Yes, this is it! I’m almost six months sober and there is absolutely no going back. Today my recovery is the most important thing in my life, and I have so much to thank the program for. Things just aren’t the same as they were six months ago. My life really is better today. Though I’ve had a very hard weekend, it’s still been good because I have learnt from it. For some reason the phrase ‘all pain is good pain’ has been going round my head the past few days; it strikes me as a bit cheesy, like the famous media saying ‘all publicity is good publicity’. But I keep thinking it. All the pain that I’ve experienced in the past six months has been the result of growth. I guess growing was never easy.
Today has been pretty good. I got up this morning and was instantly hit by the usual anxiety, because it was of course my turn to greet again at the Covent Garden meeting today. It will be my turn to greet there every week from now on, now that J’s given his part of the commitment up. I was not looking forward to greeting today. I wasn’t just dreading seeing J; I was dreading seeing everyone. I don’t know why. I think it was the anxiety I generally feel when I have an important responsibility to fulfil, like when I have to go to work. I don’t like that feeling. The worst thing about responsibility is that there’s never an easy way out of it. Obviously I could give the commitment up if I really want to, but that wouldn’t make me look very good at this point. There’s no good reason for me to give it up. It’s the same at work – you can’t just turn up one day then decide to leave if you don’t like it. You have to get on with it. And that’s what I hate about such responsibility. Once you’re committed to it you have to see it through, unless you want to end up looking like a fool.
In the past I have ended up invariably looking like a fool, because I’ve walked out of jobs after two or three days without giving them a real chance. I don’t want to repeat that pattern now. Unbelievably, I’ve managed to keep my greeting commitment for three months already, so I’m not doing too badly. I’d be mad to quit now, though I’d badly like to. It’s not fun sitting outside in the cold for half an hour, waiting for the minutes to tick by until I can go inside at 4pm. Unfortunately work in general isn’t a lot of fun. I need to accept this. Whatever career I end up in I will have to take the rough with the smooth, which is why I’m determined to see this greeting through. It’s only a little thing, requiring only half an hour of my time every week. I should have much more important things to worry about.
Today’s meeting was lovely. My good friend D was giving the chair, and though I already knew I could identify with him, it was lovely seeing him up there, sharing so honestly and freely, radiating recovery. I didn’t get the chance to share as it was an incredibly busy meeting, as always, and people were just too quick at jumping in. Afterwards I felt brave enough to wait for my sponsor, who had been in the meeting, so I could tell him about what had happened with J. I don’t know why I’ve held off telling him about the whole episode until now. Anyway, I was pleased when he came out of the meeting and told me he always had time for me. So we went for a walk around town and talked it through. His advice came as no surprise to me, but it was good to hear it from him nonetheless. I do have a degree of trust in him now, and I appreciate that my sponsor is really the best person to talk to about these things.
He told me I had every right to be angry at J – no one has the right to send me abusive text messages, no matter what I’ve done. He then advised me to write J a letter, detailing every single thing I want to say to him. I never have to send the letter; I can burn it once it’s finished, if I want. I think this is a really good piece of advice. In the past I’ve had therapists who’ve advised me to write letters to the ones who’ve hurt me. It’s a cathartic process, even if the person involved never knows you’ve written it. So I will do that tonight. My sponsor says it doesn’t matter that this confrontation with J may turn out to be inconsequential in the big scheme of things. At the moment I’m hurting and I have to get it all out on paper.
It was so lovely to have that chat with my sponsor; our relationship has certainly changed for the better this month. To top things off, as I was about to leave my sponsor and start walking home, someone else from the meeting approached me to ask if I’d like to chair a meeting next week. It will be the step meeting in Central London, the first ever meeting I went to. Next week it will be focused on step 3; the guy asking me said he’d always wanted to ask but had to wait until the cycle had come round to a step that I was likely to have completed. I suppose it’s very apt that I will be giving a chair based on step 3, then. It was indeed the last step in the program that I completed properly; I say the step 3 prayer every morning and everything that’s going on in my life involves handing things over to my higher power.
I kind of wanted my first chair to be at the Tuesday newcomers meeting, my regular home group. A lot of people do their first chair there; it’s like a rite of passage for people in their early days. But this is how it’s meant to be. At least at the step meeting there won’t be a time limit on my chair – I can speak for half an hour if I want to! In the newcomer meeting they generally limit chairs to fifteen minutes. I have a feeling that for my first ever chair, I will need more than fifteen minutes.
God, I’m so grateful that this has happened. I wouldn’t say I was getting impatient to be asked to do a chair, but I knew it was coming and I was looking forward to being asked. Funnily enough, the person who’s asked me, C, is the person who I was considering as a potential future sponsor. I’ve had a major resentment against him in the past but these days I like him a lot. And now that he’s done me the honour of asking me to chair his meeting, I feel a lot closer to him in many ways. Funny how these things work out, isn’t it?