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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:42 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:05 pm
Posts: 28
I dropped this program a couple of years ago and continued on my path of self destruction. A year ago I was discovered, and I began trying to repair the damage I had done to myself and our marriage. I have been in therapy and SAA since that time. I have made significant progress in terms of abstaining from porn, but I still have a way to go. Instead of compulsively acting out every 3-4 days, I've acted out about 7 times in the past 9 months. For me, that's good, but I want to do better and to put porn completely behind me.

I'm working my SAA program faithfully, with daily meetings, fellowship afterwards, working with a sponsor on the steps, and making several phone calls daily. I see my therapist weekly, and I initiate long conversations with my wife about what is going on inside me. Not reporting...she doesn't want to be my keepr, but she does want to share my thoughts and feelings. These talks were my "raw" talks at first, because that's how I felt at the end of each one to two hour session, but now I'm comfortable with it, even when it involves an uncomfortable subject. I am still doing some of the exercises I learned in this program a couple of years ago. I didn't finish it; I quit just before the lessons on Urge Management, which may say something about the level of commitment I had at the time.
Here is the beginning of my latest, and most serious attempt at achieving real recovery, not just abstinence.

Lesson 1 Exercises:
A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change
2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
3) allowing yourself time to change.
Consider where you feel you are in relation to each of these recovery keys? Briefly share your thoughts in your Recovery Thread.
I want to believe that I am committed to change, and I think I am. I think I am over the guilt and shame of my addiction, since I have disclosed my behavior to my wife. I recognize that my behavior is not me. I have set values for myself and every day I try to live by them and monitor my progress in that area. I am now (after reading this lesson) trying to honestly figure out what my motivation is. I know how destructive this addiction has been to my relationships with my wife and myself. I hate how it has hurt us individually and jointly. I tell myself that I want it gone permanently, but there are moments when my urges make me want to act out again and I question whether or not I really want to be rid of this. Or is that my addiction at work?
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 positve. 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.
a. I want to stop feeling guilt and shame.
b. I want to stop feeling the fear of being discovered.
c. I want to use the time I have left on this earth being with people and doing things I really enjoy doing.
d. I want to feel the joy of not being tied up in this addiction net.
e. I want to really start liking myself for who I am.
f. I want to really feel proud of what I do.
g. I want to do only the type of things that nurture my relationship with my wife.
h. I want to do only the type of things that nurture myself.
i. I want to really live and enjoy living.
j. I want to be able to handle obstacles without having negative feelings about what is happening and how I am handling it.
k. I want to stop fearing the future.
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.
I am presently in therapy to work on the underlying causes of my characteristics that I use in a manner that does not serve myself or others very well. This exercise strikes at the core of my problem. It made me start crying for that child. I grew up with a verbally, mentally, and physically abusive father who had serious rage issues. He actually trained me to “Never trust anyone, not even your own father.” My mother was pregnant during 12 years of a 16 year period and was emotionally unavailable, partly due to exhaustion. But, she was also proficient at invoking shame and a feeling of never being good or good enough. I remember being #3 out of 8 kids and being really lonely, both at home and at school, and afraid of not doing well enough and frequently ashamed over whatever “wrong” a preschooler can do. I don’t miss my parents at all; they died over 30 years ago, and sometimes I feel sad that I don’t miss them. But I truly believe that I have forgiven them. I’ve been working on our genealogy for over 20 years, and I spent hours upon hours talking to my father’s oldest sister. She thinks they had a perfectly normal and happy childhood and young adulthood, but, thanks to her, I understand how my father learned his parenting skills. I’ve come to the conclusion that he was capable of a skewed kind of love, because of the abusive, critical, judgmental family he grew up in. That is, he raised us because it was his duty since he brought us into the world. But he never seemed to enjoy it or us. Now I’m trying to exercise empathy and compassion for my parents as well as for the little boy in my picture.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:40 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:05 pm
Posts: 28
Lesson 2 Exercises:
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, 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' 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.

I envision myself as being a man who makes genuine connections with others: primarily my wife, with whom I hope to spend the rest of my life, and with our children and grandchildren; but also with basically anyone I come into contact with. Everything else in terms of occupations or hobbies or fulfillment of duties is secondary to me.

One thing I have tried to live for the past couple of years is to approach each contact with another person as an opportunity to walk away from that encounter knowing that I did my best to make that a positive experience for both of us. I believe that all I can truly control is my own attitudes, actions, and words. So if I live mindfully, I believe I can achieve that. With people in my circle that I love, I want to carry that further. I want them to know me for who I really am. I want them to feel my love, my acceptance, my lack of judgment, and my desire to make life better for everyone just one person at a time. I want them to know that even though I have characteristics that I could use in better ways, I am also aware of them and trying to do something about it. It’s more than wanting people to remember me as a nice guy. There are already a lot of people who do. What I would like is for those closest to me to feel that they intimately know the real Tom, not the Tom who has to be the best and the most perfect at anything he tries, but the Tom who feels and loves. That kind of love cannot be faked. I want them to be confident that they really know me and that all I want is for all of us to enjoy whatever time we have. The work I’ve been doing on myself has really helped me to see how fortunate I’ve been and to appreciate all I have, all I have become so far, and that I have the ability to become even better.

That means that I am ok knowing that I still need to improve when the compulsive urges to turn to porn rise, because it’s an opportunity to strive for excellence. I’ve had a taste of having 3 months away from porn, and it really feels great. I’ve learned that when I mindfully listen instead of becoming defensive in the face of criticism, complaints, or simply opposing opinions, that I experience little or no resentment, hurt, or shame. I’ve learned that enjoying time with friends and family instead of isolating and finding comfort in porn leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction that I have NEVER felt after using porn.

I think defining my core values comes in a later lesson, but I’ve been working on them and refining them for a couple of years and they tie into this vision very well. These are my core values:
1) Integrity (honesty, respect, fairness, genuineness, empathy, compassion, and love)
2) Family (being the best husband, father, grandfather, sibling, cousin, and in-law that I can be.
3) Health (spiritual, mental, and physical)
4) Community (acting with integrity with friends, acquaintances, and strangers; being involved in volunteer work or just interacting with other people in my community)
When I try to keep these values in mind, I feel really good about my life and about myself.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:54 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:39 am
Posts: 223
Welcome back NoFearNoMo,

I too use both RN & SAA to recover, but I would say that the RN workshop has had the biggest influence on my recovery.
As I was told, do what works for you and stick to it.
Keep those core values at the front of your mind :g:

Keep up the good work.

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

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:05 am 
Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3944
Location: UK
Here is the beginning of my latest, and most serious attempt at achieving real recovery, not just abstinence.

it has been a while, hope that this attempt really is serious, not just more serious than previously

you can do this but only if you make that positive choice to do so :pe:

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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