The whole dating and relationship thing seems a bit less of an issue this evening. After a good sleep, anything difficult always does. It’s easier to see the positives in last night now: I was able to do something scary and go through with the date without drinking, and I came home early instead of going back to the guy’s place like I would have done automatically if I was drinking. I seem to have gained a simple acceptance that relationships will always be difficult for me, at least in the beginning, which has allowed me to get on with my life today. I can give this part of my illness a name now – co-dependency – and this takes its power away. As I feel these difficult feelings, they are still painful, but I’m much quicker to recognise and counter them now. In fact I feel quite detached from them today. That’s not to say there won’t continue to be issues around sex and relationships in my life, but I think I’ve made a real breakthrough with it this week. Instead of running away from it, I think I will become part of the dating game again, and start seeing more guys. The longer I spend in recovery the more I realise that the only way to tackle issues is to face them head on.
The wonderful thing about the AA program is that it covers all these side issues, such as sex and love. Yes, there are other fellowships for these things, but they all came out of AA, and they all have the same 12 steps as AA. Someone shared tonight that they used alcohol as the solution to their problems – alcohol itself wasn’t the problem. And it’s so true, once you get rid of alcohol and scrape the surface, you find a mass of things underneath which are responsible for the -ism on the surface. In my recovery I’m fast coming to the conclusion that I am massively co-dependent. Alcohol didn’t cause that, but it certainly stopped me from dealing with it.
Tonight’s main chair was wonderful, talking about co-dependency and victimhood and sex addiction. He’s a person I’ve heard speak quite a few times before; in fact he was one of the first sharers I remember identifying with. I think I may have considered asking him to be my sponsor at one point. He’s about 25 years sober, and in a big way he reminds me of myself. If I work a successful program, I’ll probably be like him in 25 years from now. I’d like to be like him. It was lovely to see him chairing the old timer’s meeting tonight, which isn’t the sort of meeting I would have expected to see him chair. It’s just funny seeing people you know from the gay meetings turn up in predominantly ‘straight’ meetings such as that one. He didn’t talk about being gay a lot – I suppose straight alcoholics, especially those who are new to the program, don’t want to hear all about that side of things. But seeing him tonight made me feel a bit closer to that particular meeting. It reminded me that I can find kindred spirits in any meeting, whether gay or straight. I don’t just have to stick to the gay meetings any more, which I was doing for a long time.
I’ve decided to go to the young persons’ meeting tomorrow, the one I haven’t been to for about six months. Last time I was there I ran scared after the meeting was over, freaked out by the similarities I was hearing to my own story. I’m going back tomorrow because it’s been long enough. I need to be around peers again. Some friends from the gay meetings will be going tomorrow as well. It will be nice to be in a group there. Going to meetings such as this, big meetings that I would have avoided in my very early days, takes me out of my comfort zone and helps me to spread my wings. I’m growing in recovery and I need to start seeing new people now. I’ll always love and go back to the gay meetings but sticking to those alone has been restrictive.
My sponsor’s back from holiday now, and we will be getting on with step 5 at the weekend, as usual. We’re coming to the halfway point, I think. I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can get on with step 6. I know there’s no race, but I have been on step 5 for a long time now – at least three months. Partly because there were many weekends when I was too busy to see him. That can’t happen any more, this can’t be put off any longer. I’ve been feeling the positive effects of step 5 for a while. The lifting of anger and resentment, the ability to detach myself from my feelings and recognise them clearly. I want that to continue, and it only works by maintaining the momentum of the step work. In all honesty, steps 4 and 5 are the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Eight months ago, I NEVER thought I’d hear myself saying that.