I can’t believe it! 9 months without a drink! For the last week I’ve been saying to people that I’m nine months sober, which is jumping the gun I know, but I guess it shows the strength of my sobriety that I was so confident I would get to this milestone. I’m considering it a milestone because traditionally in the first year they only give out sobriety chips for 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. And if I was pregnant, I’d have had my baby by now! Someone said to me that I should think of these first nine months like a pregnancy, with my sobriety growing inside me. In a strange way, I think it’s a good analogy. No, I haven’t been on the funny pills today!!
Yesterday was technically a good day. But as usual, my mood was all over the place. In the afternoon I had to go into Uni to collect the first draft of my dissertation from my supervisor. I was dreading this meeting, as I knew that the first draft I’d written was pretty rubbish. I rushed it in order to get it in last Monday, despite having had weeks to work on it. My first reaction to getting it back was sheer disappointment, because my supervisor had written notes and corrections all over it. Then I realised that she’d done me a big favour, because now I know exactly what I need to do to write a good final draft. There are a lot of corrections to be made, and I’m not looking forward to the actual business of making them, but the end is in sight now, finally. If I follow all my supervisor’s advice, I’m confident of getting a very good mark for it. Oh, I hope I can succeed!
In the evening I had my weekly tea commitment at the step meeting in town. Normally I should get there around 7.15, to have all the tea and biscuits laid out by the start of the meeting at 7.45. Unfortunately there were severe delays on the underground last night, and I couldn’t get there until 7.40. As I was sitting on the train, waiting for it to move, I was consumed by panic. I hate being late for absolutely anything. I can’t stand not being in control of the situation – I wanted to go up to the front of the train and wring the driver’s neck to make him move the train on. But even as I was going through these emotions, my recovery voice was telling me that I couldn’t do anything about the delay. I knew I’d get to the meeting eventually and the tea would get made, I knew I wouldn’t get into trouble. I had no control over the time of my arrival and in the end I had to accept that.
When I finally got to the meeting I found someone had made the tea for me, which I should have known would happen, because everyone there is very kind. Unfortunately it didn’t look like the greatest tea ever, and I scalded myself some more for not having left home earlier. As the meeting began I continued to feel uneasy and guilty about being late. I knew I’d have to share about it. This week the chair was focused on step 12, a step I like hearing about even though I’m nowhere near it in the program, because it’s all about the principles of recovery and the changes it can bring to an alcoholic’s life. In sobriety I find myself living by those principles already, so I’m never completely lost by the step 12 discussion.
For some reason the chair talked a lot about being a workaholic, how she used to have to be in control of everything that she and her colleagues did. In the end she made herself ill from working every hour of the day. I can’t say I identify with being a workaholic, but I sure have problems with work, i.e the fear of responsibility and failure. Yesterday I was so scared of being late for the meeting because I wanted to do my commitment perfectly; I was terrified of getting into trouble and being sacked from the commitment. The same fear has haunted me every week since I started the literature commitment at my home group on Tuesday.
I shared about this fear last night, and people laughed and smiled at what I was saying, to confirm that my fears were completely irrational. After the meeting everyone came up to thank me for doing the tea, and the secretary reassured me that I would never be sacked! Once again, my fears had been completely disproved, as I knew they would. So why can’t I let go of the fear completely? Why do I still wake up every day with that familiar wrench in my gut? It never goes away, because it’s part of who I am, and the further I go into recovery, the more I discover in myself which is unhealthy and which I can only deal with by remaining in the program.
No one went for coffee after the meeting, so I had to go straight home, which was OK by me. In the tube station I unexpectedly bumped into someone from the program who I didn’t know very well. My instinctive reaction was to ignore him, which I did, and I thought I’d got away with it until he called out after me. I instantly felt embarrassed and stupid, for having tried to play that old game. This was a person I didn’t feel much affinity with in meetings; in fact I’ve probably had a resentment against him for the past month, just because I don’t agree with some of the things he shares about. But that’s no reason to be rude and walk straight past him. Last night I realised that I’ve been rude to so many people over the years, just because they don’t all match up to my high standards as people. It took me five minutes last night to realise that I will have to make an amends to this person, the next time I see him. I’m not looking forward to it at all, but for my well being, I need to say sorry. I can’t afford to carry resentments and piss people off any more. I have to be a different person now, if I am to have a successful recovery. Whether he accepts my apology or decides never to speak to me again, is his business.