Recovery Workshop: Lesson Fifty-Five

Practical Decision-Making: Past

The next two lessons are designed to provide you with some practical context for the skill of decision-making. If you are comfortable with what you have learned, these lessons may require about five minutes of your time. If you are uncomfortable with these concepts, take as much time as you need to develop this skill.

You have made many decisions in your past that have been greatly influenced by the emotions that you were experiencing at the time. Choose a compulsive sexual event and dissect your decision-making in relation to that event. Look for the following:

  1. Were you aware that you were experiencing a compulsive sexual event at the time?
  2. How intense were the emotions that were triggered by this event — BEFORE you chose to act on it?
  3. At any point did you look to your values in a sincere effort for guidance in your decision-making?
  4. After making the decision to act on this sexual event, how long did the emotions elicited from the event last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. affair lasted two weeks)
  5. In the aftermath, did you make a conscious effort to evaluate the consequences of your decision? If so, what did you conclude? If not, do so now. What were the consequences — even if benign?
  6. If there were consequences, how intense were the emotions elicited from those consequences? How long did they last? Hours, days, weeks, years? (e.g. guilt continues two years later; was caught by wife, distrust continues two years later, lost friendships continue, etc.)

When you have completed this assessment of a past compulsive event and feel comfortable with your overall awareness of the event...choose another. Then another. Continue to assess past events until the areas that you are assessing become ingrained. These are the same areas that you will want to assess in present-day decision-making.

There is no need to document your thoughts. But do approach this exercise with sincerity and effort.

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