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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:04 am 
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Posts: 21
Lesson 1: Why I want to change:
I want to bring my writing projects to completion and into the world
I want to be present and live in the here and now while my children are still living with me
I want to be a better role model to my children
I want my children to feel safe, secure and stable and for them to trust me
I want to have self-respect and feel pride in my choices
I want to feel in control of my choices and take responsibility for them
I want to be honest with myself and live with integrity
I want to have peace and stability in my daily living
I want to be present to my friends, co-workers, acquaintances
I want to be connected to nature and my higher power
I want to work consistently towards my goal of running my own successful business
I want to live in reality and be aware of all of the unique and changing dimensions of reality in each moment
I want to experience inner joy and contentment
I want to have more love to give and more time to give to the people and projects that I value
I want to experience genuine intimacy and love in a committed, lasting romantic relationship[/list]


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:04 am 
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Lesson 2: My Life Vision

What do I value and want to invest in for the next 10 years of my life? I want to develop an active writing practice that leads to published work, fiction, creative nonfiction and nonfiction. I want my writing to help others find hope, meaning and purpose in their struggles, to feel less alone, to be honest and courageous. I want to be honest and courageous. I want to develop a private practice that serves the neurodiverse community in new ways, that allows me to use my skills and expertise in more useful and practical ways, and that leaves a legacy I can be proud of. I want to help create a world of acceptance, inclusion, compassion and joy. I want to build and share knowledge with others and put this knowledge into practice. I want to follow through on my commitments to writing and a new career and make a sustained effort to achieve these goals. I want to remain focused, seek out support and help that will keep me moving forward, and build momentum. I want to respect myself and trust myself and know that I can rely upon myself to do the things I say I will do. I want to be persistent and dogged and wilful in making these dreams a reality. I want to be in charge of my own destiny, my own career, be my own boss, work my own hours, make my own success. I want to belong to a community of like-minded people who support my writing and career goals, who enrich my personal and family life, who inspire me, whom I respect. I want my life to be guided by my close, personal relationship with to God/dess and align my wants and desires with my higher power, which is pure love and aliveness. I want regular connection and awareness of nature, one of the primary sources of my connection with God/dess. I want to be consistent and present in my relationship with my children while balancing their wants and needs with my own. I want to be a good friend who is capable of showing up for the ones that I love, of giving and receiving.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:06 am 
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Lesson 3: Values derived from my life vision

Universal: self-respect, courage, honesty, integrity, persistence/ determination/ steadfastness/ consistency/ reliability, trust in my self and trusted by others, compassion, respect from others/ acceptance/ inclusion/ connection/ community/ belonging, hope, knowledge in practice, curiosity, independence/ self-determination/ autonomy, reciprocity, joy/ humour/ playfulness, peace/ order/ harmony
Practical: I am practicing mindfulness/prayer through journal writing and time in nature on a daily/weekly basis; I have a daily writing practice and show up to my writing studio weekly; I look for and take opportunities to share my writing with others; I check in with my children daily and friends weekly; I support my children/friends in meeting their needs and goals, and I ask them for their support in meeting mine; I am developing a business plan and a schedule for following through on it; I am creating a network to support my business plan; I invest time each week in creating an orderly home environment; I invest time at least 3 times a week in activities that connect me with nature/God/dess and that bring me joy; I seek knowledge and vehicles for sharing my own knowledge with others; I seek to share my true self and be recognized as an expert in my field;
Shadow Values: feeling powerful, being admired and desired, sexual pleasure, being in control, avoiding reality/fantasy, irresponsibility, disconnection, avoidance of work, fear of connection/intimacy, desire to be taken care of, emotional immaturity


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:06 am 
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Lesson 4: Prioritize Your Values
Compassion and connection to myself through the daily practice of mindfulness and self-care
Autonomy in my career and relationships; clear boundaries between self and others
Share my true self in my career and relationships; honest presence
Writing practice as form of mindfulness and sharing with the world
Earn my own trust by acting in ways that are trustworthy and being reliable/steadfast in my commitment to myself and my values
Earn my own respect by respecting myself and others and acting in alignment with the values above and below
Healthy living through food, sleep, exercise, relationships
Healing for the planet through lifestyle and spiritual choices
Sensual pleasures are also very important to me, I can’t deny it, and these include the pleasures of touch, taste, sight, smell, including sexual intimacy
Offer Compassion and connection to others through mindful, honest, kind presence
Offer Freedom and autonomy to others and respect others’ boundaries and choices
Act and communicate with Respect
Put my knowledge into practice in my career
Earn respect and recognition from others based on my knowledge/expertise
Earn the trust of others based on my consistent, reliable, effectiveness
Have joy, play, fun and add more of these to the world
Create a healthy, respectful, joyful, compassionate intimate relationship
Create an orderly, harmonious environment
Appreciate and add beauty to the world


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:07 am 
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Lesson 5: Value Congruency

I haven’t been that successful at incorporating orderliness and beauty into my life. I don’t value that as much as I do my relationships. I hope one day to be able to value them though. I added having an intimate relationship, because I really want it very badly and keep trying over and over again to have it. The thing I thought I had with my most recent girlfriend, that I wanted so badly - the friendship combined with sex, the playfulness, I think I can have that for real, not a transitory delusion - if I really commit to healing myself and loving myself and not acting out of my compulsions, but from my values. I’ve added sensual pleasure to my values because I am sensual and I guess that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I just have followed my compulsions to who I share my sensuality with instead of my values. I also added healthy living and healing for the planet to my values, as I act on these choices daily, as a vegetarian, as an animal rights activist, in how I choose to spend my time and money, in the political parties I support, and in my spirituality.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:07 am 
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Lesson 6: Building Proactive Action Plans 1:

Share my true self in my career and relationships; honest presence
Share self through my writing practice
Find opportunities to read my writing with others
Share self through new career narrative
Develop my new narrative
Build website and social media strategy
Build network

Put my knowledge into practice in my career
register for RSW
find space to practice
develop marketing materials
build network
make business cards
think up a business name
get books on how to start a private therapy practice
find out what added knowledge I need re autism/therapy
investigate Second Career to get additional training if needed

Autonomy in my career and relationships; clear boundaries between self and others
develop my own strong identity
situate myself in relationship to and differentiate myself from others
get the book Therapy with a Coaching Edge
build a network with other entrepreneurs; schedule appointment with Alina in Guelph
investigate funding sources, grants, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:07 am 
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Lesson 7: Absolute Honesty in Recovery

I don’t have items, or not very many, stashed away to stoke my compulsions. It’s all in my mind. I have some pictures on my phone of my ex-girlfriend that I haven’t been able to bear to delete. She is my main compulsion at the moment. I used to have pictures on my computer of students, but I don’t know if they are even there anymore. I have been obsessed with 3 students in the past, in fantasy only. I have used 9 lovers in the past 9 years as compulsive sexual or romantic objects. Two of these were 2-year relationships. I go to women’s dances and have been to a sex club 2 or 3 times. I just cancelled my membership to a dating website, but I haven’t met anyone through this method. I just don’t want to use the site to fuel my fantasies. I mainly joined the site to check up on my ex-girlfriend. I usually meet the objects of my compulsions in day to day life, at political events, in my neighbourhood, through house parties with friends. I sometimes, rarely, consume porn online. It's impossible to eliminate access to that if you have a computer and an internet connection. I started reading romance novels this spring as research for writing these kinds of novels, as they are one of the ways a writer can actually make a living. They do encourage me to live a world of sexual and romantic fantasies though, so I am taking a break from them. I am writing a novel based on my own experiences as a love/sex addict and I'm not sure if the process of writing this novel fuels my obsession or is helping me heal from it. It includes a number of sex scenes based on my most recent ex-girlfriend and my current compulsion. I'm trying to stay away from writing the sex scenes for now. I've shifted to writing the plot outline and the earlier chapters, setting the scene, developing the characters.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am 
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Exercise Lesson 12: Unhealthy Recovery Patterns:
1. I believe that I am uniquely defective and/or damaged as human beings. Maybe not uniquely, but irrevocably defective. I believe that this false belief was embedded in the structure of my personality at such a young age that it can never be corrected.
2. I am afraid that I may see relapse triggers as an opportunity or excuse to act out. I have been acting out the past two days because I lost my job and can’t manage the stress in a healthier way. I don’t have the life skills, and so I feel justified in resorting to what I know, even though it interferes with my ability to seek work.
3. I find comfort in knowing that I can play the "relapse card" should I ever act out. I would only be playing this card to myself, in my own head, but it does offer a loophole of escape.
4. I often experience selfish thoughts when faced with the consequences of acting out. I may use these thoughts to intensify my feelings of shame or guilt.
5. I believe that I am emotionally defective and experience emotions and urges with much more intensity than "normal people" and that this compromises my ability to ever live a "normal life". I think this is probably the truest of all of these statements and something I have complained about many times. Why do my feelings debilitate me? Why do I need so much recovery time from experiences that roll off of other people’s backs? This may be another version of the selfishness in point. I think it may be a skill deficit that hopefully I can overcome rather than a character deficit that I am stuck with for life.
6. I struggle with perceiving myself as powerless and especially powerlessness over strong emotions that trigger compulsive urges. Again, I think I have often felt powerless because I lack the skills to manage my emotions and urges, but I need to overcome the perception that this is who I fundamentally am.
7. I am strongly identified with my addictive behaviour and find it hard imagine a life without such an association. Yes. This is my biggest challenge. I am a successful, attractive, healthy, fit, respectable, highly educated, professional, skilled, talented, well-loved friend and parent. I have overcome a lot of adversity and escaped much of what destiny can have in store for people like me who experienced childhood abuse and neglect and oppression and marginalization as an adult (queer/woman). For the most part, or compared to others who act out much more publicly or get caught in bigger crimes, I have been able to hide my ‘defectiveness’. It is getting harder and harder to hide. My inability to sustain an intimate relationship or sustain being happily single is the biggest outward badge of my struggle. I am the only one who truly knows about the number of hours of my life that are lost living in fantasy, obsessions and delusions and missing out on reality and failing to realize my life goals. My children are tired of being put through my latest delusional ‘love’ relationship. My friends worry about my choices and what new pain I will bring onto myself. I can’t imagine being “me” without living in this chaos. I don’t know who I would be or what would be left of me.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:08 am 
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Exercise Lesson 13: Healthy Recovery Patterns
Early Recovery:
I have significant doubts about my ability to change and feel a lot of negative emotions: sadness, loneliness, fear.
I "test the waters" of recovery. Last night I went on a date to see if I could tempt myself with a beautiful woman and just be friends. Today, I contacted my ex to wish her a happy birthday, wondering if I will end up back involved in some tortured negotiations/communication, or whether I can just say Happy Birthday, and let it go at that.
I am relieved about understanding my behavior, understanding that I’m not just ‘unlucky in love’ and that I haven’t just given love my best shot in a healthy way. Understanding that it is an addiction and I can recover gives me more hope to ever have a truly healthy love relationship.
I have some of the unhealthy struggles with relapse from unhealthy recovery patterns. For instance, I have been actively engaging in fantasy/obsession as a ‘reward’ for the hard work I am doing in trying to get another job. I have been giving myself excuses to continue, even though it doesn’t even feel good anymore because I know what I’m up to.
Middle Recovery:
I accept that some of my behaviours have been immoral, and that I have used other people to fill up the emptiness in myself. I have let go of a view of myself as the victim and accept responsibility for my own mistakes and for treating other people that I am attracted to with respect, and not as objects, in future.
I want to live a life that I can be proud of. I want to earn my own self-respect. I want to behave like the kind of person who deserves a healthy loving relationship, a career where I am respected, children who are proud of me and love me. I don’t want to fool anyone into some false appreciation or adoration.
I am working at making decisions based on what I believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what I think I can get away with, and what feels good.
I am focused on my future and developing new patterns. I am trying not to wallow in shame over the past.
I am working at perceiving my "powerlessness" as a skills deficit rather than an unchangeable fact.
I’m not quite at the stage to view relapse triggers opportunities. I don’t believe I have the skills yet or am strong enough.
If I fail, I certainly plan to learn from it. If I end up re-engaged with my ex for some reason I will not beat myself up over it, but try to redirect my focus to the future I want to create, and remind myself of all that I have to lose.
I am working at seeing myself as "deficient" not "defective". This is a hard one for me. I wish I had more guidance on how to correct a thought and identity that I have had for over 40 years.
I visualize myself in the future as a healthy person that once used addiction to manage my life.
I see my life 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").
I will take a long, hard look at anything associated with my destructive past, and will remove these objects from my life. This is a bit hard because the main object is my brain, and the fantasies that I indulge in. I try to redirect to the future that I want to build, but this is hard because I don’t yet derive pleasure from this new values/identity based life. I still feel too ashamed of myself and afraid that I will fail.
I have a lot of remorse and sadness - temporary depression, temporary helplessness — about the consequences of my behaviour on my children and myself and my ex-lovers and my friends. I hope that it resolves itself over the next few weeks and months as I build a healthier life.
I don’t have a partner. I don’t think the people closest to me really believe that I will change. They believe that I can change, and they don't think I’m as worthless or powerless as I feel at the moment, so that’s helpful I guess.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:43 am 
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Exercise 14: Health Monitoring I
    Did I show kindness to myself in my self-talk?
    a) If not, did I seek support from others to talk me up?
    Did I write for 15 minutes to 1 hour?
    Did I engage in any compulsive fantasizing?
    a) If yes, did I channel my fantasies into my writing?
    Did I invest 15 minutes to create order in my home (beyond routine cooking/cleaning)?
    Did I make eye contact with and touch each of my children and ask them about their day?
    Did I take at least one practical step towards creating my future job/career?
    Did I mindfully choose healthy food and some form of physical activity?
    Did I follow through on any commitments I had made to friends or colleagues?
    a) If not, did I cancel respectfully?
    b) If not, did I show compassion and forgiveness towards myself for being unable to?
    Did I allow myself some kind of sensual/non-sexual pleasure of self-touch, applying lotion, smelling flowers, feeling the breeze, platonic hugs, petting the dogs, etc.?
    Did I express myself honestly in my relationships and allow myself to be seen?
    Did I offer kindness, compassion and respect to others in my interactions?
    Did I maintain self-awareness about my emotions and actions?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3819
Location: UK
Helo WG and welcome to RN

Quote:
I believe that I am uniquely defective and/or damaged as human beings. Maybe not uniquely, but irrevocably defective. I believe that this false belief was embedded in the structure of my personality at such a young age that it can never be corrected.


All here on this side of the site Start off with similar beliefs, but quickly learn the similarities within us all, RN guides us and prompts our self examination, showing us our faults and providing us with our roadmap to recovery

Quote:
I am afraid that I may see relapse triggers as an opportunity or excuse to act out. I find comfort in knowing that I can play the "relapse card" should I ever act out. I would only be playing this card to myself, in my own head, but it does offer a loophole of escape.

So you are already thinking of failure , DON'T

Remember that you cannot be part pregnant! Recovery is all or nothing and although you will not believe this right now you do have the choice
Slips can and do happen but that does not mean that they are acceptable
If you slip learn from it, ask and answer why?
What did it give you and more importantly what did it take from you?

Remember that you wrote
Quote:
I want to have self-respect and feel pride in my choices
I want to feel in control of my choices and take responsibility for them

And be advised that
Should you fail to permanently recover from your addiction, it will be due to your inability to fully commit .

if 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: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:53 pm
Posts: 21
Thank you coach Kenzo for closing my escape hatch (!) and offering encouragement. This is a remarkable program.
Writergirl


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:01 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 10:33 am
Posts: 8
Hi Writergirl,
I have been following yours posts. I am just getting started too. I can relate to you and your story.
L


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:29 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3819
Location: UK
Hello Mina

Quote:
I have been following yours posts. I am just getting started too. I can relate to you and your story.


please be aware that posting into another's recovery thread is not inline with the RN rules, only mentors and coaches should do so
no harm done but why not get started on your own recovery
?
http://www.recoverynation.com/partnersb ... 13&t=23183

_________________
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: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:38 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:53 pm
Posts: 21
Lesson 15 Exercise: How have I integrated the information from the past few weeks?

Recovery is hard. For awhile I was in a pretty good place, where the pain of losing my last chaotic addictive relationship had ended, the pain that motivated me to enter recovery, and the pain of being alone and not having other skills to manage my life or boredom / complacency had not yet kicked in. But now I am majorly stressed out, looking for work - which is a series of rejections and I am longing to return to my compulsions. I have fantasized, looked at porn, and identified a new fantasy/obsession target.

I have come to understand, at least cognitively, that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with me and I don’t feel shame for the temptations I am now facing, for being tempted, but I do feel frustrated by my skill deficit. I don’t have the skills I need to resist the temptation to return to my ineffective strategies. And my stress is overwhelming me. The most I can do is be honest and stay with how hard all of this is.

“...make no mistake, when life isn't going so well...when your thoughts/emotions begin to fall out of balance...your ability to manage your values efficiently will be compromised. And without this system ingrained, you will be vulnerable to the 'shortcuts' that feed addiction.” I understand the importance of values in driving my behaviour, and I have made a lot of progress in defining my own values and taking steps that I am proud of to create the kind of life that I want based on these values. But I am also having to a lot of really hard things, in my job search - ask people for help, learn new skills, be vulnerable all the time and face rejection over and over again. Knowing that this is part of creating a life of value does not make the emotions any easier to deal with. I want relief now. I’m also having a hard time with the daily health monitoring because I am sometimes failing to behave in the healthy ways I identified and I don’t want to face my own failure on top of job rejection.

“Inherent in this is your willingness to rely upon honesty as a proactive means of managing your life. Meaning, when you face a decision...you filter the decision-making process through whether or not you would need to use deception as a part of that process. If you would, then it goes against your values and you must find a better option. If you wouldn't, then you hold your head up high and take responsibility for however that decision turns out.” I have been using the honesty question as a proactive tool to evaluate my behavioural choices. How would I feel if my friends, family, etc, knew what I am doing/thinking about doing? The fantasies are in my private head and this tool doesn’t work as well for them, because I would never share any of my sexual fantasies with most friends/family. But I am being tempted by a potential new lover who is 20 years younger than me. Would I want to hide it, if we had sex? Absolutely, from certain people. Others wouldn't care. Would I be able to respect myself? No. Do I still want to do it? Absolutely. Or maybe just flirt with the danger, to stimulate myself, distract myself, get validation to counteract the job rejection, feel powerful instead of afraid. What if no one wants to hire me? What if there really is something wrong with me? What if I can’t actually attract a partner who is my own age, who has a positive identity and is living a values-based life herself? What if I’m not good enough, not worthy? And what is this ‘better option’ that I can use to manage my stress and lack of positive self-regard? I am trying meditation, exercise, getting social support, eating well, getting enough sleep. I am already doing all the right things.

I have been experimenting with sharing my true self, and this is also a great tool for creating a positive identity based on my own values. But then my daughter texts me, Why are you posting such controversial opinions on Facebook while looking for a job? Perhaps Facebook is not the right venue at the moment! Still, it has been fun and illuminating. I am going to keep working on this one. I’m tired of just listening, mediating and not expressing my own opinions. I have also been sitting with the discomfort of being honest with myself about my weaknesses, my addiction, the cost of some of my choices, the impact on my children, and bottom line, the selfishness of continually putting myself at risk and choosing stimulation/pleasure/pain/chaos over a values-based life. I have been sharing myself warts and all with some friends.

I see a lot of myself in early and middle stages of recovery. Coach Kenzo caught my escape clause and I have closed that hatch. Relapse is not excusable or necessary, but if it happens, I need to use it to further my healing and redirect myself to healthier options. As the urge to return to my compulsions intensifies, I am returning to the program, which I had set aside for awhile, in the urgency to find a job.


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