Lesson 53 of Recovery Nation says: “When it comes time to actually make the decision as to what action you are going to take next, it is not always easy to separate the healthy options from the destructive ones. The ones based on values versus the ones based on emotions. Often, these two areas overlap. This is where experience, time and a commitment to make what you believe to be the best choice at that time comes in.”
It suggests the following exercises:
A. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbation to be against your values — and therefore, a destructive act. Describe a situation where you would consider masturbating to be within your values — and therefore, a healthy act.
For me, masturbation is always against my values. I made a commitment to myself to stop doing it, and I have kept that commitment successfully for nearly five years now. The relevant value is integrity: keeping my promise to myself.
B. In your recovery thread, list other common value conflicts involving sexual and/or romantic behavior that you have found yourself engaged in? Or that you may find yourself engaged in, given your history. Hint: think romantic relationships, fantasizing, etc.
To keep this discussion relevant, let me refer back to my list of bad decisions I have made in recent years. And, let me not limit my thinking to “sexual and/or romantic behavior.” I’m not going to rehash every recent bad decision, as I did in a recent post. I’m going to mention two here, the two that are most representative of current decisions that I may face now and in the future. First, what are the value conflicts involved in ignoring an urgent e-mail from my wife, TL? Responding right away supports my values of friendship, compassion, empathy, and flexibility. Ignoring it would support selfishness and control, over my time, in this case. Second, what values conflict when I lie about covertly smoking? Being honest and transparent supports my values of honesty and integrity. Hiding the truth would only support fear, cowardice, and duplicity.