This discussion topic about reactive vs. proactive recovery is from one of our friends in recovery, Sam. Thanks to Sam for contributing to the group discussion and for the time he put into collecting his thoughts. If you’re interested in sharing a discussion topic, please reach out to me here.
I’ve been doing daily check-ins every night with my wife for several months. However, this last week she got on me a couple of times about how I was doing it. One day I told her how I was triggered at the store by the magazines at the check-out. She said she doesn’t want a list of triggers, but wants to know what I did to protect myself and to respond to triggers. The next day we were watching a movie, and it was triggering, but I didn’t do anything (e.g., I didn’t turn off the movie, leave, or go make a call). Initially she apologized for the movie, but then later became angry realizing that she isn’t responsible for my recovery. In essence, accountability to me has just been reporting triggers, etc., not being responsible for actually dealing with them in a healthy way. It became apparent to me that I am being reactive rather than proactive in my recovery.
Here’s more evidence of this. I frequently talk to my therapist about how I feel a lot of fear and anxiety about all the attractive neighbors I have, the attractive women at church and work, etc. I joked about how I wished when I moved to a new home we would have searched for the ugliest neighborhood around. I essentially feel like a victim of circumstance. She responded that I was being acted upon, rather than acting. This goes against all the scriptures that talk about how we have agency and should act, rather than be acted upon.
I remember a workshop awhile back with Adam Moore (a well-known local sex addiction therapist). He gave guidance on how to do a check-in with your spouse. He said when accounting to your spouse each day, you report the trigger (but not in too much detail), and then what you did about it (e.g., journaling, making a call, praying, redirecting, etc.), and perhaps what you commit to doing in the future. I have just been doing the first part (here’s the triggers I had today), but not the latter (I wasn’t doing anything about them). This is not effective recovery.
So, my question for you all is what you do to be more proactive in your recovery, rather than reactive? I’d like this blog post to be about your mindset, habits, dailies, bottom lines, rules, routines, commitments, practices, resources, etc., that help you be more proactive in recovery.