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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2016 10:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Hey, it's a tough time right now. I currently moved to a new city and started a new job. This is all a result of my efforts in recovery. It's a direct result of me living to my values. When I came here, one week ago, thinks became super stressful. Moving, starting the job, organizing many things, process the change and caring for myself... I immediately wanted to move on with the workshop and control everything. I soon realized, that this is not possible. I started to think about what I've learned before and began implementing this first. I think of this process as "moving my recovery to this new place". This actually helped a bit, to calm me down. By wednesday things seemed to be a bit better. My compulsive need to fix everything on the spot diminished and I accepted that I don't need to decorate my place within a week and so on. Later that night (of wednesday) I found out I have a hernia from carrying all those boxes. The stress rose again. Then I had problems to cancel the contract with the gym at my old place and more things like that. By friday everything was too much. I gradually slipped into compulsive behavior and ended up looking for porn and masturbated later that night. Don't want to go into that much detail (if you're interested I'll share the more personal part in my recovery thread), this post is more about the general implications of my situation and I hope that some of you can relate to this. Anyway, things are a bit better now and after studying all my recovery materials I feel I know, what I have to do right now. I will not concentrate on doing the lessons, I'll concentrate on managing the "is" with my current healthy means.

But I'm a still bit insecure about my recovery process at the moment. I feel like I can't give 100%. I mean I try, I really try and I'm sincere in my efforts - I think, but it's still hard. One of the last lessons told me to better stop and go back to compulsive behavior, if I'm not able to be completely sincere, which hurt my self-esteem a bit, because it made me think, whether I'm really sincere with my efforts or not. I'm quoting it here:

"That is why this step is a good place to reevaluate how sincere your desire is to recover. If it is strong, then you are about to turn a corner that you will never come back from. If your sincerity has faded (doubts about your ability to recover at this stage are healthy; doubts about your sincerity to recover are not), then stop the illusion of recovery and allow yourself the option of returning to your compulsions full time. You will do more damage to your chances of a permanent recovery, and more damage to those around you, by going through the motions and then failing...than you would by admitting that you are not yet ready."

And now I have a lot of doubts. Before I read that, I never doubted my efforts. Every struggle I had, I saw as a normal bump in the road to a healthy life. Now, in my current situation I don't feel too sure about it anymore. I'm still absolutely certain, that I don't want to go back to the old behavior. I'm still committed. I want this change for me. And I want to be as honest as possible with myself.
I certainly not try to deceive myself, by telling me it's okay to relapse in stressful times. I know, there's no excuse. But I feel like I've done all I've could, but have I really?! I obviously feel weaker than at my parents place. All this change is a lot to handle. So I guess it's just natural, that my skills are really strained in this situation. And overall this situation is actually a good one, I finally started working and I have the opportunity to learn to be responsible on my own. But while I'm able to handle most of it through my new learned behavior, I feel how I slip away into fantasies and other compulsive behaviors, like compulsevely organizing my day or fixing stuff in my new apartment. I try to end this behavior, but there's also some justification going on like "well, how am I supposed to relax, if I not clean this up immediately?". I would lie, If I told you that there are no deceptive thoughts in my head. It's hard for me to completely recognize when I'm not honest with myself. I do try to meditate, take my time and relax. But it's just so much to do... and I'm asking myself, is this a problem with sincerity? Is the lesson right, should I completely go back to compulsive behavior? I feel like this would be the real rationalisation at this point, going back is giving up.

I'm not sure what I need to do. Am I too hard with myself? On the one hand I think, the best is to focus on my values, to implement my action plans as much as possible and to focus especially on serenity and mindfulness. But then again I think this isn't enough. Is my sense of perfection appropriate or is this a situation where it's somewhat okay to just try to keep your head down and sail through? I'm not trying to justify any compulsive behavior. I just want to make the right decision. I don't want to jeopardize my recovery-efforts. And this quote planted a seed of doubt in me. If I really jeopardize my efforts, I would rather stop the process than screw it up. But I also really want to go on, because I think all of this is normal right now. Am I reading too much into that quote? I can't see how it's healthy for me to stop recovery right now and come back to it when the dust has settled. Again, I'm not trying to find a reason to stop recovery. It's more of the opposite, I want to make sure that I'm doing fine. Anyone would like to shed some light on it?

Or does sincerity in the context of this quote just mean how serious I'm about all of this in general? For example, in my current situation I really tried to follow my values and the more I felt the need for compulsive behavior, the more I engaged in proactive actions to manage the situation. But the constant stress (hernia, moving, etc) became more exhausting and I started to feel helpless. With this helplessness came a moment of weakness where I wasn't able to withstand the pressure. I reached the point of no return without noticing it and it was too late. I slipped. All of this wasn't planned like "later when I get back from work I might watch some porn to relax". It was an on the spot compulsive decision, fueled by the thoughts and stress of the former days. So, is my sincerity "untouched" by this current struggle? Sure, it's a hit for my process, but I see it as a chance as well. I learned something about my boundaries and that I should approach things more slowly.
Is the way that lesson talks about sincerity more in regards of "being honest about letting go of your addiction"? So does it mean, in that context, that you show your sincerity by getting rid of everything that provides you with compulsive elements? But struggling as a part of your process, like I do right now, is a different thing?
So, making mistakes, while following your goals with the right intention is another thing, than building a parallel-life of deception where you hide your addictive behavior from your recovery-self - does the quote talk about this problem?

Because when I ask myself if I want to recover, the answer is clear. There's no other option than yes. Two years ago, when I first started, I just practiced abstinence and I wasn't very sincere. But now things are different, especially Stage 2 of the workshop was a real eye opener how my addiction works and I realized how my addiction is intertwined with my childhood problems. Seeing the difference between compulsive and healthy behavior is a huge step and for me there's no turning back. At least on an intellectual level. Physically I need practice, like Stage 3 tells us, acting on our values is a skill that needs practical training. And I think failures like this are normal. If it would be enough to just change your intellectual mindset and be done, we wouldn't need this workshop, would we?

To go back to the initial quote. Am I too hard on myself? Am I making this up to be a problem? Is my understandment of "sincerity" in this context just too unclear? Or is this something I shouldn't take lightly? How do I know if this is just the illusion of recovery or recovery itself? Even though there's a lot of personal anecdote in this post, my main question is about that quote from lesson 32. It just would be great, if you could shed some light on it, in the context of my current situation.

Thanks for your time!


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 2:05 am 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:38 am
Posts: 263
Hi axelswagger,

Sincerity is about knowing deep inside you that you can't go on living with your addiction and that you're going to make every effort possible to get healthy again and turn away from addiction forever. There's some people, like myself included, who started recovery with good intentions but basically I would do one lesson a month and pretty much relapse every month. It's very easy to convince oneself to go through the motions and do the bare minimum because it makes you feel good and the addictive mind is all about feeling good. So I'd do a lesson, feel good, but as soon as the going got tough I'd end up relapsing again because I needed my drug again. I'd feel really motivated after a relapse but then that motivation would fade over time and then I'd just stop caring.

Also, it sounds like you knew you were at high risk for a relapse and you didn't do enough to stop it. Sometimes you've already relapsed a week before you actually watch porn because you start feeling stress and emotionally chaotic and it's so easy to just go through the motions and do the bare minimum knowing perfectly well in the back of your mind what it's going to lead to. You have all the power in the world to stop it but if you make a sort of half-assed attempt at stopping yourself then it's easy to justify the relapse and say "well at least I tried".

If you're truly sincere about recovery then the only thing that should be holding you back is knowledge and practice. You need to finish every lesson of the Recovery Workshop as soon as possible so you can be equipped with all the tools you need for recovery. You also need to keep practicing these tools on a daily basis. If you've finished all the lesson, and you're practicing the tools and still relapsing constantly then you're heart is clearly not in this and you're just making the motions. The frequency of your relapses should be diminishing the more you develop those skills and the farther you get in the workshop. It's still possible that someone can have all the sincerity in the world and relapse if the perfect storm occurs, if someone is in the middle of recovery. But by late recovery, you should have all the self-awareness and good habits in place to keep yourself on track in all situations. So if you're still relapsing on a frequent basis (every few weeks/month) you should really consider re-evaluating your commitment and I'd highly recommend pushing hard to completely finish the workshop and complete a lesson at least one every week if not 2-3 per week.


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PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 4:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 12:47 pm
Posts: 694
Hi axelswagger,
CoachRobert gave you excellent advice, not much to add there.
My personal opinion on this is that you are sincere in your efforts. It's ok if certain paragraphs haunt you, maybe there is something deeper there for you to see and assess in good time. I would add that except in clear cut cases when the person is conscious that they are not really ready to let go, you can accurately assess your sincerity only retrospectively. There were times when I thought I'm being truly sincere but I was really not because fear was driving me and I felt I have no choice. Given the choice (i.e. more pleasure than pain) I would have still probably chosen addictive comfort. But I only understood this when I could look back from a higher level position. Either way I kept moving on as I could, determined that whatever happens I will take the right decision for myself and I would do anything in my power to be there for myself. I think you also want to be there for yourself, care for yourself and grow yourself, more than you want to cling on to delusions and compulsive behaviour. I can vouch that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence once you manage to get in the driver's seat. I've had a couple of wonderful weeks in the midsts of what looks like my life falling apart .. I've never felt more balanced, confident, peaceful, grateful and mindful. This is the result of all the hard work. Hang in there, it gets easier.
Peace!

P.S. IMO perfectionism is not a realistic goal or course of action, it's fuelled by the anxiety of not feeling good enough, and not from embracing our values. Better try to attain a balance between accepting yourself as you are, strengths and weaknesses while gently guiding yourself towards self-improvement. Learn how to love and support yourself compassionately while committing to always do better. It's a process, you will get there.

_________________
"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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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 2:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2015 9:52 am
Posts: 98
Location: Ger
Thanks so much, both of you!

CoachRobert wrote:
Sincerity is about knowing deep inside you that you can't go on living with your addiction and that you're going to make every effort possible to get healthy again and turn away from addiction forever.


Really like how you've worded this. Might be a translation problem but the way the workshop described it, was a bit harder to grasp for me.

CoachRobert wrote:
Also, it sounds like you knew you were at high risk for a relapse and you didn't do enough to stop it. Sometimes you've already relapsed a week before you actually watch porn because you start feeling stress and emotionally chaotic and it's so easy to just go through the motions and do the bare minimum knowing perfectly well in the back of your mind what it's going to lead to. You have all the power in the world to stop it but if you make a sort of half-assed attempt at stopping yourself then it's easy to justify the relapse and say "well at least I tried".


You're definitely right. I actually think that my preparation for all of this wasn't that bad. I made an effort to truly monitor the process of my relocation and tried to apply all my recovery tools. But things got stressfull anyway. And during that stress I kind of missed the forest for the trees. I'm so obsessed with the thought of going the extra mile, doing "everything" I can and mastering everything on the spot, that I make to great demands from myself. Which ultimatelly leads to more stress, which leads to the old behavior. This is definitely an area where I want to improve. Especially since in this area deception and honest intentions get mixed up, which is never a good thing. Sometimes I think about my options for many hours, go through everything and think I got it. But in the end I still honestly forgot about the one thing that would've helped me the most. And other times, I think the answer is right in front of me, so I ignore the compulsiveness right behind me, even though I fully know it's there. I think this is a process where we can only grow through constant learning. Trying to do better every time is my main goal. My key take-away from this paragraph is to reflect more on the recovery process itself. I mean I already do that, but... in a different kind of way. I think about how I can do this or that, how I feel about XYZ, but I should take more time to not only ask "am I doing the right things?" but also ask "am I doing the things right?". I guess the latter is quite important to not fall into the trap of deception.

CoachRobert wrote:
I'd highly recommend pushing hard to completely finish the workshop and complete a lesson at least one every week if not 2-3 per week.


Going to go forward with this. I spent much time on Stage 2, since the workshop stressed the importance of this. So instead of doing lessons I often took time to apply filters to elements or to break down rituals. I guess right now it's more important to just go on with the workshop to get the full picture. Going back to a former lesson is always possible...

ursula wrote:
It's ok if certain paragraphs haunt you, maybe there is something deeper there for you to see and assess in good time.


You're truly a blessing. They way you provoko thoughts in me is quite amazing. I thought about all of this so much... but I never asked myself what really bothers me about that paragraph. Obviously it's my wish to continue that was shaken a bit, but that's a shallow explanation. Don't want to go too much into this, to spare my energy for other things.. But I think in that moment, when I read that, I felt devalued. It was like someone saying to me, after doing this for almost three month now, "well, maybe you're full of sh*t". That definitely hurt me. I want to feel accepted, not "kicked out of the club".

ursula wrote:
Either way I kept moving on as I could, determined that whatever happens I will take the right decision for myself and I would do anything in my power to be there for myself. I think you also want to be there for yourself, care for yourself and grow yourself, more than you want to cling on to delusions and compulsive behaviour.


That was really motivating. When something like this happens, I always ask myself "how should I proceed?". We talked about this in another thread, punishing yourself isn't an option. I think even think about if I'm "allowed" to proceed. But you're right. If you want to be there for yourself and grow, there's no other option than moving on. Even if there might some trouble ahead. We can only learn and grow, as we go on.

ursula wrote:
P.S. IMO perfectionism is not a realistic goal or course of action, it's fuelled by the anxiety of not feeling good enough, and not from embracing our values. Better try to attain a balance between accepting yourself as you are, strengths and weaknesses while gently guiding yourself towards self-improvement. Learn how to love and support yourself compassionately while committing to always do better. It's a process, you will get there.


Another great thing, to add to my list. I think this is one root for my constant over-analyzation. I try to be good enough, in my recovery effort - which isn't neccessarily a bad thing. But it becomes a bad thing, when the anxiety is the main motivator, not the drive to become better.

I think I need to find more balance in regards to all these things. Coming from compulsive behavior, the one thing I really know are the extremes. Black and White. And while things mellow out, through my efforts, there's definitely an old cling to it. Maybe instead of over-analyzing, what's going on with every small factor, I should start by asking wether things are in balance or if there's a hidden driving force like anxiety.

Again, thank you for your input!


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