Alone again, naturally

I’m more upset this evening because, for the second time in a month, my so-called friend P hasn’t invited me to a special occasion that he is celebrating. Tomorrow he will be five years sober, and it seems like I’m the only person in AA who isn’t going to his meal. A few weeks ago he celebrated his belly button birthday, and once again, I wasn’t invited. I’m confused as to why I’m not welcome at these things. I invited him to my birthday meal in July. What have I done to offend him? Clearly it’s something, because everyone I know is going to the meal tomorrow and I was sure I was closer to him than some of those people.

I’m getting resentful when I shouldn’t be. I’m getting hysterical when I shouldn’t be. It’s only a meal, I have no right to automatically expect an invite. I’m being incredibly selfish. He can invite whoever he wants to anything – maybe there’s only space for fifteen people in the restaurant tomorrow, and I’m his 16th closest friend. Maybe he doesn’t feel as close to me as I thought he did. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? It would be petty of me to dwell on this.

But I am dwelling on it, because I’m a fricking alcoholic. I’m fricking angry, and I want to take it out on people. I have taken it out on people. At coffee after tonight’s meeting I was unexpectedly rude to one of P’s sponsees, J, who is part of P’s little ‘clique’ and who I am fast going off because he seems to get invited to everything. I disguised a bitchy remark with humour, but it wouldn’t have come out if I wasn’t angry at him. I was instantly worried that I had offended him and that he would hate me forever, but now I don’t really care how he feels. I actually hope he does hate me now. I’ve spent my life trying to be nice and polite to everyone I come across. If I can put someone down and make the rest of the table laugh once in a while, why shouldn’t I enjoy it?

I’m mostly pissed off because not getting invited to people’s birthdays is a running theme in my life. When I was a kid no one ever helped me to celebrate my birthday, and I never got invited to anything. Then when I turned eighteen and left home, I started getting invited to things, but not nearly enough, and every time I found out that something exciting had taken place without my knowing, I was deeply hurt. Just as I am hurt tonight. I thought I had got over that abandonment thing, but really I haven’t. I feel exactly the way I felt six years ago when my flatmates at University had a big party at the beach and left me behind, on my own. It’s like being forgotten about. How can this be happening to me again?

I really don’t get why P doesn’t consider me a close a friend. I want to speak to my sponsor about this, but he’s going to the bloody meal tomorrow, and I don’t want to make him feel guilty. I wish I could stop feeling so bloody hurt but it’s a deep, old wound. I feel eighteen again: lonely, confused and abandoned. I want to punish everyone by leaving AA and never speaking to them again. I won’t do that, but I’m tempted to change my meetings around so that I don’t have to see that clique any more. I resented P and his friends when I came into AA last year because they all seemed so happy and popular, just like those cool kids at school who never had any trouble getting invited to anything. For quite some time I’ve considered P a great friend, and the resentment hasn’t touched me for months, because I thought I’d actually got to know him. But now I just want him gone from my life. Six years ago when I was in a similar situation at University I sent everyone nasty text messages telling them how much they’d upset me. I behaved rather like A has behaved recently towards me. I’m not going to send anyone a nasty text message tonight, I know it wouldn’t do any good. I know it would probably only hurt me in the long run to punish P quietly by avoiding him and all the others. What can I do? I really don’t feel like getting over this so I can wish him a happy birthday tomorrow and treat him as normal. Why should I do that? I don’t have to do anything for him, just as he didn’t invite me to both his birthdays. I think our friendship is over.

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3 thoughts on “Alone again, naturally

  1. I can’t believe how much you sound like me, or at least how I used to sound. I am almost one year sober (October 8), and I used to care so much about the parties, who was invited, why wasn’t I invited, etc., and instead of acknowledging how hurt I felt, and just SAYING something about it, I lashed out at people who I felt were being mean to me, or lashed out at people who were trying to be NICE to me, but they were the “wrong” people! How f’d up is that?? Sobriety has taught me a lot, and one the the lessons is that you need to acknowledge the hurt and pain – just sit with it and let it wash over you. It comes, and then it goes. Then, examine why you really want to go to that party? To be “seen?” To be “cool?” So that people think you are part of the in crowd? That you have friends? All of those thoughts are about appearances – not about true feelings. And basing your decisions and desires on appearances is a dangerous thing. If you want to go to P’s party because you want to celebrate P, that’s cool. But if you want to go to P’s party to show everyone that you got invited, not cool. Part of the beauty of sobriety is it allows us to look with an unvarnished eye at ourselves, for better or worse. Hopefully in doing that, you will start to like yourself better, and not need other people’s invitations to pump you up.

  2. I can’t believe how much I sound like myself six years ago. The thing is, I’m nearly thirteen months sober and I am just as angry and resentful as I was a year ago. I haven’t felt this way for months, so it must have been a pretty important let-down to bring all of these feelings up from the deep, dark pit where they had resided all year. I don’t think I wanted to go to P’s birthday to look cool. I wanted to be there because I thought I was his friend. I’m really not exaggerating when I say that everyone else HAS been invited. It’s still a mystery to me why I’ve been forgotten about. It doesn’t help that they’re all going on holiday together next week as well, and that they will be going on about how great it was for MONTHS after they get back.

    If you read through recent posts on this blog you’ll notice how well I’ve seemingly been. You’ll see that I really got sobriety, I really understood how resentments don’t help me in the long run. What’s happening to me at the moment scares me because it’s shown me that I’m still very ill, and that I can be in deep denial about it for long periods of time. This illness never goes away – none of us should forget that. It doesn’t matter how sober you are. I could be fifty years sober, I’d still have a fatal and progressive illness. When it’s on me, like it is today, the whole world in front of me is cloudy and I can’t see things in a rational, sober way. I cried myself to sleep last night, for the first time in years, because I couldn’t think of a single person in AA who is a real friend, who’ll be there for me until the end. I felt unsafe, and alone, like I used to when I was a teenager. I wanted a drink to make that feeling go away. How fucked up is that?

  3. Hi J

    I’ve been reading your blog for months now and love the progress you’re making.

    For so long alcohol was the only solution to any crisis and the way we blocked all these painful feelings. Now we have to learn to live with frustration and rage and humilaition (or whichever emotions are our particular betes noires) and that takes time.

    I find it helps to stand back and look hard at the situation itself, not just my reaction. And to look at consequences.

    When you made that bitchy comment to J, the humour didn’t fool him. Nor some of the listeners. And he will talk to P after he goes away feeling puzzled and hurt, and wonder why you are so volatile and unsafe to be around. P may have noticed something like this before.

    Childish behaviour is what we do when we feel childish. When we recall all the cherished grievances of our past and which we believe to be unique to us. And childish behaviour means that others don’t see us as adult but as immature, and they choose to stand back and wait until we’ve grown up a little before they risk getting to know us.

    I’m talking from my own experience here and I could be completely wrong. But you are sending off ambivalent messages, even if you minimise or discount them. The ‘nice and polite’ persona doesn’t fool people. They can detect neediness or anger or contempt or bitchness quite well. As we sober upm our radar for the authentic sharpens up, especially when we look hard at ourselves and recognise what we are doing to undermine ourselves in social situations.

    As I changed and looked at the hard truths about what I was doing in relationship with others and lowered my expectations of what I felt I deserved from others, so life became more comprehensible and more manageable.

    Love

    Mary

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