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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:32 am 
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Exercise 7 – proactive action plans

I am editing this post as I am re-working my action plans and want to keep them in one place so that I can refer back to them in an organised fashion.

When I was in intuitive mode a little while ago, I copied something Jon wrote in someone else's thread. As I see it, it refers to deriving value (emotional stimulation) from mundane tasks. I find mundane tasks absolutely daunting, so this really spoke to me

Quote:
What you are asking for is to summarize many of the key concepts of life management itself. Emotional maturity, all-or-nothing thinking, crisis motivation, etc. You have evolved a combination of emotions/motivations/actions that is quite common in compulsive personalities. The bad news? For one, there are no easy answers for this. Not in managing it. Not in eliminating it. And for another, lesser degrees of these traits will haunt you for the rest of your life--making things like time management and goals harder for you than for most. The good news? You can indeed develop the skills to take this from a debilitating feature of your life management...to being just an occasional nuisance.

In a nutshell, you need to be constantly stimulated in order to motivate behavior. As the stimulation wears off, so too does the motivation. And the concentration, and the drive, and the intensity of effort, etc. .... compulsive rituals.... are perfect for temporarily filling in the voids. For generating stimulation......they have no effect on remotivating you to the mundane. What will? And correct me if I'm wrong...but crises like deadlines. Or emotional pressure (aka I HAVE to get this done!). Or, if you are really lucky, an emotional reattachment to the task at hand.

But in all of these, note that you have to be stimulated to produce the level of intensity necessary to actually motivate yourself to act.

How do you develop the skills to improve (and again, you can significantly improve this pattern, you will never eliminate it) this? You have to develop your emotional maturity. Some of this will be done in the workshop itself, but additionally, I would start by taking really mundane tasks...small tasks that you are fairly assured of completing...and focus on deriving meaning from THE PROCESS of completing those tasks. This is what helped me. In fact, completely changed the way that I approached things like doing the laundry, paying bills, washing the dishes, etc. Prior, I would see things like the laundry and could only bring myself to do it if there was a crisis (I ran out of clothes, for instance). Or, the dishes were overflowing the sink and counter...and it became an actual project to wash and dry them all. A challenge. When I began to think more about the process of managing my life...of taking big tasks and dividing them into smaller, manageable tasks...things like the laundry stopped becoming 'projects'. They started becoming life management tasks that actually reinforced my maturity. Eventually, they became second nature. Work, too. It is a SKILL to regain your concentration and motivation after you have lost it. You have yet to learn this skill, and won't be able to until you develop a deeper sense of emotional maturity. Then, you will be able to challenge yourself to work in times of an absence of emotion--and what will likely surprise you is that the quality of your work won't be that far off. You will be more productive...and only a shade less creative. It's a fair trade-off!


In work and personal life, sharing the joys and pains of life and death with others
    Much of my work is with families and patients approaching the end of life, or in a temporary but severe health and/or personal crisis. At work half of my colleagues are in personal crisis. H and I are both working on recovery. There are many opportunities and I will embrace these opportunities as follows:

    Utilise the standard interpersonal skills, which I have already internalised (they can be found in any counselling textbook, so I will not list them at present)
    Do not intrude on colleagues’ pain, but proactively make it clear that I understand and sympathise if they wish to talk things through
    Discuss my own work dilemmas and difficulties and seek input
    Offer information about my own experiences in all areas of my life, including mistakes, and how I have dealt with them or learned from them
    Be aware of feedback, positive or negative, and learn from it
    Post on RN forums, sharing my own experiences and insights in a positive way


Working with H to build a loving, intimate and mutually fulfilling relationship

    Actions for both parties - in terms of our relationship
      Discuss and explore our individual visions
      Discuss and explore our individual values, both congruent and incongruent
      Explore the meaning of intimacy
      Agree between us how to move forward in principle and in detail
      When the couples workshop is available explore, discuss and seek advice as to whether this would be appropriate for us and, if it is appropriate, when would be the best time to start.

    Specific to myself

      Work to fulfill my own potential and continue to develop so that I can contribute positively to our relationship
      Be openly supportive of H's personal growth, by listening, objective monitoring and giving him space to explore his own needs, so that he can contribute positively to our relationship

Being fully present emotionally and physically

    Do one thing at a time (except when very pressed)
    Examples
    Do not watch tv at the same time as using computer
    Do not read and watch tv
    When walking dogs in countryside be present to the sounds, sights and scents (not lost in my own thoughts)
    In purely social situations, talking to people (or being talked to) be fully present, rather than thinking how quickly I can get away. Make decision to move away and just do it (politely), don’t mentally dither with half of me already gone

Ensuring that my aged father's last months/years are happy, fulfilled and pain-free
    Take him out for his favourite walks, while he still can.
    Monitor his health daily both by direct questioning and unobtrusive observation (this is my field of work)
    Affirm his values, interests and skills
    Promote his autonomy and independence
    Unobtrusively taking on tasks which are too hard for him

Allowing my own healthy needs to be met

    This is an alien concept to me, but I sense that it is a key ingredient in my healthy recovery.

    Explore the concept of healthy needs
    Identify my own needs and and match them against my vision and values
    Learn how to state my healthy needs appropriately to others
    Take action to meet my own healthy needs
    Where my healthy needs cannot be met, make decisions based on my values, to look at alternatives, or to accept the situation as it is.


Managing my time well

Discuss long term and short term plans and goals with H, so that we can help each other and/or work together
Create realistic weekly checklists for chores
Break down plans into smaller achievable steps to avoid despair and procrastination setting in
Find out which times of day are most productive for specific activities and plan accordingly
Proactively include leisure time and time for making memories together

Carrying out mundane tasks carefully and with good grace


Keep a mental vision of how I would like the finished task to look
Match the task against my values, so that I can gain emotional stimulation
Break the task down into small achievable steps to avoid being overwhelmed
Do not procrastinate
Avoid last minute rushes which lead to sloppiness
Ask for help if overwhelmed
Take the time to chose good music to listen to during active tasks to lift my mood and keep up momentum

Caring for my immediate environment


Work proactively to introduce order and cleanliness into the home, rather than allowing things to accumulate and hastily dealing with the problem

Explore ways of combining functionality and beauty into our living space and take action accordingly

Explore previously unacceptable concepts such as dusting and using the vacuum cleaner, internalise these concepts and apply them consistently

Creativity

Actively use my writing skills in assisting H with his work
Explore possibilities of writing articles for publication (not necessarily for profit)
Go back to playing guitar, singing and writing lyrics (for my own benefit only - I am at best a mediocre musician, but I really enjoy it)


Generosity towards others with time, emotions and material things


Last edited by self reliance on Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:57 am, edited 16 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 9:42 am 
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Exercise 10 – absolute honesty

I. Consider those lies that are still being perpetuated in your life.
II. If you are involved in a partnership, choose now whether or not you intend to continue deceiving them in certain areas.


I am not aware of any lies which I am perpetuating, although I do know how prone addicts are to self-deception. H is fully aware of situation and we discuss it.

III. If you are involved in professional coaching (or outside counseling), choose now whether or not you intend to continue deceiving those whom you are working with.

I came clean of my own accord and fully intend to continue this policy

IV. Make a list of all the places where you have items stashed for … compulsive behavior. List these items and their locations in your Recovery Thread.

No containers of alcohol hidden for private consumption

One bottle of very cheap vodka still in house, which we use to dilute herbal anti-flea oils for dogs. Not very tempting – easier to walk 10 minutes to nearest store and buy something, if I was that desperate.

VI. Make a list of all the places where you go to act out your… compulsive behavior. Post this list in your thread.

I have been a solitary drinker for the last 2 years – what a saddo! Most alcohol consumed in “myâ€ÂÂ


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:14 am 
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I have been actively working on proactive action plans and have been editing the original post. I am bumping this up to make it easier to access.

Note re progress: The night before last I spent a long time with a family caregiver and her spouse who were in crisis. The family business is producing "real ale". I accepted two bottles of beer - I just could not refuse because of the dynamics of the situation (believe me on this one). Immediately I left the house I telephoned H to say I had beer in the car. I did have thoughts of concealment, but they did not have too much real force. I gave the beer to H, who concealed it. I found the hiding place (out of sheer wicked perversity), but did not touch the beer.

How did I use my vision and values in this situation? My initial reaction was sheer grim determination - I knew I had no realistic option. I knew that my recovery was more important than the immediate gratification.

H also pointed out that I had to deal with a values conflict - valuing the personal therapeutic relationship and empowering patients, limits on accepting gifts in a professional situation, and avoiding alcohol. I managed it by accepting the gift, but making it clear it was a one-off occasion (honesty), telling H (honesty) and I am about to check it out with my manager as we are allowed to accept occasional small gifts, but it should probably go into a Christmas raffle, or similar (honesty, responsibility)

I recalled a very recent contact with a patient who had been drinking heavily since her son died 20 years ago. Her friends and family have abandoned her in disgust, she is incontinent and unwell. Her house smells of urine. She still maintains that she only drinks socially. I mentally called up a picture of this patient and knew that I did not want to be like her.

To be honest, though, my vision and values seemed distant and unreal - it was only that grim determination which carried me through.

I was surprised at the emotional effect of what I did - it hit me hard, I was longing to drink the stuff. I found it unsettling and felt like crying. I could not sleep that night and was not in a very healthy emotional state, but I have been in a lot worse and I did not use alcohol to manage my emotions.

Not exactly a triumph in terms of healthy recovery - but at least I stuck to my guns.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:23 pm 
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self reliance wrote:

Not exactly a triumph in terms of healthy recovery - but at least I stuck to my guns.


Actually, I think it's a huge triumph in terms of healthy recovery. You were honest. You did not exercise excellent judgment, but you did not drink and you are learning from the experience.

Well done.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:06 am 
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Dear Coach Monica

Thank you for your kind, honest and supportive reply ... what more can I say!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 11:15 am 
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Had a drink last night :e: . Not a good thing to do, but in a strange way I have learned much more from slipping than I did from abstaining on the previous occasion.

What I have learned:

    I had definitely been dependent on alcohol to manage my emotions. This is a fact, not a working hypothesis.
    The compulsion seems much stronger than I had expected
    I could have just let the feelings wash over me - they are only feelings
    The compulsion, at the stage I am at, is a mixture of physiological and emotional.
    With time the physiological aspect will diminish
    Unless I learn to manage my emotions in a healthy way the compulsion will remain
    Until I learn a mature way of managing the urge to drink I should use any healthy means to divert myself (It was 2 am, but I could have woken H)
    Negative self-talk at 2 am is toxic - recognise it and act
    When I had the drink it actually did manage my emotional state and I felt happy
    The feeling of happiness was because I felt like myself again
    Before the crises of the last two years I felt like myself without the need for alcohol
    I have a perverse and childish urge to rebel; this is somehow connected with wanting to be myself and sufficient to myself, but as a dark side value
    Previously I was the Beta version of me - I want to upgrade to the full version
    Keep the list of my vision and values with me at all times, to remind myself of my full version
    I have to understand my own healthy needs (proactive action plan) - they are still a mystery to me
    Because of my own actions and emotions last night, I understand better, empathetically, why people who use compulsive behaviour to manage their emotions are so untrustworthy
    There's nothing like compulsive behaviour to make me feel humble
    I had some negative self-talk about concealing what I had done, but there are some healthy aspects of my core identity, because I immediately told H in the morning and I am posting here
    Being honest with myself and others makes me feel better - lightbulb moment as this is what living by my values is intended to do!


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 Post subject: Emotional Intelligence
PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:43 pm 
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I just found this definition of Emotional Intelligence which seems to hit the spot and am copying it into my thread for reference

Quote:
1. Emotional Perception and Expression - the ability to accurately identify and express feelings
• The ability for self-awareness; to be aware of your own feelings as they are occurring.
• The ability to become emotionally literate. The ability to learn to identify and label specific feelings in yourself and others and the ability to clearly and directly communicate and discuss these emotions.

2. Use of Emotions - the ability to use your feelings constructively
• The ability to let your feelings guide you to what is important to think about
• The ability to use your feelings to help you decisions which are healthy for both you and the rest of the human race

3. Emotional Understanding - the ability to understand the meanings of emotions and how they can change
This includes the ability to understand...
• The purpose of emotions; understanding their survival value to the species
• The relationships between emotions; how and why they can change from one feeling to another
• The emotions which lead to the behavior in yourself and others
• The relationship between thoughts and feelings
• The causes of emotions and their relationship to our human psychological needs, especially our unmet emotional needs.

4. Emotional Management - the ability to manage emotions for personal and social growth
• The ability to take responsibility for one's own feelings and happiness
• The ability to turn negative emotions into positive learning and growing opportunities
• The ability to help others identify and benefit from their emotions

Four branch EI Model -- Mayer, J. D. & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In P. Salovey & D. Sluyter (Eds). Emotional Development and Emotional Intelligence: Implications for Educators (pp. 3-31). New York: Basic Books.

http://eqi.org/4bmodel.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 5:41 pm 
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Exercise 15

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

I have learned how damaged I am by some childhood experiences and that my reaction to these was a kind of emotional disconnection. There are a lot of things in my life that I thought were normal, but they were not. They were also not healthy, which is more significant.

I knew that recovery was not just about stopping the behaviour, but I am beginning to understand in a very personal way how living a life consciously based on healthy values is rewarding and may even be fun. Until now, I based my life on universal values, such as honesty and compassion but although I was careful to act according to these values, I did not derive any personal fulfillment from them.

I did not feel that my needs were important or interesting, even to myself, but I have learned that it is ok to have (healthy) needs and even to allow some of them to be met, by myself or by others.

I thought I was just the way I am and that was that, but I have learned that my life can be lived in a different way, which is fulfilling, rather than merely reactive.

How am I beginning to integrate what I have learned into my life? I have actually derived value and a sense of purpose from implementing some of my value-based proactive action plans. For instance I have enjoyed ways of managing my day-to-day life in little ways, such as budgeting creatively and planning ahead to avoid last minute panics. This has started to give me a sense of structure, purpose and interest where before I drifted carelessly through each day.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:29 pm 
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re: "Until now, I based my life on universal values, such as honesty and compassion but although I was careful to act according to these values, I did not derive any personal fulfillment from them."

I can't overemphasize what an important insight this is. You have to define you own personal, practical values. You have to construct a vision for implementing those values in such a way as to derive enough meaning in your life to allow you to remain balanced/fulfilled. Or, to regain balance during those inevitable times when life throws you a curveball.

_________________
Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:31 pm 
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Exercise 16

I. Consider the POSITIVE role that addiction has played in your life. What purposes has it served (think short-term, not long)? Understanding the functional role of your addiction is important in removing the power, mystery and fear from that addiction. To begin seeing it in terms of practicality, rather than supernatural. Share a few positive aspects of your addiction in your recovery thread.

There's an old country and western song "Last night the bottle let me down". It didn't let me down!

Couldn't sleep because of grief and worry? The bottle helped me drift off peacefully

Feeling rejected and unloved? The bottle soothed those feelings.

Feeling numb and unable to voice my feelings? The bottle gave me back my feelings and my voice.

Black and white thinking? The bottle made everything rosy

Another grey and despairing day? The bottle made the sun shine in my head

Feeling my life stretching ahead coldly and without hope? The bottle veiled the future and made the present warm

Lost my identity? The bottle gave me back myself

Feeling powerless? The bottle gave me strength

Fearful? The bottle gave me courage

Betrayed? The bottle never let me down


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:17 pm 
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Exercise 17

Consider a particular compulsive ritual that you have engaged in. Identify the elements of this ritual and post them in your recovery thread. It is important that you understand the principles involved in identifying the stimulating elements of compulsive rituals...so if you are not comfortable with this concept, ask questions! Also, recognize that the elements listed above are not the only elements associated with compulsive behavior. And so, you will want to identify those elements that are specifically related to YOUR compulsive behavior.

Ritual starts with feeling that I cannot manage emotions that are “naturalâ€ÂÂ


Last edited by self reliance on Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:49 am 
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re: "Ritual starts with feeling that I cannot manage emotions that are “naturalâ€ÂÂ

_________________
Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach
RecoveryNation.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:56 am 
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Exercise 18

Consider one of your own compulsive rituals. Identify circumstances when each of the three filters (time, habituation and intensity) have come into play.

Drinking in the middle of the day

Time: I work in the evenings; we have an early lunch and H sleeps afterwards because he gets up very early Because I had to be free of the effects of alcohol and able to drive by 5.45 pm, I had to drink early to allow the effects to wear off. I would therefore have a hefty drink, very quickly to allow the effects to be felt soon and have time to wear off. I did not want the effect to last much more than one hour, but up to two hours was acceptable. Because of emotional and physiological habituation (see below), it was not always possible safely to drink as much as I wanted, as I had to be fit for work. I therefore started drinking before lunch to allow more time for a stronger drink to wear off in time for work.

Habituation: Without my noticing, the occasional lunchtime drink, became a frequent drink and then I was drinking at, or before, lunchtime every day.

Physiological habituation (tolerance) noticeably increased over the last year, so that the small drink that once gave me the pleasantly fuzzy feeling had become a very large drink, to produce the same effect.

The emotional habituation is more difficult to quantify, I graduated from enjoying the faintly fuzzy feeling to wanting a stronger fix; habituation seems to have links with the need for greater intensity.

Intensity: seemed to be linked with emotional habituation. at first it was enough to feel slightly insulated by the alcohol from the pain of life. Over the last few months I not only drank more because of the physiological habituation, but wanted a stronger emotional fix. It was difficult to get the emotional intensity I wanted on work days because alcohol is metabolised at a specific rate by the body and it had to be out of my system in time for work.


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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 3:55 am 
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Dear Jon

Just a note to say that I haven't been able to access the Coaching Manager and I wonder if you could sort that sometime.

I am looking forward to using it with the same dedication to recovery and enthusiasm as my husband! He is watching me write this and has just kicked me playfully and gently as he is eating chocolate and laughing


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