5 months, 24 days

I spent the first half of today reading this book called ‘Ugly’ by Constance Briscoe. Gosh, it is depressing. But ultimately hopeful, I believe. It’s the true story of a battered and abused young girl in South London, told from her adult perspective. It’s rather similar to ‘A Child Called It’, which I was deeply affected by a few years ago. I think one of the reasons I read these books is to remind myself that I haven’t had it that bad. You know, I can safely say that I definitely wasn’t abused as a child. I hated my childhood, not because I was attacked, kicked out of the house, locked in cellars, thrown down stairs, I was just very lonely for a long time. After reading books like this I can’t help but wonder how much right I have to be upset about my childhood. In ‘Ugly’, the girl’s mother is entirely to blame for her terrible hardship. It is her mother who does most of the abusing. I’ve always felt that my relationship with my mother is not what it should be – I’ve blamed her for a lot of things over the years – but maybe it’s not that bad. Sure, my mum screams and shouts when she can’t get her own way; yes, she takes her frustration out on me occasionally, calling me hurtful names. Not once has she ever hit me, though. And to be fair, all the bad things that she does, I do too. We’ve lived together all my life, and when you’re in close proximity with someone, you can’t help take things out on them sometimes. I think I’d do well to remember that sometimes.

My problem is that I’m so sensitive, I can’t cope when I get shouted at and called names. Step 4 has reminded me that I’ve had a huge resentment against my mother for a very long time – what of my part in the way things were for me as a child? At the end of the day, I was an incredibly anxious child, and this can’t have helped my chances of making friends and having a more normal life. I’ve blamed my mother for not socialising me properly as a toddler, but right now I’m beginning to see that perhaps she couldn’t have done any better a job with me. She was on her own with me from the start, burdened with circumstances that I certainly could not get through if it was me.

On a different note, I have had a great day. The first installment of the extra money that the government has promised me came through today, unexpectedly early, meaning that I currently have more money in my account than there has been for years. The great thing is that this time, most of it will stay there. I haven’t rushed out and spent a fortune on luxuries that I’ve been dying to treat myself to for months. I sat down, thought about what I really needed to spend money on, and, realising I needed a new phone, I went out to get a nice, reasonably priced one which will serve its purpose far better than my old phone did. I would love to have got an ipod as well – I stupidly sold my old one for no profit last year, and I’ve missed it ever since – but I already have an mp3 player which a good friend got for my birthday, and I don’t need an ipod.

University was good again today; I got the second essay due in this week done and handed it in this afternoon, feeling rather proud of myself. I went back to my home group this evening for the first time in a couple of weeks, and it was lovely to be back. I saw and spoke to all my friends; the chair was given by a very interesting woman who to look at I would never have thought I could identify with. Something I’ve learnt in sobriety is that you really should never judge a book by its cover! After the chair I was asked to share as usual; I talked about the good week I had had so far, how my life seems to be very ‘normal’ these days compared to the up & down nature of early sobriety. As I’m turning six months next week, I won’t be asked to share at the beginning of that meeting any more (I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before). Someone else with less than six months sobriety will be able to take my spot from then on. It feels like I’m about to graduate there! I’m looking forward to next week. I’m sure in future I’ll be able to put my hand up to share in the second part of the meeting, if I need to share. It’s my home group and I love it. I’m so grateful to have that.

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