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(or Catching Your Addiction Before It Bites You in the Ass)
I’ve had a lot of clients ask me, “How do you catch your addiction when it comes up? Then what do you do about it?” Because dialoguing is a key component of the Neulia program, I’m also often asked questions such as: “How do you teach yourself to dialogue? How do you make it fun? How does it work?”
To answer those questions, let me tell you about an event I’ll call the girl in the red dress. (Although she was actually a woman in her mid-twenties, “girl in the red dress” sounds a bit “catchier” as an example of how to “catch” your addiction before it gets the better of you.) Here’s what happened.
I was walking along in the downtown area of Walnut Creek, California, minding my own business, picking up clothes at the dry cleaners, and suddenly my eyes and ears were drawn to a young blonde woman clicking along the sidewalk in high heels and a short red dress barely covering an inch of her slender long legs. What to do?
I immediately go to some of the tools I’ve used such as the “Three-Second Rule” and I start counting 1 - 1000, 2 - 1000, 3 - 1000. Then I go to “What’s Always True?” (which you’ll find in our video course). Then to ward off that tingly feeling, I quickly take out my cell phone and punch record.
While it’s recording, I quietly speak into my cell phone, saying, “Girl in the red dress.” I have had to do this three or four times during the day of my early recovery. At the end of the day, or whenever I have time, I’ll listen to what I recorded. Each recording is a reminder for what I need to dialogue about.
In this case, I’ll have an imaginary dialogue with the Girl in the Red Dress (GRD). Because dialoging is more effective when written or typed out, I want to stress the importance of writing it down or typing on my computer, which is what I would do. It might go something like this:
George: GRD, are you there?
GRD (Girl in the Red Dress): Yeah, I looked pretty hot today, didn’t I?
George: Well, you did get my attention, that’s for sure
GRD: That’s the idea. I’m an attractive young woman and supposed to attract attention. Pretty good legs, huh?
George : Yes, they would be good legs, but I’m writing right now because I want to demystify or take away the sexual component of seeing you on the street today. You’re a lovely young woman who can’t be much more than 25 and I’m a much older professional man who doesn’t have any real interest in sexualizing you. If I continue to sexualize and objectify you, I’ll feel guilt, discomfort, and shame.
GRD: Oh, come on. What fun are you?
George: I don’t want to be any fun for you. I save my fun for the office and for my wife. I don’t even know you and don’t want to be bothered with this objectification. It’s turning out to be a nuisance and a waste of time since there’s nothing positive for me in thinking about you. It’s totally useless to me. In fact, looking at women the way I used to cost me two marriages.
You may have noticed that the point of this type of dialogue is not to dialogue with the actual person, but what that person represents inside your mind. If you, like me, started to get triggered by your version of a woman in a short dress, what is important is the old story that was triggered in your mind. It’s the fantasy that you’re going to have sex with this woman, or masturbate later thinking about her, or find a porn site with a woman who looks like the girl in the red dress, or whatever.
If you give in to the triggering, then you’re falling into the trap of living a negative soap opera fantasy. The alternative is to use techniques such as cellphone recording to be an emotionally and sexually mature man whose time and attention are focused on the positive aspects of making your life as good as it can be, sexually and otherwise.
So when you see your version of the girl in the red dress, take out your cell phone, start recording, and record a voice note to yourself. Later, listen to the recording and write out a dialogue. It really works.
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