecy and the belief that—after yet another relapse—you can't really change. A passive recovery looks good, even feels good for a while, but as the initial euphoria of recovery fades and your support system eases its grasp, the chaotic feelings will return — as will the compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts that have been used to manage them. Choosing an active recovery means more than simply controlling compulsive thoughts and behaviors; it means making the choice to eliminate the addictive patterns from your life. An active recovery means that you have taken responsibility for your life and, more importantly, it means you want to take responsibility for the rest of your life. Those who have made an active commitment to recovery will begin to hate their compulsive behavior. They will see its devastating consequences and vow to conquer it. They will see recovery not as a punitive consequence of a failed life, but as an extraordinary opportunity to become the person they know themselves to be. They quickly learn that what defines them is not their addiction, but their values. And then, they begin to protect those values with the same tenacity that a parent would protect a child.

It's clear you know where you are and you've being given an invitation to give up your unhealthy behaviors. You know what you want to do, but what do you need to do?

Be Well,

Anon


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Thank you for your advice Anon
I hav'nt posted on the site in a week although I drop in every few days to read.
I think teh work I did on boundaries has helped me. For many years I used porn and mb as my 'least worst option' which effectively left teh door open to acting out in all forms of compulsive behaviours and teh accompanying sense of dissapointment and chaos.

You asked

Quote:
If you knew a friend that was in an abusive relationship, how would you tell them to get out? If their excuse was, "i'm afraid to be alone," how would you respond? Ace, how might you apply that own advice to yourself and your recovery?


That question nmade me think. There is a realisation that I have used sexual compulsive behaviours as a crutch for two decades and have been terrified of living without it. Strange putting that down in words but it is true. Perhaps like a woman in an an abusive relationship, from a distance or the comfort of our own lives we can see and advise the obvious...that she should leave before things escalate and someone is seriously hurt BUT she stays in eth relationship....more afraid of what would happen if she leaves......

I relate to that with my own addiction. I have been afraid of the pain of going 'cold turkey' of having to wade through the discomfort of feeling a pull towards unhelpful sexual behaviours and fighting against them. I hate the constant fight between doing what I know is right (staying sober and true to myself, my wife and family) and the craving to act out in some form or another to 'release the pressure'.....
Then the cascading feelings of shame, dissapointment and despair come down on my head.
This addiction has shown me why incarcaration of criminals does'nt work in the long term, some degree of rehabilitation is needed. No one could ever speak to me and berate me the way I have done to myself over the years for another 'slip'. That type of negative self talk does'nt work, if it did - I'd be 'cured' a long time ago (and criminals would enter prison, rehabilitate and return to society as reformed law abiding citizens....although it does happen, statistically that is not the norm)

So to get back to the question I would advise her to make a commitment to leave and then do it. Plan how she will leave and make sure there are as many support systems in place for her to stay away from the abusive husband. Also live each day one day at a time so that not too much is taken on. Accept that some days will be harder than others but always keep moving forward with an eye on an ultimate goal of complete independence.
Those same recommendations I would make for the former convict and for myself. Specifically:

Work on Recovery as a priority, (do as I am doing today make it first thing to entrench the belief in my mind that this is THE most importrant thing in my life)
Accept that I may always have these struggles and that I need to be prepared for when the waves are strong.
Work on understanding myself - my emotional stste and how it changes thoughout teh course of teh day and why
Set goals of a healthy, values based nature that I can work towards
Forgive myself for te past rather than letting it drag me back through guilt
Be Consistent with recovery work, attending meetings.

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Identify the ELEMENTS associated with a simple compulsive ritual that you have previously engaged in (think Wheel of Sexual Compulsivity)


Viewing Porn/ escort sites at home at my pc
• Element #1 At the desk at home in my office alone and aware that I can engage in whatever I want.
• Element #2 Felt disappointed with myself, I am not as successful as I would like to be, feel disharmony
• Element #3 Experienced urge to relieve myself through surfing tintallating sites like you tube
• Element #4 recognise where this leads and feel a drag against it, a fight between good and evil
• Element #5 An hour reaching the highs of mental and physical stimulation, the adventure, the suspense, the risk or viewing porn and escort sites grows in my mind, the voice of reason is being shouted over. Feel conflicted and in battle, feel my energy waning.
• Element #6 Notice the desire to act out in such a way coming in waves, wait for the wave to be at its highest and then log on my phone and start to search…..escort sites give me the biggest buzz so as I have already decided to engage I might as well go there first
• Element #7 Begin viewing images and thinking about the possibilities, I am in the moment now although there is still an internal pull away from this activity as I know it comes with pain and chaos, feel like I am in the funnel though and unable or unwilling to climb out
• Element #7 Look at different escorts, their location and availability, then log onto a porn site nearly as a ‘least worst alternative’ masturbate, receive a big rush of dopamine relief but also a chemical which cascades feelings of remorse
• Element #8 Clear up and begin to wipe my phone history
• Element #9 Ask myself how long more will this continue for? Feel depressed and despondent
• Element #10 Put my phone away and try and focus on something worthwhile
• Element #11 Notice whatever I do, I still have the stench of disappointment with me
• Element #12 From time to time check my phone again to make sure there is no history of my viewing, feel ashamed that I have to do that

Quote:
walk through a single compulsive ritual and identify the BEGINNING of that ritual; the POINT OF NO RETURN; and the time that you would CREATE A BREAK


The BEGINNING of the above ritual is when I was sitting at my desk and recognised that I had the time and availability to act out and chase the rush.
THE POINT OF NO RETURN was when I had picked up my phone to open a web page, then even though I felt I was fighting the urge, I was fighting it unarmed and outnumbered, it was futile it was as if I do it to put on the ‘impression’ of resisting but in reality its like trying to fight a professional boxing champion when I have no experience – futile.
The most important place for me to CREATE A BREAK would be at the start BEFORE I pick up my phone, when I first notice that Rush, when I notice that opportunity has met preparation and my compulsive behaviours will be just that….compulsive
I could also CREATE A BREAK during the search but it would be less likely as my minds script says ‘once the door is open you might as well’

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 7:05 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3793
Location: UK
Hi Ace
Quote:
The most important place for me to CREATE A BREAK would be at the start BEFORE I pick up my phone,


for sure
and after recovery this will come
however for now lets consider The most important place for me to CREATE A BREAK would be BEFORE the point of NO Return
that is not to say give yourself licence to "partially" act out but to remind you that you are choosing to do what you are doing, be it in addiction or in recovery
step by step my friend but constantly moving forwards on your journey

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


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Thank you Kenzo
List each Element of a Specific Behaviour:

1. At home, alone at my desk
2. I have work to be done (There is always work to be done) but it is not scheduled and timed so I am a little aimless.
3. Know that the excitement of porn and fantasy is just a few clicks away, feel excited.
4. Also feel disappointed, don’t tell me I have to go through this struggle again – the will I wont I? It can be exhausting
5. Try and focus on work, before I know it I am getting through it BUT the waves still are on the horizon – I know that the possibility of engaging in porn is there and real.
6. I think of managing by putting my phone on the desk in another room, I can still here it but it is not ‘at hand’
7. I don’t really want to do that and I don’t want to have to do that – feel disappointment and shame
8. Feel the wave come as a rush – I grab my phone and open the first pages – feel the rush of excitement as I see new pictures and am turned on
9. The battle to stop looking is a losing one, the craving is in full swing and has momentum
10. Feel bad about what I am doing, I know its not what I really want BUT Right now I don’t care – I am not giving up until I get my fill, I’ll worry about the consequences later
11. A strange feeling of satisfaction as the fight/ struggle is over…like a Medieval King leaving the battlefield after looking on and seeing the enemies all but destroyed, there is no way they will recover now, the battle is won
12. Engage fully with the porn/escort sites then allow myself to mb as a ‘least worst alternative’ – it is better than meeting an escort or going to a massage parlour
13. Orgasm and immediately notice my desire drop from a 10 to a 1. I wish my desire was this low when in ‘the rush’ as its as if the ‘authentic’ me takes over, the curtain has been pulled back to reveal the disappointment, pain, wasted hours
14. Try and get back to work but may be so fed up, go out to gym instead.

Quote:
Emotional Comfort Scale:
Emotional Score Emotional Comfort Level
150 Complete lack of anxiety/stress; Euphoria; Contentment
149-100 Emotionally Comfortable
99-50 Mild Anxiety; Irritation; Minor Stressors
49-26 Moderate Anxiety; Uncomfortable; Bored; Moderate Stressors
25-1 Considerable Anxiety; Major Stressors
0 and below Extreme Anxiety; Painful



I notice from the emotional comfort scale that I am often between the lower scales (moderate anxiety; uncomfortable; bored; moderate stressors and Mild Anxiety, irritation and minor stressors)
What that tells me is that I need to look more at that – It is effectively setting me up for failure.
If a person is unhappy, Is he more or less likely to seek relief in addictive behaviours?
I suppose that brings me back to my Values, what is MOST important to me? But also what do I most Enjoy?
Take today for example, I am sitting at the desk doing some ‘work’ work and some ‘recovery’ work. My mind is starting to wander. I know there are jobs that I need to do but doing them will cause me some emotional discomfort but I need to focus more on feeling Good AFTER I have completed them or even during it.
Arnold Schwarzenneger who by anyones scale of success would have been considered very successful in many endeavours says that he never minded doing that extra rep or extra set because he knew that each one was a STEP towards his ultimate goal.
His goals were etched into his mind and he worked everyday towards them.
This lesson and those words from Arnie remind me that there is a piece missing in my jigsaw – I need more concrete goals – aligned to my Values so that I ‘drift’ less and am more focused including in my Recovery.
In the past I have had a very hard time believing that I could ever reach a stage in my life where I am not craving the escape, not being triggered by an attractive woman or circumstances. I have ‘tried’ so often and then failed that it seemed futile.
I read about Anon and Keno and L2R and I have renewed hope – if they can do it maybe I can too?
I can accept never being ‘cured’ and having to monitor my life and values and situations of high risk but it is hard to believe there will ever be a time that I see a 20 something in a bikini and am not triggered and then drawn back into the fight again between a door of fantasy opening and my Values leading me to PREFER to choose to go back to my family.
Perhaps that part of what has kept me stuck, a lack of belief, its very easy to point to the many people who come to sites like this and then seem to disappear – either they find the answers much quicker than I do and no longer have unhealthy sexual behaviours in their lives or they have fallen back into the cycle of addiction. I can make excuses about the people who do seem to find recovery not just on this site but on others too, and say that ‘Their situation is different to mine”….but they are just excuses.
A lot to think about, I am glad that I am here, that I have this website and the support it offers, I am glad I have invested the morning in this and will try and focus now on what I have just learned.

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:25 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3793
Location: UK
Hi Ace

Quote:
In the past I have had a very hard time believing that I could ever reach a stage in my life where I am not craving the escape, not being triggered by an attractive woman or circumstances. I have ‘tried’ so often and then failed that it seemed futile.


we have ALL been there, that is addiction
you started by saying
Quote:
In the past


what about in the present and indeed the future?

Quote:
I have renewed hope – if they can do it maybe I can too?


have you renewed hope, then turn it into reality, anyone can and will recover if they really want to
let go of that shit that holds you back

Quote:
I see a 20 something in a bikini

exactly what does that sight give you, be honest
you know that guilt and shame will follow , but you choose to allow this to happen

Quote:
I can make excuses about the people who do seem to find recovery not just on this site but on others too, and say that ‘Their situation is different to mine”….but they are just excuses.


and we addicts are the best excuse makers that there are
So my friend
Lets get this done
Quote:
A lot to think about,
No not really
just one simple question do you choose recovery or addiction you cannot have both

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Lesson 43 Exercise:
There are two tools you are encouraged to use in helping to develop efficient urge awareness skills.

A. The first tool is the Community Support Forum. Use this forum to discuss your urges, receive support and guidance, and learn from the experiences of others in their urge awareness development.

B. The second is the Urge Control Awareness Form. Use this form any time that you have experienced a 'significant' compulsive urge. This form will facilitate the process of developing the right awareness needed to accurately process each urge.


This lesson reminds me again of how my negative mindset, fear, worry leads me to seek escape in fantasy (or reality) of sexuality.

I am advised to;
1. Recognise my emotions - In todays case - FEAR OF FAILURE, FEAR OF REJECTION, DISSAPOINTMENT IN MYSELF, FEAR THAT I MAY SLIP, FEAR THAT I MAY NOT BE SUCCESSFUL AT BUSINESS, FEAR THAT I CANNOT 'CONNECT' WITH MY WIFE OR FAMILY.
Those emotions which surfaced today as I sat at teh computer phoning for business and getting rejected. I recognised the discomfort and began to think about 'releiveing it' through the unwanted behaviours I have engaged in for so long BUT recognised that this is not what I really want.
I dont REALLY want to engage in unwanted sexual behaviours, I just REALLY want to not feel that craving.

2. CREATE A BREAK - LOOK TO YOUR VALUES:
I thought of how acting out would effect my self esteem and the risks that I would be taking, how a slip now could ruin months and years of sobriety bringing me right back to where I started.

3. MUST CREATE A 5 SECOND BREAK - to get out of the trance. For me that meant getting up, walking away from the computer, making a phonecall and coming here to RN.

4. ANTICIPATE THE POTENTIAL INTENSITY OF THOSE EMOTIONS YOU WILL FACE AND SEPERATE THEM FROM YOUR PRIORITISED VALUES:
The most intesnse they would get to is a 7/10. I recognise that a constant 4 or 5 is just as bad if not worse than a short 7 or 8. Its the death of a thousand cuts. I recognise that I did'nt cut ot off at teh route quick enough. My prioritised values include being true to my wife, being true to myself, investing that time and energy into the areas of my life that need it - such as constructive projects at work, a workout plan, a scheduled time to play with the kids.

After all that i am reminded about how my fear and worry FEED the addictive part of me. It is true that teh more stressed I am about work and the future, the more I seek escape.
The truth is different. Things are going okay. I am making money, it is still early days and I am moving in the right direction BUT things will work out much better when I invest the energy I put into fighting urges into investing in my goals.

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 8:49 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Exercise 44
For a moment, imagine your life apart from your physical being...apart from your possessions...apart from your friends, your family and every other living being. What you are left with is your core identity. It is who you are. It is this identity that then allows you to relate to your physical self, your friends, your family... As you know by now, part of the role you must fulfill in transitioning away from addiction is to rebuild your core identity. This core identity — and your ability to isolate the addiction from it — is critical to urge control.

A. Describe in your recovery thread the role that your core identity will play in helping you to establish/maintain a healthy life.


This was a bit of a shocker to me. My core identity. I am trying to figure that out. I think it was clearer when I was younger, without a wife without kids, with a world of possibilities. I was never particularly self assured but I do remember working hard to help out with teh family finances and haveing a sense of core then, a sense of purpose and self worth.
Now, I'm not so sure. Certainly I am still career focused in teh sense that I value financial independence and have generally chosen sales jobs as they are teh quickest way to make a decent salary as long as you work hard. But does that make me happy?
Well, I know that the opposite which is what I grew up with worried about paying the bills would make me unhappy. I have a friend who is an on again off again Actor. Sometimes he has money in his pocket after paying the rent, sometimes he does not. Even the thought of that existance freaks me out.
However, he is a 6th dan in Karate and loves teaching it, is an avid book reader and outdoor enthusiast, he seems to enjoy teh hell out of life without worrying about paying the bills.
I need to remember this excercise is not about him!!
Another question perhaps I should be asking is what makes me happy?
Its strange to me that I dont have an immediate reply to myself and that shows me how returning to addictive behaviours becomes more likely without a real alternative.
Who am I really?
I've noticed lately (in teh last few weeks) I felt quite 'blah' I think that is at least partly attributable to the fact that I am going through detox again. It has been about 5 weeks? since last acting out and my mind and body are still very triggered under certain circumstances.
Perhaps I have been more aware of this 'blah' feeling as I have not been using my previous coping strategies ie. acting out sexually compulsively.
Certainly knowing who my core identity is will help me as the thoughts of acting out (and the accompanying toxic aftermath) will be opposite to who I believe I am. I believe I am a kind, open, honest, loving, playful individual, sensitive to others feelings and working on being sensitive to my own.
I think I have a lot of work to do here.


B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.

C. Take some time to examine the current state of your core identity. How in tune with it are you? When you engage in activity that is destructive, what role does your core identity play in that decision? How is it affected by the consequences of that decision?

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 11:06 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 361
Hi Ace,

I was interested to read your honest observations about your core identity with compulsive behaviour being removed from it.

I can tell you that a huge realisation for me was the hole that was apparently left when I turned my back on acting out. This told me two things, firstly how much time I had previously been wasting on that and secondly therefore how little time I was spending on things that truly mattered to me. You realise now that you have time on your hands which can be put to good use and in trying to figure that out you should look back through your set of values which you originally identified as being what mattered to you. From my experience I can recall comparing spending half an hour asking my wife or son about their day with genuine interest to looking at porn for the same period of time and knowing that one would excite me and the other would not. It then dawned on me that sex excited me but did not make me happy, in fact it made me miserable. So when I now chat to my wife and son about their day when I get home does it excite me and give me a rush? No it doesn't, but I am left with a feeling of calm, no guilt and in fact a feeling of warmth that I have tried to connect more with them both. That sounds a bit soppy but it is a different path and as it reflects my values it ultimately makes me happy which acting out will never do.

It would be interesting to see if you can process this realisation and see if you can find healthy things to fill in the apparent void that has been created in your life.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Thank you for that advice L2R,
Perhaps it will take my Brain some time for it to understand that sexually gratifying thoughts do not lead to happiness.
I know that as a fact but a part of me (the addictive part) is stuck in a loop offering me thoughts of a sexual nature to 'get a buzz' 'get a dopamine hit'.
I am away from home tonight in a hotel. The thoughts of 'what if' came into my mind as they always do - the possibilities of engaging in some sexual act or simply browsing the phone for porn and escort sites.
I have found that as soon as I even open the door to those thoughts (they are often knocking but that does'nt mean that I need to let them in) then I am on a downward spiral.
So, as soon as they reach my conciousness I attempt to shut them off, to breathe deeply, recognise that they are a well worn pattern of thought that I am trying to replace with a healthier management strategy.
For now, perhaps because I am still in relatively early detox I find that I can't give them any ground or they will weaken my resolve and put me back in teh compulsive cycle so I cut them off as soon as I recognise them. I wonder am I using an avoidence technique rather than trying to sit with them or sit through them. The truth is I don't think I'm at a place where I can sit with them so for now, I'll continue trying to cut them off at the pass.
I'm in bed now in the hotel thinking back over the day. It ws successful in that the thoughts were stopped very quickly and in a way I am surprised at how that happened and relieved that I did'nt have a series of stronger urges.
It means that I go home tomorrow to my family without the guilt or shame carried after acting out with porn or mb or worse.
Writing that helps. :g:

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Quote:
B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.


I assume that teh more energy and time I invest in doing the things that really matter to me (my values) then the happier I am and the more my 'core values' will be revealed. As discussed my core seems a little greay - I'm not sure exactly who I am - perhaps because I have been clouded for so long with compulsive behaviours managing my emotions.

Quote:
C. Take some time to examine the current state of your core identity. How in tune with it are you? When you engage in activity that is destructive, what role does your core identity play in that decision? How is it affected by the consequences of that decision?


Thats a good question, when I act out I definitely feel conflicted. That tells me that at my core I do not want to engage in behaviours that drain my energy and may result in pain and anguish for myself and the people I love.
Perhaps at my core I am searching for something exciting, something exhilarating, something that I do just for me - independently because I am missing this escitement in my real life but its more likely that I have used these exciting behaviours to manage my emotions and now because of habituation and addiction I turn to them even though I recognise the excitement is not worth the downside.
My core is definitely affected after each slip - even after each inapporopriate thought - I feel less, ashamed, weak and embarressed. Those addictive behaviours have been chipping away at my core for a long time, maybe that is why I now find myself unsure of exactly who I am.

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:18 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Quote:
A. Map a compulsive ritual that is based on your unique behavior. Ensure that you identify at least five elements that are involved in stimulating your emotions during this act.


1. Trigger: At work, attrctive young twenty something client comes to my office and sits in front of me for a consultation. She has a large cleavage and a tattoo across her chest.
Emotion: I am immediately triggered with thoughts of porn images I have seen in the past of sex with big bossomed , tattooed women. Excitement, Fantasy, arousal.
2. During the consultation it becomes apparent that I am the expert (I am older and of course I am te expert - that is why she has come to me ...for advice) however this plays into my fantasy of submission/ Emotion: power, control, pleasure.
3. I find myself 'sneaking a peek' at her cleavage and then ask about the tattoo (as only half of it is exposed) - I do this in part to show that I am not afraid to ask about it (power , control) and also in case she has caught me looking at her cleavage. Emotions: excitement, dissapointment with my self as my core realises that I do not want this and wish that I did not have a 'pull' to gain excitement by looking. I tell myself that if a girl did'nt want me to look then she would'nt have a sentance plastered over her chest in large letters - which feeds into my fantasy.
4. However, in a split second I also realsie that I do not know this girl, I don't know if she regrets that tattoo, if she has a completely different view on it than I do, if she got it done to satisfy teh wishes of a boyfriend who may be demanding or abusive, whatever reason she got it tattooed is her own and the choice is mine if I choose to stare at it and stsrt fantasising or recognise what is happening and stop.Emotions: Awareness, Dissapointment, shame, embarressment.
5. During the consultation notice and feel this pull between wanting to create a fantasy about how she is ex mad and would love to be ravished by me and how much I too would enjoy the affair and the opposite of being true to myself, acting maturly and with compassion with this young woman - she is here for my advice not for a quickie!! Emotions: Fantasy, Excitement, Adventure mixed with Fear of being caught, dissapointment and despair of the strength of my sexualised thoughts, Fear of what teh future may hold if I continue these fantasies.
6. Manage to bring myself to reality and provide the advice to the young lady in teh manner she would have expected and deserved, even gained her confidence when she volunteered to send her Mother in to see me who has a similar query. Emotions: relief that I had been able to take control of my leacherous thoughts and present a professional compassionate approach, Hope that maybe I can control these fantasies and my core values will rise to the fore.

This is a real life recent incident as requested and the ending overall was a positive one however, in the very recent past I would have had many more glances towards the cleavage and those images would have set me off for the day, culminating in more elaborate fantasies or and viewing porn and escort sites until I would have chosen mb as a least worst option. Emotions: Fantasy, excitement, pleasure, despair, avoidence, secrecy, satisfaction, release, intensity, bliss followed by shame, dissapointment, fear of being 'found out' fear of the future.

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:51 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 361
Hi Ace,

You have made some meaningful realisations in the last couple of lessons and should recognise your progress with that. Well done and keep it going.

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L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 120
Location: Ireland
Thankyou L2R, i am trying to be more consistent.
Quote:
B. For each element, consider the likely impact that removing that element from the chain would have on the remainder of the event. Remember, decreasing immediate emotional pleasure (through guilt, fear, suspense, anxiety) is a technique used to ultimately increase the overall pleasure experienced during the act.


Quote:
1. Trigger: At work, attrctive young twenty something client comes to my office and sits in front of me for a consultation. She has a large cleavage and a tattoo across her chest.
Emotion: I am immediately triggered with thoughts of porn images I have seen in the past of sex with big bossomed , tattooed women. Excitement, Fantasy, arousal.


The emotions excitement and arousal are immediate as I was confronted with a trigger - body shape and tattoos. The fantasy came very quickly but it could have been stopped sooner rather than developed.
If (as the question poses) those elements were all removed then I don't think I would have a problem, so I'm probably misunderstanding the question......
If excitement and arousal were removed then I would not begin to fantasise.

Quote:
2. During the consultation it becomes apparent that I am the expert (I am older and of course I am te expert - that is why she has come to me ...for advice) however this plays into my fantasy of submission/ Emotion: power, control, pleasure.


If power, control and pleasure were removed I would in a strange way feel better as the power and control are not comfortable, or at least what I am using them for is not within my comfort zone, perhaps alike using my power to take advantage of someone or fight someone weaker than me - there is a sense of power and control but alos an underlying sense of what I am doing is wrong...which leads to conflicting opposite feelings of confusion, upset and weakness.

Quote:
3. I find myself 'sneaking a peek' at her cleavage and then ask about the tattoo (as only half of it is exposed) - I do this in part to show that I am not afraid to ask about it (power , control) and also in case she has caught me looking at her cleavage. Emotions: excitement, dissapointment with my self as my core realises that I do not want this and wish that I did not have a 'pull' to gain excitement by looking. I tell myself that if a girl did'nt want me to look then she would'nt have a sentance plastered over her chest in large letters - which feeds into my fantasy.
4. However, in a split second I also realsie that I do not know this girl, I don't know if she regrets that tattoo, if she has a completely different view on it than I do, if she got it done to satisfy teh wishes of a boyfriend who may be demanding or abusive, whatever reason she got it tattooed is her own and the choice is mine if I choose to stare at it and stsrt fantasising or recognise what is happening and stop.Emotions: Awareness, Dissapointment, shame, embarressment.


The emotions of 3 which I forgot to include would be continued excitement, exhiliration, fantasy, arousal, satisfaction, control and a sense of accomplishement - if they were removed I would just be left with doing my job.....providing information in a professional manner.
Step 4 - Awareness, Dissapointment, shame and embarressment - I would be delighted to remove these emotions as they upset me. The difficulty that I have had is that the former 'feel good' emotions seem more present and available while the after shock emotions are still distant.

What I am taking from this lesson (perhaps incorrectly) that one emotion leads or feeds into another and if I can recognise and control my emotions at the start of the chain then I may not have to supper the negative emotions of step 4.

I had a similar chain today whe I was at the gym.

I started training and saw a very attractive eastern european woman in her 30's training. She was clearly a regular gym goer.
1. Triggered by her physique
2. Triggered by the fact that she was not beautiful facially and that reminded me of lovers I have had in teh past.
3. Began a fantasy of meeting her as I have done with others in the past for sex. Convincing myself that its ok, many people do it and sites like Ashley Madison are set up for such 'arrangements'.
thought of how good it could be to be 'friends with benefits' - no one needs to know except us and how good and exciting it feels.
4. Reality check that I could risk my marraige, this woman may have absolutely no interest in me and evne if she did she could be a head wrecker, it could all end very badly as so many affairs do, it will cause a constant level of stress of 'being caught' knowing that it not what I REALLY want - it is just an escape.
5. Try and focus again on my workout but every now and then look over and feel the fantasy's beginning.
6. Draw myself back to reality, feel dissapointed that my energy and focus is going on something which Yes could be immediately exciting and physically rewarding but ultimately is a betrayal of my best friend and a betrayal of myself as I (by continuing with this fantasy) will feel a constant DRAG of energy, guilt and shame to be even tinking about it - a hopelessness that no matter what I do or how well I ingrain the RN program or others that I will always have such a struggle.
7. Recognise now, 7 hours later I still have the thoughts of her in my head and how they lead to opening the door to more such thoughts in the near future.
8. Glad that I at least recognise that and can write about it here. Perhaps teh lesson learned should be that a 'harmless' look or two or 10 for me at the gym ultimately leads to a day of conflicting thoughts of right and wrong and feeds the wrong wolf for tonight, tonmorrow and next week.
By being here, writing and trying to learn more about my addiction I can see how by opening the door even just a little invites in arousal, fantasy, escape, physical and mental stimulation but they do not arrive without other uninvited guests (who insist on outstaying their welcome) called shame, dissapointment, dissalusionment, secrecy and fear.

_________________
"Don't judge each day by the Harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant"
"If you do not succeed, make sure it is not because you did'nt try hard enough"


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