Another slightly uneventful day, which is probably a good thing as I’ve had a lot to mull over. After this week’s reading, a few questions have come up which I’m not sure I know the answer to. Yesterday I described the self-belief that the young girl narrating ‘Ugly’ seemed to have in bucketloads; my first question is, why have I never believed in myself? I honestly can’t ever remember believing that I could do anything. Long before my life became really unpleasant, long before all the bullying started at school, I was shy and socially anxious, completely isolated by childish fear. I don’t know why I was like that. As I said yesterday, I used to blame my mother for not socialising me properly as a toddler – but I don’t really think that’s an adequate or fair explanation any more.
Another question I’ve begun to ask this evening is, why have I always hidden from my feelings? In the meeting that I went to earlier the chair talked about feelings, how sobriety slowly made him open up to them and own them for the first time. I realised a while ago that I’ve always done everything I can to escape my feelings, and I seriously don’t know why. Again, long before I picked up my first drink I did this. I can’t remember waking up one day and thinking: right, I’m going to stop dealing with my feelings from now on. Yet the funny thing is, until recently I thought I was really good at being aware of and analyzing my feelings. I guess being aware of feelings and dealing with them are two separate things after all.
I really dislike not having the answers to questions, especially the important ones. In AA they talk about acceptance all the time; perhaps I need to accept that those are two questions I’ll never have the answer to. Or maybe I already have the answer: maybe this inability to believe in myself and to deal with my feelings is just the result of my illness. Saying that feels very strange, because it seems so simplistic. I want to be able to trace the problem back to an exact event in my life which made me stop believing in myself – but if I can’t remember it now then I know I never will. Pinpointing the exact cause of my illness won’t make me better, anyway. I’m already getting better, just by following the program. Every time I go to a meeting and share, I’m believing in myself and dealing with my feelings.
I didn’t like tonight’s meeting that much. I’m not exactly sure why; I didn’t feel very uncomfortable or resentful. I don’t think I could relate to the chair that much. He didn’t seem to talk about himself, he just spent 35 minutes spouting AA cliches, which irritated me a little. A lot of the sharing echoed this. I don’t mind the AA cliches so much, but in a chair I always want to get to know someone, to hear something of their story, the deeper truth. I didn’t feel that tonight. So for most of the meeting I was wondering why I should be there. It’s not in my nature to walk out of meetings before they’ve finished, so I stayed until the end, and luckily the reason for my being there did appear to present itself eventually, when close friend S shared about his sponsor. He expressed his deep gratitude for the relationship that he currently has with his sponsor, who invites him to her flat every week and cooks for him.
I know S fairly well now, and he didn’t used to be the type of person to express gratitude for anything. Now he’s as much of an AA advocate as anyone in the rooms, thanks to his wonderful new sponsor. It got me thinking about my relationship with my own sponsor, and I just know now that it’s not the same. I’ve never been to my sponsor’s flat; I hardly ever see him; we speak on the phone quite a lot but usually when it’s convenient for him. That’s why I had to be at the meeting earlier, to hear S’s share so that I could discover this. I believe that my higher power is at work all the time. If I’d walked out of tonight’s meeting, or if I’d simply chosen not to go in the first place, then I wouldn’t have heard S’s share, and I wouldn’t be giving my relationship with my sponsor the serious thought it probably needs right now.
The question now is: do I need a sponsor who invites me to his flat every Friday to cook me dinner? Of course, that’s what I really want, but plenty of people in the fellowship have already told me that what we want isn’t always what we need. I always knew that, though I’ve never liked knowing it. The trouble is, I don’t know what kind of relationship I’m supposed to have with my sponsor. I have plenty of other friends who I can go and have dinner with, so it’s not like my current sponsor is my only hope for a social life. All I need a sponsor for is to do the steps. I’m not supposed to do them with anyone else. That’s why we make sure we have the right sponsor before we go through the 12 steps, right? What I must ask myself now is, do I have the right sponsor?
Sorry if my blog tonight is becoming more like a stream of consciousness than a proper narrative, but it’s important that I work this out. Another message in tonight’s chair was that we can’t do the next right thing until our higher power has shown us what it is. Well, I imagine I’m going to have to wait until my higher power has given me the answer to this particular problem. I know I’ll get there eventually. If I’m meant to stick with my current sponsor, then I will; if I’m meant to find a new one, I will. At least I can contemplate finding a new sponsor – six months ago I was desperate just to find one who I’d never ever let go of because I couldn’t bear the thought of asking for help more than once.
I can even think of someone who’d probably be a great replacement for my current sponsor. The trouble is, this person is someone who I had a major resentment against in my early days. If he was to become my sponsor, I’d have to tell him about that resentment in step 5. Otherwise the step wouldn’t work. The reason I’d even consider him as a sponsor now is because I really like him now; I can appreciate that my resentment against him last year was borne purely out of jealousy, like all my other resentments. He’s a great guy, very happy and confident, and in the beginning I couldn’t stand that about him.
I’d have to be very brave before I could tell him all of that. It’s a dilemma because I know he’d make a fantastic sponsor and we get on really well now. But I can’t lie to him – he’d have to find out one way or the other how I used to feel about him. Our relationship would have no hope of working if I keep that secret from him.
So, I will just wait for my higher power to show me the way. I can’t do anything about this right now, except go to sleep. It’s very late (again). Tonight, I will ask God to grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference – as I ask every night.