9 months, 22 days / the inevitability of it all

12pm I feel a bit of a fool. Last night I could not get to sleep at all, I was so wrapped up in this obsession with A. So I decided to pick my phone up and send that text message, admitting my feelings to him. At the time, I felt I couldn’t wait another moment before opening up about it. I certainly couldn’t wait another nine months. Of course there was a bit of me that really thought I had a chance with him. We’ve spent so much time together recently; we practically went on a dinner date last week. Last night we were talking about relationships and romance, and I strongly got the impression that we would be right for each other.

After sending the text message, I instantly felt ashamed, embarrassed, stupid. What had I done? He’s only three months sober – I’ve got no right to do this to him now! But the text message was sent and there was nothing I could do about it at that time. I had to go to sleep and wait to see what would happen. This morning, I was terrified to switch my phone on, because I just didn’t know what response I was going to get from him. Although I had a feeling that he might like me in the same way, that didn’t mean I was absolutely sure he would be running into my arms.

The only way to find out would be to switch my phone on, so I did straight away, and he’d left me a voice message, saying he had absolutely no idea I felt that way. That’s pretty much all he said. He’s going to phone me later on for more of a chat. Although the content of the voice message doesn’t give much away, I think the tone of his voice does: he didn’t exactly sound happy about my news. He sounded pretty embarrassed about it to be honest, and if he had no idea that I liked him, then it can’t say anything about the so-called ‘hints’ I’ve been getting from him over the past few weeks.

Of course, I should never have expected this to be the fairy tale romance that I’ve dreamt about all my life. When I sent the text message I knew what I was doing, I knew there was a good chance that it would only ever be just friendship. I guess I couldn’t wait another nine months to find out the truth. If he really isn’t interested in me romantically, then it is probably better I know now than nine months down the line when my feelings have been allowed to get completely out of hand. They were already driving me mad, after just one month.

No, the voice message doesn’t actually say that he isn’t interested in going out with me, all it says is that he had no idea and he’ll phone me later. Perhaps I’m reading way too much into his tone of voice, but how can I not? I’m desperate for answers and being the way I am, I’m bound to read between the lines when I have to. I can’t afford to get my hopes up about this, I have to prepare for the worst because it would be bad news for me to end up let down again. I have to imagine that he’s really not interested in me and we’re just going to be friends. That way I can begin dealing with the disappointment and move on. If I was to let myself believe that I really had a chance with him, I could end up getting really hurt.

To anyone in the fellowship who’s thinking of asking someone out, I strongly advise you NOT to do it unless they’re over a year sober!! By doing what I’ve done I’ve gone against the program, I’ve gone against my sponsor’s advice. Part of me thinks that anything to do with romance might always involve some distancing of oneself from the program, because the steps do not make any provisions for ‘love’ whatsoever. But at this early stage in my recovery, I’ve really taken a risk, and it doesn’t look like it’s paid off. I’m not going to drink on this – I have no intention of losing those nine months! – but anyone else might have suffered more in my position.

All I can do is pray that A isn’t too affected by this. Hopefully, if he really isn’t interested in me, then he’ll just be feeling a bit embarrassed and will be able to move on. The real danger is if we actually end up in a relationship. That way lies co-dependency, the big demon of alcoholic relationships. I know that whenever I choose to enter a relationship with someone, co-dependency will always be an issue, whether I’m nine months sober or nine years. So I’m going to have to deal with it at some point – it doesn’t matter whether I’d asked A out now or in a year’s time. The point is that he’s just three months sober and so I would have been putting pressure on him.

It’s a huge, huge dilemma. I had to take A’s sobriety into account, but I also had my feelings on the line, and in the end I followed my heart. Well, right now it looks like it’s just going to be one of those things that’s a bit awkward for a week or so before blowing over. That’s all I could have hoped for. I know he has a good recovery and he’ll cope with this.

It’s not in my nature to look for the positives in any difficult situation, but recently I’ve begun to do that and in this situation, I’m sure there are a few good things I can take with me. I realised that I had feelings for someone and I was able to wait a month before acting on them. Instead of bottling it up and becoming resentful, I let go and allowed him to make his own mind up. Now that it looks as if he’s not interested, I am assessing the situation calmly and rationally. I know we’ll remain friends – if we were to become awkward with each other it would be entirely my fault.

The last time I went through this it was absolutely horrendous. Back then I was full of loathing for myself and for the guy concerned, because he couldn’t reciprocate my affection. I’m determined not to let history repeat itself. I’m too old for awkwardness and embarrassment!

It would be lovely to think that one day, my feelings will actually be reciprocated by someone. Never have I really loved anyone who feels the same way about me. As I said last night, I have a history of falling for the wrong person, and in most cases, they’ve been completely unobtainable. Perhaps my lesson from all of this is that I won’t fall for the obtainable guy until I’m ready.

11.30pm I’m a bit upset. All day worries and concerns over the future of my friendship with A have bothered me. I went out to enjoy the continuing sunny weather but ended up feeling miserable in the park because I just couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d done. I wished I’d never sent A that text message; I wished he would just phone me to let me know how he was feeling. I realised very quickly that I was allowing history to repeat itself, because the first time I had a major crush on anybody I spent weeks and weeks obsessing about that one person, sitting in my room waiting for the phone to ring. It’s insanely co-dependent behaviour, and I couldn’t stop it from happening this afternoon. I simply had to ride it out.

I phoned my sponsor, who told me what I already knew: that I’d taken a risk in asking a newcomer out. I now had to live with the consequences of my actions, whatever they may be. He advised me to try and have a proper chat with A at some point, rather than go through it all by text message. I knew he was right but at that point I was far too scared to pick up the phone. Old behaviour alert!!

I had a psychology text book with me which I’d brought to try and take my mind off things. Unfortunately, the chapter I got stuck into was more about anxiety disorders, another subject that’s been concerning me recently. I read through some of the symptoms in greater detail and once again felt sure that I was a classic sufferer of social phobia. I became more convinced than ever that I would have to see my doctor soon and ask for treatment. The reading talked about the fact that social phobia sufferers tend to have limited potential for career growth without treatment. Apparently, a course of anti-depressants alongside some form of talking therapy is the best treatment.

The reinforcement of this knowledge led to yet more anxiety for me because it meant that I would have to go back to my doctor, who I don’t really like. Months ago I wrote him a letter explaining the reasons why I thought I needed to go back into therapy; he’d specifically asked me to do with this with the promise that he would put me in touch with a therapist. I never heard back from him, and now I’m faced with the possibility of a confrontation, because I know this constant anxiety can’t go on.

By the time it got to early evening I was close to tears with all the emotion bubbling around my head. The washing machine syndrome was worse than ever. I desperately needed a meeting and so I walked over to Soho for the step 11 group that I’ve grown to quite like recently. Unfortunately I managed to walk completely the wrong way for a while, and didn’t get there until 3 minutes before the start. I normally like to get to meetings at least 15 minutes early so I can find a good seat and chat to friends. Because I only had those 3 minutes to find a seat I was made to feel extra nervous, which didn’t help at all. My imagination told me that getting lost beforehand had been a kind of representation of the stuff that’s happening in my head. Perhaps I’ve been dealing with all my problems the wrong way today. In fact, I know I have. But it’s just so hard to do the right thing when it’s all getting on top of me!

The meeting was really good, especially the ten minutes’ meditation at the beginning. It gave me time to think about approaching my doctor, what I might say to him. Afterwards I went for coffee with D and we mainly talked about my current problems. It was helpful, but I didn’t feel much better by the end of it. I think I was tired and just needed to get home. Sadly when I got back tonight I received another message from A, who had tried to phone me while I was on the train. This time he went into more detail, telling me that he was only interested in me as a friend and that he won’t be ready for any relationships for a long, long time.

He was very nice about it, but It was still heartbreaking to hear, even though I’d been prepared for it. So I was mistaken to think that I had a chance with him after all. I read all the signs wrong; I really thought he felt the same way about me. Maybe I saw what I wanted to see. Realising that makes me feel completely stupid. What’s worse is that I’m going to keep seeing him in meetings, and I don’t know if I can handle seeing him for a while. I definitely can’t go on any more dinner ‘dates’ with him, even as a friend. For a short while tonight I wanted to jack the fellowship in altogether, thinking I’d be better off staying at home and avoiding all that awkwardness that’s bound to develop between us. Quite quickly I realised that the illness was trying to grab hold of me and make me isolate. But I’d be lying if I said a small part of me wasn’t still tempted to avoid the meetings where he’s likely to be. I know that would be a totally cowardly course of action, and I’m not going to take it – I owe him more than that. Still, it just goes to show that this illness is very cunning.

All I want is to meet someone I like who’s actually interested in me – is that too much to ask for? I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked that question over the years, and I know the fact that I’m still so resentful about it is an indication that I’m still not entirely ready for the relationship I so desperately crave. Even before I’d got A’s message this evening I knew a relationship wasn’t going to work between us. I know it’s never going to work for me because I have these deep-seated abandonment issues which just aren’t going away. Which is why I desperately need to see a therapist, or at least start attending CODA meetings. Thanks to my program of recovery I have answers at my fingertips now which I didn’t have before. The feelings don’t stop hurting, but at least I know why I’m having them now, and at least I’m not going to drink tonight.

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