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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
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Lesson 46: Begin this process now by considering a previous compulsive chain, identify the element immediately preceeding the 'point of no return' and then rewrite the remainder of the chain so that your actions are based on healthy values, rather than immediate emotional response. Share this in your recovery thread.


1. Travelling by car to a work meeting a couple of hours away that I really don't want to go to, enviromental triggers of being out of town, away from home, alone with time to spare.
2. Begin the tug of war "Will I / Won't I" look at inappropriate sites, linger on inappropriate thoughts....
3. Arrive in work with a thought planetd in the back of my head that "if I leave early...anything could happen..." its exciting but also a little depressing that I am falling into teh funnel again.
4. Get through work and on teh way home fight those thoughts again. Pull the car over and stsrt to browse available women. After another 5 - 65 minutes of will I/ Wont I....I browse a porn site, mb and feel a mixture of relief and sadness. Relief that teh craving has stopped and I hav'nt engaged in anything 'worse' and a sadness that I am here again....not making progress....living my own 'Groundhog day' except that there is no comedic element, it is a tradegy.
5. Arrive home, tired, upset and just wanting to forget about it and go to bed early - start afresh tomorrow, do not feel good about myself - my self esteem is low.
6. The following day (or even that night) as my self esteem is already low and I am seeking a way to get back into emotional stability I choose porn. Now I feel worse but the urge / addiction has been satiated at leat for a time.



My Break should obviously be at step 1.
Recognising that I am about to enter a dangerous trigering scenario. If I don't give myself realistic alternative options then I will most likely repeat the cycle.
Recognise that it is Normal to feel a pull/ an urge. Its like turning left every week for decades when I come to a cross roads and then berating myself when I want to turn right but notice an automatic pull to go left as usual.
In the past I would see this as a sign of failure further weakening my self esteeem and resolve.
Tomorrow (I go on a trip tomorrow) I should expect that there will be some 'pulss's towards the choices I have made in the past but recognise that by incorporating teh new choices the old ones will become weaker. It is not a sign of weakness that I still have cravings - it is a sign of addiction and a reminder that I have done great work already and am fully invested in continuing that work to enjoy a better life.

Step 2- I have been using the '1 second rule' with success lately - as soon as I notice an inappropriate thought surface I attempt to focus my thoughts on my values BEFORE it has time to develop as I have accepted that every time I 'just develop that thought a little bit, just to see how much I can handle'....I fail
I am more accepting of that now and accepting that as I am not currently strong enough to engage in fantasy for a few seconds/ minutes and then pull away then I should not do it at all.
Again thats been another change for me as 'my addict' would convince me that I should be able to handle a few seconds of looking at someone in a bikini without being aroused and if I was'nt able then I am a lost cause and might as well act out and get the misery over with.

_________________
"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 Nov 10, 2019 9:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Lesson 48 Exercise:
1. If you do not know how to role play, learn


This is a skill/ technique that I did not use to any degree the last time around in RN - now I can see its value. My barin has been trained to follow the same patterns as they have given the quickest and highest reward (short term) now I get an opportunity to make choices based on the full picture not just the short term results.

_________________
"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 Nov 12, 2019 8:06 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
Quote:
I’m desperate to see permanent change, but I’m also scared of committing myself to change and then failing yet again. I've committed myself so many times in the 12 Step programme and worked through the Steps several times.

I just read this in another posters forum. My understanding is that commenting on another posters thread is not encouraged unless you are a mentor but if it was I would reach out to this poster and say that the above phrase could have been written by me 100 times over.
Also it is timely because teh recent success I have been having is at least in part due to attemoting to change my ingrained beliefs.

The belief that "I will fail because I have always failed before" has really held me back from making progress and as I work on changing that and envisaging a better future the cravings become less frequent and thus recovery seems more attainable.

Conversely recognising that the constant self dialogue "it wont work - you've tried it before and failed, you are different, you're not worth it,a little bit can't hurt" has been feeding the addict. I am making a big effort to change that script.

_________________
"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 Nov 12, 2019 8:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Lesson 50
A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)


Positive:
Get to a place within my boundaries, feel good about myself for being in control rather than teh other way around, not have to deal with the dissapointment, shame, regret and fear of being discovered.
Belief that if I can do it once I can do it again ....who knows maybe I can actually leave these compulsive behaviours behind me.....

Negative:
Have a sense of 'missing out' not feeling those chemicals of excitement, anticipation, adventure and fear course though my body, the physical and emotional stimulation.

Quote:
B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)


Positive:
Enjoy the above physical and emotional high - strong emotions of excitement and adventure

Negative:
Realise it is never as good as I had thought it would be, it is much 'less' of an experience when it is over feel ashamed, regretful, dissapointed and depressed that I am caught in this web perhaps never to get out....that mindset then further fuels the chances of acting out again to regain emotional balance.
Worry that I may have been 'caught' get my name in the paper, destroy my relationship, damage my future prospects etc.

Quote:
C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?
D. Document your thoughts in your recovery manager.


Values based decisions will strengthen the chances of choosing those again in the future as coach Jon just said the choices you make today determine who you will be tomorrow.
By choosing values based decisions I am strengthening the things that REALLY matter in my life the ones without such highs and lows of compulsive behaviour - the positive relationship I have with myself, my wife, kids and even strangers.
Choosing emotions based is easy - thats what I have always done and if I continue to do so will end up in teh never ending circle of making a concious, lucid decision to stop acting out - then at a time of emotional imbalance - Act out - Feel Bad a bout it - Act out again -made a decision to never act out again and so on......
Get to teh end of my life and think - what could have been if only I had gained control of my behaviours

_________________
"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 Nov 12, 2019 9:30 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 410
Hi Ace,

You wrote:
Quote:
Step 2- I have been using the '1 second rule' with success lately - as soon as I notice an inappropriate thought surface I attempt to focus my thoughts on my values BEFORE it has time to develop as I have accepted that every time I 'just develop that thought a little bit, just to see how much I can handle'....I fail
I am more accepting of that now and accepting that as I am not currently strong enough to engage in fantasy for a few seconds/ minutes and then pull away then I should not do it at all.
Again thats been another change for me as 'my addict' would convince me that I should be able to handle a few seconds of looking at someone in a bikini without being aroused and if I was'nt able then I am a lost cause and might as well act out and get the misery over with.

As you know, i think this is the key to recovery because you are not left with anything to battle or manage. You need to be ruthless in your application of it though with absolutely no exceptions. I am pleased to see that you are finding some success in this approach.

You also wrote:
Quote:
I just read this in another posters forum. My understanding is that commenting on another posters thread is not encouraged unless you are a mentor but if it was I would reach out to this poster and say that the above phrase could have been written by me 100 times over.
Also it is timely because teh recent success I have been having is at least in part due to attemoting to change my ingrained beliefs.

The belief that "I will fail because I have always failed before" has really held me back from making progress and as I work on changing that and envisaging a better future the cravings become less frequent and thus recovery seems more attainable.

Conversely recognising that the constant self dialogue "it wont work - you've tried it before and failed, you are different, you're not worth it,a little bit can't hurt" has been feeding the addict. I am making a big effort to change that script.

You are quite right to record this in your own thread rather than posting to theirs, i have no doubt that they will look at your thread too and pick this up and find the encouragement that you are trying to offer them. I would also agree with your comments, we are so used to making the same mistakes and following the same cycle that we appear powerless over our decisions. I find it interesting reading new joiners' responses to the exercise of looking at themselves as a 4 year old. For me the whole point of that exercise is that they did not think that way back then and therefore we have LEARNED how to think that way, it is not a genetic thing that we have no power over changing - whatever we have learned we can also unlearn, it is a case of adopting good habits and engraining those over the old ones.

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L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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 Post subject: Re: Ace's Recovery Forum
PostPosted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 11:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Lesson 50
A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)


Another consequence (both positive and negative) of using a healthy . values based decision is being able to make that decison and then invest that energy somewhere else - somewhere truly rewarding like with my family, with myself, with my career etc.

The alternative is teh draining tug of war that takes place - will I...... wont I......as soon as that starts happening I have already lost.

_________________
"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 Dec 01, 2019 4:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Lesson 51
A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)


When I used daily monitoring I found it helpful to assess my emotional state at any point in the day and learned from the connection with being emotionaly 'out of balance' and 'seeking relief' tough acting out.
I have stopped daily monitoring and moved to monthly too quickly.
This excercise has helped me to recognise that as the best time to handle an urge is BEFORE it starts, by being prepared.

Compulsive Ritual:
1. Have a business trip for the day out of town, I will have time on my hands and being away from home in a different city has always proved a challenge for me as if acting out there rather than on my own doorstep is somehow 'safer'....although the laws in each city (and my own home) are the same.
There have been times I lie in bed at night thinking about the possibilities the following days - I don't do that anymore HOWEVER I have been lax in allowing subliminal short messages to seep into my mind, that are effectively second long 'shorts' of an image or unhealthy behaviour which goes unchallenged - By not challenging those 'shorts' I am ignoring them and ignoring ANY problem is a poor way of handling it.

Options when I know I am going away out of town on a trip -

1. Try not to think about it, maybe all will work out -Result in not having to face uncomfortable thoughts - allows those unhealthy behaviours to fester and grow as the spotlight is not shone on them
2. Recognise how challenging it has been in the past and could potentially be and visualise handling those challenges successfully by creating a plan like this one - visualise how good it will feel to accomplish a night away without the guilt of acting out OR the exhausting drain of a will I / Wont I tug of war. Results in- some emotional discomfort as I am 'standing up to' my addict and those thoughts and a recognition that if I am successful I will lose out on the good feelings that they provide.
3. Tell a friend about my fears and ask them to check in with me - results - feel I have a support whne things are tough, feel dissapointed in myself that 'I am so weak' that I need to ask for help,
4. Check my emotional state every hour at least or and when I notice it becoming 'out of balance' - bring it back by remembering my values and having something to look forward to, write out how I am feeling - result - feel on top of things at this early stage in my recovery - not allowing myself get blindsided by anything

_________________
"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 Dec 01, 2019 4:23 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
Quote:
Lesson 51
B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)


Clearly allowing these unhelathy thoughts to develop is setting myself up for failure however I have not written them into my boundaries so they have been allowed to seakily come in through the back door.
I need a new boundary of
"Do not allow any unhealthy sexual thought to go unchallenged - recognise that they are the fuel that feeds the fire. I will recognise them sooner - challenge them and feel good about doing so."

" I will not be so complacent in recovery by not doing regular writing/ work as it opens a vaccuum which is filled by unhealthy behaviours - remember there is No Neutral - I am either weakening the grip those unhealthy thoughts have on my life OR strengthening it"

_________________
"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 Dec 05, 2019 7:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
I'm recognising that I have been very LOOSE around my boundaries - that is, even though I have written them out I did not really incorporate them into my life as rules - more of a wish list.
I would often act out with porn or mb and convince myself that its okay or at least the least worst alternative because I was not engaging with escorts!!!!!
There is a need for a daily recognition that one door leads to another and while I allow porn and mb to stay in my life the embers are still very much burning.
New Boundaries:
1. I will not engage in any behaviour in which I could not tell my wife about
2. I will not engage in watching porn or viewing escort or massage sites.
3. I will be aware of stories I follow on the news feed and ask myself before clicking on them why am I doing so? is it to seek gratification?
4. I will not engage in masturbation
5. I will remind myself if the self dialogue begins of "aahh just go on - its only a bit pof porn, sure everyone does it and it is SO MUCH BETTER than risking an affair or prostitute visit" is the same as the local drug pusher saying "ahh go on its only a bit of marijuana - sure its leagal in some ststes and countries - loads of people use it - its been provenm to be safer than alcohol -its not as if its heroin!!"
Remind myself that MOST Heroin addicts started off on 'softer' drugs.....

_________________
"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 Dec 31, 2019 9:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2018 11:50 am
Posts: 151
Location: Ireland
Its been a few weeks now since my last slip (which is something of a record for me)
There were times, particularly when I was awy from home that I really began to struggle BUT I got through it by using teh tools that I have learned in RN and elsewhere.
The difference is taking action and actually using them!
Now I am sitting at my desk and have a few weeks of clarity (rather than porn fog clouding my judgement) I can see that acting out now will then bring an end to my 'streak' and with it the addicts laughing voice telling me "I told you so" "you'll never beat this" "these thoughts will always come up and eventually I will get you".....
L2R wrote a great post about a scene on a TV show where an older , richer man was able to manipulate a younger woman in need to provide sexual services in return for life saving funds for her son.
I related to his feelings of disgust and shame - I too have paid for sexual services and recognise it is completely against my values. I want to be the man that that person in need turns to as they know that they can TRUST me to act with dignity and respect.
I am not there yet but perhaps the first part of that is recognition that as an addict that trigger in some form may always be there but that does'nt mean that it has to be acted on.

Of course the perfect scenario would be one where a very attractive young woman came to me for help or wished to have an affair and I was not triggered in the least because it was so outside my boundaries and against my values that it would be like taking heroin or some other drug I would abhor.

Or maybe as an addict that may never happen, maybe I will always be triggered but my hope is that that trigger would be the same as a 'normal' person (one without compulsions) so that I will see that image of a young attrractive woman - be triggered slightly by it (as I am sure most men were when watching that particular TV series) but then quick as a flash be motivated by my values and that trigger dissapates or dissapears.

I don't know, what I do know is that my life is better when I do not allow myself to be triggered by watching grey material or porn sites etc. and also that when I have a period of sobriety under my belt my resolve is strengthened that I can actually do this and the cravings do actually reduce.

The proof is today, a very triggering time of year for me - I am out of my work routine, there are family stressors and I am sitting at my office desk and could dissapear for hours.... I have had fleeting thoughst about acting out but in recognistion of that rather than just try and ignore them (as I have done unsuccessfully in the past) I am using them as a prompt - a reminder to invest some time and energy in Recovery - which brings me here.

This timje last year I was acting out in some form nearly every day, now I am a few weeks clean and most importantly recoignising what I need to do to stay on the path. I have to believe that it is possible and when I think its not - thats my addict talking trying to get me into a place where acting out is inevitable.
Quote:
I think there are two things stopping me. One is fear, i have had the safety net of my crutch of 40 years and the thought of letting it go scares the living daylights out of me at times. The other thing is that i feel that i don't deserve to recover because of all of the bad things that i have done. But any amount of self loathing will change nothing so i need to forgive myself if for no other reason than to allow myself to recover. I need to trust my instincts and know that my supposed crutch is something that seriously hinders rather than helps me.


The above quote from L2R's thread is ver helpful as I could have written those words myself and it is comforting/ supporting to know that there are others out there who have struggled but made great progress and how that underlying script of not being good enough/ deserving enough is counter productive in recovery efforts.
Wishing everyone on RN a peaceful and successful 2020 - Thank you to all for sharing this journey with me.

_________________
"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 Jan 02, 2020 5:35 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 410
Hi Ace,

Nice to see you back again. You mentioned:
Quote:
Or maybe as an addict that may never happen, maybe I will always be triggered but my hope is that that trigger would be the same as a 'normal' person (one without compulsions) so that I will see that image of a young attrractive woman - be triggered slightly by it (as I am sure most men were when watching that particular TV series) but then quick as a flash be motivated by my values and that trigger dissapates or dissapears.

CoachJon states in relation to those that recover from their addiction:
Quote:
"They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life; not as an addict that is managing their life with healthy behaviour."

I think that this is an important mindset to achieve. If you always see yourself as an addict with a problem then you are just waiting to fail. To truly recover i believe that you need to have a change of mindset and no longer see yourself as an addict but rather someone who has engrained new healthy habits and who will steadfastly refuse to dwell on anything inappropriate. It will take time, effort and practice but you should have enough knowledge and experience now to get to this next stage.

Good luck with it, you have a good solid base to build from now.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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