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Don't Let Your Downtime Turn into Disaster Time

April 8, 2010

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I’ve mentioned this week that I am “in between jobs”.  I hope it won’t be too long, but I have a lot of down time now.  I have to be careful.  I’m still in my recovery. 

Downtime can come when we take off for Spring Break or holiday, on the weekend, when our spouse is away, in between jobs, or even staying up late at night.  If we’re not careful:

Downtime can very easily = disaster. 

 

DEVELOP A STRATEGY FOR DOWN TIME
A couple of weeks before my current job was ending, I started to talk with my wife and some of the guys from my group.  I talked about the things I would be doing during my off time, how my heart was doing, and what type of structure I would need. 

Most of my planning ahead was done with my wife.  She and I are on the same page right now and she’s been a big support to help me plan for this downtime. 

My strategy includes:

  • Calling recovery buddies regularly
  • Making to-do lists
  • Going to the gym everyday
  • Working on writing projects
  • Time spent looking for a job
  • Get up at the same time as the rest of the family
  • No naps
  • Keeping the TV off during the main work hours
  • Doing projects around the house
  • Time spent in the Word
  • Talk to my wife several times a day

You could sum my strategy up as staying active and making healthy connections.

 

THE NEED FOR STRUCTURE
Sexual addicts in recovery do much better when there is structure.  Generally, the more structure, the better. 

I have done bad in the past when I had a lot of down time and very little structure.  That’s a sex addict’s recipe for disaster. 

My structure is simply setting my TO DO list to a schedule.  Here’s what Monday looked like for me:

  1. Take kids to school
  2. Go to the gym
  3. Check and answer emails; check other blogs
  4. Have a quiet time
  5. Go to the library to work on book
  6. Work on home projects; prep dinner
  7. Pick kids up from school

You get the point. 

I don’t think you have t0 strategize and schedule every hour of the day, but I know myself.  I know that my natural desire is to chill out in front of the TV & computer, eat too much, take naps and stay up late.  I’m trying to stay emotionally fit. 

WHAT ABOUT A VACATION?
Vacation has a different purpose doesn’t it?  One of the best things you may need to do is take a nap.  But the sex addict needs to still have a strategy and some structure set up… even during a vacation time. 

Q:  What thoughts do you have about downtime?
Q:  How do you stay focused during downtime?

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4 Comments
  1. April 8, 2010 9:36 am

    I usually try to have as little downtime as I can if I’m going to be allone. My greatest amount of downtime is spent with my wife or with the entire family. Vacation is the same. I don’t do weekends alone, I always have someone around. I don’t do the late nights anymore, I’ll head to my bedroom and either read or watch a little TV, with my wife! I go out shopping by myself only when I have a specific item to pick up and a very short time in which to get it. And then I go with a very focused mind and mission.

    I’ve found that when I do have to be alone, I watch out for HALT-B! I try not to be Hungry, ANgry, Lonely, Tired or Bored. When these are in good shape, I’m in good shape. When they are not I need to do someting about it before I get worn down!

    • April 8, 2010 2:23 pm

      Thanks Cameron – I think my biggest focus during my downtime is to keep to a schedule. Even to the point of scheduling rest time and worship time. It’s so easy for me to lose my focus when I’m without a schedule.

      Guys is recovery definitely have to be careful with that alone time, don’t they? Alone time is a trigger for many of us that we have to guard against.

      I’ve been amazed how much it helps me to call out my schedule to someone… my wife, a recovery buddy. It’s like I’m bringing it out there and declaring that this is my plan. Even if they never ask me about it again, I know that I having a plan is critical.

  2. April 8, 2010 11:02 am

    Great post. Found via Twitter. Transparency allows accountability which In turn supports discipline and structure. We are most susceptible to temptation when tired or stressed. Naps might be good in that light. Grace and peace to you.

    • April 8, 2010 2:19 pm

      Hey Lon,

      Thanks for your comment. You’re right about naps. They can be a most welcome thing, and might be the best thing to do. It’s easy for me to take an hour and a half nap and turn my day into a lazy day. I also tend to stay up too late when I take naps.

      Balance, according to the need.

      Look forward to your future comments!

      Jeff Fisher

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