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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:20 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3665
Location: UK
Hello John

Quote:
anyone listening?

I hear the frustration in your question the simple answer is yes the community supports those who commit to and strive for recovery

Quote:
BTW I've been trying to access the manager and get the following error:
Error 500 - Internal Server Error
An error was encountered while processing your request. Typically this is a temporary condition. Please contact the web site owner for further assistance.

I have no clue what this is about but have sent a PM to system tech and Coach C in an attempt to get a resolve
meanwhile can I suggest that you press on and progress

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


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:00 pm 
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Lesson 11

I find this one quite difficult, though in a sense simple enough. On first reading I latched on to the part: “Are there aspects of my life that I want to change.” – well having read previous lessons here and other resources I’m clear that there are, that they aren’t healthy and that they require changing.

Reading on I was finding some of the activities listed were relevant to me and some not. Up to now I haven’t particularly worried that some are more serious, ‘worse’, and others less so. OK I can see that, for example, looking at a bit of porn isn’t particularly unhealthy, but looking at a lot, that causes disruption in any form, certainly is.

So to my mind I’ve drawn a line, either something is healthy, matches my aspirations for a healthy foundation or it doesn’t. You can’t be a ‘little bit pregnant’ and similarly I think its easier, probably better, to draw a line, black or white (although that goes against my reasoning usually where I try to look at a topic all ways and come to a balanced conclusion). If I’m not sure about something it goes on the no/black side.

So I feel following the spirit of this lesson I need to list everything that I feel I’ve touched on in the past. So either its on the list because I’ve done it (and its not OK), or I haven’t done it. Not that it might be OK.

Here goes:

Common Patterns Associated with Fantasies, Obsessions and Delusions:
I. Fantasies
• Consciously using triggers to promote fantasy — as in the use of pornography, romantic novels, "people-watching", chat rooms, e-mail

Other Elements Commonly Found in a Ritualistic Chain where Fantasy, Obsession and/or Delusions are the Primary Behavior:
Fantasy
• Sensory (especially physical/visual)
• Orgasm (especially when masturbation is involved)
Frequent Cues/Triggers Often Associated With:
Fantasy
• Pornography
• Boredom
• Media (TV, songs, books, Internet, etc.)

Obsession
• Affairs (both yours and those discovered/suspected involving your partner)
Boundaries Frequently Violated By:
Fantasy
• Intimacy


Masturbation
Common Behaviors Associated with Masturbation:
I. Self-stimulation by hand, mouth, etc.
• manually stimulating one's own genitalia

Elements Frequently Associated with Masturbation (from the Wheel of Sexual Compulsion):
• Sensory Stimulation
• Orgasm
Other Elements Commonly Found in a Ritualistic Chain where Masturbation is the Primary Behavior:
• Fantasy
• Pornography

Boundaries Frequently Violated By Masturbation:
• Self-respect (when behavior is followed by guilt/shame)
• Order (when time spent masturbating interferes with the completion of life goals, time management)

Pornography
Common Behaviors Associated with Pornography:
I. Stimulation by the use of pictures
• explicit pictures found in magazines such as Playboy, Playgirl, Hustler, trading cards,

II. Stimulation by the use of sexually explicit video
• erotic movies produced for public viewing (e.g. theaters, television, CD, streaming video)
• replaying, freeze-framing or putting into slow-motion those scenes which are found to be erotically stimulating

Elements Frequently Associated with Pornography (from the Wheel of Sexual Compulsion):
• Sensory (visual)
• Accomplishment (in the attempts to find the most stimulating images)
• Orgasm
Other Elements Commonly Found in a Ritualistic Chain where Pornography is the Primary Behavior:
• Fantasy
• Masturbation
Boundaries Frequently Violated By Pornography:
• Self-respect (when behavior is followed by guilt/shame)
• Intimacy (in the objectification of the people involved)
• Order (when time spent engaged in pornography interferes with the completion of life goals, time management)

Promiscuity
Common Behaviors Associated with Promiscuity:
• Hiring of prostitutes/call-girls

Other Elements Commonly Found in a Ritualistic Chain where Promiscuity is the Primary Behavior:
Frequent Cues/Triggers Often Associated With Promiscuity
• Opportunity (people, places, times and things)
Boundaries Frequently Violated By Promiscuity:
• Safety (involving STD's, pregnancy, potential violence)
• Honesty
• Intimacy (in all but the rarest occasions, the intimacy that can be experienced with the spouse is sacrificed for the passion and intimacy experienced with the promiscuous partners)

Affairs
Common Patterns Associated with Compulsive Affairs:
I. Simultaneous, sustained affairs
• includes multiple affairs over extended periods
• often includes many different behavioral variations (letters, e-mail, online chats, phone calls, face-to-face, etc.)
• pattern of emotional infidelity usually begins before marriage
• initial emotional intensity that quickly fades as the affair progresses
• extremely draining on resources (mental, physical and/or financial)
• marriage often falls into same "staged" relationship (initially intense and passionate; current absence of sustained intimacy)
• opportunistic affairs are rarely passed up
• associated with frequent lies and secrecy
II. Single, sustained affairs
• involves pattern of isolated affairs over extended periods of time
• affairs usually end when affair partner begins to make what is perceived to be unreasonable demands (e.g. divorce) or the marriage is otherwise threatened (e.g. the affair is discovered)
III. Opportunistic, spontaneous affairs

Prostitution
Common Behaviors Associated with Prostitution:
• The use of call-girls while away on business trips
Elements Frequently Associated with Prostitution (from the Wheel of Sexual Compulsion):


Rape & Sexual Violence
Common Patterns Associated with Rape, S&M or Sexual Violence:
I. Rape
II. S&M
• Humiliation role-playing
• Dominating or being dominated by another
• Using whips, paddles, belts, etc. to inflict pain
• Painful spanking, pinching, biting, hair-pulling while engaged in sexual activity
• Electrical shock or other painful stimuli to genitalia
• Blindfolding, bondage, kidnapping or other behaviors which intentionally restrict freedom
III. Sexual Violence

Elements Frequently Associated with:
Rape
S&M
• Sensory (especially physical)
• Fantasy
• Suspense
Sexual Violence

Other Elements Commonly Found in a Ritualistic Chain where S&M, Rape or Sexual Violence are the Primary Behavior:
Rape
S&M
• Power
• Orgasm
Sexual Violence

Frequent Cues/Triggers Often Associated With:
Rape
S&M
• Curiosity
• Previous exposure to S&M behavior through pornography, video, past sexual partners
Sexual Violence

Boundaries Frequently Violated By:
Rape
S&M
• Intimacy (becomes more and more difficult to establish healthy sexual intimacy with partner)
Sexual Violence

So in summary I feel those activities, to a greater or lesser extent, represent what was ‘bad’ in my life, some more out of control that others. They all need to be recognised as part of the issue and stopped.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:15 pm 
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Posts: 16
Lesson 12

Patterns recognised (to some extent!):

taking breaks every now and then to deal with "life

At some point, an epiphany occurs, and they realize that it is not the workshop that is changing them, but their own decisions and actions.

Finishing this workshop is not critical to your recovery.

They tend to analyze the risk/reward benefits of what they are being asked to do, before making the decision to do it. At least later in the workshop.

They often feel forced into recovery (e.g. legal consequences, social expectations, treatment demands)

They minimize their behavior (e.g. "It's not how it seems"; "It's not that big of a deal.")
They actively prepare their environment for successful acting out by: setting a preliminary foundation for excuses/alibis; seeking out times/situations where they will be unaccountable to anyone but themselves; laying the foundation for the emotional manipulation of others who may pose a confrontational threat (e.g. their spouse), etc.

They often experience selfish thoughts when caught acting out (e.g. "Why didn't I see this coming?" "Why didn't I cover that up better?" "Why do I cause myself so much pain?")

They put out fires by refocusing on other areas of their life.

They often attempt to convince others of their recovery by offering their "new identity" as proof.

They tend to see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process.
They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.

Or, they experience very mild emotions — when it has become a pattern that they have resolved to accept as a part of their lives.

They tend to hyper analyze their actions, thoughts and feelings...and make the possibility of living a "normal" life all but impossible.

They continue to identify themselves with their addiction and cannot imagine a life without such an association.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:06 am 
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Posts: 16
Lesson 13 posting

These are the patterns I identify with currently:

“In early recovery, individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.” – I’m not sure whether ‘significant’, but there are certainly doubts from time to time.

“Attempting recovery for a few months, then acting out.” – I have had a couple of relapses. Relatively minor, eg viewing internet porn, but relapses none the less. At the time they didn’t seem too important, now I see I need to look out for triggers more thoroughly.

“In early recovery, they tend to explore many different trigger situations to see how well they can handle themselves. To see "how far they have come".” – perhaps not actively explore, but certainly mentally think through triggers, acting out, and see how easy/desirable it is.

“In early recovery, they tend to experience relief in having their behaviours understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of their life.” – it is good when I get positive feedback, less so when its more like ‘you’re a terrible liar, always have been, always will be’, but such tends to be said in the heat of the moment.

“In early recovery, significant others tend to experience these individuals as very needy, pathetic, "lost souls".” – I get that feeling sometimes.

“They have accepted that they have struggled with certain immoral behaviours that contradicted their values, but realize that what matters is what they are doing, not what they did. They realize that no successful recovery ever took place by changing the past, only by changing the present.” – yes changing the present, working for a better future. What has gone has gone, good times remain good, bad times remain bad. The new focus leading to a better future.

“Their motivation to recover comes from the desire to live a life that they can be proud of, rather than a desire to create the illusion of a life that they can be proud of.
They make decisions based on what they believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what they think they can get away with. They know that whether these decisions end up being the right ones or not is irrelevant. That all that matters is that they were made with the right intentions in mind.” – yes right intentions, and better to make a decision than procrastinate. If it turns out bad it can be corrected, and better that than fretting for hours rather than getting on with the positives.

“Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity.
They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.” – one must learn from one’s mistakes after all.

“They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life;” – still getting to grips with the ‘manage’ part, but yes certainly healthy in the future.

“They see their lives as a continuous process of growth and development,” – yes indeed.

“They will take a long, hard look at anything associated with their destructive past, and will voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from their life. This refers to pornography, internet accounts, etc. It does not necessarily refer to affairs where real feelings were experienced/exchanged.” – the affair point is the difficult one. On the one hand it is part of the acting out ‘problem’ to be expunged, on the other much genuine feeling, unlike porn or prostitutes, to be dealt with.

“Significant others tend to experience these individuals with cautious optimism. They can see the changes taking place, but remain unable to commit to their partners fully — as they continue to doubt their own judgment (a consequence of the shocking discovery of the addiction's reality).” – that seems to ring bells, trust has to be earnt.

Part II – looking again at the prioritised values:

1. Being healthy – OK, but is this #1?
2. Being honest and truthful – essential!
3. Being humorous – good, but lower than #3
4. Practising the values of a humanist – nothing wrong with this, but is it key to recovery?
5. Strengthening my role as grandfather to my grandchildren - essential
6. Strengthening my role as father to my daughters - essential
7. Being faithful to my partner - essential
8. Strengthening my role as partner – associated with #7
9. Supporting friends – a good thing
10. Enjoying retirement – yes, but for now more the work/life balance
11. Being sexually active (with partner!) – that’s the only place for it, and given my history I wonder at this fairly low priority, ie for it to be a positive part of recovery perhaps it needs to be higher
12. Being inclusive - OK
13. Giving time as volunteer - OK
14. Being non-judgmental - OK
15. Being an inspiration – perhaps a higher priority

So looking at these overall I’m thinking they’re still a good fit to my general feeling towards recovery and aspiring to a healthy future. Some deserve less priority, some more, but I don’t see any that conflict with making progress along the recovery path.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:36 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 323
Hi John,

In relation to Part II you wrote
Quote:
Some deserve less priority, some more

I wouldn't be too concerned over whether 1, 2 and 3 are in the right order, etc, the idea of having prioritised your values is to take the top 15 or so from your original longer list. Once you have your shortlist then they are all in play regardless of whether they appear at No 1 or 15.

As a final sense check I would recommend that you look through the list again with a different pair of eyes. Rather than listing them in the context of you being in recovery perhaps think of it more as a set of values that will lead a life into the future that you are proud of, a moral code if you will. Some of these will naturally be in place to ensure that they head off compulsive behaviour (e.g. honesty, faithful, etc) but should also ensure that you will have everything important to you in your life. So things such as spending quality time with your family, time to yourself to explore interests, etc, should also be considered. You already have some of that in there and you may be perfectly happy with your list but I found it a helpful sense check on mine on that basis at the time even if it didn't change anything. Your values play a key part in the workshop so it pays to get them right for you from the outset. They can also be tweaked as needed over time as your life and focusses change. The only one I would suggest you perhaps try and have another think about would relate to
Quote:
Being sexually active (with partner)

Is this a value or a target? I would suggest you mean something more along the lines of "deepening the intimacy of the relationship with my wife"? It is your thread and your values so it is entirely up to you, please take on board any of this feedback that lands well and ignore the rest.

_________________
L2R

"Should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit to recovery"


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:38 pm 
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Posts: 16
Lesson 14 – Daily monitoring
To be considered for 5 minutes before going to sleep.

1. Did I experience any triggers today?
a. If so, did I recognise them and stop them becoming an issue?
b. Am I now more aware for when/if they occur again?

2. Did I act out in any way today?

3. Did I support C today?
a. Did I talk with C?
b. Did I answer everything truthfully?
c. TWT?

4. Did work/life balance go well today?
a. Was work calm, planned, organised, or firefighting?
b. If firefighting how could I have organised it better?

5. Was I stressed today?

6. Did I have quality time with my wife today?
a. Was I mindful of it?

7. Did I exercise today?
a. Any?
b. Enough?

8. Was I an inspiration in any way?

9. Have I moved forward with recovery?
a. Forward/back/neutral?

Triggers
Recovery
Acting out
C

Stress
Work/life
Wife
Inspiration
Exercise


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:09 am 
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I've changed my login from John53 to John53A due to a change of email address.

Otherwise it's still me and I'll continue with the same thread ;-)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:46 pm 
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Lesson 15

One example recently covered is Absolute Honesty (Lesson 10) – and in particular the boundaries associated with, where they apply, and where they don’t – the absolute part.

I feel it is now integrated into my day-to-day life. Some boundaries, with certain people, are still being considered, but it has most definitely given me a framework to work to.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:31 am 
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Just wanted to say a thank you to learningtorun... I realise I've been treating the forum more like a notebook than a discussion. So I should have said thank you before for the posts by mentors, always helpful.

And in particular the review of values sounds a very good idea, not worrying about order so much as substance, and more value than target.

It's been started, watch this space ;-)

And as the lessons progress I can see there could well be areas where I'll need some guidance.

John


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:51 am 
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Lesson 16 – Positive roles from addiction…

This is a tough one, its all too easy to think of addiction as ‘bad’ and everything that stems from it bad and unproductive.

But thinking on a bit there have been some positives that come to mind.

Firstly, in my case, the part of the addiction that involved online activities, porn, cam girls etc. – I don’t really see any positives, even short term, save the gratification that’s better without.

However thinking of the activities that involved meetings and contact, again in my case escorts and affairs (note the plural!) there are some positives I can see.

Firstly a few have led to friendships, now separated from the original activities that are proving lasting and beneficial, I believe both to me and them. To have someone else’s support, to understand their view on life, a different perspective, all good I think notwithstanding the process that brought it about.

Secondly being able to explore some aspects of my sexuality had its positive side. I have an enquiring mind. Finding folk who were a little away from the mainstream widens horizons. Of course with escorts there may be exploitation, with affairs there may be a backstory that affects the interaction, but at the time it felt good to expand the mind a little and I carry forward the positives, good times remain good times, in my view at least.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:19 am 
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Lesson 17 – compulsive ritual

Example: cam girl on the internet – probably the one I did most in terms of time/cost

Sensory stimulation – certainly, mainly visual and aural.

Fantasy – the behaviours discussed, role-plays enacted, the thought that I meant something to her.

Danger – some, often taking place with others in the house and whilst I wasn’t wanting to be seen/discovered I wonder it that added something? I think on the whole more relaxed when home alone, but hard to separate the danger as a fact of the activity from a possible adjunct.

Suspense – some perhaps: will she do this/that?

Accomplishment – yes with a successful outcome. Balanced by frustration if interrupted or such. Which in turn could lead to stronger desire to do again.

Power – some instances involved power play of one sort or another. Virtual rather than real as obviously either side could break the connection at will.

Past – not sure this applicable. There are some things in my past/childhood that I’m starting to think may have had an influence, eg being sent to boarding school due to poor health of Mother. Certainly contributed to opportunity.

Poly-Addictions – I don’t think applicable.

Orgasm – yes by-product, result, main goal… in my mind very much entwined with the activity.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:46 pm 
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Lesson 18 – filters

Example: cam girl on the internet (as for lesson 17)

Time – there is the time in anticipation, eg: ‘call booked at 6pm’ the nearer the time comes, the more intense the anticipation. There is the time building to a climax, sometimes relatively quick, sometimes slower. This doesn’t depend just on the activity, how well I’m attracted to the girl, what she is doing, but also to more general circumstances, when last the act performed, the trigger etc.

Intensity – in the early days just finding someone online was probably enough. But with experience thing became more selective, what made her attractive, how she fitted my mood at the time, the types of roleplay on offer etc. If several available choosing the one most likely to stimulate me. Sometimes abandoning a call and starting over with another when it ‘wasn’t going anywhere’, though even then the next call likely to be more selective and build on the first.

Habituation – changes over time to make more ‘interesting’. Acting out more detailed fantasies, making more extreme conversations/descriptions. Deliberately ‘going without’, or not completing to orgasm, to build the eventual satisfaction. What started as an act that was simply fulfilled by almost anyone, and in quick time became a list of a few favourites, disappointment if none of them available when I felt the trigger, making do with ‘second best’.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:31 am 
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Lesson 19

Interesting, I didn't think of myself as a ritualistic person, but I find the day, especially the working weekday has a lot of structure to it. From getting up, through periods of work and meals, to going to bed there's a lot of routine. Lots of things (ususly) done the same way.

Quite how compulsive I'm not so sure, but certainly patterns that repeat.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:40 am 
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Values, Goals and Action Plans

I've been giving this a lot of thought. As mentioned previously the original list of values is worth another look, both at content and to ensure they are actual values. I'm now seeing this as a three level structure: values, goals and then plans. So my new healthy life is based on values. I have goals I want to achieve and hence action plans to reach them.

I'm looking at this as a series of statements:
I value...
I want to...
I will...

So to take one example:
I value honesty.
I want to be totally honest.
I will tell the absolute truth (per lesson 10).

I'm not sure this exactly fits with the lessons, but it works for me, which I understand to be the key point, and I think its close enough.
Watch this space for the full list.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:47 pm 
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Lesson 20

1) Past addiction

Key events/periods:

Away at school, Mother’s serious illness, Father’s death when I was 19. Father as main carer for Mother, brother moved away, passing caring duties to me.

University and flunking out after a year – lack of application, or effects of above?

Little preparation for working/career.

First job fine, career path fine in the event.

Marriage, children.

Change of career from local small firm to London. Then back to local. Once again to London. Change of direction from surveying to IT, first small firm, away from home, then larger, international.

Progress of addiction:

Top shelf magazines.
Occasional porn video.
‘Peep-hole’ parlours.
Strip clubs.
Massage parlours.
Contact magazines, needed ‘PO Box’ address.
Escorts, ads in magazines, phone boxes.
Affairs.

The arrival of the internet – opportunity.
Porn easy.
Contacting Escorts easier.
Cam girls, a new activity. Easy to do, the most addictive to me.

A chain of events?

Mother’s illness means I’m away at school from 11 – ‘to give me a more stable environment’. Running to Matron isn’t really the same as running to Mummy. In some ways good, learnt to be independent, but also traumatic, especially at 11.

As a young teen, being tall, able to buy top shelf soft-porn mags, able to reach them! Age checks minimal then. (Also drinking in pubs below age, going to films, but neither much of an issue). Boys only school, minimal interaction with girls until about 16. When home in holidays lived in countryside, so little interaction then either.

Quite a collection of mags, masturbation ‘found’ at young teens. Occasional hard porn seen as older teen.

Once left school a year at University, single sex colleges, but plenty of opportunity to mix. Not a lot of success. Early departure and sudden death of Father.

Until married at 25 I *think* things fairly normal/healthy. Certainly the soft porn continued. Probably an interest in the sex industry, at least strip clubs and the like. An enquiring mind rather than an addiction.

Later on the use of contact mags, escorts. Massage parlours etc. Possibly triggered by opportunity (away with work) and what now seen trifling difficulties with marriage. The link I see with earlier life is that I had the knowledge of these activities, I was hardly the innocent, and once give the opportunity, and some disposable income, it was a small step from reading about it in magazines to giving it a try. Still not an addiction, I think!

Then came my move to a career in IT, and the arrival of the internet. BIG change in opportunity… no need to reach to the top shelf, a lot available for free. Pretty hard core porn with minimal searching. The ability to ‘talk’ with people via email/chat rooms, learning experiences, widening knowledge (and building addiction). If its available, cheap, satisfying… what’s not to love! ‘It’s only a little bit of…’ – so no real thought for values.

On it goes, easy to find/contact escorts. Anonymous and discreet. Still not that major an activity, easy to give up (at least in thought).

Then cam girls. My achilleas heel. Very available, discreet, seemed cheap at a pound or so a minute. Satisfying. Some roleplay, control, variety. But it grew in magnitude, the minutes and pounds adding up. Luckily I realised the danger before it got totally out of hand.

Looking back, with the knowledge from these lessons, I can see the steps along the wrong path. Small steps, but from one to the next and leading to addictive behaviour.

2) Future transitions
At my stage in life, nearing retirement, there don’t appear to be many major transitions ahead. Appear being the operative word!

There is the transition from fully working, via some form of wind-down, to retirement. Having seen others ‘drop off the perch’ with a sudden change I’m determined to make a gradual, planned transition. I don’t see addiction playing a part. Indeed given the lack of opportunity that closer living with my partner will bring, rather the opposite.

Suppose my partner became seriously ill or disabled? Again I see that as reducing opportunity, and time for acting out.

Suppose she died whilst I was still active? There an obvious increase in opportunity, I doubt I’d want to be celibate. But there’s a healthy approach to such, I’ll still have children/grandchildren to be mindful of. I like to think, with the knowledge I’m gaining here, I’ll know how to avoid addiction, without forgoing all fun.

Conclusions:

Looking back through this I see my addiction in the past. That doesn’t mean I’m free of it, there can still be opportunity, and I have to remain vigilant. Rather surprisingly I do see a train of events from teen life through to adulthood that led to, or at least provided the knowledge for, addiction to develop.

Unlike some of the previous lessons, I’m not completely sure I’ve answered the questions. I’d certainly welcome some feedback.


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