I’ve had a beautiful day. This morning I headed to my sponsor’s flat in West London to finally get on with my step 5 work. It had been a long time since we left it on hiatus, at least five weeks. I wasn’t nervous about carrying on today. I knew that it was something I needed to do. We managed to get a fair bit done today. I finished with all my resentments towards my father; there were an awful lot of them. Again, just talking about it seems to make it better. To have my feelings understood and validated…God, it’s powerful. We are now dealing with my resentments towards my mother. There are a lot of those too. I can’t wait to finish this step, not because I don’t like doing it, but because it really is like drawing a line under the past. I’m so ready to do that now, to underline it all and move on. My sponsor’s a great sponsor, I’m really glad I’m doing this work with him now. He’s not that much further into sobriety than me, but he is similar to me in many ways, and he has that empathy with my situation.
After a couple of hours we stopped and headed into Central London for our regular meeting. I would be greeting there for the last time today. I had decided that I finally wanted to give the greeting commitment up. For many reasons, I thought it was time to stop. I have two other service commitments in AA now; more than enough. Strangely, I think I enjoy the other commitments more than I enjoyed the greeting. At least with making tea and handing out literature, you don’t have to stand outside in the cold for half an hour!
It’s not just the greeting, though, it’s that meeting as well. I really don’t like it any more. The room is far too small for the amount of people that turn up every week. Many have to stand at the back of the room for the entire hour and a half. Because I’m the greeter, I can never go inside until 4pm on the dot when it starts, meaning that I always have to search for a seat or stand along with the other latecomers. All the way at the back of the room, it can be difficult to hear what the chair is saying at the front. It also gets way too hot in there. So, I think I’m really going to appreciate a break from it for a while. After being in AA for a while you do find issues with certain meetings, it can’t be helped. All my other regular meetings I love now, so I’m not giving up on those. I won’t say I’ll never go to the Sunday meeting again – maybe I’ll go back in a month or so. It’s just a relief to know I don’t have to go there every single week any more! The commitment was snapped up as soon as I announced that it was free.
I was so distracted by the heat and the crampiness of the room that I could hardly listen to any sharing this afternoon. When it was over I thought I’d just go straight home as usual, but some friends and my sponsor were going for dinner in Soho, and funnily enough, they invited me along. I didn’t want to turn the invitation down as one of the friends, D, is someone I’ve not had much chance to see recently. He’s been a very good friend throughout my recovery though we do tend to go to different meetings these days, which is a shame. So it was nice to spend some quality time with him in a restaurant over dinner, along with the other friends who were there. There were just five of us. It was weird eating with my sponsor! We don’t normally hang out in social situations like that together. I always thought his friendship circle was different to mine, but it turns out that he’s good mates with D, like me.
It was a great couple of hours. We just ate and chatted and laughed and had fun. I didn’t feel uncomfortable or scared. I was glad to be there. A tiny part of me questioned why they had invited me, that old part which thinks that nobody really likes me and they’re all just out to make fun of me at every opportunity. But for 99% of the time I was able to ignore that nasty little voice tonight. I found that I didn’t need to pretend to be anything other than myself. My presence there was truly valued and appreciated – they actually wanted me there with them. Just thinking about what that means is making me well up!
On the way home I bumped into someone else from the fellowship who I don’t know that well. He seemed happy to see me and asked if I wanted to go for a coffee. I had to say ‘no’ as I was very tired and looked forward to getting home; he seemed a bit disappointed. The old part of me walked away convinced that I must have offended him, and he’ll never talk to me again. The new part of me knows that he is a decent person who won’t think any the worse of me just because I turned down one coffee invitation. I’ll see him again; we can go for coffee next time. Just to be asked, by someone who doesn’t even know me that well, is frigging brilliant. Maybe I am a nice person, maybe people do like me after all…
It would be so easy to wallow in heady emotionalism and declare that I will never again be unhappy or lonely…I don’t want to do that. Of course not every day will be like today, of course I’ll feel lonely and difficult and depressed again. But the truth is that things are slowly getting better for me. The warm, contented feeling that I had this evening is becoming more common. I’m doing more and more things that fulfil me, I’m making more friends and the mist of depression is very gradually clearing.
The best thing about the friends I was with tonight is that they’re all around my age, even my sponsor. I have so much in common with these people. That’s something I never thought I’d find in the fellowship. As a newcomer to AA it’s so easy to think that everyone’s in their 50’s and a bit grey, but the truth is actually that you get people from all walks of life in the rooms. The friends I choose to hang out with are young, vibrant and refreshing; they just happen to be alcoholics. They’ve been rejected and screwed over by the gay scene like I have. We have a lot of common ground. I couldn’t ask for more.
Right now, a boyfriend couldn’t make my life any more complete.