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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:42 am 
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Hi Tim
Quote:
I have struggled a bit more over the past few days, partly maybe as a result of the ongoing lockdown and uncertainty in my professional life. I’ve been conscious of not creating so much time to work on my programme and have been wallowing in feelings of self pity and comparing myself negatively to others.

OK but you have recognised and admitted this as fact

Quote:
However, I haven’t done anything that I regret during that time,

and more so you have managed your emotions so you are still on track :g: :g:

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


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:14 am 
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Hi Kenzo

Thanks for the feedback and for the encouragement. I've just been writing in my personal journal, and reminding myself that things will get better and easier the further I move into a more permanent recovery. That wee voice of accusation and self-pity which is so insidious will slowly fade away as I make the right decisions each day and intentionally recognise and celebrate that progress. I'm thankful to be in this place, and grateful for the insight of this programme and the fellowship of yourself and others as I walk this road to health and freedom :g:

Tim


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 9:18 am 
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I've had a really stressful and busy week with lots of emotional challenges. There came a moment yesterday when I was working on my laptop and came across some attractive images purely by accident. Immediately the automatic thought popped into my head that I could just click on some of the images, scroll down and follow some of the links. It would have been so easy to do, especially as I was feeling tired and under pressure, and I could sense the rationalisations in the background: "it's not really porn", "you deserve it", "just take a quick look and then get on with what you're doing".

I'm going to give myself credit that I recognised the urge for what it was and realised that this was the PONR for me. Instead, I took out my decision making worksheet, using my values and boundaries to help inform my options and then chose to get on with the work that I really needed to focus on at that time.

Lesson 57: Reactive Action Plans

1) Define the situation
I am working at home on my laptop and feeling some negative emotions: frustration, resentment, self-pity, etc. I come across an image of an attractive woman and immediately feel the urge to follow the links or start searching for more images.

2) Evaluate all realistic options
i) Recognise the urge, create a break from what I’m doing and take out my values list immediately.
ii) Dismiss the urge as minor and decide to just carry on with my work regardless.
iii) Click on some links and start to type in random searches for images that will give me a “hit”. Then stop after a while.
iv) Decide to bypass the “foreplay” and go straight to porn websites (usually very unlikely unless I already slipped recently).
v) Call my sponsor or a friend from SAA to break the sense of isolation and pressure.
vi) Take some time out to pray and re-establish my connection with God.

3) Evaluate the potential consequences
i) I reinforce my values and my commitment to living a healthy life. I gradually break the ingrained patterns and establish a more positive core identity.
ii) I undermine my recent progress and miss an opportunity for positive growth. I can try to dismiss the urge but if I don’t actively deal with it then it will likely come back stronger sooner or later.
iii) This has definitely gone past the PONR. By this time, the shame reflex has kicked in and the adrenaline is coursing through my body. I can kid myself that I have stopped in time, but the urge will return later with a vengeance.
iv) I enjoy “surfing the wave” while it lasts and feel an incredible sense of energy and excitement, followed immediately by crushing shame and self-loathing. I feel like an absolute failure. My values are undermined and my core identity as an addict is reinforced.
v) I no longer feel as if I am alone in facing the addiction. I have put in place some positive accountability limits.
vi) I have created a “break” and space to focus on my reactions. This might reinforce my view that I am helpless over the behaviours without external assistance, so I need to do the programme work too.

4) Make a decision as to which value-based option you would choose
i) I would choose option (i) as the most positive way of breaking the cycle of addiction and reinforcing my commitment to my values. If the urge returned, then I would combine this with option (v) and (vi). Sometimes I feel that I need to take several actions just to get safely through a potentially dangerous situation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 1:55 pm 
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Lesson 58: Constructing Reactive Action Plans

Define the five rituals that you will most likely face in the next two years. For each, develop an action plan in five minutes or less...that focuses specifically on the immediate action you will take upon the awareness of the ritual; the anticipated emotions you will feel after you engage in that behavior; and the likely mind-games that you will play to get you to abandon your values-based decision making for emotion based decision making.

Ritual 1: I start to mess around on the computer looking at arousing images and follow the trail back towards porn.

Action Plan
Become consciously aware of what I am doing (basing my actions on emotions) and the risk that I am taking with my recovery.
Remind myself of my values and the progress that I have made in my recovery to date.
Break the bubble of isolation and pick up the phone to call my sponsor/another person in recovery.
Work through the emotional state lying behind my actions and come up with a healthier way to deal with my feelings.

Anticipated emotions
Initial sense of euphoria at being able to escape from the difficult emotions that I am experiencing. A sense that I can just avoid the stuff that I find awkward to deal with.
Followed closely by feelings of guilt and then total shame at ending up back in the same old place.
Feelings of futility and self-loathing for putting myself and my wife through that again.

Likely mind-games
It’s not really porn, it’s just attractive images on the screen. Everyone else can look at them without any problems. Why should I be any different? I deserve to be able to have some fun.

Ritual 2: I start 1:1 counselling sessions with someone who I am extremely attracted to and my mind starts to wander.

Action Plan
Anticipate the potential problem beforehand and set very clear and healthy boundaries in place.
Ensure that I remain accountable and that I share any initial feelings of attraction with a supervisor, friend in recovery. Don’t let the thoughts linger in the background without being addressed.
Work through my values and apply them to my decision-making. Recognise that I am making decisions based on short-term intense emotions rather than my value system that I have been developing.

Anticipated emotions
A whirlwind of fantasy and make-believe. I would initially find it intoxicating to imagine myself in that kind of scenario.
Once I get into the pattern of engaging in that fantasy, I would feel trapped and unable to escape. I would feel cut off and emotionally distant from my wife and my kids because I would be desperately trying to hold onto a secret part of myself.
I would spiral down into a place of real shame and disgust with myself.

Likely mind-games
I’m just doing my job here. Other people seem to manage these kinds of situations without getting into bother.
I never got the chance to sow my wild oats when I was younger so I deserve to be able to do it now.
I’m not being appreciated at home so why shouldn’t I be appreciated by someone else.

Ritual 3: I buy a porn magazine and take it out into the countryside to look through it in secret.

Action Plan
As soon as I sense the urge to buy a magazine, I need to confront myself with the potential consequences of my actions, especially if I were to be caught using it in a compromising situation.
Consider the impact on my life, my family, my career as a minister.
And recognise that I am trying to deal with an uncomfortable emotional state in a very unhealthy way.

Anticipated emotions
Initially the rush of doing something in the open and potentially being caught would be quite powerful and intoxicating.
The more extreme and dangerous my behaviours are, the worse the fall back down to earth again afterwards.
I would be crushed with shame and remorse and feel as if I was right back to the beginning again.

Likely mind-games
The women are choosing to be involved in that industry and getting well paid for it. Why shouldn’t I benefit from it? I’m not really objectifying them – they want me to do it. They enjoy it.
Buying porn mags is just a healthy masculine thing to do. Most guys do it and it doesn’t cause them issues.
I need to get my dose of excitement from somewhere.

Ritual 4: I start to check out images of an attractive female friend on Facebook and start to become obsessed.

Action Plan
Confront myself with the reality of what I am doing and the potential impact on my marriage.
Put some boundaries around my use of social media – only access it in public or when around my family.
Be honest about what I am doing and discuss it with my sponsor/friend in recovery.
Look at the reasons why I am doing this and what I need to do to change the behaviour.

Anticipated emotions
The secretive aspect of it would be initially appealing and would give me a “hit”.
I would start to feel trapped by the intensity and the secrecy of it and would feel more and more powerless.
I would use that as an excuse for continuing the behaviour and escalating it.
I would feel progressively more guilt and shame that would lead me towards worse behaviours.

Likely mind-games
They are just publicly accessible photos. People put them on Facebook to be looked at.
It’s not really acting out. I haven’t actually done anything harmful. I can stop doing it whenever I want.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 2:12 pm 
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I'm conscious that I hadn't posted for about 10 days. I was anticipating taking a break because we were supposed to be away on holiday. However, that got cancelled but I have still been very busy. We're moving soon so we have been dealing with estate agents, applying for new jobs, getting the house ready to go on the market, etc. I'm very aware that this is a potentially very stressful time, and that I need to be not just maintaining my recovery but continuing to move forward as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:07 pm
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Hi Tim

Quote:
I need to be not just maintaining my recovery but continuing to move forward as well.


IMO these two essential requirements are mutually interconnected

to become the best that you can be you will never have one without the other

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


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 2:20 pm 
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Thanks Kenzo, that's a great reminder, especially at such a busy and stressful time as this. I HAVE to create space for continuing to move forward with RN work. It seems more stressful to do that on top of everything else just now, but the alternative would suddenly mean that life can start to get very unmanageable very quickly.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:10 am 
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Lesson 60 exercise: Preventing Slips/Relapse

1. Prior to an expected triggering event

• I allow complacency to creep in and I start to neglect my commitment to change.
• I experience an unhealthy amount of stress and feel that I cannot cope with it in a healthy way (this is very relevant just now as we are planning to move in the next few months and I will be starting a new job/career and moving away from all my current support mechanisms).
• I have too much time and space alone within the house.
• I start to get very down on myself and feel inadequate and worthless.
• I start measuring myself negatively against other people, especially in terms of recovery.

Action Plan

• Take more time to visualise these scenarios and plan how I will manage them – especially all of the difficult events that I will be experiencing over the coming months.
• Continue to commit to recovery as a process not an action – take time to work through these lessons again when completed and thoroughly ingrain my new commitment to health.
• Give myself credit for progress not perfection and mark my milestones on the journey towards a healthy life.

2. Prior to a spontaneous triggering event

• Come across image of attractive woman unexpectedly on internet or in magazine, or triggering sex scene in movie or in book.
• See images on Facebook of attractive female friends and start to fantasise.
• Sudden unexpected life event: bereavement, financial loss, accident, etc.

Action Plan

• I need to get much better and more consistent in using fantasy in a proactive and healthy way. I have tended to view it as my “enemy”. Instead I need to get to the point of viewing it as my most effective ally. I can easily use the time when I am walking my dog on a daily basis to practice this skill.

3. On the experience of an urge

I still tend to see this as the most important stage and the point I need to focus on the most, whereas actually I have to anticipate these occasions in a much more intentional way. The most important thing for me when experiencing an urge is to focus on working it through in as conscious and planned way as possible. I have experienced some minor urges recently that I have kind of shoved to the background of my consciousness – instead I can see them as valuable opportunities to cement my commitment to health by working through them in a detailed and thorough way.
The absolutely crucial element for me is to isolate my emotions and recognise that these are what is driving my compulsive urges. I also need to focus on giving myself credit for handling urges in a healthy way, and using that as an opportunity to strengthen my commitment to health.

4. On the discovery of being “off track”

• A key priority for me to is to focus on developing a key symptoms of potential relapse inventory, and to review this on a regular basis in as honest a way as possible.
• Go back to my lesson 1 list and remind myself as consciously as possible of my commitment to change.
• Review my values and see if there are any changes to be made.

5. On schedule

• Keep working the tools that I am using just now – regular health monitoring and working through the RN and SAA programme. I intend to go back through the RN lessons again and thoroughly embed the learning when finished.
• Keep checking in with friends and my sponsor in SAA, and commit myself to attending regular meetings in my new home area.
• Keep helping others in their journey towards health – especially my sponsee in the SAA programme and others suffering from compulsive sexual behaviour.
• Commit myself to regular review of my values and spiritual housecleaning (regular retreats). Don’t overcomplicate things but work this in with my Rule of Life in a more streamlined way.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:48 pm 
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Lesson 61: Managing a slip

I have struggled during my time in recovery to balance a healthy view of slips as a learning opportunity (within reason) with a very black and white perception of total abstinence. This has been exacerbated by so many relapses that it has left me desperate to avoid any kind of slip whatsoever. It’s a fine balance to strike, but I liked the example given of Jon standing in the concert and suddenly becoming aware of himself scanning the room looking at all the attractive women. Defining this kind of behaviour (going against my values) as a slip is really helpful, as long as I become aware of it in time and make the efforts to stop it and to prevent it happening again.

I guess by those standards, I have become aware of slipping myself over the past few days. I’ve recognised that I have been much more conscious of attractive women over the past few days, to the extent of looking several times but not to the extent of fantasising. Thinking back now, there was one particular young mother in the supermarket earlier who caught my eye, and I only became aware afterwards that I had been scanning the aisles for her throughout my shop. I can be tempted to get really down on myself for this kind of behaviour, and use the excuse that it inevitably leads on to worse compulsive behaviours. That’s an absolute lie. Instead, I’m conscious that I can use this as a learning experience to recognise that my actions have been very much based on my emotional state recently. I’ve been feeling increasingly stressed and tired and overwhelmed by having to get our house ready for the market and juggling a hectic time at work. I’ve allowed that stress to build into some resentment towards my wife over feeling that I’m doing “everything”, when in actual fact that’s not true at all. That little niggle of resentment fuels a sense of belief that somehow I’m entitled to look around at other attractive women and that it doesn’t really matter. When in actual fact it directly goes against at least 2 of my values: living in a way that respects myself and others / rebuilding intimacy and trust with my wife. My poor coping mechanisms recently also contradict my stated value of developing my resilience to cope with the ups and downs of life.

I’m going to go away from this lesson content that I can call this a slip and that it doesn’t need to lead to any kind of relapse at all. I can view this as a positive learning experience and as a warning sign that I need to be paying attention to how I am handling the difficulties of life just now. I need to slow down and stop having such crazy, high expectations of myself – that kind of behaviour will only lead to me falling back into addictive behaviours again.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:27 am 
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Lesson 64: The Healthy Life

I really enjoyed this lesson, and almost wish it could have come earlier in the workshop. The lesson really reminded me of the 12 Promises from SAA, which came true partially for me but then seemed to slip through my fingers. These Recovery Nation ‘promises’ were very similar but now feel a whole lot more tangible and achievable to me than previously. My time in SAA has been a lifesaver for me, but I still could never get away from seeing myself as fundamentally an addict, always just one bad decision away from acting out and sliding back down into relapse again. Recovery Nation has helped me to believe in a far greater transformation towards a healthy and manageable life. For years, I have described myself in 12 Step circles as a “recovering addict”. There is a truth in that, but it still keeps me locked into a view of myself as intrinsically addicted rather than someone who is on the way to living a truly healthy and rounded life. I still feel as if I need the help and support of a face to face group just now, but over time I can envisage this becoming less as I move forward into a life that is “normal”. I will be moving within the next 2 months, and am planning to attend a different SAA group near where I will be living, but it’s a great opportunity for me to reduce my commitment and put my other responsibilities in the group to one side. For years I have been the Treasurer of my local group which I established and kept it going over so many years when very few other people came along. It really helped at the time, but maybe it also kept me locked into an addiction mindset, just struggling along from one relapse to the next. I think its really helpful for my core identity (and for my wife’s conception of me) to be able to reduce my commitment and start focussing on where I am heading rather than where I have been for the vast majority of my life.

The other aspect of reducing my SAA commitment is that it is actually very difficult to work a whole separate programme and also focus on my daily spiritual life as a Christian and my daily journalling too. I have found that quite a challenge over the past 6 months, and I feel that I am needing to streamline things a bit more effectively. Otherwise it becomes far too introspective, when actually I need to be looking outside of myself and moving out into the world. I fully intend to go back through the RN workshop again when I have finished, and I am hoping that this will really help me to embed all of the practices fully into my life. There were some aspects that I found difficult to understand or properly implement at the time. In particular, I need to put some more time and work into thinking about my boundaries and how I deal more proactively with urges rather than sometimes automatically shoving them into the background. The more I can bring them out into the open, dust them off and properly examine them in the cold light of day, the more they will lose this mysterious power they have held over me for far too long.

In terms of the skills that I feel I have worked hard to implement, I am really proud of myself that I have maintained the discipline of working through the workshop (after a brief stumble in the middle). I created a schedule for when I would complete lessons, and have managed to stick with this over the past few months, even during the COVID-19 difficulties when life was way more complex. I could easily have fallen out of the habit, but I have deliberately disciplined myself to continue and I really feel the benefits of that now. I’m also doing well with my weekly health monitoring, and am finding this a really useful exercise. And above all, I’m finding that I am much more open and capable of dealing with stress now. These past few months have been incredibly stressful: COVID-19, changes in work life, getting our house ready for the market, finding a job, etc. That stress continues today, but I feel far more confident and competent to deal with it now – especially looking ahead to when we move away from our existing support structures and begin to settle into our new life. Visualising this process and my success in it is proving to be really helpful. I’m so pleased that during such a tough time, I’m now coming up to 3 months away from all my compulsive behaviours. I have had much longer periods of sobriety in the past, but this feels like a much firmer and more permanent step away from addiction and towards a life of health.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:38 pm 
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Hi Tim

Quote:
maybe it also kept me locked into an addiction mindset,


Quote:
start focussing on where I am heading rather than where I have been for the vast majority of my life.


:g: :g:
do keep moving forwards it really is worth it

furthermore addiction is less than worthless
Quote:
I fully intend to go back through the RN workshop again when I have finished,

I did and I benefited so much from doing so, perhaps also apply for a status change to mentor, other have and in doing so have discovered so much about themselves and their addiction :pe:

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


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:11 pm 
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Thanks for the message and the encouragement Kenzo. Apologies for the delayed reply - for some reason I missed the notification this time.

I am thinking about becoming a mentor, but I probably need to get through the next few months first when I will be moving home and starting a new job/career. I have found through SAA that the best way of keeping it is by giving it away. Especially with one person I have been sponsoring who has experienced fantastic change in their life, from being on the brink of suicide to now sponsoring other people through the steps.

However, I feel that I need to start moving away from the central role that I held in SAA now for so many years. I have seen probably hundreds of people come into the meeting I started and find some hope and purpose over the years. But somehow it never fully worked for me, and has possibly held me back and locked into an eternal perspective of myself as an "addict" as I was writing before. Once I have moved, I feel that I will be able to dedicate proper time and space to a new role.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:12 pm 
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Lesson 65: Life after addiction

Envision your life after addiction/life after recovery.
Living a “normal” life free of that nagging sense of guilt and shame in the background. Experiencing the same problems and challenges as everyone else but having the tools to be able to cope and thrive even in the midst of difficulties.
Having a healthy and “whole” relationship with my wife – not completely free of conflict or disagreement but being able to work through hard times in a healthy and responsible way. Not having to crush her self esteem every so often by admitting to yet more failures with addictive behaviour. Retaking our wedding vows together, confident that I have the strength and the commitment to stick to them this time.
Feeling proud of myself as a father – being able to stand alongside my children in the times they need me most, unburdened by the weight of my own repeated failures. Being able to be fully present with them rather than hiding away parts of me that I don’t want them to see.
Feeling confident and fulfilled in my career and able to bring the “whole” of me into my working life. Being able to focus more on other people and their needs rather than being preoccupied by my own problems. Using my progress in recovery to inspire others and helping them to achieve real and lasting change.
Having a deeper and more resilient spirituality that is not affected by my emotional ups and downs. Finding some genuine peace and vision.
Having the confidence to try out new hobbies and the perseverance to stick with them. Not being afraid to get out and “live life to the full” and taking hold of the opportunities that come my way.

Compare it to the vision I developed in lesson 2.
I loved doing this exercise. It feels so positive and forward looking after so much pain and difficulty. I think my repeated failures in dealing with addictive behaviour over the years have really dented my sense of vision in life. However, I can feel that slowly and surely coming back and a renewed sense of enthusiasm and excitement about what lies ahead. That’s not a “pie in the sky” mentality of a life lived through rose-tinted spectacles. I know there are difficult times coming up, but I feel way more equipped with some practical tools to handle them now without reverting back to the unhealthy patterns of my compulsive behaviour.
In terms of my previous vision, my original thoughts in lesson 2 are very similar to what I have written above. I have now saved a version of my vision on to my phone, and make sure that I look at it every day to remind myself of where I am heading.

Lesson 2 vision
I want to be in a position where I can re-take my wedding vows with my wife, confident that I will be able to fully commit to them and know that I will be able to keep them this time. I want to have a relationship with my wife that is open and transparent and where I have nothing to hide. I want to be able to bring out the best in her and to see her confidence blossom rather than being repeatedly dented by my behaviours. I want to get to a level of mutual physical intimacy that is free of a nagging sense of guilt and repeated betrayal and that meets both our needs.
I want to walk my daughters down the aisle (if they choose to get married!) as a proud dad, confident in my role and my efforts as a parent. I want to be able to look them in the eye and say with confidence that I did my very best as their dad.
I want to be a Church leader who lives out a life of integrity with the community – to build deep relationships where I am able to be present with the whole of myself rather than feeling that I have to keep bits hidden. I want to be able to lead other people and speak confidently from that position of integrity and honesty rather than from a place of shame and secrecy.
I want to develop consistent healthy mechanisms for coping with the daily reality of life, however difficult or upsetting that may be. I want to model that behaviour especially to my children so that they can have a healthy example to follow in their own lives. Above all, I want to leave behind the sense of shame and guilt that follows me around like a dark shadow and develop a view of myself that is positive and affirming and that gives me a platform to use my gifts in the most effective way possible.
I want to achieve my goal of climbing all the Munros in Scotland by the time I turn 55, and I want to take up a new hobby - either sailing or sea kayaking, within the next 3 years.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:48 am 
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Lesson 66: Recovery triggers versus relapse triggers

a) Consider your perspective towards potential triggers when you were in early recovery. Consider your perspective now. How has this changed?

I really loved this lesson and found it incredibly useful in terms of moving my understanding forward. I immediately identified with having been in group 2 for so many years – actively seeing addiction in very black and white terms and not really having any firm belief in my capacity for long term change. For many years I viewed abstinence as the sole goal of recovery, although I have moved away from that perspective in recent times. It was all about avoiding acting out and seeing triggers as a very destructive and negative influence rather than as a constructive opportunity to strengthen my recovery and move me forward on my journey towards health.

I can vividly remember an occasion when I first started attending 12 Step groups many, many years ago when a lap dancing club opened up across from my workplace. I can recall feeling an intense attitude of persecution, almost as if the universe was conspiring against me in my efforts to find recovery. I reasoned that I just couldn’t possibly avoid acting out when such triggers were thrown right in my face. I also went through a phase of leaving my bank cards at home, reasoning that I had to take away the Desire, the Opportunity and the Availability (the DOA model). However, when I became desperate I found that I was still able to get money from my bank to act out with an escort through an elaborate story that I made up. I also tried so many different measures to block any kind of access to internet porn at home. To be honest, I pretty much always found a hole or a means to act out anyway.

Over recent years I have moved away from these extremes and recognised that I just cannot avoid triggers. I have still been seeing them in very negative terms, so this lesson was a revelation for me. However, I no longer restrict my internet usage, although I do still have accountability software installed. To be honest, I have worked my way round the software loads of times in order to act out and my wife has never been any the wiser. It still feels like a useful tool just now, but I probably need to think about stopping using it at some point as I move towards a lifestyle based on health rather than recovery.

From working through the RN lessons, I really feel that I have gained a much firmer belief in my capacity to find and achieve true recovery, i.e. living a health based life. This essential belief was missing for so many years, and was always an excuse to fall back down into active addiction again whenever a trigger caused me to relapse. The biggest single problem was internet porn. My repeated relapses over so many years had convinced me that I just could not find any long term recovery in this area – because I was trying to eliminate the problem and beat it rather than use it as an opportunity to grow and to change my core identity. Cognitively speaking, I know that I have found recovery in many different areas, i.e. I haven’t had sex with escorts or anyone else other than my wife for well over 10 years now. So I know that it can be achieved, and I need to keep challenging those thoughts that tell me I am and always will be an addict. I’m just not comfortable with that mindset any longer, and I actively feel that it will be a positive move for me and my family to put some distance between myself and my 12 Step groups.

b) List five potential triggers for you — that may lead you into a compulsive crisis. How can you shift your perspective of each so that they are not only NOT a threat to your values, but you can actually use these triggers to strengthen those values?

1. Seeing an attractive photo of a Facebook friend and beginning to look through the profile and fantasise.
2. Watching a TV show or film and being exposed to a highly explicit sex scene.
3. Seeing pictures of attractive celebrities online and clicking on the link.
4. An attractive woman flirting with me and making it obvious that she is attracted to me.
5. Doing a Google Images search for work and something unexpected popping up causing me to follow a chain of clicking on images that lead me back to acting out.

As mentioned above, it is a very new concept for me to view triggers in a positive way as an opportunity to strengthen my health-based approach to life. I actually find this concept to be very liberating and empowering. Instead of filling me with fear that I might crumble as soon as the first big challenge comes my way, it fills me with a sense of confidence that I will be able to handle any challenges, because I have put the work in and because my core identity is no longer fused with perceiving myself as an addict. It is so important for me to recognise and hold on to the reality that it is my perception of these events as triggers which is the problem, rather than them having any kind of intrinsic hold or control over me in and of themselves. I need to deliberately and consciously challenge those thoughts, as they just give me a ready-made excuse to fall back into old patterns of behaviour.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2019 3:29 pm
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Lesson 67: Poly-addictions and switching

a) List the most likely behaviour that you will need to monitor for potential 'switching' and/or compulsivity now that the sexual rituals have subsided.

• Compulsively over-working. This is definitely a potential pitfall for me, especially in my new career as a minister where so many other people struggle to switch off and find a healthy balance.
• Playing games on my X-Box. I used to do this very compulsively as a young person and still have the potential to “binge” every so often but this is definitely low risk.
• Social media. I am only on Facebook and generally have a very balanced approach. I don’t tend to go on it too often, but there can be times where it becomes compulsive and I become overly stimulated by the immediacy of it.
• Addiction to approval of other people. Again, this can be a definite pitfall as a minster where it is such a public role. I can too easily find myself falling into patterns of seeking approval from others.
• Compulsively helping others. This is related to the first one but is not just about work. I can get to a stage where I feel I have to be available all the time for others, and in the process neglect my own needs.
• Addiction to recovery. I really don’t feel that this is a problem for me. I’m actually really looking forward to laying aside all my SAA group responsibilities and just attending a local meeting near my new home maybe once every 3 or 4 weeks if necessary. I used to have the kind of “magic amulet” approach to recovery where I felt it was all about the rituals and the actions that I took, but that’s a long time in the past now.
• Compulsive worrying/stressing is a definite area I need to be on the lookout for and I need to make very conscious efforts to de-stress myself. I can too easily become hardwired to the stress, which makes me run ever faster and never really take the time to fully relax and recharge. This runs the risk of a big crash at some stage.

b) Are these listed anywhere on your weekly monitoring so that you can objectively assess them?

They are maybe not asked in the most blatant way, but they are definitely present in the range of questions that I ask myself each week. However, to make it more deliberate and conscious I have added in the following question:

“Am I in danger of becoming compulsive in any area of my life?”.


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