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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:23 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
It's almost 6 months exactly since I started out on Recovery Nation and close to 3 months from when I last posted. While the good progress I made in those first few weeks has continued in some parts of my life, overall I've let myself lose focus, get discouraged and slip into patterns of recovery and relapse, recovery and relapse...

The perfectionist voice in my head says that as I failed to complete the course earlier then that's it, I've failed at recovery and there's no point trying again. But that's rubbish. I might have veered off track but I did make real progress before and as long as I'm committed to this (and I am) then I can follow this through by practising the methods and actions to manage my life in a healthy way.

So the reason I'm back is that I want to end my compulsive rituals and addictions once and for all and I know that all the tools that I need are here for me to use to build an active recovery that's defined by my vision and values.

It's now the 1st of October and I'm making a commitment to complete the recovery course by the end of the year. Not in a rigid, lessons by numbers way to pass an exam but to embrace the principles and lessons learned as my own and to dedicate time each day to achieving this.

This will give me a full 90 days or so to make my recovery the absolute top priority in my life and to use the lessons and activities in the workshop to equip me to live a healthy lifestyle free from compulsive addictions.

I've reread and absorbed the intro and first lesson again and will go over each lesson I'd covered before and add or create new responses to my recovery thread as necessary. This will mean clearly defining/revising my vision and values as they currently are and moving forward in the daily lessons and activities to contribute to my health and progress.

This is too important to delay any further. I want 2008 to be the year that I finally learned how to live a real, genuine, healthy life with integrity and depth, meaning and purpose.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2008 1:33 am 
Recovery Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:32 pm
Posts: 4572
re: "overall I've let myself lose focus, get discouraged and slip into patterns of recovery and relapse, recovery and relapse..."

Not unexpected. Reading about the information is just one part of the process. Gaining the experience in using it; evolving the tools to match your own personal evolution; avoiding the perception that the workshop is a set of lessons/activities (and thus, allowing both your effort and your motivation to stagnate)...these are others.

Where you go from here will be determined by how much you remember intellectually from your earlier work...and how well you have integrated those earlier fundamentals into practical skills/tools. But certainly...breaking free from the relapse cycle must be an immediate action you take. You will need to give yourself a solid month of not having to worry about the consequences of an ongoing addiction in order to replant your feet firmly in healthy ground.

re: "The perfectionist voice in my head says that as I failed to complete the course earlier then that's it, I've failed at recovery and there's no point trying again. But that's rubbish."

You are absolutely right here. The workshop is intentionally set-up so that there is no 'end' to it. You may complete all of the lessons, but by that had BETTER realize that the lessons aren't where the true workshop lays. That the true workshop is what you do with what you learn (here and elsewhere) in your day-to-day life. And so, even over these past six months, you have never really left the workshop. You may have become complacent, may have completely abandoned the foundation you were building, may have lost your motivation to finish what you started (relatively speaking--as I just stated, there really is no 'finish line' for recovery. There is only a transition that occurs from recovery to health).

re: "and will go over each lesson I'd covered before and add or create new responses to my recovery thread as necessary"

Good place to start. And let's re-emphasize the 'as necessary'. I do not want you redoing all of the lessons/exercises just because. Review them. Evolve past responses to those that need evolution.

Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:55 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
Thanks for the feedback Jon:

Breaking free from the relapse cycle must be an immediate action you take. You will need to give yourself a solid month of not having to worry about the consequences of an ongoing addiction in order to replant your feet firmly in healthy ground

I'm determined to break the relapse cycle and put down roots in healthier ground, especially for this first month. Despite previous setbacks I've learned and grown so much already but I know I can really flourish if I give myself a good run at living a healthy life without relapsing.

When I committed to getting back on track with my health I was hoping to complete/review a lesson or so a day but going back to my vision I realised I needed to spend more time on it so 5 days later I feel much happier with this version. I'm sure I'll go back to it to add focus to certain areas but for now I think it should give me enough focus to get started with.

My Vision

Emotional Health
To know myself and have a self awareness in how I live my life. My actions will flow out of my values that are grounded in my overall vision for my life. I will have an ever expanding emotional toolkit to equip me for any scenario I?m faced with. I will treat myself with respect and honesty. Develop systems and values that promote health and be vigilant against complacency.

Role in Being Single/Finding Partner
To invest in myself by taking part in activities and adventures - from working in a foreign environment to taking an evening class to learn a new skill. To participate in the kind of activities and challenges that I would find attractive in a partner thus increasing my chances of meeting the right partner for me.

To be honest and realistic about finding the right partner, conscious that there may be rejection, false starts and confusion. To take the time to get to know each others feelings, hopes and expectations without the pressure and expectation of having to find ?the one? and to mould anyone into that. If it happens early then great, if it takes some time then I will have met some interesting people I might not have otherwise met along the way. Whether single or attached I will live a life filled with meaningful and fun relationships and experiences.

Leisure Time
To make time for the fun stuff and to make it a priority. It?s usually more important and memorable than the serious stuff anyway. Say yes more often and plan activities on a daily, weekly and long term basis. From mountain biking with friends to going to see a band, film, comedian, exhibition... To cultivate an innate curiosity with life by learning new skills, discovering new places and meeting new people. To share my leisure time with other people who could benefit from doing fun, creative, challenging activities but might not initiate them on their own. To be able to relax and enjoy the simple things like reading a book or drawing a picture. To enjoy making art for its own sake, without the pressure of exhibiting or competing.

Physical Health
I want to continue playing football as long as possible, being a good team mate, developing friendships and improving my game physically and creatively. I want to continue mountain biking and experiencing more of the amazing landscape around here. Keep my body in good shape with pilates, weights, press ups and running. Get involved with new team sports.

Role as Sibling/Son
To fill as much laughter as possible into time spent with my parents, brothers, sister and extended family. To be encouraging and kind, allowing them to be themselves without trying to change them. Life?s too short for any of us to pretend to be anything we?re not so I?ll enjoy my family for who they are and not hide behind any masks myself. Be proactive in keeping in touch and arranging to meet up to do fun stuff together.

To be a positive influence on my mum as she comes to terms with her Parkinson?s diagnosis and to help out my dad so he?s not alone in caring for her. Be sensitive to their needs and look for ways to lighten their load and add laughter and fun to their lives at any opportunity.

Spiritual Health
To become more conscious to reality every day by developing practices and beliefs (and ultimately habits) that allow me to focus on the bigger picture and my responsibilities to serve. Take time each day to strengthen my core being by reflecting on the wonder of life.

Relationship With Friends
To bring as much laughter and fun into time spent with friends. At the end of my life all I will have is my family, friendships and experiences. There?s nothing more valuable I can invest in today than to increase the strength and depth of my relationships. If I could condense my life vision down to two simple words it would be ?be friendly?. Be friendly to myself, be friendly to my environment, be friendly to my friends and family and be friendly to those I don?t yet know.

I want to daily act out the belief that I?m already connected to everyone on a human/spiritual level. There?s no ?strangers?, no ?them? so I?ll be friendly and respectful to whoever I meet. There?s no barriers that need broken down before approaching anyone, forming new connections and experiences will be a natural part of life.

Mental/Intellectual Health
Rediscover that eagerness to learn and absorb knowledge that I had at Art College. Take risks with my reading and discover new authors and genres. Treat my mental and intellectual health as seriously as I treat my physical fitness. Exercise my mind by stretching it through memorizing, reading widely doing crosswords/puzzles and learning new languages.

Work on what I love and am passionate about. Let what?s important, enjoyable and fulfilling rise in my working priorities and stop working on things that aren?t. Enjoy and share as much laughter as possible throughout the working day. Get any difficult work out the way first thing so I can continue the rest of the day with a sense of accomplishment. Respect and be friendly to everyone I come into contact with through work. Develop goals that I?ll be proud telling my grandchildren about when I've achieved them or at will least make them laugh.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:49 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
Was great to have my first coaching session and I've really taken strength from seeing my compulsive addictions and behaviours as something outside of me that I can stop coming in rather than as things I have to suppress from coming out. This makes me feel much stronger and want to fight all the more harder to protect my health. A good visual image to deal with difficult times ahead.

Thoughts on my vision
To help me to visualize and embrace my vision further I’ve been thinking of it in terms of where I’d like to see myself in 5 years time. Whether things turn out even close to this is probably less important than the changes they can effect in my life today. Coach Monica said in someone else’s thread something along the lines of the key to realising your vision or values is in asking yourself ‘what can I do today that might bring me closer to reaching that goal’. That's what I need to bring to my vision to get it out of the realms of floaty intellectual stuff and into the practical realities of day to day life.

Where I see myself in 5 Years

In 5 years time I see myself in a committed, loving relationship based on absolute honesty, trust, kindness and having as much fun together as possible.

I can see us starting and bringing up a family together. Thriving in the new found responsibility of fatherhood and having a much less me centred outlook on life. I’ll enjoy discovering the world anew through our children’s eyes and having a proper excuse to be childish and silly and act like a kid when playing.

I can see us living in a house with a studio where I can make art. Close to nature and within a community that I will feel a part of. Ideally near the sea so that when I have a dog we can walk close by. We would try to grow our own vegetables in the garden and look forward to the harvest of the solitary tomato, but we will enjoy trying.

I can see myself doing work that I love. My income will come from doing what I love to do in whatever shape of form that happens to be. I’d like to be more specific but I’m still unsure just now which direction I might take with my work. The overriding factor is that it will be work that is true to myself, of genuine value to others, soulful and fulfilling.

I can see myself being as fit as I have ever been. Still playing football, cycling, doing pilates or similar as well as being involved in group activities and doing as much as possible to experience the great outdoors.

I can see our home being a welcome place for visitors, friends and family, more homely and warm than minimal and cold. I can see me enjoying those relationships on a deeper level now that I’m living honestly with integrity.

I can see helping others and getting involved in meaningful projects as a natural extension of my life. I will raise money, donate or lend an extra pair of hands whenever I can.

I can see myself more in tune with the world spiritually. I’ll know myself and treat myself with love and respect which I will extend out to others. I will meditate/appreciate frequently on the beauty and wonder of life and nature and find a calming stillness there that I can draw strength from. I’ll be careful what I eat and my diet will resonate with me. Eating as much real food as possible and my cooking skills will go through the kitchen roof as I continue to learn new dishes.

I can see myself being much more at peace with the world and with myself. My skills at living my life in a way that resonates with my values will be well developed and my emotional maturity will be much stronger as I focus on value strengthening activities and actions.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 9:51 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
The last couple of days I've finally been able to look in the mirror and genuinely like who's looking back at me. I can't remember the last time that's happened with any depth or clarity for ages. It's made me realise just how often I've looked in the mirror and sexualised myself, objectified myself and generally treated myself with a lack of respect and dignity.

It feels empowering and exciting. I know this might sound like a cheesy motivational tagline but making friends with myself and knowingly acting with my truly best interests at heart at each part of the day feels like such a key to continuing to live a healthy life.

To be able to look myself in the mirror and like the person I see looking back at me seemed like an almost unattainable goal a few months ago so I'm really happy and encouraged that I'm seeing real progress with glimpses of what it's really like to live a life of integrity - pretty damn good.

Right onwards with the workshop!

Exercise 22 - Practical Uses For Measuring
In your recovery thread, share a brief summary of what practical uses the skill of measuring compulsive rituals can have in your recovery. Don't just copy the headings of this lesson, take a minute to see how you can practically use this information in YOUR life.

If I develop my skills of measuring compulsive rituals I can first of all deal a blow to the impulsive/compulsive nature of the rituals by taking a step back and becoming aware of what I'm doing and what I'm feeling in that moment.

Whether my compulsive rituals have sought immediate or delayed gratification they have at their beginning a switching off from the bigger picture of what I'm actually doing, there's a checking out of life. My only awareness is of the immediate or expected thrill to come.

I'll take the ritual of looking at porn online - I could be surfing aimlessly online viewing random websites while avoiding my work. Bored and depressed about not working I might I start thinking I could easily switch browsers and have the rush and release of viewing porn and mb then delete my browser history afterwards then get back to work feeling more relaxed and determined to get back on track with my life. I'm feeling crap anyway so the extra guilt I'll get from viewing porn isn't going to make that much difference. Right, I'll do it, nothing to lose, can only gain by experiencing some excitement instead of this frustration. Historically there's no turning back from this point.

If I was to develop the skill of measuring this ritual I would have broken it down to its individual elements and clearly seen that I have a choice whether to continue or stop at each point of the ritual. I can already see that the surfing aimlessly is a major element of this ritual as it's usually the jumping off point for viewing porn. On a wider scale I can see that the avoidance of work/procrastinating is an element in the chain that could be halted before it even gets to aimlessly surfing websites.

I can see just how practical this skill will be in maintaining a constant awareness of what I'm doing and feeling as I'm actually doing it/feeling it. Back up this awareness with pre-learned roadmaps of what my compulsive rituals look like I can easily flag to myself when I'm on a road that I know can lead to a compulsive ritual and get myself back on track to a road with a healthy destination.

This really makes clear sense to me to now and I'm looking forward to developing this skill.

Last edited by newme on Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:28 am 
Recovery Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:32 pm
Posts: 4572
re: "The last couple of days I’ve finally been able to look in the mirror and genuinely like who’s looking back at me."

This is what I mean when I say, it may take a lot of time and effort to make the full transition away from addiction, but you do not have to wait for that transition to take place before you begin to reap the benefits of recovery. The changes to your identity can begin almost immediately and for some, when they approach it with the right perspective....recovery becomes an empowering, wonderful thing. The boundaries between 'recovery' and 'life' begin to blur and eventually, they realize that they are one and the same.

You are getting there. Obviously, it is still early and you have many challenges ahead of you. One will be, ironically, when you move a bit further away from this addiction and panic. When you feel a sense of loss for what has been a big part of your life and you think, "What the hell am I doing? Is this real? I know the addiction was real. What if this is all just an illusion?" Expect it to happen. And when it does, recognize it for what it is: a sign of growth. And, a potential threat. Both, at the same time.

Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:20 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
Exercise 23:

Mastering Your Elements
I. i]Create your own Wheel of Sexual Compulsion that is more closely related to your behavior. This can be done by simply listing the cumulative elements involved in your compulsive behavior. This shouldn't take you more than five minutes. List these elements (associated with no particular ritual--but more your addiction in general) in your recovery thread. [/i]

Sensory –touch
Sensory – visual

II. Choose a real-life example of EVERY major sexual ritual that you engage in (these should be compulsive rituals, not healthy) and break each down into their smallest elements (based on the elements identified in your wheel of sexual compulsion).

Thankfully most of these occurred several months ago now but will do my best to remember specifics....

Masturbation and Porn (over a month ago)
• Sister stayed for weekend then we went to visit parents and extended family. From start of weekend felt guilty for being stressed and not having as much fun as we could have. Anticipation of being on my own with possibility of mb and porn to release tension and stress. - Anticipation.
• Looked in mirror at parents house when getting undressed for bed, sexualizing myself, anticipation of mb when I get home. – Sensory Visual
• Driving home I start to fantasize about what I will find on a voyeur website I would often visit - Anticipation.
• On the way home I go out of my way to buy food at the supermarket but really went there to get a bottle of wine to accompany the porn session - Escape.
• Get home and get tissues from bathroom – Anticipation, excitement
• Pour a glass of wine – sensory, escape
• Turn on computer and download Opera browser or load IE which I only use for porn – Anticipation, excitement
• Feel that I know I shouldn’t be doing this but know that porn and mb are now inevitable – guilt and shame, excitement
• Go to voyeur website and am totally in the moment with no thought of stress or my troubles from the weekend – Control, Escape, Excitement
• Enjoy the visual stimulation of the images and videos and the physical stimulation of mb – Sensory, excitement, fantasy
• Build to point of almost climaxing but wait for the perfect image or video – anticipation, sensory, time
• Orgasm through mb – orgasm, sensory
• Clean up and take a break knowing I’ll mb and orgasm a further couple of times over the next few hours with the thinking that it will get all the built up sexual tension out of system… better to do it all in one night than over a few days so I can get back to recovery sooner. – power, anticipation
• Finish online porn session after third orgasm and clean up – relieved, guilt
• Uninstall Opera browser as a sign of commitment to getting back to recovery, putting it behind me, cleansing my computer and metaphorically myself – guilt
• Lie in bed at night thinking I can’t keep going on like this, will I ever be healthy… make a renewed commitment to beat the addiction and feel better about myself plus I got rid of all that sexual tension. Relief, guilt, power

Voyeuring (over a year ago)
• Procrastinating at work and feeling discouraged and disconnected I start thinking during the day about girl in apartment opposite getting undressed with the curtains open and light on. Decide to watch for her light coming on in evening. Anticipation, excitement
• Keep checking out window as time gets nearer to watch for light coming on - Anticipation, fantasy
• Imagine what it would be like to go out with her, how I would appreciate her more than other guys and she would fall for me. Then the thrill of actually making love after all these hours of fantasy, to actually connect physically. Fantasy, anticipation
• Position my blinds so I can see out but remain mostly hidden, leaving the lights off in my room but still aware of being seen myself and not wanting to be seen by a neighbor. Stand on chair so I can get the best angle to see out. – control, anticipation, danger
• Feel massive surge of adrenalin and excitement when the light comes on as she enters bedroom – Excitement, sensory visual, danger
• Move from sight as she appears to look out window near my direction, really hope she hasn’t seen the gap at my window where I can look out. – Danger, guilt
• Wait a few seconds then look out again and watch as she gets undressed. Chemical rush of excitement going on in my brain and I try to retain every moment so I can prolong the experience later – Exhilaration, sensory visual, accomplishment
• Lights go off and she leaves room after changing after looking out of window, was she looking up at me, will I get a knock at the door one day from the police if she has seen me watching her and reported me? – Guilt, accomplishment
• Get some tissues from bathroom – anticipation
• Lie on bed and Mb to what I can remember of previous few minutes, imagining what I would be like to be with her – fantasy, sensory touch
• Orgasm and clean up. Feel stress and tension lift and fall asleep. – orgasm, escape
• Wake up later feeling guilty, worried that I might get caught, depressed that I just wasted a few hours and have neglected work. – depressed, guilty
• Start thinking of the next time I can see her, I’ll look out in the morning – anticipation, fantasy

9th November - adding some more rituals:

Exhibitionism (last year)
• Procrastinating and bored at work, start looking forward to football later and how I could use the showers there after the game to be naked. Either on my own or might be someone there who will see me and who I can see too. Anticipation, fantasy visual
• Pack a change of clothes for shower. I’m definitely going through with this. Excitement, anticipation
• Get changed at home, looking at myself naked in mirror, imagining being naked in the changing rooms, feeling free, getting a rush. Anticipation, fantasy visual
• Leave to go down stairs, leave myself exposed under my jacket over shorts, feel free, excited. Stay this way to car. Danger, sensory feeling
• Scan lit windows on drive to pitch in hope of seeing a girl changing, touching myself without Mb). Escape, sensory touch, polyaddiction
• During game, when in goals and play is down the other end I expose myself quickly for the thrill of doing it, not to be seen. Danger, excitement
• During quiet spells in game am thinking about being naked in changing rooms. Anticipation
• After game get to changing rooms, there’s another guy there. Don’t make eye contact, start getting undressed. Hope he is watching me then get in shower. Adrenalin rush, excitement, sensory touch
• Enjoy feeling of being naked in shower and touching my body. Imagine another guy coming in and looking at me. Excitement, sensory touch
• Get dried, dressed and glimpse other guy naked, hope I am being watched too. Feel invigorated after shower and feeling of being naked and free. Excitement
• In car on way home fantasize about another guy touching me or me doing same with another guy in shower. Fantasy visual
• On way back to my flat my jeans are unzipped under my jacket and I walk home like this occasionally lifting jacket when no one is around. Excitement, danger
• Get home and masturbate to naked images of men and women on nude beaches or on voyeur sites. Fantasy, sensory touch, orgasm
• Repeat twice more over next couple of hours looking at different websites and Mb to orgasm each time.
• Get to bed and feel depressed, like I’m in a hole. Feel lonely and doomed to a life without real intimacy or being able to hold down another relationship. Doubt my sexuality. Depressed, guilt, shame
• Start looking forward to next time and replay in my head what it felt like to be naked in the changing room and how I would have looked and what I saw. Go to sleep. Fantasy visual, escape.

Masturbating in front of mirror
(several months ago)
• Feeling overwhelmed with work while at home and am procrastinating as usual. Go to bathroom and while there look at myself in mirror. Decide to strip naked to get a high knowing it will lead to masturbation. – anticipation, escape
• Go to bathroom mirror and look at myself naked, watch as I get an erection without touching – sensory pleasure, accomplishment, escape
• Imagine having sex with a girl I used to flirt with at work – fantasy
• Go to bedroom and simulate having sex using pillow, imagining having sex with girl from work – sensory touch, fantasy
• Masturbate while delaying orgasm – prolonging feeling, sensory touch, escape
• Masturbate to orgasm then clean up in bathroom – orgasm, relief, accomplishment
• Fall asleep on bed – escape
• Wake up couple of hours later feeling depressed and that I’ve wasted day – depression, shame
• Determine that I have to stop doing this, that I won’t do it again – conviction to change, feel like a new start is possible now that’s out of my system

Gay/TS chat site (last year)
• Feeling of loneliness while at home, avoiding doing work or going out. Decide to go to gay/transsexual chat site. – anticipation
• Get tissues from bathroom – anticipation, resignation
• Open Internet Explorer instead of Firefox and create a new free account on the site. Upload couple of pictures and create a profile.- escape, anticipation
• Go straight to TS chat room to see if anyone I talked to before is there – anticipation, excitement
• See someone I’ve chatted to before but don’t feel sociable enough to talk this time (plus no alcohol) so leave chatroom – discouraged, depressed
• Go into every other chatroom waiting for compliments on my pictures and ignoring every request to chat – depressed, empty
• Go to porn site and start masturbating – sensory touch, fantasy, escape
• Delay climax for as long as possible to extend the experience – delay, sensory touch
• Reach orgasm and clean up – relief then emptiness
• Delete my account on chat site and clear internet history – shame
• Determine that I have to start dealing with this, will try to focus on work and not go back to porn or chat sites for rest of week – determination

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 4:22 pm 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
Exercise 24
I. Develop your own compulsive ritual. Make this relatively simple. List the primary elements in a similar fashion as exampled above in Compulsive Ritual: Exhibitionism. Post this ritual and its elements in your recovery thread.

Viewing Porn Online
• Felt depressed and zombie-like while procrastinating with work.
• Start browsing aimlessly on the web.
• See a picture and story on a news site about nudism.
• Warn myself that this could be a slippery slope to looking at porn so try fighting urge.
• Give in and look at story, see picture of nudists on a beach and feel excited and aroused.
• Open up internet explorer which I use rarely or for viewing porn.
• Go to google images and type in name of nudist beach I’ve been to.
• Get more aroused at images of nudity.
• Go to bathroom to get tissues.
• Go to beach voyeur site and scan thumbnails for exciting image or video.
• Start masturbating to videos and images.
• Visit various sites prolonging MB before orgasm.
• Settle on the perfect image or video to orgasm to.
• Orgasm and clean up.
• Delete browser history.
• Feel guilty and ashamed.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 10:31 pm 
Recovery Coach (Admin)

Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2005 10:32 pm
Posts: 4572
re: "Mastering Your Elements"

Excellent. Most don't come close to hitting the actual elements right off the bat, but you nailed it. Great job. Over time (and in our next coaching) we will explore more subtle elements that may also play a part in these rituals--focusing especially on 'negative stimulators' that actually enhance the overall amount of positive stimulation a ritual produces.

Jon Marsh
Recovery Coach

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 9:41 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
Exercise 25
Here, you are asked to 'map out' one of your rituals. …you are listing the behavior associated with that element… all rituals should be identified in terms of the specific thoughts/behaviors associated with the elements. And so, today, your 'element' will read something like this: "I would focus my eyes on her and inconspicuously follow her around the store."
Post this more advanced ritual in your recovery thread.

Viewing Online Porn
• Staying with family at weekend I feel guilty and discouraged at not being more present and engaged with them. Start looking forward to getting back home to escape these thoughts with the comfort of porn session.
• On drive home start to fantasize about images and videos of porn.
• Stop off at supermarket to buy wine and chocolate to add to indulgence and feeling of escape when I get home.
• Turn on computer, pour a glass of wine, get tissues from bathroom. Feel tingly sense of anticipation.
• Load internet explorer and go to voyeur website.
• Start masturbating to images and videos while excited about what I might newly discover by clicking links to various porn sites.
• Fantasize about being naked on location with people in videos, touching them and being totally a part of their world.
• Prolong masturbation by slowing down before climax several times.
• Pour another glass of wine, enjoying slight buzz.
• Find ‘perfect’ video and masturbate to orgasm.
• Clean up and take a break to have some food.
• Have another glass of wine, feeling effects.
• Go back to browser and continue looking at porn sites where I left off.
• Masturbate to orgasm.
• Clean up and take another break to answer email.
• Open browser to look at more porn sites and masturbate.
• Finish bottle of wine, quite drunk.
• Masturbate to Orgasm.
• Clean up and delete internet history.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:10 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
Wow this paragraph really hits home from the 'Identifying Compulsive Chains' lesson:

[i]“Eventually, these individuals lack the ability to experience any significant emotional stimulation from events that are not related to compulsive urges. And so, no matter what events may occur in their life, they have ingrained a pattern of turning those events into compulsive pursuits. And if they can't, then the events themselves take on little meaning in their lives… And when they aren't engaged in such behavior, something just "doesn't feel right".â€ÂÂ

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:41 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
First of all thanks to all those who put the work in to get the forums back online, it’s great to see the forum up and running and the community supporting each other again.

As for me from last August to November I was making significant progress in my recovery and was starting to really engage with life. I would get up early every morning and spend a couple of hours on a workshop lesson, writing in my journal or on the forum. I was exercising daily, engaging with family and friends, meeting new people and starting new activities. It worked. Completing the workshop lessons as if they were written just for me was changing my life. I was growing, learning, maturing and confronting some of the issues of my life that I’d been clouding out with compulsive activities in the past. Sadly I then got complacent and made some unwise decisions.

I decided to go on vacation with a friend to a place where many of the beaches are clothing optional. I convinced myself I’d avoid those beaches by engaging in activities like scuba diving, day trips etc. But once I was there I decided that I wanted the instant thrill of sexually compulsive behaviour rather than the healthy options. It was all conscious, I knew completely that I was going against my values and went on to manipulate situations in order to give me the most mental and emotional stimulation. We went to the clothing optional beaches and I fell back into old patterns of fantasy and escape, voyeuring and masturbation. I also felt like I was throwing away everything I’d worked so hard for the previous few months.

So these last couple of months I’ve been in a kind of limbo state, feeling a complete sense of disconnection from my recovery, values and vision… mixed with the guilt, shame and sense of failure for messing up big time. Throw in some all or nothing thinking and it wasn’t long before porn and masturbation were back on the menu, often accompanied with alcohol. It’s a path with an inevitable conclusion if I continue down it and it isn’t a happy one.

Yesterday the reality of where I am hit me square in the face and I want to do something about it. A really good day with friends helped me feel a real sense of connection I’ve been missing lately and highlighted what life really can be. We met a friend we haven’t seen in over 10 years and I think our friends are trying to set us up and might see us as a good match. We got on well so it got me thinking how I wished I was in a better place in life where I could be ready for hanging out more and maybe dating. It made me realise I can’t keep my life on hold just because I made some unhealthy decisions these last few weeks. I know the tools and things I need to do to manage my life in a healthy way so this is me committing myself to start making them the priority again.

I know I’ll have to be hyper aware of any kind of love addiction patterns starting with S. My recovery is my priority, not the instant fix of a new relationship. I have to be truthful with myself, kind to myself and transparently aware of my emotions and how they might be affecting my thoughts and actions.

As the last couple of years of my recovery thread are lost it’s as good a time as any to discover what my current values and vision are so I can reconnect with them, myself and the world around me.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:58 am 
Recovery Mentor

Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:24 pm
Posts: 569
Back to thinking about my vision again this morning and what's really important in my life. Found this quote from Dr Steve Ilardi resonated: "It makes sense to swim hard against the tide of our culture of "isolation" and to place our relationships at the very top of the priority list. Truly, nothing in life matters more."

It's quite simple what's important to me. I want a healthy relationship towards myself and other people - a life built around meaningful relationships.

The vision I see for myself starts with looking inwards and works outwards. I make choices based on a strong core of practical values to live by that I protect with clear boundaries because they really matter. I have a strong sense of purpose because I have a vision for my life that reminds me what's important to me.

Before all of that I am at peace with myself. I have accepted who I am. All of my qualities, faults, skills, character traits, imperfections, experiences, mistakes and successes. They have all contributed to who I am and who I am is of value as a unique human being. I have grown to accept and finally like who I am. This ripples through the rest of my life as I connect with others from a healthy place by being at ease with myself.

I see myself in a long term relationship where we've started a family together. We live in a house in a natural environment where we walk our dog every day. I practice absolute honesty with my partner and draw strength from the trust that she puts in me. We each have our own creative spaces where we can go for inspiration, reflection and activity. Our home is a welcoming home. The heart of it is the kitchen and living room where we often invite friends and family round to share, laugh and support each other.

Mum - I pro-actively seek out opportunities to engage in activities with her that she enjoys. I provide an outlet for her to express her frustrations and challenges with her illness while seeking out ways that might improve the quality of her care and treatment. Opportunities for laughter are sought out and cherished.

Dad - I give him a break whenever possible from looking after mum. This means I visit more often and take part in activities together. I give him an outlet to express his frustrations and challenges in looking after mum. I'm aware of the finiteness of our remaining time together and take nothing for granted. The times we share together are precious.

Sister - I remember what it's like to live in a different country and look for opportunities to show that she is still a part of things. To encourage and connect. Involve her in activities when she is here.

Brother in law - I can communicate well with him in his language after continued learning. I seek for ways to make him feel included and important to me and my family.

Younger brother - I take pleasure in seeing his business succeed knowing I helped to get him to where he is. I encourage him and let him know when he does a great job. I look for ways to connect in conversation outside of just work talk.

Youngest brother - I look for ways to include my youngest brother in what's happening over here. I visit him in his country as part of a larger world trip. I share music with him and connect with him through phoning and emails.

Sister in law - Keep informed about her work, phone and email. Visit her and my brother and get to know her family. Make an effort to make her feel included.

to be continued tomorrow...

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