“The middle circle is not a place to hang out.”
Tools of Recovery, page 8
In recovery, my new computer became my source for information, news, entertainment, and even dating. I began to spend more time on dating sites. The sites I visited allowed all types of pictures in the profiles. Each time I visited those sites, I was triggered and got the hit I wanted. After a while, the pretense of looking for a date fell away; I was going there just to look at pictures.
Going to these sites produced an unanticipated effect—I wanted more. I began to search for sites that would get me even closer to my addiction. I withheld more from my sponsor and my friends in recovery. Eventually, hanging out in my middle circle led me to my inner circle and relapse.
The road back from relapse taught me that the middle circle is a safety net, not a place to park and hide. Identifying my middle circle provides a landmark where I can stop and turn back to my outer circle. Regularly talking to my sponsor about specifics of my middle-circle behavior helps me recognize and move out of it. I check in about the sites I go to, exactly what I see, how much time I spend, and what I do. Sharing in meetings about my middle-circle experiences frees me from worrying about my image, allowing me to stand openly in the light of day.
Staying out of my middle circle leaves more time for my outer circle and for life.