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 Post subject: lesson 43 Urges
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:28 pm
Posts: 108
I completed all of the lessons in the recovery section of Recovery Nation before the end of 2015. This was a goal of mine on my way to recovery. I have continued to go to at least 2 SA meeting a week, if possible and am sober for over 1 1/2 years. I am able to interrupt most of my urges and create breaks in the chains so that I don't act out on these urges. I am proud of the success I have.
I have realized, like a lot of us, that going back over the lessons from the start is still a valuable tool. I am now doing that by reviewing the lessons and my postings. I am not posting my answers this time. On lesson 43 I realized I did not use the Community Support Forum to discuss my urges and open that up for support and guidance. Here are the major urges I still struggle with. Again, I have not acted out on any of them, but these are to most strong and I feel, if the situation were right, I might act out. The urges seem to all relate to being wanted, loved, desired, and a worthy person. I am looking for feedback and guidance.
I still fantasize about women's body parts. It does not seem to matter how old, or physical characteristics as long as they are a woman. If they are friendly in some way to me, wow the fantasy really takes off. I am able to interrupt the chain at some point, but not soon enough to not leave an impression on my brain that connects with past memories.
Also, with men, it is more situational. In a park or park-like area, if they seem overly friendly, around vehicles especially busses and campers. (I was molested in a regular bus at age ten or eleven). It seems these urges connect with my deeper addicted memories and create a very strong difficult situation.
I have committed to see a CSAT therapist in April. However, Recovery Nation has thousands of knowledgeable people who have walked in my shoes before me. I ask for your knowledge. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: lesson 43 Urges
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
gpajeff,

One thing you don't mention but it is the very first that comes to mind is ... how are you managing to rebuild your life, is your vision powerful enough to sustain you, is it inspiring, have you connected to your values, have you built actons plans around them and have you practiced them until they've become part of you? Keeping a safe distance from the addiction can only take you so far. You need to derive the positive emotional stimulation from other things in your life, you need to identify them and practice them until they provide enough to keep you balanced and engaged in reality.

gpajeff wrote:
The urges seem to all relate to being wanted, loved, desired, and a worthy person.

These are all essential and valid human needs. You cannot do without them. They are intrinsically linked to your identity and self-image. Addiction manages to temporarily satisfy them through illusion, the illusion of being wanted, loved, desired and looked up to. There is a vacuum inside of you and you need to fill it up with reality instead of illusions so it lasts long-term and it's genuine. Only reality can fill it up for good. So, what actions in line with your values can you take to feel worthy, to improve your self-image? What would make you proud if you were to achieve it? What daily actions would make you feel proud of yourself? What do you want to do with the rest of your life? How much do you want it? Do you spend time visualising it, wishing it, connecting with your vision? Do you use it when you feel the urges? Do you remind yourself of what you want to achieve and how much you want it? Do you use your vision and values to protect you from yourself?

gpajeff wrote:
If they are friendly in some way to me, wow the fantasy really takes off. I am able to interrupt the chain at some point, but not soon enough to not leave an impression on my brain that connects with past memories.

Do you have counter thoughts about these fantasies? Do you acknowledge to yourself that they are not real, they only exist in your head and this kind of attention is probably not about you but about them ... it's not about you being perceived as valuable as such but it's about them valuing being friendly and kind. Have you taken time to really define to yourself how you want to be desired and loved ... for your physical appearance only, for what benefits you can give to another or for who you really are, in and out, bits and pieces and all. Which one do you really think is closer to genuine love and desire? How can you achieve that? Who could give you that? How well should the person know you to be able to love you like that? Take time to meditate on these, build your own philosophy of what is a worthy pursue and what's not, and go for the ones which are, make them work for you and harvest the positive stimulation. You need to become confident about yourself, who you are and what you really want for the rest of your life. Pursuing this will unlock self-worth and self-love and it will fill up the holes the addiction is managing.

I think that therapy will really help. Make sure you make the best of it.

I wish you well,
Ursula

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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 Post subject: Re: lesson 43 Urges
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 9:02 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:28 pm
Posts: 108
Hi Ursula;
Thank you for your reply and questions. I should have been more detailed. I have developed my action plans to the point that in almost every case I can use my values and boundaries to see the addictive thoughts are not the right direction. I use thoughts of the consequences of my old actions to help me make the right choice. I have used my reaction plans successfully with most of my urges and rituals. I am proud of the results and when I look over the day, I feel good that getting healthier. However, there are certain times that I feel less prepared and more vulnerable and in jeopardy. I practice a reaction plan and it does come into play, but much later than "easier" urges.
You may have already given me an answer. While I have used the tools learned in Recovery Nation to work on the easy situations where I could have acted out (objectifying, fantasying, and internet porn, I haven't worked very hard on the daily face to face interaction with people. In fact, I have been too afraid of being in a situation where I could build upon my values and boundaries. Avoidance has been my tool. I will get out there and use my reaction plan. I will also work on my independent self worth.
Thank you for your wisdom.


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 Post subject: Re: lesson 43 Urges
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:51 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:54 am
Posts: 1377
HI both

Very good posts - and great questions from Ursula that made me wonder about my own recovery. I guess the big question I would ask is: are we ever 100% immune to urges? Or rather - are we ever 100% recovered?

What is more important - to be able to react to negative feelings, or to erradicate those feelings in the first place?

I don't know the answer to these so am raising them! I hope not without hijacking the thread, Jeff.

My feeling is that healthy people experience negative thoughts, sometimes, and have to approach these moments with their values and plans in check. We are not perfect.

At the same time, recovery did erase many of the negative feelings I had - the attraction of escape, pornography. After a while - and many relapses - I realised I could live without it, and had a far better life as a result.

I guess I am asking what expectations do we have about long-term recovery? For me it is a constant work-in-progress. But isnt that what life is too?

Shaw


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 Post subject: Re: lesson 43 Urges
PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 6:39 pm
Posts: 126
This is a very good thread.
The more i continue transitioning to health, the more i can connect to the emotions i had before addiction.
Becoming vulnerable again. Being able to emotionally connect to others.
The more i develop my value based decision making, the less i am vulnerable to pixel erotica.
The same is valid for scanning and other forms of objectifying women.
The more i get rid the emotional short circuit and redevelop emotions, the more others respect
me and ask me for opinions.
Transitioning to health dampened my mood swings highly. Bad mood states occur, but not as often
as during recovery. There are sometimes soft urges, but not strong urges anymore. They become
stronger when i have a cold for example which drains a lot of energy. There are moments where
accidential pixel erotica is altering my neurochemicals - with emotional imbalance for some time
after. I do not act out anymore, but the impact is still there. Not always and not as often as earlier in
transitioning to health. And i think and hope that this will go and further diminish in future.


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 Post subject: Re: lesson 43 Urges
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
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Shaw72 wrote:
I guess the big question I would ask is: are we ever 100% immune to urges? Or rather - are we ever 100% recovered?

What is more important - to be able to react to negative feelings, or to erradicate those feelings in the first place?

This always seems to be a big questions with people in recovery, I know it haunted me also for a while. Do the urges stop? Do we ever fully recover? How perfectly healthy or perfectly normal can we become? I would say that the answer I found for myself is that it does not really matter to me.

My "cookie" seems to be made of love addiction with occasional sprinkles of sex addiction, mainly porn and fantasy. The sex addiction has never really taken off, even though I can see quite a development over time, but it has always been servicing my main love addiction issue which had an interesting twist in committing to "rescue" my romantic partners or just thinking that I was being needed, therefore, I had self-worth. So, while I don't think love addiction and sex addiction are really that different in essence, (IMO they overlap and they compliment each other at times), I speak more from a love addict perspective. For the past 3 years I've been mostly isolated, not much interaction with people/men. It seems that this will be the case for the next 3 or so (foreign country, labour law, blah blah blah). While I've gained insights, I have changed perspectives and priorities and I'm quite confident in my self-awareness and my skills, I lack practice to build upon these. Even isolated as I am, there have been a couple of episodes where I felt the full force of delusional thinking hitting very hard. I can't say that it was difficult to recognize it at once and take control of my thoughts and actions, I kept my awareness and protected myself until the emotions and anxiety subsided. Even in that, I was able to think clearly about my values, and take rational decisions on how to act or respond. The delusional thoughts that I've managed to identify seemed to be easily countered by my recognizing them as such but it did not seem to help with the anxiety and overwhelming emotions in that very moment. I just knew what is happening and I was committed to follow my chosen path and honour myself, but I still had that chocking anxiety ... which I couldn't express better than lost opportunity. I was just reading something last night (from the links you've reposted) and this sentence really hit me hard. I think it was Coach Jon saying something about how addicts need to learn how to cope with loss as a choice instead of loss as a consequence. I think that nails it somehow. Loss as a choice. This should also be a question of practice. And what really helps is that I know that the alternative is not really the promised land, the happiness-ever-after. I know all too well what is behind that door but still, it stings not to open it. The only thing that really assists me is that the relationship I've built with myself from nearly stratch these past three years has proven to be so valuable to myself. I really do care about myself, about my own opinion of myself, about my peace of mind and sense of pride. If I put that in the balance and all I've come to learn, it's really a no brainer. And it does come at the right moment, no matter the overwhelming emotions, my brain is applying what I've learnt, it gives me the inputs, all I have to do is to decide. I do expect that with practice things will get easier but even if they don't, it's ok. I don't need them to. I can manage and I don't see it as a burden for the rest of my life. I don't know about "healthy" people, sometimes it seems we all have some issues or others, maybe I just have an extra sensitivity to this while others have an extra sensitivity to sunlight or suffer from diabetes or who knows what else. We all still need to manage our sensitivities, protect ourselves, make plans to prevent events and deal with aftermaths of things which just happen. It's just life, as you say.

I don't realy know how I would even define being fully recovered. Not having any urges? Not having any delusional thoughts? Ever again? Hard to imagine. I'm sure that even healthy people have thoughts and urges and they objectify others and themselves now and again, sexually and non-sexually. For them it might just be like a drop of water in the middle of the ocean. For me it feels more like a hurricane and I think that in time it will be reduced to light rain. But it's not the whole ocean, not anymore. I can manage the hurricane and keep an eye on it until it dies down with little or no real repercussion on my behaviour, my life or my relationships with others or with myself. It doesn't even seem like an inconvenience and I do not fear these events, I actually welcome them as opportunities to practice life skills and grow resistance. Will it ever end? Does it even matter? Not from where I'm standing. As a recovering perfectionist I try to keep an eye on my thoughts around not being "good enough". It seems to me that wanting or waiting to be "fully" recovered (whatever that means), it sends the message of not being good enough, of having to postpone loving myself until I do achieve that perfect state. I am aware that this can be read as a justification to becoming comfortable with one's addiction and weaknesses and it's upon each and every one to interpret it correctly/how it was meant ... But in my experience you cannot really progress much if you cannot muster some kind of sense of self-love, self-compassion and self-acceptance. I know it seems that the message of accepting ourselves as we are, faults and all, is in contradiction to the message of change and growth, of mustering the motivation to put addiction behind. In my experience they are not necessarily opposites. My commitment to myself and my progress really took off when I started to work on self-acceptance, self-love and self-compassion. There is a fine line between genuine self-compassion followed by the commitement to better yourself and self-pity followed by hopelessness and inactivity. I don't know if I managed to convey the desired message so I would just spell it out ... I am happy with how things are, how I've grown, how I manage to deal with things and it doesn't bother me not even a tiny bit the thought that I might have to put conscious effort and self-awareness into managing the storms in my cup of tea. Actually, I am so very proud and pleased to be able to do it, after having lived for 33 years thinking I am hopeless to what I thought were life's whims. I am no longer sailing on a leaf, barely surviving, I have a big steamboat, one that I build and I love and I hope I will keep sailing a long life.

_________________
"A wholehearted attention feels like the nurturing presence that I always wished I had in a parent. Now I am free to be there for myself in a way that I assumed I needed from someone else." Tara Bennett-Goleman, Emotional Alchemy


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