One year sober!

2pm Well I’ve done it, I’ve lasted a whole year without a single alcoholic drink passing my lips, proving in the process that sobriety is not only possible but desirable. I wouldn’t swap my sobriety for anything now and I would never want to go back to how my life was before I gave up drinking. I’m so happy! If it weren’t for Alcoholics Anonymous I definitely wouldn’t be here, and for that I am eternally grateful. I know AA isn’t the answer for everyone, but it was for me, and I thought it wouldn’t be. I never thought in a million years it would be possible to last a year without a drink. I remember reading Sharon Osborne’s autobiography a few years ago, in which she talked about her husband Ozzy getting sober in the rooms, and she mentioned the party that was thrown for him when he reached a year sober. At the time I thought: “How did he do that? Why would anyone want to go a whole year without any form of intoxication?” But there was always secretly an envious part of me, and I have had that image in my mind all year, the picture of Ozzy Osborne celebrating his first sober anniversary with sober friends. It was always a lovely image, and today I will finally have my own celebration. Later I will be meeting friends in town for a meal. Only a small group of very close sober friends have been invited – I didn’t want the stress of organising something huge. When I’m ten years sober, I’ll do something big!

Only one thing is tainting today’s happiness. A, the guy who relapsed when we were in Bristol last month for the gay AA convention, has deliberately fallen out with me. He’s not happy that I didn’t immediately invite him to today’s anniversary meal when it was organised a couple of weeks ago. I sent him a text message the other day letting him know the time and place; I thought that would be enough. I wasn’t really sure that I wanted him at the meal, but he’d found out about it and so I couldn’t not invite him when he asked me about it.

At yesterday’s meeting he stormed in furious, informing me that he wouldn’t be coming to my meal after all because an invite by text message wasn’t good enough. He wanted to be invited properly two weeks ago, in person. He was rude and obnoxious yesterday, saying things like “that’s no kind of fellowship” and “some friend you are,” whilst pouring himself a coffee that I had bought and prepared for the meeting. I was instantly reminded of how sensitive I am, as my mood plummeted and I almost burst into tears. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Did I really deserve this?

I spent most of the meeting feeling absolutely furious. Afterwards A deliberately volunteered to help with the washing up so that he could have another go at me. I’d almost had enough, I nearly chucked the dirty mugs at him. In the end I refused to speak to him. I simply walked out and left him to do the washing up with someone else; he was being unbearable. On the way home I racked my brains to think of my own part in the problem, and I realised that I hadn’t been entirely honest with him. I should have told him from the start that I didn’t want him to come to my meal, that I just wanted a small number of very close sober friends there. Instead I went with my people-pleasing instinct and sent him a shoddy text invite. He’d obviously realised that he wasn’t wanted at the meal, and so threw a hissy fit in front of everyone. It was embarrassing and rather disturbing.

Of course, anything I might have done didn’t warrant his extreme behaviour yesterday. And it was very extreme. Sure, he can be upset about not getting an invite straight away, but that’s no excuse for throwing a tantrum and verbally abusing me. So I no longer consider him a friend, unless he comes to me with an apology. Perhaps I’m being harsh, perhaps I should view him as a sick friend, which he really is. But I have felt uncomfortable around him for weeks, ever since his nightmarish behaviour in Bristol, which is precisely why I didn’t want him at my meal today. He’s completely unpredictable and erratic these days. It’s my meal, and I only want sober people there. A isn’t sober at all.

I’ve tried not to let this ruin today, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Should I try and contact him to clear the air? Should I ignore him forever? I’ve spoken to people about it, and most seem to think I should simply take no notice. I’ve never been someone who can ‘take no notice’, though! If I was capable of turning the other cheek I’m sure I wouldn’t have been an alcoholic. It really pisses me off that this has happened now. I shouldn’t care so much, but I do care because ever since we went to Bristol together I’m involved in his life. I know more about him than most people in the fellowship do, I know why he’s behaving this way, because I’ve behaved like that myself in the past! About six years ago I was very upset when someone at University didn’t invite me to their birthday party. I decided to send a series of vicious, nasty text messages to the whole group, telling them how hurt I was and how badly they had treated me. Today I can see how I was entirely to blame for that situation; isn’t A just doing what I used to do, when I didn’t know better?

He’s become so unpredictable, I have a horrible feeling he’ll turn up at the meal tonight to cause a scene. I really pray that he doesn’t. If he does I’m going to have to confront him, something I’ve never been able to do comfortably before. I don’t do confrontations!

At the end of the day, my sobriety is the most important thing in my life, and I guess anything he does can’t take that away from me. The difference between us is that I get the message of the program. I truly get it, which is why I’ve been so desperate to reach this milestone for months. I hope I can stay sober for the rest of my life. Despite the small number of run-ins that I’ve had with people such as A this year, the overall happiness that the fellowship has brought me this year is something that I want to last forever. The longer I’m in the program, the more I realise that it’s what I was always looking for. I’m off to have a good happy cry now!

10.30pm The meal this afternoon was lovely. Eight of us enjoyed really good food in this great, friendly restaurant before heading to the newcomer meeting which I’ve gone to nearly every week in my sobriety. I knew I was amongst true friends, and I couldn’t wait to announce my anniversary in the meeting. When we got there I made my announcement as expected, and got a great round of applause as we usually do on anniversaries. I would like to have shared, but the meeting was so busy and full of newcomers needing to share more, that I didn’t get the chance. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it that busy before. I’d like to think it was down to me, but it was probably just because of the lovely weather!

A was there, and unfortunately this brought my mood down quite a lot. I tried my best to avoid him, but at the end he came to congratulate me on my sober milestone like some sort of friend, and asked if I was going for coffee. I automatically said “no”, because I really didn’t want to be around him. It doesn’t matter if he wants to forget about yesterday and be friends again, he pushed a button in me and he shouldn’t have done that. Every time someone is rude or abusive to me, it takes me right back to the bullying that I suffered at school, and I can’t get over it. I don’t know if I will ever get it. I feel the same fear around A now that I used to feel around those boys at school for years. I wish I could switch this fear off, but it’s a very deep wound, possibly one of the deepest. I’m welling up just thinking about it. Today has been completely marred by those dreadful memories. I nearly burst into tears on the bus home. For a moment I thought about leaving the fellowship, something I’ve not thought about for months. I wanted to punish everybody by walking away and never seeing them again. That’s how bad this illness is – after a year I’m still capable of feeling this low, this horrible. And so I know that I need the meetings more than ever. Since I’m not working at the moment, I should probably start going to two a day. I know I’m perfectly capable of that, it’s just a case of making sure that I get up in time every day.

The good thing about today is that I’ve been able to have a conversation with my mother about being a year sober. Before I came into recovery we literally never talked about anything, we were almost strangers. I don’t want it to be like that any more, and so for the past few months I’ve tried to tell her how things are going for me. It’s not always the greatest conversation, but she knows more about me now than she ever did, which has got to be positive. She seems glad that I’ve made it to a year. She’s not the most verbose of people, to be honest, so I don’t know exactly how she feels about it, but she must be relieved about it. I wasn’t the same person when I was drinking, I was a monster back then. Not any more.

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4 thoughts on “One year sober!

  1. Congratulations. 12 years for me. I think you’ll find that gradually you will replace the itch with actual living. So much so that you may eventually forget to count the days. That happened to me. At about 10yr 6mo, I realized “Hey, I forgot my 10-yr anniversary!” As for your friend…it’s just too much. There are problems there that you can’t solve, and you can’t afford to be dragged into. It’s possible to love someone and be unable to be around them.
    All the best to you.

  2. Congrats! Don’t worry about A – if anything, his behaviour just goes to show what it can be like for someone whose in their early days of sobriety who thinks the world still revolves around them. He – and you – will get over it.

    Have a great celebration – and ask someone there to give you a hug from me.

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