Recovery Workshop: Lesson Forty-Two

Mastering Rituals and Chains

Take today to review the work that you did in Lessons 24 (Identifying Your Compulsive Elements ) through Lesson 28 (Developing Compulsive Chains).

Ensure that you have a functional understanding of the following:
  1. That the emotions you experience with any compulsive urge are finite. There is a limit to the intensity that can be experienced.
  2. That developing an awareness of this finite intensity is important in reducing the fear and anxiety often produced in a compulsive crisis. This alone plays a critical role in allowing you to effectively manage an urge.
  3. That you can 'measure' the intensity of the emotions you experience and that, while this measurement is subjective, it never-the-less fulfills a practical role in helping you to understand compulsive behavior.
  4. That understanding your compulsive behavior can best be understood in terms of the individual elements that stimulate your emotions; the combining of these elements to form single compulsive rituals; and the combining of these compulsive rituals to form compulsive chains.
  5. That compulsive rituals are the driving force in the development of an addiction. The more they are used to regulate emotions, the more they are relied on to regulate them again.
  6. That compulsive chains are the driving force in an ingrained addiction. They become the primary emotional management strategy employed by the addict.
  7. That learning to measure the intensity of your urges is a mechanical tool used to help you 'demystify' the urge. But, that mechanical tool will quickly transition to a functional awareness of addiction and when it does, you will no longer need to measure your compulsive urges.

Lesson 42 Exercise:

I. If there are any questions that you have about anything related to compulsive chains, rituals, elements and/or measuring emotions...ask them in the community forum and/or our next coaching session. It is essential that you have a working knowledge of these concepts — as they are fundamental to a health-based recovery.

II. In the next coaching session, you will be asked to share the following:

  • to identify the ELEMENTS associated with a simple compulsive ritual that you have previously engaged in (think Wheel of Sexual Compulsivity)
  • to walk through a single compulsive ritual and identify the BEGINNING of that ritual; the POINT OF NO RETURN; and the time that you would CREATE A BREAK
  • To walk through a complex compulsive ritual involving several single rituals in a single event (e.g. porn and alcohol; masturbation and voyeuring)
  • To share the dynamics of a compulsive chain (e.g. multiple rituals) and how that chain effects your overall life management needs/skills
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