If there’s one thing COVID-19 gave me a lot of, beyond feeling sick, it was a ton of time laying on my bed pondering my life. Through all that pondering, I realized I’ve been trying to fill a void within me in several unhealthy ways for a few years now and came to the conclusion that I needed to stop those behaviors immediately.
All this started several years ago when I felt God went on radio silence with me. The last time I can officially say I really felt God communicating with me was during the Christmas holidays of 2018 heading into 2019 when my partner and I were visiting my sister’s family. I had a pretty profound God experience during that period of time. But, by the spring of 2019, my pain levels had grown pretty significant and that silence from God felt deafening. But, instead of sitting through that emptiness, I began trying to fill it in temporary ways.
At first, I found myself saying sexual innuendos here and there merely as a way to joke around. But eventually, it led to me flirting with others as well. I initially told myself it was ok because it wasn’t breaking my sober line in my sex and love addiction recovery program. By the fall of 2019 though, I also started inviting a number of new people into my life I found attractive. All of this is what’s referred to as slippery-slope behaviors in the 12 Step Sex and Love Addiction program. By the time the pandemic arrived, flirtation and saying sexual innuendos had become a regular thing for me and I had several new friends that seemed grounded more in mutual physical attraction than in a spiritual connection. At that point, I was also consuming caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, which wasn’t a good thing because the euphoria from it often led me to only doing more of these slippery slope-type behaviors. When I eventually came down with COVID, it really forced me to see all this from a different set of eyes. I realized that the majority of 2019 and 2020 was spent trying to fill a void in my heart, a God-sized void. I’m actually pretty thankful I saw this because I think in time continuing to do all those slippery-slope behaviors would have led to me actually breaking my sober line.
Regardless, there are some pretty significant changes I’ve begun to make now because of all this. Changes that include me no longer spending time with those who were mainly interested in me due to physical attraction, me taking time apart from others for awhile whom I found attractive to focus that energy more at home upon my partner, me ending the use of sexual innuendos with everyone, me no longer flirting with anyone but my partner, and me returning to the consumption of decaffeinated beverages only.
While this may seem like trivial changes to some, for me they are huge because I’ve most definitely relied upon them far too much for ease and comfort over the past few years. I see now I need to sit in this void rather than try to fill it with things that can’t ever fill it other than temporarily. I’ve often wondered if maybe this is one of the reasons why I haven’t felt the presence of God in a long time because I’ve been so busy trying to fill that void with the things I was. I’ve also wondered if the emotional distance I feel with my partner is due to the same behaviors. This is why I need to get right with myself, which means ending all these slippery-slope behaviors immediately.
In all my moments of COVID sickness, I clearly felt convicted over this and while my physical healing from COVID and all my other health issues may be out of my control, what comes out of my mouth, who I hang out with, and what I consume is all within my control. As I take action on this renewed path and pray for the strength to see it fully through, I know it will allow that emptiness to finally be filled with the only thing I want it to be filled with, that being more of God.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson