Sorry for the lack of blog updating yesterday, this occurred because it was an incredibly busy day day for me. Today has not been so busy, thankfully, though it was quite a full evening. So, yesterday I finally started step 5 with my sponsor. I went round to his flat early in the afternoon, and it was another one of those journeys that seemed to be full of delays, which caused me to question whether I really wanted to go through with it. In the end I knew I had to make a start on the fifth step. I was more than ready weeks ago; there would be no point in continuing to delay it. We made a good start yesterday. We sat comfortably in his living room for three hours, talking about my father. In step 4 I wrote 70 pages on my resentments, 4 of which were dedicated to my father; somehow we only managed to get through the first two yesterday. I hope we can speed up the next time I see him, because the step would end up taking all year otherwise!
Later in the afternoon we drove into town together to the Sunday meeting, where I was greeting as usual. I still don’t look forward to that commitment at all, but I always get it done nonetheless. It’s still difficult making conversation with people I don’t know, but luckily I know most of the faces who go to that meeting now.
My main gripe with greeting there is that it’s such a busy meeting, and I can only get a seat right at the back of the room, as all the others are taken by the time I’ve finished my job, which makes it very difficult to share. I didn’t share yesterday, though I would have liked to. The chair was great, given by my sponsor’s flatmate actually! I suppose it’s lucky I wasn’t feeling too bad yesterday: on those occasions it’s not urgent for me to share. It’s when I’m feeling bad that I do need to open up and speak.
After the meeting I was hooking up with a non-AA friend for a night out at the cinema. I haven’t been to see any films since last summer, which is just terrible. Now that I’m in recovery I want to do things that don’t involve pubs and clubs, because that does kind of feel like my old life now, not something I want to go back to. It’s only now that I’ve made the effort to do something slightly different, i.e. eat out at a nice restaurant and watch a good film at the cinema with a good friend. We never did that sort of thing before, honestly!
That was yesterday, a good fun day all around. It feels weird describing the start of my step 5 as fun, I guess, but I’m glad it happened!
Today was, as I said, a bit more low key. I spent most of the day at home, making a tentative start on some revision for this Friday’s exam in Thinking & Deciding. To begin with I was quite anxious that I’d managed to leave revision so late, but as I began going back through my notes, I realised how good my memory was, and I’m sure I don’t need to worry about it now. Revision isn’t meant to be about learning the stuff for the first time, it’s merely supposed to remind you of things you already know. I enjoyed that unit last term, mostly because I was understanding quite difficult concepts easily.
This evening was, of course, my first AA chair! I found myself feeling very nervous beforehand, not surprisingly. It wasn’t the kind of fear I thought I’d feel, though: it was like the fear I get every time I do service, the fear of having responsibility. I wanted my first chair to be a good one for the meeting’s sake, I didn’t want to let all those people down. The minutes leading up to the meeting dragged by, as did the bit where the commentary on Step 3 in the Twelve by Twelve was read out by the room. Finally at 8 o’clock I could start to speak, and it seemed to flow pretty naturally. I talked about my background, my youthful feelings of isolation, anger and anxiety; my wild and colourful drinking days; and then came onto my progress in recovery, which was really nice to talk about. I talked quite a bit about step 3 because it was officially a step 3 meeting, so there was lots of mention given to ‘handing it over’, something I admittedly still struggle with on a daily basis.
Once I’d finished I felt that rush of adrenalin that comes after every share, which signifies I’ve done something really good. The sharing back from the room was lovely. Many of my friends from the fellowship were there, and they were all kind enough to tell me how it had been a privilege to see me grow as a person over the past six months. S reminded me of the conversation we had in our early days, when we both wondered how people ever got asked to do chairs. Now we know, as we’ve both done one!
It was very strange being sat at the front of the room, with everyone looking directly at me. To begin with I felt like I was piloting a plane for the first time, with the duty to steer a good meeting entirely on my shoulders. But by the end it was fine. I made a conscious effort to maintain eye contact with everybody as they shared with me, which felt unnatural but OK. Afterwards when the meeting was over I talked to people I don’t normally speak to, and I went for coffee with the group, for the first time in ages. There were moments when I sat quietly in the cafe, not participating in the group conversation, like the old me always would in social situations. But mostly, I had a good time and a laugh. Tonight ended on a very positive note, and it seems I have passed a definite turning point in my recovery. No, I’ve passed a turning point in my life. The chapter in my life where I hide behind the mask of shyness is over now. I’m more than ready to move forward and embrace the next chapter of sobriety now. From now on, I must do everything I can to be honest and true to myself. There can no longer be any keeping anything back.