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 Post subject: Guided's Recovery Thread
PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:18 am 
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Posts: 174
Hi there. My wife and I were delighted (or perhaps relieved is a better word) to find this website since we were in the middle of moving abroad when my behaviours came to light, so an internet based recovery program is ideal. It's taken me a week to get my username approved (I didn't realise the significance of the "recovery options" and so left them blank - doh!) so I've been working just writing thing down in a book in the meantime. As such, I've a few lessons to post here at once.

Lesson 1 Exercises:

A. Three keys to establishing a successful foundation for permanent change in early recovery are:
1) actively committing yourself to change

I'm here mostly because I was caught, which is somewhat unfortunate...It would of course be better if I could say that I'd come to the realisation that I needed help by myself. So I can see in myself elements of all 3 of the motivations listed in lesson 1, no one motivation really stands out:
  • Motivation stems from the desires of others - certainly my wife wants me to be here, although I also recognise myself that I need to be here.
  • Motivation stems from the consequences of my addiction - yes, I'm here because if I continue with this behaviour I'm going to lose my family and that's unacceptable to me. If I want X, then I need to stop Y.
  • Motivation stems from no longer wanting to live such a lifestyle - there's always been a part of me that's not wanted to be living this lifestyle. Unfortunately that part wasn't strong enough to outweigh the other part - the part that seeks immediate gratification.

2) not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
I should be OK with that one. I came clean with my wife and was able to say hello to a friend of my wife's who knew most of the details of what I'd been up to.

I was in a place of "this is who I am", and being OK with that and keeping it hidden. Perhaps some element of shame would be an appropriate and healthy response. I don't usually spend a lot of time beating myself up, but this week hearing that my daughter has been crying herself to sleep saying "Where's my Daddy?" has been hard. Feel really really low about that, but also think that that's how I should be feeling in this situation. So I guess I feel OK about not feeling OK.

3) allowing yourself time to change.
Yes, OK with this one. I'm working freelance from home at the moment, so I think I'm good to commit to a lesson per day. Don't really feel much about this one - just an intellectual acknowledgment that the expert says it'll take time. Fine. Nothing worthwhile is easily achieved.

B. Beyond an active commitment to change, another important factor in determining your ultimate success is your motivation. Look deep inside and list ten to fifteen reasons why you seek to permanently change your life. Don't stop at three or four obvious ones, really examine your life and what is important to you. List these in your recovery thread.
  1. Because I'll lose my wife and kids.
  2. Because I have a belief that information "wants" to be known. That nothing stays hidden forever, so I will not be ultimately successful in staying hidden (and this is indeed what happened).
  3. Because my behaviour makes me feel bad and dirty. A sort of deep down, low level feeling of "not right".
  4. I feel like I'm damaging my sould - pushing my higher self away from me.
  5. Because my behaviour stops me being properly friends with women.
  6. Because I don't want there to be anything holding me apart from my wife.
  7. Because I don't want to hurt anyone, and I have been.
  8. Because - like speeding - the more I do it, the more likely I am to get caught.
  9. Because - depending on who catches me doing what - I'll seriously damage/destroy my reputation in my family / community
  10. Because - if found out - my behaviour would have an impact on my wife and children especially in regard to their standing in the community.
  11. Because it's stopping me having a fully spiritually connected opoen honest intimacy with my wife.
  12. Because I've felt good about myself (in the past) when I've resisted these behaviours.
  13. Because spiritual development is the only really worthwhile activity.
  14. Because I don't want my kids to be ashamed of me.
  15. Because I'm breaking Buddhist precepts (which I value), by taking that which is not given.

Part C - Find a picture of yourself when you were a small child.
I had a picture of myself from when I was 4... I could certainly feel love for this child, his happy openess to the world, his need to tell everyone everything that's going on with him (just like my own son). I didn't "feel" very much - I do often have problems with getting in touch with my feelings. I was in a library when I did this exercise, so that wasn't helpful. I was reminded that life has very much taught me to keep my light hidden under a bushel. It's like, in this country people don't want others to be happy. And then I started keeping my darkness hidden too, because it wasn't acceptable. And then I accepted myself like that - which I used to think we were supposed to do, accept ourselves as we are.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:20 am 
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Lesson 2 - Establishing a Healthy Vision for Your Life

I envision a me who does everything he commits to doing, and does not do the things he commits not to do. A me who's core drive is honest spiritual growth and who's in a loving caring marriage where I balance my wife's needs ahead of my own. Where my energy find healthy expression and I hide neither my light or my darkness under a bushel. I will be someone that my children respect and want to stay in contact with, in a family environment where faults can be discussed without threat.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:32 am 
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Lesson 3 - The Role of Values

B. On your computer, extract the values from the vision you have created and list them. Your goal for this lesson is to create a single, comprehensive list that involves all of the primary ways that you derive stimulation from your life. Or, those areas that you want to derive stimulation from. Most lists will contain between 50-100 items. When you are done, post this list in your recovery thread.


First off, I was no where near being able to come up with 50 - 100 items. There just don't seem to be enough areas in my life to generate such a list. Or maybe I'm not being specific enough and need to break them down further? As well as writing out my own values, I also came across an alphabetical list of values that one of the coaches had posted and pulled out the words that reflect who I see myself becoming (values that I value):
Adaptability, Affection, Authenticity, awareness, Balance, Being, Choice, Connection, Dependability, Discernment, Eagerness, Empathy, Family, Fidelity, Generosity, Growth, Honesty, Hospitality, Humour, Integrity, Intelligence, Intimacy, Loyalty, Marriage, Mindfulness, Relaxation, Restraint, Self Reliance, Sexuality, Stillness, Teamwork, Tolerance, Unflappability, Vivacity, Warmth.

Perhaps I'll need to additionally rework those into the value list that I came up with below? The values below are more practical - asking myself what things in my life currently give me satisfaction and what sort of person I want to be:

  • I will contact a friend every wekk for a catch up chat.
  • I will deliver work of which I'm proud
  • I will 'give thanks' every day
  • I will give my children my full atttention when I'm with them
  • I will touch my wife in the ways that she prefers to be touched
  • I will hug my wifre and compliment her every day.
  • My 'rest state' will be still, centered and grounded.
  • I will observe a two drink limit.
  • I will not make any communication that I couldn't share with my wife.
  • I will continue to deepen my Reiki practice.
  • I will swim regularly.
  • I will sit with, and breath through difficult emotions.
  • I will continue to avoid movies and computer games that are just bloody violence
  • I will continue my policy of seeing Reiki clients in the order they've come in the door.
  • I enjoy being affectionate with animals.
  • I enjoy a warm supportive relationship with my neighbours.
  • I often feel 'connected' to the universe.
  • I will work to live, not live to work.
  • I will breathe.
  • I will continue to offer to help others whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  • I commit to completing this program.
  • I will work towards being more comfortable with eye contact.
  • Financially I life within my means and save for purchases rather than running up debt.
  • I will try to be aware of thoughts when they pop into my head.
  • I am working to be more in tune with my emotional state.
  • I am not jealous of ther people's success, attainment or possessions.
  • My partner and I take turns being primary income earner and carer.
  • I am working towards being a good husband
  • I am working towards being a good Father.

Dark Side Values
  • I want other people to like me
  • I want other people to think I'm clever
  • I want to be touched
  • I find looking at naked women exciting
  • I get excited knowing intimate details of women
  • I like doing what feels good.


Last edited by Guided on Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:37 am 
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Lesson 4 - Prioritizing Your Values

A. In the previous exercise, you identified a list of the majority of your practical and universal values. Now, prioritize this list. This should take you about fifteen minutes at the most. If it is taking you longer than that, you are thinking too deeply. The deep thought was in constructing your vision and extracting the values...this is the 'easy part'. Simply identify an initial order of prioritization that 'feels right' to you.


  1. I am working towards being a good father.
  2. I am working towards being a good husband.
  3. I often feel connected to the universe.
  4. I will continue to offer help to others whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  5. I will deliver work of which I'm proud.
  6. I will continue to deepen my Reiki practice.
  7. I will hug my wife and compliment her every day.
  8. My 'rest state' will be still, centered and grounded.
  9. I will swim regularly.
  10. I will give my children my full attention when I'm with them.
  11. I will 'give thanks' every day.
  12. I am working to be more in tune with my emotional state.
  13. Financially, I live within my means and save for purchases rather than running up debt.
  14. I will not make any communication that I chouldn't share with my wife.
  15. I will sit with, and breathe through difficult emotions.
  16. I enjoy being affectionate with animals.
  17. I work to live, not live to work
  18. I will touch my wife in the ways that she prefers to be touched.
  19. I will try to be aware of thoughts as tehy pop into my head.
  20. My partner and I take turns being primary income earner and carer.
  21. I will breathe.
  22. I enjoy a warm supportive relationship with my neighbours.
  23. I will work towards being more comfortable with eye contact.
  24. I will contact a friend every week for a catch up chat.
  25. I am not jealous of other people's success, attainment or possessions.
  26. I will continue my policy of seeing Reiki clients in the order they've come in the door.
  27. I commit to completing this program.
  28. I will observe a two drink limit.
  29. I will continue to avoid movies and computer games that are just bloody violence.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:04 pm 
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Posts: 174
Lesson 5 - Value Congruency

After reviewing my list in the light of text and instructions in Lesson 5, I realised I'd missed out my relationship with my family and my wife's family. In being encouraged to "examine the values that are not necessarily socially accepted" I've added that I love being touched, quite high up the list. Also taking the opportunity for a bit of a shuffle gives:

  1. I am working towards being a good father.
  2. I am working towards being a good husband.
  3. I often feel connected to the universe.
  4. I offer help to others whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  5. I deliver work of which I'm proud.
  6. I love being touched by women
  7. I will continue to deepen my Reiki practice.
  8. I will hug my wife and compliment her every day.
  9. My 'rest state' will be still, centered and grounded.
  10. I swim regularly.
  11. I will give my children my full attention when I'm with them.
  12. I will 'give thanks' every day.
  13. I am working to be more in tune with my emotional state.
  14. Financially, I live within my means and save for purchases rather than running up debt.
  15. I work to live, not live to work
  16. I will not make any communication that I chouldn't share with my wife.
  17. I have a weekly phone call with my parents
  18. I have frequent contact with my sister
  19. I am (was) very close to my wife's family
  20. I will sit with, and breathe through difficult emotions.
  21. I enjoy being affectionate with animals.
  22. I will touch my wife in the ways that she prefers to be touched.
  23. I'm a good cook.
  24. I will try to be aware of thoughts as they pop into my head.
  25. My partner and I take turns being primary income earner and carer.
  26. I will breathe.
  27. I enjoy a warm supportive relationship with my neighbours.
  28. I will work towards being more comfortable with eye contact.
  29. I will contact a friend every week for a catch up chat.
  30. I am not jealous of other people's success, attainment or possessions.
  31. I will continue my policy of seeing Reiki clients in the order they've come in the door.
  32. I commit to completing this program.
  33. I will observe a two drink limit.
  34. I will continue to avoid movies and computer games that are just bloody violence.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Lesson 6 - Building Proactive Action Plans I

Hmm, I think I've gone a bit awry here because much of my value list is such specific and practical stuff that it reads much like points in an action plan anyway. Well for now I'll group together a few items to form a generalised value and work with that.
Quote:
3. I often feel connected to the universe.
9. My 'rest state' will be still, centered and grounded.
12. I will 'give thanks' every day.
11. I will give my children my full attention when I'm with them.

Those 4 things could be grouped as "I will be present to my life" for which I'll state the following action plan:

  • Improving my Mental State
    • I will meditate every evening.
      • I will ensure the children go to bed around 8pm
      • I will ask my wife to remind me
      • I will remember that wine with dinner isn't good for meditation
    • I will "Give Thanks" at 10am every morning - alarm set.
    • I will remember to snack before 11am
    • I will remember to consider if I'm hungry if I find myself getting ratty with the children.
    • I will continue to avoid caffeine, even if I'm having a slow sleepy day.
    • I will use awareness of a negative mental state as a trigger to put myself back "in contact with the universe".
    • I will sit with my pain, or offer it up, rather than "think about other things" or try to lose myself in activity.
  • Improving my Communication
    • I will do the "10 minute talk" exercise once a week with my wife...Thursday evenings.
    • I will set an alarm on my phone to remind me of above - done.
    • I will remember that I'm in the habit of lying, and that I've committed to correct myself (to my wife) at the earliest opportunity.
    • I will try to "hear" the children, so they don't have to repeat themselves.
    • I will express how great my life is in my communication, rather than "talking it down".
    • I will remember to ask "Is that criticism?" when I feel I'm being criticised.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:00 pm 
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Hi Guided,

I'm going to slow you down a bit and take you back to the beginning. I'm sorry we didn't have you up and running earlier so we could have addressed these areas then but I will address them now.


Quote:
Because I'll lose my wife and kids.
Because I have a belief that information "wants" to be known. That nothing stays hidden forever, so I will not be ultimately successful in staying hidden (and this is indeed what happened).
Because my behaviour makes me feel bad and dirty. A sort of deep down, low level feeling of "not right".
I feel like I'm damaging my sould - pushing my higher self away from me.
Because my behaviour stops me being properly friends with women.
Because I don't want there to be anything holding me apart from my wife.
Because I don't want to hurt anyone, and I have been.
Because - like speeding - the more I do it, the more likely I am to get caught.
Because - depending on who catches me doing what - I'll seriously damage/destroy my reputation in my family / community
Because - if found out - my behaviour would have an impact on my wife and children especially in regard to their standing in the community.
Because it's stopping me having a fully spiritually connected opoen honest intimacy with my wife.
Because I've felt good about myself (in the past) when I've resisted these behaviours.
Because spiritual development is the only really worthwhile activity.
Because I don't want my kids to be ashamed of me.
Because I'm breaking Buddhist precepts (which I value), by taking that which is not given.


Your reasons for change are for the most part internal and that's good. But most are written in the negative, listing what you don't want to be or happen instead of the positive of what you do want to be or happen. Writing in the positive gives you a better connection to whatever it is you are doing. It's something to keep in mind as you go through the workshop. So to give you an example:

Instead of:
Quote:
Because my behaviour makes me feel bad and dirty. A sort of deep down, low level feeling of "not right".


It would look something like this:

I want to feel good about myself and know that I am doing what is right for me and my family

Quote:
Because I'm breaking Buddhist precepts (which I value), by taking that which is not given.


I want to live my life according to Buddhist precepts which I value by only taking that which is given

Do you feel the difference in how the statements are said? One is looking back and ruminating while the other is looking forward and committing.

Your Vision

This is nowhere where it needs to be. Your life vision should be specific, clear, balanced and incorporate as many areas of your life as possible. Some things that could be included would be relationships, family, health, fitness, friends, finances, hobbies, career, spirituality, travel, retirement etc, etc. If you need an example take a look at some of the other participants visions to get a better idea then revise yours and repost or edit the original post.

Your Values

The reason you had such a hard time with your values is because your vision was not complete. When you have a vision that really represents where you want your life to be in all areas you will be able to pull out much more than a hundred values if you wanted to. So after you redo your vision you can look at revising the rest of the lessons.

I know this may be frustrating but it is important to get these first 10 lessons done as best as possible because they are the foundation of your recovery, everything that follows will build upon these.

Coach Cheryl


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:00 am 
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Thanks for the feedback Cheryl, that's really helpful. It makes a lot of sense that phrasing my motivation in the positive will make it far clearer where I want to go with my life, rather than thinking about what I want to get away from!

So lesson 1B (listing my motivations) becomes:

  • Because I want to have a strong, committed and honest family life.
  • Because I want to fully express my true self to the world.
  • Because I want to feel good about myself.
  • Because I want to "grow my soul" and forge a stronger connection to my higher self.
  • Because I want to be able to have good, solid, enriching friendships with both men and women.
  • Because I want to fully and honestly share myself with my wife.
  • Because I want to treat others kindly.
  • Because I want to keep my family together, whatever happens.
  • Because I want both myself and my wife and children to be respected in the community.
  • Because I want to walk a spritual path of growth,personal development and intimacy alongside my wife.
  • Because I feel good about myself when I behave well - I want to wake up feeling good.
  • Because I consider spiritual development to be the only truly worthwhile activity.
  • Because I want my children, and my wife, to be proud of me.
  • Because I value Buddhist Precepts and wish to apply them to my life.
  • Because I want to recover and harness the time and mental energy that I have been wasting on fantasy.

Which I feel good about - it comes over much lighter and optimistic.

I'll have a think about my vision next....


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 Post subject: My Wedding Vows
PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:31 pm 
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While thinking about my values, I also thought about my wedding vows that I wrote (and made) in 2006 before going on to break just about each and every one in the following 5 years. I post them here as a reminder to myself:
Quote:
My Darling <name ommitted>, you are an Amazing Person.
I love you, and cherish the strong spiritual connection that we share.
In the presence of our family and friends, I give myself to you in marriage
and vow:

To be faithful to you, open and honest.
To Hold and Support you – Emotionally and Practically
To respect you, listening to your advice and appreciating all that you do for me.
I vow to always make the effort to stay open and talking, healing your hurt and mine.

I will try to be the best father I can be for our children.
and to change when change is needed,
Encouraging us both to grow towards our highest potential.
I will try to let you support me when you have the surer footing.
And be strong in myself when you can’t be there

I promise to protect you, explore worlds with you, work and play with you
Face whatever life brings our way, together, hand in hand
maintaining the humour, enjoyment and passion in our marriage.

These things I promise you, today and for the rest of our lives


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 Post subject: Lesson 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:42 am 
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Just as a journal note, my wife and I agreed that we'd install some parental control software on our computers (and I'm amused at the irony here, being one of the Parents that needs the controls in place). And that seems to be working well - we checked that it blocks access to my usual internet haunts and it even stopped me from doing a Google Image search today which was something of a lapse on my part that I'll be owning up to this evening.

Have spent some time thinking about my vision and reading over some other people's - thanks to New Me, DaveK and Coach Mel's Vision Advice.

Where do I want my life to be? Keeping in mind relationships, family (break down to each person), health, fitness, friends, finances, hobbies, career, spirituality, travel, retirement, personal development, who I am (want to be), goals and the values that stood out for me in the alphabetical list of values: Adaptability, Affection, Authenticity, awareness, Balance, Being, Choice, Connection, Dependability, Discernment, Eagerness, Empathy, Family, Fidelity, Generosity, Growth, Honesty, Hospitality, Humour, Integrity, Intelligence, Intimacy, Loyalty, Marriage, Mindfulness, Relaxation, Restraint, Self Reliance, Sexuality, Stillness, Teamwork, Tolerance, Unflappability, Vivacity, Warmth.


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 Post subject: Guided's Vision
PostPosted: Sat Sep 10, 2011 5:47 am 
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I'd like to regain the joyful eagerness of my childhood - that happy, vivacious wide eyed child who wanted to engage with everyone he met and tell them all his stories. And then temper that with awareness and discernment to know when to hold back, and the empathy to want to listen first and really take someone else in, so it becomes as much about them as about me. My upbringing has left me valuing intelligence greatly, and I'm keen to also develop a complementary emotional intelligence. I'm in weekly contact with both my parents and my sister and I'd like to work on encouraging our emotional expression as a (wider) family. And humour - a quick clever wit was appreciated when I was growing up.

Although I'm currently taking some time out to be a house-husband, I feel like my career is where I want it to be. Computer programming for me is the ideal balance between stress, money and time - it allows me to earn a good wage without having to work particularly long hours or find myself under any great stress. So I'm happy where I am, working as a part of a team without additional responsibility. I care about the work I do, and take pride on delivering a quality product.

The choices my wife and I have made together (like not having a car and not buying a large house) have allowed us to pay off our mortgage (which is a source of great satisfaction to me) which removes the pressure to have a high income; so we're both able to balance our work/life to allow us to spend more time together and with the children - especially as they're currently at a young age and (for the moment) appreciate spending time with their parents. I hope we can maintain the closeness we currently enjoy as they grow up so that they'd naturally choose to include us in their lives even when we're living apart. We're living abroad just now, a large part of which is about bringing up the children to be bi-lingual. We're doing daily workbooks with them and are impressing on them that passing exams and being able to get a good job is not about earning money, so much as doing something personally satisfying and having the choice to go where you want and to be able to do what you want. We pay off our credit cards each month and have saving plans in place for the children's college funding, various spread out investments. We could do with re-evaluating our pension plans now that our work has become more irregular.

My wife and I entered into, and have continued, our marriage with the understanding that we are both on a path of personal/spiritual development and I enjoy hearing her say that she thinks I've made great progress on a number of issues in the past 5 years. For example, I'm now much more inclined to give money to beggars than I used to be. We met at a Buddhist Shiatsu Retreat, which is something that really combines my passions for Reiki, Meditation and Caring Touch. As well as my day job, I've been a Reiki practitioner since 2004 which is a source of feeling a deep connection to the Universe. When I'm away on those retreats, I really enjoy a deep bodily sensation of complete relaxation; I'd like to feel like that a daily basis. As part of that personal development, I aspire to allow impulses (like "checking out a woman", having a drink and masturbating) to arise, be aware of them, then allow them to fall away. I've had an on and off meditation practice and when I meditate regularly I experience tangible benefits - not getting wound up nearly as easily, feeling happier, more relaxed, able to think more clearly. Other people have commented about me radiating a sense of calm at those times. I want that in my life.

We make a good team, my wife and I, sharing childcare and household tasks - supporting each other in turn. This past week I've been enjoying being fully honest with her (despite the difficult conversations that's led to) and I'm keen to develop that habit further. It's important that I take responsibility for arranging us some quality time together (ie find a babysitter!) so that our marriage is as cherished as the children are; and so that she knows how much I love her and how important she is in my life. I'm very attracted to my wife, both sexually and in terms of wanting to spend time and share my life with her. I want to allow her to fully express herself without putting reigns on - which will involve me dealing with some contradictions in what I say I want, and what I actually feel comfortable with. I support her with her work, which she says she appreciates. I want to make her more visible in how I depict my life to others. I want to be openly accepting of touch, intimacy and sensuality so that she feels fully comfortable to be naked or dressed up around me, without worrying that turning me on (without sex on the cards) will lead to tantrums. I want to hold her in my arms so that she feels safe and valued and able to be in touch with her body and present to the moment. I want to be able to go away on breaks and dinners with her and for that to be light and relaxing, without pressure and expectations. I'd like to have more touch in our relationship, touch (kisses and caresses) that she'd feel comfortable with and appreciate. She values words highly, so I'd like to develop a space where I can talk openly without it being necessary for her to "pull" information out of me. I'd like our sex life to have a certificate of "best sex ever" - listening to what her body needs and allowing "taking the lead" to flow naturally back and forth.

I've always been a good swimmer and I'd like that to feature in my life, especially as it's something I can keep up into my old age. We're not sure where we're going to live next, but a swimming pool will be part of the search criteria when we do choose somewhere.

I'd like to be fine with the times my wife goes away for work - sitting and allowing those feelings of lonely abandonment to arise without resorting to emotion avoidance behaviours. I'd like to get myself to bed on time and sober when she's away too!

I'm generally very good at accepting others for who they are, and I'd like to work at tempering that with not accepting things when they're unacceptable - like stepping in when I see racist bullying, or at least offering some comfort afterwards if I've chosen to avoid escalating the situation. I'm good at offering to help others when I see the opportunity, and I'd like to improve my general awareness, presence and mindfulness so that I'm better able to spot those situations.

I'd like to explore initiating and maintaining healthy friendships with men without involving discussion about sport or heavy drinking sessions. I have enjoyed intensely intimate conversations with women, but there has always been an element of sexual attraction which has prevented any true friendship from developing. I'd like to reach a point where I can be friends with a woman. I see myself as someone with a few very close friends, rather than hundreds of acquaintances. I'd like to offer my friends a warm open invitation so they feel that they can call on me, either for a visit, a chat or to help out in time of need. And for them to trust me, and for my male friends to be confident that I'm not going to "hit on" their partners. I'd like to work on extending my limits - taking a deeper interest in my friends, rather than becoming bored and detached with the lack of intimate connection.

I'd like to listen more closely to that feeling I get when I'm not living in a healthy way - that subtle feeling of unease when I've wasted a day watching rubbish movies, munched a whole slab of chocolate, lied/concealed, or stayed up late playing computer games. I have a relationship with my intuition which I'd like to develop further. In most areas of my life other than my sex/fantasy life, I'm dependable - doing the things that I commit to doing, doing them on time and doing a good job. I'd like to extend that dependability to myself, so that I also follow through with my own internal commitments.

Since we moved to the mountains with its sunshine, clean air and quiet nights, our family diet has very much been "lunching like a prince, dining like a pauper" which has helped me get my weight down a few kg and my BMI to 21 - on the slim side of normal which is appropriate for my build. I'd like to be a little more toned, and my wife and I have discussed committing ourselves to doing sit-ups every day. I'm enjoying that feeling of slimness on a physical level. I read an alternative news website daily and that board is heavily into a breathing practice and following a Palaeolithic diet, which I don't feel able to take up just now, but I am reading the books they recommend. I think diet (specifically blood sugar) is very relevant to my behaviour (eg getting irritable with the children before lunch) and may explain carb cravings for beer and chocolate, so I will research that further. I've been working at rebuilding our house here and have picked up skills in working with wood, stone, cement, wiring, plaster, glass...all a source of great satisfaction and I'm looking forward to continuing various projects here.

I want to be someone who feels lucky and grateful to have wonderful things in his life.

So basically I feel like most elements of my life are pretty much where I want them to be - moving along a path of growth. I don't need more "stuff". In terms of goals and aspirations, I'm of the opinion that spiritual growth is the only truly worthwhile endeavour, and that feeds into supporting and developing all my relationships; with my wife, with my children and with my wider circles of family and friends. I feel like the personal development my wife and I have done together (and apart) has led me to the point where I'm now able to deal with (and trust her to help me with) the emotional immaturity and emotion avoidance that's been with me since childhood.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 174
Found the values thing much much easier having written a wider vision - so thank you very much for the guidance there CoachCheryl.

  • Feeling Joyful, happy, deep down good about myself
  • Having a deep interest in the world/people around me
  • Eagerness
  • Wishing to communicate and engage with others
  • Developing an awareness of other people's state of being / empathy
  • Communicating and expressing myself appropriately in a given situation
  • Balancing the needs of others with my own needs
  • Intelligence (actually I'd like to value this less)
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Having regular contact with my parents
  • Having regular contact with my sister
  • Developing emotional expression within my wider family
  • Humour
  • Embodying sexual equality through being a house husband
  • Being satisfied with where I am with my career
  • Balancing Wage vs Stress and Time
  • Working 'enough'
  • Working as part of a team
  • Conscientiousness
  • Self Relient Learning
  • Being an attentive friend
  • Fantasy-free friendships with women
  • Really valuing my friends and expressing that sense of value to them
  • Offering open hospitality
  • Developing a deeper interest in others (boredom avoidance) / Being a good listener
  • "Being there" for my friends / neighbours
  • Being deserving of trust.
  • Delivering high quality work of which I'm proud
  • Honouring my commitments
  • Making life decisions together with wife
  • Purchasing for necessity, rather than "nice to have"
  • Using public transport / bicycles
  • Prioritising quality time with the children, giving them "full attention"
  • Being there when the children need me
  • Giving the children a secure start in life, knowing that they're loved
  • Defining boundaries for the children, applying discipline impersonally
  • Closeness with children / Staying in close contact with the children
  • Living abroad
  • Bringing up the children to be bilingual
  • Being active in children's education
  • Imparting important values to the children
  • Having choice - in all things
  • Work being personally satisfying
  • Having savings / saving plans in place for the future
  • Marriage within the context of personal/spiritual development
  • Actively working on self and making measurable progress
  • Being Charitable
  • Practising / Deepening Reiki & Meditation
  • Giving freely of myself, without any expectation of return.
  • Deep bodily relaxation.
  • Being physically affectionate with my wife
  • Being still, centered and grounded
  • Radiating an approachable calm confidence
  • Knowing my limits (eg alcohol, bed times) and sticking to them.
  • Transparent communication (sending/saying nothing I wouldn't want my wife to know about)
  • Swimming regularly.
  • Sitting with and breathing through difficult emotions (eg abandonment)
  • Discernment in entertainment
  • Treating others equally (ie not discriminating on looks/sex/age)
  • Treating all living things with kindness.
  • Being warm and supportive to my neighbours
  • Experiencing a sense of "connection" to the universe/God.
  • Prioritising life ahead of work
  • Being present to my body, my life, the world around me. Not living in a dream.
  • Getting in touch with more subtle emotions, intuition, my "soul speaking"
  • Being dependable, honouring commitments, extending that to being dependable to myself.
  • Helping others without thought of reward.
  • Completing this program
  • Being present to others, being a good listener.
  • Accepting others for who they are
  • Making a stand when required
  • Putting things right
  • Living in a healthy environment
  • Having a connection to the planet, awarenes of the weather, the sun, moon, seasons (trees turning colour), stars, clouds
  • Getting a good night's sleep.
  • Living within my means / prioritising debt reduction
  • Being slim / feeling good about my body, having my wife express appreciation of same.
  • Awareness of "the other side of the story" (alternative media, "what they want you to think", etc)
  • Developing awareness of thoughts / impulses
  • Developing awareness of emotions
  • Developing awareness of how "what I take" in affects me and influences my subsequent behaviour.
  • Working with my hands
  • Developing DIY skills.
  • Working to improve my home (the "I built that" source of satisfaction).
  • Sympathetic Joy (not being jealous of others)
  • Marriage as teamwork - balancing work/house hold chores/childcare.
  • Being supportive of my wife in all aspected of her life
  • Being FULLY honest (no half truths or concealments), accepting short term pain this intails.
  • 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
  • Deepening my appreciation of affection, intimacy, nudity, sexual play with wife without further expectations.
  • 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)
  • Being grateful and expressing that gratitude - giving thanks.
  • Being content with where I am, what I have
  • Spiritual Growth / Personal Development
  • Taking the "right" path, rather than the easy one (eg delayed gratification).
  • Finding an answer to "why we're here"
  • Being tidy / organised
  • Changing when change is required - being adaptable
  • Honouring Buddhist Precepts (esp Only taking that which is freely given)
  • Being respected in the Community (as a family)
  • Working on conserving mental energy / making best use of time/energy available
  • Seeing women as people first (not objects)

Dark Side Values
  • Being liked, desired
  • Wanting other people to think I'm clever
  • Avoiding criticism (by lying, concealment, half truth, spin)
  • Avoiding difficult emotions
  • Sexual excitement
  • Variety
  • Rating quantity over quality
  • Being touched
  • Voyeurism
  • Doing what feels good in the moment (need to look at broader/longer term definition of "feels good"), Immediate gratification.
  • Sense of Entitlement (misplaced)
  • Needing company


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:27 pm 
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Recovery Mentor

Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:58 am
Posts: 665
Hi Guided,

Excellent work on your updated vision and values. In the state they are, they will give you the road map you need to lead yourself out of addiction, if you practically use it to help guide your life.

Just as a quick note:

Quote:
Just as a journal note, my wife and I agreed that we'd install some parental control software on our computers (and I'm amused at the irony here, being one of the Parents that needs the controls in place). And that seems to be working well - we checked that it blocks access to my usual internet haunts and it even stopped me from doing a Google Image search today which was something of a lapse on my part that I'll be owning up to this evening.


RN actually discourages this. Well, not discourages exactly...but cautions against.

The problem with filters or accountability software is when they essentially take the responsibility for making healthy values-based decisions out of your hands...which is the exact skill that you need to develop in order to rid yourself of addiction. "The filter didn't catch that...guess that means it's okay." "I don't have to worry about urges, because I can't look at porn anyways." "If I go to a site I'm not supposed to, then my wife will know and I'll be in trouble." "There's a filter on the computer now, so I'm safe." Such sentiments are very common, and contain within them the exact emotional immaturity and lack of personal accountability that causes people to continue to struggle with addiction. Not to say these statements necessarily reflect you...but it does take the responsibility for developing maturity on your own out of your own hands and can delay actual recovery, whatever way you look at it.

At best...filters/accountability software are a crutch, but can be helpful to those who are struggling with severe addictions who can't willingly control their impulses yet. But still, even in this case, they should only be a temporary measure. At worst...the filter can become a game that gets worked into their rituals, as they try to "get around the filter." It will also provide you with much more personal fulfillment if you immediately take credit for your own decisions by not having a filter...thus, NOT having a filter can be much more fulfilling in early recovery, when looked at with the right perspective.

Here is an old post by CoachJon about RN's stance on filters and why we shy away from them (note: this was addressed to partners initially, not recovering addicts):

Quote:
First, if you are talking about monitoring for kids, then I am all for such filters. But if you are talking about limiting access for your spouse or gaining accountability over his computer actions, then this is a mistake—for many reasons.

Some of these include:

1) True recovery requires your spouse to take responsibility for his own actions; the same with personal accountability. These filters delay the development of that responsibility.

It’s not like using training wheels to learn how to ride a bike. There, you learn simpler skills like balance before learning the more complex skills of independent riding. That makes sense. But here, by using such filters, you are actually developing maladaptive skills.

It would be more like a baseball player who is having trouble hitting a curve ball. Rather than learning how to hit that curve ball properly (something that takes fundamentals and experience), you instead pay the pitcher not to throw one. You put the responsibility of overcoming this weakness not on the batter, but on the pitcher. Over the long run, such an approach will actually leave you further from becoming a strong hitter than if you would have just swung and missed every curve ball that was thrown.

At this stage, it is better to “swing and miss” (with sincerity and awareness) than to avoid the situation altogether through a filter. Because when that filter is removed (or a new computer can be accessed, or the filter doesn’t filter out certain pornographic images, or other images are being used pornographically that aren’t socially considered “porn,” or add one of hundreds of “work arounds” here), your partner will be further away from successfully managing such a crisis. They will be more vulnerable to acting out and will take less responsibility because “the filter failed them.”

2) Anyone not sincere about their recovery will simply reroute their behavior in response to such a filter. Or, they will make “beating the filter” a part of their online ritual. It’s human nature. There are many sites that offer porn images that are presented in the context of art. Or online photography sites designed to get around filters. I say this not to “give away secrets” or to “make it easier” for people to view porn. I say it because it is a reality. You will not be able to filter out all sexual stimuli, and to try to do so only changes the focus of what recovery should be about.

3) Anyone who is sincere about recovery will need the opportunities that these urges/temptations offer in order to develop the emotional maturity that comes with values-based decision making.

4) At best, such filters will only filter out the spontaneous urge. Any premeditated rituals will integrate the awareness of this filter.

Now, there are times when filters can be used effectively. One such time would be when the person’s addiction is so severe that they are unable to generate any personal control over their actions. If their addiction has been ingrained so deeply that such a filter will do just that—filter out some of the stimuli that they are exposed to. BUT (and this is a big but), the purpose here is not to stop them from acting out, it is to reduce the stimuli they are forced to manage to a manageable level. Some medications act in this same way. They help reduce what would otherwise be an overwhelming amount of stimulus processing. So, in such a situation, where the person is sincere about recovering but whose addiction is so severe that he/she feels unable to control it on even their best of days, then such filters can play a valuable role in establishing that control—initially. But as soon as they find themselves seeing such filters as an obstacle to engaging in their addiction, rather than as a supplemental tool in their recovery, the battle has been lost and the “game” is on.


FT

_________________
"It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell." - Buddha


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 174
Thanks for the feedback FT. I've forwarded your post to my wife and we'll have a discussion about it shortly.
She's going away for a few days next week so that'll be a testing time. At the moment I am very aware of impulses to jump on the computer and "look at something" and I take the point about needing to take responsibility for handling those urges myself.

I had a lot of values here and when I came to prioritise them it seemed to give me a better prioritised list if I picked out generic 'super values' like wife, kids and spiritual development because otherwise those individual values ended up all over the place and would get lost when I narrow the values down to my top 15. However I'm happy to split them back out if people think I'm losing definition here.

  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. Helping others without thought of reward.
  8. Delivering high quality work of which I'm proud
  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.
  10. Having choice - in all things
  11. Having regular contact with my parents
  12. Having regular contact with my sister
  13. Being Charitable. Giving freely of myself, without any expectation of return.
  14. Swimming regularly.
  15. Being deserving of trust.
  16. Fantasy-free friendships with women - seeing women as people first (not objects)
  17. Developing emotional expression within my wider family
  18. Humour
  19. Being satisfied with where I am with my career:
    • Working 'enough'
    • Balancing Wage vs Stress and Time
    • Working as part of a team
    • Prioritising life ahead of work
  20. Embodying sexual equality through being a house husband
  21. Knowing my limits (eg alcohol, bed times) and sticking to them.
  22. Making life decisions together with wife
  23. Using public transport / bicycles
  24. Work being personally satisfying
  25. Living in a healthy environment
  26. Getting a good night's sleep.
  27. Living within my means / prioritising debt reduction. Purchasing for necessity, rather than "nice to have"
  28. Working with my hands to improve my home / Developing DIY skills (the "I built that" source of satisfaction).
  29. Having a connection to the planet, awarenes of the weather, the sun, moon, seasons (trees turning colour), stars, clouds
  30. Being slim / feeling good about my body, having my wife express appreciation of same.
  31. Accepting others for who they are
  32. Awareness of "the other side of the story" (alternative media, "what they want you to think", etc)
  33. Making a stand when required
  34. Putting things right
  35. Sympathetic Joy (not being jealous of others)
  36. Finding an answer to "why we're here"
  37. Being respected in the Community (as a family)
  38. Being tidy / organised
  39. Self Relient Learning
  40. Discernment in entertainment
  41. Having savings / saving plans in place for the future
  42. Intelligence (actually I'd like to value this less)

Dark Side Values
  • Being liked, desired
  • Wanting other people to think I'm clever
  • Avoiding criticism (by lying, concealment, half truth, spin)
  • Avoiding difficult emotions
  • Sexual excitement
  • Variety
  • Rating quantity over quality
  • Being touched
  • Voyeurism
  • Doing what feels good in the moment (need to look at broader/longer term definition of "feels good"), Immediate gratification, without due consideration of consequences.
  • Sense of Entitlement (misplaced)
  • Needing company


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 174
Pretty happy with that list of values (although I'd appreciate some feedback on whether grouping these sub-values is OK before I get much further with action plans) so I've gone straight on with Lesson 5 - Identifying Incongruent Values. Because I'm not planning on changing my swimming regime, I've swapped in "Fantasy-free friendships with women" as it's something I want to actively work on.

  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. Helping others without thought of reward.
  8. Delivering high quality work of which I'm proud
  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.
  10. Having choice - in all things
  11. Having regular contact with my parents
  12. Having regular contact with my sister
  13. Being Charitable. Giving freely of myself, without any expectation of return.
  14. Fantasy-free friendships with women - seeing women as people first (not objects)
  15. Being deserving of trust.


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