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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:01 am 
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(Note: I have completed the partner's workshop on my own and integrate it daily)

We are in the midst of a big life transition, and when that's complete in the new year, I have requested (not demanded) he do the RN workshop, with a weekly check in between us, that I will need to see consistent, demonstrated changes and initiative to see a future for us, and the workshop provides that. He does show some sincerity, awareness of his selfishness, and a stated desire to fight for our marriage, as well as dismay at his own behavior.

My husband's raw intelligence is off the charts. From that, and his cultural background in an oppressive regime, comes a mistrust of anything told to him by a 3rd party (authority). His capacity to critically think for himself is a good trait. But it also shows up as pride, ego, stubbornness and self-righteousness. (Others are seen as less than smart as him).

He said, "OK, I'll do this workshop, but what if I think it's stupid? Since you want honesty here, am I allowed to say that?"

I told him of course he can say that, that I don't want the facade of a change, and I'd just have to see. If he thinks it's stupid, he thinks it's stupid. My best guess is he will heavily balk at the idea he has an addiction, and dismiss it wholesale accordingly. Not much I can do about that besides observe, detach, and do my own continued work.

What I'm seeking community insight on is, if he rejects RN outright (which is his right to do) I am uncertain how else to define "active recovery" to him. I believe he thinks he can change on his own, and perhaps he can. But without a consistent metric like the RN workshop provides, I find it a challenge to articulate to him specifics, (without being responsible for how he recovers) on what I need to see over the course of the next year in terms of growth and change. I've noted to him that stopping porn is not enough.

If he found another progressive framework on his own, that would be fine with me. I do respect his autonomy in choosing a recovery methodology. But winging it, without meaningful structure? I'm open minded, but naturally doubtful.

If he makes no proactive, meaningful values changes over a year, I am mentally ready to move on without him. If there are boundary violations, I can and will enact consequences. However, in respect for his stated desire to try and fix things and to honor my own values, I do wish to spell out my expectations for demonstrated change (and not just avoidance of porn/other stuff) clearly if he decides the workshop is not for him. The term "active recovery" is too vague, especially outside the disease-model framework.

I appreciate others' experiences and thoughts on this.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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hello meepmeep
I saw this a couple of days ago and am surprised that you have not received any responses
I think it is a great and very relevant question to ask

so what is active recovery?

lets start with what it is not
it is not abstinence from sexually compulsive behaviour whether that be at the choice of the addict or at the behest of the addicts partner / spouse

actually IMO the answer is in the question
active recovery needs to be both active, in that the addict needs to be fully committed to change, for his and his alone reasons and of course one of those reasons will likely be not wanting to hurt those that he loves or purport to love
but commitment needs to be demonstrated in actions not in words
and to be progressive
ie there needs to be evidence of that recovery
recovery is a journey, it takes time, sometimes there are eureka moments sometimes baby steps, but progress is recovery

at some point in the journey the addict needs to accept that he/she does not need to act out
he/she can now make the choice that prior to this the addict
really believed that the drug of choice sex needed to be acted upon
at this point they have to choose
if they choose negatively then whatever activity there is recovery will not follow
but and I and many more are living proof of this
choose positively
Wow life is there to behold

_________________
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: Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm
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Hello Kenzo,

Thank you for taking your time and energy to respond. Your perspective is valued and appreciated.

Your thoughts on progressiveness and also recognizing one's own will and agency when it comes to acting out--are helpful.

I especially liked how you closed it with your last line. It is eloquent and thoughtful.

Thank you,
Meepmeep


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 3:22 pm
Posts: 124
Hi meepmeep,

You just summarized my husband. He is incredibly gifted (which I seem to remember reading somewhere is actually a common trait in those with a sexual addiction) and skeptical of "programs."

He tried RN for a short time, for my benefit, but then left it when he asked a question on the boards and got a reality check answer from one of the coaches, which he didn't like.

I suggested an in-person program near us, which he also tried for my benefit, and then left because it was faith-based and run by people who just "read off the presentation slides."

He said he didn't want to do 12 steps because he didn't want to turn himself over to God.

In short, he found reasons for every program not to be right for him.

My boundary for active recovery has been that he must be active in a program that specializes in sexual addiction. I told him it could be the program of his choosing, but that it was the condition of my staying. The reason I put the specializing in sexual addiction clause in there is that we worked with a marriage therapist who didn't understand sexual addiction and it was actually damaging to me.

After his last 6-week intro program finished, he decided not to continue. He told me pretty much what your partner said, which was that he needed to figure it out his own way, even knowing that it meant I'd move out. I agreed and then made plans to separate and move out with my kids. I do wonder if he was trying to call my bluff.

I believe my husband is brilliant enough to come up with his own program or method. It's how Jon did it and RN was formed. Yes, it's possible.

However, whether he actually does it or not is the question. My husband has a lot of big ideas and talks about big plans, but doesn't yet have the courage or wherewithal to act on them. So for me, participating in a program is a tangible ACTION that I can measure. Otherwise, it's all words. Of course, it's not the only measure. I monitor his recovery in the ways the workshop suggests--Is he initiating open conversation instead of waiting for me to ask? Is he taking risks to be vulnerable? Is he taking responsibility for his recovery instead of doing the minimum for my benefit? Is he making active changes in the other areas of his life?

After I decided to stick to my boundary and leave when he wasn't in a program, my husband found a SA therapist on his own who he likes and is seeing weekly. It's the first time he actually found a resource on his own without me. I do see him making progress in tangible ways--helping plan for dinner, making the kids' lunches, doing his homework for therapy, trying to have meaningful conversations with me. But while he is now respecting my boundary to be participating in a recovery program, unfortunately, it has come too late for me. I've already made what I feel is a values-based decision that I need much more from my relationship than this limbo. I rented an apartment and am moving out after the holidays (so my kids won't forever associate Christmas with their parents separating).

So to answer your question about a definition for active recovery, mine has been to be participating regularly in a program of his choice that specializes in sexual addiction and to be implementing the process outside of the program. In other words, not just attending meetings.

In my case, I believe that if I hadn't had this boundary in place and acted on the consequences of not respecting it, my husband would still be in denial and full-blown addiction. It was only after experiencing the coming loss of his family, and me turning his recovery completely over to him that he started stepping up to take responsibility.

The sad thing is that I still love him and his kids adore him. It's such a crying (lots and lots of crying) shame that it came to this, because if he had taken these steps a year ago, I would still be fighting for our relationship. On the other hand, I do feel a huge sense of liberation and am getting pleasure from focusing all my resourcefulness on me for a change--I just practically furnished an entire rental home with free stuff from Craigslist, quite stylishly I might add.

Best of luck to you. It's so, so hard to figure out what's right when you're in the middle of it all, huh? That's why having those well defined boundaries with the courage to act on the consequences has been so invaluable. Good for you for seeking actionable clarity.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:49 pm 
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Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:49 pm
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Hi all,

Quote:
My husband's raw intelligence is off the charts. From that, and his cultural background in an oppressive regime, comes a mistrust of anything told to him by a 3rd party (authority). His capacity to critically think for himself is a good trait. But it also shows up as pride, ego, stubbornness and self-righteousness. (Others are seen as less than smart as him).


This can actually be quite a barrier...pride, stubbornness, and intelligence too. I can't remember who said it (might have been CoachJon), but that the "clever" ones can actually have a harder time recovering (and I have experienced this myself), because you are so good at self-justifying and "outsmarting yourself". However, as can be clearly seen, high intelligence doesn't necessarily translate to high emotional intelligence, which is what is necessary to learn how to manage your life and emotions. Getting over pride is a huge obstacle as well...for me, it took a pretty severe burnout before I realized that I had no idea how to manage my life.

Quote:
I told him of course he can say that, that I don't want the facade of a change, and I'd just have to see. If he thinks it's stupid, he thinks it's stupid. My best guess is he will heavily balk at the idea he has an addiction, and dismiss it wholesale accordingly. Not much I can do about that besides observe, detach, and do my own continued work.


If he thinks the workshop is stupid, that's his prerogative. That's his choice. That can be because he doesn't actually connect with RN (in which case, if he actually wants to change his life, he should keep hunting until he finds a program that does work for him). Most likely though, if he's saying this before even looking at it, this is defensive, avoidant behaviour.

Quote:
My best guess is he will heavily balk at the idea he has an addiction, and dismiss it wholesale accordingly. Not much I can do about that besides observe, detach, and do my own continued work.


Yes, you're also right. One of the differences with RN though is that people do not need to accept that they have an addiction in order to help themselves. It's actually completely irrelevant. All that matters is that they accept that there are parts of their life they wish to change, and that they then commit to changing them. Whether someone truly has an addiction or not, is something that they will usually discover themselves through a sincere recovery process, usually after they've already started to put that behaviour behind them.

So if he balks at the idea that he has an addiction, that is again his prerogative. However, the bottom line is that no matter how smart someone is, if they're engaged in behaviours that are creating negative consequences in their life yet that they can't stop, they are emotionally immature. Of course, they may not want to stop, and that is again their prerogative...he's free to live his life how he wants. However, it then becomes your prerogative as to whether you will accept that or what consequences that could entail (including ending the relationship).

Quote:
What I'm seeking community insight on is, if he rejects RN outright (which is his right to do) I am uncertain how else to define "active recovery" to him. I believe he thinks he can change on his own, and perhaps he can. But without a consistent metric like the RN workshop provides, I find it a challenge to articulate to him specifics, (without being responsible for how he recovers) on what I need to see over the course of the next year in terms of growth and change. I've noted to him that stopping porn is not enough.


Yes, you're right. However, engaging in the workshop itself actually doesn't provide much of a metric to determine how far someone is in recovery. I've seen people who have finished the workshop yet clearly haven't made it past square one. I've also seen people who may only be 15-20 lessons in and are clearly making changes to their lives. People can finish the workshop and have developed no substantial additional understanding of how to manage their life. In fact, depending on intention, some can actually be worse off than before, as some of the concepts in the workshop can actually make people better understand how to intensify their rituals or increase their deception. So it all comes down to intention and motivation. Doing the workshop, attending groups, reading addiction literature...none of these things provides any real indication that a person has any intention to actually change.

What does is in the partner's workshop (I can't remember what lesson, but RisingtoChallenge mentioned the points). Regardless of whether someone is doing the workshop or not, the single best way of recognizing active recovery is a person starting to make changes across all areas of their life. And they do so proactively, without you having to ask or push them. Another good sign would be if during conversations, someone stops halfway through saying what would have been a lie and changes it to the truth. In the same vein, it can also mean improved communication and vulnerability...with someone actively telling you about their struggles and listening, rather than just saying things are "going fine" and keeping to oneself.

This obviously is a bit vague in terms of setting expectations...however, this can be as much as a change in demeanour. When people start to pursue life rather than avoid compulsive behaviour, you may be able to notice a new enthusiasm in them, where they almost become excited about life again. However, you also have the right to set whatever expectations you want, in terms of progress. Just make sure you don't equate him getting through recovery "stuff" (ie. the workshop, attending groups, seeing a therapist, etc.) with actual recovery itself. Active recovery is a bit of a vague term, because it is difficult to quantify...it would look different for each person, based on their own values. However, my guess is that you'd "know it when you see it" based on a sincere change in his demeanour and actions.

RisingtoChallenge:

Quote:
He tried RN for a short time, for my benefit, but then left it when he asked a question on the boards and got a reality check answer from one of the coaches, which he didn't like.


This isn't an issue with RN or the program not being right for him; this is pure avoidance on his part. Anyone who is sincere about wanting help and wanting to change, will let nothing stand in their way. And that includes accepting reality. If he is unwilling to be honest with himself or accept such truths, he stands a very low chance of recovering. As you said though, he was here for your benefit, meaning he was likely here to appease you. In that case, he also stands no chance of recovering until his motivation changes...and if it did, he would likely see the program (and people willing to tell him the truth for his own benefit) in a whole new light.

Quote:
My boundary for active recovery has been that he must be active in a program that specializes in sexual addiction. I told him it could be the program of his choosing, but that it was the condition of my staying...So for me, participating in a program is a tangible ACTION that I can measure....So to answer your question about a definition for active recovery, mine has been to be participating regularly in a program of his choice that specializes in sexual addiction and to be implementing the process outside of the program. In other words, not just attending meetings.


Yes, you're right. The real "action" happens in a person's every day actions and decisions. That is where true recovery occurs. Someone struggling on a daily basis to change their decisions (even when unsuccessful), who is sincere about that struggle and you can tell they're trying, is in a better position than someone who is doing a recovery program, yet is clearly making no effort to change anything in their daily life.

Quote:
I believe my husband is brilliant enough to come up with his own program or method. It's how Jon did it and RN was formed. Yes, it's possible.


Well, it's possible. However, why "reinvent the wheel" if you don't need to? That basically just extends the amount of time spent in misery and unnecessary life consequences. If you read He Danced Alone, even Jon had help...he found out about sexual addiction through Patrick Carnes' book, and had hospital care and therapists (some terrible, others good). And, he was an extraordinarily insightful person. Your husband might be too. But, what happens if he doesn't figure it out on his own? More life and time wasted.

RN is also easily the most personally adaptable program I've seen out there. Really, any other successful program to end addiction (which are out there) would address the same concepts, but may describe them differently. But the workshop eventually becomes your workshop, if you are in real recovery. For instance, I no longer see values the same way as they are described on RN...and that's fine. I've taken what I've learned from the workshop and applied it to my own life and developed my own belief system that works for me. And this is exactly how the program is intended to work. So, could a person come up with a new recovery program from scratch? It's possible, but it's not something I would bet on.

It is good to see that you are feeling liberated and making confident life changes based on your own values, regardless of what your partner is or isn't doing. :g:

Boundless

_________________
"If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where do you expect to find it?" - Dogen

"Be a lamp unto yourself." - Buddha

"The obstacle is the path."


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:45 am 
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Quote:
I find it a challenge to articulate to him specifics, (without being responsible for how he recovers) on what I need to see over the course of the next year in terms of growth and change.
Hmmm. How do your values and boundaries figure in here? You are not managing his recovery by clearly stating your values, boundaries, and consequences you are willing to enforce. It's totally up to him as to whether he honors them or not. From my perspective, this is key in demonstrating healthy growth and change. How you measure this progress - well - for me it boiled down to my H's sincere desire to become healthy which began with his becoming self aware and my sticking to my guns in terms of my vision and values. It certainly didn't happen over night - it was a process.

Hope this helps.
Nellie James


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:26 am 
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Thank you rising, coachboundless, and nellie james for your additional feedback. This thread has been so helpful to me--thank you.

Risingtochallenge:

Quote:
My husband has a lot of big ideas and talks about big plans, but doesn't yet have the courage or wherewithal to act on them. So for me, participating in a program is a tangible ACTION that I can measure. Otherwise, it's all words. Of course, it's not the only measure. I monitor his recovery in the ways the workshop suggests--Is he initiating open conversation instead of waiting for me to ask? Is he taking risks to be vulnerable? Is he taking responsibility for his recovery instead of doing the minimum for my benefit? Is he making active changes in the other areas of his life?


We may be married to the same man ;)

Exactly to all the above. Your metrics, combined with nellie james feedback on values, and an old thread I dug up, helped me see that once he begins RN, if his response is to remain in denial, I will (and I think I will do this anyway) give him a copy of the partner's healing contract. This exercise from the couple's workshop would give me a,concrete, concise foundation that lays out problematic (unbalanced) behaviors, what I find unacceptable (boundaries and consequences) and what choices would indicate progression toward health. I will add a section noting the minimum I need to see happen by end if year to choose to continue the relationship. He can have that, and it's on him to choose what he does with it.

This upholds my values of honesty and directness: I am not left at the end of 2015 thinking, "maybe I should have told him who I am, what I need, and what I cannot live with."

Coachboundless, thank you for the time you took to write a thoughtful and deep response. I very much appreciate the energy you put into this.

Quote:
in which case, if he actually wants to change his life, he should keep hunting until he finds a program that does work for him


This was especially validating for me. If he really desires change, he'd stop at nothing to make that happen. Sincerity is demonstrated by action and motivated intent.

Quote:
All that matters is that they accept that there are parts of their life they wish to change, and that they then commit to changing them.


Agreed. He will likely use his disagreement with the label addiction as an excuse to thrown the whole concept under the bus. It reflects the choice to continue to live in denial and do the minimum necessary for appeasement. I can also see, compassionately, it's a human not ready to take a hard look at himself. But thankfully I now see the greater long-term impact is on him, not me.

Quote:
if they're engaged in behaviours that are creating negative consequences in their life yet that they can't stop, they are emotionally immature.


Here comes the ridiculous illogic. My hunch is, again, he will say he CAN stop, which leaves him with the awkward position of being a person who could stop at any time but continued behavior he admits knew hurt his wife. If not an addict, what does that make him? (I'm asking rhetorically, more to him, than to the group). It makes him Jon's version of the insensitive jerk. And i as his partner am to believe that person just changes his colors overnight? Why now and not before? Good questions for him, of which I am unlikely to get any coherent or reasoned response :ex:

Quote:
I've seen people who have finished the workshop yet clearly haven't made it past square one. I've also seen people who may only be 15-20 lessons in and are clearly making changes to their lives. People can finish the workshop and have developed no substantial additional understanding of how to manage their life. In fact, depending on intention, some can actually be worse off than before, as some of the concepts in the workshop can actually make people better understand how to intensify their rituals or increase their deception.


This insight is a valuable caution to me: thank you.

Your additional specifics on things to observe are gold. Bless you, coachboundless.

Over on an alcoholism recovery site, they've also noted what you wrote: you know it when you see it (true recovery).

I could go on but would be quoting nearly your entire post. Your insights helped me shift further into seeing the validity of my values and boundaries. I am grateful.

Nellie James, your nudge at the end helped me find that old post to get the notion to use the healing contract to articulate my values, observations, and expectations. You know what? So WHAT if I spell them out? It showed me in doing so, I honor me, and what I need now to feel safe and committed to the marriage. Im tired of downplaying or hiding that. It can be shared without emotion or anger, but I do feel now I need to tell/show him "this is me. This is what I value, what I stand for."

One big ah ha that came to me is putting in there it's unacceptable to me to have my values and boundaries minimized, trivialized or scorned (verbally) and I will enact consequences if he does so. This addresses, from the start, I don't find manipulative questioning or rude criticism acceptable and will detach/go off on my own if that kind of violation occurs. This was a revelation for me.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:47 pm 
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Meepmeep and others -

While the workshop does a brilliant job of leading us through the process of defining our values and boundaries, and helping us confidently enact consequences when they are violated, one place where I think life will always remain fuzzy is on this exact topic. I could not have told my husband what I was waiting to see, because I wasn't sure. I knew there was something in him - a brightness in his soul - a joyful way of interacting with life, even through the ups and downs - that I hadn't seen for a long time, couldn't describe, wouldn't want to see him try to "put on," but that I absolutely needed to see before I would have any confidence whether he was really "recovered."

As a partner, you have to live with the uncertainty of whether or not they will choose to recover. Well, I don't think it is unreasonable for the person with SA to live with the uncertainty over whether their "recovery" will be enough. Stay firm on your everyday boundaries, all the little ways you need to be cared for and respected. Observe whether he respects and honors those "minor" boundaries over time - it will give you a huge clue about whether his capacity to see you as a whole person is growing. It is just reality - we cannot know for sure what is happening in secret. So we must tune into what is happening in the open.

When the time comes, trust your gut. Always, always trust your gut. At the end of the first year, I knew my husband was growing and learning; I also knew he was not where I hoped he would get. The progress outweighed what lacked, so I have myself another year. And so on...

Just because he has checked off all the boxes on a worksheet doesn't mean much - and I know you know that. So put much more emphasis on what you see and feel. Give yourself permission to make your own decision after a year - regardless of whether he meets specific requirements or not. Meeting the requirements is only a down-payment, not a paid-in-full.

Just to reiterate it again - trust your gut. It is the best shot you have at knowing what you need to know.
thebagholder


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:51 pm 
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I hope by posting on here, all the wise words on this thread will be bumped up.....just so us newcomers can get better insight!! Thank you all for your continual support and input!!!! :g: :g: :g:

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It is always OK in the end...if it's not OK, it's not the end!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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Hi Kajer
good bump
Quote:
just so us newcomers can get better insight!

actually newcomers and old timers to but getting a better insight is only useful if we act accordingly and for that we need to choose , we also need to accept that both sides have that right of choice

IMO the catalyst needs to be driven by the addict , if we do not choose recovery then we deserve the consequence, but if we do choose recovery we need to accept that the old relationship has fundamentally changed and anything new needs to be rebuilt day by day from ground up

_________________
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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