3pm: Yes, everything is pretty much back to normal today, with no more Christmas classics playing on the radio or showing on the TV. Thoughts about getting my holiday homework done have returned to haunt me, as I have a couple of assignments due in at University in a couple of weeks time, and I have no real excuse not to start now. I will get it started eventually, I just don’t know when. The desperate search for distractions and reasons to procrastinate has begun. I pray to be relieved of this anxiety soon.
There’s really only one thing left to talk about this week: on Sunday I am flying to Edinburgh, where I will be celebrating the new year with a couple of friends. It will be just a holiday, a weekend away, but it’s important because it will be my first sober holiday. Three years ago I went to Edinburgh with my mother on holiday, and I practically drank through the whole weekend, meaning I don’t remember much about that weekend. This time I hope I’ll see and do a lot more in Edinburgh. I’m 99% excited about it. The only slight worry is that I won’t be able to cope with all the alcohol around me on New Year’s Eve. As everyone knows, the 31st of December is generally one big excuse for people to get as drunk as they possibly can. I may have made a mistake in deciding to spend the occasion far away from home, out in the open; I think it will be a lot of fun, though.
11pm: I will now write an honest account of what has happened today. Not that I was dishonest earlier, but I think that what I wrote this afternoon was perhaps slightly rushed. Until this evening it was not the best of days. Earlier on I had a minor online disagreement with somebody who I don’t even know. It was petty and trivial, so shouldn’t have mattered to me at all. But it did. For some reason I was hugely bothered by the disagreement, which sat with me all day. My feelings were hurt, and I could not stop a bitter resentment from developing. I realised almost straight away that an old pattern was repeating itself. The actual disagreement doesn’t matter: my reaction to it is the important thing. I chose to react in an alcoholic way today, as I spent hours wallowing in self pity, pride and arrogance. That’s right: I did have a choice in the matter, as I have always had a choice in how I feel about things.
To begin with, realising this made me feel worse. I have spent six weeks writing out every single resentment that’s ever occurred in my life for my step 4, and today I finally finished it; to be feeling resentful as I reached the end of step 4 didn’t make me feel good about the work I had done. Step 4 was supposed to free me from resentment; how could I be so angry about something unimportant on the very day that I finish the step?
Eventually I went through the theory behind step 4 and came to the conclusion that there would only be one way to undo my current resentment. I would have to go to a meeting and share about it. Knowing the character defects which drive the resentment is only one part of the healing process – sharing honestly about the problem is the real cure. So I attended my third meeting this week, and when I got there I immediately felt ill at ease. The Thursday night meeting is not normally busy, which is why I like it, but today it was full of people, some of whom I didn’t know, and I instinctively isolated myself at the back of the room before anyone could nab me.
For most of the meeting I sat with my heart in my throat, dying to share but unable to because of the fear of what people would think of me. It’s been quite a while since I felt that uncomfortable in a meeting. I didn’t like not knowing everyone in the room this evening. Recently I’ve got used to knowing all the faces, and tonight found it unsettling to be around unknown entities. My five months in the fellowship haven’t been enough to convince me that no one in the rooms judges me, regardless of whether they know me or not. I still feel awkward around strangers, and that was tangible tonight.
Finally, in the last fifteen minutes of the meeting I forced myself to speak, and I said pretty much everything, because I was convinced that it would help. Whilst my heart pounded and my illness told me to keep quiet, my higher power screamed at me to get everything out in the open, to release every last drop of bitterness and resentment into the room so that it would no longer lay heavy on my chest. When it was all out, I could breathe again, and my heart stopped pounding, as it always does when I’ve shared.
After the meeting several people told me they had liked hearing me, and for the first time, I didn’t hesitate to believe them. Five months ago, I would have stood there thinking: “they’re not being sincere, they’re just making fun of me.” Tonight that thought didn’t even come into my mind. So tonight I’ve discovered that a few of the fundamental beliefs which were holding me back in life have actually changed. I no longer believe that people who don’t know me automatically dislike me; nor do I believe that I have the option not to share any more. I need to share, because it makes me better. The more often I can do it, the better.