We have been blessed with incredible weather in London this week, so I’ve been out every day in my shorts and t-shirt, people-watching in parks and reading in cafés. The temptation to go out when it’s sunny is always too great for me to ignore, I guess because continuous good weather is so rare over here! Because of that I’ve hardly been indoors this week, and I’ve been spending a bit more than I should on eating out. I’m trying to keep it under control, and I suppose I’m spending next to nothing compared to what someone on a big salary would. But I do want to watch it because of the awareness that I now have around my general ‘ism’, which can easily take on different forms.
Saying that, it was a nice couple of days, up until this evening. Last night I completed another voluntary shift at the helpline in North London where I recently started work. It was a good shift, as I got along with my training supervisor really well and listened in to a few interesting calls.
Tonight I had a nerve-racking experience to endure, as I met up with A for the first time since my faux pas the other night. We needed to chat, to clear the situation up, for the sake of our friendship. I didn’t want to meet up with him – I knew it would be an uncomfortable encounter, simply because my feelings had become too messy. I’ve grown to like him too much, and because of that I know it might be difficult for me to be with him for a while. Earlier today I could already sense my co-dependency kicking in, as I began to resent him for not feeling the same way about me. I thought I’d never resent him, because he’s been such a good friend, but I was wrong about that.
The old co-dependent part of me is still so strong. There’s clearly no cure for it because the feelings were exactly the same six years ago, the first time I fell for someone unobtainable. It was exactly the same resentment, the same sense of being let down, abandoned. The only thing different today is that I’m aware of its roots, and I can write and talk about it honestly. I have to be honest about it, otherwise it will lead to another drink.
Despite feeling that way I forced myself to go and see A this evening because I couldn’t afford to let a distance grow between us. I felt I owed him an apology, as well as an explanation for my behaviour. He was very understanding and nice about it, as I knew he would be. My resentment disappeared completely at that point – I only hope it will stay disappeared. I’ll make sure I do a step 4 on it later. Once we’d said all that needed to be said on the subject, we sat chatting about the usual things such as pop music, over a coffee or two. I wouldn’t say it was horrendously uncomfortable, but it wasn’t the same as it used to be.
Things have changed now, because I know we’ll never be a couple, and I know I’ll always have an ulterior motive for wanting to hang out with him. Every time I’m with him I can’t stop myself from adoring him. My co-dependency wants to grab hold of him and keep him for mine. At this time I feel that the best way to protect him and to protect myself is to stay away from him. I’ve been through this before, I know what happens when I like someone too much.
Eventually, the feelings will go, which is quite sad in itself. By then, with any luck we’ll be able to go back to normal. I don’t know if it will be possible for me to ensure that our friendship survives in that time. I know I’m sounding very negative about the whole thing at the moment. As I was sitting with him this evening I felt so bad for having those feelings, and I realised that he must know I’m uncomfortable with him now, which made me feel even worse.
Later on we went to the meeting in town, which I didn’t enjoy at all. It was too hot in the room, and I felt detached from the whole thing. It’s never been my favourite meeting, to be honest. I’ve said it before: it’s a very social meeting, where people go to chat before and afterwards as much as anything else. Sometimes I feel part of the gang there, sometimes I don’t. I realise that it’s all part of my social phobia, which I’m trying to work on. It will take time, as these things do. It’s about progress, not perfection!
After the meeting I needed to talk to my sponsor about how things had gone with A. Unfortunately because the meeting is on quite a small, narrow alleyway, there isn’t much space for one to go and have a quiet chat with someone before rejoining the group outside. A was stood just a few feet away smoking a cigarette while I described the situation to my sponsor; he must have known that we were talking about him. I would like to have gone somewhere else more private, but my sponsor was keen to hang around with the group for dinner.
When A came to say goodbye it was so awkward, not like the goodbyes we usually say to each other. It was bad enough before, but now that he knows I’ve told my sponsor about him, I just feel so much worse for him. I’m feeling the urge to beat myself up a bit, because if I didn’t keep falling for inappropriate, innocent men, this wouldn’t have happened!
Yet again I’ve ruined a potentially brilliant friendship with my co-dependency. The worst thing is, this hasn’t happened to me for such a long time – I thought I’d made progress with relationships. I think the truth is that it’s been so long since I actually looked for a relationship with somebody, now that I’m looking again the issue is coming up again.
I don’t know if it will ever go away. I’ve never had anything like a healthy relationship with anybody. I’m glad that I can be aware of my motivations these days, and I can set boundaries when I need to, such as deciding not to spend any more time alone with A. I wish I could just learn what I need to learn and move on, but there never seems to be an end to all these difficult lessons.
I know for a fact that every time I ask someone out, there’s going to be the potential for rejection. I also know for a fact that every time I like someone, I’m going to develop some degree of dependence on them. It’s just part of my nature. How do I meet somebody and fall in love without needing that person? I keep hitting this brick wall, and there are no answers, as far as I can tell. Am I just meant to be alone forever? Is my real lesson in all this to accept that I can’t be with anybody in a healthy, equal relationship? As soon as I ask that question, anger and sadness explodes inside me, and I want to burn a hole through the computer screen where the words have been typed.
Anyone who thinks that alcohol is the only problem for an alcoholic, think again!