We’ve all been tempted by forbidden fruit at least a few times in our lives, and the mass majority of us have bitten into it and felt the repercussions of it. Whether it was drugs, or theft, or gossip or adultery, there’s no doubt that there are temptations around every turn. As a man, I often find myself looking around at other beautiful women at the gym, in the mall, or social media and wondering what would life be like with them. I have a hard time thinking that these thoughts don’t cross anyone else minds. I have a beautiful, amazing fiancé and I still have them often, and I would be kidding myself if I thought she didn’t have those same thoughts whenever she crosses paths with a handsome successful businessman, fit attractive athlete, or even just a random man who shows her extra kindness on a bad day. We cannot afford to let our egos lie to us and let us believe that we are the best and only option that our loved ones have ever experienced.
The difference between a successful, spiritual person is that they only entertain those thoughts for a moment. Once you hold those thoughts in your mind for too long they begin to grow, and grow until you’re put in a position where you almost feel obligated to start acting on them, just like in situations of a relapse. The urge to take that forbidden fruit is like a virus that spreads and grows within us until it becomes an obsession and won’t relent until we’ve finally buried our teeth into it.
When it comes to forbidden fruit, just like relapse, it helps to play the record all the way through. Sure that persons attractive but do they know you like your spouse or partner knows you? Will they put up with your daily quirks, you’re bad habits, your personality defects? Will they be there to support you through your hardships, and your successes the way that your current other half does? Will that pretty girl or handsome man in the gym put up with your family, your personal neurosis, your sexual habits, your bathroom habits, your home habits, stealing the covers, snoring, you’re bad jokes, you’re outbursts, etc the way the current love of your life does? You’ve got someone amazing at home and yet you still look for something more amazing instead of taking what you already have to a higher level. That is the definition of selfishness and insanity.
I had an Uncle who had two children and had been married to my Aunt for years. They had two children together, one who suffered from severe mental disorders. Their life was rough and they weathered many storms together. He began bodybuilding and even became Mr. Maryland at one point, however shortly after he had become immersed in his gym life he began sneaking around with a younger, fitter woman that he had met at the gym. He left my Aunt for her and they went and got a home together, and he left his family behind. Very shortly afterwards, he was found to have stomach cancer and began to deteriorate rapidly. He began to lose his hair and lost all of his muscle and eventually shrunk down to less than 100 lbs, and lastly became bedridden for months before he passed. His new girl jumped ship, with his belongings and money. His only real support until his end of days came from his family and the wife that he had left behind.
These things we see and have fleeting thoughts on are in fact forbidden fruits, just like the thought of our drug of choice, they seem appealing at first thought, but if we play the whole tape through we can see that they lead to self destruction, and that they come from a place of selfishness and ego. In recovery we’re called to practice spiritual principles in order to maintain our sobriety. Those spiritual principles are not always fun but the payoff is far greater than the pain that we earn by taking the easier path. Instead of chasing other partners, we focus on building a stronger foundation with our current partners, the ones we love, the ones who have supported us through thick and thin. Instead of chasing the drug into oblivion, we focus on building an even greater foundation between ourselves and the God that has supported us through thick and thin. The rewards here are far greater than the temporary satisfaction of conquest, or fulfillment of ego that comes from landing a new sexual partner, or the fruit that dangles from the low hanging branch looking all sweet and succulent, only to have a snake cowering behind it.