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Guided's Recovery Thread
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Author:  Guided [ Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:02 am ]
Post subject:  Lesson 27 - Identifying Compulsive Chains

Exercise 27 - Identifying Compulsive Chains

Provide an example of two compulsive chains in your life. The first chain should be where multiple rituals are engaged in simultaneously--thus enhancing the overall amount of stimulation derived from the behavior. The second should be an example of how you have strung together several rituals back-to-back and thus, extended the stimulation you were deriving. Post these examples in your recovery thread.

Chain 1 - Simultaneous Ritual

Porn Browsing Multitasking
This has developed quite subtly over time hand-in-hand with advances in download speed (moving from using a 14.4Kb/s modem to a 5Mb/s broadband) and also browsers offering InPrivate modes and multiple tabs. When I first started looking at internet porn, I would click on one picture, wait for it to download, look at it, then click back and select the next picture. My Compulsive Chain now looks like this:

  1. Power on computer - feelings of excitement about looking at porn
  2. Check email first (another ritual - stimulation received from reading emails, suspense at actually receiving something other than spam for a change). This also delays the ritual, I'm not trying to rush to orgasm as quickly as possible.
  3. Open 2nd tab for usual websites - news, 2 discussion forums, Facebook, Dilbert - all providing stimulation.
  4. These 'safe' websites also provide an alibi if I'm interrupted [Power (getting it right)]
  5. Go and find tissues for orgasm and leave someone discrete on table, or in pocket [sense of anticipation]
  6. Open entirely new browser window in Private mode [Power (getting it right)]
  7. Open 1st tab on website of "Girl next Door" type pictures [PONR], check through weekly free pics for exceptionally attractive girls, right click to open a 2nd tab of one of the girls
  8. Close curtains
  9. Unbutton trousers and give penis single stroke
  10. While 1st tab is loading up, open up a 3rd tab and type website address for a voyeur's site - scroll down to 'joke of the day' - [Sensory]
  11. Click back to tab 2 (now showing 6 thumbnails of girl selected) and click on an image
  12. While that's loading, click tab 3 and select "today's favourites"
  13. While that's loading, open new tab (4) on porn video sharing website [note that I'm working my way slowly up to more stimulating images - girl next door posed pics, voyeur real world pics, video]
  14. While that's loading, tab 3 click on a thumbnail
  15. Back to tab 2 look at image of girl then press back, select next pic
  16. While that's loading, back to tab 4 and review all "now viewing" videos which show a preview when you hover the mouse over them.
  17. May open 1 or more of the videos in new tabs depending on how exciting previews look
  18. If less than 3 videos selected, will also add in search term - could be "Hidden" or "Massage" or "Busty", either that, or click on the link for "today's favourites" - work through as per the "now viewing" screen
  19. As each video starts, click on "pause" to allow video to continue loading so it's ready to play (without interruption) when I come back to it.
  20. Finish off with still image tabs if more thumbnails sufficiently inviting, close those tabs (screen getting a little busy now). This also gives videos time to load up.
  21. Start masturbating more consistently while looking at video files, flicking between them.
  22. Choose most stimulating video to orgasm to, finish off watching the other videos
  23. Hold back orgasm while watching other videos, until ready to finish and watch choosen video
  24. Tilt screen back and stand up to enjoy better orgasm
  25. Enjoy watching ejactulate spurt into tissue
  26. Close "Private" browser window, button up trousers and put tissue in bin (pushing it under so not obviously on top - [Power (getting it right)]

Chain 2 - Sequential Ritual

The Cat's Away Ritual
  1. Knowing that my wife is away, I plan activities and "treats" to avoid ...not sure...feeling lonely, being left with my thoughts, feeling flat? Feelings of anticipation of being able to do whatever I want. [Trigger]
  2. I shop for steak, fresh vegetables and a good bottle of full bodied red wine [PONR] - enjoying shopping for treats and anticipation.
  3. If I'm looking after the kids, I'll get everyone fed - having a large glass of red wine with my meal [Sensory Eating]
  4. Get the kids to bed and enjoy having them to myself, taking time to read more stories than usual, lots of cuddles - experience warm glow of "being a good dad"
  5. Run upstairs and get the computer on and watch a movie. Take a 2nd large glass of red wine up with me. Feeling exciting about having "me time" and sensory enjoyment of wine.
  6. At some point, perhaps end of movie or when I start getting bored of it (if I've seen it before), I'll fire up an internet browser and look through all my usual (safe, non-sexual) websites: Facebook, Hotmail, news, 2 discussion forums, etc. [Sensory - information]
  7. "D" usually assumes if I'm online after 9pm that I'm safe to talk to because if my wife is home, I'm not on the computer in the evening. So she'd usually be the one to initiate a "safe" Facebook chat conversation with "Hi, how's you?" [Moral Conflict, PONR for next Ritual in Chain]
  8. We'll chat about work, family, life in general, what we're doing that evening, where are partners are. [Feelings of connection, being appreciated and wanted]
  9. The conversation turns sexual. I'll document my arousal and describe what I want her to do to me, what I want to do to her, etc
  10. Once I'm really turned on (perhaps enjoying the site and texture of pre-ejaculate fluid at the tip of my penis] I'll open a private browser window
  11. I'll tell "D" what I'm looking at and (perhaps) send her a link to it so she can see the same thing.
  12. I'll orgasm, clean up, etc.
  13. Thank "D" for session and basically make my excuses and leave (ie shut down Facebook window) "must get to bed", etc. Feel guilty about betrayal of marriage vows, obviousness that I'm using "D" since I don't want to hang around once I've got what I want out of her
  14. But I don't go to bed. I'll fire up a computer game and continue playing for at least an hour - maybe 2.
  15. At some point I'll start thinking about going to bed, but first I open up the porn site again and masturbate to orgasm a 2nd time.

Author:  Guided [ Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:36 am ]
Post subject:  Lesson 28 - Developing Compulsive Chains

Exercise 28 - Expanding the Compulsive Chain

1. Develop a compulsive chain of your most recent acting out behavior.

2. Upon completion of this chain, review it to ensure that you can recognize the way that each element affected your emotional state.

3. Thinking as an addict, look for areas within this chain where you could add additional destructive elements that would have (most likely) increased the overall stimulation of the event. The actual events that you add should be realistic, and related to the chain itself. For instance, someone viewing porn might add the element of setting up a Power Point slide show of the images. Someone engaging in escort services might add the element of videotaping the encounters. Share these in your recovery thread.

Beach Voyeur / Sea masturbation

  1. On a visit to a lake side with family. Mixed feelings, mostly happy to be there with them and enjoying the sun, but also a little hemmed in.
  2. Notice young woman walking out of water topless, quick glance. Strong feelings of desire.
  3. Put on sunglasses [PONR] and pretend to look in different direction while actually staring at this woman.
  4. [Added]Take walk along lake side (with sunglasses on) to get a closer look (mixed feelings of crossing a line, added danger, sensory(visual))
  5. Woman goes and lies face down with friends - can't see her. Mixed feelings, missing out on stimulation but also good that I can return my attention to my family.
  6. Periodically look over to see if woman has moved position - feelings of suspense and anticipation.
  7. Kids want to go on paddle boat, mutually agreed decision that I'll swim across lake while wife and kids take paddle boat - feel greatful to have some 'me' time and looking forward to long swim.
  8. Walk into water deliberately not looking at woman (too obvious, not wearing sunglasses)
  9. [Added] Instead look at woman as I walk into water - feelings of excitement, danger.
  10. Swim to other side of the lake, enjoying use of muscles, regulating regular breathing, positive internal running commentary.
  11. Take trunks off [PONR] and enjoy feeling of water against skin
  12. Bit too cold for spontaneous erection, have to manually rub myself to get hard. [Detracting feeling, in warm water would get hard just through being naked]
  13. [Added]Climb out of water to sit on rocks in sunshine - masturbate enjoying sun on naked skin [Sensory (tactile)]
  14. Enjoying being naked and masturbating in nature with water and mountains all around [Sensory (visual) - sense of openess and connection to universe]
  15. Remember previous times of being naked in water (with wife) and masturbating - watching fish swarm around ejaculate.
  16. [Added]Fantasise about woman on lake side coming over for naked swim
  17. [Added]Stroke anus with other hand, insert finger. Enjoy dual sensation, feeling of body being open to water.
  18. Masturbate in water, diving down a few meters on point of orgasm.
  19. Put trunks back on and swim back, meeting family on boat on way. Woman is gone by the time I reach shore.

Author:  Guided [ Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:11 am ]
Post subject:  Lesson 29 - The Role of Emotions

Exercise 29 - The Role of Emotions

The role of emotions in motivating behavior is a critical aspect of understanding addiction. Without emotions, addiction does not exists. Without that intense need, that desire, that craving...addiction does not exist. To better understand this principle, you are going to be asked to do something that will require a signficant emotional effort on your part.

A. Find a place where you will be alone and safe. Ensure that, for the next fifteen minutes, you won't be interrupted for any reason. Fifteen mintues (or longer, but not less than). Then close your eyes and just feel. Think of things that are important to you. Think of your values. Think of your regrets. Think of trauma that you have experienced. Think of wonderful moments. Let yourself experience whatever emotions that come freely. Focus on each of the emotions, and DO NOT OPEN YOUR EYES! (this is an important part of the exercise). Stay in touch with the feelings. Experience the emotions that come with these thoughts. Forget about your physical self...focus only on the emotions that you are experiencing.

Now, consider one of your milder compulsive behaviors. Try to get in touch with the feelings that are generated with this behavior. If you find yourself getting triggered to act, forbid yourself. Then focus on the anxiety that is produced with that decision. Really allow yourself to get in touch with the stress that is building. Consider the reality that, either during this exercise or soon thereafter, you will face the challenge of deciding whether or not you should act on these feelings. Begin to feel the consequences of both your decision to masturbate, and your decision to remain committed to recovery.

After you have done this for fifteen minutes (or longer), and before you engage in any compulsive behavior, open your eyes and complete the following:

A. Describe the emotions that you experienced and the thoughts that triggered them.

B. In assessing your own anxiety, describe the extremes of your personal experiences with anxiety. What has been the least anxious state you have experienced and the most extreme anxious state you have experienced?

I did this exercise last night lying in bed with my wife beside me. It's funny, lookext saw her she really laid into me, asking how I could ruin something, spoil my time, spoil her memories and opinion of me. I remember driving away and stopping the car to cry, sobbing away - feeling guilt, regret, disgust at myself, internal blackness - and promising myself that I wouldn't get into that situation again. Of course I did.

Author:  Guided [ Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:44 am ]
Post subject:  Lesson 31 - Emotional Balance and Stability

Exercise 31 - Emotional Balance and Stability

In learning to effectively manage your life (e.g. maintain relative emotional balance), it is important to develop an ongoing awareness of where the majority of your energy is being exhausted and where it is being derived. In your Personal Recovery Thread:

A. Make a list of all of identifiable stressors that have affected your emotional health over the past week. For each, document whether it is a mild, moderate, severe or extreme stressor. Example: 1) Facing Possible Divorce: extreme; 2) Lost respect among friends and family: moderate

B. Return to your values list created earlier in the workshop. In a healthy life, the majority of energy being drained (e.g. stress) should be related to the pursuit of your highest prioritized values (top fifteen or so). Do you see this pattern in your life? If not, what do you think this means in terms of the way that you are expending your energy?

C. Likewise, in a healthy life, the majority of meaning and stimulation that you gain should also be related to your highest values. Do you see this pattern in your life? If not, what do you think this means in terms of the quality of life you are living?

Share any insights in your Personal Recovery Thread.

A. Stressors that have affected my emotional health over the past week.
  1. Severe - feeling my wife being so distant and emotionally unconnected with me
  2. mild - kids acting up at meal times, being noisy, having to be spoon fed, complaining about food (I'm cooking)
  3. mild - wife ill in bed so I'm handling things eg wood delivery in a foreign language.
  4. mild - not getting time to 'work'
  5. mild - son doesn't want to go to school. Has to be asked 5 times to get dressed, has to be chased around to clean teeth. Cries.
  6. moderate - sexual frustration, finding myself shouting and getting angry very quickly, not being able to use my old self soothing behaviours, porn/masturbation etc.
  7. moderate - taking flack from my wife about my previous behaviour and sexual addiction, also current behaviour, failing to tell her what's going on with me. Getting called a "disgusting piece of shit", etc.
  8. moderate - looking for work, not much coming up. Not hearing back one way or the other from jobs I've applied from. Situation quite difficult as people who pay well don't want to hire remote workers, could mean we have to go back home if I can't make it work out.

B. In a healthy life, the majority of energy being drained (e.g. stress) should be related to the pursuit of your highest prioritized values (top fifteen or so). Do you see this pattern in your life?

My prioritized values can be found here.

My top value is "Working at being the husband my wife deserves" so that covers stressors 1,6 and 7. I feel like I'm in a catch-22 situation at the moment and in a bit of limbo. I've pulled the self-soothing emotional managment tools (porn, masturbation) out of my life but I've not replaced them with anything yet. I want to improve my relationship with my wife, listen to her and put her needs ahead of my own, but I'm all frustrated and see her as my only sexual outlet. And of course with me all testosterony, irritable and sexually needy that's a real turn off for her, ON TOP of my online affair, brothel visit and regular porn habit all coming out -- I'm the last person she wants to have sex with.

My 2nd value is "Being an active engaged parent", so that covers stressors 2 & 5. Nobody says bringing up kids is easy.

3rd value of Spiritual / Personal Development is really also being challenged with stressors 6 & 7. I mean, that's the work, right there. Not running away from it, sitting with those difficult emotions and situations and trying to stay with it, not storming out of the house or yelling at anyone. Hard, emotionally challenging work.

Stressor 3 - wife ill in bed gets covered by values:
4.Honouring my commitments conscientiously esp marriage vows, Being dependable, extending that to being dependable to myself.
7.Helping others without thought of reward.
9.Treating all living things with kindness and equality
13.Being Charitable. Giving freely of myself, without any expectation of return.

Stressors 4 & 8 relating to my work life comes under value 8 -Delivering high quality work of which I'm proud.

C. The majority of meaning and stimulation that you gain should also be related to your highest values. Do you see this pattern in your life?

My wife and I have made a commitment to prioritize our children, so we've moved abroad to a healthy environment where my kids can go to the village school which has 14 children in the entire building. They're really happy, living in nature, learning a foreign language through immersion, coming home for hour and half long lunches with their parents every day, playing in a safe place - few cars, lots of wildlife. So although I have frustrations, I do feel that my life currently reflects that #2 value of "Being an active engaged parent"

The other two big values #1 "Working at being the husband my wife deserves" and #3 "Personal/Spiritual Development" well that's really what I'm living at the moment. I'm not working and she's only working an hour a day or so at home, so we're getting lots of time together and enough time to work on the Recovery Nation course. In some respects it's something of a pressure cooker - no option to "escape" to the office - but that's all good for heating up the alchemical cauldron. It's a good situation for doing The Work.

Basically I'm where I want to be with my life, with the exception of having this whole sexual addiction thing blow up and devastate my wife. But, you know, I'm glad that's come out. It's giving me a chance to do this work that I've obviously needed to do on myself for a long long time, and I'm exciting about the potential for having a truly open and intimate relationship.

Author:  Guided [ Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:52 am ]
Post subject:  Redoing my List of Values

Having worked with my list of values in the previous exercise, I saw that I've got a couple that are basically the same, and I've also missed out how important (and satisfying) moving to a healthy environment has been for me. I'm also getting so much out of doing DIY at the moment (which I'm able to do because I'm not working), so I wanted to reflect that.

  1. Working at being the husband my wife deserves [because when she's happy, I feel loved, which is some childhood issue I need to look into further]
    • Deepening my appreciation of affection, intimacy, nudity, sexual play with wife without further expectations (both giving and receiving).
    • Being affectionate/complimentary with my wife.
    • Touching my wife as she prefers to be touched, reading the moment.
    • Having nothing come between me and my wife
    • Providing a safe environment for my wife
    • Making my wife happy eg talking more (relevant communication)
    • Working for "best sex ever" (by wife's definition)
    • Transparent communication (sending/saying nothing I wouldn't want my wife to know about)
    • Marriage within the context of personal/spiritual development
    • Completing this program
    • Marriage as teamwork - balancing work/house hold chores/childcare.
    • Being supportive of my wife in all aspected of her life
    • Accepting wife's right to be 'critical'.
    • Taking initiative in relationship with wife.
    • Making sure wife knows I cherish both her, and our lives together.
    • Being attracted to my wife on multiple levels.
    • Our future together
    • Allowing my wife to BE, without control or judgement
    • Working towards consistency in what I say, think and feel (eg madonna/whore issues)
    • Expressing satisfaction with my marriage to the rest of the world
    • Being FULLY honest (no half truths or concealments), accepting short term pain this intails.
  2. Being an active engaged parent:
    • Closeness with children / Staying in close contact with the children
    • Being active in children's education, Imparting important values to the children
    • Living abroad, bringing up the children to be bilingual
    • Defining boundaries for the children, applying discipline impersonally
    • Prioritising quality time with the children, giving them "full attention" for a secure start to life where they know they're loved. Being there for them.
  3. Personal/Spiritual Development:
    • Changing when change is required - being adaptable
    • Developing awareness of thoughts / impulses / emotions - esp getting in touch with more subtle emotions, intuition, my "soul speaking".
    • Being present to my body, my life, the world around me. Not living in a dream.
    • Spiritual Growth / Personal Development.
    • Deepening a sense of "connection" to the universe/God.
    • Taking the "right" path, rather than the easy one (eg delayed gratification).
    • Working on conserving mental energy / making best use of time/energy available
    • Practising / Deepening Reiki & Meditation
    • Communicating and expressing myself appropriately in a given situation
    • Developing Emotional Intelligence esp sitting with and breathing through difficult emotions (eg abandonment)
    • Developing awareness of how "what I take" in affects me and influences my subsequent behaviour.
    • Being still, centered and grounded with deep bodily relaxation - radiating an approachable calm confidence. Feeling Joyful, happy, deep down good about myself.
    • Actively working on self and making measurable progress
    • Being grateful and expressing that gratitude to God and the world - giving thanks, esp for wife & kids. Being content with what I have and where I am
    • Honouring Buddhist Precepts (esp Only taking that which is freely given)
  4. Honouring my commitments conscientiously esp marriage vows, Being dependable, extending that to being dependable to myself.
  5. Developing an awareness of other people's state of being / empathy
  6. Developing a deeper interest and eager engagement in the world/people around me, being present and attentive, warm and support friend &neighbour, good listener (boredom avoidance), expressing their value, open hospitality.
  7. Being Charitable. Helping others without thought of reward. Giving freely of myself, without any expectation of return.
  8. Delivering high quality work of which I'm proud
  9. Living and working in a healthy environment, keeping a healthy work/life/money balance.
  10. Treating all living things with kindness and equality (ie not discriminating on looks/sex/age), balancing the needs of others with my own needs.
  11. Having choice - in all things
  12. Having regular contact with my family (parents and sister)
  13. Being Capable - being able to tackle complex DIY projects, making things, cooking, building, fixing things.
  14. Fantasy-free friendships with women - seeing women as people first (not objects)
  15. Being deserving of trust.

Author:  CoachCheryl [ Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Guided's Recovery Thread

WOW!! You have been busy!

Let's set up a call.

Author:  Guided [ Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Lesson 32 - Evolving Your Practical Values

Exercise 32 - Evolving Your Practical Values
1. Early in the workshop, you created approximately fifteen 'proactive action plans' that were intended to list specific steps to take to strengthen certain values that are important to you. Return to these action plans and for each, review your progress. Summarize your progress on your recovery thread.

2. Update your Proactive Action Plans as needed.

My Lesson 7 Prioritized Action plan can be found here. Bascially I have to say that I've not been putting as much energy into this as I could be...just doing the course, looking after the kids and a few full-on DIY projects seems to take up all my time at the moment.
  1. Working at being the husband my wife deserves
    Well at least I can say here that I've been making more of an effort to feed child #2. Most of the problem here is that I'm basically selfish and self centered so when wife is having a go at me, it's all about how upset I am and I don't think "Hey, wife is really upset here, poor her". I wanted a coffee the other day so I made myself one, and then my wife says "Oh, are you making tea?" It totally hadn't even entered my mind that I could be considerate and ask her if she wanted one. I could have kicked myself. But you know, the idea just doesn't pop into my head and I'm not sure how to encourage it to.
  2. Being an active engaged parent:
    Well my son seems to be a bit affected by what's been going on in the home...he's expressing a lot of frustration when he doesn't get his own way and he used to be better at compromise and accepting that some things have to wait until "later". So we're both trying to give him some more quality time. It's not helping that since I've stopped masturbating I'm much quicker to anger and i've been shouting more...but I also apologise fairly quickly for it, and he's getting more hugs. Our daughter seems fine, she's settled into school and we're in a good routine with an afternoon nap etc.
  3. Personal/Spiritual Development:
    Yeah. Not really done anything specific here although I would say that this whole recovery nation course and the unpleasant-but-necessary conversations I've been having with my wife and come under the heading of personal development. I'm getting better at not "shutting down" our discussions when I'm feeling overwhelmed by them. Although I did have quite a blowup the other week where I was screaming into a pillow that gave my wife quite a fright. She just keeps talking past the point where I can't take it anymore.
  4. Honouring my commitments conscientiously esp marriage vows, Being dependable, extending that to being dependable to myself.
    Well I'm sticking with the program. Haven't looked at porn or masturbated since I made that commitment with Coach Cheryl. Have been somewhat better at telling my wife what I'm up to.
  5. Developing an awareness of other people's state of being / empathy
    Yup, I would say I've been better at really "seeing" the people I meet. Taking time to note their state
  6. Developing a deeper interest and eager engagement in the world/people around me, being present and attentive, warm and support friend &neighbour, good listener (boredom avoidance), expressing their value, open hospitality.
    Yeah. I guess I get bored with conversations because I'm not engaged in them. Saw there were sections on communication skills so I'm looking forward to reading a few of those.
  7. Helping others without thought of reward.
    Well this is a value because it's something I'm fairly good at which is probably why I had a hard time thinking of ways to improve it. Saw my neighbour struggling with a tarp the other morning and asked if I could help.
  8. Delivering high quality work of which I'm proud
    Have been better about doing my "todo's" before reading forums/dilbert etc.
  9. Treating all living things with kindness and equality (ie not discriminating on looks/sex/age), balancing the needs of others with my own needs.
    Hmm, haven't done any Reiki for anyone. Have been good at giving food to an abandoned dog that's hanging around at the moment, but that's really because I get a lot out of that emotionally. I relate to dogs.
  10. Having choice - in all things
    Yup, have applied for a few jobs. Not much coming up for remote working. My wife has lost her voice this week so I've certainly been handling all the French interactions
  11. Having regular contact with my parents
    Not done anything about this other than answered the phone for our weekly sunday call.
  12. Having regular contact with my sister
  13. Being Charitable. Giving freely of myself, without any expectation of return.
    Set up a regular donation to recovery nation earlier this evening by coincidence.
  14. Fantasy-free friendships with women - seeing women as people first (not objects)
    Have been fairly good at noticing when I'm tempted to eye someone up and reminding myself that they're a person / mother etc and think about what's possibly going on in their day, their frustrations and demands, difficulties.
  15. Being deserving of trust.
    Actually I had a win of this last week when I suddenly remembered some behaviour that - because the event had not actually happened I hadn't remembered it when recounting my past sexual history - but I'd planned for it to happen (sent emails which weren't replied to) so I knew I had to tell my wife about it. Which I knew was going to start a very uncomfortable conversation and blow away any closeness that we'd been developing but I resolved to do it otherwise I'd be lying to her. Anyway, it was as unpleasant as I expected but I did feel good about clearing the air, doing the right thing, etc.

After redoing my Value list the other evening I'll pull that back in to have another go at my action plan. Watch this space.

Author:  Guided [ Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Exercise 32 Part 2 - Revisited Action Plan

With a couple of items moving around in my Prioritized Values (and as directed in Exercise 32) my action plan needed revisited:

  1. Working at being the husband my wife deserves
    • Stop what I'm doing when my wife comes in for lunch/dinner and "take her in", ask how her work was going.
    • Try for daily thought of "What can I do for L?" - not going to set phone for this one, don't want my life run by a machine.
    • Make sure I feed child #2 and don't leave her doing it.
    • Say something nice on spooning.
  2. Being an active engaged parent:
    • Ask child #1 how his day went, every evening.
    • Take responsibility for starting the "best thing/worst thing" game.
    • Do one workbook exercise with child #1 before dinner - phone alarm set.
    • Involve child #2 with the cooking.
    • Take child #2 to water the garden daily after school drop off.
  3. Personal/Spiritual Development:
    • Set a 10:10am alarm to think more about the course - for the sake of "going the extra mile"
    • Make going out of a doorway a mental trigger to regaining awareness and taking a breath.
    • During the 10am "giving thanks" exercise, start by forming a connection to All Things.
    • Print out this list and read it daily
    • Be aware that having a beer, watching a movie or playing a computer game all make it much less likely that I'll sit down to meditate.
  4. Honouring my commitments conscientiously esp marriage vows, Being dependable, extending that to being dependable to myself.
    • Remember to tell my wife where I'm going and what I'm planning on doing.
    • Print out marriage vows and refer to them daily.
  5. Developing an awareness of other people's state of being / empathy
    • Ask myself "What's going on with X" when either child is crying.
    • Take time to "take in" my wife when I see her.
    • Do a websearch on "how to develop empathy" - update this action plan.
    • Take a minute to look at people's faces (esp in the eye) when I say hello to them.
  6. Developing a deeper interest and eager engagement in the world/people around me, being present and attentive, warm and support friend &neighbour, good listener (boredom avoidance), expressing their value, open hospitality.
    • Look others in the eye when I say hello.
    • Try to get a feel for how they're feeling.
    • Watch for that feeling of getting bored with a conversation, try to get a handle on that.
    • Find out the french for "Good to see you" and use it.
  7. Being Charitable. Helping others without thought of reward. Giving freely of myself, without any expectation of return.
    • When I'm taking someone in, ask myself how I can help them
  8. Delivering high quality work of which I'm proud
    • Make sure I do an hour of work before checking any non-work websites
  9. Living and working in a healthy environment, keeping a healthy work/life/money balance.
  10. Treating all living things with kindness and equality (ie not discriminating on looks/sex/age), balancing the needs of others with my own needs.
    • Think about doing Reiki for the old people in the village here.
  11. Having choice - in all things
    • Do job search 3 times weekly
    • Take "point" on all french speaking interations
  12. Having regular contact with my family (parents and sister)
    • As well as the phone call, send a mid-week email.
    • Sign off call with something like "It was really good to speak to you"
    • Arrange child care for during call so not interrupted.
    • Make sure to ask about husband and kids.
  13. Being Capable - being able to tackle complex DIY projects, making things, cooking, building, fixing things.
  14. Fantasy-free friendships with women - seeing women as people first (not objects)
    • In terms of developing awareness add "wrong looking" to my Lesson 14 daily checklist
    • Discuss women in my life with L. Actually probably just way too early to think about evolving friendships - might put this one on hold for the moment.
    • Rather than just looking, run through who that person is as a story eg Alex is mother to D, married to S; and what they're up to - picking up kids, getting home from work, etc.
  15. Being deserving of trust.
    • On getting into bed do a mental "Anything I've ommitted to tell you" exercise.
    • Be aware of tendency to put a positive spin on my behaviour so as to avoid criticism.
    • Remember to communicate what I'm doing/ where I'm going with my wife.
    • Get on with work first, arrange time for catching up email, dilbert, forums, etc after 1 hour of work.

Author:  Guided [ Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:41 am ]
Post subject:  Lesson 33 - Developing Emotional Maturity

Exercise 33- Developing Emotional Maturity
1. Take this next week to seek out opportunities to deepen an awareness of your emotions--both as they occur and as they can be anticipated. Each day, find at least five opportunities to assess your emotions. Don't do this in, you are about to go to bed and so, you review the day's activities and how you felt about them...this must be done in the here and now.

Additionally, add a few opportunities for developing this awareness by anticipating, role playing common rituals surrounding your past behavior. Or possible future behavior. Consider your emotions at the height of a compulsive urge. On the death of a loved one. On the experience of a child's birth. Think of the extremes.

The insights you are searching for throughout this exercise will be in relation to the finite qualities of emotion; the lack of fear/anxiety that comes with developing confidence in being able to anticipate emotional intensity; and the confidence that comes with the same.

2. Each day over the next three, share a few insights relating to these topics in your personal thread. Insights that you have gained from that particular day's focus.

3. At the end of the week, assess the level of effort you put into this task. Did you remember to consciously seek out such developmental opportunities each of the seven days? Post your assessment in your thread.

Was planning to do some computer work and suddenly aware of a subtle feeling of "Don't want to start because it might not get done perfectly" which was interesting - I know I tend more towards perfectionism that slap-dash-ism, but that's the first time I've noticed it wanting to stop me starting something.

Walking kids to school felt very proud. Later had a moment of feeling quite content with my life.
Urge to masturbate came as soon as I was walking alone after a conversation with my wife which I came away from feeling rejected.

Felt low all day. No emotional support from my wife - "If you're feeling shit that's not my problem". I'm so dependent on her for how I feel; if she's happy with me, I'm happy with me. If she's not happy with me it's like it threatens my whole existence.
Was getting into a sort of "hardened" state where it wasn't bothering me so much. She sofened and started cuddling me in the night.

I guess I'm feeling OK with the idea of limited intensity of emotions. I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen if I just sit and experience these feelings - is my head going to explode? Actually I'm surprised that I don't cry. I've felt a bit teary on a few occasions, but still no tears.

At the end of the week, hmm, I think I probably put about 50% effort into this one, didn't really go full guns on it. The main thing in terms of development opportunities is to sit with the difficult emotions, just accept that they're there.

Something that's come up subsequent to this week is the idea that I don't make all criticism "about me". So when L is (as I see it) having a go at me, instead of just thinking about how bad I feel, trying to see where she's coming from (even from the bottom of a deep dark hole) and ask myself how's she's feeling at that moment.

Author:  Guided [ Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Couple's Workshop - Introduction

Couple's Workshop - Introduction a minimum, your care must include:
  • Feeding your partner a meal with a spoon and/or fork
  • Brushing/combing your partner's hair
  • Brushing your partner's teeth
  • Comfort reading to them for at least fifteen minutes (choose a book/story you think they might enjoy)
Once you have completed this activity, both of you should write up a brief summary of what positive thoughts such dependency on each other triggered and post them in your couple's thread.

I fed L her dinner (including drinking water), then I put the kids to bed while she relaxed. when they were down I put on some music, did the hair brushing then L got a head, hand and foot massage followed by teeth brushing.

It was really nice to (albeit somewhat artificially) get back to something near the intimacy we'd enjoyed prior to D day. I could really imagine myself performing those services for real if L became incapacitated in some way. The feeding went really well, it was quite funny (especially since the kids wanted to know what we were up to!) and we were looking each other in the eye and smiling. I though about us growing old together and it just being the two of us, and I felt happy about that.

Previously we've had issues with: when I do something nice for L (like a massage) then I create the expectation that it's "my turn now" so it was good to have the exercise defined and there be no pressure for sexual favours in return. It felt really good to have L so physically close and do be able to do things for her "for free".

Author:  Guided [ Fri Oct 21, 2011 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Couple's Workshop - Healing Contracts

Couple's Workshop - Healing Contracts

Developing the Contract

I. The first step in developing a healing contract is to clearly document your existing values and boundaries. Again, these are your values--not your partner's and not your relationship's. If you aren't clear what these are, simply list five to ten areas of your life that you value (your values) and ways that you will protect those values (your boundaries).

II. Next, put aside your list and allow yourself to think about the following questions in relation to your partner:
•What behaviors would you find completely unacceptable in your partner?
•What behaviors would cause you to worry about your partner's overall balance?
•What behaviors would symbolize a return to their addiction and/or a detriment to their own healing?
•What healthy behaviors would you like to see from your partner in response to what has been identified above?

In general, we are talking about behaviors related to past destructive patterns, though you do not have to limit yourself to this. Document the behaviors you have come up with.

III. With the above steps completed, your final task is to determine an appropriate response that you will take for each behavior--should it be observed.

My list of values (most recently worked on) is posted here. The thing is; L is very fair and supportive in general, so I can't really imagine her impinging on any of my values. She does insist that I communicate (eg for working out who's looking after the children at which particular time of day) but in general, fairness is something she really champions. We take reasonably even turns at (career) work vs domestic chores - although of course priorities change and that's something I generally feel able to discuss and I never feel forced into anything and/or resentful.

•What behaviors would you find completely unacceptable in your partner?
I think the only thing I can't handle with L is when she's talking at me and I'm feeling emotionally overwhelmed (which happens fairly easily I admit and I'm working on that) and she just keeps going. So I'll say that I need her to stop talking immediately when I ask for a timeout.

Swearing at me or criticizing me in front of (or directly to) the children.

•What behaviors would cause you to worry about your partner's overall balance?
Exhibiting signs of depression: crying; not getting out of bed.

•What behaviors would symbolize a return to their addiction and/or a detriment to their own healing?
Well L is going through quite a few ups and downs at the moment. She's "casting up" my behaviour to me quite regularly and (as I see it) blaming me for lots that's wrong with our relationship but, I mean, I am to blame for much of what's wrong so I sort of accept that although I don't like it. As long as she's talking about it I think that's probably a sign that she's working through her healing in some way shape or form. So I'd only worry if she stopped communicating with me altogether - and I have a hard time imagining that.

•What healthy behaviors would you like to see from your partner in response to what has been identified above?
I think as long as she can respect the "Timeout" request (which would be a defined 5 minute thing and not a complete end to the discussion) and not disrespect me in front of the children (even though I might deserve it) that would be fine with me.

In terms of handling depression, she did have a couple of days (mostly) in bed last week but I think that had a lot to do with finally crashing after several mad weeks (also a member of the family died) and she had a throat infection so I think it was the best thing for her at the time. If there was a return to that I'd probably contact her parents and get them involved, maybe suggest she go and stay with them to be looked after for a few days.

•Determine an appropriate response that you will take for each behavior--should it be observed.

If L were to fail to respect a timeout then I'd expect to leave the situation and not receive any criticism for leaving.

For both that and disrespecting me in front of the children I'd like an apology.

I'd just like to add to this post that I really had to dredge the barrel to come up with these sanctions and I can only think of about 4 occasions in 5 years where I've percieved L as having been disrespectful of me in front of the children.

Author:  Guided [ Sat Oct 29, 2011 1:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Lesson 36 - The Role of Boundaries

Exercise 36 - The Role of Boundaries
I. Describe a scenario from your past where not having a well-defined set of boundaries has prolonged and/or intensified the personal consequences that you have experienced.

At one point during my years long online sex-chat affair with D, I decided that I wanted to "be a better husband and father" and communicated this to D and said I wanted to stop doing the online sex-chat thing with her. Which she disagreed with and because I didn't want to hurt her feelings I didn't break off contact from her completely. So every now and again when I was online late in the evening, a chat window would pop-up from her. I should have been clearer about what I wanted and broken if off completely.

II. Describe a situation in your life where having solid boundaries will assist you in managing the event in such a way as to protect your value system.

I found this one tricky because I'm generally OK with being assertive and communicating what I want and what I don't want so I don't really feel that other people impinge on my value system - it's just my behaviour that bothers me (and other people!). I looked up some other threads (thanks especially to NewMe) for guidance. So it's a bit obvious after L and I working on the couple's contract together, it's now written down that I won't send any emails to any female 'old school friends' without checking with L first.

Author:  Guided [ Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Journal Entry

Had a very mixed few days there. On the one hand L and I took the kids off to a lovely seaside town for a few nights, but I blew up on the way there after (as I saw it) 3 hours of her having a go at me (and got really losing the plot shakey after I told her that I was struggling with it and she (again as I saw it) complained about something else that was annoying her about me) then we had a huge screaming match in the car which necessitated pulling over the car emergency stop style. So that was pretty difficult.

Had something of a breakthrough though (and I added this back to lesson 33) in terms of me starting to think about how upset L is when she's complaining about my previous sexual behaviour and me trying to bear that in mind rather than just holding on to the mind-set that "she's having a go at me".

Also was working with the daily health monitoring goal of "Today I will seek out opportunities to consider what L would think about anything I experience" which I felt I made good progress with, although one evening I forgot about doing it and ordered myself a drink without considering what L might like -- finding my inherently selfish nature is really getting held up in front of me at the moment. Again quite glad that my sexual addiction has come to light because it's giving me a chance to really work on all these other problems in our marriage that were just drifting along.

Author:  Guided [ Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Lesson 37 - Identifying Personal Boundaries

Exercise 37 - Identifying Personal Boundaries
I. List three of your highest values (values prioritized within the top five).

II. For each value, list at least five concrete boundaries (rules) that you will use to protect that value.

III. Absolute boundaries are those boundaries that under no circumstances will you ever cross. These must be realistic AND you must hold them in reverance. Typically, everyone should have at least three such absolute boundaries. List three that you will use to help manage your life.

I recently modified my list of prioritized values which can be found here.

  • Working at being the husband my wife deserves
    • Rule 1: I will apologise and attempt to make ammends whenever I realise I've failed to be considerate of my wife.
    • Rule 2: My wife has the right to complain about things she's not happy with.
    • Rule 3: My wife has the right to feel safe, secure and cherished.
    • Rule 4: I will not touch my wife for what I get out of it. Touch should be a giving, not taking.
    • Rule 5: I will not "sneak off and go on the computer"
    • Rule 6: I will ensure that I maintain a sufficiently healthy mental and physical state to allow me to give the children the attentive care they are entitled to.
  • Being an active engaged parent
    • Rule 1: I will try to work out what's causing the children to act up before I start "dealing" with them.
    • Rule 2: I will apologise if I fail to hear / respond to the children talking to me.
    • Rule 3: House rules stay the same regardless of which parent is implementing them (ie no staying up late watching DVDs when L is away for work)
    • Rule 4: Criticism should be about me rather than them eg "I'm finding it difficult that you're making so much noise" instead of "You're too noisy".
    • Rule 5: I will not "indulge" one child more than the other.
  • Honouring my commitments conscientiously esp marriage vows, Being dependable, extending that to being dependable to myself.
    • Rule 1: I will make sure to discuss where I'm going with my wife before I "disapear"
    • Rule 2: I will do (in good time) the things that I've committed to doing.
    • Rule 3: I will immediately remove my self from any non-safe touch (eg subtle or hidden contact) or touch that I'm finding exciting from anyone other than my wife.
    • Rule 4:
    • Rule 5:

  • Absolute Boundary #1: I will tell my wife about everything that I think she'd want to know about.
  • Absolute Boundary #2: I will not hurt the children, mentally or physically or knowingly put any member of my family into a dangerous situation.
  • Absolute Boundary #3:

Edit: Added enhanced boundaries evolved in Exercise 38.

Author:  Guided [ Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Couple's Recovery: Common Obstacles

Couple's Recovery: Common Obstacles

Rules: In whatever forms you choose (writing them out, recording them on your answering machine, etc.), hide ten compliments/meaningful thoughts for your partner in places you anticipate them accessing over the next week.

I've been really enjoying both thinking about these compliments (have been trying to spread them over all the "hats" my wife wears - professional, mother, lover, daughter, friend, domestic goddess, explorer, spiritual aspirant, althlete, model) and also giggling to myself as I think up more and more places she going to look. I've also generated a few extra notes and hidden them in places that she's not going to look in for several months.

If she doesn't get 10 this week, then we're all going to know that she's not flossing her teeth. ;)

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