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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:05 pm
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Lesson 13 Exercise 2:
II. Consider the values that surround both your healthy and unhealthy patterns. Are they consistent with your current prioritized values? If yes, wonderful. If not, how might this awareness alter how you are currently perceiving/managing your recovery? Share your thoughts in the community forum.
PRIORITIZED VALUES
1. Integrity 2. Courage 3. Family 4. Health 5. Community
UNHEALTHY PATTERNS
• “tends to work through the lessons with sincerity and passion, taking breaks every now and then to deal with "life"...but they never seem to lose that initial commitment that they have made to themselves. If a lesson doesn't make sense, or they feel as if they have not put forth their best effort, they go the extra mile to ask questions, or to return to previous exercises and update them.”
• Individuals who attempt recovery yet continue to struggle with significant patterns of relapse that may last for years at a time. Often it is an "on again/off again" recovery pattern.
• Individuals who attempt recovery yet continue to struggle with significant patterns of relapse that may last for years at a time. Often it is an "on again/off again" recovery pattern.
• Individuals who attempt recovery yet continue to struggle with occasional mild/moderate patterns of relapse. Quite often, it is the abstinence that can last for many years, with relapse coming in binges, rather than sustained patterns. Though it is also an "on again/off again" recovery pattern, the "on again" is most frequently triggered by their own guilt and shame for returning to the behaviors, rather than being caught engaging in such behavior.
The values surrounding this unhealthy pattern involve Integrity, Courage, and Health. When I am in a good place, I recognize that by simply using porn, I am patronizing an industry that is built upon disrespect, humiliation, physical and emotional harm, human trafficking, and dishonesty. Every time I give in to my urges to use porn, I am ignoring my value of integrity, which includes respect, honesty, and doing what I know is the right thing to do. It takes courage to remain committed to following this course faithfully, and to avoid taking breaks, and for the sake of my physical and mental health, I need to follow through on my commitment. I guess what I am realizing is that my commitment to following my values is lacking. What I will do is develop a practice of reviewing my values in depth and going through my proactive action plan as part of my daily routine when I first wake up, along with my breathing exercises and my gratitude list.
• They suspect that they will never be able to overcome their urges.
• Relapse triggers are seen as opportunities to act out
• They perceive "powerlessness" not as absolute powerlessness over their life, but a limited powerlessness over their urges.
• Relapse triggers are feared, and so their lives continue to be altered as a result of addiction
• They tend to focus on controlling past behavior, rather than learning new behavior.
• They consistently measure the success of their recovery through abstinence, rather than emotional stability and personal satisfaction.
These patterns primarily involve courage. I am afraid that I will not be able to do whatever it takes to fully recover. I know that I have the power to change my attitudes and develop healthy responses to compulsive urges to act out, and I know that I am already making good progress in living my values…except when I give in to my urges. So, yes, I do tend to measure my recovery through abstinence. I know that abstinence alone is not recovery, but I believe that true recovery requires, or results in, abstinence. So my logic tells me that if I cannot maintain abstinence, then there is a major flaw in my recovery efforts. I am doing a number of things correctly; now I need to avoid complacency, laziness, and procrastination when working this course.
HEALTHY PATTERNS
• In early recovery, individuals often experience significant doubts relating to their ability to change.
• In early recovery, extremely negative emotions are the norm: especially as they relate to depression, anxiety, and hopelessness.
• In early recovery, they often "test the waters" of recovery by attempting recovery for a few days, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few weeks, then acting out. Attempting recovery for a few months, then acting out. A weaning behavior similar to a toddler giving up a security blanket. They tend to explore many different trigger situations to see how well they can handle themselves. To see "how far they have come". Such behavior is often problematic, but it is a behavior that provides comfort — no matter what stage of healing they may be in.
• Relapse triggers are experienced not as a threat, but an opportunity. (Not there yet, but am trying to adopt this attitude during the time that I am experiencing my present trigger.)
• In early recovery, these individuals may be all across the board in terms of treatment, and may display many similar traits as to those in the "Those Who Will Occasionally Struggle With Relapse" category above.
Again, my integrity, courage, and health play a big part in developing these healthy patterns. I am required continuously to be honest with myself about how well I am following this course, and how well I am really living my values. I cannot fool myself about the nature of a slip, or whether or not I am totally committed to achieving recovery. When fear and doubt make me ask if I can really do this, or if it’s even necessary, then I need to draw upon my courage to replace those feelings with productive feelings and actions. When I am “testing the waters”, I am really trying to decide if I want to give up this compulsive behavior.
• They have accepted that they have struggled with certain immoral behaviors that contradicted their values, but realize that what matters is what they are doing, not what they did. They realize that no successful recovery ever took place by changing the past, only by changing the present.
• Their motivation to recover comes from the desire to live a life that they can be proud of, rather than a desire to create the illusion of a life that they can be proud of.
• They make decisions based on what they believe is the right thing to do, rather than on what they think they can get away with. They know that whether these decisions end up being the right ones or not is irrelevant. That all that matters is that they were made with the right intentions in mind.
• They are not focused on controlling/ending their past behavioral patterns, but on developing new patterns that will take the place of those related to the addiction.
• They perceive "powerlessness" as a temporary term that more accurately describes their lack of skills in managing their urges.
• They recognize that the feelings that they are experiencing are the same feelings that others deal with every day in many different situations. That they are not "defective", but "deficient".
• They recognize failure as a learning experience — but only when that failure occurs with on-the-spot sincerity, as opposed to pre-planned deception.
• They see their lives as a continuous process of growth and development, rather than an episodic book of starts and stops. (e.g. "When I was addicted" "After I recovered").
• They will take a long, hard look at anything associated with their destructive past, and will voluntarily make the decision to remove these objects from their life. This refers to pornography, internet accounts, etc. It does not necessarily refer to affairs where real feelings were experienced/exchanged.
All of these apply to me in one way or another. When I examine where I am now and where I want to be, I try to be courageous and honest about what I am doing. Probably about 95% of the time I do very well in these areas, but as I mentioned above, have a tendency to let down my guard and my resolve. I often let myself get discouraged and wonder “what’s the use?” or let fear and doubt cloud my mind so that I make a half-hearted attempt at using the tools available to me. I think it all boils down to integrity and courage. At this time, all I can think of doing is what I said earlier: I need to really internalize my values by integrating my proactive action plan into my daily life, all day every day.


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