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 Post subject: NewMe's Recovery Thread
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 6:17 am 
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Hi folks, it’s newme version 7 or however many times it is I’ve recommitted to recovery :e: (make light to mask the seriousness of my failure to grasp and hold on to a healthy life.)

Hope it’s okay to start this new thread. Got a recovery thread in the personal coaching forum right here (started in 2008 when I was in private coaching with Jon). Much of that thread was lost in the move to the new forum and seeing I’m no longer in private coaching - thought I'd start a new recovery thread here where I can feel more part of the community.

I completed the workshop lessons last November after a sustained 3 month period of focus on managing my life and putting recovery skills into practice. My life was outwardly changing in lost of ways for the better. I thought I was ready to become a mentor and pass on what I’d learned to others. Unfortunately I lost focus (consciously deciding to put immediate gratification first) and failed to ingrain those learned recovery skills in the months ahead. I’ve been caught in recovery/relapse cycles ever since. I recently started to redo the lessons offline in a handwritten journal but such an isolated approach wasn’t ideal for me.

I’m now 39 years old and am faced with the reality that I don’t yet possess the skills to manage my life. Instead I live without any real focus or direction and use compulsive activities to manage my emotions and deal with stress. I’m currently single, have no children and don’t feel emotionally mature enough to be in a healthy relationship. When I consider this reality I feel lost, overwhelmed, incompetent, scared, sad, vulnerable… thankfully I don’t yet feel without hope. I still believe in the power of the workshop lessons to change lives when actively applied. Coach Jon's words continue to resonate with me at a deep level as does much of the wisdom passed on by others.

So I need to change. This is not the vision I have for my life. It’s not who I want to be. I want to be the fullest expression of who I am. To live a life I can be proud of. To turn my life around the approach to my recovery needs to change. Over the next few months my recovery has to switch from a part time on/off activity to being the primary focus of my life. The words here are easy – to apply them will take time, commitment, focus and a raw determination to carry on.

I know Coach Jon believed in me - saw the potential I’ve so often struggled to see myself. He only ever asked that I keep my eyes open, that I face everything as it really is without trying to fool myself or anyone else. When I commit to real awareness and absolute honesty then I’m in the best position to make healthy choices.

Instead I squinted my eyes, sidestepped honesty and ran headlong into a relationship based on love addiction - fooling myself into believing I could handle it. The immediate rewards were intoxicating – the long term consequences still painfully permeating. I put myself in situations where I wasn't prepared or emotionally mature enough to face with healthy responses.

I’ve taken the long way round in learning some hard lessons that could have been avoided had I kept my eyes truly open and put my long term health before short term satisfaction. But here I am – back at the start, asking what it is I want to make out of my life. I owe myself the chance to live a life based in reality and do whatever it takes to get there.

I’m going back to the start of the workshop and will redo the lessons as necessary. Too often I’ve taken the wisdom and help from this community without giving much back so I plan to rectify this and become more involved over the coming weeks.

Onward... :g:


Last edited by newme on Sun May 22, 2011 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 12:45 pm 
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Hi newme,

Welcome back. Glad to see that you're getting back on the horse, even if it is for the 7th time. The most important thing you can do is assess your motivation this time, which you seem to be doing. And if it is truly because you are not the way you want to be, then that is an excellent thing. I finally came to a similar realization this past February, in the midst of extreme job stress, that I didn't know how to manage my life or my emotions. And I think admitting that to myself was the beginning of my "second-phase" of recovery. Prior to that, after I started recovery, there was always that feeling that if I did enough recovery work, I could eventually go back to just coasting through life. But I still wasn't achieving any value in my life. And I have just started (in the past month or so) to come to terms with my love addict rituals and start to eliminate them. So I can relate on that.

The one thing I've learned about recovery from love addict rituals is that you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Nobody can tell you when you're engaging in them, and nobody (including anyone you date) will likely have any idea that you're engaging in them. Combined with the fact that they come down to your own internal perceptions of people, this can make them very difficult to eliminate; they are only in your head. In my process, I have essentially had to admit to myself that I didn't really know how to perceive people. This extended to both men and women, friendships and relationships and attraction. I am still working on it. It is primarily a boundary issue, not understanding boundaries in terms of what is love and what isn't, and what different types of love are (friendly love, romantic love with attraction, etc.) and when those are and aren't appropriate. It can be quite challenging. I have definitely made progress, but only when I started being totally honest with myself.

The other thing to watch out for, as you know, is complacency. Rather than just recognize that you need to watch out for it, think of ways how you could "talk yourself out of recovery." If you start playing mind games with yourself down the road and consciously let immediate gratification win again, what will it look like? What will the thoughts be that you need to look out for, and how will you deal with them? Use your past failed recovery attempts to look at what you did wrong, and how you will prevent yourself from getting off-track again. And remember that just because it didn't work in the past, doesn't mean you're starting over. To keep things in perspective, realize that you have probably had successes and things you have learned that have stuck with you, but that more work is needed.

I wish you the best as you start a new phase of your recovery! :g:

FT

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"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: Fri May 20, 2011 4:59 pm 
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Thanks for the re-welcome and some thought provoking advice FT :g:

Funnily enough I was reading through some recovery threads yesterday and came across yours - could relate to so much of what you described regarding love addiction and your insights regarding it shone some light on why I've so often turned to it - it's something I'll be focusing on more this time around for sure. Seeing how someone else practically applies awareness to their compulsive behaviour was really helpful.


Quote:
The one thing I've learned about recovery from love addict rituals is that you need to be brutally honest with yourself.

Can see how that would be the case. 'I'm just looking at pictures of her on Facebook cause I'm interested in what she's up to as I would any friend' doesn't cut the mustard when I confront it honestly. I can see that everything needs questioned when it comes to my friendships with women - especially those I'm attracted to. No doubt there's some hard work ahead but the pay off will be genuine relationships without all the layers of fantasy stuck on.


Quote:
...there was always that feeling that if I did enough recovery work, I could eventually go back to just coasting through life. But I still wasn't achieving any value in my life.

Yes, I've fallen back to the coasting through life stage and I've had enough of it. I'm barely creating any value and I know I have the potential for so much more.


Quote:
If you start playing mind games with yourself down the road and consciously let immediate gratification win again, what will it look like?

I usually let immediate gratification win when I'm feeling down, discouraged, hurt, bored, frustrated, lonely... any negative feeling really can be a precursor. Once I give in to it by say drinking too much... viewing something erotic... masturbation... then I always think 'I'm in a hole so I'm as well indulging to the max while I'm here' then overload on compulsive behaviour and give up on any notion of recovery. The thought of 'getting it out of my system' isn't original but I keep using it nonetheless. So it's at those times of experiencing negative emotions that I need to step back, connect with my vision and values and DO something, anything that connects me with them. Run, read, play guitar, phone a friend, watch a comedy, anything to get me away from that place where I'm most vulnerable to making unwise choices.


Quote:
And remember that just because it didn't work in the past, doesn't mean you're starting over.

Thanks for the reminder, I'm an all or nothing thinker too often and there is much I've learned over the last couple of years. By putting it into practice I'll be moving forwards towards that person I want to be.


I need to re-frame my attitude to recovery. Found this in an email from Jon after I'd arranged personal coaching and admitted I was only 'kind of' looking forward to it...
Quote:
Nah, don’t be ‘kind of’ looking forward to it. If you are sincere, then you should be thrilled. You are on the threshold of experiencing a major transition in your life. One that will be permanent.

These next few months are an opportunity for me to learn and participate in the school of 'how to manage your life'. The lessons are totally relevant, practical and the fieldwork takes place every single day no matter what I'm doing. Every day I can put something into practice that will improve my life in the long term - this is indeed something to be excited about :g:


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:05 am 
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Laying the Foundation for permanent change
Quote:
Continue to pursue a sincere, complete commitment to rebuilding the core of who you are - building a life based on a revolving value system - and the change will involve living a life that you cannot currently comprehend. Not a perfect life, but a genuine life. One based in reality. In courage. In integrity. A life where the person that you are, is the person that others know you to be. Where love and acceptance are real, not illusions

This sums up the life I want to be living to a tee. Not perfectionism, not abstinence, not even 'recovery' - but a life powered by values, guided by a realistic vision and lived out transparently. A genuine life indeed.


Quote:
This workshop is about learning to take pride in who you are and where you're going, rather than focusing on the shame of where you've been.

A great reminder of what the workshop's all about and why it needs to be my top priority.


Lesson 1
A. 1) Actively committing yourself to change
I am actively committing myself to change. I know it will take much hard work, focus, time and energy but I really, really want to end my association with compulsive behaviour. I'm now 39 and I don't want to waste any more of my life. I have so much more potential, so much life left to live and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed in changing my life and permanently ending my addictions and compulsive behaviour.

A. 2) Not allowing guilt/shame to sabotage your commitment to change
There will be guilt, shame, emptiness and self doubt ahead. I'll probably go through stages of feeling depressed and that question if it's all worth it. The inner voice will say 'you've slipped up, your recovery efforts have failed now, you're as well giving up, at least for today'. I have to prepare myself for those times where I'm most vulnerable to giving in to unhealthy behaviours - remind myself of the bigger picture - of the prize I'm fighting for - that I'm transitioning away from a way of managing my emotions that will affect the rest of my life. It's well worth fighting for.

A. 3) Allowing yourself time to change
Well I've certainly had to do that whether I planned it or not! Looking forwards I'll have to learn to accept that worthwhile change takes time, that new paths take longer to navigate and become familiar with. It will take work, resolve, dedication and absolute commitment. It will take time and there is nothing, nothing more important that I could be doing with my time right now or in the weeks and months to come.

B. List 10-15 reasons why you seek to permanently change your life. really examine your life and what is important to you.
1. I want to consistently demonstrate to myself and those around me that I am capable of living with integrity. That I can be absolutely trusted. That I can live a life to be proud of.
2. I want to be secure enough in myself to enter into a lasting and authentic relationship.
3. I want to be a dad. A dad that loves his kids and lives a life they can be proud of.
4. I want to create work that has meaning and that I love, that impacts lives in a positive way.
5. I want to spend the second part of my life being open. Quick to welcome, friendly to others, sharing my home, skills, friend, time and developing existing and new friendships.
6. I want to experience and enjoy authentic, intimate, healthy sexuality.
7. I want to travel and explore, create remarkable stories and kindle a curiosity for life.
8. I want to face reality and experience the world as it really is.
9. I want to connect with my emotions and empathise with others, to feel again.
10. I want to love and be kind to myself, doing what's best for my long term health.
11. I want to display the courage to be true to myself, to express who I am with confidence and vulnerability.
12. I want to overcome social anxiety.
13. I want to strengthen my friendships and be a positive force in their lives.
14. I want to smile more, enjoy more, plan times to relax, be stupid and have fun.
15. I want to serve and help others who need a break, support or a helping hand.
16. I want to take care of my body's health and fitness.

C. Find a picture of yourself when you were a small child...
I felt a genuine love for that child in the picture. His happy, innocent and vulnerable smile reflects what a genuinely loveable and healthy boy he was. He never chose this path he ended up on. He doesn't deserve to feel shame, self criticism and guilt. He embodies hope, potential, dreams without limits. He also needs protection, care, love and guidance. I wanted to hug him, imagined doing so as he jumped into my arms and sat on my knee. All he wants is to be loved, to be heard, to be safe, to have fun, to play, laugh and smile. I can learn a lot from him about finding helicopters in sycamore leaves, sliding down ice dizzy with laughter, riding a bike fast and free - he was fully engaged with the world as it is and what it could be. He had hopes and dreams that got lost while life happened along the way. Now I have the chance to be that hoped for future, to be the man he would be proud to become. I will be that man. I owe it to him with every fibre of my body. I owe it to me.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 2:49 pm 
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This time around I want to use my thread as much as a journal to help work things out in my head as I do a place to work on the lessons. If I get into the habit of being honest here about my fears, issues and vulnerabilities then I won't be storing it all up inside and I'll be practising my values of truth and honesty. Sometimes I try too hard to impress, to make out I'm better and more together than I really am. By openly sharing my darker sides and struggles I hope to lessen their power over me and bring more clarity and focus into why I behave in certain ways.

I'm just back from playing football and I was aware of a few things on the journey back. I spent a good deal of the weekend trying to get enough players to play and we had to play with a weakened team. We got beat heavily by a much younger team who play at a high level but always try to wind other teams up by being cocky and showing off. I walked off feeling annoyed at my performance, annoyed that I'd let them wind me up and angry at all the effort I put in to organise something so unfulfilling. But most of all I was frustrated because my ankle injury got worse and I think I need a few weeks out which might even spell the end of our team that's been together over ten years.

On the way home I saw several attractive women and didn't much fight the urge to look at them and scan them quickly. I felt so frustrated and angry about everything else and I was aware that this act of scanning gave me a sense of power, control and escape - exactly what I was lacking during the game and its aftermath. I was medicating my pain at the expense of objectifying these younger women.

The last woman I drove past had her back to me but I could see that she had a great figure from a distance and I had more than one look. I guess she could sense she was being looked at turned round just as my car was passing. I caught her eye for maybe a split second and felt a mixture of shame, power, excitement, guilt and even some sadness all rolled into one. I glanced again in my rear view mirror after passing for another look. When I think about it now the scanning, staring and stolen glances all contribute to a heady cocktail of emotional stimulation - both positive and negative. They take me away from my painful reality and difficult emotions it was causing. Even trying to fight looking at a woman is part of a ritual with emotional stimulation taking place.

I feel guilty and embarrassed by doing this and I've no doubt a 19 year old girl wouldn't appreciate a man 20 years older then her mentally undressing her when she's not looking. Makes me cringe just writing that but that's the reality and it's not the type of person I want to be. In many ways I haven't moved on sexually and emotionally since my teenage years so I often feel the same attraction to a 19 year old as I did when I was that age myself. I don't say that at all to excuse myself - it's not acceptable - I'm just trying to understand myself. I can totally see the inappropriateness of this in the cold light of day - I'm old enough to be their dad and it just feels sad, creepy, disrespectful and a violation of their privacy. I also know that when I've talked to friends in the past that they also viewed porn sites where the women were around college age, say 18-25 even though they were older themselves.

In my last job I had an emotional relationship fuelled by love addiction with a 23 year old when I was in my mid thirties. In the last few weeks I met and started a friendship with a woman (I always want to say 'girl' like how I would say 'guy' instead of 'man' but 'girl' sounds disrespectful so I'm saying 'woman' though that sounds too serious - this could also be part of my issues!) who's 24 and I started some of my love addiction fantasies with her (she may never know, this goes on mostly in my head but results in me spending hours composing impressive replies to her emails for example). Basically I can see that my attraction and focus on younger woman is symptomatic of my own immaturity and complete lack of maturity in relation to my sexuality and sense of self.

My ex girlfriend was a year older than me and I found her sexually attractive so I know that I can be attracted to women more my age but I just think it's an area of concern that I'm becoming more aware of. I want to get to a place where I can acknowledge a young woman's attractiveness and not have it affect me emotionally, not violate her boundaries, not obsess about it but just see her and appreciate her as she is as I would anyone else. A long way to go.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Hi newme,

Good insights. One thing you will want to consider as you move ahead with the workshop:

Quote:
In my last job I had an emotional relationship fuelled by love addiction with a 23 year old when I was in my mid thirties. In the last few weeks I met and started a friendship with a woman (I always want to say 'girl' like how I would say 'guy' instead of 'man' but 'girl' sounds disrespectful so I'm saying 'woman' though that sounds too serious - this could also be part of my issues!) who's 24 and I started some of my love addiction fantasies with her (she may never know, this goes on mostly in my head but results in me spending hours composing impressive replies to her emails for example). Basically I can see that my attraction and focus on younger woman is symptomatic of my own immaturity and complete lack of maturity in relation to my sexuality and sense of self.


The fact that you compulsively focus on younger women likely indicates a couple elements in your rituals...Danger (at thinking about having a sexual relationship with someone that much younger), Suspense (in wondering what she'll say to the emails, etc.), Acceptance (trying to feel wanted by someone who is so much younger), etc. When you find yourself engaging in the rituals, try to start seeing the elements involved. You will do this more thoroughly as you get further into the workshop, but it's never too early to start. Once you start to see these elements and connect them to the emotions you're feeling, the behaviours will start to lose their mystery and separate from your identity.

Also, in terms of looking into your past, I have found with many of my love addict behaviours (and this may reflect love addict behaviours for many people) is that at least for me, they were completely driven by feelings of being wanted, being accepted, seeking approval, wanting people to like me, trying to impress people, and attention seeking behaviour. I thought that I was doing this because I "loved" these people. Or that I would give them lasting love. That what I was doing was completely selfless. But really, it was completely selfish. I only wanted to do such things so that they wouldn't make me feel lonely anymore. Consider if any of this applies to you. It took me a long time to figure this out (I'd accepted for a long time that this was just the way I am), but it's only been in the last couple weeks where I've really started to isolate this and see a change in myself and the way I look at women. So if you find any value in this, consider whether any of those unhealthy values are why you are behaving the way you are.

Hope that helps. I have also found regular journaling along with doing the lessons to be beneficial. Sometimes you end up typing something that you hadn't consciously thought of before and something clicks. :g:

FT

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"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: Sun May 22, 2011 6:18 pm 
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Wow, what you said about the selfish and needy reasons behind your love addict rituals really struck home. "I only wanted to do such things so that they wouldn't make me feel lonely any more". How true. To whoever I've fallen for I put so much energy into 'selfless' acts of being a great, generous, thoughtful, kind, witty guy that they're almost left with no reasonable reason to not like me - guaranteed unloneliness.

Can see how this selfishness applies to another aspect of my love addiction. I always put the woman on a pedestal of unrealistic perfection, get really inspired by them, appreciate their beauty, words, skills more than anyone else, agree about or like stuff I otherwise wouldn't. Everything they touch turns to gold. In time they obviously fail to match or reciprocate such unrealistic, false expectations and I end up resenting them for it - ultimately showing just how selfish and self centred the whole 'attraction' really was to begin with. How dare they not live up the fantasy I spent so much time creating! Pathetic really.

If I think hard about all the women I've 'fallen for' it might even be possible that the only thing that's really interested me about them was their physical attractiveness. All of the endless stuff I've found fascinating and amazing about their personality could to a large degree have been 'pinned on' by me or I only fooled myself into thinking I was so fascinated to add fuel to the fantasy. Man this is depressing to consider, no wonder I find romance and relationships so tiring.

I remember Jon talks somewhere in the workshop of many love addicts feeling special that only they are uniquely capable of displaying such heightened levels of lasting love and romance. Humbling and demystifying to see just how unoriginal the things we thought we were doing so uniquely really are.

What you say about younger woman makes sense too. It just ups the ante - increases the challenge... the danger... the intensity. All the addictive stuff I thrive on.

I'm not a uniquely amazing romantic lover. I have issues with loneliness and a deep seated need for others to like me.

The target is to be in a place where I can love a partner for nothing more or less than she really is - and to know she feels the same way about me too.

Thanks again for the input FT - real grist for the mill :g:


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2011 3:56 pm 
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The following are quotes from Jon via Robert10's recovery thread (hope you don't mind if you see it!) which I've been reading along with some others members who've been through the programme and I'm finding it really helpful as I keep seeing so much of myself in the issues that others have faced along the way.
Quote:
re: "but there's brief periods every 3-12 weeks where I feel an overwhelming pressure to watch pornography"

If you do this right...these 'brief periods' will soon grow further and farther in between. Their intensity will diminish. And, with your evolving emotional maturity and healthy foundation...your confidence and experience in managing them will grow exponentially. None of this will occur with your decision to change. But, it will occur quite naturally with your ongoing effort towards that change.

It is almost comical to talk with people six months beyond the active stage of their addiction as they recollect with amazement how easy it was to actually end what had been years and years of addiction. It's all in maintaining the motivation to end the addiction--and actually learning how to do it. :wink:

re: "I don't know, I also just feel like it's a discipline issue."

It's not. Granted, some people can force themselves through abstinence by maintaining absolute discipline. But it's not natural. Not for most. Personally, I remain undisciplined in many areas of my life throughout my recovery. Heck, still remain so in some areas! This goes beyond organization and discipline. This goes to your emotional maturity, your perception and your life management skills. I promise you.

re: "I need to find my vision, I MUST find a vision that I can truly latch onto in order to truly improve my life. And I need to believe in that vision with all my heart."

Yes you do. Everything else is just 'going through the motions'. You need to establish a clear vision to help you put all of this insight into context within your life.

re: "but got derailed by something that has impeded my life's progress for quite some time now: my addiction to computer games."

Different symptom...same exact addiction. Trust me on this as well. As you proceed through the workshop, do not separate these two forms of addiction. When you contemplate 'sexual rituals'...make sure you include rituals involving gaming as well. AND, especially with gaming...prepare yourself to actually mourn the loss of this part of your life. Not that you can't continue to game in a healthy way...you can. But you would be a fool to do so over these next few months. This is an extraordinary opportunity for you to move your life into that 'next phase'...and that will require you to experience some emotional 'rawness' for awhile. So prepare yourself now. Prepare yourself to feel a spike in your emotions. Prepare yourself to feel a void. Prepare yourself to question whether you even need to change. That perhaps you are just overreacting. And when you feel these things...return immediately to that vision that you will have established for you life to keep you on the right track.


I quoted the above post for a couple of reasons. Firstly I find Jon's words really inspiring at how six months after recovery people can't believe how easy it actually was to end years and years of addiction. Secondly the reminder that this isn't about self discipline but emotional maturity and managing your life is encouraging also.

Lastly when I read about treating excessive computer gaming as a different symptom but exactly the same addiction it made me realise that I should treat my internet/computer use in the same way. I work from home and run my own business doing web related work and I spend ridiculous amounts of time online. When I'm not working I'm browsing, when I'm not browsing I'm searching for music, watching a video, reading an article, researching designs, planning holiday, booking tickets, buying stuff, writing emails. It's crazy and I think I've been in some pretty big denial about it. Sometimes it's possible that I barely leave the house once a week if I've no arrangements and I'm injured so can't play my usual team sports. That's not healthy and certainly doesn't fall in line with the vision I've been working on for my life.

I'm currently injured again and could be out for several weeks, possibly months. If there was ever a time to overcome my online addictions then it's over these next few weeks. I'm not surprised my life constantly gets out of balance when I spend so much of it doing one activity for 95% of it. My online addiction has become a barrier to the world, it protects me from social anxiety (but actually makes it worse in the long run) and is the always there panacea to avoid the stress of anything uncomfortable.

While I develop and work on my vision I'm going to be aware of my resistance to getting away from the computer and not let it stop me building a vision that inspires me. I think a pattern that might have developed with previous recovery attempts was one of not being totally holistic in monitoring my unhealthy behaviours. First time round I thought I could handle online dating and start a relationship while working on my recovery - I chose to remain blind to the threat and and I ended up in a mess. A second more successful recovery push didn't treat the computer/internet addiction as a serious threat which no doubt contributed to my life gradually getting out of balance again. The online addiction leads to social isolation and my values and vision get more and more distant as so much of my vision revolves around connecting with others, getting outside, travelling, keeping fit etc. Now I'm looking again at the vision I want to build for my life - I can't be blind any more to compulsive threats - I need to heighten my awareness of them and have plans in place to counter them with positive actions.

I have issues with porn, masturbation, love addiction, internet addiction as well as struggling with my self image, social anxiety, depression, self worth, sexuality and more.

I want to look back at my life six months from now and laugh at how easy it was to end these addictions and feel pride at the progress I've made in making positive inroads into the struggles listed above. I want to do this, I really do.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 7:24 pm 
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I've got a big work project on for the next 7 days and I also want to get my vision and values updated and to wholly connect with them. Something doesn't feel quite right though so I want to asses it here.

Firstly the positive - I made some progress in actively pursing my values today by doing something I've been putting off for ages. I didn't feel like going but I did it anyway and I'm glad I did. I got out the house and did a task because I knew it was best for me. End result - I feel a bit better about myself and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I imagined.

I still feel embarrassed and emotionally stunted by my social anxiety though. Sometimes I have good days where I feel confident and good about myself but at other times I just feel really self concious walking around and get stuck in my head rather than focusing on what's around me. I have to keep facing my fears of socialising to overcome this though - over the coming weeks getting out the house and socialising will be a litmus test of how healthy my life is.

Emotions got out of whack a few times today. I have issues with not feeling masculine enough, of thinking people might be questioning my sexuality or laughing at me in some way about how I look - irrational though it is. I know why I feel these thoughts - much of it's to do with childhood/teenage experiences which left their scars.

What created some imbalance today was the friend (the 24 year old younger woman) saying in a an email I could be our team's cheerleader now I'm injured. I'm pretty sure it was just a light hearted harmless comment but that didn't stop me feeling hurt and wondering if it was calculated to show me that she doesn't see me as masculine enough to be attractive to her. Even writing that I can hear myself saying that I should maintain hyper awareness when responding to and reading her emails - I have been more aware but I need to step it up. Her words can have a heightened effect on my emotions because of my love addiction potential. So, balance it out. It doesn't ultimately matter even if she does feel that I'm not sexually attractive to her as I have a boundary of not letting myself get involved in another love addiction relationship fuelled by fantasy. She likes and respects me as a friend, that I know for sure and that is a good thing, that is enough. I am enough without needing her validation or mark of masculine approval.

A second bout of emotional whackness came after a cousin called out of the blue and will be staying over this weekend. I like her and look forward to seeing her - but then I started feeling paranoid thoughts that she might suspect I'm gay because I haven't had a girlfriend for a couple of years and will be asking questions which might make me uncomfortable. Writing this down I can really see how much of an issue this thing is - so much of it unfounded yet I still obsess over it.

The truth is I'm terrified of people thinking I might be gay. I'm even more terrified of them being right. Late last year when I was focused on values based living I even plucked up the courage to go to a counsellor where I talked openly about these fears as well as the male sexual abuse I went through as a child and its possible contributory effects to how I perceive myself. I talked of my confused sexual identity and sexual experiences and addictions. I remember feeling so relieved when he said that he couldn't see any of the external signs I was so worried about - also that after a few months of sessions that he thought I was clearly sexually attracted to women and would like to be in a meaningful relationship with one and that the male fantasies I've had seem to come from the compulsive part of me where it's easy to get and always available. He also said that sexuality is not set in stone, that masculinity and femininity are largely unhelpful terms because we can all have elements of each.

This whole issue causes me so much emotional imbalance it's unreal. I fear that anyone reading this will now label me as gay or in the closet (as I'd probably do with someone else) and the thought depresses me. I have to work through what this is though so I can achieve emotional balance with it.

Why does this continue to cause me so much angst? I support gay rights and hate to see any kind of oppression of gay people yet my internal thoughts are clearly pretty homophobic at least towards myself. I don't know. I'm aware that I keep projecting my anxiety about this onto others, often making snap judgements and suspecting other guys to be gay when they may or may not be. I don't want to continue like though, I can't if I'm to achieve health.

I have to come to peace with who I am, whatever makes me truly me and the sexual desires and needs that are part of who I am. I have to face myself honestly and accept who I really am, behind the addictions, anxieties, fears and irrational thoughts. Calmness within will be the starting point for finding clarity to all of this. That'll do me for now, back to the vision tomorrow and I'll add any further thoughts to this area if they come up.


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:27 am 
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Lesson 2 - Establishing a healthy vision for your life

I might still have 40 or 50 years of life left to live. I've already lived for 39 years and the things I'm most proud of are the artworks and shows I've created, playing for my country and winning trophies, volunteering and giving to others, teaching students, studying and travelling in another country and the good friendships I've made. The vision I have for the remaining years of my life will be built on the foundations of what I've been proud to achieve so far while also growing in other ways.

I have an inherent need to create so a huge part of my vision involves putting my creative skills into practice. I will develop my site into a studio/gallery/museum. It will be a place to show my work and experiment - a space to collaborate and share with other artists. A creative home to take pride in.

I come alive when I'm inspired by new surroundings so I will seek out opportunities to travel and live and work in new places that resonate with me. I will seek out projects and programmes where I can get involved and bring my creative skills to the table. I will connect with local people whenever possible. I will plan and book that round the world trip.

I love to compete and take part in sporting activities. I will protect and look after my body through physio exercises and practising pilates and yoga. I will seek out opportunities for doing activities with friends such as mountain biking, canoeing, squash, tennis, football or hockey.

I will seek out opportunities to give. I will back creative projects on Kickstarter. Give loans to people on Kiva. Sponsor friends and family and other charitable projects generously. I will use my site to back other artists, to pass on skills and highlight important causes. I will take pride the work I do for H. I will seek out opportunities to give by being the best host I can when friends and family stay.

I treat my friends as I'd like to be treated myself. Take an active interest in their lives and their children's lives. Initiate interesting activities so we can create and share great stories together. Be generous with my time, attention and skills whenever I can.

I will use this second part of my life to give back to my family. I will apologise for my poor behaviour in the past to each one of them and seek to make amends by actively finding ways to show my love for them whether by email, phone, a letter, gift, time, helping or visiting. My attitude will be 'what can I do to put a smile on their face' rather than 'what's in it for me'.

I will practice absolute honesty with myself and around others - if there's an opportunity to tell a 'white lie', exaggerate or tell the truth I'll tell the truth. I will seek out opportunities to share my weaknesses and vulnerabilities as well as my successes and strengths. They are what make me human and what will allow others to connect with that humanity. I will live by the principle that 'everything matters' that the things I do when no one is looking but me are where my character and integrity are formed.

I will seek out activities I can do to increase my confidence in social situations. Whether it's signing up for classes, travelling around the city or country or just making small talk with shop assistants - I will build up my confidence through exposure to social situations and repetition until they become natural.

I will embrace my sexuality. I will schedule time to work through the sexual anorexia book and apply the lessons that resonate with me. I will seek to understand and accept my sensual/sexual identity through journalling, awareness, study and experience. When I feel I am in a more sexually mature place I will seek out a relationship.

I will create depth within my life. I will schedule times of meditation and relaxation, of walks, drives in the country, drawing, cycle rides and running. These will be designed to create space in my life, to give myself time to empty my mind of thoughts, to step back from the detail of life to see the bigger picture.


Last edited by newme on Mon May 30, 2011 5:17 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:43 pm 
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Hi newme,

I can relate to quite a bit from your one post - the social anxiety, the self-consciousness. What I recognized in the past couple days is that I'm never going to be able to have better relationships and openly communicate with people if I don't open myself up and at least try. I was at a concert last night and kept trying to get up the courage to just talk to people I didn't know - didn't do it. I did however, talk to a friend of a friend openly (who was a girl) and was able to do that all right. I think what might be helpful for this is coming up with an action plan of how exactly to do it, then visualizing in your mind talking to someone new. I'm going to try this out, and you may find it helpful as well.

One other thought I had from reading your post, and don't take this the wrong way - do you think it's currently healthy to have a friendship with this girl while you're struggling with your love addict patterns? Or is it just prolonging your addiction? I know how the love addict mind works; I carried on friendships with women or exes for years, under the guise that I was going to get them back. It likely prolonged my ability to end these patterns and get healthy. So, only as a suggestion, do you think it may be better to cut contact with this woman while you are rebuilding your foundation? After you start transitioning to a healthy life vision for yourself, you may be in a better place to interpret whether your relationship is healthy. Note that I'm not telling you what to do - merely a suggestion from someone who has some experience in obsessing about relationships. :w:

Quote:
The truth is I'm terrified of people thinking I might be gay. I'm even more terrified of them being right. Late last year when I was focused on values based living I even plucked up the courage to go to a counsellor where I talked openly about these fears as well as the male sexual abuse I went through as a child and its possible contributory effects to how I perceive myself. I talked of my confused sexual identity and sexual experiences and addictions. I remember feeling so relieved when he said that he couldn't see any of the external signs I was so worried about - also that after a few months of sessions that he thought I was clearly sexually attracted to women and would like to be in a meaningful relationship with one and that the male fantasies I've had seem to come from the compulsive part of me where it's easy to get and always available. He also said that sexuality is not set in stone, that masculinity and femininity are largely unhelpful terms because we can all have elements of each.


I wanted to respond to this because I have personal experience in this area. One of my OCD rituals over the years was an obsessive fear that I was gay. This created a compulsion where I was constantly "checking" every guy that walked by and asking "do I find him attractive?" The emotional stimulation from such an act was interpreted as actual attraction (it wasn't) so I'd go along, continuing to see every guy that walked by and ask myself if I was attracted to him. My mind would even simulate sexual situations, which would increase the fear. I had the exact same thoughts -- I completely support gay rights and have no issues with gay people either.

If this is where you are and you're thinking similar thoughts, I can almost assure you: you're not gay. The problem doesn't lie in internal homophobia, but rather, I found that for myself, it was due to an inner confusion about sexuality and a boundary issue. I'd had such thoughts since I was 11, and was not able to process them in a healthy way. Most likely, you are simply unsure of what your sexual boundaries are, and what is healthy and unhealthy for you. This sounds ridiculous, but it probably took 2 years until I could acknowledge that a man I saw was handsome or attractive and didn't freak out about it. This essentially comes down to having confidence in your sexuality. There is nothing wrong or even homosexual about acknowledging that another member of the same sex is a good-looking person. There's a difference between finding someone attractive and being attracted to them.

This took me a long time to understand, so hopefully such knowledge can help you figure it out faster. Down deep, you likely know that you're heterosexual. People generally know their true sexual orientation from a young age. But this brings us back to the point that compulsive sexual behaviour (or thoughts) don't have to be true to yourself - they merely have to provide intense emotions that balance or distract other emotions in your life. There are other recovering addicts on RN who have been heterosexual but have have multiple sexual encounters with other men. But such behaviour is not driven by attraction; merely intensity, as well as other emotions (guilt, shame, anxiety, excitement, etc.) Similarly, you said your thoughts cause a great emotional imbalance. This is true, but it also provides a distraction from other emotions or thoughts that you don't want to think.

Trust me, work at it long enough, and you will begin to find clarity. Hopefully this advice can have you solve the problem faster than I did.

Also, great work on your vision. Practical, personal, specific. :g:

FT

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"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: Thu May 26, 2011 5:43 pm 
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Thanks for the insights and advice FT, really appreciate it :g:

Social anxiety - Sometimes I think I've been waiting on some kind of psychological 'cure' for social anxiety to happen just through understanding or reading something. But I'm realising too that it's going to take actually opening up and talking to others to turn any insights into real change. Like the idea of an action plan/visualising talking to new people.

Love addiction - Hear what you're saying and I'm sure Coach Jon would be echoing a similar warning! Couple of factors at play to explain first... I committed a few weeks ago to redesigning and maintaining her site - it's a big job which I'm only half way through and is the driving factor behind much of our current communication. Did I take this on in order to fuel the love addiction - yes, in part I probably did (it allows me to impress, connect, prolong contact). Can I complete this and continue working with her on the site as promised without compromising my values - I believe that I can - as long as I remain fully aware of any signs of my love addiction rituals taking place. Admittedly I let that comment in her last email get me out of balance so I'm not yet in a totally healthy place regarding how I relate to her (though that comment could have been written by anyone and still put me out of balance due to my masculinity issues).

Now that I'm refocusing more on my recovery I believe I'm transitioning to a more realistic and healthy perception of her. She's young, popular, confident, good looking, intelligent, really social... most of the things I'm not! I'm becoming more aware of the reality of the situation and as my love addiction rituals are becoming demystified I'm obsessing about her less every day. I now don't believe I'll ever be in a relationship with her (difficult to say but true) and my expectations are shifting to more realistic/healthier areas of friendship and common creative interests. The shared creative interests are important to me as I can see us continuing to work together on future projects (the site is going well) and she can put me in touch with so many talented people that would be great for advancing my own creative plans.

What I'll also need to prepare for is a friend of hers is visiting my city next month and will be staying at mine for a few days so I'll be showing her round and stuff. I'll need to plan and prepare for certain scenarios 'what if I'm attracted to her', 'what if she's attracted to me' and I'll need to consider what my boundaries are etc. Meantime I'll be keeping my contact with my friend strictly within the friend zone and keeping my awareness heightened for any addictive behaviours. I'm aware that my perceptions may be skewed while I'm still transitioning to a healthy life so I'm treading carefully and not adverse to further advice on it.

Sexuality - Thanks for sharing your experiences on this - it can feel like a lonely place so knowing that others have experienced anything at all similar makes it less so. Interesting that you mention it as an OCD ritual. Never thought of it in those terms but there's no doubt it's become an incredibly obsessive/compulsive part of my life.

Quote:
There's a difference between finding someone attractive and being attracted to them.

Yes, when a I'm with friends and a guy is mentioned as being handsome I can feel myself tensing up as I'm scared as coming across as gay by acknowledging his good looks. I think I often overcompensate and try to act more macho/laddish than I am to gain acceptance which just heightens my stress as it takes more effort than just being myself.

Quote:
Most likely, you are simply unsure of what your sexual boundaries are, and what is healthy and unhealthy for you.

That is very true. I don't really know what my sexual boundaries are. When you say "Down deep, you likely know that you're heterosexual" I think I've experienced so many compulsive thoughts and fantasies that I'm not really sure any more what my sexuality really is. My vision is to meet a woman that I can share a relationship of depth, open communication and sexual connection. When I've looked at porn I know I can get turned on by straight/gay/bi/transgender so deep it down it feels like anything is possible on a sexual level. Yet I know my relationship with sex has been almost entirely a compulsive one so I don't really trust my feelings in this area. I like what you said that 'compulsive sexual behaviour (or thoughts) don't have to be true to yourself' that they only have to be capable of producing intense emotional stimulation - add some guilt, shame and anxiety in there too and I can see how the cocktail becomes more intense.

I think part of the challenge for me as I rebuild my life is to reconnect with who I really am at the deep level you're talking about. There's so many layers of compulsive behaviours I thought were part of my identity that I need some time to detach from them to find out who I really am underneath it all. By building a life around my values instead of compulsive behaviour I'll gain a clearer understanding of what it means to be true to myself as I connect with my vision through everyday actions.

Quote:
Also, great work on your vision. Practical, personal, specific.

Thanks, I sat down and thought about what I've achieved so far and what I want to achieve in the future and it flowed pretty naturally so good to hear it sounds practical and workable :g:


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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 3:25 am 
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Hi NewMe,

You are not going to like what I have to say here, but understand that I'm being blunt for a specific reason and to take this advice to heart from someone who has experienced similar patterns.

Until you cut contact with this woman, you WILL NOT experience an ending to your addiction. Right now, you are both lying to yourself and lying to her about your true intentions. You even admitted it yourself with this justification:

Quote:
Did I take this on in order to fuel the love addiction - yes, in part I probably did (it allows me to impress, connect, prolong contact)


So you are admitting that engaging in this behaviour is fuelling your love addiction, yet you profess to be refocusing on your recovery? How exactly does that work? And this:

Quote:
Can I complete this and continue working with her on the site as promised without compromising my values - I believe that I can - as long as I remain fully aware of any signs of my love addiction rituals taking place.


....is a huge minimization. At this point, you can't remain fully aware of your love addiction rituals, because they still remain ingrained as part of who you are. They still feel like a natural part of you. Simply put, you cannot process reality accurately right now, because your compulsive thoughts surrounding this girl are continuing to distort your beliefs. And love addict rituals are particularly insidious for this because there is no overt behaviour associated with them. They are simply thoughts in your head. But compulsive thoughts that continue to fuel your entire addiction. They serve the same emotional function, in terms of managing your emotions, as someone using porn or masturbation. And until you commit mentally to doing whatever it takes to end those thoughts and destroy that part of your mind, they will continue to exist.

I BSed myself for so long about my love addiction. There were so many girls I thought about, considered getting into relationships with, figured that I'd "done enough recovery," etc. All the while, the thoughts were still there. And even once I realized that and wanted to stop, it seemed like I couldn't. The thoughts kept popping up. No matter how much I fought them, they kept appearing. Why? Because a part in the back of my mind was still not letting go. A part was still thinking, "It's be okay to just try and ask her out..." It was not until I have basically completely committed, when I made the mental decision that "no matter what happens, I never want these thoughts again," that I have been hit with that inner emptiness that signals that there is true change occurring to my identity. And while I feel kind of crappy right now, it is a good kind of crappy, the crappy that signifies that I have actually committed and can now truly focus on the person that I want to become.

Essentially, until you cut contact with her and focus on your recovery for several months, your entire vision will have an asterisk beside it. An asterisk that basically signifies that when recovery gets too hard, you still have that relationship that will bring you comfort. You still have those thoughts, those feelings, to fall back on. And until you commit to removing that asterisk, your addiction will live on. A part of you isn't letting go. You MUST fully commit to ending these patterns and feel that emptiness, that void, that comes with the emotional end to your addiction, or else it will continue to live, and you will not truly connect with your vision or values. Guaranteed.

Acting like you can still be friends, at this point, is a crock. In the back of your mind, you know that you would try to get into that relationship if the chance presented itself, if you could just impress her enough...if you can just keep in touch long enough...etc. This is your addiction living on.

Other examples of minimization:

Quote:
Admittedly I let that comment in her last email get me out of balance so I'm not yet in a totally healthy place regarding how I relate to her


Quote:
I now don't believe I'll ever be in a relationship with her (difficult to say but true)


Quote:
as my love addiction rituals are becoming demystified I'm obsessing about her less every day


See what I'm saying?

Quote:
She's young, popular, confident, good looking, intelligent, really social... most of the things I'm not!


This last statement alone signifies that you still have many issues to deal with. Such low self esteem is rooted in the addiction that needs to end before you can start feeling more confident and work through your issues. You cannot truly love someone until you love yourself (it's a cliche that is entirely true). Understand that what you are experiencing right now is not love, but a shoddy form of excitement that you believe to be love, that is wrapped up in neediness, attention-seeking, a desire to be liked and wanted, and both the deception of yourself and others. It is inherently selfish. It is basically the antithesis of real love.

Given how difficult it is to get a handle on love addiction since it is simply your thoughts, it simply isn't plausible for someone still in the throes of it to separate healthy from unhealthy thoughts. There's no possible way. Their mind will continue to flood them with thoughts of "what if...this turns into a relationship?" "What if...I could convince her to like me?" Basically, a million "What ifs?" Even when I thought I had obtained a measure of health after my porn/MB addiction ended, I was still obsessing about people and trying to get into relationships. And I still perceived this as "normal" because my perceptions were skewed.

I have probably struck a nerve with you by now, but understand that I have experienced these exact same patterns and I understand just how difficult they can be to extract from your identity. As I have stripped layers off of my mind, I basically recognized that my entire identity--probably 99%--was wrapped up in a dependence on others and a need to be liked. All my daily activities were organized around that. My love addiction was basically the vast majority of my identity. So try if you want to, but trust me, until you separate yourself from this relationship both physically and emotionally, and ALL love addict-based rituals end, your recovery will not take root and your addiction will continue to exist. And always remember, the choice is up to you.

One last thing:

Quote:
When I've looked at porn I know I can get turned on by straight/gay/bi/transgender so deep it down it feels like anything is possible on a sexual level. Yet I know my relationship with sex has been almost entirely a compulsive one so I don't really trust my feelings in this area.


And you shouldn't trust your feelings in this area, at this point. As you move through your recovery, and delve deeply into your compulsive rituals, you will find that the line between what you find attractive and what you find exciting has been blurred. And while there is obviously an element of excitement in attraction, they are not the same thing. The things you find compulsively exciting will excite your emotions, but feel ultimately hollow. Such excitement is usually created by guilt and shame surrounding the behaviour, as well as other unhealthy compulsive elements like danger. This is why addicts who are naturally heterosexual can end up doing superficially homosexual compulsive behaviours, even extreme ones. Through a skewed value system, such behaviours provide them with intense emotional stimulation, even though they may disgust them and cause them huge guilt. You will learn more about this as you move through the workshop, and mapping out your own rituals will help you to start making sense of your sexuality and where your actual attractions lie.

I hope my advice is of use.

FT

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"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: Sat May 28, 2011 7:17 am 
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Hi FT,

Quote:
You are not going to like what I have to say here, but understand that I'm being blunt for a specific reason and to take this advice to heart from someone who has experienced similar patterns.

You're right I didn't enjoy reading it but I do understand your reasons for being blunt.

I've reread what you've written - this paragraph in particular seems to encapsulate your advice:
Quote:
Essentially, until you cut contact with her and focus on your recovery for several months, your entire vision will have an asterisk beside it. An asterisk that basically signifies that when recovery gets too hard, you still have that relationship that will bring you comfort. You still have those thoughts, those feelings, to fall back on. And until you commit to removing that asterisk, your addiction will live on. A part of you isn't letting go. You MUST fully commit to ending these patterns and feel that emptiness, that void, that comes with the emotional end to your addiction, or else it will continue to live, and you will not truly connect with your vision or values. Guaranteed.


I can hear what you're saying loud and clear, really I do - this is unequivocal advice - cut off all contact or my addiction will live on.

I feel the wind knocked out of my sails as I did when Jon confronted me in a similar way when I was getting out of balance due to the relationship I'd started while in recovery a couple of years ago. He advised me to enjoy the new relationship as it was such an important part of my vision to be with someone but to do so with my eyes wide open and to be aware of any imbalances that might arise from it. Instead I didn't keep my life in balance while in the relationship and as a result Jon gave me an ultimatum of putting the relationship in the healthy category (as one part of a balanced life) or ending it completely. I chose to try the former but never fully committed to it and within a couple of months it had ended and my recovery was obviously in a mess.

I'm not going to bullshit you so I won't pretend that I'm going to do something but really do something else. I'm not going to cut off all contact - instead I'm going to put this relationship into the healthy category. I know I've lost your faith in a positive outcome at this point (which sits uncomfortably with a people pleaser like myself) but here's why I'm choosing this course of action...

1. The new site I'm developing for her has taken weeks of work - a community of creative people are set to benefit from it and someone has already started doing some exciting work on the new role the site will allow them to have. If I am to cut off communication now then the site won't be finished and a large number of people will be let down. I'm really proud of what I've created and the site itself aligns with many of the creative aspects of my vision. It's important to me to fulfil what I promised to do.

2. The reasons I started working on her site before I started this recovery commitment (which were all guaranteed to wreck a healthy recovery) are very different to what they are now. I can see the deception and insincerity of the 'love' addiction and I'm no longer fixated on trying to impress or prolong contact with her. My motivations now are primarily to keep to my word and meet the deadline and to create great work I can be proud of. This might seem like too quick a turnaround but I can feel a noticeable shift - her praise and attention don't provide the emotional stimulation they once did and I'm no longer looking for them as I once did. I'm not going to 'fall in love' with this woman and will not be trying to make her fall for me. A letting go has taken place and I have experienced some of the void you talked about since the shift happened.

3. I know when my life is getting out of balance and what I need to do to get it back. Daily monitoring will help me with this. If my life is getting out of balance due to my contact with this woman then I will have to reconsider my decision and choose to end any contact.

I'm determined to focus on my recovery for the next few months and I'll keep my contact with her to a minimum while I am doing so. When I read back over some of what I've written and what's been quoted from my previous post I can understand your serious concern. I'm still learning how to express myself properly... i.e. "She's young, popular, confident, good looking, intelligent, really social... most of the things I'm not!" This was written to get a cheap laugh, an immature way of talking about a serious subject but comes across as seriously low self esteem now I reread it. I feel uncomfortable with my words being used to judge what position I'm in because I'm often not sure myself about my own feelings, sometimes I overstate or understate, write past thoughts as if they're still present or make things sound more definite than they actually are. I have to learn to write as honestly as I can. Frustrating for others to deal with and I know I have much to improve in communicating my emotions, thoughts and feelings.

Quote:
I hope my advice is of use.

It has been, thank you. I've stated above as best I could why I'm not chossing to end all contact at this point but it has still been a wake up call and made me question my motivations and commitment to change. This has been my immediate response but I'll keep thinking about it.


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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 9:21 am 
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Been thinking further about this and how some of the statements you picked up on in my previous post as examples of me minimizing my love addiction don't really reflect my current reality.

Quote:
I now don't believe I'll ever be in a relationship with her (difficult to say but true)

This wasn't actually difficult to say. So why did I write that it was? I think I was trying to convey that I wasn't taking it lightly, that it wasn't a throwaway comment. I honestly don't think I'll ever be in a relationship with her and I've accepted that, I don't think I'll be in a relationship with anyone until I'm much further down the road in my recovery.

Quote:
as my love addiction rituals are becoming demystified I'm obsessing about her less every day

I'm not obsessing about her less - I've not been obsessing about her at all for the last few days. No fantasising, checking on her, composing mails or trying to impress her. I've been focused on other areas of my life. The spell's been broken and I can't fool myself if I were to get back to the same compulsive rituals I was doing before.

I don't deny I still have a long way to go and have barely scratched the surface of my attachments to love addiction. What I do believe is that a significant emotional attachment to this woman has been broken and if I continue to maintain my awareness at all times (especially when I have to correspond with her about the site) then I can complete the work I need to do for her without jeopardising my recovery.


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