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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:52 pm 
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Exercise 30 part 2

Dear me
This is not what I expected to happen. I knew it wouldn’t be predictable, I knew there would be challenges, but I could not have anticipated the challenges I’ve faced in the last 8 years. I thought he was so great, maybe even placed him on a pedestal, and that’s ok… but it made it worse. It was hard to watch everything crumble little by little, and have every last shred of hope grabbed away from me little by little over time. It’s understandable, the depression. It’s OK, what happened. I’m human, like everybody else. I tried, and I was strong, but I think I would be hard pressed to find anyone who could withstand this storm unscathed. Dealing with mom and dad and other dad, dealing with the effects of my previous relationship, our oldest son, dealing with the effects of my entire life… it was all so much to handle, and it’s OK that I started to crumble inside. I think I got so tired of holding everything else up; I had none left to hold myself up. But I persevered, learned, grew, and made myself into who I am now. Though I am not perfect by many, many long shots, I am trying to be better with every day. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed, some days I want to lie in bed and eat and watch tv and play games all day. But for days. Most days I wish I had the motivation I feel like I have inside me somewhere.
In the end though, I can’t. I mean, I can, I could, but to what end? I have to remember who I want to be, who I know I am, and the positive life I’m capable of leading. These challenges sure are tough, and they sure do try to weigh me down – a lot – but if there’s anything I have learned about myself over the years it’s that I’m not content to lie down forever. I need to find some balance between this image I have in my head of the supportive, helpful, resourceful mom of a child with disabilities and a toddler, supportive and accepting of her husband who is struggling as he proceeds through a very crucial turning point in his life, able to support all three of her parents without taking anything personally, and still able to run a successful business, and still finds time for friends, lattes and taking care of herself……….. and realistic expectations based on time, energy, life, current health status, and reality, along with many other outside variables.
Persistence is in my nature, but I need to figure out how to maintain. Sometimes I wonder if I start giving up because I know I can't be perfect.
This letter has gotten a little off track. My actions for now are going to be to find some recommended books to read to help me learn to balance my expectations and my energy. Maybe a book on guilt in there too… I will proceed, there is no turning back, and I’m not unhappy about where I’m going. A lot of bad things have happened in my life, from childhood to present, and it’s not fair. It’s not fair to carry these burdens and this stress, to feel the way I feel about myself sometimes and have the residue of others’ mistakes all over me. It’s not fair to have gone through most of what I’ve been through, and it really just sucks. Do I like the person I’ve become because of all of that? Of course. But I might also have liked the person I became without those things. And it’s Ok to think about that. It’s OK to like… grieve the life I never got. Hmmm…. That’s an interesting perspective I’ve never had before. It’s ok to be mad; it’s ok to acknowledge that I was treated unfairly. Maybe that’s what I need to move on, move forward, and unlock that something I feel like I have inside me that just can’t seem to get its foothold.


I'm not sure if this is within the vein of what the exercise intended me to write...

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-One
A. Previously, you listed the consequences your partner's behavior has had on your life. Today, consider the consequences that your partner's behavior has had on your partner. What consequences of his/her actions has he/she had to face? List both the imposed consequences (i.e. from you, legal, etc.) and the natural consequences (lost respect, shame, etc.)
- Lost respect
- shame
- anger
- depression
- fear
- damaged relationships
- very valuable lost time
- regret
- decline in quality of work
- wasted money
- guilt
- damaged relationships with the kids

B. Review the list above, ensuring that you have made a complete and unbiased inventory of your partner's consequences. After this review, list below any additional consequences that you believe your partner needs to experience in accepting responsibility for their behavior.
I know that this is not an easy question to answer as it requires you to make educated guesses — not certainties. Early in the workshop, you were asked to write a letter from your husband/wife to you — reviewing that letter now should provide an excellent start in helping you to determine what issues might still need to be resolved before you allow yourself to move forward.
- temporarily being separated from me and the kids
- getting in trouble at work

C. In your own words, describe the roles that blame, punishment and/or responsibility have played in response to your partner's behavior.
Using blame and responsibility to make me feel validated in my feelings of pain
Using blame to recognize unresolved feelings
Using blame and responsibility as punishment?

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:25 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-Three
Rather than labeling yourself 'codependent', it is much healthier to think in terms of the patterns that you have engaged in that may be obstructing the recovery and/or healing process.

A. What patterns are you NOW ENGAGING IN that may be impeding the healing/recovery process? What unhealthy roles/thought patterns might you be holding onto?

I recently discovered that I am still very much susceptible to something like micromanaging. It might not be that. but it's the ever-vigilant, obsessive compulsion to check. To know more, and to investigate.

B. Of these patterns/roles, what have you done/think you should do to change them?
In the past I did very well at losing that when I gave up all responsibility for his addiction. Right now it seems like I'm tying my happiness to it, like if he relapses and lies about it, if I just know already on my own it will somehow make things easier. When really they'll be hard either way.
I think I should be focusing on my own values more, returning to proper thought process and stop focusing so much on him. I noticed this today when I spent work hours obsessing over what may or may not be happening. I realized it right away, and I hated that I was doing it. I got up and walked around a bit and when I came back I immediately returned to working, without a second thought.
i don't know why I got caught up in that again the last few days. I've been having stress dreams too about the whole situation.
If I just return to focusing on my own values and happiness, then it won't be as earth shattering when something does happen on his (own) road to recovery. I have to remember the "what can I do?" mantra. Really, there is nothing. If something's going to happen, it will happen regardless of me. So me agonizing is only making things worse, nothing better.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-Four
A. Consider the consequences of your partner's behavior over the course of your lifetime. How might they affect future decisions that you make? What positive roles might these consequences play in your life?

Decisions involving time spent apart for reasons like work, vacation, etc.
Decisions about where to vacation and what kinds of activities to do
What I talk about, movies and tv we watch, magazines/catalogues I buy and bring home or leave out
The things we do together have more meaning

B. Referring specifically to your partner, take some time to consider the addictive patterns over the course of his/her lifetime. Imagine your partner as a child. Imagine them as a teen. Imagine them as an adult. Imagine them in other relationships. Gain a firm grasp as to how similar patterns have helped them to manage their life. What thoughts come to mind?

He was never really taught any proper coping skills, so everything negative in his life that happened just pushed him further and further into the mud.

C. What does it mean to 'humanize' your partner? Why is this important in forgiveness and in seeking closure to the current crisis?

I think humanizing him is me empathizing and understanding how he feels, aside from any relation I have to the situation. He is hurting. While he was hurting me and damaging us and our family, he was hurting and upset and angry with himself. He was lost and feeling bad. I think humanizing him for me has been to understand and remember what it feels like to be in a place like that and see him for the person he is, aside from the mistakes he's made. To be able to see why these things came about in his life, and empathize with how he gradually got to where he was. Everyone has their coping mechanisms, and we all have a different tool set. This was his, as I've had mine. The path and consequences may have been different, but behind it all the stemming emotions are the same. We all know what it feels like to hurt, to feel lost, but we don't all know the best way to cope. And I now know the intense grip this type of addiction can have on you. I find myself feeling very empathetic to him and instead of getting upset, just being there for him when he's had a bad day with regard to his recovery.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:05 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-Five
A. Brainstorm the areas of your relationship that you suspect MIGHT have been influenced by your partner's addiction. You have already documented the consequences of their addiction earlier in the workshop, so there is no need to duplicate your effort here. List only those subtle behaviors associated with sexual addiction that you suspect may have played a role in the following situations:
b. Your partner's sexual desire for you over the course of the relationship
- heavily influenced. If I played into his fantasies and tried to be more faceless our sex life was very different from me trying to just be myself. Sex in the beginning was like a lot of relationships, new and exciting, but he was very "vanilla" and I thought it odd that he wouldn't do anything too adventurous with me sexually. It was actually his keeping those less-vanilla sexual ideas and acts secret with his addiction, part of his addiction and not part of his outer world. It gave me a false sense of security once I believed that for once I had found someone who wasn't overtly sexual toward other women or dehumanizing, as my ex of 6 years was addicted to drugs and porn and I was quite done with all of it. Once I started to discover things about his addiction and sexual interests / preferences, our sex life gradually changed to be more and more 'adventurous' and eventually into extreme as I tried harder and harder to get his attention as it waned from me and back to porn. I kept it up because if I wasn't acting, I didn't feel any interest from him. Even superficial attention is sometimes better (or so it feels at the time) than none at all. I was correct in my suspicions earlier on that he wouldn't branch out sexually with me because that was a part of his secret life.

c. The ten biggest decisions that were made in your relationship (e.g. marriage, childbirth, housing, career)
- He moved away for work when he didn't have to, and he didn't come home as often as he could have.. and I suspected that subconsiously his addiction had a hand in making that decision. His addiction grew to uncontrollable and painful proportions while he lived away for work.
- When he had to move for a new work position we were temporarily in different parts of the country while our house was selling. He could have requested an extension, and there were other options available, but I don't think he was too broken up about being away for work since it was another time when he dove into his addiction without anyone being able to walk in.
- There were a few major financial decisions made that would most likely not have been made were it not for his addiction. Bills were accumulated and purchases made to further his addiction.

d. The seven biggest arguments/conflicts/difficulties that you have had
- His being away for so long when he didn't need to be
- purchases that were otherwise frivolous and damaging to our long term financial well being
- his role in our kids' lives and what kind of father he was becoming
- his inability to maintain a relationship with porn and be there for me with our newborn
- his working away versus trying to do something closer to home

B. If you were granted five specific questions to ask your partner regarding his/her behavior that were guaranteed to be answered honestly, what five questions would you ask? And what do you think the answers are?
1) Are you actually in recovery or are you still lying about porn and masturbation? ((My heart wants to believe I would find out that you're in recovery. My previous experience with you won't allow me to do anything but wish and hope))
2) Are there any secret internet accounts, phones, email addresses, hard drives, storage devices, lockers, briefcases, laptops, memberships, subscriptions, credit cards, loans, or bank accounts that I don't know about? ((I expect that while maybe you don't have anything going right now, there would be some things I didn't know about from before now))
3) Did anything happen that I would be upset about with the girl in Virginia while you were on training course in 2009? ((I think you would tell me that you flirted and allowed yourself to feel attracted to her, that you fantasized about her and enjoyed her advances to a point that would upset me, but not to a point that would have constituted "cheating". Then, as I think about it, I don't think I would be surprised to find out that you 'didn't stop her from making out with you'))
4) How close did you come to cheating on me with any of the girls at your previous workplace? ((I think I would find out the closest you came was masturbating to them, and finding porn stars that looked like them to fantasize with/about... but that no actual "cheating" occurred))
5) Do you know, or have any idea whose blonde hair and earring I found in your bag when you came home from being away on course for 5 weeks last year? ((I believe I would find out that yes, you do know who those belonged to. I don't know if it would turn out to be cheating.. or how it would not turn out to be cheating since I can't think of any other way those things could be so placed in your personal things... but as for knowing who those things belonged to, I do believe you know and will just never tell me))

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:05 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-Five
A. Brainstorm the areas of your relationship that you suspect MIGHT have been influenced by your partner's addiction. You have already documented the consequences of their addiction earlier in the workshop, so there is no need to duplicate your effort here. List only those subtle behaviors associated with sexual addiction that you suspect may have played a role in the following situations:
b. Your partner's sexual desire for you over the course of the relationship
- heavily influenced. If I played into his fantasies and tried to be more faceless our sex life was very different from me trying to just be myself. Sex in the beginning was like a lot of relationships, new and exciting, but he was very "vanilla" and I thought it odd that he wouldn't do anything too adventurous with me sexually. It was actually his keeping those less-vanilla sexual ideas and acts secret with his addiction, part of his addiction and not part of his outer world. It gave me a false sense of security once I believed that for once I had found someone who wasn't overtly sexual toward other women or dehumanizing, as my ex of 6 years was addicted to drugs and porn and I was quite done with all of it. Once I started to discover things about his addiction and sexual interests / preferences, our sex life gradually changed to be more and more 'adventurous' and eventually into extreme as I tried harder and harder to get his attention as it waned from me and back to porn. I kept it up because if I wasn't acting, I didn't feel any interest from him. Even superficial attention is sometimes better (or so it feels at the time) than none at all. I was correct in my suspicions earlier on that he wouldn't branch out sexually with me because that was a part of his secret life.

c. The ten biggest decisions that were made in your relationship (e.g. marriage, childbirth, housing, career)
- He moved away for work when he didn't have to, and he didn't come home as often as he could have.. and I suspected that subconsiously his addiction had a hand in making that decision. His addiction grew to uncontrollable and painful proportions while he lived away for work.
- When he had to move for a new work position we were temporarily in different parts of the country while our house was selling. He could have requested an extension, and there were other options available, but I don't think he was too broken up about being away for work since it was another time when he dove into his addiction without anyone being able to walk in.
- There were a few major financial decisions made that would most likely not have been made were it not for his addiction. Bills were accumulated and purchases made to further his addiction.

d. The seven biggest arguments/conflicts/difficulties that you have had
- His being away for so long when he didn't need to be
- purchases that were otherwise frivolous and damaging to our long term financial well being
- his role in our kids' lives and what kind of father he was becoming
- his inability to maintain a relationship with porn and be there for me with our newborn
- his working away versus trying to do something closer to home

B. If you were granted five specific questions to ask your partner regarding his/her behavior that were guaranteed to be answered honestly, what five questions would you ask? And what do you think the answers are?
1) Are you actually in recovery or are you still lying about porn and masturbation? ((My heart wants to believe I would find out that you're in recovery. My previous experience with you won't allow me to do anything but wish and hope))
2) Are there any secret internet accounts, phones, email addresses, hard drives, storage devices, lockers, briefcases, laptops, memberships, subscriptions, credit cards, loans, or bank accounts that I don't know about? ((I expect that while maybe you don't have anything going right now, there would be some things I didn't know about from before now))
3) Did anything happen that I would be upset about with the girl in Virginia while you were on training course in 2009? ((I think you would tell me that you flirted and allowed yourself to feel attracted to her, that you fantasized about her and enjoyed her advances to a point that would upset me, but not to a point that would have constituted "cheating". Then, as I think about it, I don't think I would be surprised to find out that you 'didn't stop her from making out with you'))
4) How close did you come to cheating on me with any of the girls at your previous workplace? ((I think I would find out the closest you came was masturbating to them, and finding porn stars that looked like them to fantasize with/about... but that no actual "cheating" occurred))
5) Do you know, or have any idea whose blonde hair and earring I found in your bag when you came home from being away on course for 5 weeks last year? ((I believe I would find out that yes, you do know who those belonged to. I don't know if it would turn out to be cheating.. or how it would not turn out to be cheating since I can't think of any other way those things could be so placed in your personal things... but as for knowing who those things belonged to, I do believe you know and will just never tell me))

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:49 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-Six
In this lesson, it was touched upon how your values have most likely been altered as a result of your partner's behavior. Here, we will explore the resulting changes that took place to your value system.
A. Describe three events in your relationship where you had doubts/suspicions about your partner's behavior but made the decision not to confront them.
- When he was away on course I felt like something was wrong, then with other signs it was clear that something was wrong. But since I couldn't prove anything I felt that asking or confronting was only going to serve to make things worse.
- He works on computers from time to time, and I always wonder what he does with them before he formats them or whatever. Mostly I don't ask anymore because if he's in a bad place he'll lie about it and I can't know for sure, so I'll just agonize.
- Movies we have on our home server, the result of backing up a friend's hard drive, that are borderline porn, or otherwise very questionable material. I wonder if he's used those. But I never asked.

1) What did you do? (e.g. tell a friend, eat a double-cheeseburger)
- My solution used to be writing and painting. Healthy things. In later years my solution became drinking. Then it progressed into drinking and watching porn almost in spite. I am also a recovering porn addict and alcoholic now, both developed over the last 5 or 6 years while going through this with my husband.

2) Would your approach change should the situation occur tomorrow? Why or why not?
My approach is ever-evolving. It may not be different now, but I think how I process it would be different. Though, in clearing up the fog surrounding my own morals and values I think I would have taken a period of separation. I don't think I would have let things get so bad that I allow myself to slip into the land of addiction.

B. Discuss your partner's addiction. Given the information that you currently possess, what do you know of your partner's upbringing? Where/when do you think your partner first developed these destructive patterns?
He was treated with disrespect and disdain as a child at times, and was taken away from his comfort system (his grandparents) at the age of 10. I think around that time is when he started looking for an escape, when he had no one left to comfort him. He had a rough time in elementary school until he found some good friends in later grades, but I think by then he had already created a facade to go over his real self, and had already started experimenting with porn. He maintained it as his source of relief and comfort for so many years that by the time we married and I discovered the depth of his addiction he was borderline schizophrenic about his other side. (not clinically obviously. But to illustrate the depth to which he was addicted)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 10:15 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-Seven

A. Consider a behavior that you have engaged in recently that produced some type of positive emotional stimulation. Break this behavior down into its emotional elements. Into the times when emotions were experienced as a result of your actions, thoughts, etc. Ideally, this situation would have between 7-10 emotional elements that you could track throughout the experience. Identify the emotional elements.
Situation: Went to the mall
1. Thought about going to the mall: experienced excitement
2. Thought about my budget being so tight: experienced frustration and anxiety, guilt
3. Thought about the things I should be saving money for: experienced more anxiety and frustration and guilt
4. Made the decision to go: experienced excitement
5. Rummaged through the bins: experienced anticipation and excitement
6. Found a great deal on something I really love / have been wanting: Experienced elation.
7. Knew I was spending money I didn't have: experienced guilt
8. Returned home to look at my budget: experienced anxiety for being behind in my financial goals, but excitement about getting to wear what I bought.

B. Do your best to break down one of your partner's sexually-compulsive behaviors in a similar way. Put yourself in his/her mind, what emotional experiences do you feel he/she experienced throughout the act? Important: break-down only a single behavior — a snapshot in time — not an ongoing pattern of behaviors.

Situation: Watched a questionable movie
1. Thought about watching the movie: experienced excitement
2. Thought about it maybe being a problem: experienced frustration and anxiety, guilt
3. Thought about the reasons why I shouldn't watch it: experienced more anxiety and frustration and guilt
4. Made the decision to watch it: experienced excitement
5. Watched it: experienced anticipation and excitement
6. Come across a few scenes that are triggering: Experienced elation.
7. Knew this might be a problem and that I may have set myself up for failure: experienced guilt
8. Turned it off / finished watching it: experienced anxiety and guilt for setting myself up like that, possibly hurting others down the line because of it, felt excited over new imagery and fantasies

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:11 pm 
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Exercise Thirty-Eight
A. Make a list of the ten biggest stressors in your life that you believe are currently affecting your emotional well-being. For each item, document whether each stressor is mild, moderate, severe or extreme:
Example:
1) Facing the possibility of continued deception....moderate
2) Current health issues and the unknown, and anxiety of the future of my health...extreme
3) Finances...moderate
4) 90 day sex fast...moderate
5) Family obligations...moderate
6) Work...moderate
7) Facing what would happen if I were to discover I am still being lied to...moderate
8)
9)
10)
B. Assign each value to one of the following columns: Plays no role in my emotions; Plays a small role in my emotions; Plays a large role in my emotions; Plays an enormous role in my emotions.
Example:
No Role: extended family
Small Role: Finances, work
Large Role: physcial health, sexual intimacy
Enormous Role: family, self-respect, non-sexual intimacy
C. How would you manage this stress if all but one or two of your most important values were suddenly removed?
About the same as I do now, trying to be mindful, analyze what I can, and try to accept what I can't change and make changes where I can.
D. In your own words, and considering what you have learned so far...what do you think the role of addiction has played in your partner's life?
I think it shaped his personality and became the foundation for his happiness and his day to day enjoyment of life. It shaped his relationships and his feelings about himself, his finances and his value system.

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