B is for Bottom Line

Happy hopping and welcome! My theme for the Challenge is addiction because both my hubby and I are recovering addicts. No worries though. I like to keep things fairly light even when dealing with a heavy topic like this one. Want a glimpse into my world of cocaine addiction? Listen to Metallica’s, Master of Puppets. If that’s too heavy, you can try Staind, It's Been Awhile instead. Much more mellow.

from Google

from Google

Yikes! Bottom line, huh? Can I keep this short enough for the Challenge? I’m going to try. Deep breath, Elsie, deep breath.

I first encountered the phrase, “Bottom line behaviors” when I was sitting in an anon meeting.

Someone said, “What're your husband's bottom line behaviors?”

“I caught him cheating on me. Like online and stuff.”

 “No, bottom line, not rock bottom. Do you know what his bottom line behaviors are yet?”

I felt like I really should know what this woman was talking about so I did what came naturally back then with my bloated ego. I acted like I knew it all. “Oh, right, yeah, his bottom line behaviors. Mmhmm. Oh crap! I forgot my daily reader. Can you hand me that one?” Then I shoved mine back in my bag and diverted her question. The moment I got home, I educated myself on bottom line behaviors. Actually, I overeducated myself. I did that a lot back then.

SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) makes it fairly simple to understand. They’re self-defined activities that the addict refrains from in order to experience their physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and spiritual wholeness.

Seemed easy enough. Until I talked to my husband. Back then I was over-involved in his recovery. One could say I was a tad controlling even. After doing my due diligence, I found that bottom line behavior was also called the Inner Circle by SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous). Wait, how did we go from lines to circles? Here’s what SAA said:

from Google

from Google

Three Circles “We draw three concentric circles, consisting of an inner, middle, and outer circle. With the help of our sponsor or others in recovery, we write down various behaviors in each of the three circles. In the inner circle we put the sexual behaviors we want to abstain from, the ones we consider “acting out.” These are the behaviors that we identify, with our sponsor's guidance, as addictive, harmful, or unacceptable for us. In the middle circle, we put behaviors that may lead to acting out, or that we are not sure about. In the outer circle, we put healthy behaviors that enhance our life and our recovery.”

Well dang, if SAA said that my hubby needed to have three circles, by God, he needed to have three circles and I damn well better know what was in each one! It was only fair after all I’d been through, right? That was my mentality then. Now, not so much. Perhaps, it’s best that I know the “big” things.

For example, if I were to create circles for me, my inner circle would be fairly straightforward. Street drugs. Ka-ching! Elsie cannot, under any circumstances be allowed to play with street drugs. Even those that are now becoming legal in the United States. Sorry, Uncle Sam. You won’t be getting my tax dollars from wacky tobbacky. Those need to be put in my inner circle. In my middle circle, you’d find things like prescription narcotics. Great for when I have major surgery, not so great on a long-term basis. I don't take them for my migraines either. That's a dangerous road for this chick to travel upon. 

You’ll also find alcohol in my middle circle. I took that out of my inner circle because I don’t drink very often nor do I have a problem with it when I do drink (a Zima or glass of wine every couple of months), but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it…just in case. Not all addicts can do that or choose to do that. Each of us is uniquely different. In my outer circle, you’ll find family, friends, writing, and of course, the beach. Bring on the flip-flop weather!

So why wasn’t it a great idea for me to know every single tiny thing in my hubby’s inner circle at the beginning of his recovery? Things moved back and forth from inner to the middle as his recovery evolved and I couldn’t comprehend how his sponsor would “allow” that. How dare he?! I’d been around this addiction all of five minutes. His sponsor had been doing this for years, yet I was the one trying to call the shots from a traumatized perspective. Yeah, not such a great idea in hindsight.

So what were these things that moved back and forth? A news website, YouTube, and a few other things that Devin and his sponsor agreed upon.

Now that we’re almost eight years in, I understand what behaviors are most harmful for him but understand he needs to do the work for himself. He’s chosen a new way to look at the circles. Now he sees them as layers: Green, yellow, and red. Green is his healthy behaviors. If he gets to the yellow, it’s time to be cautious; red and he’s in serious danger and talking to me about a slip or being on the verge of one.

From Google

From Google

Laugh of the Day: “Did you ever go on YouTube thinking you’ll be on there to watch a quick five-minute music video and five hours later you find yourself watching a tutorial on how to talk to a giraffe?” - Anonymous


Are there behaviors you'd like to stop? Do you ever get lost on YouTube? 


To celebrate the A to Z Challenge my self-help book, Steps Along My Shore will be free until April 5, 2018.

ETA: Yesterday 58 books were given away! How exciting is that? As of 1300 today 14. Don't miss a chance to get yours.

It's full of dropped words and grammar mistakes, but that's what makes it so much fun to read. Seriously, though, it's my way of giving back and hopefully helping others.


I look forward to seeing everyone during the Challenge! Click here to get to the master list sign up sheet. I'll see you all this afternoon.