3 months, 6 days

Before I go on, I should let you know that I’m really angry this evening. There’s no special reason for me to be feeling this way, I just do. Well, in reality there’s no reason whatsoever for me to be so pissed off, but in my head there are a million stupid reasons. I’ll have a good whinge later on after I’ve brought you up to date on what’s actually happened this week. Up until the start of the weekend I was spending most of my time working on Uni stuff, and it’s paid off as I certainly feel on top of the work at the moment. I’ve prioritized the final year dissertation, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten the other units that I’m taking this semester. I’m generally enjoying University at the moment, which is not something I ever thought I’d find myself saying in this final year. The best thing about this week is that my project supervisor told me on Friday that she liked my ideas. I’d spent the whole week preparing for our meeting and so it was an absolute relief to be told that I was doing well so far. There are a few important things I have to do first before I can go ahead with the actual research, but I’m not worried about getting those things done. There’s just a bit of fine tuning to do, basically, in terms of the precise terminology and methodology that I’m going to be using.

You’d think with my degree going so well that I wouldn’t be so incadescent today; unfortunately my AA program has suffered a bit of a blow, again. In my screwed up head it has, at least. I’ve been speaking to my new sponsor every day on the phone since Wednesday, and we’ve generally been getting along fine, but he’s not like the old sponsor. My relationship with the new sponsor may turn out to be amazing, but at the moment I’m missing the old one a lot. I felt an instant connection with the first sponsor; we could talk about anything, and I became fond of him quite quickly. I can speak to my new sponsor about anything as well, but for some reason it isn’t the same.

I’ve tried reminding myself that I hardly ever hit it off with anyone at the start. But I’m sure it was easier with the first sponsor when I first met him. I’m not saying I have nothing to talk to my new sponsor about. I just wish I could talk to him about things other than how I’m feeling. I know my feelings are important but I get so bored of talking about them sometimes, it’s embarrassing. This morning I woke up bright and early for my latest shift at the charity work that I’ve been doing since July, and the nerves were there, as always, but once again they seemed to be a bit less than last time. Today’s shift was a breeze, and it was a relief to be able to enjoy a pleasant, easy shift again. So why am I so pissed off this evening, I hear you ask?  Again, everything about AA and the program is the answer to that question. I was so relieved to have completed a good morning’s work that I walked to the afternoon’s meeting with a spring in my step, convinced that a good morning had to be followed by a good afternoon, even though I’ve spent a lot of time in the past feeling pissed off at the Sunday meeting, for one reason or another. It doesn’t matter how good my Sunday has been, if there’s something not right when I walk into that meeting room, my spirits will instantly plummet. The most irritating thing about today is that a lot of people decided to talk about anger in great depth. People kept talking about ‘resentments’, so much so that there was no opportunity for me to open my mouth at any point, although I wanted to towards the end. I wanted to tell everyone how fucking annoyed I was with them, for making me feel so isolated and alienated. I wanted to say that I wished I could be anywhere else in the world other than sitting in that chair at that point. I wanted to shout: “You’re angry? Well I’m fucking angry as well!”

In short, there was no real point to my anger today. I just felt this emotion that has played such a big part in my life, as powerful as if I’d never truly felt it before. I didn’t want to be in that room, listening to all those people who had been nice to me at times but who had also hurt me by making me begin to open up and trust them. To make everything ten times worse, I put my hand up at the end of the meeting to volunteer to help out next week. For a moment I ignored my furious inner child and snapped the job up, realising that I haven’t taken any commitments in my program so far. All I have to do is turn up next Sunday half an hour early and say ‘hi’ to people as they walk in. On paper it sounds wonderful, and at the time I guess it was a relief to finally have a commitment which will bring me even closer to the program.

I continued to ignore my inner child as I stood outside at the end of the meeting and blindly agreed to go for coffee with the group, again. As I did so part of me realised that it could be an absolute disaster, subjecting myself to another hour of social small talk in a coffee shop in bustling Central London with a group of people I still don’t know very well. Once again, though, there was this other tiny part of me desperate not to go home, which forced me to tag along with the ‘cool’ people. A couple of ‘friends’ were in the group, and I chatted with them a bit, but for some reason one of them was behaving very differently to the person I had got to know. He was laughing hysterically and talking loudly, which irritated me after about ten minutes. I kept expecting him to return to his normal self and put it down to too much caffeine or something, but it continued for the whole time that I was there with him. When we got to the cafe I simply groaned when everyone chose to sit at one of the tables outside, even though it was fucking freezing and there were only two seats available. I ended up having to stand huddled on the pavement with the ‘cool’ group, who talked about fashion and clubbing and the theatre world while I stood there like an alien, gulping my coca cola down so I could get away as quickly as possible. I haven’t felt as awkward as that in weeks. After ten minutes I wanted to drop my coke bottle on the ground and storm off. Only because I’m not a natural attention seeker did I stay there until I’d finished my drink, saying goodbye politely to everyone on my way off.

I chose to walk home rather than get the bus because I dislike public transport at the best of the times, and I needed the time to think. Pretty soon I was questioning what I’d done wrong today to get into such a state again, and I wasn’t stupid enough not to realise that my not sharing played a big part in it. Yes, it was a very busy meeting and a lot of people, like me, couldn’t get a word in edgeways. But I didn’t even attempt to speak; in the second after a share is over there’s always a gap, however small, and I have to learn how to make use of that gap. It takes guts to speak up the second someone has finished speaking, to potentially take the opportunity away from someone else who might have wanted to get in there. But I’m going to have to assert myself more in situations like that. I needed to share today and because I didn’t, I ended bottling everything up. I was so bothered by my friend’s behaviour after the meeting because I would quite like to have talked to him privately, to tell him how isolated I felt, but there he was playing the clown for everyone else, and I had no chance of getting the attention I wanted. Maybe I could have asked him for a private chat away from the group but can you imagine how embarrassing that would have been, in front of everyone?

By the time I’d got home this evening I knew the only answer to my problems would be, as always, to tell someone the truth, to hand it over. I should be able to talk to my sponsor about this but since I can’t, I have to think of someone else who’ll understand. I’d really love to talk to my first sponsor, but he’s going away soon and I know he’s extremely preoccupied with that change at the moment. I think my anger today was simply caused by feeling trapped in a social situation that I couldn’t cope with. Why do I subject myself to that so much of the time? The only positive about this evening is that I came home as soon as I’d finished my first drink, rather than politely staying for another. Next week I have to come home as soon as the meeting is over; for some reason I just don’t like that coffee gathering. Sometimes it’s fine – maybe it’s down to the group dynamics. I don’t know. By helping out next week I guess I’ll be subjecting myself to similar social agony in the meeting itself, but at least it has a time limit and I’m doing it for the good of the meeting as a whole.

Sorry for the raw feel to the blog today, by the way. But without honesty this blog is nothing. And I do feel better now – which must be good.

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One thought on “3 months, 6 days

  1. Sorry to read about a lousy end to a lovely day. From an ‘outside’ perspective, not raising this with your sponsor would appear to be a manifestation of the same issue you’re having with the group as a whole. You said that you wanted to speak to your sponsor about issues other than your feelings, and yet you appear to be keeping your feelings about your interaction with the group from him/her. If your sponsor is asking about your feelings, you better take the opportunity. Or try and find a new sponsor. Do you think that you’re the first person who has felt that a missing connection was hampering the effectiveness of their relationship, and possibly jeopardising their success in working the steps?

    Volunteering to be a greeter next week was a bold step, and I know how difficult you think it’s going to be. But by standing there, at the door, with a smile, saying, ‘Hi. Welcome. I’m J. Come in and take a seat’, you’ll be doing two things. Firstly, you’ll be just a little bit outside your comfort zone (but hey, 10 words is pretty low risk) and secondly you’ll be contributing to the group dynamic by helping set the mood. If you greet people with indifference, that’ll carry on through to the session. If you greet people with enthusiasm and sincerity, they’ll melt a little.

    Ultimately it could be that the Sunday group is the one that you’ll just have to grin and bear. You’ve not mentioned the other groups, so we can only presume that they’re OK (and if you’ve been sober for 3 months then most of them must be OK!).

    But by doing your bit to try and influence the mood next week, things might change for the better.

    Finally, put all of this where it belongs: a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, out of a whole week of success and achievement.

    Be well, J. You’re amazing.

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