The Temptations of the Flesh…

Yes, I know, what a religious sounding title! I got your attention though, didn’t I? No, this article is not going to be based around some bible passage. Rather, it’s about the difficulty a recovering sex and love addict faces living in a world where temptations are always abounding for fleshly opportunities, which is precisely something I faced quite strongly just recently.

There are many who’ve said the fleshly life I once lived doesn’t sound that abnormal to them and in turn have occasionally attempted to convince me that maybe I really never had an addiction in that arena in the first place. But believe me when I say that I definitely did and was very much addicted to having weekly fleshly encounters that I built my life around in either the pursuit of them or the engagement in them.

Now that I live a sober life though and no longer base my day around seeking those type of engagements, it doesn’t mean that temptation doesn’t cross my path anymore, because it still does and when it does, it can be downright challenging to navigate successfully through it, especially for someone like me in recovery from sex and love addiction.

That being said, I meet people all the time whom I find attractive and even have friends I find attractive as well. But I also have boundaries in place with both and don’t spend regular time with anyone who can’t respect those boundaries. Yet, in a world that contains a plentiful number of individuals who may not be sex and love addicts, but still enjoy the occasional fleshly encounter, I’ve found it impossible to permanently avoid ever experiencing a sexual advance from one of them, just as much as an alcoholic can’t permanently avoid being around the presence of booze either.

Thus, when I met an extremely attractive guy recently, whom I’d label a “10” from my addiction’s perspective, through a mutual friend, I was instantly triggered. Triggered meaning that my ego wanted to start reengaging in my addictive behaviors from the moment I laid eyes on them. At first it was harmless because it was all in my head. But, when I friended the person on Facebook and said it was nice meeting them, it was almost as if the alcoholic had gone to a bar and ordered a beer and was now sitting with it in front of them.

Nevertheless, that friend request eventually led to a late-night conversation on Facebook messenger where the communication quickly strayed from harmless to severely triggering, as soon as I learned they too found me attractive and were interested in having a fleshly encounter with me.

Yet, even after mentioning I was in a monogamous relationship and had moved away from doing any type of hook-ups long ago, the guy attempted to throw even greater hooks to lure me in. It honestly took every bit of soul-strength and a few tools I discovered in my recovery work to resist my old carnal urges.

The first was bringing God into the conversation and as soon as I did, the shaking I was feeling out of nervousness and the tightrope I was walking quickly ended. The second, was thinking the fleshly opportunity through by imagining what life would be like for me after the hook up was over. They often call this tool, “thinking the relapse through”. And that I did, to the point where I could see that any high I might gain from the experience would not be worth the days to weeks to months and possibly even years of regret I’d have over losing my six years of sobriety, my monogamous relationship, and the trust of each of my sponsees. I could also see it wasn’t worth experiencing the shame, the guilt, the depression, the anxiety, and the like that would result from it as well.

Frankly, this was probably the greatest test I’ve ever faced in the recovery from this addiction thus far and I must say that if I didn’t have the 12 Step recovery I do or do the daily work I do to connect with my Higher Power, I probably would have relapsed and given into the flesh so to speak. I’m so thankful I didn’t and made it through one more day clean and sober from an addiction that so many people don’t think exists.

Well I do, and the temptations of the flesh are real, both to addicts and non-addicts alike. They happen when we least expect them and they usually come across as if they will solve all our problems or at least put them aside for a much-needed period of time. But, they don’t do either. Instead, they do nothing more than feed our ego and rot our Spirit into a never ending vicious cycle of cravings and aversions, even when the person appears to be a “10”!

Nevertheless, the state of my soul and the value I place in my recovery is far greater than any high I might ever get from a hot minute spent with a fleshly encounter. So, my best advice is to avoid any temptations of the flesh, because honestly, they really are never worth the price you pay for them in the end…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson