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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:25 am 
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Lesson 51) Decision-Making: Identifying the Options
Quote:
A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)

My ritual would be to get up early and decide to look at porn one morning:
My conflict would start right here.
Option 1: Continue to look at porn and go the whole way
Option 2: Have a quick look and then stop.
Option 3: Stop immediately


Quote:
B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)


Option 1: Completely violates my personal boundaries and the promises I have made to myself and W. This is not an option I would take.

Option 2: As above, violates my new values and boundaries, so not an option I would take.

Option 3: Stays within my values & boundaries, would mean I had a clear conscience, I would feel satisfied that I was in control.



Quote:
C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:
Option3:

Quote:
i. You make the decision to act on this option

I would be happy that I had the control over my mind to keep within the values I have set myself. I would be honest with W & my SAA group in telling them that I had managed to stay sober.

Quote:
ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option

The quick fix would soon turn sour, guilt & shame would start all over again, I would not be in a good place.

Quote:
iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others

The potential fallout would be, not only me starting all over again, but my relationship taking a huge step backwards. Causing pain & angst to W and having to rebuild the trust.

Quote:
iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret

The anxiety that it would cause me to be living life with a lie again, would possibly be more extreme that the first time round and I am sure it would show through.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 3:07 am 
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Lesson 52) Decision-Making: Isolating the Emotions

This is a very good lesson which has given me a lot to think about.

My example:
The crewmen in the lifeboats of the Titanic, They are picking up many people who are screaming, freezing and drowning out of the water, but they know they cannot take any more before the lifeboat will become overloaded.
Emotions would make them continue to do so, and put the boat in jeopardy, but sensible values of saving the ones they already have kick in and they stop.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:59 am 
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Lesson 53) Decision-Making: Making the Decision

A.
At this present time in my recovery I made the decision that any masturbation was unhealthy and I have not done so in the 3.5 months since I started. This has not been a problem at all and I am happy with the decision I have made. In the future, I want to continue in this way, as I see no real requirement for it, but if the occasion arose that it was a mutual agreement between W and me, then I would deem that to be ok.

B.
In the past I would masturbate alone to fantasy thoughts, or porn that had nothing to do with my relationship. I now find all of this repulsive and no longer acceptable. It showed my immaturity.

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“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:40 am 
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Lesson 54) Decision-Making: Assessing the Consequences
A.
My biggest value based decision over the last year is the honesty I now have with W.
We have regular chats about my past behaviours and these are done in a calm manner by both of us.
The negative from this, is the overriding emotions of shame & guilt that this brings back to me every time. The positives outweigh this, knowing that I am communicating properly & truthfully, it gives me a sense of achievement.

B.
I am finding this bit harder to do, as in the last year my emotion based decisions were in general to do with my addiction. The positives were all self gratification and a quick sexual high.
Now none of these actions give me any positive thoughts now!

I suppose that one emotion based action in the last month was to buy W an engagement ring, we are married, but never got engaged, so we spoke about it and I could probably say that emotions were a huge part of the decision.
The positives were huge, a lovely feeling of moving forward and the delight of knowing she still wants me.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:39 am 
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Lesson 57) Reactive Action Plans

1) Define the situation:
I am away overnight with work and start to feel horny once I am alone in my room.
I get an urge and I decide that I am going to look at porn.

2) Evaluate all realistic options:
a) Start to watch porn, but stop before it goes too far
b) Start to watch porn and masturbate, but stop before orgasm
c) Start to watch porn and masturbate, complete with orgasm
d) Call W for a chat about anything else other than the urge.
e) Deny the urge by watching a movie or reading a book
f) Call W and tell her about the urge before anything happens.
g) Call W and tell her about the urge after a), b), or c)
h) Call a friend from SAA and chat to them about the urge before
i) Call a friend from SAA and chat to them about the urge after

3) Evaluate the potential consequences of the option(s) that you choose:

a) Start to watch porn, but stop before it goes too far
b) Start to watch porn and masturbate, but stop before orgasm
c) Start to watch porn and masturbate, complete with orgasm
If I went down any of these routes, I would get sexual satisfaction, but that is all.
It would have broken all my new values and I would be ashamed and guilt ridden. I would feel like I was back to square one.


a) Call W for a chat about anything else other than the urge.
b) Deny the urge by watching a movie or reading a book.
I would be happy with either of these decisions as I had managed to stay in control and kept to nearly all my boundaries & values. But my honesty value would not be adhered to if I did not tell W.
a) Call W and tell her about the urge before anything happens.
b) Call W and tell her about the urge after a), b), or c)
If I call W and tell her before, I have stuck to all my values and would be in a good place knowing that I had managed to do so.
If I call W and tell her afterwards, then I will have broken some values but kept to my vow of honesty.


a) Call a friend from SAA and chat to them about the urge before
b) Call a friend from SAA and chat to them about the urge after
With these 2 options I would have comfort in knowing I had someone to talk to and if I did it before then I keep most of my values intact. But if I do not speak to W, as above, I am not keeping to my honesty value.

4) Make a decision as to which value-based option you would choose:
I would choose to call W before I acted out and tell her I had the urge. It completely fits into my current values and boundaries.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2019 3:37 am 
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Lesson 58) Constructing Reactive Action Plans

I managed to think of 4 situations in the future, although my answers to each are similar.
It is all about my current values and my promises to W, I know that although she may forgive a small slip, I might not forgive myself and if it reached the point of prostitutes my life as it is would be over and I would be starting over with nothing.


Action Plan 1: Getting complacent after a period of time and letting my mind wander back into the old way of thinking.

Outcome
Stop and reset, think of how far you have come.
Remind myself of my vales and boundaries.
Remind myself of my “healthy” lifestyle and how good it feels

Emotions if engaged
The emotions will be as before recovery, excitement, unhealthy thoughts of things outside of my values.

Mind games
It won’t matter if you do it only once
t’s ok if you do not get caught
You can control this now.

Action Plan 2: Looking at porn

Outcome
Stop before you even start, you do not need this in your life.
Remind yourself of your values & boundaries
Remind yourself of promises to W
Distract yourself, close PC & move away.

Emotions if engaged
Excitement, anticipation.
A rush and sexual high for a brief time.
Guilt and shame afterwards

Mind games
It won’t matter if you do it only once
It’s ok if you do not get caught
You can control this now.
It’s only porn

Action Plan 3: Being away from home with work and the urge comes on.

Outcome
Stop before you even start, you do not need this in your life.
Remind yourself of your values & boundaries
Remind yourself of promises to W
Call W and tell her you have an urge: talk through it.
Call an SAA friend and speak to them.
Distraction: read a book or watch TV

Emotions if engaged
Excitement, anticipation.
A rush and sexual high for a brief time.
Huge guilt and shame afterwards

Mind games
It won’t matter if you do it only once
It’s ok if you do not get caught
You can control this now.
It’s only porn

Action Plan 4: Decide to visit a prostitute

Outcome
This is the biggest NO NO you cannot cross this boundary
Stop before you even start, you do not need this in your life.
Remind yourself of your values & boundaries
Remind yourself of promises to W
Speak W and tell her about it
Call an SAA friend and speak to them.

Emotions if engaged
Excitement, anticipation.
A rush and sexual high for a brief time.
Huge guilt and shame afterwards know ing that it would be life changing in a bad way.

Mind games
It won’t matter if you do it only once
It’s ok if you do not get caught
You can control this now.
It would be worth it.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:01 am 
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Posts: 148
Tomorrow will be 4 months of health for me and still no urges.
I can honestly say that I have no idea what this would have been like if I had not had the support of 3 things.

Firstly my W: she has been amazing through it all, especially considering her trauma is so much worse than mine and continues to give her flashbacks & triggers, But she is always there for me and it is something I will not forget.

Secondly RN: Doing this workshop has been so thought provoking, it has made me completely aware of who I was, and now who I want to be!

Thirdly SAA: I go to a meeting once a week and find it helps to share with others and keep me focused.

My whole outlook on life has changed, and I find it so refreshing to walk around daily with no hidden secrets.

I am determined to continue to improve through the workshop and post in another 4 months with the same thoughts

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:10 am 
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Lesson 60) Preventing Slips/Relapse

1. Prior to a Expected Triggering Event
Away on business
Time on my own in the home
Begin to objectify women
Complacency

Action Plan:
I have constantly thought about plans for these scenarios and feel confident in what I have in place. I do keep playing out options in my head and will add anything that comes to mind.

2. Prior to a Spontaneous Triggering Event
As above I keep thinking about possibilities and how I will deal with them, I refer back to my main values & boundaries daily.

3. On the Experience of an Urge
I have not had an urge yet, but I do remind myself of the situations I used to be in. If I am alone in my home, I think about what I used to do when I had this free time, but then I remind myself of what it caused and how it no longer fits into my life.

4. On the Discovery of Being “Off-Track”
Complacency is my main worry, but Losing my W or long term illness could potentially cause me to go “off-track”.
I believe that continuing to look at myself through the learning of RN and going to SAA meetings will help if these events arise. I would stop and re-evaluate my values & boundaries if I felt I had slipped.

5. On Schedule
I hope to continue the way I have for over 4 months now.
I realise that RN will finish, but I will continue to post weekly after the lessons are completed, I will also go over my lessons again.
Continue with SAA group: I would like to continue to help others as well as myself, it will keep me focused.
Continue to keep a weekly monitoring diary.
Speak to W often, keep her informed of my emotional state and also listen to her.
Continue to remind myself of how good it feels to have no hidden secrets and a feeling of openness that I have never had before.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:22 am 
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Re Lessons 59 to 61:

Although I posted my lesson 60, I just wanted to comment on all the above as I have found these sections very useful and it has helped me a lot, but I also realised that I was doing some of it daily without thinking about it.

I find myself constantly playing out situations that I am in or potentially be in, that could lead to a relapse/trigger.

It made me stop and think how much the RN workshop has changed my way thinking so much already.

It feels good right now.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:15 am 
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Lesson 62) Managing Relapse

Quote:
Develop three-five 'most-likely' scenarios where you might face relapse. Role play (in your head or with someone you trust) how you will manage these situations.


1. Complacency:
2. Loss of my W through separation, death.
3. Loss of my job

In all 3 cases, my management would be the same.
I will think about my values & boundaries
I will remind myself daily of where I am and how I used to be.
I would share with my SAA group and seek their support.
I would share with RN
Continue to monitor my emotions/health weekly
In the case of point 1 & 3, talk to W about my state of mind.

Losing my W, would be the worst case, it would be the hardest scenario to deal with.
We have talked about that and we agreed that slipping back to the old ways should not be an option.
So I would also use a mantra “what would W say and think”
If losing W happened, reaching out to my SAA group would be of the utmost importance.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
Regards
T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 3:30 am 
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Lesson 64)Transitioning to Health

Quote:
What skills do you feel you have worked hard to develop? What skills need additional work?

My complete mindset was wrong, and I spent a lot of time reorganising that. For example: I would spend so much of my time working out when I could be alone to act out and thinking about acting out. One of the main things I noticed was removing these thoughts and spending time doing other things has caused me to be less argumentative and grumpy. I am happy to help W around the home and happy to be spending free time doing other interests. I would say that once I removed these thoughts the rest fell into place quite easily. There is not a day goes by that I do not get up and remind myself of my values first before I do anything else.
I need to continue to work in this vain, as complacency is still my worst enemy.
Explore your attitude in regards to whether or not 'addiction' is a part of you; or merely a pattern that developed in your life
I feel that my compulsive behaviour was a pattern, but such a huge part of my life, that changing has been an immense task.

Quote:
Explore your awareness as to the role that your compulsive rituals played...and what it would mean should they return. Explore how you would respond? Explore your confidence level in that response.

I would say that I was totally unaware of the role they played in my life, or the damage they were doing.
For them to return would be a complete disaster, for my own well being and for my marriage. I spend each and every day rebuilding my relationship and do not want to have to tell my W that I slipped, in other words I was not strong enough to fight it.
I am very confident that I can deal with a thoughts of acting out reappearing, I feel I have the tools in place ready to tackle them, but I know that only time will tell.
In lesson 60 it mentions the 2 types of strategy, and I will admit to using both to some extent.
Mainly “I am doing this”; I am proactive in looking forwards and keeping an eye out for potential hazards.
I also like to keep a note of the number of days staying healthy, and reward myself for passing weeks and months.

Quote:
Explore your confidence level in that response. Explore your overall balance and stability...how much of your life is spent 'fighting urges, managing urges, acting out, engaging in recovery activities, etc.' versus how much of your life is spent just living.

At present my confidence level is high, and I spend next to no time fighting my past behaviour, I have had very little in the way of urges, in fact I see the past in a dim light and I want to stay well away from it. But I do not forget it or shut it out; I deal with any thoughts and move on.I spend most of my days in the land of the living, I dedicate time each morning to my recovery and continue to think about things as required, but then most of my day is spent at work, with W or my activities.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:16 am 
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Lesson 65 Exercise:
a) Envision your "life after addiction/life after recovery".
b) Compare it to the vision that you began back in Lesson Two of the workshop.
c) They should be nearly identical. Are they?

Quote:
Lesson 2) Vision
I want to feel happy within my relationship with my wife, to gain all the trust and friendship I have lost through my actions.
I want to be content with the rest of the family/friends. Be focused on work and all activities I enjoy. I want to take my wife out because it is good and does not feel like a chore.
I want to feel that there is no need to go outside these boundaries for my own quick fix of self indulgence.
I believe that in shutting off the compulsion for porn/sex outside of the relationship will help focus at work, be more attentive to the family and be more willing to enjoy things together with them rather than just being there as a token gesture (I feel I sometimes do that just now)

My goals

To have a loving intimate relationship with my wife
To be there for all of my family and for them to know I can be relied upon
To fill my days with activities that I enjoy, be it with my wife or alone.
To be able to afford to do things I/we enjoy.
To nurture my mind with learning about things that interest me
To feel content, in my mind to know I am loved for who I am
To stay healthy


My visions have not really changed as yet, I feel I am moving forward and beginning to achieve my goals.
One of the biggest things I notice about my life is the freedom in my mind, it s refreshing to know that I am not hiding things from others, I can walk around knowing that there is nothing buried away that could cause others angst or worse.
I strive everyday to be a better person, especially a better husband to W.
It pains me to see her struggle with flashbacks & triggers, but I can only hope that my healthy life helps in the long run.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
Regards
T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:04 am 
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Lesson 66) Recovery Triggers vs Relapse Triggers

Quote:
a) Consider your perspective towards potential triggers when you were in early recovery. Consider your perspective now. How has this changed?


I would say that my perspective has not changed a lot towards potential triggers, but more how I deal with them. I have not had any real triggers to speak of still, occasional flashbacks, but I look at them and do not recognise the person I was.
Now I look out for triggers or potential situations on a weekly/daily basis and prepare myself for dealing with them well in advance.
Because I have had no real ones to speak of, I play out the situations in my head and use my values all the time. I compliment this by also using my values a lot in day to day things, things that I would have avoided before.

Quote:
b) List five potential triggers for you — that may lead you into a compulsive crisis. How can you shift your perspective of each so that they are not only NOT a threat to your values, but you can actually use these triggers to strengthen those values?

1. Complacency: I suppose this is not a trigger in its own right, but to me it is my biggest fear. I am constantly reminding myself to keep working at my recovery and to keep to my values. I plan ahead, not too far, but enough to know that I am in control of my daily life and potential pitfalls.
2. Boredom: As complacency is my biggest fear, boredom is my biggest potential trigger.
I used to plan things to make sure I was not bored, where as now I do not need to plan as these activities have replaced the times I was bored, it has become a lot more natural.
3. Porn: Viewing porn could always be a potential trigger and it is something I have steered clear of. I am still prepared that it may happen one day and I basically get up each morning and remind myself how far I have come and think of my values.
4. Being alone, either in the home or away with work: This kind of works in tandem with boredom and it has arisen in my first 5 months of recovery. In each case I planned ahead and made sure that my heads was in a mindset that did not want to stray into the “darkside”. I always plan what I am going to do in these times and once they have passed I congratulate myself for dealing with them correctly.

I can only think of 4 for now and may revisit this in the future. I would say that my mind is healthy at the moment and looking out for triggers is becoming quite natural for me. I believe that I probably fit into “category 4” in this lesson as I do not have to fight with myself over anything to do with my addiction. I understand that there are still the pitfalls of the unknown possibilities, but using my values as a daily check, which I do every morning, I can hopefully think I am prepared. I am no longer scared of a trigger appearing as I know that I am ready to deal with it.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:24 am 
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Lesson 67) Poly-Addictions & Switching

This was something I thought about before I started RN:
I would say I have an addictive personality, but unlike sex, I have controlled all other possible addictions well.
I am an ex smoker, but I vape now, so my nicotine addiction is still there but better than it was.
I drink very rarely and do not gamble.
I like to play PC games and I know I can become compulsive with these, but it is something I am aware of and control my game time.
I was aware that I could spend all of my time on recovery, but thought that would not be healthy, for example my some of SAA group go to other meetings during the week, but I stick to my one meeting as I feel it is enough.
As I said at the start of this lesson, one of my first conversations with W was about replacing one addiction for another, so I made a list of activities I like or would like to do (and I am still adding to it).
I spend my leisure time doing these activities, but never let one of them supersede the others.
I like to keep them balanced.


I had a section in my weekly monitoring about checking I was doing my leisure activities, but now I have added “Are any becoming obsessive?”

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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 Post subject: Re: The long road ahead!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:20 am 
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Lesson 68 Exercise:Anger and Rage - Anger Management and Addiction Recovery

a) Map out your own anger rituals in the same way you did your sexual rituals long ago. Look for patterns in relating to your partner, coworkers, friends, yourself...where anger is triggered and you find it difficult to disengage from that anger.

I had to think long and hard about this:
In most cases of frustration or anger I would always have an argument that no-one would win and then withdraw into myself "go in a huff"
I would have a lot of arguments with my wife/s, and a lot of it was my emotional immaturity and directly related to my addiction. I would get angry if I did not get the acting out time I was expecting that day. I would say angry is possibly too strong a word, it was more of being "in a mood" or just not happy. An argument would start and I would end up withdrawing into myself.

Although the urges are not there at the moment, I think about my old reaction and no longer withdraw, I deal with the issue head on and discuss the matter.
Learningtorun said this in his lesson and it is something I use as well:
Quote:
I found this to be an interesting exercise. Having spent a lot of time considering my emotional response to urges and how to stand back and detach myself from the situation in order to make a values based decision, it hadn't occurred to me that I could apply the same approach for when I get angry about something.


b) Can you identify the elements of these rituals where you actively intensify the stimulation that is experienced?
The main elements for me have been:
Frustration - I always feel that I was not being listened to.
A build up of anger - The longer the argument continued the more the anger would build.
Mentally shutdown - invariably, I would give up and shut down/Withdraw myself.

c) Do you think that 'creating a break' upon the awareness of these anger rituals will allow you to slow the situation enough to allow your values to take over? Why or why not?

This is exactly the way I take things at the moment, there has been no arguments and any signs of stress make me stop and look at the situation from a different perspective. At the moment I am always looking for solutions and that helps to stop things getting out of hand.

_________________
“Change your thoughts, change your life.” ~Lao Tzu
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T


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