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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
It took me a while to notice I got my account approved so I am going to post a few lessons back to back. Happy to be here though and to learn about recovery.

I have been regularly watching porn for the past 14 years of my life. I used it as a way of release when I was bored (when I was younger) or about to fall asleep. I used to battle with feeling bad about it but ultimately figured "what's the harm?" or maybe I just tricked myself into that thought. For me it was all about just getting that one release then going to sleep. I never thought about it at work or planned my days around it. It was just the thing I did at home before bed that had no affect on the rest of my life or so I thought.

I started dating the woman that would be my wife a little over a year ago. She is perfect. Like even the word perfect does not adequately describe how perfect she is. She is also the first really adult relationship that I had ever had. I tried to stop when we started dating but ended up relapsing and going with that same line "what's the harm?". She told me several times that if I had a problem with porn or lust that I should just tell her so we can be over. I would always deny it and think it would be dealt with before we got married. This continued up until two days before our wedding. After we got married, I cannot explain the difference that occurred in me. I had been trying to walk back to God before this and realign my life but it was as if at the moment of marriage a lot of things started changing.

I ended up telling a truth wrap in a lie to her three days into our marriage. She asked that same question, "did you watch porn while we were dating?" and this time I said yes. I tried to minimize it with an elaborate story about how it happened at a weak time in our relationship. I thought if I can just admit that I screwed up, even wrapping it in a lie that it only happened once, that it would count as admitting everything and we can move on from there. Well I ended up going to a camp for men with sexual addictions a few weeks later and the whole time God was nagging, "Tell her the truth about it." I learned about full disclosure and planned on doing it by the book (writing it down, getting a counselor to be there to ease the blow, etc) but before it got that far, in a night of question after question, I told the truth. It crushed her. That's not the right word. It PULVERIZED her. She crumbled inside. I knew at that moment that the noose that held me in the addiction was gone but at what cost? I had basically killed the woman that I loved.

From that night on, I have been working through recovery. I have been trying to find healing for myself and for her. One day I know that we can rebuild something. I find in me none of the desires that were there before. I haven't experienced cravings or even had to really wrestle with past images. It's been 70+ days but I don't know if this is the norm. I just know that I have no option but to get better. I can never bring devastation to my life or the lives of those around me like I did.

Lesson 1

  1. I am actively committed. There is nothing that will stop me from this recovery. I know that my relationship with God relies on it as well as my relationship with my wife. This addiction has taken so much from me without me even realizing it until it was too late. I will not allow the pattern to continue.
  2. I believe that guilt is feeling bad for my actions but shame is feeling less as a person. Guilt for me is an indicator that I need to do better but shame will hold me back and keep me in the cycle. I am finding my identity in who God says I am. Shame cannot live in that.
  3. This is the hardest part for me. I know that it will take time to change but I want it to be done now. I feel different already. So many of the thoughts and habits that used to rule my life (fantasizing, checking out other women, the urge to go to porn) have already faded away. From what I understand this is normal in the process but does not mean that they will not come back. I will continue to work the process and put this all behind me.


Last edited by barnsey on Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 2

I see a vision of photos. Photos that, if this addiction isn’t conquered, will never be taken. I see a photo of my wife smiling her dazziling smile again. She is looking up at me with love and pure joy because I devoted myself to her in everything and set her needs above my own. We have drawn closer to God and closer to each other as we
actively pursue healing. A new level of intimacy and love has been found because I continued to seek her in her hurt and love her no matter what.
I see photos of my yet-to-be-born children and their children. I see them standing pure and whole because their father took this generational iniquity and stopped it. He stood in the gap to bring freedom to them all. He made recovery a priority so that the devastation was never known in their lifetime.
I see a photo of me preaching my story to my old bible college as I share the devastating effects of porn addiction but also the overwhelming love and mercy of God. He has come through again and again and this photo serves as a snapshot of the relationship that I have been building with Him for He is my source. I have devoted myself to daily time in prayer and reading of His word to ingrain it in myself.
Finally, I see a photo of myself. Standing tall and strong and old. Unshackled by the shame, fear, and lies. I see a man who has lived a life of devotion to his God, his wife, and his children that will be a story for others to cling to. He has sought integrity, honesty, and his vision for life.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 3:

1. Living with purpose
2. Having integrity
3. Being honest
4. Pursuing God daily through prayer and reading
5. Pursuing my wife
6. Being selfless
7. Being a priest of my house
8. Self control
9. Dedication to completing things
10. Connecting with friends and family
11. Staying active
12. Being a leader
13. Being open with struggles
14. Learning how to be a good father
15. Supporting my children
16. Protecting my family
17. Being strong
18. Being involved in church
19. Constant learning and growth
20. Being responsible
21. Connecting with my emotions
22. Valuing others above myself
23. Being adventurous
24. Trying new things
25. Experiencing true intimacy with my wife
26. Sexual intimacy with my wife
27. Being faithful
28. Having control of my thought life
29. Meditating on the word of God daily
30. Learning to be still in God and trust Him
31. Feeling connected to the moment
32. Feeling desired
33. Feeling like a man
34. Loving my wife like Christ
35. Being consistent
36. Being financially sound
37. Leaving a financial legacy
38. Providing for my family
39. Seeing healing in my life
40. Improving in my career
41. Completing my education
42. Being humble
43. Not being afraid of challenges
44. Developing deeper friendships
45. Giving forgiveness
46. Seeking forgiveness
47. Self discipline
48. Studying the word for a deeper understanding
49. Keeping the things of God holy (Shabbat, etc)
50. Providing for extended family
51. Raising children who love the Lord
52. Making my wife feel totally and completely loved
53. Surprising my wife with gifts
54. Being intentional with my relationships
55. Being proactive


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 4:

  1. Pursuing God daily through prayer and reading
  2. Learning to be still in God and trust Him
  3. Meditating on the word of God daily
  4. Being a priest of my house
  5. Studying the word for a deeper understanding
  6. Keeping the things of God holy (Shabbat, etc)
  7. Having control of my thought life
  8. Living with purpose
  9. Having integrity
  10. Being honest
  11. Seeing healing in my life
  12. Pursuing my wife
  13. Loving my wife like Christ
  14. Experiencing true intimacy with my wife
  15. Sexual intimacy with my wife
  16. Being faithful
  17. Being selfless
  18. Self control
  19. Being proactive
  20. Dedication to things
  21. Being financially sound
  22. Connecting with friends and family
  23. Staying active
  24. Being a leader
  25. Being open with struggles
  26. Protecting my family
  27. Being strong
  28. Being involved in church
  29. Constant learning and growth
  30. Being responsible
  31. Connecting with my emotions
  32. Valuing others above myself
  33. Being adventurous
  34. Trying new things
  35. Feeling connected to the moment
  36. Feeling desired
  37. Feeling like a man
  38. Being consistent
  39. Leaving a financial legacy
  40. Providing for my family
  41. Improving in my career
  42. Completing my education
  43. Being humble
  44. Not being afraid of challenges
  45. Developing deeper friendships
  46. Giving forgiveness
  47. Seeking forgiveness
  48. Self discipline
  49. Providing for extended family
  50. Raising children who love the lord
  51. Making my wife feel totally and completely loved
  52. Surprising my wife with gifts
  53. Being intentional with my relationships
  54. Learning how to be a good father
  55. Supporting my children


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 5:

  1. Pursuing God daily through prayer and reading
  2. Learning to be still in God and trust Him
  3. Meditating on the word of God daily
  4. Being a priest of my house
  5. Studying the word for a deeper understanding
  6. Keeping the things of God holy (Shabbat, etc)
  7. Having control of my thought life
  8. Living with purpose
  9. Having integrity
  10. Being honest
  11. Seeing healing in my life
  12. Pursuing my wife
  13. Loving my wife like Christ
  14. Experiencing true intimacy with my wife
  15. Sexual intimacy with my wife


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:14 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 6:

  • Pursuing God daily through prayer and reading
    • Make time every morning to read the word.
    • Expect that some days you may not “receive” anything to point to.
    • Somedays the desire will not be there. Do it anyways.
  • Pursuing My Wife
    • Make time to connect with her.
    • Take initiative to discuss feelings.
    • Be proactively honest, even when she might not like it.
    • Look for times to schedule dates. Don’t be scared of the future.
    • Expect that she will not want to be pursued at times. Respect her space.
    • Trust that God is working even when it doesn’t feel like it.
    • Respect that her recovery will take time and cannot be rushed.
    • Love her no matter what the pain brings
  • Keeping the things of God a priority
    • Make shabbat a priority.
    • Seek to be at a Erev Shabbat service weekly
    • Make sure to be at synagogue, on time!
    • Help initiate the weekly study with the group. (offer your home)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:38 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 7:

  • Learning to be still in God and trust Him
    • Not everything is in my power. Trust that He has a plan
    • Remember to seek him when things are tough.
  • Meditating on the word of God daily
    • Build a schedule to intentional read the word
    • Don’t just read, but also seek understanding. Pray for it.
  • Being a priest of my house
    • Set the standard for seeking God.
    • Encourage my wife to do the same.
    • Pray over our family constantly.
    • Pray with my wife to set an example of how we need to go to Him.
  • Having control of my thought life
    • Submit every thought that sets itself up against Christ to Him
    • Focus on what is good and holy and pure
  • Living with purpose
    • Set weekly goals and stick to them
    • Have long term goals mapped out
    • Be intentional with time and money
  • Having integrity
    • Doing what I say I will do, no matter who is watching or how “small” it may seem
    • Finishing projects that are started
    • Having friendships that are edifying
  • Being honest
    • Being proactive and open in honesty
    • Tell the truth, no matter what the perceived outcome will be
  • Seeing healing in my life
    • Continuing with recovery nation workshop
    • Keep God and his values at the center of my life
    • Seeking restoration with my wife
  • Loving my wife like Christ
    • Sacrifice my wants and desires to make her happy
    • Put her needs before mine
    • Lead her spiritually
    • Give grace
  • Experiencing true intimacy with my wife
    • Opening up my heart and soul to her
    • Building trust again so that we can talk openly
    • Express feelings and let her do the same
  • Sexual intimacy with my wife
    • Seek what she likes
    • Focus on her needs before mine
    • Be a giver, not a receiver
    • Place no expectations on her


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 10:

This is a hard question for me. I know that I disclosed the full depth of my addiction. I haven't hidden duration or frequency. There were times when I tried to minimize the content but that has all come out too.

My only source of porn was the internet and now every device that I own that could be used for that purpose has been given a filter or an access code that only my wife knows.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 12:

I. Identify those patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to an unhealthy recovery.

I think for me the most unhealthy pattern is the idea that I can just do a checklist and it will be over. I know that this is work and that it will take time and effort to accomplish. I also find myself trying so hard to get my wife to recover that I stop focusing on this and try and move her. This is proving to be very damaging to her recovery so I have decided to stand back and let her move when she is ready.

I think I am also scared of my success so far. I have been clean for 76 days at this point with no compulsions to return. I feel as though I have totally left it behind but my wife continues to remind me "once an addict, always an addict". I don't want to get full of myself and then slip because I missed the signs in my pride.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:27 pm 
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Recovery Coach

Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
Posts: 3899
Location: UK
Hello Barnsey and welcome to RN
Quote:
I have no option but to get better. I can never bring devastation to my life or the lives of those around me like I did.


may that thought and commitment help to carry you forwards on your journey

it is a fact that you will change over time all addicts do
you can recover or you can get even deeper in addiction
but you now know that you do get that choice
choose wisely

Engage with the programmes as you have started
ingrain what you learn into your life into your core
looking forwards to watching you progress
good start :g: :g:

_________________
Remember recovery is more than abstinence
Every transition begins with an ending
Do not confuse happiness with seeking pleasure
stay healthy keep safe
Coach Kenzo


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 13:

I. Identify those patterns that you currently recognize in yourself in relation to a healthy recovery. Post these observations into your Recovery Thread and/or Recovery Manager.

I have come to terms with my past and that I cannot change it. I can only proceed with choosing health and life as I move forward. I want a life that I can be proud of, that is without duplicity or lies. I often find myself checking my emotions and reasons for things. It seems silly but I'll use a story from this week to illustrate. I had a fight with my wife about her dumping out chocolates on the counter and leaving them there. I ended up sleeping on the couch that night and rushed to leave the house early. In my rush I forgot to clean up the couch from the bedding I left behind. As I was doing my bible reading and prayer in my car during the lunch break, I realized what I did. I rushed home to fix the bed. Later I contemplated what I would say should she ask me "Did you come home during the day?". My first thought was to tell her I forgot to take my medicine (still true) and that I cleaned up at the same time. I discovered as I checked myself that that was a lie and resolved to tell the true story. She never asked but I know that I found in myself a change that I had been seeking actually playing out.

II. Consider the values that surround both your healthy and unhealthy patterns. Are they consistent with your current prioritized values? If yes, wonderful. If not, how might this awareness alter how you are currently perceiving/managing your recovery? Share your thoughts in the community forum.

I think that they are. I am seeing more of the values coming to life as I move further from the destruction before. I feel somehow different and more whole than I did. I wasn't aware of how much was broken before and now I can see things fixing that I didn't even know needed fixing.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 14:

Develop your Daily Monitoring list:

  1. Did I carry myself worthy of respect today?
  2. If my wife was able to see all my actions, would she have approved?
  3. Did I take the time to make 3 actionable goals for the day?
  4. Did I complete the goals? If not, why?
  5. Did I interact with my wife with humility and selflessly?
  6. Did I make sure to capture all thoughts and test their pureness?
  7. Did I make an attempt to initiate emotional intimacy with my wife today? If not, why?
  8. Was I truthful in all my words today?
  9. Did I take time to connect with God today? If not, why?
  10. Did I make sure to spend some time on the recovery process today?
  11. Did I choose my wife and our relationship over myself today?


Last edited by barnsey on Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 15

I. Take a minute to review what you have learned over the past two weeks. Of what you have learned so far, think of one example of how you have actively integrated that information into your day-to-day life.

First and foremost is the idea that this addiction can end with a value shift. I had always heard "once an addict, always and addict" and figured it was an incurable or insurmountable issue. Hearing that by switching my value system and pursuing the new, not only can the addiction be beaten, but I can also have a life I never thought possible. I have taken this to heart and have started actively finding values that matter and are positive and trying to do better at them. By making myself aware of the value, it is easier to focus on it as a part of my life. I believe that before I was very nonchalant about my values. "This is just what I do," kind of attitude. Now it is, "This is who I want to become." It's not easy and I frequently mess up. But I am seeing a difference in me and how I view the world.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 pm
Posts: 15
Lesson 16 Exercise:

I. Consider the POSITIVE role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served (think short-term, not long)? Understanding the functional role of your addiction is important in removing the power, mystery and fear from that addiction — to begin seeing it in terms of practicality, rather than as some kind of supernatural fate or disease that you are doomed to suffer.

This is really hard to grasp. I can only see the negative from the wreckage I am in. I know that for me it stemmed from a feeling of inadequacy. It was used to make me feel "good enough". I know this is a lie. That watching porn cannot in anyway make me good enough.

I also used it for my sleep ritual. It sounds dumb but I knew that orgasm made me tired and if I was having trouble sleeping, this was the quickest, easiest, and usually the only way I was able to orgasm. I hated it always. I never wanted it and it always made me feel terrible afterwards. I don't know why I kept doing it. It would always bring me back, no matter how much I didn't want it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:23 am 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:29 am
Posts: 412
Hi Barnsey,

I was interested in reading your journey to date and see that you appear to be progressing well with each of the lessons. In particular I was interested to see your Refined Values List from Lesson 5. In my view, Lessons 2 (Setting a Vision for yourself) and 5 (Refining your Values List) are two of the most important as they lay the foundations on which recovery can be based. I don't think that it can be stressed enough how important it is to get both of these right in order to make the recovery process easier as you progress through the lessons. As you will come to learn down the line, the Values are particularly important as the majority of our meaning and fulfilment should come from them. In order for these to lay a solid foundation, it is a good idea to ensure that there is sufficient variety within them to cover the key areas or pillars of your life. An easy trap to fall into is having a number of the values following a similar theme or area which means that are actually only a couple of pillars to provide you with support. If there are more pillars then logically it can provide you with greater support across your life.

Another general observation that I have about those new to RN where they have often joined following a recent incident of having been caught acting out is that the Values can often be formed with one eye on how we think our partners would wish to see them read as it can help release some guilt and shame. Whilst Values revolving around our partners/family is clearly very important, the Values also need to be set with focus on how we are choosing to live the rest of our lives which will go beyond the current period of turmoil that we find ourselves in. So you might want to have another look at your Values with a fresh pair of eyes and reflect on whether firstly you feel that they cover a sufficient number of pillars in your life and secondly whether they will give you the life you want to live for the rest of your life. It may be that you do that and find that you are happy that they remain solid and that would be fine, there is no right or wrong answer here, they need to be personal to you.

By way of an example, when I put my Values together I included one that essentially said that I need to have some quality "me" time and I make a point of ensuring that I have a small pocket of time during the day where I do something that is purely for me (e.g. reading a book or something). Where I have found that this helps is that where I go through every day stressful situations such as an argument with my wife over something silly, I am able to fall back on to another pillar of my Values to give me time to reflect and regroup which I find helpful and enables me to be more objective about the row afterwards.

I hope this feedback is helpful, as I say, if this serves only for you to reaffirm that you are happy with your Values as they stand then that will be time well spent for you. I wish you luck with your journey and will be interested to see your thread as it develops.

_________________
L2R

A clean life; a clear conscience


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