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 Post subject: Daxter7 Recovery Thread
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:43 am 
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Posts: 38
Actively committing myself to change

In my life I have found it difficult to commit to anything with certainty, even important things like my family, friends, relationship, work, study; the only things I have committed to are the compulsive behaviours which allowed me to escape and coast through life. I have decided that this is no way to live my life. I want to change and become a person who is deserving of the love of my partner and who lives up to the values I find most important. I am committed to changing myself and working towards a new way of life. Unless I change I will be living a false life. I don't want that. I want to be real.

Not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage my commitment to change

I can sometimes feel self-doubt trying to chip away at my resolve to change. There is some sadness and despair that things will never be different and I do feel a lot of guilt and shame at my behaviour and thoughts. I am still committed to changing myself and will learn to cope with doubt and shame. I am determined to change.

Allowing myself time to change

I know that this will be a difficult process and that it will take a long time to live the life I want. I have a tendency to expect things to be different straight away, but I know that I must be patient and take time to properly understand myself and the steps I'm taking. It will not happen straight away.

Reasons for permanent change

I want to be honest with myself.
I want to be honest with my partner.
I want to treat people with respect.
I want to be real.
I want to feel comforted and engaged in an open, loving relationship with my partner.
I want to understand my partner better.
I want to be more self-sufficient and rely less on other people.
I want to be happy with myself.
I want to raise a family with my partner and have my children be proud of me.
I want to be an active part of my family's lives.
I want to be an active part of my friends' lives.
I want to be confident and respected in my career.
I want to enjoy my hobbies in a balanced way that complements the rest of my life.
I want to have a healthier view of sex and attraction.
I want to be sure of myself.

Looking at a photo of my younger self

I looked at a couple of photos from my childhood - one of me and my sister and one of me in my grandparents' garden. In both I'm about 3 years old. At first I was intensely sad and cried at the sight of my innocence. I was happy and loved and full of potential, and now here I am. Functioning as a human but not as a healthy adult. Over the years I have led myself astray by not looking after myself. Now I must lead myself into a new, healthy life.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:49 am 
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Lesson 2. My vision

To understand what it is to truly share my life with my partner, to be honest with her, to be intimate with her. To know her better and love her more deeply. To care for her and comfort her. For her to feel safe with me and loved by me. To protect her. To be selfless. To be able to look back on our lives and look at each other and know that we lived a good life together and that we made each other happy.

To raise a family with my partner. To know that I am a person she and my future children can be proud of. To know myself so that I can be a good parent and set a good example to my children. To grow as a responsible adult so that I can raise my children in the best way I can.

To be confident and knowledgeable in my profession. To be someone that my colleagues respect, but who also shows respect in return, no matter the person.

To know myself better and understand my emotions. To take care of myself and know that I am a person of worth. To be physically and mentally healthy.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:00 am 
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Lesson 3. My values

Being intimate with my partner.
Being vulnerable with my partner and friends/family.
Being honest with everyone.
Being honest with myself.
Being loyal.
Trusting my partner and other important people in my life.
Being trustworthy.
Being reliable, at work and in my personal life.
Being responsible for my emotions.
Being responsible for my actions.
Being a true partner to my partner.
Knowing that my partner is my partner in life.
Understanding my partner's needs and working to fulfil them.
Being supportive of her goals.
Making her feel safe and loved.
Making her feel attractive.
Being sexually intimate with my partner.
Suggesting activities for us as a couple.
Having fun with my partner and making each other laugh.
Understanding and respecting the boundaries in our relationship.
Being generous.
Being selfless.
Being compassionate.
Being empathetic.
Managing my emotions in healthy ways.
Keeping physically fit.
Feeling attractive.
Taking care of how I look.
Being understanding and non-judgemental of people.
Treating others with respect.
Being respected for the person I am, not the idea of who I am.
Being knowledgeable and competent in my profession.
Reading for work for 3 hours every week.
Spending no more than an hour a day on average on an activity that is not related to personal growth, relationship growth, or work.
Developing intellectually.
Being knowledgeable about the world.
Staying in touch with my friends to keep friendships healthy.
Being an active part of my family's lives.
Talking to parents once a week.
Talking to siblings once a week.
Being organised with my time.
Having a plan for what I want to accomplish in a given week.
Being financially responsible.
Saving to buy a house.
Saving for a wedding.
Saving for our future children.
Raising a family.
Having a healthy relationship in which to raise children.
Setting a good example to our future children.
Making a home for our family.
Bring relied on to solve problems.
Teaching our children about the world around them.
Teaching them to respect others.
Being free to be independent.
Giving the same freedom of independence to my partner.
Appreciating the environment.
Appreciating art, music and media.
Appreciating history and its importance.
Having a creative outlet in my blog.
Being humble, and not self-deprecating as a means of getting sympathy.
Having a good sense of humour.
Being kind to others.

Dark side values

Being selfish.
Not caring about other people.
Being lazy.
Relying on other people to drag me through my life.
Lying to myself.
Lying to other people close to me.
Never showing the real me.
Disrespecting people, especially my partner.
Ignoring important relationships.
Neglecting my relationship with my partner.
Causing my partner pain and confusion.
Not understanding my partner.
Not understanding myself.
Neglecting myself.
Keeping myself from growing as a person.
Keeping our relationship from growing.
Preventing intimacy with my partner.
Stagnating in my profession.
Preventing new friendships from forming.
Neglecting friendships I already have.
Neglecting family.
Wasting my life.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:11 am 
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Posts: 38
Lesson 4. Prioritised values

Sharing my life with my partner.
Being a true partner to my partner.
Being intimate with my partner.
Raising a family.
Being honest with everyone.
Being honest with myself.
Being loyal.
Understanding and respecting the boundaries in our relationship.
Being vulnerable with my partner and friends/family.
Being responsible for my emotions.
Managing my emotions in healthy ways.
Being responsible for my actions.
Being confident in knowing the kind of person I am.
Being confident in my abilities.
Having a healthy relationship in which to raise children.
Understanding my partner's needs and working to fulfil them.
Treating others with respect.
Trusting my partner and other important people in my life.
Being trustworthy.
Being supportive of her goals.
Making her feel safe and loved.
Making her feel attractive.
Being sexually intimate with my partner.
Suggesting activities for us as a couple.
Having fun with my partner and making each other laugh.
Being generous.
Being selfless.
Being compassionate.
Being empathetic.
Being understanding and non-judgemental of people.
Being kind to others.
Staying in touch with my friends to keep friendships healthy.
Being an active part of my family's lives.
Talking to parents once a week.
Talking to siblings once a week.
Being respected for the person I am, not the idea of who I am.
Being knowledgeable and competent in my profession.
Reading for work for 3 hours every week.
Spending no more than an hour a day on average on an activity that is not related to personal growth, relationship growth, or work.
Being reliable, at work and in my personal life.
Developing intellectually.
Being organised with my time.
Having a plan for what I want to accomplish in a given week.
Being financially responsible.
Saving to buy a house.
Saving for a wedding.
Saving for our future children.
Setting a good example to our future children.
Making a home for our family.
Being relied on to solve problems.
Teaching our children about the world around them.
Teaching them to respect others.
Having a good sense of humour.
Keeping physically fit.
Feeling attractive.
Being free to be independent.
Giving the same freedom of independence to my partner.
Appreciating the environment.
Appreciating art, music and media.
Appreciating history and its importance.
Being humble, and not self-deprecating as a means of getting sympathy.
Being knowledgeable about the world.
Having a creative outlet in my blog.
Taking care of how I look.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:41 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:22 am
Posts: 293
Hey Daxter,
Quote:
the only things I have committed to are the compulsive behaviours

The fact that you see your past "commitment" to compulsive behaviors tells me you understand that your behaviors are a choice! In this choice is power. You have a choice to recover; a choice to act out.
Quote:
which allowed me to escape and coast through life.

Can I tell you, many people act out when we don't want to feel what's going on in the inside?
Quote:
There is some sadness and despair that things will never be different and I do feel a lot of guilt and shame at my behaviour and thoughts.

And since we act out when we want to escape, be mindful that the feelings you mention do have the ability to derail our recovery, if we CHOOSE to let them.
The circumstances which bring you here may indeed be unique, but the path you will take to recover from them is not. What am I saying? You’re not alone in your feelings and recovery is possible.
Your firm commitment to your life beyond addiction will make all the difference—don’t forget that it is your choice. So if health is what you want, then commit to yourself with conviction and complete the exercises with absolute honesty.
Although we recommend completing around 3 lessons a week, we encourage you to read or post daily. That being said, recovery is not a race and it’s important to go a pace with which your body and mind can safely handle—many believe recovery to be a journey, not a destination.
If you find yourself challenged or have questions with one of the lessons, utilize the help forum as help is readily available.
Coaches and Mentors are likely to drop by occasionally. If they don’t, no worries, it’s generally a good sign that you’re on the right path.
So, Daxter, do you accept this invitation to your new life? The choice is yours.
May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you live with ease,

Anon


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:44 am 
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Posts: 38
Lesson 5. Final values list

I have been waiting a couple of weeks to post my recovery thread while my account was activated, which is why I'm posting the first five lessons here in bulk. I don't feel I need to add much more to my posts than what's already in them, but I wanted to mention that I've added "living with integrity" to my final values list here, after reading other people's threads. I realised that this was an important value that I have neglected through my life and need to develop. For a long time I've been happy to live my life with people thinking that I'm doing fine, that I'm more than I am; I've been comfortable with people assuming that I'm a healthy, well-adjusted person based on what they can see. I've never truly taken time to assess whether what people see matches up with what I feel about myself - part of that is never taking time to think about how I feel about myself. I realise that the person I am does not match up to the person I want to be, and I'm not happy to believe my own delusions anymore.

With that in mind, here is my list of my top fifteen values:

Sharing my life with my partner/Being a true partner to my girlfriend.
Raising a family.
Accepting myself for all that I am.
Sharing my true self with the people around me.
Being honest with everyone.
Being honest with myself.
Being loyal.
Becoming a husband.
Becoming a father.
Managing my emotions in healthy ways.
Living with integrity.
Being responsible.
Treating others with respect.
Being kind to others.
Being understanding and non-judgemental of people.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:23 pm 
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Posts: 38
Lesson 6: Building proactive action plans I

I found this to be a difficult exercise at times because a lot of my values involve abstract concepts, and it can be difficult to measure progress with something like, "be more honest with myself". I'm hoping to develop skills in these areas as I progress in my recovery. I don't know if other people have found this but I draw comfort and hope from seeing my values list, but I know that, for me, sometimes just saying I'll do something is enough for me to feel a sense of achievement, and I often don't follow through on my promises. I worry that I'm drawing too much hope and satisfaction from just having a list of values, rather than actively trying to live by these values. I guess this is something I will develop as I continue with my recovery.

Here is an action plan for one of my values. I will post these action plans individually.

Accepting myself for all that I am

Look at myself without fear.
Be honest with myself about the person I am - my feelings, my thoughts, my needs, my desires, where I am in my life, the progress I'm making with my addiction.
Identify and strip away any false ideas about who I am.
Understand that people are inherently flawed and that this is normal and okay.
Identify more clearly any overly idealistic views I have about myself. Then examine them and replace them with realistic views.
Stop comparing myself to other people.
Accept who I am right now - keep a goal of self-improvement, but don't confuse the person I want to be with who I am in this moment.
Understand that the important people in my life accept me and love me for the person I am.
Make a list of my strengths and weaknesses. Understand and accept this as a summary of who I am.
Resolve to build on the strengths and strengthen the weaknesses.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:45 am 
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Lesson 6 & 7: Continuing to build proactive action plans

Being selfless

Put my partner first in my thinking and decision making.
Be aware of what she needs and try to provide that - e.g. doesn't need empty reassurance when feeling down; needs genuine compliments about how she looks.
Think about how my decisions will affect her and come up with other options if faced with a decision that may hurt her.
Don't assume she will react to things the same way I would.
Give my time and energy to her genuinely, not out of obligation and without expectation of reward.
Do not look for validation from acts of kindness - the value of the act is in knowing I have done something for someone else, especially my partner.
Draw satisfaction from the act itself of doing something kind for my partner - not from the praise I might receive.
Get rid of the idea that I know better than anyone else and accept other people's opinions as valid.
Consider other people's points of view and be respectful of them.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:10 am 
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UPDATE: Prioritised values list revision

I've looked back over my top fifteen values and thought again about how they fit with my vision. I realise that I have neglected to include some values which I think are important to me and I want to have an updated list to better reflect who I want to be. I've taken out some values which are really just different ways of saying the same thing - sharing my true self, being honest with everyone, being honest with myself - and grouped them together, to give me room to include other aspects of my life which I find important. I understand that my values list may shift and change over time, but I don't think it's too early here to revise my original list if it gives me a better path to health.

The first two action plans I've posted fit into this list, so I'm not going to change them.

1. Sharing my life with my partner/Being a true partner to my girlfriend.
2. Raising a family.
3. Accepting myself for all that I am.
4. Sharing my true self with the people around me.
5. Being loyal.
6. Being selfless.
7. Becoming a father.
8. Managing my emotions in healthy ways.
9. Living with integrity.
10. Being responsible.
11. Treating others with respect.
12. Being kind/caring.
13. Being an active part of my family's lives.
14. Being an active part of my friends' lives.
15. Being confident and respected in my career.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:13 am 
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Lesson 6 & 7: Continuing to build proactive action plans

Raising a family

Keep an organised diary so that I can stay on top of things when they get hectic.
Discuss honestly with my partner when we both want children - when is the best time in our lives.
Plan with her for raising children - savings, house space, school areas.
Be realistic about family life. It will not be happy memories every day - it will be hard work and it will be exhausting.
Understand that family life involves sacrifice from me as a parent - giving up things that I enjoy to help my children and my partner.
Be fair to my partner and do my share of childcare and housework to take the burden off her.
Agree with my partner on a clear vision for our children's development and try to stick to it.
Agree with my partner on the values we want to instil in our kids.
Don't lose sight of how rewarding family life can be.
Don't be ashamed of deriving fulfilment from raising children.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:10 am 
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Lesson 10: Absolute honesty in recovery

I am a sexual addict. This takes the form of sexual/romantic fantasies outside the boundaries of my relationship, compulsively looking at women's feet in public (I have a foot fetish), and porn addiction.

IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items stashed for sexually compulsive behaviour.

I used to use an old mobile phone that is kept in our bedroom closet to look at porn. I have not used this phone for at least three months and I have abstained from porn for the same amount of time. I don't have any other items stashed anywhere for my compulsions.

V. Make a list of all the people that you use as compulsive sexual and/or romantic object.

Good-looking strangers in the street - staring at feet if they are in view, staring at attractive women.
Work colleagues - looking at feet, occasional sexual or romantic fantasies.
Friends of my partner - I have fantasised about several of my partner's friends while masturbating. I have fantasised about them while having sex with my partner, sometimes to help myself climax. I have had romantic thoughts about some of them and imagined scenarios where we are together in a relationship. I have also stared at their feet. I choose not to fantasise about these friends anymore, but memories of those times that I did fantasise are still present, and sometimes there is a compulsion to return to that behaviour.
My own friends - similar to above: also masturbated while fantasising about them and stared at their feet.

I have listed the objects of my compulsions above, but I have not actively fantasised about anybody outside my relationship for at least six months - meaning, I have not taken time when my partner is away to deliberately fantasise about another woman for my own pleasure. Sexual and romantic thoughts, images, memories will compulsively enter my head, and I choose not to act on the triggers and try to think about something else or stay in the moment with my partner. My success at overcoming the compulsions is improving, but I sometimes find it difficult.

I have not watched any porn on my own for over three months (my partner and I watched some videos together once in an effort to become closer, before I had fully realised that I was an addict).


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:50 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 391
Hi Daxter,

You are making good progress and I offer a few comments on some of your recent posts.

Quote:
Lesson 6: Building proactive action plans I

I found this to be a difficult exercise at times because a lot of my values involve abstract concepts, and it can be difficult to measure progress with something like, "be more honest with myself". I'm hoping to develop skills in these areas as I progress in my recovery. I don't know if other people have found this but I draw comfort and hope from seeing my values list, but I know that, for me, sometimes just saying I'll do something is enough for me to feel a sense of achievement, and I often don't follow through on my promises. I worry that I'm drawing too much hope and satisfaction from just having a list of values, rather than actively trying to live by these values. I guess this is something I will develop as I continue with my recovery.

You should view your values as a moral code for how you wish to live your live. Form me, the acid test is looking down them and thinking that if stand by each of these values whenever I make a decision will it lead me to a life that I am proud of which should give me happiness. If the answer to that is Yes then it shows that they are well constructive and representative of who you want to be and then you can gain a real trust this these are really important to you. So, when faced with emotions and difficult decisions (e.g. when facing an urge) that you can have trust in yourself in what the right decision is - if you choose to go against your values then you know that you will be filled with guilt and disappointment in yourself afterwards. This is an important first step that will lead you to recovery.

Also, whilst some of your values may be on the idealistic side, what is important is that you understand what they mean to you. Your proactive action plans help with this as they break down in greater detail how you hope to achieve this, you will probably find the plans give you something better to grab on to in terms of how you values will be achieved.

Quote:
UPDATE: Prioritised values list revision

I've looked back over my top fifteen values and thought again about how they fit with my vision. I realise that I have neglected to include some values which I think are important to me and I want to have an updated list to better reflect who I want to be.

You should see this as a positive step as it shows that you are thinking more closely about your values and how they apply to you. Please also note that your values are fluid and not static so you may find in the months and years ahead that they continue to need tweaking to align with your life as you grow and develop.

Quote:
7. Becoming a father.

You need to choose you values yourself but as an observation in my opinion this is perhaps more of a target than a value? Perhaps you mean to something more like "Embrace the opportunity to pursue fatherhood and the important role that would present to me". You need to choose your own words but hopefully you understand what I mean. Your call though.

Quote:
IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items stashed for sexually compulsive behaviour.

I used to use an old mobile phone that is kept in our bedroom closet to look at porn. I have not used this phone for at least three months and I have abstained from porn for the same amount of time. I don't have any other items stashed anywhere for my compulsions.

I have always taken it that the point of this exercise is to come clean with the stash and then consider disposing of it in order to help avoid temptation down the road. Again, your call though.

Well done and keep up the good work.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:17 am 
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Hi L2R, thanks very much for reading and offering advice and support, it's much appreciated.

I'm still working on incorporating my values into my life in practical ways; I understand that my values should evolve as my life changes. I agree that some may be idealistic - I think that mapping them out in my action plans will help me to see how I can use the values in real ways.

With regards to the phone, I haven't considered getting rid of it because I have been successfully managing temptation to watch porn on it for a few months; it is no longer the source of temptation it once was. If I'm tempted to watch porn nowadays the fact that the phone is there is irrelevant - I understand that watching porn alone on any device would violate my values and I have been using this decision-making process to abstain from it for a while. On a practical level my partner and I keep our old phones around in case one of our current ones breaks, so it would be useful to hang on to. Apologies if it sounds like I'm being defensive - I welcome your feedback and accept your point of view.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:07 am 
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More action plans are posted below. I'm revising and posting these as I move through other lessons in the workshop, as I am keen to learn more about the process of living a healthy life. I know that I must remain fully committed to my values and the lessons, so I will continue to take these exercises seriously - if I notice that I haven't spent enough time on an exercise I will revisit it and go through it again. I think it would be useful to look back on my previous posts each time I log on to review my progress, keep perspective on where I am in my life and my recovery, so I will make an effort to do that each new day that I post and include a summary of what I've reflected on.

Being loyal

Show unconditional commitment to my partner - not because of what's in it for me, but because we love each other and have made a commitment to each other.
Respect the boundaries in our relationship.
Include my partner as an active part of my decision making.
Support my partner and nurture her development (career, hobbies, etc.)
Stay mindful of when my partner needs support - when she is upset, when she feels lost, when she is struggling - and provide this willingly.
Sacrifice when I have to for my partner - sometimes a relationship needs compromise and I will have to do things that are difficult or take time away from what I would rather be doing.
Make realistic promises to my partner, friends and family and KEEP THEM.
Offer help to important people in my life and follow through on this.


Raising a family

Keep an organised diary so that I can stay on top of things when they get hectic.
Discuss honestly with my partner when we both want children - when is the best time in our lives.
Plan with her for raising children - savings, house space, school areas.
Be realistic about family life. It will not be happy memories every day - it will be hard work and it will be exhausting.
Understand that family life involves sacrifice from me as a parent - giving up things that I enjoy to help my children and my partner.
Be fair to my partner and do my share of childcare and housework to take the burden off her.
Agree with my partner on a clear vision for our children's development and try to stick to it.
Agree with my partner on the values we want to instil in our kids.
Don't lose sight of how rewarding family life can be - I have always felt that having a family is important and will be extremely satisfying, and I would like to share that satisfaction with my partner.
Don't be ashamed of deriving fulfilment and joy from raising children with my partner.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:45 am 
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Lesson 12: Unhealthy patterns in recovery

This was a really enlightening lesson. As a person with low self esteem I find it difficult to be sure of myself and have a tendency to be quite self-centred, unable to see others' points of view; and so it was really helpful to read about patterns in recovery that are shared among many people, and to relate my own experiences to those of others. I have been reading other people's recovery threads as well and need to read more, as it helps to gain a sense of perspective and helps to remove the shame of addiction, knowing that other people are going through similar experiences to mine.

I have historically been a very disorganised person, coasting through life and not taking time to take stock of who I am, where I am, what the people close to me are going through. This lesson came at a good time because it has helped me to recognise a need to evaluate where I am in my recovery. I have been completing the exercises but need to revisit them regularly to understand what they mean to me and how to apply what I've learned. I also need to evaluate honestly where I am with my compulsive behaviours - partly to see that I am improving (hopefully) and gain some comfort from that, but also so that I know what I still have to overcome.

As another person wrote in their recovery thread, the point about abstinence is really poignant - "They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction." I find that I've been doing this and will consider it a success when I feel a compulsion to fantasise but overcome it; but overall this is not the goal of recovery. The goal of recovery is to live a healthy life in line with my values. I must do better to keep this in mind - when I overcome a compulsion, I should be happy not because I managed to avoid an unhealthy thought, but because I chose to act in line with my values. I have to see my success in terms of making healthy choices and decisions and becoming more emotionally stable, rather than managing compulsions.

The patterns in recovery that I identify with - and need to stay mindful of - are listed below:

- Minimising behaviour - in the past.

- Experiencing selfish thoughts - why is this happening to me, if only I'd done this/that, etc.

- Feeling powerless over urges - sometimes.

- Fear of relapse triggers.
This is something I can improve by remembering my core values and staying committed to living by them. I have nothing to fear if I behave in accordance with my values.

- Focus on controlling past behaviour instead of learning new behaviour.
This is something I must stay mindful of. It is important that I stop my old behaviours, but more vital to my recovery is learning to manage my life in healthy ways. I am excited at the thought of doing this, though I don't know yet exactly how to go about it.

- Consistently measuring the success of my recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.

- Tending to hyper-analyse my actions, thoughts and feelings... making the possibility of living a "normal" life all but impossible.
I find this behaviour difficult to leave behind, particularly when I'm around my partner. I find it difficult to relax and be myself because I can feel the spectre of my compulsions lurking and I just want desperately not to have the compulsions and to have my mind at ease. I become anxious and sometimes try to project a sense of normalcy, which in turn makes me more anxious because I'm not being myself. I need to become more comfortable with being vulnerable and letting my partner know if I'm not fully relaxed.


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