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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:04 am 
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Lesson Three:

Here are my list of values from my updated vision:

1. Dedication
2. Self-awareness
3. Being prayerful
4. Humility
5. Being creative
6. Being passionate
7. Joyful
8. Trusting
9. Guided by principle
10. Being open to learning
11. Awareness of the community and others around me
12. Caring for those close to me and those around me
13. Loving God and others
14. Discerning
15. Listening and being open to the Spirit
16. Knowledgeable about the world
17. Living a reflective life
18. Caring for self
19. Flexible
20. Responsive to the world around me
21. Developing the self for others and for God
22. Respectful of growth
23. Patient
24. Expressive
25. Living a balanced life
26. Taking each day as it comes
27. Self-respect
28. Giving of my best in whatever circumstance I find myself in – dedicated to excellence?
29. Living with integrity
30. Caring for the community
31. Developing self-esteem
32. Not completely self-reliant. Learning to trust God and others to help me
33. Updates values in response to the call of Jesus
34. Dedicated to service
35. Making space for worship of God everyday
36. Generosity
37. Allowing space for own style
38. Working to build up the community, to make it better
39. Having compassion for self and others
40. Being playful
41. Being authentic to myself and others
42. Being competent in my chosen profession
43. Taking seriously Jesus as a role model
44. Allowing myself to be loved
45. Being a dedicated friend
46. Being attentive to my physical health
47. Expressing kindness to myself
48. Living a mature life
49. Having realistic goals for growth
50. Being self-disciplined

Here are my list of values from the dark side of my decision making. This was an interesting exercise and I don't think I did this exercise very well the first time around.

1. Responding to present desires without a thought of consequences – ie compulsive
2. Escape from intense emotions, painful feelings
3. Rewarding the self for hard work
4. Giving the mind a break
5. Responding to a healthy need – need to relax and to slow down
6. Dedicating to stimulation – always being stimulated
7. Self-medicating – a type of caring for the self, although not in the best way
8. Responding to needs for intimacy
9. Manipulating the self into the behaviour
10. Lack of self-awareness
11. Letting go and giving up
12. Lack of self-compassion
13. Lack of recognition of the effects of pace of life
14. A need for rebellion? To take a break from structures or rules of life that ask too much?
15. Dedication to excitement


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:24 am 
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Lesson Four:

Here is a list of prioritised values. I discovered that after going through my list of values, a large number of them overlapped. So I have only listed 30:

1. Loving God and others
2. Humility
3. Being prayerful
4. Discerning
5. Self-awareness and awareness of the community / those around me
6. Flexible
7. Being a dedicated friend
8. Having compassion for self and others
9. Trusting
10. Joyful
11. Passionate
12. Creative and expressive
13. Generosity
14. Allowing myself to be loved
15. Leaving space for worship
16. Integrity
17. Balanced life
18. Attentive to physical health
19. Doing every task with excellence
20. Being playful
21. Patient
22. Self-disciplined
23. Allowing myself to be loved
24. Dedication
25. Guided by principle
26. Being open to learning
27. Developing the self for others and for God
28. Respectful of growth
29. Taking each day as it comes
30. Developing self esteem

There is something in lesson four that really impacted me. This self-imposed ignorance of values, giving all of our decision making power to our emotions. That really struck me. It is not that we don't somehow know our values. It is just that we don't use them when it comes to decisions and especially decisions that are being influenced by strong emotions. Am I really like that? I know that with long term decision making, I use values as a benchmark. Decisions that need to be made concerning events in the future. I am fully aware of values then. But short term decision making. That is another story. When I have to make a decision whether or not to turn on a computer when I am stressed. Or to go online when I have strong emotions. This is where I can recognise all too well the self-imposed ignorance of values. What is it that makes a person who is compulsive give up their otherwise precious values? What makes us give our freedom away? What is it about a computer or the internet that short circuits our value system?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:11 am 
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Lesson 5

Here is the list of top 15 values that I would like to develop in the workshop:

1. God as central and Jesus as foundation
2. Humility
3. Being prayerful
4. Discerning
5. Awareness of gifts and talents and awareness of the community / those around me
6. Flexible
7. Being a dedicated friend
8. Taking care of myself so that I can be at my best
9. Trusting of God and of others
10. Joyful
11. Passionate
12. Creative and expressive
13. Generous
14. Allowing myself to be loved
15. Leaving space for worship


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:20 am 
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Lesson 6:

So, I have chosen three of my top 15 values and I have written proactive action plans for them. I found this a great exercise and helped me to open up these values for me in a practical way. How do I implement them on a daily basis? Really good exercise.

1. Taking care of myself so that I can be at my best

• I can do physical exercise at least once a week
• I can focus on getting a decent night’s sleep
• I can commit to regular journal entries, again at least once a week

2. Creative and expressive

• I can reserve at least one night in the week to focus on my hobbies
• When I practise my hobbies, I can give myself space to ‘not just do what I think I should’ but to be creative in that.
• I can try to be a little more creative in quiet moments of prayer
• During my journal entries, I can try to focus on being more creative and expressive

3. Leaving space to worship

• In my moments of prayer, I can leave space to praise
• I can try to expose myself more to beauty in the world to encourage a sense of gratitude. Maybe once a week, go outside
specifically to find beautiful spaces in which to be just to leave that space open to nurture praise.
• I can create beautiful spaces in my room, changing them whenever I feel creative, to encourage praise.

Also, I had some insights into a question I had in lesson 4. I was asking what it is about a computer that leads to a short circuit of our value system. There still may be some value in this question but lesson 5 and 6 has really got me wondering if the way I live my life is not seriously contributing to my compulsive behaviour. That this behaviour is somehow a symptom of the way I am living my life. This makes a lot of sense to me.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:04 am 
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Lesson 7:

Here are the next 4 proactive action plans that I came up with. More to follow:

4. Discerning

• Spend time every day discerning attitudes and reviewing the days activities so that I can make better decisions
• Take seriously the decisions I take in my day. Notice even the smallest decisions, like watching You Tube, has the capacity to lead
my life in a good direction or a bad direction.
• Pray for wisdom before decisions.

5. Awareness of gifts and talents / awareness of community

• Read more things about the community every week
• In the time I have assigned for discernment, I will focus on becoming more aware of gifts
• I will also ask the question how these may be used for service of God and others.

6. Being a dedicated friend

• When I chat to my friends, I will try to get to know what challenges they may be facing
• Pray for my friends on a weekly basis
• I will try to learn more about their context, past and present

7. Flexible

• I will learn how to be more flexible on a daily basis. If my day does not go according to plan, I will learn how to respond in a way
that deepens my values. I will learn how to look at these types of days as ways to deepen my flexibility.
• If alternatives to my daily plans comes up, I will treat this as a way to be creative, thus deepening that value.
• When I am engaged in trying to be more flexible and trying to come up with ways of living my day more creatively, I will try to draw
God into this process, thus deepening the prayerfulness of the day.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:31 pm 
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Lesson 10:

I finished the proactive action plans and want to post the rest of them now:

8. Trusting of God and of others
• When I am in trouble during my day – ie when I notice that I am being tempted to go online, I will try to trust in God sooner in the process. Perhaps when I first realise I am being tempted?
• I suppose the opposite of control is trust and an open heart. I will review with God once a week how my week has gone and will be open to him to change the things I need to change if it has not gone well.
• When I am being tempted, I will reach out to others.

9. Being prayerful
• I will make a space every day for God in prayer
• Perhaps during the boring moments of my day, I can lift up my thoughts to God?
• I will choose the passage for meditation the night before

10. Passionate
• I will become more aware of what I am passionate about. Perhaps I can start to work on a list of things that I really care about or am passionate about?
• I will spend more time during the week thinking or working on these things
• Perhaps I can learn how to express these things more in my hobbies?

11. Humility
• I will make space of healthy criticism in my life. I can begin with, during moments of discernment, being more critical of my decisions?
• When people criticise me, I will make space to recognise the truth in what they are saying
• When I do criticise myself, I will think of the virtue that I need to develop as a response to this criticism

12. Allowing myself to be loved
• When offered a compliment, I will try just to say thank you and mean it. I will try not to offer a compliment in return.
• During my time of reflection during the day, I will pay particular attention to when my friends have been good to me and to try to let that sink in
• I will take more risks in reaching out to others.

13. Joyful
• When I leave space for worship, I can pay particular attention to salvation
• When there is a celebration during the week, I will try to enter more fully into the celebration, not letting things detract from a joyful time.
• I will try to create more space during the week for laughter.

14. Generous
• When I do a service for others, I will try to do it wholeheartedly.
• If I have to do something, I will seek how to deepen the thing that I am doing or to do something extra, something I don’t have to do.
• Perhaps once a week I will do something in my house that I do not have to do that will really be of help to others.

15. God as central and Jesus as a foundation
• Apart from prayer, once a week (Saturday or Sunday), I will leave a space free and open just to be with God – somehow…
• I will talk more with Jesus during prayer and learn to stop and listen.
• If I need to make big decisions with my life, I will enter into a dialogue with God about them.

So, there is the list. As for lesson 10, I found this lesson really good and really challenging. I was struck how intelligence was described as a means to deceive and actually, how this is not too intelligent at all! I recognise the process of self-manipulation and I found the exercises very useful in identifying these areas. I think I skimmed over this lesson too quickly the first time around since I do not have a partner. But this actually does not mean that I do not hide from others what I do. I do not really have any porn stash lying around anywhere but I do surf the net for porn images. And afterwards, I am very careful to wipe my browsing history afterwards. I suppose this is a form of deception. I do not speak about this habit with some people who are close to me and who could help me. I choose silence. As far as sexual compulsion goes, there is one person in my life that I fantasise about. This person is a friend but does not know about these fantasies. I cannot think about anything else, other than what I find online, which is for me a compulsive sexual or romantic object.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2018 3:11 am 
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Lesson 12:

Since this is the second time around that I am doing these exercises (at least up to lesson 18 where I hit a stubbling block), this lesson was extremely good. It made me really look at the descriptions of the different groups and I can see a lot of the patterns that I need to seriously pay attention to in my recovery.

Some of the patterns across the groups that I can identify in my own process. I still measure my recovery by abstinence rather than stability of life and personal satisefaction. I think this is a factor that is ingrained in me. I have read so many books on recovery and so many books on addiction that by now, I have gotten into the habit of analysing whether a particular process is working or not before moving on to find something else that may work. At one level, this is natural. In problem solving, we analyse the problem and seek a solution. It is counter-intuitive to stay with a solution that is not working. On the other hand, I know what the recovery nation program is saying here. The lack of committment to a process is a big part of the addictive cycle and also we are trying to build up a healthy life-style. If I am going to be successful at this, I need to stop thinking in terms of abstinence. This will be a process!

I still fear relapse triggers. This is controlling past behaviour rather than establishing new behaviour. I found this incredibly useful. Again, because the books that I have read on the topic of addiction focus on triggers, this is what I have come to focus on in my recovery. But I can see that for actual change to take place, I need to focus on building a life I want to live and that new life will draw me out of addiction, not avoiding triggers. That is what really struck me with group 3. Their initial enthusiasm, which was maybe emotions based, was transformed into confidence by the new life that they are living. I really liked that.

That leads me onto a hard look at my motivations at this stage. In the initial lessons, a brief overview of the recovery process was given and this initial motivation (emotions based) was looked at as being helpful but only for the first month or so. After that, the emotions wane and this is when a real danger of relapse exists. I think, doing the exercises for a second time, I know from experience that emotions fade and that we need a better foundation for our motivation. There is still in me that initial enthusiasm which may be emotions based, but this lesson really has challenged me to start focussing on the building of a new life and letting confidence be found rather in the new foundation that I am building.

I was struck by the part of the descriptions that said that some groups get frustrated because they don't seem to get anything tangible from the work that they put into the lessons. This says a lot about the need for instant gratification. Unfortunately I can identify with this. These lessons focus on some pretty difficult material and some extremely intimate and soul-searching stuff before even talking about urge control and addiction management. I see in me a reluctance to do the difficult material before knowing where this fits into the grand scheme of things or to see how the system works. On the one hand, one part of me says this is natural. Before a human being will do some difficult and soul searching stuff, they want to know why they are doing it. Otherwise, what you are asking for is a huge leap of faith. On the other hand, I can see why the program is asking this. And this is making an impression on me. Instant gratification may be a huge part of the addictive cycle for me. And if that is the case, it will be an obstacle to my fully investing in a program that seeks to end addictive cycles.

I also just need to note here that one of the reasons why group 3 is successful is that they made a transition from emotions based motivation to having motivation based rather on the confidence being built up by the programme. This is obviously a tangible outcome from the workshop that I suppose I am looking for. Can I hope for this as part of my motivation? That over the months I will get more confident and that I will see the benefits to the work that I am doing? I suspect that the answer is yes. But that this confidence perhaps takes a long time to develop. Perhaps like planting a seed. If I expect it to grow overnight, I am still stuck in instant gratification mode. If I have hope, if I continue to faithfully water this plant while not seeing immediate results, then ultimately the reward will be a confidence that will appear in due time.

I can identify with the groups that think that they have intense emotions, perhaps more intense that others, and that this is a factor that lures me into the addictive cycle. I also tend to think I have a powerlessness about this. But, I have been struck the second time that I have done these exercises. I remember questioning about value systems and what is it about computers that short circuit our value systems. This question assumes that computers have power over me and they have power to short circuit my value system. But I am beginning to suspect, in terms of this programme, that this powerlessness is a symptom of how I am living. That how I am living is contributing towards this sense of powerlessness. That my emotions, while intense, may be intensified by the way that I live. So, my emotions are not themselves just naturally intense, but I put logs on the fire, so to speak, by the way I choose to live.

I suppose that is all my reflections on this lesson. You may be able to see that I am struggling with some of the challenges given to me by this programme. Perhaps the overall theme of these reflections could be instant gratification and the need for immediate results. I want to change this in my life. I want to live differently. I know that it will take a while to change but I like to think that I have the patience and the personal resources to make the changes that need to be made in the way that I am living. That is at least my hope!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:18 am 
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Lesson 13:

Ok, identifying the patterns I recognise in the descriptions of a healthy recovery. I really appreciated this exercise after the last exercise, which identified some unhealthy patterns that still are with me.

As I mentioned in my last post, I can identity with a lot of the unhealthy patterns in recovery, some of which are identified in the early recovery section. I still fear trigger situations and often regard them as a test as to how far I am progressing. I was struck by the middle and late recovery sections, which see trigger situations as an opportunity or they no longer avoid them. Wow, I hope I get to that stage! Not there yet, but I can see a movement, however small, in my mindset. I understand that it is the new life that I am building that will provide the impetus to heal, but also is a better indicator of progress than the avoidance of trigger situations. I have already started to implement my proactive action plans in my week and I am feeling more optimistic about my life, which I suppose is great. There is always that little voice in the back of my heard which wants to ask myself 'how long will this confidence of a new life last?'. But I suppose that is exactly the type of question which assumes that life is meant to be lived in episodes, rather than a progression. Perhaps I am starting to move ahead a little from this type of thinking.

I was struck with the emphasis in the middle recovery section. This group is not focussed on ending past behaviours, but creating new ones. Again, I am still fearful of trigger situations and I still have a tendency to rate my recovery by whether I am successful in avoiding past patterns. But slowly I am focussing on trying to live each day according to the values I have identified. I hope over the long term I will slowly start focussing on how successful my implementation of my values was on a week by week basis. I have already planned some stuff this week for myself that is exciting, especially regarding my hobbies and time to relax. And I am looking forward to putting those in practice.

Regarding the Middle recovery section, I was also struck by the purity of their motivation. They live into recovery because they really want to live a better life for themselves and not for others. I have read through my mission statement a number of times now and I am quite excited about it. Again, maybe after a couple of weeks I will start to enjoy the new life I am creating, and then I will want to continue to get the benefits from it, rather than pursuing another way of living. Maybe one day I will look back at this and think 'Wow, I was living in a way that was really hurtful to myself.' I don't feel I am there yet, but perhaps the transition is well started. I hope!

Looking at the above reflections and thinking about my prioritised values, is there a difference? Are they in sync? To be sure, my unhealthy patterns conflict with my values on numerous levels. My need to be in control, especially of my recovery, conflicts with the trust, of God and others, that is so important to me. My desire to lead a joyful life, which takes into account of my gifts and talents and how good, really, my life is, is in stark contrast to a desolation I have trying to get out of a cycle of falling and getting up with regards porn addiction. Perhaps finally, the value of taking care of myself so that I can live in the best way possible conflicts also with this cycle. Perhaps I should just trust in these values to carry me out of the cycle, rather than simply avoiding trigger situations and hoping that my life can be better after that? A life without failing in triggers is still not a life that emphasises the values that I have identified. Perhaps I need to realise that improving my life is so much more than just not going online. Perhaps I really am struggling with moral tunnel vision? If I can just give up porn, that does not mean a lot if I don't change the way I live. Something to think about..


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:21 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 380
Hi Arete,
Quote:
I suppose that is all my reflections on this lesson. You may be able to see that I am struggling with some of the challenges given to me by this programme. Perhaps the overall theme of these reflections could be instant gratification and the need for immediate results. I want to change this in my life. I want to live differently. I know that it will take a while to change but I like to think that I have the patience and the personal resources to make the changes that need to be made in the way that I am living. That is at least my hope!

Your comments in your post are honest and appreciated and I would say that many members can relate to them. In particular there is a theme in your post about whether you can find out whether the effort you put into the workshop will be worth it (you didn't say that word for word and forgive me but it is the general sense I got from what you wrote). There are 2 obvious answers to this point:

1. There is clear evidence from those members who have recovered using the workshop that the system works
2. Even if you are still unconvinced what is your alternative? You have looked at a variety of recovery methods and none of them have worked for you but you are back here which suggests that you sense that this is the most likely to work for you

The choice is obviously yours but whatever you decide (and whichever option you go for) I would strongly suggest that you need to be fully committed otherwise the only guarantee there will be is failure. I have no doubt if you choose RN and then push on you will start to see the logic of how the whole workshop fits together and how this will help you change how you live your life in a more healthy fashion.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:16 pm 
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Hi L2R

Thanks so much for your feedback and your post. I really appreciate it. The second time around with the lessons, I am really trying to understand what they are asking of me and trying to implement them. I suspect that I went through them a little too quickly the first time and I am learning a lot. But what I realise now is what you are saying - the only way to grow through these lessons is to be absolutely dedicated to them. I suppose I have said to myself that if I don't agree with a lesson or find it difficult, I will say so in my sharings and I will try to find out what the lessons are aiming at.

And yes, I have read tons of material on addiction and nothing has really worked. What I like about these lessons so far is their honesty and practicality. They are really challenging and don't pull any punches. It does not make for easy reading, but there is lots of richness there!


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:42 pm 
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Lesson 14:

So, I initially found it difficult to distinguish between proactive action plans and the daily monitoring system. But I think I understand it a bit better now. Proactive action plans are more like goals to work at and daily monitoring is to see how successfully I am deepening certain key values. If I am not getting this right, please tell me!

Here is my daily monitoring list that I put together:

1. Did I find a space today to lift up my heart to God in worship, not doing anything but adoring?

2. Was I able to be creative in some activity or approach to work that allowed me to express something of my own style, to put my own mark on it?

3. Was I conscious of the needs of those around me and generously responsive to them?

4. In some of the decisions (big or small) that I made today, was I open to what God had to say about them, gently making room for listening to him?

5. In speaking with my friends, did I deepen my care for them by getting to know more about what they are thinking / feeling / stressing about?

6. Did I do something to deepen my self-care today, by being aware of what I was feeling and thinking and doing something positive to strengthen myself?

7. In trying to deepen and enrich my relationship with God, did I share what is happening in my life with him and how I feel about it?

8. In deepening a sense of awareness of my gifts and my personal value, did I take notice of and enjoy it when friends were good to me?

9. As a way to look at myself with more humility and to notice areas of growth, did I receive any criticisms today and did I make space to compassionately recognise any truth behind them?

10. When looking at my day as a whole, was I able to enter into the joy of my life in some meaningful way?


I hope this works as a daily monitoring list. I'll start using it and see how it goes.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:17 am 
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Lesson 15:

First of all, in the interests of accountability I need to say that I screwed up on the weekend. I would not call what happened a relapse, but certainly a slip up. I went online and looked at pornography. I feel terrible about it, but I am in the process of trying to understand why it happened, what the factors were that lead to it. But lesson 15 gives me a chance to note what I have learned so far and what sticks with me.

Last week was a hectic week for me in terms of work and some really stressful responsibilities that I had. Pretty much the entire week was taken up by work and the stress levels were quite high. But there were some remarkable changes in the way that I lived this, due to this programme. At the beginning of the week, I looked at my proactive value plan and formed my week around its priorities. I was really quite successful in putting the values into practise. One of the values in my plan is reflection, and one morning during the week, I journalised how I was feeling and I made changes to my schedule for the week, trying to stabalise a busy week. I also tried to be more prayerful, another value I have. And in prayer I was more honest about how I was feeling and made some good decisions as to how to calm myself down on Friday after a busy week. It was just when Saturday came and I used alcohol with friends that the wheels came off my week. As a result, I think I have to have an honest look at how I use alcohol and whether that is a good thing in recovery.

I suppose, looking at this and what I have learned so far in the workshop, I have identified key values in my life and have begun to put them into action in my life. One of the most important things I have learned so far, I think, is to rate my success in recovery not by how successful I am at quitting but at how healthy my lifestyle is that I have put into place. I have begun to enjoy putting these values into place and I have begun to pay attention to areas of my life that have been neglected I think. I think I am enjoying living life in a more reflective way and a more deliverate way. My hope is that this new life that I am building will pull me out of the vicious cycles that I have developed to manage my life. The negative pathways have been solidly set but I realise that I can put in place another framework to deal with my life. So, rather than putting all my energies into trying to stop the bad patterns, I should put my energies into creating new ones. And the new ones will gradually take over as the methods of preference for handling intense emotions and intense weeks.

Another thing that sticks with me is the description in the programme about compulsive rituals. I know, since I have done these sessions before, that the programme will explore compulsive rituals in some depth. And I know that my compulsive rituals have been set and after exploring them a bit, I have begun to know them. So, for instance on the weekend, I noticed that my old rituals were calling to me. I did recognise them. But I did nothing to stop them. I see this as progress in spite of not interrupting them. My rituals are always the same and I am fully conscious of them now. Hopefully with more growth and more tools from this workshop, I can learn how to stop them before they wreak havock on my life!

That is all I have for lesson 15. But I continue to learn and to grow. Hopefully I can use my slip on the weekend to learn more about myself and grow in freedom. As one of the previous lessons emphasised, I am a student of my own life.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 4:26 am 
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Hi Arete

Quote:
I screwed up on the weekend. I would not call what happened a relapse, but certainly a slip up. Hopefully I can use my slip on the weekend to learn more about myself and grow in freedom. As one of the previous lessons emphasised, I am a student of my own life.


Slips can and do happen, that is not to say that they are acceptable but you can and should learn from your mistakes
you as you say are a student of life but also a teacher
you can teach yourself
analyse why you slipped, what you gained and what you lost, dont make excuses but dont be too hard on yourself either
move on

_________________
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: Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:25 am 
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Hi Kenso,

Many thanks for your feedback and your support! Much appreciated! I know that my tendency is more on the ass-kicking side than on the compassion side, but I will try to respond to my slip-up with as much compassion (and hopefully insight!) as possible.

In fact, lesson 16 helps me to do some of that now.

Lesson 16:

The positive role that pornography addiction has played in my attempts to manage my life. If I look at this last weekend, for example, I was incredibly stressed after a long two week stint of long days and tough deadlines. I needed to relax and to chill out and I knew it. Being creative about how I chill out and being responsible in giving myself what I need in terms of self-care sounded like effort to me, but with pornography it is so simple (until I feel the after-effects). I get a quick-high. It is exciting. I lose myself in irresponsible action (as opposed to my other responsible activities like work and goal setting and achieving). I also find, perhaps at the end of a week of hard work, I feel quite lonely. Pornography gives me the illusion of experiencing intimacy. Of course, it is not my intimacy with another person but I seek to experience something of that intimacy that others are experiencing.

So, from what I have just said, I think some of the positive aspects of pornography for me would be me trying to give myself a break from responsibility. I live an unbalanced life in that I make almost my whole week about doing what should and needs to be done, being hyper-responsible. So, pornography is my little rebellion against this. It is also trying to do something not only that does not need to be done, but perhaps something that should not be done. Maybe this raises the excitement level for me, I am not sure. But maybe it is enough here just to note that I am trying to help myself out of tough situations or hectic weeks. Also, I am responding to needs that I have for intimacy. Instead of doing the slighty more difficult thing of reaching out to others, asking to go out for a meal or a chat, to make a human connection, I am seeking relationship by clicking. I get to feel, at least a little bit, the excitement of profound sexual intimacy but without the need to build up the relationship that usually goes with this. Even though sexual expression through a relationship would be much more fulfilling than clicking online, pornography is one way in which I am seeking to handle loneliness.

So, these two things seem to be positive aspects of pornography for me: Taking a break from responsibility and getting some of my relationship needs met. Perhaps one more thing would be immediate gratification. There is something about living life in the fast lane that excites me. So, when my day is fulfilling in terms of getting stuff done, there is a part of me that wants to prolong the high that comes from this. This is me serving my need for immediate gratification. I suppose my transition to a healthy life must take into account this aspect of my life and help me to move towards finding my gratification in the areas of my life that I have identified are the most important to me. Again, this sounds like work to me but I suspect that, as previous lessons have touched on, once I have tasted how sweet life can be when it is lived out of my deep values, I will learn that I can be satisefied in other ways - healthier ways. We could of course enter into a debate about whether the two types of satisefaction can ever compare. Can walking in a forest in the beauty of the world ever compare in intensity to an orgasm after a prolonged period online? But maybe that is what mature decision making is all about? Making sacrifices so that I can deepen in my life what I find to be most important to me and letting these things fall away that actually, at some level, hold no lasting interest for me?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:55 am 
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Lesson 17:

So, I am almost up to the stage where I left off the last time, lesson 18. But I remember lesson 17 very well and I have been dreading it a little! It is such a good exercise but it is so difficult to do. Having an intimate look at ones own rituals is not easy, but I know that it will enable me to see the structure of my rituals and what they are doing for me.

So, my compulsive rituals involve looking at pornography online. I have been doing this for so many years now, changing my emotional states to cope with life. But what are the elements involved in my rituals? Well, the most obvious with pornography are the sensory stimulations, in particular visual stimulations and sound. I know that I use this combination of stimulants to good effect. Of course, I started out with just visual in high school but as my ritual developed, I progressed onto videos which use a combination of visual and sound stimuli. Now, if I do not have sound, the experience of pornography is less intense for me and less satisefying, if I have to be honest. So, I know I use this combination. Of course, the goal of my pornography is orgasm, and with orgasm there is the feeling of accomplishment. To get to orgasm I use masturbation. But I have noticed a progression of my ritual over time. I have started to use other elements of the sexual compulsion wheel to enhance my experience. So, I use suspense to heighten my experience. Of course, I have always seen pornography as a bad thing, so I am always resisting going online. But I manipulate myself into situations where my resistance slowly breaks down. So, instead of logging directly onto pornographic websites, I would search for photos that are sensual but not pornographic. This starts my ritual and I know I am using suspense here to heighten my experience. I also start to use touch in erogenous zones to arouse myself, slowly pusing myself towards a pornographic site. Once I see a naked body, I then plunge into my favourite pornographic sites. But I try to enhance my experience and prolong it, always using suspense to do this. This heightens my sense of accomplishment I think when I finally reach orgasm. But of course, I have now started to use alcohol to enhance my experience too. This further serves to break down my resistance that I usually have to going online. And I manipulate myself into a situation where I am going online and doing my ritual.

Of course, I have noticed that I am becoming used to my levels of arounsal and I am needing more and more stimulation to achieve my desired change of emotional states. I think I principally do this through prolonging my ritual. This means of course that I am losing more and more sleep because of this. Not very wise and not very healthy!!!

This workshop is helping me to identify the different elements of my ritual, even though it is extremely difficult to analyse myself in this way, and writing it all down really helps me to acknowledge what is going on in my rituals.


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