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 Post subject: Alongtheriver's Recovery
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 10:42 pm 
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Posts: 110
Recovery Nation - Laying the Foundation

Recovery Nation - Laying the Foundation

Recovery Workshop: Lesson One

Lesson 1 Exercises:

Quote:
A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change

When reading the content from the lesson, I realize that I’m mostly committed in a negative way to this change. Most of my thoughts surrounding it are based on fear of what might happen next if this continues as well as hating myself and where this has gotten me in my life. I’m thinking about how it would feel to desire to change and it feels different, but difficult to identify with so far.

Quote:
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change

I’m not sure how to do this. I feel so much guilt and shame that it is like a mountain that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get out from under.

Quote:
3) allowing yourself time to change.

I’m OK with this. I know that change like this takes time. I’m also quite slow to process things and to think them through, so I have learned how to give myself time for things to change in my life.

Quote:
Consider where you feel you are in relation to each of these recovery keys? Briefly share your thoughts in your Recovery Thread.

B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently change your life. Don't stop at three or four obvious ones, really examine your life and what is important to you. Phrase these in the positive. For example: " I don't want to keep deceiving my wife" would serve you better if written like "I want to be honest and transparent with my wife". Positive statements have much more power in our mindset than negative ones. List these in your recovery thread.

  • I want to be honest and transparent with my wife.
  • I want to provide a loving and supportive relationship for my wife.
  • I want to contribute to my marriage.
  • I want my wife to feel loved and cared for.
  • I want my wife to feel beautiful in my eyes.
  • I want to be open to friends and family about my life.
  • I want to be more productive.
  • I want to be improve my mental health.
  • I want to see other people as unique and valuable for who they are.
  • I want to mind my own business.
  • I want to be honest.
  • I want to be confident.
  • I want to be successful.
  • I want to be kind.
  • I want to be happy.
  • I want my actions to align with what I believe to be the right thing to do.
Quote:
C. One of the most powerful insights you can gain in establishing a foundation for permanent recovery is to come to see your addiction within the scope of your life span. In other words, to not just see your addiction as it is now, but to look across the span of your life to see the role that addiction has played in your development. Much of this will be explored throughout the workshop, but to put yourself in the right frame of mind to develop such a perception, do the following:

Find a picture of yourself when you were a small child. An innocent child. For those with early childhood sexual abuse issues, do not mistake this abuse for a lack of innocence. You were absolutely innocent. It will be hard to derive the full value from this exercise without an actual picture so if it is just a matter of needing to find one...wait. Wait until you have the picture in your hand. If such a picture does not exist, try envisioning a moment in your life when you were 3, 4...perhaps 5 years old — but only do this as a last resort. The power of this exercise rests in your ability to look into the eyes of your own innocence — something that is very hard to do through memory alone.

Now, with the picture in hand, look into that child's eyes. Feel their innocence. Acknowledge that this child is you at a point in your life. Feel how vulnerable you were. How trusting. Recognize the lack of addiction in your life...and the desire for little more than love, compassion, teaching and support. Think of the trauma you faced throughout your life. Think of the times when you felt alone. Confused. If you feel like it, cry for this child. Allow yourself to feel love for this child. Do whatever you must to emotionally connect with this child because it is for this child that you are now reclaiming your life. It is this child who lost their way and you are the one now showing the courage to guide this child, who is you, back to health.

If you would like, share your experience with this last exercise in your thread.

Update 06/11/2018: Strange. I do this exercise and feel nothing. It is like I don’t recognize that child as me at all. I’m going to revisit this later today and see if that changes.


Last edited by alongtheriver on Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 6:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3635
Location: UK
hello along the river and welcome to RN
Quote:
Most of my thoughts surrounding it are based on fear of what might happen next


what happens next is down to you
you get to choose
change is inevitable , please decide positively otherwise your addiction will take over simply because you allow it to

you really do want to improve your life and to recover from your addiction then you are at a good place to make that wish reality
Commit , fully and completely
work through the lessons and understand them , if you miss something ask on the help forum , assistance is always on hand
coaches and mentors are likely to drop by occasionally but if not, don't worry as this is generally a good indicator that you are on the right path

the path is long and difficult but it is well proven and you are not alone
we usually suggest completing about 3 lessons a week but spending time every day posting and reading
get to know your addiction and see yourself with honesty and openness

remember to work at your own pace and its not a race indeed some consider recovery to be a journey rather than a destination


remember the only person that can make these changes is you, so the hard work needs to come from you
looking forwards to reading your posts and wishing you all the best

_________________
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 May 10, 2018 9:26 am 
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Posts: 110
Thank you. I appreciate your comments. I've been doing the abstinence thing for quite some time and just relapsed (porn for me) about a month ago for a week. I'm back on the wagon now, but my wife found this site and it look like just the thing I need, which is a deeper reason and approach for quitting. I was just being honest in reflecting how I was feeling when writing that first lesson. I realize that committing is necessary. I've been working slowly on the next lesson, but working through several drafts and contemplating it each day. I'm about to post that today and then move on to the lesson 3 on values. Again, thanks for your comments.


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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 9:35 am 
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Recovery Nation - Establishing a Healthy Vision for Your Life

Recovery Nation - Establishing a Healthy Vision for Your Life

Recovery Workshop: Lesson Two

Lesson 2 Exercises:

Quote:
A. Take at least twenty minutes to be alone. If you have a family, ask them to respect this time that you are taking. Make sure that you leave your cell phone off. That the dog is fed. That there will be no distractions. Take a walk by yourself. Sit alone on the beach. Find somewhere secluded and then, think. Think about who you are, the life that you have led, and the life that you want to lead from this point forward. Think about your legacy. Create a vision that you would feel comfortable committing yourself to pursuing. One that, as you someday look back upon your life, will allow you to feel proud of the person that you developed into. Of the life that you led.

B. OPTIONAL If you have someone in your life to talk with about this vision, consider talking with them. You are not looking for validation, correction, guidance...you are just moving one step closer to making this vision your reality. However, it is important that the person you choose to share this vision with not listen with a critical ear. You are in the infancy stage of learning how to perceive, develop and manage your life as a healthy adult — there is no need to reinforce your short-comings during this exercise.

C. Write out your vision. Use any format you would like. As a general rule, the more personal, the better. Post this vision in your Recovery Thread. There is no right or wrong to this vision...though it should be comprehensive enough for a stranger (such as a coach or mentor) to read it and have a pretty good idea as to what you value and the life that you want to live.

As we review these visions, what we will be looking for is the following:

1) Is it practical or is it idealistic? Practical is what we are shooting for. Idealistic visions feel good, sound good...but they serve very little purpose, other than to create unrealistic goals for which failure is already guaranteed.

2) Is this vision capable of sustaining a healthy life? Are there enough values identified that have the potential to generate fulfillment. To counter instability. To drive decision-making.

For an excellent example of the depth such a vision should have, click the following link: Example of a Personal Vision

Note the depth expressed in this vision. If you are looking to finish this exercise in a matter of minutes to 'check it off the to do list'...you will be missing one of the first tools, vital for rebuilding your foundation. Think of this as the first indication of the sincerity with which you will be approaching this workshop. From a coaching perspective, I know that I do. The more you invest in yourself, the more coaches will be willing to invest as well. It is human nature. If you need several days to complete this, take several days. Most people can write out a solid vision in about an hour. But judge your efforts more on the quality and authenticity of the effort you have put in, rather than the amount of time you took to create it.

RecoveryNation Vision

  • Relationship
    • I will contribute at least half the effort that goes into my marriage.
    • I will make it visible and apparent to my wife that I love her.
    • I will show my wife that I find her beautiful.
    • I will make a life with K that I feel proud of (keep up the house, cook good meals, actively engaged), and provide a solid foundation for our marriage.
    • I will be 100% honest and transparent with my wife.
  • Household
    • I will be present, helpful, and proactive when it comes to helping manage the household.
    • I will mentally work to consider myself a full participant in the ownership of our home, not just along for the ride.
    • I devote myself to our life together in our homestead.
  • Family
    • I will be actively engaged with my extended family.
    • I will be generous with my time and resources with my extended family.
  • Ideals
    • I will be free of addictions and live a healthy life.
    • I will employ knowledge, will power, courage, and silent meditation to engage fully with my life.
    • I will be honest and forthright in all my relations with those around me.
  • Hobbies
    • I will learn to fish.
    • I will hike regularly every year that it is possible.
    • I will increase my knowledge and skills needed to be a self-reliant home owner (woodworking, repairs, etc.)
    • I will read more frequently than watching TV or movies.
    • I will increase knowledge frequently.
  • Health
    • I will lose some weight and maintain a healthy weight for my self over the long term.
    • I will increase and maintain reasonable flexibility and mobility.
    • I will increase and maintain reasonable strength.


Last edited by alongtheriver on Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2018 9:47 am 
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Recovery Nation - The Role of Values

Recovery Nation - The Role of Values

Recovery Workshop: Lesson Three

Lesson 3 Exercises:

Quote:
A. Note: In the previous lesson, you were asked to write out your vision for the life that you want to live. If you have not yet completed this task, do so now, before beginning this exercise.

B. On your computer, extract the values from the vision you have created and list them. Your goal for this lesson is to create a single, comprehensive list that involves all of the primary ways that you derive stimulation from your life. Or, those areas that you want to derive stimulation from. Most lists will contain between 50-100 items. When you are done, post this list in your recovery thread.

If you feel you need some guidance as to what you are looking for, or for examples of how to list each item, see this example values list.

C. When you have extracted every possible value that you can think of from your vision, do the following:

1) Review this example values listfor any additional values that you may want to add to your own list. List them.

) Consider the 'dark side' of your decision-making. The compulsive behavior. The sexual behavior. Take some time to extract the values that went into those behaviors, and list them as well.

  • Values extracted from Vision:
    • Believing in myself - having some self confidence; not assuming that everyone else is better than me
    • Believing that I am a good person - feeling separate from my addiction rather than being a broken human
    • Being confident - seems to be the same as the first one
    • Being courageous - willing to jump in even when the job is difficult (i.e. recover lessons)
    • Being vulnerable - willing to say the hard thing even if it will cause me and loved ones hurt
    • Honesty - 100% honesty with my wife
    • Believing in a higher power (though part of myself) - part of me is divine in some way and exporing that
    • Showing love - demonstrating love to my wife so that she can see that I actually do love her
    • Loving - similar to above
    • Strengthening my role as a partner to my wife - creating the life I want to live with her instead of letting her to all the work and make all the decisions
    • Being honest and transparent with my wife - see above; seems like a repeat
    • Helpfulness - look to ways that I can be helpful and then overcome laziness and introversion to actually help
    • Generosity - look for ways to help
    • Devotion to self actualization - seeking intimate knowledge of my own divinity
    • Devotion to wife - manifest a life where I'm a devoted husband and she can see and feel it
    • Devotion to community (volunteer) - find where I value this work and do it for those reasons, not for any sense of obligation
    • Engagement with family (mother, father, sister, niece, and nephew) - have regular contact with them so that we feel more like a close knit family
    • Commitment to an addiction free life - actively engage in lessons and with my interactions with my wife so that I can live a healthy life
    • Engagement with life in a balance way - live life to its fullest rather than find ways to avoid living
    • Gentle caring for my introvert self - engaging in life in a real way that actually nurtures my introvert self rather than just tunes out and avoids interaction
    • Enlightened interdependance - we all have to be interdependent on one another in life; do this in right relation
    • Engagement with activities that bring me joy - increase the amount of these activities and reduce those that don't bring it
    • Be self-reliant - at least be able to take care of things on my own
    • Be intelligent - I'm not sure if this is a thing that can change; I think I either am or am not
    • Be engaged with learning - reading books; watching documentaries; internet research to figure out my life
    • Be healthy - define health for myself and do that
    • Be strong - strength training seems to be quite good for me; do more of this
    • Be flexible - I lose flexibility and mobility as time goes on; I need to increase this to live a long healthy life
    • Integrating spirituality into my day-to-day life - small amounts more frequently rather than heroic doses less often
    • Being dependable - If I say I'm going to do something, do it
    • Sense of humor - I have one; don't lose it
    • Sense of responsibility - know deep down what I'm responsible for and take it seriously
    • Being considerate of others - see everyone around me as people for whom I cannot know their situation, so assume the best and treat them as such
    • Being considerate of myself - don't be so hard on myself
    • Taking care of myself - imagine you are somewhat helpless and do some self-care
    • Taking care of my wife - don't just ask what she needs; sit and imagine what it is and then offer it
    • Living an adventurous life - do new things and go new places
    • Accepting the love of others - accept compliments and love of others with grace
    • Developing emotional maturity - work these lessons and develop the skill of dealing with emotions in a healthy way, not through addiction
    • Minimalism - live a simple and healthy life
    • Do the right thing - simply reflect during times of difficult decisions on what I think the right thing to do is and then act on that, not just be reactionary
    • Resourcefulness - be a problem solver
    • Appreciating natural beauty/nature - be exposed to nature more often for self-soothing in a good way
    • Financial stability - manage a budget and save for retirement
    • Sexual intimacy - being present in the moment during our sexual encounters
    • Building things - learning the skill of woodworking / carpentry / problem solving to build things around the homestead instead of just buying to solve problems
    • Personal growth, development - keep developing and growing; always have something going in this regard


Last edited by alongtheriver on Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 9:34 am 
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Lesson 4

Prioritized value list:

  • Believing in myself
  • Honesty
  • Strengthening my role as a partner to my wife
  • Commitment to an addiction free life
  • Devotion to self actualization
  • Developing emotional maturity
  • Do the right thing
  • Engagement with learning
  • Minimalism - live a simple and healthy life
  • Devotion to community (volunteer)
  • ——————————
  • Being honest and transparent with my wife
  • Believing that I am a good person
  • Engagement with life in a balance way
  • Showing love
  • Being confident
  • Being courageous
  • Being vulnerable
  • Believing in a higher power (part of myself)
  • Loving
  • Helpfulness
  • Generosity
  • Devotion to wife
  • Engagement with family (mother, father, sister, niece, and nephew)
  • Gentle caring for my introvert self
  • Enlightened interdependance
  • Engagement with activities that bring me joy
  • Be self-reliant
  • Personal growth, development
  • Resourcefulness
  • Be intelligent
  • Sexual intimacy
  • Appreciating natural beauty/nature
  • Be healthy
  • Be strong
  • Be flexible
  • Be engaged with learning
  • Integrating spirituality into my day-to-day life
  • Taking care of myself
  • Taking care of my wife
  • Living an adventurous life
  • Accepting the love of others
  • Being considerate of others
  • Being considerate of myself
  • Being dependable
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Financial stability
  • Sense of humor
  • Building things

2018-05-14 - Some work done on this, but more needed. First stab at it done anyway.

2018-05-14 - All done now. Didn’t make it too complicated. Focused on top 10 pretty hard and just generally on the rest.


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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2018 10:50 pm 
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Lesson 5

Here are my top 15 values after going through lesson 5 on Identifying Incongruent Values:

  • Believe in myself
  • Honesty
  • Strengthen my role as a partner to my wife
  • Commitment to an addiction free life
  • Devotion to self actualization
  • Develop emotional maturity
  • Do the right thing
  • Engage with learning
  • Minimalism - live a simple and healthy life
  • Strengthening my role householder and partner
  • Devotion to community (volunteer)
  • Strengthen engagement with family (mother, father, sister, niece, and nephew)
  • Engage and appreciate natural beauty/nature
  • Engage and improve health
  • Financial stability


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2018 9:43 am 
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Lesson 6
Building Proactive Action Plans I

OK, here are the ones I picked off as easier than the rest:

Engage and appreciate natural beauty/nature
  • Go fishing at least one time per week, in each week that I’m home all week.
  • Take a hike somewhere at least one time per month.
  • Sit outside in the morning with coffee or tea at least one time per week.
  • Accept that if these are not accomplished, it does not mean I’m a failure.
Engage and improve health
  • Exercise for at least 10 minutes 3x per week using kettlebells.
  • Stretch and work on mobility in the evening at least 3x per week.
  • Stay on keto diet and only allow breaks from this 1x per week.
  • Fast by skipping breakfast and lunch at least 1x per week, when not traveling.
Financial stability
  • Maintain budget process (see 4 rules at YNAB).
  • Review budget with wife at the beginning of each month.
  • Read a few blog posts from mrmoneymoustache.com each week.
  • Maintain bead game to keep alcohol consumption reasonable (no more than 6 drinks per week).


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 10:03 am 
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Lesson 7 Exercise:
Building Proactive Action Plans II

A. Take the next week (start today) to develop initial action plans for the remaining 'top priority' values. It is essential that you develop plans for at least the top ten, but if you can reach fifteen...wonderful. These plans will be used to form the basis of your health monitoring system (which you will begin at the end of next week). Post these plans in your Recovery Thread.
Do NOT allow yourself to become overwhelmed with this task. Each action plan should probably take you between five and fifteen minutes. Some of the most complex (like those pertaining to partnership) may take you up to thirty minutes. What you share in these plans will not be used all at once — so don't worry about what you 'can and can't do'. Focus instead on what you think needs to be done.
Over the next week of lessons, you will be switching your focus to other areas of recovery. These lessons will be important (especially if you are in a relationship), but not critical to your recovery. This is by design. If it takes you a week to complete all of your proactive action plans, so be it. The goal is to have them done by the time you get to the Health Monitoring I lesson. But, to work simultaneously on other lessons as you go...not to put your efforts on hold until they are done.

——————————

Believe in myself
  • Try to remember one compliment a day and write it down
  • Keep a compliment list and review it weekly
  • Meditation on things that I do well
  • Loving Kindness meditation
  • Do something once a month that is quite difficult

Honesty

  • Disclose any relapse within 24 hours — always
  • Daily review each day where I journal what went on for my recovery and any issues that came up during that day.
  • Daily check in, in person in bed with my wife telling her any and all things that happened that day and also how my recovery work is going.

Strengthen my role as a partner to my wife

  • Be nice as often as possible
  • Think about what my wife needs, even when not getting along
  • Notice her
  • Ignore the bad, praise the good
  • Once a week sit down and think about our relationship and what I can do to make it better the next week and then do it
  • Be a better household manager
  • ---- Track projects mentioned around the house and write them all down
  • ---- Use GTD to make progress on these projects on my own, not waiting for my wife to remind me about them
  • ---- Bring ideas to meal planning sessions
  • ---- Shoot for cooking meals half the time
  • ---- Do my chores list every week no matter what
  • Romance
  • ---- Schedule date night once a week at least
  • ---- Remember to tell her that you find her beautiful
  • ---- Brush her hair at night before bed as often as possible
  • ---- Remember that non-sexual, but sensual touch is a good thing

Commitment to an addiction free life


  • Prioritize these lessons above all else until complete (opt out of TV, movies, reading, etc.)
  • Meditate on what life would be like if this were wildly successful
  • Create affirmation on my commitment to this process and say if often throughout the day

Devotion to self actualization


  • Spend some time in meditation each day (even 5 min is far better than nothing)
  • Spend some time in ritual space each day (even 5 min is far better than nothing)
  • Spend some time reading non-fiction books related to this each day

Develop emotional maturity

  • For now, this falls under the heading of, ‘Commitment to an addiction free life’

Do the right thing


  • When faced with a dilemma, think deeply about what my intuition says is the ‘right thing’
  • Make an action plan based on the ‘right thing’ instead of just whatever occurs to me or is easiest

Engage with learning


  • Spend time every day learning something
  • ---- Reading
  • ---- Research into householding
  • ---- Religious research
  • ---- Relationship research
  • ---- Checking out books from the library and skimming through them

Minimalism - live a simple and healthy life


  • Make a yearly audit of our stuff and remove items that are no longer relevant
  • Maintain garden

Strengthening my role as householder and partner

  • Maintain list of projects around the homestead and keep making progress on them
  • Make some small progress each day to keep aware of what is going on

Devotion to community (volunteer)

  • Make some time more often in smaller amounts to do this work so that it does not pile up
  • Reflect occasionally on why I’m doing this work so that motivation is clear

Strengthen engagement with family (mother, father, sister, niece, and nephew)

  • Call each on a regular basis
  • Send updates on what is going on for us
  • Travel to visit on a regular basis
  • Invite them to visit here

Engage and appreciate natural beauty/nature

  • Go fishing at least 1x per week, in each week that I’m home all week
  • Take a hike at least 1x per month
  • Sit outside in the morning with coffee or tea at least 1x per week
  • Accept that if these are not accomplished, it does not mean I’m a failure

Engage and improve health

  • Exercise for at least 10 minutes 3x per week using kettlebells
  • Stretch and work on mobility in the evening at least 3x per week
  • Stay on keto diet and only allow breaks from this 1x per week
  • Fast by skipping breakfast and lunch at least 1x per week, when not traveling

Financial stability

  • Maintain budget process (see 4 rules at YNAB)
  • Review budget with wife at the beginning of each month
  • Read a few blog posts from mrmoneymoustache.com each week
  • Maintain bead game to keep alcohol consumption reasonable (no more than 6 drinks per week)


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 3:55 pm 
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Lesson 10 Exercises:

Ugh, this lesson makes me sick to my stomach. It is so hard to face. I'm scared and full of anxiety over it all. I'm going to post it anyway. The only way to get better is the way through. I suppose someday it'll get easier to look back on what a total fuckup I've been.

I. Consider those lies that are still being perpetuated in your life. Who you are deceiving. Why you are deceiving them. Consider the 'risks' of coming clean. No need to do anything about these thoughts...just have an awareness of them.

  • I’m sure I’ve lied by omission about my porn use in the past. I’ve minimized it. No others.

II. If you are involved in a partnership, choose now whether or not you intend to continue deceiving them in certain areas. If the answer is yes, acknowledge that you are willing to jeopardize the future of that relationship by maintaining the deception; AND, admit to yourself that you are intentionally sabotaging your own healthy foundation by allowing such a huge crack to remain.

  • I’m committed to full disclosure. I’m plowing forward with this stuff no matter what. I am committing to a healthy life.

III. If you are involved in professional coaching (or outside counseling), choose now whether or not you intend to continue deceiving those whom you are working with. If the answer is yes, acknowledge that you are not fully committed to ending your addiction. Acknowledge that you are choosing to 'go through the motions', rather than actively pursue real change.

  • I’m not involved in any outside coaching.

IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items stashed for sexually compulsive behavior. List these items and their locations in your Recovery Thread. If you are uncomfortable sharing this in the forum, email or PM the list to a Coach.

  • I’m not storing any porn anywhere at this point. I have in the past, but not in years. All issues in the past, 5 years have been short relapses (sometimes again and again and again), and so in my mind they were temporary and I did not commit myself to the ‘collecting’ that I’ve done in the past.

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

  • __ at previous work - fantasy
  • __ at previous work - fantasy
  • Several women at work even farther in the past, though it has been long enough that I do not recall their names - fantasy
  • Exhibitionist neighbor (I no longer live next door) - voyeuring, fantasy
  • Individuals at conferences, places I volunteer at, etc. -- almost always triggered by tights/nylons: fantasy

VI. Make a list of all the places where you go to act out your sexually/romantically compulsive behavior. Post this list in your thread.

  • Internet: for porn
  • While out at restaurants (wait staff and other guests): fantasy
  • While traveling (flight attendants, other passengers, etc.): fantasy
  • Practically anyone wearing tights/nylons. This occurs in all kinds of inconvenient places.: fantasy


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 9:44 am 
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Recovery Nation - Initial Sexual Health Assessment
SEXUAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT
(Part 2 of the Comprehensive Assessment for Coaching)

This assessment is to gather baseline information from those participating in Professional Coaching. However, if you are not participating in professional coaching, but would like your assessment evaluated, we will do so--as time and energy permit--in the order that it was received. You must supply a password to retrieve the results.

General Information:
Begin Assessment (Part 1 of 12)

1. What is your current sexual preference? Heterosexual Homosexual Bi-sexual Auto-sexual (masturbation) Asexual (abstinence) Other : Heterosexual

2. At what age did you become aware of your current sexual preference? 0 (always preferred)

3. Are you satisfied with your current sexual preference? Yes

4. How many sexual/romantic partners have you had:
a. In the past 30 days? 1
b. In the past year? 1
c. In your lifetime? 4

5. Of the sexual partners you have had, how often have you maintained 'safe-sex' practices? Always

**6. Are you engaging in sexual behavior that is having (could have) a significantly impact on your life? ** Yes (it has seriously affected my marriage at a minimum

7. Document your experiences with the following:

Behavior
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never):
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
A) Masturbation
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 10
Past 90 Days (Times): 2
Past 30 Days (Hours): 0.5
B) Pornography
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 10
Past 90 Days (Times): 2
Past 30 Days (Hours): 0.5
C) Promiscuity
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
D) Transvestism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 9
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
E) Fetishism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 15
Past 90 Days (Times): 0
Past 30 Days (Hours): 0
F) Erotic Fantasy
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 10
Past 90 Days (Times): 10
Past 30 Days (Hours): .08
G) Prostitution
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
H) Exhibitionism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
I) Voyeurism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 15
Past 90 Days (Times): 0
Past 30 Days (Hours): 0
J) Frotteurism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
K)Ecouterism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
L)Erotographomania
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
M) Sexual Thievery
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
N) Sadism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
O) Masochism
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
P) Beastiality
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
Q) Stalking
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
R) Molestation
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
S) Incest
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
T) Rape
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):
U) Other
Age of 1st Experience (1-96; 0 if never): 0
Past 90 Days (Times):
Past 30 Days (Hours):

**8. For the behaviors listed in the chart above, enter the letter (A-T) for each behavior you have exhibited for longer than one year: ** A B E F I

**9. Have you ever been treated for sexually compulsive behavior? ** Yes
If Yes:
a) How many times? 2
b) How long ago was the last treatment? 2 years
c) How long did that treatment last? 1 year
d) What was the treatment setting? Professional Counseling (3-Outpatient (self-monitored))
e) Did you successfully complete the program? 3-Unsure/Not Applicable

**10. Has a friend, employer, family member, etc. ever suggested counseling to help you deal with a matter directly or indirectly related to your sexual/romantic behavior? ** Yes

**11. Using the scale below, rate the negative impact that your sexual and/or romantic behaviors have had on your: **(1-No effect 2-Slight 3-Moderate 4-Considerable 5-Extreme)

Family - 3
Friends - 3
Co-workers - 2
Career - 1
Finances - 1
Romantic Relationships - 5
Self-esteem - 5
Stress level - 4
Time management - 5
Hobbies - 5

Follow-up Questions **(to be answered if behavior listed above)

A) Masturbation (Never - Seldom - Often)
On average, how many times per day do you masturbate? Often (in the past, currently seldom)
How often do you masturbate in public places? Never
How often do you masturbate while driving (or other dangerous environments)? Never
How often do you masturbate at work? Never
Do you believe that masturbating is interfering with your ability to manage intimate relationships with others? Yes
How many times have you attempted Autoerotic Asphyxiation? Never
How often do you masturbate to the point of exhaustion? Never
How often do you feel guilty after masturbating? Often

B) Pornography
How many times per week do you view pornographic material? 20+ (in the past, currently seldom i.e. only during relapse)
Which types of pornography do you solicit? Soft
Which types of pornography do you solicit? Adult
Which medium do you prefer? Internet


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 10:08 pm 
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Posts: 110
Lesson 12 Exercise:

Recognizing Unhealthy Recovery Patterns

I. Identify those patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to an unhealthy recovery. Post these observations into your Recovery Thread and/or Recovery Manager.

——————————

Group 4 (of types of people in recovery -- this is the one I identify with):

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They will have completed the majority of exercises with sincerity and passion, but they tend to move on to the next without ever thinking much about what they have already learned.

Somewhat true. I have reflected on these lessons in my life, but in general I do think this applies to me.

Quote:
They put forth the required amount of effort in their participation, but only rarely go that "extra mile". The one where they take the information and use it for their own benefit, in their own way. Establishing a private workbook, writing out (or just thinking about) additional personal ways that the information may pertain to them.

Yep, I could do better with this.

Quote:
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.

Definitely true.

Quote:
Though they are sincere about wanting to recover, they keep the workshop separate from their "addictive identities"...in that, they intellectually try to understand what they are learning...and physically try to apply it to their lives, but only in appearance...not in substance. Several exercises where this can be seen would be in Day Seven, where they were instructed to take out their values list in between each urge/decision to act; Later in the workshop, when they are asked to keep a log of their time; and in the Advanced Topics area, where they are asked to complete an evaluation form for each time they acted out.

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Those who find themselves in this final group, most often ignored the physical act of pulling out the list and reading it; most often thought about the actions they would have documented in the Time Management log...or spent one or two documentation sessions trying to remember days and days of information — rendering the exercise useless; most often ignored the instruction to complete the evaluation form for one of several reasons, or they completed it for less than 25% of the times that they have actually acted out.

I have not gotten there yet, but this is pretty typical behavior for me in workshops, so I hear this and will hopefully not go there this time.

Quote:
People in this group spend the majority of the workshop looking for proof that what they are doing is working, or that it will work — which prevents them from fully investing themselves in their recovery.

Nailed it.

Those Who Will Continue to Struggle With Relapse

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

I don't feel this way at all. I hate being discovered, but when caught I do not feel forced into recovery at all. I really want to get better and live a healthy life.

Quote:
Their motivation for recovery comes from an attempt to appease others (e.g. to save a relationship; to deflect attention from the behaviors)

Yes, so much yes. I'm trying to slowly move this over to a desire to live a healthy life regardless of my wife, but at present my motiviation is still largely to save that relationship. How it hurts her and how much I don't want to lose her is a big part of why I'm in recovery.

Quote:
They minimize their behavior (e.g. "It's not how it seems"; "It's not that big of a deal.")

I have minimized, but I don't feel like this describes me.

Quote:
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.

In the past, yeah, most definitely. Now those situations scare me and I try to avoid them.

Quote:
They believe that they are uniquely defective and/or damaged as human beings

Oh yes. So much of this. I often think of myself as a broken human, a monster that hurts my wife.

Quote:
They believe that they have suffered so many consequences from their compulsive behavior, that it will be impossible for them to reach their lifetime goals

This hasn't occured to me and I don't resonate with it.

Quote:
They believe that what they are experiencing is their fate

Nope, just that I'm a messed up person.

Quote:
They are inflexible in re-evaluating their lifetime goals (e.g. "Since I have failed so far at being a professional actor, athlete, writer, etc., I can't be successful at anything." "Since I cannot be around to raise my children, I will always remain unfulfilled as a parent.")

Yeah. I do have goals and aspirations and I often find myself thinking that I'm just not good enough to get there.

Quote:
They suspect that they will never be able to overcome their urges, and so their goals are to establish the appearance of change, rather than to pursue actual change.

No, I do feel like I can get this under control. I sure as hell hope so!

Quote:
They find comfort in being able to use "powerlessness" as an excuse for continuing to engage in their behavior.

I can remember in my youth and early adulthood feeling this way a lot. I don't resonate with this statement any longer though.

Quote:
Relapse triggers are seen as opportunities to act out.

Mixed bag. Sometimes they hit me that way for a moment, true. Most of the time I am starting to feel aversion to them.

Quote:
They often attempt to "prove" their sincerity to others through voicing dreams, sharing words and making promises, rather than through their actions.

Yeah, totally true.

Quote:
They find comfort in knowing that they can play the "relapse card" should they ever be caught acting out

I find no comfort in that at all.

Quote:
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?")

The last of those statements, for sure. My reaction has definitely been selfish.

Quote:
They tend to be experienced by significant others across the entire emotional scale. Their emotional experiences are usually presented in their extreme: from shame and embarrassment, to aloofness, to placing their partner on the highest pedestal — the relationships tends to continue shifting between extremes. Which stage is currently being experienced by others will be directly related to the person's ability to manipulate others, how many times they will have been caught in contradicting behavior, and how willing/able the significant other is to leave the relationship.

Yeah, definitely. Mostly on the shame end of the cycle, but I can see a lot of this in myself.

Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle with Relapse

Quote:
They often jump from addiction to addiction, and are particularly susceptible to hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery. They put out fires by refocusing on other areas of their life. When these areas involve compulsive behavior — their use of addiction to manage their lives continues.

Hmm... I’m not clear on what this means. Maybe it doesn’t apply to me.

Quote:
They believe that they are suffering from a disease that is beyond their control, but not beyond all hope.

Somewhat true. I feel most of the time like I can do this thing, but then fail on occasion. I guess that about matches.

Quote:
They believe that they are defective in the sense that their emotions, urges, impulses, etc. are experienced with much more intensity than "normal people". And this puts them at a disadvantage for living a "normal life".

I feel weak compared to most, not that the urges are felt more intensely.

Quote:
They tend to confuse addiction recovery with general mental health issues — creating a hypersensitivity to all of the emotions that they experience. Depression, anxiety, anger — they are all tightly related to "recovery" and an imbalance in one often leads to an imbalance in the other.

True. I do sometimes feel like I’m an addict because of some part of me being broken (general mental health issues).

Quote:
They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges.

It depends on the day. After a relapse, I feel pretty worthless and powerless about everything, but right now I feel powerless in the face of my urges sometimes. When I need to distract myself to get over that period of time it feels somewhat powerless.

Quote:
They often attempt to convince others of their recovery by offering their "new identity" as proof. Again, most often seen with hyper-religiosity and hyper-recovery situations.

Nope. I don’t identify with this at all.

Quote:
Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction.

Yep. I’m coming from an abstinence previous approach, so I’m looking for a way forward other than that, but for now I am trigger avoiding.

Quote:
They tend to focus on controlling past behavior, rather than learning new behavior.

Yep, that’s true too.

Quote:
They tend to see life in episodes — with beginnings and endings — rather than as a process.

Yeah. Especially when I’m counting the days since my last relapse, it feels like a line in the sand with previous life before and, ‘x many days sober’ in this life.

Quote:
They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.

Definitely.

Quote:
They often experience extreme emotions in relation to acting out — extreme guilt, extreme shame, depression, anger, hatred. Or, they experience very mild emotions — when it has become a pattern that they have resolved to accept as a part of their lives.

Oh yes. Extreme guilt, shame, depression, and self hate.

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

Yeah. It feels like every stray sexual thought is something to analyze and obsess over.

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

Yeah. At least not yet. I hope for a future when that is not the case though.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 10:18 pm 
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Recovery Nation - Healthy Recovery Patterns

Recovery Workshop: Lesson Thirteen

Healthy Recovery Patterns

In the previous lesson, you explored common unhealthy patterns in recovery. Today you will be looking at healthy patterns that you should consider adopting.

Those Who Tend to Make the Transition to a Healthy Lifestyle

Because this is the primary goal of the Recovery Workshop — to guide those individuals seeking a healthy transition in their lives — the roles and patterns associated with such a transition will be reviewed extensively.

Those who make the transition from recovery to health tend to exhibit the following traits:

Early Recovery: "Understanding/Recognizing the Behavior"

Quote:
In early recovery, individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.

I have this, intermittently. Some days I feel quite confident and others I doubt what I’m capable of.

Quote:
In early recovery, extremely negative emotions are the norm: especially as they relate to depression, anxiety, hopelessness and suicide.

Lots of negative emotions: anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.

Quote:
In early recovery, they often "test the waters" of recovery by attempting recovery for a few days, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few weeks, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few months, then acting out. A weaning behavior similar to a toddler giving up a security blanket.

I’m not really resonating with this one except for the time of my relapse. That felt very much like testing the waters and then failing the test.

Quote:
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". This is a behavior that is often witnessed in adolescent wound care — where the adolescent almost compulsively tears open their bandages to "check the wounds". Of course, just like with addiction, such behavior is often problematic — as it opens the individual up to additional infection. But it is a behavior that provides comfort to the adolescent — no matter what stage of healing the wound may be in.

Just the one time above. Otherwise, not so much.

Quote:
In early recovery, they tend to experience relief in having their behaviors understood, and immediately seek understanding in all areas of their life. Unfortunately, this tends to overwhelm them, distract them, etc., but it is fairly common...and a good sign that their desire to change is sincere.

I’m not sure I understand the sentiment here. At the very least I don’t relate.

Quote:
In early recovery, these individuals may be all across the board in terms of treatment, and may display many similar traits as to those in the "Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle With Relapse" category above.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Quote:
In early recovery, they perceive "powerlessness" as "helplessness" and "desperation".

Yep, this is also right on target for myself.

Quote:
In early recovery, significant others tend to experience these individuals as very needy, pathetic, "lost souls".

She hasn’t said it yet, but I’m guessing my wife sees me this way.

Middle Recovery : "Actual Recovery"

Quote:
They have accepted that they have struggled with certain immoral behaviors 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.

I’m starting to see glimpses of this, but it is early days yet.

Quote:
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.

Not yet.

Quote:
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.

I’m making decisions based on total avoidance of any triggers.

Quote:
They are not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.

No, still in abstinence mode.

Quote:
They perceive "powerlessness" as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing their urges.

Not yet.

Quote:
Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity.

Still seeing them as a threat.

Quote:
They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.

I still see failure as a reminder of being a broken person.

Quote:
They recognize that the feelings that they are experiencing are the same feelings that others deal with every day in many different situations. That they are not "defective", but "deficient".

Not yet.

Quote:
They identify their future with a healthy person that once used addiction to manage their life; not as an addict that is managing their life with healthy behavior.

I’m seeing glimpses of this.

Quote:
They see their lives as a continuous process of growth and development, rather than an episodic book of starts and stops. (e.g. "When I was addicted" "After I recovered").

Still seeing it as starts and stops.

Quote:
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.

I’ve done this. I needed all this out of my life to even function as best as I am now.

Quote:
They tend to have an emotional relapse in terms of the consequences that they have effected on others — especially those closest to them. This frequently triggers true remorse, temporary depression, temporary helplessness — but is soon resolved with a commitment to making it up to people in other, more healthy ways.

I’m starting to focus on ways to make it up to my wife. That is a new kind of thought and I like it.

Quote:
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).

I’m pretty sure my wife is not seeing me at this level yet. Still early days.

Late Recovery : "From Recovery to Health"

Quote:
They have complete confidence in their ability to manage their life and are moving forward with their dreams in a rational, planned manner.

Nope

Quote:
They no longer avoid "trigger situations" as they have developed the skills necessary to make confident, healthy choices in just about any situation they may face.

Nope

Quote:
They tend to see their past as something rather unbelievable. They are sometimes able to achieve distant emotional connections with those behaviors, but can no longer visualize a situation where the pleasure they once achieved would be worth the risk of all they would lose inside themselves. Except at this stage, those thoughts are actually felt, rather than intellectualized. They will not be able to comprehend a situation where such a risk would ever be taken.

Nope

Quote:
They have developed the ability to produce the same emotional stimulation from value-based actions as they once derived solely from impulse-based actions.

Nope

Quote:
They will have eliminated all previous connections to their recovery, except that which will be included in their ongoing plan for a continuing evaluation and assessment of their life. They will no longer associate themselves with addiction, but with health.

Nope

Quote:
Significant others tend to experience people who have made this transition with greater respect and admiration then they ever had previously for the person. Additionally, trust and closeness in the relationship will take on a very real quality. One that has never actually been present previously — only assumed. The partner's believing in the "recovery" will no longer be a matter of crossing their fingers and hoping, but of having no doubt.

Nope

Quote:
If you find that many of your thoughts and behaviors are consistent with the thoughts and behaviors of others who have made a successful recovery, then you should proceed with relative confidence that your foundation is solid. If, on the other hand, you see more in common with the unhealthy patterns that are often observed in recovery, don't panic. Just keep these patterns in the back of your mind. If you find yourself succeeding in spite of them, more power to you. If you find yourself struggling, however...it may be an area that you will want to revisit later.

Lesson 13 Exercises:

Quote:
I. Identify those patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to a healthy recovery. Post these observations into your Recovery Thread and/or Recovery Manager.

Quote:
II. Consider the values that surround both your healthy and unhealthy patterns. Are they consistent with your current prioritized values? If yes, wonderful. If not, how might this awareness alter how you are currently perceiving/managing your recovery? Share your thoughts in the community forum.

I’d say there is a mixed bag of healthy patterns aligning well with my prioritized values. I think the ones that are most lacking are the number one priority: ‘believe in myself’. A bunch of the middle and late recovery have to do with that and they are the ones that are absent for me at this point. It is also one of the values on my list that I feel like is a thing that my full recovery hinges on. I’m really still stuck on this idea that I’m a broken person, that I have some fatal flaw in my personality. Rationally, I know this is not true, but my emotions still say it quite loudly. I’m feeling like the work that I’m doing here aligns very well with the next 6 values: Honesty, Strengthen my role as a partner to my wife, Commitment to an addiction free life, Devotion to self actualization, Develop emotional maturity, and Do the right thing. Most of the rest I think will come along with middle and late recovery. I sure hope so!

Here is the list for reference:

  • Believe in myself
  • Honesty
  • Strengthen my role as a partner to my wife
  • Commitment to an addiction free life
  • Devotion to self actualization
  • Develop emotional maturity
  • Do the right thing
  • Engage with learning
  • Minimalism - live a simple and healthy life
  • Strengthening my role householder and partner
  • Devotion to community (volunteer)
  • Strengthen engagement with family (mother, father, sister, niece, and nephew)
  • Engage and appreciate natural beauty/nature
  • Engage and improve health
  • Financial stability


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 10:22 am 
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Recovery Nation - Health Monitoring I

Recovery Nation - Health Monitoring I

Recovery Workshop: Lesson Fourteen

Health Monitoring I

Health monitoring as a practical tool performs several tasks in helping you to manage a healthy life. First, it provides you with a means of establishing focus and awareness. This role is most often associated with Daily Monitoring — which is what you will be developing over the next few weeks. Another important task of health monitoring is to stave off complacency — one of the biggest threats to making a permanent transition. Your Weekly Monitoring will be used to accomplish this.

Audio Coaching

The following audio file provides an excellent summary of the entire Health Monitoring process that you will be implementing over the coming months. It takes approximately twenty minutes to listen to.

Audio Coaching: Health Monitoring

First Stage: Daily Monitoring Mechanics

Today, your focus will be on developing a process of Daily Monitoring that will force focus upon these areas and will allow you to deepen your awareness of each. Daily monitoring is a three-step evolutionary process. You will be learning only the first step here. The second will be learned in Health Monitoring II and the final evolution in Health Monitoring III.

For the next four weeks, you will be setting aside five minutes each day (and ONLY five minutes) to assess yourself across the areas of your life that you are actively working on. Note the word 'actively' in that statement. It will do you little good to create a daily monitoring program that is so comprehensive that you are basically including any and everything associated with your life. You need to choose ten to fifteen areas of your life that you want to begin actively strengthening. The goal of this strengthening is to derive more overall value from your life than you would have otherwise. This can be accomplished by increasing the depth of one of your values (say, strengthening your communication with your spouse); or, by reducing the strain from behaviors that conflict with your higher values (say, demeaning your child out of anger).

You can not and should not try to fix all of your issues right from the start. To do so is to set yourself up for failure. Instead, you must look at your life...look at your values...and use the top ten to fifteen values as a guide to what areas you should initially monitor. For instance, if your top value is spirituality, yet you look at your day-to-day life and recognize that there is little active role that spirituality plays...you will likely want to add this to your Daily Monitoring. On the other hand, if you don't really value spirituality, yet force it upon yourself because you think you should — you are actually diminishing the overall value that you are capable of producing in your life. Another example: you recognize that the biggest drain in your life at the moment is the daily conflict you have with your wife regarding this current crisis. To not include this in your monitoring because you would rather avoid thinking about it is nonsense. Something that draining must be accounted for...and accounted for fearlessly. Especially when your progressive efforts to improve this area can have such a cumulative effect on your overall health. So your goal is not just to identify 'the good stuff', but rather, it is to identify what is currently the most important issues in your life at the moment. And further, what you can practically do about them.

When it is all said and done, you should have a list of issues that you examine on a daily basis. But, this should be a TEMPORARY list...one that allows you to focus on certain aspects of your life above others. As your investment in these areas begins to pay dividends, daily focus should no longer be necessary.

A typical daily monitoring list may look like this:

  1. Did I carry myself as a person worthy of respect today?
  2. Did I engage in any compulsive behavior today?
    • If yes, did I maintain an awareness of the elements involved?
    • Did I create a break as soon as I became aware of that ritual?
    • If no, did I role play a past or possible future compulsive ritual to ingrain confidence in my ability to manage these rituals?
  3. Did I initiate at least one meaningful conversation with my wife today?
    • If not, how many days has it been since I have?
  4. Was I attentive to my wife's needs today?
  5. Was I truthful in everything I shared with my wife today?
  6. How much time did I spend with each child today?
    • Was it quality time for each of us?
    • Did I remember to fully invest myself in the moment?
  7. Did I yell at the kids today? Was yelling the appropriate option to choose in that situation? Or was it just the easiest?
  8. Did I follow through with everything that I said I was going to do today?
  9. Did I maintain a conscious awareness of how emotionally connected I was with each member of my family (e.g through conversation, shared activity, spontaneous affection or otherwise?)
  10. Did I roleplay at least one reactive action plan today?
  11. How would I describe my overall emotional balance and stability at the moment?
Note several things you will want to include in your own monitoring. One, that each item is specific and 'somewhat' measurable. This isn't an exact science, and so...you are looking for YOUR ability to measure progress, complacency and/or regression on a daily basis. Everything you do here will be about practical application and that requires your ability to objectively observe and quantify your actions. The difference between "I will deepen the role that spirituality plays in my life" is a world apart from "I will take five minutes each day to strengthen my spiritual connection." in terms of practical application. The latter is practical; the former is simply an ideal. Two, note that there is nothing unrealistic or unachievable here. To be successful, you must first set yourself up for success. That means developing a monitoring list that you are capable of achieving with regularity — should you choose to do so. Establishing a list that would require you to live the perfect life is not realistic and it will not be effective over the long run.

Evolving Your Daily Monitoring

By the end of the second week (fourteen consecutive days monitored), take a few minutes to refine this list. Are there things on it that are producing no real value in your life (and thus, they are more ideals than they are things you value)? If so, remove them. Are there things you have been monitoring that you now feel are ingrained to the point of ongoing awareness? Meaning, you are able to maintain this awareness throughout the day? If so, remove them (or, set them aside to be monitored in a more general way in the weekly monitoring to be learned in Health Monitoring II).

By the end of the second stage of daily monitoring, there will be no areas of extended daily focus. That will mean that you have begun to manage your life in a much more fluid, natural way. From that point forward, daily monitoring will still exist, but it will exist only during times of instability or concentrated personal growth. For all other times, it will function much like a computer's anti-virus program. It is there, in the background, constantly scanning for threats. That is what you must now develop, an internal scanning program that will identify threats (e.g. emotional instability)...flag them...and then allow you to isolate those threats and take action to overcome them. And it is all based on awareness.

Exercise Fourteen

I. Develop your Daily Monitoring list. Construct it in some sort of word processing document (Word, Notepad, Wordpad, etc.) so that you may update it as needed. Post this list into your Recovery Thread.

Note: If you are in personal coaching, your Coach will help you build this in Session II. It will then be converted to an online form so that they can assist you in accountability. Please have your initial monitoring plan ready for review by that second session.

II. For the next two weeks, select a particular time each day (typically, right before going to bed or, just after awakening) and complete this monitoring. It is not intended as a checklist to measure your success/failure. It exists instead to provide you with ongoing focus and awareness. And, to establish a mechanical monitoring process that will eventually become an internalized, natural monitoring process.

Remember: Spend no more than five minutes in reviewing your Daily Monitoring each day. While it may seem beneficial to spend fifteen minutes or more going over your behavior...this has historically proved to be destructive in the long run. You are establishing a pattern of monitoring that should be quick and natural. Not drawn-out and complex. Also, remember that this list will evolve as you evolve. If you require the same item on your list for more than thirty days in a row...and you have not either 1) ingrained that issue as an area to monitor internally; or, 2) resolved the issue...then you are doing something wrong. Post the issue in the community forum for assistance.

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My Daily Monitoring List

  1. Did I take note of compliments I received today and accept them with gratitude?
  2. Did I actively disclose any compulsive behavior today?
    • If no, are you aware that this should have been done and consider when you will do it.
    • If yes, did you lie by omission or minimizing?
  3. Did I initiate some kind of loving affection towards my wife today?
  4. Did I actively engage with my recovery lessons?
  5. Did I engage as a partner around the house (chores, help cook, look for things to take care of in general)?
  6. Did I take my wife’s safety into account and actively engage in protecting it (both from me and our surroundings)?
  7. Did I view my wife as a person of value and not a sex object?
  8. Was I nice to my wife today?
  9. Did I contemplate my spirituality today?
  10. Did I engage as a householder today?
  11. Did I make choices about my health that were positive today?


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 6:51 pm 
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Recovery Nation - Perceiving Your Addiction

Recovery Nation - Perceiving Your Addiction

Recovery Workshop: Lesson Fifteen

Perceiving Your Addiction

Some of the most common thoughts from people struggling with sexually and/or romantically compulsive behavior are associated with trying to understand why they are the way that they are. They ask themselves things like, "Why do I act the way that I do? What caused it? Was it because I was sexually abused as a child? Neglected? Was I born this way? There must be some reason I am the way that I am. I need to know."

Well, for the most part, there is a reason that you are the way that you are. There is a reason why you choose strip clubs over the Internet. Why you choose affairs rather than prostitutes. Why you become sexually aroused by animals, but not children. Feces, but not feet. There is a reason why you may fantasize about other men, even though you are not homosexual. There are reasons for it all. In fact, there are many reasons and they all fall within two categories: practical reasons and personal reasons.

The practical reasons involve the role that compulsive rituals play in your life. The personal reasons involve an understanding of how past experiences/traumas have affected your evolving value system. As a general rule, understanding the practical reasons for your addiction is what is required for a transition to living a healthy life. Understanding the personal reasons is required for healing.

Over the next few lessons, we will explore the practical reasons in great detail. You will be shown a model of compulsive sexual behavior that will allow you to break down your sexual/romantic rituals into measurable, understandable parts. As you gain a more functional awareness of compulsive behavior, you will begin to see the true nature of your addiction. You will be able to isolate the behavior itself from your identity — a requirement for effective urge control. You will begin to see that sexual addiction did not just happen through fate and/or genetics, but that it developed quite naturally and quite logically through your own lack of effective life management skills.

Most of the concepts presented in the next few lessons will be new to you. They are unique to Recovery Nation and are required to develop what is referred to as a _functional awareness _of your addiction. If you are going to get lost in this workshop, this is the most likely place — so don't allow it to happen. Use the community forum or personal coaching options to ensure that you master the concepts that are about to be presented.

Developing versus Maintaining a Compulsive Behavior

The first thing to do in understanding sexually and/or romantically compulsive behavior is to make the distinction between the reasons you began engaging in a particular compulsive behavior and why you have continued. Such reasons are rarely the same. Let's begin with the reasons why such behavior develops.

In order for an individual to become addicted to sex, they must first have been introduced to it. The same goes for love. Nobody is born a sex addict. Nobody is born a love addict. Certainly, genetic forces may increase the likelihood of such patterns developing, but they are not the cause of sexual addiction. They are not the cause of love addiction. If you believe otherwise, then you will most likely continue to struggle with these destructive patterns for the remainder of your life.

With the introduction to your sexuality came the development of emotions and values that were naturally associated with that sexuality. Or for love addiction, the introduction of the parental relationship began the development of associated emotions/values through bonding, abandonment, etc. With sexual values, such an introduction could have been forced — as in rape or molestation; it could have been consensual — as in the natural progression of intimate relationships; or it could have been random — as in exploratory masturbation, accidental voyeuring (like looking out your bedroom window to see your neighbor undressing) or a Playboy magazine discovered in a dumpster. In every case, your introduction produced a change in your existing value system. At best, this change was a pleasurable and exciting one — capable of eliciting both physical and emotional relief. When this is the case, such pleasurable emotions are automatically prioritized among your existing values — and usually done so at the expense of other less stimulating behaviors. This is not a bad thing, as such prioritization is necessary for the full development of a healthy, balanced value system. At worst, the initial sexual experience was repulsive and degrading, causing an immediate and often destructive effect on your existing value system.

In general, the earlier and more traumatic the introduction, the more significant the disruption to your values. In the extreme, a traumatic introduction will trigger one of several responses. 1) the person will completely withdraw from the emotions that such sexual behavior produces (e.g. through self-mutilation, sexual anorexia, disassociation, etc.); and 2), the person attempts to alter the negative emotions that were initially associated with the sexual acts. In such cases, an individual might try to recreate sexual experiences under "emotionally safe" conditions. This latter response is often found at the core of love addiction and parental abuse/abandonment/neglect.

This begs the question, _"Have all sexual addicts been sexually traumatized? Or, "Have all love addicts been emotionally traumatized?" _

The answer is no.

While it is true that those who have been molested, raped or otherwise sexually traumatized frequently experience significant consequences in relation to the development of healthy sexual/romantic behavior, it is also true that many people develop such sexual dysfunction without ever having been physically traumatized. Many love addicts were raised in intact, nurturing families. How is this possible? It is possible because there are all sorts of variables that must be considered in the development of a healthy value system. For some, the emotional trauma of having a dominating, controlling parent; or having been raised in a strictly religious environment where natural sexuality (like masturbation or lust) was associated with evil and hell can also trigger such behaviors.

In rare cases, a person can develop sexually destructive patterns not by trauma, but by a progressive pleasure/pleasure pattern where both the introduction to sex, as well as the natural ongoing development of sexual values produce positive emotional fulfillment. In such instances, additional behaviors are added to the sexual repertoire to further expand this pleasure. Much like the altering of ingredients when baking a cookie — more on this later. Eventually, while only pleasurable sexual experiences have been accumulated, there comes a time when NOT engaging in sex becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Or when other stressors develop that far exceed the ability of that person to manage them through other values. This then requires that sexual activity be engaged in to escape from the stress and regain the feelings of comfort and stability. Again, this is rare. The vast majority of people suffering from sexually compulsive behavior have indeed been traumatized in some way — either emotionally of physically — and this trauma is usually sexual. That should never be used as an excuse for such behavior, only as a fact in understanding it. It is also important to note that while this traumatic introduction to sex is common in the vast majority of sexual deviants — it is most commonly found in those who have learned to associate their sexual behavior with values such as intimacy and love. When deviant behavior is associated with values such as power and control (e.g. violent rapists, sexual mutilators, etc.), an entirely different developmental foundation must be examined...and one that is not addressed in the scope of this workshop.

Those suffering from compulsive romantic behavior or love addictions tend to have similar backgrounds, with a few notable differences. First, the "introduction" to love comes from the bond developed through the parents. Whereas traumatic behavior in sexual addiction can stem from rape, molestation, etc., traumatic behavior associated with love comes almost exclusively from a lack of parental nurturing from one or both parents; a significant event that threatens an existing bond (like the death of a parent, or divorce); or a violation of trust and safety (like that which occurs through incest or molestation). Such is the overwhelming background of most people suffering from romantically compulsive behavior. Additional causes, though rare, include the pleasure/pleasure role discussed earlier, except in the case of love addiction, it would be a series of relationships that provided emotional relief and pleasure — and a person's overuse of those feelings to manage their emotions. In its extreme, the establishing of these mind-altering relationships can progress to the point where an actual relationship doesn't even need to exist. The person's mind will actually create the relationship and act as though it is already established. This is a frequent occurrence in many of the romantically-delusional stalking that take place to celebrities and strangers. Though there is no actual relationship, the love addict becomes so intoxicated with the pursuit of the target's love and affection — that he/she no longer processes reality. Everything about the relationship becomes a fixation that continues to feed the fantasy that is causing so much emotional pleasure.

Whether you struggle with compulsive behaviors associated with sex and/or love, take some time to think of how these behaviors were introduced into your life. Think of how they developed into destructive (or potentially destructive) behaviors. What were some of the key "introductions" of new values that you associated with this behavior? Things like significant relationships, traumatic or stressful events and personal insights that affect the development (for the good or the bad) of your values should be considered.

Why Compulsive Behavior Continues

We began this lesson by stating that there needs to be a distinction made between how you started with a particular behavior and why that behavior continues. The reason you started is directly related to the way that the behavior was introduced to you (or, reintroduced through a traumatic event) and the emotions/values elicited through that behavior. Why the behavior continues is likely the same reason why all compulsive behavior continues: because it has become an efficient way to manage your emotions.

It no longer matters what behavior is placed within your ritualistic patterns...once the pattern of using compulsive behavior is established, the behavior itself becomes irrelevant — from a recovery stand point. Not from a consequential stand point, mind you, but from a "Why do I keep acting this way?" point of view. As you begin to understand more and more about addiction over the next few lessons, this should become clear.

Lesson 15 Exercises:

I. Take a minute to review what you have learned over the past two weeks. Of what you have learned so far, think of one example of how you have actively integrated that information into your day-to-day life. Share this in your personal thread.

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One the the most important things I’ve learned is the importance of active participation in my recovery and not letting much time go between lessons so that there is a building of momentum. It also assures my wife that I’m working on this with her and that it is important to me. Between that and the values and subsequent proactive action lists, I’d say those are the most important. The values have been good to reflect on to see where I want my life to go after this. Right now this takes up the majority of my extra time and that feels like a totally appropriate way to weight my time. When I keep looking over the list of values I do see areas that have been neglected for quite some time and I’m looking forward to a future where that gets more attention and less of it goes to this addiction.


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