I’ve been really angry tonight. And I have to talk about it. Honestly. Something’s happened and it is vital that I share about it – every vile thought in my mind has to be got out before I let it eat me up. This all involves J, the man I have been sharing the greeting commitment with on Sundays. I bumped into him at a meeting tonight, and afterwards he took me aside to explain why he had been upset enough with me to send me those abusive text messages two weeks ago. He reminded me that on Christmas Day I had sent him a text message, asking him to cover my greeting commitment the following Sunday, as I was going to be in Edinburgh. He had found this text message ‘blunt’ and told me it wasn’t nice of me to send it to him on Christmas Day. He then said he found my behaviour ‘blunt’ in general and that’s why he’d been rude to me.
His explanation didn’t make sense to me. Why had he threatened to ‘put my ugly head in a bag’ in one of his texts? I told him he’d upset me, at which he scoffed, saying something like: “you think you’re upset?” At that point I couldn’t talk to him any more. He clearly wasn’t sorry for his actions and I was getting upset again. I wanted to shout at him, or hit him, and I knew I had to get away to safety. So I apologised once more and left, after he’d told me he didn’t wish to share the commitment any more. No offer to find a replacement himself – it will be up to me. Great! I don’t think we’ll be speaking again; I hope not anyway.
I couldn’t bear the thought of public transport so decided to walk home, which gave me time to think about what had happened. Angry, scared and sick thoughts swirled around my head; I won’t try and describe them. In the end, I sought the facts, and this is what I came up with:
1) I shouldn’t have texted him on Christmas Day about the commitment, at least not without saying something friendly like “merry Christmas” first
2) I may have been ‘blunt’ with him and other people at times; this is probably due to my shyness that I’ve talked about in great depth
3) He had no right to send me the abusive texts
4) We’re both alcoholics and both as ill as each other
5) No matter what he thinks about me, I can’t afford to let it affect my recovery
The final point is the key one. Whatever I’ve done, I can’t control what J thinks about me. If he hates me, that’s his business. I’ve done all I can. I’ve said sorry to him; I’ve resisted engaging in an argument with him. I really badly want to text him now, to say how much he’s hurt me, but I know it won’t do me any good. I can’t afford to react. It will make the situation worse, and it really doesn’t need to get worse!
I’m most angry because this is the sort of thing that drives alcoholics to drink. I could blame J for making an issue out of something that doesn’t need to be an issue; he should know I have feelings and that I’m at as much risk of relapsing as he is. How dare he be such a selfish bastard, dumping his commitment on me. What an arsehole. But the crucial lesson I took from step 4 is that resentment stems from fear, and the crux of this matter is that I am scared of J. I don’t hate him – I don’t know him well enough – I’m just terrified of him. Not in the same way as I was terrified of everyone else in my early days. I’m scared of him because he’s displayed the worst kind of alcoholic behaviour to me, for some reason.
The worst thing is that I’m not sure where to go from here. I don’t want to see him again, but I have a feeling I will. This is unfinished business and I can’t avoid it forever. I wish none of this had happened, but this is real life, I’m not living in a book. People don’t always get on; people dislike each other sometimes. I’m sure if I was to ask all my AA friends they could all tell me about someone they dislike in the fellowship. Six months ago, it would have killed me to have an enemy in the rooms. At the moment, I’m dealing with it because I have to. I’d be mad to go out and have a slip because of this. J’s one person in the rooms. And if it gets really difficult being around him there are 600 meetings in London every week that I can go to. Whatever he thinks of me, I have friends who genuinely like me, and that’s the only important thing. And the greeting will sort itself out, because it has before.