I often find myself in a dilemma with why I remain on social media, especially Facebook, and ironically it has nothing to do with privacy issues. Rather, it has all to do with the temptation it creates for me to engage in former addiction-based behaviors.
I am still using social media for one reason and one reason only these days and that’s to reach a greater audience for my blog. While one can easily subscribe to my blog that allows them to receive a daily email with the first few lines of every article and a link to the rest of it on my site, I’ve discovered most don’t like this, as people are tired of cluttered inboxes. Instead, I’ve found that the majority of people who read my blog like to scan the re-postings I place on social media, which essentially are the URL links to each of my daily entries and a short snippet of their content. This is why I continue to faithfully repost each and every blog article on social media, including Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter. Yet, the downside to this is the accessibility I gain to other things on social media that can trigger me, chiefly with my former sex and love addiction that I’ve been clean from for almost 6 years now.
In the recovery world for sex and love addiction, triggers are also referred to as “Middle Line” or “Middle Circle” behaviors. They essentially are any action a person may do that can lead to breaking their sobriety. In my case, many of those middle line/middle circle behaviors have often arisen due to my access to social media. Take Facebook for example. There, one can find an endless stream of pictures to look at, some of which I’ve occasionally questioned whether they even adhere to Facebook’s content standards of acceptability. In the past, the longer I’ve looked at pictures, the more it led me to wanting to cross the line and start looking elsewhere for more explicit content. Then, there’s Messenger, which is the chat tool for Facebook. Many eons ago, I used to utilize Messenger to have late night chats with various people that eventually turned sexual the later it got and the longer those conversations went on. And lastly, Facebook easily provides countless ways to connect to new people through “Suggested Friends”, which at times has led to me scanning those lists for only those I find attractive. And the more I friend any of those I find attractive, the greater number of potential “hooks” it creates for acting out in this addiction.
Thus, this is why I struggle at times remaining on social media because of all the temptation that exists to engage in this prior addiction that once held me in its deadly grips. For now, I’m simply sharing about this in my writing, in my 12 Step recovery meetings, and with my partner, to ensure it’s not something that’s kept hidden, as the more any middle line/middle circle behaviors are kept hidden, the easier it becomes to relapse back into a sex and love addiction.
But like I’ve learned in my recovery for alcohol where I can now be around people who drink and can even attend an event at a bar if need be, I’m attempting to learn how to do the same in my recovery for sex and love addiction by remaining on things like social media. It’s tough though, especially when the witching hour comes upon me every night, which is generally during the 11pm to 3am time frame. So, I always try to keep myself as busy as possible during this period every evening, doing healthy things like working on a puzzle or composing a new blog article like I am right now. As usually by the time I’m done, I have no desire to engage in any middle line/middle circle behaviors whatsoever.
Nevertheless, middle line/middle circle behaviors are nothing more than triggers for a sex and love addiction and social media definitely presents some of them for many of us recovering individuals. But with a strong program, healthy support, a Higher Power, and an honest life, I believe any of us, especially myself, can successfully remain on things like social media for healthy purposes and healthy purposes only…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson