My first bit of news is that I have almost completely recovered from the cold which put me in bed for the best part of two days. My second bit of news is that I am 200 days sober, today. I worked this out this morning when I was trying to remember my day count in sobriety. I don’t know why I was trying to work it out. I lost count of the days ages ago. To realise that I’d actually reached 200 days without a drink was quite nice. It does seem a very long time, longer than I ever believed possible in the beginning.
Despite all this good news I am feeling pretty pissed off this evening. There are a number of reasons for me feeling pissed off, and I know what every single one of them is. I have forked out for an expensive set of PC speakers to replace the worn out old ones, which don’t work properly anymore. The new ones look very nice, but they don’t work properly either. I’ve tried everything and it hasn’t worked. Another reason I’m annoyed is because my skin has been particularly dry and greasy all day (I’ve had skin problems on and off all my life).
Another reason, perhaps the main reason, is that I spoke to my sponsor on the phone for the first time in three days earlier, and he didn’t sound particularly happy to hear from me. It sounded as if I’d caught him in the middle of something. When I asked if he’d got my message the other day telling him I was ill, he said he had no idea what I was talking about. I thought I’d better let him know that I was ill and may not be able to contact him for a while – well, I guess I needn’t have bothered.
We spoke for a couple of moments about my day, nothing very exciting. He briefly mentioned that he was in a ‘funny head space’ at the moment; if I was more well-balanced and confident I might have pursued it, but I’ve never felt that I can ask my sponsor about his life. It always has to be him telling me about his life. It was the same with my first sponsor. I still don’t know if I’m supposed to be asking my sponsor outright about these things. He always seems perfectly happy just to talk about me, but I’m not sure I’m happy with it. When he’s in a good head space, sounding normal on the phone, it’s fine; when he’s clearly not OK (like tonight) I have no idea what to say to him because I realise I haven’t got the first clue about his life.
I know what he does for a living, I know where he lives, I know his surname and I know the name of his flatmate, but I don’t know him. He’s been my sponsor for months, yet I don’t know what makes him tick. In the meeting tonight people were talking about ‘the glass wall’ again, that invisible barrier that separates every alcoholic from the rest of the world; with my sponsor there is definitely this glass wall that I haven’t yet broken through.
It’s made all the more frustrating by the fact that I know what it is and why it’s there. It’s a glass wall that I struggle to break through myself every single day during every single interaction with the outside world. To notice that my sponsor keeps his own barriers up shouldn’t be a surprise. When we were doing step 5 together, for a moment I felt like I was getting through that wall, like I was seeing the real him. But it always comes back up in the end. I know it because I do the same thing with everyone myself.
All of this begs the question, what do I really need a sponsor for? I’ve probably written about it before, and you’re probably all bored to tears of hearing about it. But it’s an issue that refuses to go away. Very basically, I suppose I need a sponsor to go through the steps with. I’ve seen people get away with not using their sponsor for anything else. People have told me I don’t need my sponsor to be a friend. He’s taking me through the steps and I should be grateful for that. The fact that I don’t feel warmth from my sponsor sometimes doesn’t sit well with me – but at least he hasn’t sacked me yet, and he isn’t likely to.
I think more of a worry is the fact that he’s too busy to see me most of the time. Earlier in the month he was coming to a lot of my regular meetings, and during that time we got along very well. But now his life seems to be taken up with endless work again, and it turns out I’m going to have to wait until next weekend to get back to step 5 with him. Anyone who knows about step 5 knows how important it is – I really want to get on with it, and it’s very frustrating to be made to wait even a tiny bit longer.
It was my sponsor who told me how important it was to start step 5 – so I can’t believe he’s doing this to me now. I had exactly the same problem with my first sponsor, who I loved dearly but who also only seemed to have about three free minutes a week. I’m aware that when things like this happen my patience is being tested, and I could take it as a lesson to be more patient rather than jump straight into resentment and frustration. I’ve already been told that I have the rest of my life to do the steps, that it doesn’t all need to be done right this minute. But I want to do them now! Surely that matters?
Once again I find myself with a difficult choice. I can either find a new sponsor who will definitely have more time for me, or I can stay with this one and wait a bit longer. If he does what he’s said he’s going to do – return to education later in the year – then he’ll probably have a lot more free time in a few short months from now. Does that make me feel better? Not really. I have a feeling there’ll always be something to feel resentful about.
Part of me is tempted to look for a new sponsor who has a lot more sobriety than my current one, who only has a couple of years. Maybe I need someone whose sobriety date isn’t so close to mine. God, it should be easy for me to find a new sponsor, given that I’ve done it twice before, but the thought of the search and the official asking fills me with as much dread as it did both times before. I can’t make a decision about this tonight, but what I can do is write out a step 4. It’s the only proven way of dealing with resentment, and right now the right thing to do is clean house.