I hardly know where to begin with today. I can’t believe I’m tongue-tied, with my own blog! Unfortunately, being tongue tied is a speciality of mine. After all this time, all this practise I’ve had at being honest, I still find myself stuck for words sometimes, because I want to say the best thing possible. I weigh every word carefully in order to avoid looking like a fool. I know that I can’t possibly look like a fool, here of all places. I’m not a fool, but I can’t help feeling like one. My head keeps telling me that I’m a fool, it never stops!
Up until this evening I really felt fine, but then I got to town, where one of my regular meetings was being held. I got there and I struggled to say “hello” to anyone. I sat down and I isolated, out of habit. Once again I failed to ignore the voice in my head telling me to ignore everyone and protect myself. I had no reason to protect myself from those people in that room, but my head didn’t want to believe it. My head felt unsafe, and I listened to it once again. For the past six months my head has felt unsafe on many occasions and rarely have I ignored it to take risks. I keep listening to that nasty voice, I keep isolating myself and making myself lonely.
The meeting began as it normally does with the chair, who was wonderful tonight. She talked of honesty, pain, being made fun of and learning not to care what other people think of her. It was an incredibly powerful chair which I really needed to hear tonight. To start with I was close to tears, but by the time she’d finished I felt a lot better. I knew I would have to share, as I have been sharing all week and I don’t want to break the habit. So I put my hand up, and I think for the first or second time I talked about how I really felt, deep down inside. I didn’t hide anything.
In previous sharing I may have said some very profound and intelligent things, but I don’t think I’ve really been me. Well, not for a long time anyway. I can only remember sharing so much pain a couple of times in recovery. It was so hard doing it tonight; as I was speaking I simply couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. I was speaking how I would speak on this blog. I wouldn’t say tonight was my spiritual experience in AA, because I’ve had those already, but it was certainly spiritual and meaningful. My voice broke and I came close to tears at one point: the bit where I said I believed I still hated myself. That’s never happened before. I don’t think I’ve ever said that to anyone before.
Afterwards my illness wanted me to feel silly and embarrassed. It told me that there are bigger problems in the world; who cares if I happen to be a bit shy and self-loathing? Well, in reality people do care. After the meeting many people came up to me to comfort and congratulate me on my honesty, just as they did last time I shared in that way. So, tonight I’ve beaten the illness again. The chair had advised newcomers to “be honest until it hurts”, and this is what I’ve done. I’ve exposed my feelings, my inner reality, because that is what’s holding me back in life. The reason I feel my heart pounding before every share is because the illness doesn’t want to be exposed. By exposing it I am fighting it. I never thought I was much of a fighter, but maybe from now on I will be.