“Middle Line” And “Middle Circle” Behaviors And Social Media

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

Silly Joke Friday

Silly Joke #1

A husband and wife (married some time) are driving down the road when the wife screams at her husband, “Slow down, the speed limit is 35!”. The husband screams back, “I’m not speeding”. Several minutes later the wife screams out again, “You just ran a red light!”. The husband (getting more angry) yells back, “The light was yellow, not red. Don’t tell me how to drive!”.

A few minutes later, the police stop the couple. The officer informs the husband that he was stopped for speeding. The wife exclaims “I told you that you were speeding”. The husband then tells her (under his breath) to “Shut up”, and is getting angrier by the minute. The officer asks the husband if he is aware that he also ran a red light. The wife then says “I told you the light was red!”. The husband then screams (even louder) at his wife to shut up again.

The officer then (concerned for the wife’s safety) asks the wife if her husband always treats her this way. She then tells the officer, “No, he only acts like this when he is drunk!”.

Silly Joke #2

Two dudes roll up to a sobriety check point, Budweisers between their legs. They’re plastered, and stand no chance of getting past without getting busted.

They roll up to the cops, the cop peers in, and sees both of them with soggy Bud labels on their foreheads, grinning.

“You two been drinking?”

They smile. “No officer, we’re on the patch!”

Silly Joke #3

A man and his wife were awakened at 3:00 am by a loud pounding on the door. The man gets up and goes to the door where a drunken stranger, standing in the pouring rain, is asking for a push.

“Not a chance,” says the husband, “it is 3:00 in the morning!” He slams the door and returns to bed.

“Who was that?” asked his wife.

“Just some drunk guy asking for a push,” he answers.

“Did you help him?” she asks.

“No, I did not, it is 3:00 in the morning and it is pouring rain out there!”

“Well, you have a short memory,” says his wife. “Can’t you remember about three months ago when we broke down, and those two guys helped us? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself! God loves drunk people too.”

The man does as he is told, gets dressed, and goes out into the pounding rain.

He calls out into the dark, “Hello, are you still there?”

“Yes,” comes back the answer.

“Do you still need a push?” calls out the husband.

“Yes, please!” comes the reply from the dark.

“Where are you?” asks the husband.

“Over here on the swing set,” replied the drunk.

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