Lesson 50 of Recovery Nation poses the following exercises.
A. When facing a compulsive urge, what do you anticipate the consequences of using a healthy, values-based decision to manage that urge to be? (think positive and negative consequences)
For this exercise, perhaps I can return to those five potential scenarios in which I might be tempted to talk to some woman outside the bounds of a professional interaction or common courtesy. What are the pros and cons of responding to that urge with a healthy values-based approach? The pros might be: I could report success to TL, my wife; I could avoid destroying my marriage and family; and I could practice these skills we are discussing. The cons could be: I would deny myself potential ego boosters and illicit pleasures; I might appear a little rude or awkward; and I might miss an opportunity to develop a useful, appropriate, healthy relationship.
B. Now consider having made the decision to continue on with the compulsive ritual, what consequences do you anticipate? (again, think positive and negative)
This assumes I make the wrong decision in this hypothetical scenario. It would likely bring the following negative consequences: I would have to report failure to my wife; I would have to be absolutely certain I do not make the situation worse by continuing to interact with that woman in the scenario; my marriage and family would be severely disrupted, or worse; I would lose time in dealing with the consequences; and I would lose sleep as well as physical and mental health in dealing with the consequences. The meaningful positive consequences would be: none.
C. For each decision (values-based; emotion-based), what long-term effects will these consequences have on your developing identity and values?
The long-term effects of making the right decision might be: it could become easier to make the right decision in the future. The long-term effects of making the wrong decision might be: my optimism about the process might wane.