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PostPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:11 pm 
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Posts: 14
Lesson One

A. Where am I in relation to…?

1) Actively committing to change

I hate addiction and it’s consequences for me and for my family. I’m so sick and tired of keeping on relapsing into the same old behaviours and ending up back in the same old place. I’m desperate to see permanent change, but I’m also scared of committing myself to change and then failing yet again. I've committed myself so many times in the 12 Step programme and worked through the Steps several times. I want to really believe that permanent change is possible for me, and I commit myself to working for it. Having read the first lesson, I wonder if my motivation to change has never really been fully for myself. It's always been about external factors, whereas now I'm coming to realise that it has to be based in my own desire not to live in this way any longer.

2) Not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage my recovery

This is a key area for me at the moment. I’ve really struggled with overwhelming feelings of guilt and shame recently as a result of my inability to see permanent change, and it’s only driven me deeper into addiction again. I have tried so many different ways to combat the negative thinking, but I want to focus on this health based recovery as the main way forward and to start thinking about myself in a much more positive way. Shame is a toxic state of being for me that just serves to suck me back down into compulsive behaviours. I commit myself to challenging the negative patterns of thought and self recrimination that I have fallen into, and not allowing shame to sabotage my commitment to recovery.

3) Allowing time to change

I feel as if I’ve already allowed myself way too much time to change. I’ve been in 12 Step programmes for well over 10 years and even started my own recovery group that is still going strong now. My behaviours have changed over that time, and I no longer act out in the most destructive ways that I once used to, but I haven’t been able to achieve long-lasting sobriety in that time and I have been continually relapsing every month or so over the past 10 months with online porn. I sense that I really have to commit to seeking permanent change now rather than thinking that it's not possible for me. I've seen loads of other people achieve lasting change, and it's a complete self-deception to say that it's not possible for me because I'm somehow different to everyone else. I no longer want to access pornography and have to deal with all the problems it causes me. I feel that I’ve wasted so much time and I need to make a solid commitment to change now.

B. What is my motivation for change?

I want to achieve my potential
I want to live and honest and congruent life
I want to be the husband my wife deserves
I want to be fully present for my children
I want to love and respect myself
I want to feel confident again in my working life
I want to set a positive example of recovery to others
I want to be rid of the fear that suffocates me
I want to be someone who inspires others
I want to see myself as a normal, healthy person
I want to recover a sense of compassion for others
I want to have friends who I can be fully myself with
I want to have a healthy sexual relationship with my wife
I want to get back on track in my relationship with God

C. Picture of me as a child

I found this to be a powerful exercise. I was really attracted to the sense of cheekiness and to the impish grin that I had as a child. I used to have a wide eyed smile, innocent and accepting rather than guarded or half-hearted in any way. I didn’t have any worries, I was just sitting safe and content in my mum’s lap. I was happy, not burdened down by shame and guilt and by repeated failures. I exuded a sense of innocence. I don’t feel that I have felt like that for a long time, and in some ways it feels as if I have ‘broken’ that young child for ever. But the exercise helped me to see that the innocent, wide-eyed child is still there within me, just waiting to be reclaimed and set free. The most powerful realisation for me is that I have been living in a very CHILDISH way, just focussed on satisfying my own desires and my own needs. Instead, I need to be living in a CHILDLIKE way, not burdened down by shame and cynicism but reclaiming the innocence of the child I used to be. It gave me a sense of hope that my best years can still lie ahead of me – just as so much future and opportunity lay ahead of that young boy over 40 years ago.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 3:17 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:39 am
Posts: 148
Hi Tim_Recovery,

Welcome to RN, I hope that you find the workshop as enlightening as I did and still do.

I can say that combined with going to a SAA group and using RN, has made my path to recovery focused and has changed the way I think about my life, values & boundaries.

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


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:52 pm 
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Thanks very much T. That's really encouraging to hear. I've got so much out of the SAA programme, and it has made a huge difference. But I'm at the stage now where I feel that I need to find a new emphasis. I'm not quitting SAA, but I do need to focus on a health-based recovery that will hopefully take me to the next level.

Thanks again.

Tim


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:58 pm 
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My vision for my life

I want to be in a position where I can re-take my wedding vows with my wife, confident that I will be able to fully commit to them and know that I will be able to keep them this time. I want to have a relationship with my wife that is open and transparent and where I have nothing to hide. I want to be able to bring out the best in her and to see her confidence blossom rather than being repeatedly dented by my behaviours. I want to get to a level of mutual physical intimacy that is free of a nagging sense of guilt and repeated betrayal and that meets both our needs.
I want to walk my daughters down the aisle (if they choose to get married!) as a proud dad, confident in my role and my efforts as a parent. I want to be able to look them in the eye and say with confidence that I did my very best as their dad.
I want to be a Church leader who lives out a life of integrity with the community – to build deep relationships where I am able to be present with the whole of myself rather than feeling that I have to keep bits hidden. I want to be able to lead other people and speak confidently from that position of integrity and honesty rather than from a place of shame and secrecy.
I want to develop consistent healthy mechanisms for coping with the daily reality of life, however difficult or upsetting that may be. I want to model that behaviour especially to my children so that they can have a healthy example to follow in their own lives. Above all, I want to leave behind the sense of shame and guilt that follows me around like a dark shadow and develop a view of myself that is positive and affirming and that gives me a platform to use my gifts in the most effective way possible.
I want to achieve my goal of climbing all the Munros in Scotland by the time I turn 55, and I want to take up a new hobby - either sailing or sea kayaking, within the next 3 years.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:51 am 
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LESSON THREE

My positive values

1. Honouring my wedding vows and living as a faithful spouse
2. Living out and fulfilling the promises that I make to others
3. Having an honest and congruent relationship with my wife
4. Living a life of integrity
5. Living a life of congruence and transparency
6. Building up my wife’s self esteem
7. Meeting the needs that my wife has of me
8. Sexual intimacy with my wife
9. Living a life free of guilt and shame
10. Being the best dad that I can be
11. Being a dad that my children can rely on and turn to at all times
12. Reaching my potential as a Minister
13. Being committed to building a sense of shared community
14. Being known as someone who keeps my word
15. Being seen as a positive role model
16. Helping others achieve their full potential
17. Helping others to recover from addiction
18. Having compassion and kindness
19. Being able to use my experience to help others
20. Being non-judgemental
21. Being a person who inspires belief in others
22. Being a source of joy to those around me
23. Having a relationship with God that makes an active difference
24. Inspiring belief in others
25. Using my time and money to help others
26. Ability to cope well with the ups and downs of life
27. Emotional stability
28. Confidentiality and trustworthiness
29. A commitment to live life to the full
30. A dependable friend
31. Someone who speaks the truth in a positive and affirming way
32. A team player rather than an isolated individual
33. Having the ability to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously
34. A commitment to lifelong learning
35. Openness to listening to the views of others
36. A sense of humour
37. A commitment to tithe my income
38. A commitment to sustainable living
39. Being present with other people
40. A sense of adventure
41. Developing patience
42. Helping my brother Scott to get his life back on track
43. Overcoming addictive behaviour on a permanent basis
44. Providing financially for my children
45. Developing deeper friendships
46. Achieving my goals
47. Stretching my horizons
48. Accepting myself for who I am
49. Utilising my counselling skills
50. Passing on healthy values to my children
51. Maintaining a sense of curiosity and openness to the world
52. A commitment to vulnerability with others
53. Commitment to my wider family
54. Commitment to God and to developing a deeper inner life
55. Maintaining my physical health
56. Being teachable
57. Taking on new challenges and opportunities
58. Living a well rounded life
59. Encouraging others to try new things
60. Developing my patience
61. Being known as someone who has wisdom
62. Connected to my feelings
63. Being a leader
64. Thankfulness
65. Humility
66. Cultivating a sense of hopefulness and optimisim

My “dark” values

1. Selfishness – putting my own desires first
2. Secrecy
3. Inability to deal with problems in life
4. Emotional immaturity
5. Lack of gratitude
6. Being judgemental
7. Inability to accept help from others
8. Pride
9. Impatience
10. Incongruence
11. Taking myself too seriously
12. Isolating myself from community
13. Lack of accountability
14. Unfaithfulness
15. Financial instability – wasting my money
16. Wallowing in guilt and shame
17. Feeling unloved and unworthy
18. Not accepting myself
19. Ignoring the needs of others
20. Not being true to myself
21. Distancing myself from God
22. Distancing myself from my feelings
23. Ignoring my vows – betrayal
24. Not taking care of myself – physically and emotionally
25. Trying to cope by myself
26. Shutting other people out
27. Thinking I’m “different” to other people and therefore can’t change
28. Allowing myself to give in to hopelessness


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:11 am 
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Posts: 14
Lesson Four

My Prioritised values


Overcoming addictive behaviour on a permanent basis
Living a life free of guilt and shame
Honouring my wedding vows and living as a faithful spouse
Building up my wife’s self esteem
Being the best dad that I can be
Being committed to building a sense of shared community
Commitment to God and to developing a deeper inner life
Ability to cope well with the ups and downs of life
A commitment to live life to the full
A sense of humour
Being present with other people
Accepting myself for who I am
Developing deeper friendships
Being a person who inspires belief in others
Being able to use my experience to help others
Passing on healthy values to my children
Being a dad that my children can rely on and turn to at all times
Developing my patience
Cultivating a sense of hopefulness and optimism
Reaching my potential as a Minister
Having a relationship with God that makes an active difference
Having an honest and congruent relationship with my wife
Meeting the needs that my wife has of me
Sexual intimacy with my wife
Commitment to my wider family
Maintaining my physical health
Helping others achieve their full potential
Helping others to recover from addiction
Living a life of integrity
Living a life of congruence and transparency
A commitment to vulnerability with others
Being a source of joy to those around me
Using my time and money to help others
A team player rather than an isolated individual
Having the ability to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously
Thankfulness
Humility
Helping my brother Scott to get his life back on track
Connected to my feelings
Being a leader
Being known as someone who keeps my word
Emotional stability
Confidentiality and trustworthiness
A dependable friend
Having compassion and kindness
Being non-judgemental
Taking on new challenges and opportunities
Living a well rounded life
A sense of adventure
Achieving my goals
Stretching my horizons
Utilising my counselling skills
Maintaining a sense of curiosity and openness to the world
Living out and fulfilling the promises that I make to others
Openness to listening to the views of others
Providing financially for my children
A commitment to lifelong learning
Being teachable
A commitment to sustainable living
A commitment to tithe my income
Being seen as a positive role model
Being known as someone who has wisdom
Someone who speaks the truth in a positive and affirming way
Encouraging others to try new things


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:39 pm 
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Posts: 14
Lesson Five: Top 15 Values

Overcoming addictive behaviour on a permanent basis
Accepting myself for who I am
Honouring my wedding vows and living as a faithful spouse
Building up my wife’s self esteem
Being the best dad that I can be
Commitment to God and to developing a deeper inner life
Sexual intimacy with my wife
Being committed to building a sense of shared community
Developing the ability to cope well with the ups and downs of life
A commitment to live life to the full
Maintaining and developing my own sense of humour
Being present with other people
Developing deeper friendships
Being a person who inspires belief in others
Being able to use my experience to help others


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:07 pm 
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Posts: 14
Lesson Six: Proactive Action Plans 1

A commitment to live life to the full
• Put aside at least one day per month to head out into the mountains
• Put aside at least one night every 6 months to go wild camping
• Follow through on my plan to take up sea kayaking
• Be more proactive in looking for music, comedy and theatre shows that I enjoy
• Get out for a jog at least twice per week
• Commit to having alcohol a maximum of 3 nights per week (except on holiday!)

Being committed to building a sense of shared community
• Prioritise a list of 5 or 6 people who I will visit pastorally at least once per month
• Make sure I eat with other people at least once or twice per week
• Seek out opportunities to engage more with my neighbours, especially at Christmas
• Engage with people on a deeper level through social media

Maintaining and developing my own sense of humour
• Read through some of my “dad joke” books each day!
• Recognise occasions when the use of humour is inappropriate and deflecting
• Give myself credit for times when I make people laugh and bring joy to people
• Be more proactive in seeking out TV shows that are genuinely funny


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:30 am 
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Posts: 14
Lesson Seven: Proactive Action Plans 2

Overcoming addictive behaviour on a permanent basis
• Commit to complete Recovery Nation workshop
• Continue to attend SAA group on a regular basis
• Address my mentality, that I am somehow unable to fully recover
• Keep my vision central to my daily recovery
• Establish much clearer and more manageable relapse prevention plans

Accepting myself for who I am
• Address and challenge negative self-talk. Replace with positive affirmations and celebrate my attributes
• Accept and integrate praise and positive comments from others
• Recognise and challenge those times when I compare myself negatively to others, especially on social media
• Do things that bring me life not death

Honouring my wedding vows and living as a faithful spouse
• Work my wedding vows into my daily meditations – make them intentional
• Don’t dwell on past failures but visualise future success – what does it look like
• Consciously give thanks and pray for my wife on a daily basis

Building up my wife’s self esteem
• Long term full sobriety and commitment is the only way this will happen
• Encourage her to take up fresh interests and hobbies. Do them with her, e.g. hillwalking
• Spend time properly listening to her and being present with her
• Seek opportunities to compliment her
• Buy her flowers on a monthly basis

Being the best dad that I can be
• Give time and space to my children and seek to be fully present with them
• Encourage them and build them up in their own self esteem
• Take responsibility for setting appropriate boundaries where necessary

Commitment to God and to developing a deeper inner life
• Spend time on a daily basis praying and reading the Bible
• Practice tuning myself into the presence of God in the midst of daily life
• Commit myself to reading spiritual literature
• Commit myself to keeping a spiritual, reflective journal
• Take regular time out for spiritual retreats every few months

Sexual intimacy with my wife
• True intimacy is dependent on long term complete commitment to sobriety
• Create more opportunity for intimate romance – date nights, etc
• Actively put aside time and space to develop mutual intimacy
• Continue to focus on my wife’s other physical needs not just sexual, i.e. foot massages, etc

Developing the ability to cope well with the ups and downs of life
• Continue to work Recovery Nation and my SAA programme
• Pay attention to my holistic wellbeing and spiritual condition – stay centred
• Practice alternative ways of coping with stress rather than acting out
• Don’t take on too much work at once – practice saying “no”

Being present with other people
• Make an effort to listen properly and remember when I ask questions of other people, i.e. “do you want tea or coffee?”
• Long term sobriety will give me peace of mind to be more fully present and myself
• Focus on genuinely valuing the other person and their contribution

Developing deeper friendships
• Be open to sharing with others from a place of vulnerability
• Make greater efforts to give invites to people I want to develop deeper friendship with
• Celebrate and nurture the existing friendships I have in the SAA fellowship/church

Being a person who inspires belief in others
• Long term sobriety and spiritual growth will inspire belief in others
• Take hold of opportunities to lead from the front and don’t hide away
• Be open to sharing my story with people – not just addiction but in other areas too

Being able to use my experience to help others
• Continue to attend my SAA group and to post on RN
• Reach out to other addicts on a daily basis, especially new group members
• Pray for other group members on a daily basis


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 2:55 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:39 am
Posts: 148
Hi Tim,

Well done on the work you have put in so far.
In case you have noticed that there has not been many comments from coaches or mentors, that is a positive, I can assure you that they are reading your thread,
Keep up the good work :g:

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


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Thanks Theseus. I appreciate the reply - I was wondering if anyone was reading my ramblings so good to know that's the case! :w:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 3:27 pm 
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Lesson 10: Absolute honesty

I found this lesson really tough. I absolutely agree that total honesty is the only way forward in my relationship, but I struggled with the example of telling my partner every time I find myself attracted to another woman. I don’t know where the boundary lies. I cant just stop finding other women attractive – that’s totally impossible, just like she also finds other men attractive. I agree that when I become aware of myself deliberately looking at another woman, then I need to recognise and take action to deal with my dishonesty. But it seems almost brutal to tell my wife every single time that it happens rather than taking other actions with people who can also help i.e. friends in recovery group. If I was to pursue absolute honesty with her, then it seems to me that I’d be telling her every single time a fleeting thought pops into my head, and that might have the effect of repeatedly crushing her self esteem. My actions have already caused her so much pain and damaged her self image – to hear repeatedly that I’m attracted to other women feels to me as if it would cause her even more harm.

Having said that, I do want to have absolute honesty with my wife and to be free of the nagging sense of shame and guilt that I haven’t been entirely honest. I just need to work out more clearly where the boundaries are and have a discussion with her about how she wants to approach this. The part that really stuck out for me in this lesson was the bit about being honest with who I am and sharing my thoughts and emotions openly not just with my wife but also with other people. I struggled with this for many years, largely because of the sense of secret shame, and I still struggle at times to articulate and discuss my feelings openly with her. I’m so much better at it than I was in the past, but it’s an area that I still need to actively work on as I seek to be more and more the person that I want to be.

(IV) I don’t have any items stashed for compulsive sexual behaviour. My pattern has always been to get rid of any items (magazines, etc) as soon as I have acted out, when the crushing weight of shame consumes me.

(V) People I use as compulsive triggers. There isn’t anyone in my immediate circle these days who I find myself stimulated by. I have tended to get fixated on particular famous women over the years and find attractive photos of them online to mess around the edges of my addiction, deceiving myself that because they are just “normal” women then it’s safe to look at their image. However, it invariably leads on to full blown acting out in the long term. I don’t want to post specific names in case others are triggered but it includes Scottish newsreaders (I would deliberately wait for the news to come on just to see if my favourite newsreader was presenting), a French newsreader, weather girls, and some other TV presenters. I would also find myself watching “reality TV” shows featuring attractive young people to get an addictive hit that I could kid myself wasn’t really harming anyone.

For many years at work (I left the job 3 years ago), I had a very strong attraction towards a co-worker called Maxine. Nothing ever happened, but it was a very strong source of fantasy and addictive thinking and really caused a lot of problems for me at the time. I accessed photos of her from work and online through social media and used these to stimulate my addiction. I have also trawled through the social media posts of other women that I am attracted to in order to get a “hit” from their photos. In particular: Susan, Beth, Carly, Hannah, Jacqueline, Jenny, Jill, Morven, Niamh.

(VI) Places where I go to act out. Way back in the past, this would have been a much longer list but for many years my main acting out behaviour has been online. This nearly always starts off with browsing for regular images or GIFs that are freely available on any search engine. I deceive myself that it’s not really addictive behaviour because the images are not pornographic in any way – even though my wife would still object to me looking at them. But then it gradually gets more and more close to the edge and I end up back on the hardcore websites again. It’s a definite process of self deception.

Every so often when I have felt really shameful and overcome, then I end up trawling through adult contact sites again. This is rare but it does happen. And although I haven’t been to see a masseur in over 10 years, I have been in situations since then where I have driven and walked round to parlours but never gone in (the last time being 3 months ago). I can deceive myself that because I haven’t entered then everything is fine, but in reality I have just been feeding the addictive cycle. At these times, I have also walked around town with my flies open and no underwear to get an extra “buzz”. These behaviours have caused me intense shame.

I also use magazines on occasion, and tend to use them in the car out in the countryside where no-one can see.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3846
Location: UK
Hello Tim
Quote:
Every so often when I have felt really shameful and overcome, then I end up trawling through adult contact sites again. This is rare but it does happen. And although I haven’t been to see a masseur in over 10 years, I have been in situations since then where I have driven and walked round to parlours but never gone in (the last time being 3 months ago). I can deceive myself that because I haven’t entered then everything is fine, but in reality I have just been feeding the addictive cycle. At these times, I have also walked around town with my flies open and no underwear to get an extra “buzz”.


for an addict to make that admission it is a sound and positive step forwards
all too often we lie and deny
well done
use that realisation to make the positive choices and recovery will follow
good work

_________________
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: Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:46 am 
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Thanks Kenzo, I appreciate that. I've been in "recovery" for a long time, but actually realising and admitting that some of these behaviours are still active (however rarely) causes me to strive for a much deeper and more permanent change. Behaviours like these are completely toxic for me, and I cant achieve real change while still holding on to them. Not least because I'm lying to myself and lying to others about the severity of what I'm doing.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:28 pm 
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Lesson 11: Behavioural Assessment

Fantasy

• Attraction to women at mothers and toddlers group at church – allowing my mind to “daydream” about starting a relationship with them that will meet all my physical needs.
• Using regular images on the internet as a trigger for fantasy, especially images of couples in love and kissing (even fully clothed).
• Using massage parlours as a trigger for fantasy (rare but has happened recently).
• Using previous images, videos and encounters that are “stored” in my head – euphoric recall.
• Lingering on glamorous magazine covers in shops as a trigger for fantasy.
• Fixating on particularly attractive girls at my daughter’s dance shows (high school). I find this behaviour to be very shaming.

Masturbation

This is not such an issue for me these days – it’s more an end product of the fantasies. However, it is an activity that is deeply associated with shame for me, ever since first discovering it as a young person and trying to reconcile it with my christian beliefs. I can remember “confessing” it to someone else and physically almost being unable to say the word itself. This shame became more deeply rooted when I used this behaviour in ways that were dangerous, as outlined below. When my sense of shame is activated now after relapsing, then I can sometimes revert to the more dangerous and risky behaviours.

• I have tended to associate relapse purely with the act of ejaculating in the past so have often legitimised this behaviour as being ok.
• Spending too long in the shower and getting too soapy and turned on.
• Engaging in dangerous behaviours, i.e. unzipping my trousers and touching myself while driving, masturbation in public places, etc. This behaviour is very deep seated as I used to cut holes in my trouser pockets at school so I could touch myself during lessons while looking at the “unattainable” girls in my class. It is much more rare now.
• Wearing women’s underwear while out in public as a trigger for fantasy.

Pornography

This has been the main problem for me over many years now. It didn’t used to be, but I have left behind the most destructive behaviours many years ago, i.e. escorts, etc. I haven’t achieved more than 7-8 months of sobriety from these behaviours ever, despite progress in so many other areas. I have tried lots of different ways of stopping the behaviours: installing accountability software, blockers, etc. However, nothing has really worked in the long term.

The pattern over the past few years has become very ritualised for me. It always starts with me feeling the need to search for “harmless” images on the internet. These involve the use of search terms that are fairly innocuous at first and usually feature fully clothed people. However, even at this early stage I can start to feel the blood pumping around my body faster and a sense of beginning to get trapped and heading towards an inevitable destination. I can spend hours at this stage, justifying to myself that it’s not really addictive behaviour because it’s not “pornographic” images. But over time, I’ll begin to get closer and closer and cross more and more lines until I inevitably end up viewing explicit images or videos. I have also used 18 rated films (again not necessarily explicit but films that might include nudity, sex scenes, etc), flicking through late night TV channels and also glamour magazines or models in catalogues to achieve the same result.

• The main videos I initially search for are videos featuring romantic intimacy between couples, especially ones with kissing and/or massages. They tend to be more mutual and softer in nature.
• However, once the shame reflex has been activated for me, I tend to progress onto much more explicit videos featuring risky activity in public places (dressing rooms, public transport, libraries, etc) and men tending to dominate women in some way.
• I also on occasions use adult encounter sites and/or escort sites to stimulate myself. There is no interaction as such these days (setting up profiles, etc) but it still very much adds to my sense of shame.

Promiscuity

I have never engaged in this physically, but I have chased it in the past on many occasions, i.e. signing up to casual encounter sites, phone chat lines, web cams, etc. The shame has always become so extreme that I tended to erase all my profiles and activity in an effort to “purge” myself. These behaviours haven’t really been an issue for a while, but every so often when I feel very shameful I will visit encounter websites and use it as a pretext for fantasy. The idea of an extramarital encounter or an encounter with a stranger is one that still has a strong pull for me and would regularly feature in fantasy scenarios.

Prostitution

This was a major problem for me over many years, and was the only way that I ever acted out physically with anyone other than my wife. I haven’t physically acted out in this way for around 10 years maybe. However, it can still occupy my thoughts in terms of fantasy encounters when I relapse. It is also a regular pattern of web searching when the shame reflex has been activated for me. I think there is still an element of control in the fantasy for me, where I am in charge (because I’m paying the money) and therefore I can get what I want. There are certain acts that my wife wont engage in, but in a fantasy encounter I can call the shots.

Although I haven’t physically acted out in this way over many years, there have been occasions where I have felt so ashamed that I have accessed escort websites and even gone to parlours but not entered them or phoned to find out more details. It almost feels like “flirting” with the idea of doing it and playing around on the edge of it, which all contributes to the feeling of risk and danger. This aspect of risk is an important element for me.

Voyeuring

I have never actively practised voyeurism, but it is an activity that appeals to me in a fantasy sense and I would invent scenarios that feature it. For some years I was very strongly attracted to the idea of dogging, but this never materialised into actual activity, even though I did on several occasions drive to places where it was practised. Many years ago (15?), I did pay to watch a heterosexual couple and a female couple perform in front of me and I still find this scenario powerful even now.

Exhibitionism

This is the one single activity that causes me the most intense shame and self-loathing. It is not a regular activity by any means but it tends to happen when I have relapsed repeatedly or after a long period of abstinence followed by a crash down to earth. When I feel in a very shameful place, for some reason I seem to want to exacerbate it by returning to the most risky and dangerous behaviours. This pattern is very deep seated in me. I can remember as a teenager stripping off when I was alone deep in the woods, not to be seen by anyone in particular but simply to get a buzz out of the possibility of being seen. I can also remember stimulating myself openly under the desk at school – again an incredibly risky behaviour and the danger of being caught just seemed to add to the power of it.

It doesn’t happen regularly now (maybe a few times in the past few years). It usually takes the form of walking around in public places with my trousers open and no underwear on. I have in the past on occasions even walked around with my genitalia out, but not directed at anyone in particular. I can identify with the scenario of someone “accidentally” seeing something. It would also take the form of engaging in self sex while driving, again with the remote possibility that someone might see at some stage.


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