A 50th Birthday Addiction Temptation From The Past…

Over the last several weeks, I’ve mostly wrote about things related to turning 50, something I celebrated on June 11th. Today, I wanted to continue in that line of discussion in reference to my 12 Step recovery work, as on my 50th birthday, something happened connecting me to an addiction temptation from the past, triggering me into some old addictive thinking.

First, and foremost, there always seems to be a discussion going on in the 12 Step recovery community of whether a person is fully recovered from their former addiction or someone who’s consistently recovering. I’ve made the mistake of getting into this debate with others and it tends to go nowhere. I think what matters is how each sober individual sees themselves, which in my case is a person still recovering from their disease and always will be. Why I say this is because every time I’ve assumed I was fully recovered from my life of addiction, I’ve relapsed into yet another one. And with what I’m about to say happened on my 50th birthday, assuming I was a fully recovered individual could have led to a very bad result.

That being said, whenever my birthday rolls around, I typically thank every person who wishes me a happy birthday in the way they reached out, whether that’s by phone, text, or on social media. My feeling is that if someone can take the time to send me a birthday wish, it’s important to thank them back, to show my gratitude. So, on my 50th, as I was in the midst of doing that very thing on my social media, I was appalled when I saw I had received a birthday wish from the very person I had a deeply adulterous relationship with over ten years ago that eventually drove me into 12 Step recovery for sex and love addicts. It was this relationship that led to my health falling apart and much of my financial ruin.

Frankly, I was shocked after I saw this person had reached out because we weren’t connected on Facebook. But, for them to reach out on a special day where I was also going through tremendous physical pain and mental anguish, I thought it was rather apropos because I’ve found addiction tempts me the most when I’m at my lowest. In this case, after seeing their birthday wish, my former disease immediately said, “Oh, it’s just a thank you I’m sending back, it’s not that big of a deal.” Thankfully though, I have a lot more of God guiding me than me guiding me because of my 12 Step recovery, as I quickly came to my senses and deleted the message and blocked them from communicating again. Ironically, thirty minutes later, temptation struck again, as this same individual had used a second Facebook account and sent me a second birthday wish, to which I just as quickly deleted and blocked as well.

Here’s the reality, while the birthday wish itself may have been sincere in nature, would it have been healthy to respond to? Here’s a good way to answer that. Would it be a good thing for a recovering alcoholic to connect one afternoon with former drinking buddies still doing the same heavy drinking, or a drug addict choosing to hang with a former dealer for a night, or a gambling addict opting to go grab breakfast one Sunday morning at a local casino? The answer to all three is no, it wouldn’t be a good thing. Because, as the old saying goes, you hang in a barbershop long enough, you’ll eventually get a haircut. Even opening the door ever so slightly to this former individual I had once toxically loved, by responding with a brief thank you, gives my old addiction a chance to come back. Essentially, it’s breathing life back into it in that action itself.

In the end, seeing this individual briefly return to my life via two Facebook birthday wishes made me clearly remember why I went into the SLAA program in the first place. Thankfully, my 12 Step recovery and my relationship with God helped me to resist a 50th birthday addiction temptation from the past to someone that at best, once loved me at best as a sexual outlet for their frustration in life, and at worst, with abuse I never want to experience again in this life…

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