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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:27 pm 
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Exercise 50 - Values Based Decision-Making

Once you have applied effective urge control--once you have identified the emotional elements of a compulsive urge, isolated the element that exists just prior to the 'point of no return' and put yourself in a position to make a rational decision in what was once a compulsive moment--the next step is to make the decision and accept the consequences for whatever decision you make.

A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)

B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)

C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?


A. On the postive side having to work through the decision making process so consciously I'll be able to increase my level of awareness both of my decision making progress and my behaviour. I'll have a sense of pride in doing the "right thing" and increasing confidence in my ability to avoid acting out.
On the negative side I think I'll feel some frustration, feel like I'm artificially holding myself back from what I "want" to do. Or I might externalise that (since a large part of my motivation is focused on my wife and wanting to keep my kids) and feel frustrated about - what I see as - the limitations and constraints of being married with a family.

B. If I were to make the decision to carry on with a compulsive ritual I'm sure it'd feel good in the immediate short term. However I wouldn't fully enjoy it as I'd be very aware that I would have to face the consequences - either the guilt of lying to my wife, or the consequences of her dissapointment in me if I told her. I'd also be "off the wagon" at that point and have to rework my way through the Recovery Nation material, basically I'd have a lot of emotional work to do.

C. Well the main thing for me with the values based decision making is that I'm developing some sort of decision making process that makes logical sense. That the things I decide to do are in line with the things in my life that I value, and the person that I portray myself to be to others. Currently (although recently I've been experiencing more remorse for my prior behaviour) I have a sense of lightness though having been honest about my behaviour and 'come clean' with my wife.

Continuing with emotional based thinking will put my life backing into that semi-chaotic state of not really understanding why I do the things I do. When I intellectually (verbalised internally) make a decision to do or not do some thing, and then find myself doing something else without really understanding why. And because I know that these behaviours are unacceptable to others, I lie about them and cover them up so I have a feeling that I'm damaging my soul - heaping up the karmic consequences of my deceit and the hurt that I'm causing loved ones.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:01 pm 
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I've got an alarm set for a Sunday evening to do Weekly monitoring and I've finally realised that I don't actually know what it is I'm supposed to be monitoring so I looked back through the lessons to 35 but apparently I didn't do a post on it. So I'll remedy that now:

Weekly Monitoring

For your weekly monitoring, there are four key questions that you must ingrain--as they will be used down the road in helping you to regain balance should that need arise.

Question #1: Over the past seven days, from what areas of my life did I derive the majority of my meaning and fulfillment. Think specific actions you experienced, not general ideals. "On Tuesday, I took out my guitar and just played for my kids. Took the time to teach them a few notes. It was meaningful to me." This, as opposed to...'music, kids...'

Question #2: Over the past seven days, where did the majority of my energy go? As in, was there chronic stress/pressure I had to manage? Were there any major traumatic events? Any intense emotional events?

Question #3: Given the meaning that I derived this week and the events I had to manage--how well did I do in maintaining emotional balance through healthy means? Were there times when my life management skills were inadequate and I ended up turning to artificial means (e.g. compulsive behavior?)

Question #4: Looking ahead to the next seven days, are there any significant events that I need to prepare for, so that I am not caught off guard? Deadlines, reunions, holidays, dates, etc.

Beyond that, monitor anything that is important to you. Your relationships, your health, your progress towards certain goals. Anything can go on your Weekly Monitoring as long as it is consistent with your emerging value system.


For the moment I think I'll just add: #5 Over the past week, how have I been getting on with my wife?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well just a wee starter note to say that I've been looking after the kids on my own for most of this week (and the week before) with my wife being away for work. She came back on Friday along with my mother in law who's staying for 10 days. We get on well and it'll be good to have some extra childcare so that L and I can get on with some long overdue tasks include our tax returns!

#1 Tuesday evening I completed a 3 day project and handed that in for work which was great - got some good feedback on that, boss seemed very happy with it. Think it was Wednesday when the kids came through to my room first thing in the morning and we had some great cuddles - I had one in each arm and it was really heart-warming - almost makes up for them saying my cooking is 'yuk'. DIY tasks have been going well, Friday I got the house nearly spotless and tidied up the garage which has been full of junk and bugging me for quite some time now. Monday child #1 gave me a picture coming home from school that I was really impressed with, oh and today he wrote his name using all joined up letters which was VERY impressive - I felt very proud of him.

#2 This week I've really just been focused on being the domestic god. So I'd say my energy has been put towards (in order): Children, Cooking, Paid Work, Housework, communicating (via skype) with L, computer games. Nothing particularly stressful, just quite tiring and I did get a bit snappy with the children at times, especially if I hadn't slept well and I had quite a few nights of not sleeping for one reason (children) or another (me).

#3 Well given that I was on my own managing the whole show this week I think I did fairly well. Towards the end of the week I was having a beer in the afternoon, and I think I got thorugh about 150g of chocolate. Didn't give in to any compulsive behaviour although I did need to put quite a bit of effort into not looking at a camel toe (labia visible through clothes) on Friday.

#4 Need to get about 4 elapsed days of work done which is in some conflict with also needing to finish off some DIY, do big shopping trip (probably Wednesday) and that Tax Return is still hanging over me like a cloud of doom. Nothing really out of the ordinary. Two family birthdays this week, presents already sent just need to remember to phone them on the day(s).

#5 L was saying she was feeling sick about coming back because while she's away she can almost forget about what's been going on with me. So I felt pretty down about that - obviously i want her to be absolutely desperate to get back to me. We had an argument today about me taking much longer than she expected to send a work email - especially when we both said we weren't going to work this weekend. She made the point that me "disappearing" throws her right back into the shock of knowing about my prior behaviours. We had sex last night (quite hot sex actually) and I often find her a bit irritable with me the next day - I'd been painting for a good 3 hours and she came in to tell me that I wasn't being efficient about it, which annoyed me. She cut my hair this morning which I really appreciated and she was very thoughtful noticing that I was tired late afternoon and getting me to take a break.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:22 pm 
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Exercise 51 - Decision-Making: Identifying the Options

To make a healthy decision--to master the skill of making healthy decisions--you must gain confidence in quickly and accurately identifying what options are available in any given situation, recognize the consequences of those actions, and ultimately, trusting yourself to choose the option best suited to promoting your values.

Share the following in your thread:

A. Consider one of your specific compulsive rituals. Or, if you feel comfortable, consider an entire compulsive chain. Identify the point in that ritual/chain when you should begin considering the options that you have available. What are these options? (consider reasonable options only)

B. Of the options listed above, which would be automatically filtered out because of your boundaries? What would you do in the case of a value conflict? (i.e. when the same option would create both positive and negative influences on your value system)

C. Of the remaining options, what would be the anticipated consequences of the following:

i. You make the decision to act on this option:

ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option:

iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others:

iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret:


A. I'll work with my most common ritual which was watching pornography w/ masturbation which I last discussed in Exercise 45. At stage 3 where the thought pops into my head to look at some pornography my options are:
  1. Go head and look at the pornography and masturbate.
  2. Not look at pornography, find something else to do.
  3. Look at something visually simulating but which wouldn't be classified as porn as such.
  4. Masturbate using fantasy rather than pornography.
  5. Look at pornography briefly, without masturbating.
  6. Discuss how I'm feeling with my wife.

B. Items 1 and 5 would be immediately filtered out due to boundary violation. #4 would be acceptable in terms of boundaries, but I've made a committment to my coach not to masturbate at this time so that's impinging on my value of being trustworth and my personal development goal of doing what I say I'm going to do (and not doing what I say I'm not going to do). #3 I think I'd feel uncomfortable about - very much a case of sticking to the letter of the law. Hotmail has been putting up adverts for lingerie on my screen this week and I've been very aware that the temptation to spend time looking at that is on the same spectrum as looking at porn.

Those choices are all pretty clear cut so I can't see any that would have both a positive and negative influence on my values at the same time, but if such a conflict were to occur I think I'd consider how I'd feel about each option in terms of telling my wife about it - which would I feel better (or less bad) about confessing to?

C Item #6 (Discuss how I'm feeling with my wife) is basically an improvement on #2 so I'll look at that:

i. You make the decision to act on this option: Would be a good move, both in terms of not engaging in addictive behaviour and also working with a daily monitoring goal of sharing what's going on in my head with my wife.

ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option: I'd be leaving myself open to the question "is there anything that you need to tell me" and the criticism associated with not volunteering such information of my own accord.

iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others: Well I think that would be OK (assuming these others are people other than my wife) as most of my friends are aware that I'm working on myself and my marriage. I think I'd be happy for it to be known that I'm working at that level of openness.

iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret: Doesn't apply in this case as following this course of action would automatically stop it being a secret.

Item #3 - Look at something visually simulating but which wouldn't be classified as porn as such.

i. You make the decision to act on this option: I mean I'd know that I was doing it for stimulation and I think it would be on my mind as a guilty secret the next time the "anything you need to tell me" question comes up. Also it's starting to walk a path of habituation - that's ok, lets view something else.

ii. You make the decision NOT to act on this option:
I think I'd feel really good about that - not just "not looking" at porn but also more subtley not objectifying women for my own stimulation. I'm also exercising that will-power muscle, and the more often I do that, the easier making that choice becomes.

iii. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision becomes known by others:
Ah well now. Assuming that someone is my wife then I think it'd be pretty obvious that I'm sticking to the letter of the law and not the spirit so that would bring additional issues in terms of failing to build trust with me being deceitful. It would also be obvious that I'm not making as much progress with my recovery as both of us might be hoping.

iv. You make the decision to act on this option, and that decision remains secret: That's getting pretty close to a boundary because I've made a committment to complete honesty with my wife. The slimey weasel get-out clause on this one is "but there was nothing to tell, it wasn't porn". I'd know. At the moment even looking up a movie on the internet I have the option to click on the actors / actresses involved and I ask myself - am I clicking this link because I'm genuinly interested in this person and what other films there in, or do I just want to look at a picture of an attractive woman?
So the consequences would be: increase in guilt, building up of a bad habit of walking on a thin line.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Exercise 52 - Decision-Making: Isolating the Emotions

This exercise may be difficult for certain types of thinkers, so simply do your best.

1. Consider a situation in life (outside of addiction) where this 'isolation' of feelings/emotions has been known to occur and/or might prove beneficial. For instance, certain Eastern practices where people can isolate the physical pain they are experiencing from their spiritual selves and thus, manage that pain with ease. And no, you can't use that as your example! There are thousands of such potential applications--albeit not as dramatic. Share this in your thread.

What I am looking for is your skill in understanding the concepts involved with isolating emotions and what it will 'look like/feel like' in real life application.


The first example that came to mind was how one (and this is true of myself in the past) deals with an emergency situation. Say you hear your child crying and rush out to find they've broken their arm say, or they've vomited or they're bleeding. The emotion of the situation doesn't really come into play, you just do whatever is needed, whatever needs done at the time to get the child into a stable condition and the help that they require. Because giving in to the emotions, fear, anger and especially panic, wouldn't be of any benefit to the child. You just deal with the situation and then deal with the emotions later.

But I don't know that that's really "isolating" emotions - that's more sort of "not experiencing" them. And I've been quite disconnected from my emotional state, especially avoiding negative emotions for a long time now.

An intellectual "voice" during the heat of battle does come about for me when I'm arguing with my son. Maybe he's broken a brand new toy or something and we're having a fight about it. While on the one hand I'm getting all worked up about it, there's also a part of me that has rational things to say - he's only 5 and, are you THIS angry because it's the correct response, or are you getting extra wound up because you're hungry (we have our worst arguments just before a meal time), or because they woke you up 4 times last night, and so on. A "check" on my emotional state.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:44 pm 
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Let's set up a call, this week if you can. Email me a couple days and times you are available. :)


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 Post subject: Journal Update
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:24 pm 
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Feeling really frustrated today. I've been on house husband duty today and we've been moving rooms around, so lots of lifting while trying to keep the kids occupied. Got to get lunch on the table on time or we all get ratty with being hungry. Painting kept the kids occupied for 30 minutes, then made an apple crumble with them but child #1 was "bored" of that after 5 minutes. Managed to drag them outside for a 20 minute walk only with the promise of watching a DVD if they made it all the way to the end of the path.

So, can't drink, can't have sex, can't look at porn, can't hit anything, can't go swimming. Just lots of "aaaarrrrggghhh" sitting in my major muscle groups with nowhere to go.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:50 pm 
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Exercise 53 - Decision-Making: Making the Decision

When it comes time to actually make the decision as to what action you are going to take next, it is not always easy to separate the healthy options from the destructive ones. The ones based on values versus the ones based on emotions. Often, these two areas overlap. This is where experience, time and a commitment to make what you believe to be the best choice at that time comes in.

A. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbation to be against your values--and therefore, a destructive act. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbating to be within your values--and therefore, a healthy act.

B. In your recovery thread, list other common value conflicts involving sexual and/or romantic behavior that you have found yourself engaged in? Or that you may find yourself engaged in, given your history.

Hint: think romantic relationships, fantasizing, etc.


A. Well I've made a commitment with my Coach that I'm not going to masturbate while I'm working on Recovery Nation except as part of my sex life with my wife so basically any situation where I'm on my own would be against my value #4 of "Honouring my Commitments", also various aspects of value #3 - Spiritual and Personal Development, for example where I said "Taking the 'right' path, rather than the easy one (eg delayed gratification)."

So within my values would be a situation with my wife where she wanted to have an orgasm with my participation and didn't want penetrative sex so I might masturbate at the same time as her, allowing her to watch me since she's said that she finds that a turn on.

B. I think the one I'm really struggling with at the moment is just plain "looking". A woman passing in the street wearing a short skirt, or tight leggings. So on the one hand I know I'm objectifying and 'using' that person for my own gratification which is against my values, and on the other hand, it's a public place, I'm not staring or (I hope) making that person feel uncomfortable and I enjoy looking at them. Deliberately not looking does make me feel good about "doing the right thing", but it takes a lot of energy and I feel like I'm missing out on a opportunity.

That one I've got a handle on, I can see the forces at play in my head. Something I've not got a good understanding of is the subtle games I'm playing, little emotional manipulations, playing to my wife's personal idiosyncracies (eg her playing the "being the carer" role) in order to get her to have sex with me. So that's against my values in that I'm against manipulating people...on the other hand I'm not really aware I'm doing it. In a similar vein, something that's come up (and was coming up around the time that I 'got caught') was that I apparently talk my life down when I'm posting things online - like I'm looking for sympathy or something. I don't say how happy I am with were I live, with my kids, with my wife. And I should do, they're all great. Maybe it's a British thing, I don't like to blow my own horn or make other people feel bad (jealous) by showing off, but reading some things back it's plain that I don't accurately portray my life, it's always got a slight negative spin on it. Often I fail to mention my wife at all, which suggests I was (before I deleted my Facebook account) giving an impression of myself as a single guy. Again this is behaviour I'm not quite fully aware of and it's contravening my values of #1 working at being the husband my wife deserves, #3 Personal/Spiritual Development, #4 Honouring my commitments, #14 Fantasy-free friendships with women and #15 Being deserving of trust


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:46 pm 
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Exercise 54 - Decision-Making: Assessing the Consequences

A. Select a VALUE-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some NEGATIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

Example: Last month, I had the opportunity to take credit for the work of someone else. Because I value the importance of working hard to achieve personal success, I decided not to take such credit. The negative consequences that resulted were that I was not able to experience the accompanying praise from my boss; that I was not given credit that would have enhanced the probability of a promotion; that another coworker was seen as being more talented than me.

B. Select an EMOTION-BASED decision that you have made in the past year. What were some POSITIVE consequences that resulted from that decision?

Example: While surfing the Internet, I was redirected to a site that offered a free week of unlimited online dating services. Though I knew that I had no business being at such a site, I clicked on the link and signed up for the free trial because it sounded like harmless fun. Lying about my marital status, I began searching for people to interact with...and engaged in several online affairs. The positive consequences that resulted were that I felt free and playful. My mind was filled with all sorts of fantasies and the online interactions were intellectually stimulating.

The point to this exercise is to reinforce the reality that most all actions have both positive and negative consequences attached to them. When you evaluate the consequences of a particular decision, it is vital that you take into account all of the consequences--not just those that reinforce what you want to believe. In other words, do not fool yourself into thinking that all value-based action is healthy; and all emotion-based action is destructive. To do so is to destabilize the reality of the life that you are building and ultimately such thinking will lead you to disillusionment and regret.


I've been thinking about this exercise since just before Christmas (it's now 31 Dec) and I think it's the first one I'm going to have to admit defeat on. Perhaps that just goes to underline how wrong it's possible to go (and rare it is to get it right) when one uses emotion based decision making.

A couple of anecdotes have come to mind - but they're both examples of me "trying to do the right thing" and coming to ultimately regret it...although perhaps I could think about the full consequences of the behaviour again to reassess my view on that, because in both situations I ended up not taking advantage of a woman (and my regret is purely focused on me "not getting some") so perhaps this is a good time to revisit those memories.

1. I had a girlfriend of sorts while I was at college. It hadn't really gone anywhere, it was more a friendship that had heavy sexual tension hanging in the air. I think we might have kissed a few times. Anyway, when I was away on summer holidays I kissed (just) a couple of other girls during my travels and wrote to tell her about it - my motivation was that I wanted to be honest, clear my conscience and still keep my relationship going with this first girl. Value based thinking of sorts - but still very selfishly motivated. She didn't take it well; when she next saw me she was shouting, very angry and never spoke to me again. She said she'd been really looking forward to picking up where we'd left off and having her final term with a sex partner, even if the relationship wasn't all that serious. So I felt like - well what was the point of being honest there, I've just shot myself in the foot and I'm missing out here.

When I think back to just about any relationship now, I'm thinking that it was never going to work out because I was using a whole bunch of wrong thinking and not paying any heed to whatever value system I might have held at the time. So it could be seen as a good thing that the relationship ended as soon as it did, and allowed that person to get on with their lives because it was never going to work out with me in the state I was in.

2. The other story was coming at this "missing out" experience from the other angle. I'd been on a 2 week Buddhist retreat course and was in a really good place. Very happy, very content with myself, very centered. I thought I was grounded, but I was maybe actually a bit floaty at the time. I went to stay with a friend of mine and his sister stayed up with me once he went to bed and was being very affectionate with me. She offered me a massage which I turned down because I didn't want to take advantage of her. But she offered! Very out of character for me. I subsequently tried to develop the relationship from a distance with long letters, but she wasn't interested if I wasn't physically nearby.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:39 pm 
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Exercise 57 - Reactive Action Plans

Create an action plan for managing your most common compulsive ritual using the following guide:

1) Define the situation. Be as specific and graphic as you can--as it is the stimuli that you are striving to change your emotional associations with.

2) Evaluate all realistic options.

3) Evaluate the potential consequences of the option(s) that you choose.

4) Make a decision as to which value-based option you would choose. Once you have selected an option, role-play the situation over and over again in your mind--seeing yourself choosing this option every time.

5) Optional: Keep a journal of different situations, options, choices, etc.


1 Situation: I'm standing outside of a set of woman's changing rooms in a clothes store while my wife is trying something on. I glance around and notice that one of the other changing room curtains is not fully closed, and I can see a woman in there undressing.

2 Realistic Options:
  • Move so that I can get a better view of the woman
  • Turn my back on all the changing rooms
  • Move so that my vision of the woman is obscured

3. Consequences:
  • Staying to watch:
    • Would have to tell my wife about it. Behaviour would be designed for sexual stimulation and as such would break the couples contract we have - especially bad due to taking advantage of a woman in a vulnerable position.
    • Woman could see me and complain to staff - definite embarassment, possible further trouble.
    • Wife could spot me doing it - see first consequence only possibly worse because I've been "caught"
  • Turning my back:
    • Would look "moral" to anyone watching
    • Means I'm setting myself a clear line - turning back around would be crossing it.
    • Has "feel good" factor, respecting other's right to privacy.
  • Obscuring View:
    • It may not be obvious to a 3rd party (including the woman herself) what my line of sight might be, and this could make them feel uncomfortable.
    • Putting myself in a tempting situation to "have a glance" - say as I move to look at what my wife is trying on.
    • Has benefit of being able to tell wife about my behaviour without negative consequences.

4. Option chosen: Turn my back on the changing rooms.

Additionally I've been working recently with using that urge to look at a woman as a trigger for getting in touch with my connection to the Universe (or God, or Myself depending on how you see these things) which I've had some success with.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Exercise 58 - Constructing Reactive Action Plans

Define the five rituals that you will most likely face in the next two years. For each, develop an action plan in five minutes or less...that focuses specifically on the immediate action you will take upon the awareness of the ritual; the anticipated emotions you will feel after you engage in that behavior; and the likely mind-games that you will play to get you to abandon your values-based decision making for emotion based decision making.

Edit: Added 5 March 2012

#1
Possible Situation: Wife is away for work and I've got time to myself in the evening. Bored, I'll likely randomly surf about the internet, eg looking at Robot Chicken clips on YouTube

Danger Point: Thumbnails down side offer a slippery slope towards Pornography eg woman in underwear with caption "Lost 15lbs in 2 months" or "Amazing Adverts" with a picture of a woman in a bikini.

Preventative Measures: For every clip clicked, ask myself "Why am I clicking on this? Is my main motivation because it looks funny, because it's interesting or because I think I'm likely going to find it sexually stimulating?". Remind myself that will power (and it's opposite - bad habits) are like a muscle and that the more I make the "right choice" the more I reinforce that pathway in my brain and the easier that choice will be to make the next time. Remind myself of the line in my Partnership Contract that says: To actively work at recognising thought patterns and behaviours that elicit a “sexual buzz” and working with that – bringing my values to mind, discussing with L, getting in touch with my centred self.

Edit: Added 8 March 2012

#2
Possible Situation: L busy, starting to feel a bit neglected. Receive an email from a (female) old school colleague.

Danger Point: Risk that I'd enjoy the attention and reply, seeking to develop some sort of connection - and fail to tell L about it.

Preventative Measures: Set personal boundary rule - any social email received from a woman should be forwarded to L and we can discuss if that person would be a "friend to our marriage" or not. On reading the email, recognise that it's my "neediness" which is the main driver for wanting to respond. Remember the consequences both of starting a relationship that cannot continue, and the problems associated with trying to back track when wrong decisions have been made. Also remember contract made with L.

#3
Possible Situation: A neighbour walks out in the morning wearing a t-shirt without a bra.

Danger Point: I stare, or look repeatedly and make them feel uncomfortable.

Preventative Measures: Get in touch with my connection to the universe and remember that will power is a muscle that gets stronger with use. Use flat out self control to look anywhere else - preferably looking them in the eye.

#4
Possible Situation: I find myself in the situation where I've contravened an article of agreement in my Partnership Contract.

Danger Point: I'm considering not telling my wife about the transgression, in order to avoid unpleasant consequences.

Preventative Measures:
Reflect on the following -
  • That avoiding consequences was what marked most of the major blows up in my addiction
  • That proving that I can be honest even when the consequences are seriously against me would be a good indictator to my wife that I'm making real progress.
  • That my transition to a healthy life is more important that the downside of whatever "punishment" is indicated.
  • That "being a liar" is against my stated value system.
  • That having that lie (lying by ommission) between us will fester and cause further deterioation in our marriage
  • That I may be either found out, or asked directly at some point in the future eg "anything you're not telling me" which would lead to more serious consequences.

#5
Possible Situation:I'm in a situation where I'm on my own and a woman makes a pass at me - either verbally (eg offer of "no strings attached" sex) or by touch, or by extended eye contact.

Danger Point: Failing to make it obvious that I'm not available and not interested.

Preventative Measures: Boundary - standard response is to use humour and say "Are you flirting with me?" and hold up my wedding ring. Leave the situation, get on phone to L asap. Avoid alcohol.
-- Need to role play this one. Unlikely though this situation might seem.


Last edited by Guided on Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:22 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:10 pm 
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I've started working on not making it "all about me". Specifically, when my wife is upset, trying to stay present and aware of what she's going through and comforting her (which is really hard, since I'm the one who's caused the problem) without withdrawing into my own upset.

I'm starting to really see how I derail our interactions by getting upset. And this has been an (ultimately unhelpful but unfortunately) effective strategy because it shifts my wife back into "Caring Mode" - which is one of her main strengths, which gets her "off my back" as far as the distress the conversation is causing me goes, but of course that's not encouraging me to develop any emotional resilence, and it's not allowing my wife to really process her emotions.

I had a funny experience the other day when we'd had a discussion that I was feeling a bit ... churney... after, and I went to chop logs, doing something useful and physical. And I suddenly felt overwhelmingly upset and I didn't know why. I wondered if, in fact, I was picking up on my wife's emotional state rather than my own. Like I'm confusing the emotions elicited by an empathic response. Anyhoo, the next time we're talking I'm going to try to pay more attention to exactly who is upset, and try and focus more on her feelings than my own. As a way of bringing things back towards the centre point of balance because currently when I'm upset that pretty much takes over everything.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:28 am 
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Feeling pretty strong about this - at this moment I can't imagine turning my back on my recovery and giving up that feeling of excitement about the potential of how good my relationship with my wife could be.

Exercise 62

Develop three-five 'most-likely' scenarios where you might face relapse. Role play (in your head or with someone you trust) how you will manage these situations.


Scenario #1 - "Not Porn"

In this scenario (which I'm currently having to address mentally), I'm using the internet / fashion magazines for sexual stimulation although of course I'm "not looking at porn". So I'm setting Google on find images and typing in the name of some actress that springs to mind. So although I'm "not looking at porn" I'm still behaving in a way who's primary motivator is for sexual (if low level) stimulation. And that's a slippery slope as I have more interest is the more sexualised images, so I might add the word "hot" (not an explicitly sexual term so I tell myself that's OK) to my search to get more of the images I want. And then I'm really spending my time treading a very fine line between what's technically porn and what's not. I think a good question for me would be - what would Sunshine think if she looked through your browsing history today?

Scenario #2 - Chance Encounter

The thing is that - for example - coming across an open window with a woman in a state of undress would be more of a slip than an actual relapse. I guess for it to be a relapse it would have to be a situation where I had a chance of seeing that person fairly regularly and I'd be adjusting my routine so that I could look at them - ie making the choice to act out.

I think this one needs a bit of mental role playing to get some confidence with, because right now the possibility of seeing naked flesh is still making my head turn. I'll talk it over with Sunshine when she gets back.

Scenario #3 - Falling in Love

The thing about the above two scenarios is that I see them as slips, rather than behaviour that would cause me to fully relapse. However I've been thinking about this for a few days and - unlikely as it might seem at the moment, falling in love with someone else would cause such irreversable chaos in my life that I'd call it a relapse. I can't imagine it happening - although a contributing factor to that is that I'm living in a small village where everybody knows everything that's going on plus I don't speak the language so the communication in any such relationship would be limited at best.

It has happened before - when I'd been living with S for a couple of years, I (thought) I fell in love with C (this was in 2004) and covered it up, went to a session of couple's counselling with S - she thought that we could work on the issues we were having, but the issue was that I'd already emotionally moved on and there was no way back from that. I remember how that happened though - it was her touch that I found electric. So I think I can do a good proactive action plan around that situation. The funny thing is that when S moved out and I had C properly in my life, we had even worse communication issues than I had with S (for example she got really upset about some discussion involving having children but wouldn't tell me why) and my guilt about the breakup with S meant I couldn't relax into a relationship with C and I ended that one too.


Explore one unlikely situation where you might face relapse. A situation that you couldn't possibly prepare for. Will your Relapse Plan allow you to manage it? Why or why not?


Last edited by Guided on Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Points to bear in mind:
  • That I'm going to feel a bit lost and low and that's fine - I should be getting in touch with that feeling and sit with it.

The main thing that seems to happen when Sunshine is away is that I stay up far far to late several nights in a row. I don't know if I'm using being completely exhausted as a way of dealing with things - putting myself into a crisis so that all I have to focus on is the crisis - not giving myself any space to really experience myself?

Main general aims for this week (remembering to phrase my ambitions in the positive):
  • Give the children lots of my time and attention.
  • Get things ready on time - clothes the night before, meals on time.
  • Keep a clear head and healthy body - good rest, good water


Last edited by Guided on Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:44 am 
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Exercise 63 - Health Monitoring IV

Evolve Your Weekly Monitoring

Review your current weekly monitoring and assess whether or not the areas you are assessing are 1) necessary and 2) adequate in strengthening your value system.


Ok, so referring back to my weekly monitoring which was Lesson 35 and doing a re-write:
  1. Over the past week, how have I been getting on with my wife? How connected do I feel to her? What have I been doing about this?
  2. How is my relationship with my children?
  3. Over the past seven days, from what areas of my life did I derive the majority of my meaning and fulfillment. Specific actions experienced, not general ideals.
  4. How balanced have I been feeling this week, where have I been putting my energy?
  5. How still have I been - just experiencing my emotional state without using avoidant behaviour?
  6. Looking ahead to the next seven days, are there any significant events or anticipated stressors or triggers for which a proactive action plan would be useful?


Last edited by Guided on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:05 am 
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Should I find myself starting to think about a person more than just in passing, ask myself the following questions:
  • How are Sunshine and I getting on?
  • Has / is Sunshine away at the moment - if so, have I been acknowledging the void that this creates?
  • Do I feel like I'm getting attention from Sunshine at the moment
  • How much physical touch have I been getting lately? Have I brought this up with Sunshine?

Also take the following actions:
  • Review my list of values
  • Review my Healing Contract - in particular to remind myself that contacting women without my wife's approval would be in breach.


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