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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:23 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Couple's Recovery Lesson 9 - Understanding Addiction Through Your Partner's Eyes.

Ask your partner to read the above lesson and share their thoughts openly. Encourage them to talk about the similarities and differences between what they have read and what they have experienced. Your job is the most difficult: listen. Just listen. Listen with compassion and with empathy

After this conversation, each of you take a few minutes to share your individual thoughts in your couple's thread. Share only constructive observations of how you felt, what you thought, feelings you experienced, etc.--even if painful.

L didn't really discuss the similarities and differences between the Business Partner passage and her own experience, mainly she just talked about trying to understand my addiction. Regarding the boundaries of the exercise - that I would just listen with empathy and compassion - she complained that all I ever do is listen to her, and "nothing comes of it". Generally if I don't respond to what she's saying she just gets more and more worked up until I do something to stop her (which might be by blowing up and storming out). So I did give her some feedback on what she was saying, but after a short time she decided to try just going with what the exercise had suggested.

She talked about the different things going on with my addiction. I think she finds it much easier to understand and accept the "love addiction" side - coming from my early childhood of a mother with post-natal depression who wasn't tactile and I was kept in an incubator for the first few weeks and then - later on - she used to drive me around in the car to get me to sleep. So seeking acceptance and love and jumping from relationship to relationship as the honeymoon period wears off, she "gets". The side she doesn't like hearing about is the "weak, selfish" addict who apparently valued the buzz of a sexual high over the integrity and wellbeing of his family.

L made a good point that it's she (as the innocent party) rather that the addict that has been put in prison - she sees my position as one of "win win" - if we breakup then I can go off and sleep with whoever I want, and if we stay together then I get to keep the kids and the great life we're currently living.

Differences I noted was that - from L's perspective, she didn't get any of the warning signs of a business in difficulty - she just turned up for work one day to find her building burning. So I suppose that must be worse in a way, more of a shock thinking that everything is fine and then suddenly finding out that the solid foundation for the last 5 years of marriage turned out to be completely hollow.

In terms of how I felt and what I experienced during the conversation...I did feel that my ability to empathise is improving. I think a large part of that is that I'm gaining some confidence that it's not "the end of the world" and I'm not being utterly rejected, so there's a bit more space for me to take in what L is feeling. I think having the dicussion within the context of a RN exercise also made it feel a little less threatening.

It was interesting for me that, reading the paragraph, I came away with the thought "no way would I ever go back into business with that guy again" and having it really starkly clear to me that that's exactly what I'm asking L to do. Incidentaly, she was of exactly the same opinion about the (hypothetical) situation.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:30 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Couple's Recovery Exercise 10 - Understanding your Partner's Needs

Ask yourself the following: “If my partner did the things that I have done—exactly as I have done them—what would I need in order to rebuild my trust in him/her?” Really think about this. What would you want from them, expect from them, demand from them? Share these thoughts in your Couple's Thread.

I think after such a long time of being so secretive, I'd really need them to open up and be transparent about what's going on with them and in their lives. And after being so self centered, I'd want to see some indication that they're working to move away from that.

I'm not being very honest here; mainly I'm giving the answer that I think the teacher wants to hear. When I think about L doing these things I think that I'd be delighted to be out of the "hot seat" myself and would use her behaviour as leverage to get what I want - back massages and oral sex every night. <sigh> I've got a lot of growing up to do. I'm sure it'd be true that if I was facing these sorts of admissions for real I wouldn't be so happy about it. L was describing potentially having sex with a neighbour the other day (in order to help me feel empathy) and I got really angrily worked up about that.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:59 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207

Recovery Workshop 38 - Developing Healthy Boundaries

I. Review the boundaries created to protect the values listed in the previous lesson.

II. Consider at least two situations where this value may be threatened. Are the existing boundaries enough to protect against this threat?

III. If not, evolve your boundaries so that they are capable of allowing you to manage those situations.

Situation 1: L is going away for work next week and there's a danger that my behaviour will slide; staying up late, watching movies and playing computer games, drinking in the evening (which keeps me up later) which after a few days leaves me feeling a bit ratty, detached and spacey. This threatens my value of being an active engaged parent.

Boundary 3 was specifically put in place to address this - ie when L is away I don't just put the kids in front of a DVD for the afternoon and watch one myself. I think that I could bolster the boundaries protecting this value with an addition:
#6 I will ensure that I maintain a sufficiently healthy mental and physical state to allow me to give the children the attentive care they are entitled to.

Situation 2: It's not happened yet, and as I'm living in a very small (not to mention foreign) village where everyone knows I'm married with children it's very unlikely to happen but I'm concerned about how I'll handle it if anyone ever made a pass at me - for example pressed their leg against mine under a cafe table - especially as this has happened in the past and I know that I'm very susceptible to touch. This threatens my values of "Being the husband my wife deserves" and that of "Honouring my commitments conscientiously esp marriage vows" .... as I've been struggling to find boundaries for the latter value anyway, I'll add in there: I will immediately remove my self from any non-safe touch (eg subtle or hidden contact) or touch that I'm finding exciting from anyone other than my wife. Ha ha, appropriate time for this smiley: :no:

I'll pop back to the relevant previous posting and add these two new boundaries.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Crikey, has it really been a week since I last posted? That's not very good. I got a job Friday so I wanted to make a good impression there and was working helish long hours until today. Can take some time to focus on RN tomorrow. Been thinking a bit about this Lesson/Exercise 39. I read it last week but haven't yet tackled the exercise. It's a big'un which might have been putting me off getting stuck into it.

Also did the couple's exercise on building trust at the end of last week. That didn't go so great and ended in an argument about half way through the list. Instead of it "being great to get to know each other better", L took it as "6 years and you really don't know me at all. You've no interest in me, you don't care who I am". She's got a point, it has "all been about me"

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Recovery Workshop: Lesson Thirty-Nine - Healthy Sexual Boundaries

Step 1 Take Inventory of Your Current Sexual Values

Your first step in redeveloping healthy sexual values is to brainstorm a list of all sexually-related values that you currently hold. Don't worry about how socially acceptable this list may be, nor concern yourself with whether a particular value is healthy or unhealthy. Your goal here is only to identify your current thoughts/attitudes relating to your own sexuality.

I'm finding this list of beliefs really difficult to come up with, and I've been stalling on it - perhaps also because this exercise is such a long one (14 steps!?). Often a phrase will come into my head that I think might be a belief but when I say it, it's so obviously ridiculous that I can't say I hold it as a belief. Most of what comes to mind are sexual preferences, rather than actual beliefs.

  • If someone wants to sleep with me then they "like me best"
  • Having an orgasm reduces my available amount of "vital energy"
  • I find I don't stay "satisfied" for very long after sex
  • I like variety in my sex life
  • I'd like my wife to want sex whenever I like it
  • I shouldn't get upset when my wife doesn't want sex
  • Sex should be an expectation or considered a right (this is a recent change for me as before now I've expected sex on my birthday, or an anniversary or when away for a night in a hotel).
  • Sex is better when both parties are uninhibited
  • Sex works best when both parties focus on giving the other pleasure, rather than on receiving it themselves.
  • When issues arise in a relationship, the sex life is often the first thing to be affected.
  • If a couple aren't having sex, they might as well be in a friendship
  • Contraception is a joint responsibility
  • Partners have a duty to be honest about their sexual history / current status
  • Sex is best when you can lose yourself in it.
  • I don't necessarily feel any closer to my partner after the glow of sex has worn off, and may even be a bit more tired and irritable the next day.
  • "Quicky" sex is fine occasionally, but is less satisfying than taking time over it.

Last edited by Guided on Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:14 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Recovery Workshop: Exercise 40 - Respecting Boundaries of Others

I. Choose someone in your life that you feel close to. A spouse. A child. A parent. A friend. Rather than assuming what boundaries they have; or what values they want protected...take some time to step into their lives. Refresh those perceptions that you have. Consider how you can HELP THEM reinforce those boundaries. Post a few thoughts about this in your thread.

II. Consider what you could do should YOU become aware that you have violated a boundary of theirs.

III. Consider your reaction should they tell you that you have violated a boundary of theirs. Think beyond defensiveness...keep working until you grasp a healthy reaction.

Because she's someone I'm very keen to protect, and somewhat more vulnerable in society because she's female, I'll think about my daughter LR who is 2. LR doesn't like strangers to touch her and is scared of dogs coming up to her. She needs prompt help when she says she needs the toilet and isn't happy when children her own age take her toys. She likes to join in and try things for herself ("No, I do it!"), and doesn't like to be told off. She is gradually becoming more affectionate and cuddly as she grows up.

Generally I don't "present" LR to strangers to be kissed or touched and I'm always pretty quick to either pick her up or get myself between her and any strange dogs that approach her. She's getting used to a few of our neighbours dogs...I do encourage her to stroke the docile ones.

If I violated a boundary of LR's I'd apologise, maybe feed back how I thought that would make her feel and say that I'll try and make sure it doesn't happen again. Have a think about what was going on for me at the point where I violated the boundary - was I in some particular state, was I acting selfishly, was I just being thoughtless?

If she were to tell me I'd violated a boundary, I'd follow the same course - apologise, make a committment to not do it again, perhaps ask some questions around the subject to better understand what's at stake - what value the boundary is protecting. Perhaps try and think up some practical steps to take to ensure the boundary isn't accidentaly violated - fitting a lock to a door for example. I'd also (because I've committed to being completely open, and also because it would provide additional protection for my daughter) tell my wife about the incident.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:49 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 41 - Mastering Boundary Awareness

Over the next month, keep a log of the moderate to major events that occur in your life and assess your ability to deal with these events in terms of your existing boundaries. Family arguments, decisions, chore assignments, etc. All are related to your values and all should have boundaries that protect those values. With each event, identify the event itself, the values that were infringed upon, the existing boundaries that were in place to protect those values and any additional rules/boundaries that may help you the next time you face a similar situation.

In the previous lesson, you took time out to explore the value system/boundary system of someone you care about. Someone who is important to you. This exercise in 'empathy' is valuable if you were indeed able to connect with that loved one's value system. However, even in your best effort, you will still be limited by your own perceptions, values, skills, etc. To master this boundary awareness, you will need to allow THEM to share their values/boundaries unfiltered.

If it is safe for both of you, ask this person to explore these things with you. Ask them to share their values and boundaries openly and with pride...with you taking a passive, inquisitive role only. If it is not safe to do this with that person, choose someone else. Someone non-threatening. Your primary goal here is to sit back and listen to how someone else is striving to manage their life.

I asked my wife to share her values and boundaries. She's doing the Partner's course at the moment, which is great because the language being used is familiar to her. We didn't really discuss boundaries as much as I might have liked, so really I'm just inferring that anything that obviously threatens her values would be impinging on a boundary.

  1. Value: Honesty
    • Boundary: My wife doesn't accept being lied to.
  2. Value: Loyalty
    • Boundary: My wife doesn't accept anyone making negative comments about her family, that have an air of gossip - rather than helpful intention - about them.
  3. Value: Family. My wife is very close to her own family (mum, dad, brothers) and is in regular and close contact with them.
    • Boundary: My wife wouldn't allow any activity (or me) to take priority over her family time, unless it was an emergency.
  4. Value: Fairness. My wife has a strong need for everything that she has any illusion of control over in her life to be fair. Both in the way that she treats others and in that others treat her.
    • Boundary: Nobody likes to be ripped off.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:16 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 44 - Urge Control: Your Core Identity

For a moment, imagine your life apart from your physical being...apart from your possessions...apart from your friends, your family and every other living being. What you are left with is your core identity. It is who you are. It is this identity that then allows you to relate to your physical self, your friends, your family... As you know by now, part of the role you must fulfill in transitioning away from addiction is to rebuild your core identity. This core identity--and your ability to isolate the addiction from it--is critical to urge control.

A. Describe in your recovery thread the role that your core identity will play in helping you to establish/maintain a healthy life.

B. Describe the role that value-based experiences will play in further developing your core identity.

C. Take some time to examine the current state of your core identity. How in tune with it are you? When you engage in activity that is destructive, what role does your core identity play in that decision? How is it affected by the consequences of that decision?

A. Where I really want to get to is a sense of integration and integrity, of knowing what my "machine" consists of and how each part contributes to the whole. Basically I see my core identity as the part that knows what is right and healthy, and I want to get to a place where when I decide to do something, I do it. And when I decide not to do something, I don't do it.

I was discussing - with my wife - my thinking process around visiting a prostitute. She said that my sense of right and wrong wasn't involved. I disagreed; I knew about the risks and the betrayal and the reasons for not doing it, and they did have a say in my decision making process, they just didn't have the "weight" that they should have done.

B. In terms of values based experiences, well just now I'm very much going through a laboured mental process of thinking through my values. In fact pornography I'm finding quite easy to abstain from - it comes up as more of an impulse rather than an urge which I note rising and then falling away when I say to myself "No, I'm not going to do that". Alcohol (especially this fortnight with my wife being away) is really sitting with me as an urge. So I'm asking myself some questions - why do I want a drink? Am I avoiding some feeling, why am I experiencing it as a craving rather than a 'fancy'? And I suppose "will" is like any muscle, it strengthens as you exercise it.

C.As I wrote about visiting a prostitute above, my core identity does have a say in all my decision making processes, but it appears to be just a vote - one voice among many. It's like I can say to myself "Ok, I've decided I'm not going to have that beer, but in fact I know that I'm going to drink it anyway". I don't beat myself up about it (certainly not to the point of not enjoying the beer). It's just bizarre really, that the decisions I make verbally using (I assume) my neo-cortex doesn't translate into actual doing. I think my core identity is just a bit perplexed about the whole thing.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2011 11:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 45 - Urge Control: Isolating the Emotions

Identifying the impact of emotions in compulsive urges is essential to objectifying that urge. In previous exercises, you have identified compulsive rituals that presented a linear look at your emotional state across a single action. In this lesson, you are being asked to isolate those emotional elements to the point where action can be taken that will break the chain itself.

A. Map a compulsive ritual that is based on your unique behavior. Ensure that you identify at least five elements that are involved in stimulating your emotions during this act.

C. At what point in the chain is the 'point of no return'? The point where you know that you will be completing the act. Share this in your recovery thread. In the previous exercise, you were to reinforce your ability to identify separate emotional elements in a single compulsive ritual. Here, you will begin to isolate those emotions from your core identity.

I'll refer back to "Pornography with Masturbation" that I detailed in Exercise 24, and looking over that sequence I decided to swap the first two elements around - feeling flat is the first thing experienced, the sense of freedom (with the possibility for acting out) is how I'm coping with / altering that situation.

Viewing Pornography w/ masturbation
  1. Feel a bit flat, often related to not feeling connected to my wife, sense of abandonment
  2. Find myself on my own with no immediately pressing task in hand (some more analysis needed about how this came about. Sometimes my wife would leave, sometimes I'd leave wife and kids for some "space", to check email, etc.
  3. Thought pops into my head that looking at porn would be a good thing
  4. Get tissue organised
  5. Open browser, move into private browsing mode
  6. Flick through favourite still image sites
  7. Open up main video image site
  8. Decide if "today's" selection is enticing enough, or if search is required
  9. Select about 5 videos to run, open all in separate tabs to flick between
  10. Flick through videos - Mastubate lightly, letting sensation build up slowly
  11. Enjoy seeing pre-ejaculate fluid, which adds to excitement
  12. Select most exciting video to orgasm to
  13. Work up to orgasm, time to coincide with on screen orgasm (male or female)
  14. Clean up

Relating those elements to their emotional components:

  1. Flat, low. Background sense of abandonment.
  2. Free, spacious, sense of opportunity and potential
  3. Excited
  4. Physically sensual
  5. Mundane, business like, unstimulated
  6. Comfortable,
  7. Anticipation
  8. Like, the pleasure you get from having a selection of nice things to choose from at the supermarket, abundance.
  9. Comfort at sense of order, having things set out correctly
  10. Comforted/Excited/Longing
  11. Virile satisfaction
  12. Emotion here will be dependent on what's happening on screen - might have component of discomfort if woman has been tricked or paid or scene is obviously "acted". Frustrated desire that I'm not actively participating.
  13. Desire, excitement
  14. Sense of loss, waste, relaxation, sense of a knawing niggle or pressure having lifted.

Found that quite tricky because as I was putting myself back into that place to see how I'd feel about it, I felt more negative emotions connected with watching that behaviour in myself rather than what I would have experienced if I wasn't "looking on".

C. I'd say in that #2 item of having space and possibility, I make the decision to masturbate. Or not - I've mapped out this ritual as pornography with masturbation but if I was short on time I might decide to just check out "today's" still images and in that case I wouldn't get the tissues ready. But that would still be compulsive act. Either way, the decision is made in that feeling of freedom and space.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:12 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 46 Urge Control: Isolating the Decision

This next step in urge control is quite simple. It is the transition in thinking from the identification of a time where action can be taken, to the realization that action will be taken. It is the realization that you are in control over whether you continue engaging in your established compulsive ritual, or whether you engage in alternate behavior that will establish new chains--preferably, ones based on values.

A. In the long run, addiction is eliminated by altering the existing compulsive behavior (destructive, based on immediate emotional needs) to more stable, constructive chains that solidify the foundation of your life in a progressive manner. Before such compulsive chains can be reversed, it is necessary to begin mastering the ability to reverse single compulsive rituals. Begin this process now by considering a previous compulsive chain, identify the element immediately preceeding the 'point of no return' and then rewrite the remainder of the chain so that your actions are based on healthy values, rather than immediate emotional response. Share this in your recovery thread.

The thing is that that point of no return for me is right at the start. Basically when I've had that flat feeling and I've got a bit of space, then when I decide to go and turn on the computer I've already decided to masturbate to pornography. So I guess what I'm aiming to do is bring that feeling of flatness, of rejection and abandonment up into my conscious mind and say "ahh, look, here's me feeling flat" and recognise that I'll be trying to aleviate or avoid that feeling with acting out in some way - pornography, beer, chocolate, a movie, playing a computer game.

So in that space, in that feeling of expansive freedom I'd be free to do just about anything I want - hopefully something related to my values that I could form a connection to. Some things that come to mind are:

  • Bring my connection to the Universe to mind and really feel it in my heart. Perhaps have a wee talk to myself about what caused me to feel low (was I actually rejected, did someone not give me the attention I was looking for?)
  • Breath. Feel my body, feel my feet on the floor.
  • Go and find one (or more) of the children and hug them, tell them I love them.
  • Find my wife and tell her / do something nice for her.
  • Really engage with the next person I meet. Take time and effort to have a conversation with them and get a feel for how their day is going.
  • Consider my "ToDo" list - are there any quick-wins that I could do, some DIY that would give me a feeling of satisfaction?
  • Think about my friends/family. Is anyone due an email or a phone call? Do that.
  • Have a tall glass of water.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 47 - Practical Urge Awareness

1. Just as you have with your values and your emotions, it is time to transfer the knowledge that you are developing to a practical application in your day-to-day life. This cannot be done without first developing an awareness of the times when such information is applicable. Over the next 48 hours, envision at least ten different REALISTIC scenarios where you may encounter a compulsive urge in the future and document these in your recovery thread.

2. With each scenario:
  • Identify how you would know when that urge/ritual would likely begin, when the likely 'point of no return' would be and when you would 'create the break'. Do this in your head.
  • Anticipate the emotions associated with that particular ritual, isolate those emotions from your 'core identity' and prepare yourself to make a values-based decision (versus an emotions-based decision). Do this in your head.
  • Choose one such scenario and document it in your recovery thread.
  • If you are in coaching, you will be asked to review several of these to make sure that you understand the concepts involved. If you are not in coaching, feel free to post additional scenarios for review.

Possible scenarios
  • Picking kids up from school, possible compulsive urge to stare at some of the other mothers picking their kids up
  • Stepping outside the house, possible compulsive urge to stare at neighbour wearing t-shirt without bra or tight leggings with visible labia
  • Christmas house party - alcohol being consumed - possible compulsive urge to lean against colleague on sofa.
  • Going swimming, possible compulsive urge to look through holes in changing rooms walls when getting changed.
  • Sitting in sitting room and spotting neighbour changing clothes - possible compulsive urge to watch
  • Visiting other people's houses, possible compulsive urge to rake through their laundry basket if happens to be in the bathroom / room I'm left alone in.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:27 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 50 - Values Based Decision-Making

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 4:01 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
I've got an alarm set for a Sunday evening to do Weekly monitoring and I've finally realised that I don't actually know what it is I'm supposed to be monitoring so I looked back through the lessons to 35 but apparently I didn't do a post on it. So I'll remedy that now:

Weekly Monitoring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 3:22 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 51 - Decision-Making: Identifying the Options

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

Share the following in your thread:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:24 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:14 pm
Posts: 207
Exercise 52 - Decision-Making: Isolating the Emotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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