Fourteen months sober

Unbelievably it has been two whole months since my first sober anniversary. I can’t believe those two months have just gone. This time last year, when I was waiting to get to two months sober, every day seemed to pass so slowly, and that two month milestone seemed amazing. Today I think my fourteen month anniversary may pass by unnoticed, but that’s OK. I’m still getting over twelve months sober.

Last night I returned from the west coast of England where I attended a national AA convention with C and our friend from the North, who we met up in Stockholm earlier in the summer. Being three of only a few Brits at the Stockholm convention, we bonded instantly there and have met up a few times since in the UK. On Friday we met up in the seaside town of Weston Super Mare, settling into our accomodation before heading to the first of a weekend full of speaker meetings. It was much like the Isle of Wight convention that I went to with C earlier in the year. There was a huge convention room filled with people and several speakers sat at a table on a stage at the front, with a podium to the left where each speaker took turns to share their story. As with all major conventions, the speaking was rather polished and dramatic, and I enjoyed it from the start. The stories that you hear at AA conventions are always extra special, plus you get to clap at conventions, which adds to the fun of it all. I’ve been to five conventions this year, and I don’t intend to stop there!

I realised quite early on that my feelings for our northern friend had become slightly more than friendly. I knew I liked him in Stockholm, but I did nothing about it because he was three months sober at the time and I expected the crush to die off quickly, as they usually do. Unfortunately the crush hadn’t died yet, and I spent most of the weekend thinking of how I was going to ask him out. We were sharing a room and Friday night was agony for me; I could hardly sleep with him just yards away. I dozed off eventually, but the feelings hadn’t passed by Saturday, and I finally resolved to tell him that night, our final night there. We were planning to go out dancing; it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Saturday was a lovely day. After the morning meeting we went out for a long drive in the country. The weather was gorgeous, possibly the best we’d had all year. The clouds held off all day, and I felt like a child again, in the back seat of the car being taken to places I’d never seen before. It really was beautiful, and I know we all felt spiritually nourished by it. That evening we returned to the convention. After another large speaker meeting, it was time to get ready for the evening dance. It took some convincing to get anyone to agree to come with me. C was determined to stay at the chalet on his own; he’s 60 years old and says he’s never danced in his life. It was the same at the Isle of Wight, so I wasn’t surprised by his decision. I was just glad that I had one person to go with.

I danced with my crush for a little while, but it was hardly amazing. I saw all the big groups of friends enjoying themselves on the dancefloor, and I felt that old left out feeling, because I was with just one person while everyone else seemed to be in groups of ten or fifteen. I thought about approaching people to try and make new friends, but people weren’t mingling, they were just sticking to their cliques. You’d think people came to AA conventions to make new friends, but most don’t. I guess we’re all as shy as each other, regardless of how sober we may be.

At 10pm my friend wanted to go back to the chalet. I was instantly disheartened. I’d have to remain on my own if I wanted to enjoy the rest of the dance. There was no way of convincing him to stay. I stayed on my own for half an hour, after which I felt bored and depressed. I decided to return to the chalet, thinking at least I’d have a late night chat with them to look forward to. When I got back, I found my crush packing his bags. He had decided to go home one night early. He said that he wanted Sunday to himself. Under normal circumstances I’d understand this decision. Sometimes we just want to be by ourselves. I guess the thought of another day at the convention was too much for him. Of course there was no changing his mind. Within minutes he had packed and disappeared, and it was just me and C. I couldn’t help wondering what I’d done to upset the friend. I was sure there must be something. You don’t just leave a convention that you’ve paid to attend a day early for no reason.

Sunday, the final day of the convention, passed by quickly and uneventfully. There was a small gay meeting where we managed to chat to a few people and familiarize ourselves with some faces. It was nice to be at a gay meeting again. Most of the sharing focused on sexuality and the problems that it has presented us with. There’s a camaraderie in gay AA meetings that you don’t really get in the straight groups. I suppose we naturally prefer to be with our own people, at the end of the day.

C and I returned home that night fairly exhausted. It had been a nice weekend, but not nice enough for me. I was virtually devastated by our friend’s sudden departure. I had planned to tell him about my feelings on Saturday night – it was supposed to be so nice. Well, if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans, which is what I did. God obviously didn’t think it was the right thing for me to ask the guy out. Since coming home I’ve had to resist the urge to e-mail him and tell him everything. I could easily do that, but I know it would be old, unhealthy behaviour resurfacing. By wallowing in this obsession I might as well be seventeen years old again, needy and desperate. My heartache over his departure is clearly not normal: it is the unfortunate symptom of my co-dependency, which has never gone away. If I simply liked him in a normal way, I wouldn’t have been kept awake by my pounding heart on Friday night, and I wouldn’t have been close to tears on Saturday night when he walked out. My history of abandonment and rejection caused me to feel that old hurt on Saturday. So for once, I’ve decided not to do anything. I’m going to leave him alone, because I don’t want to put the pressure on him that my feelings would inevitably cause. He doesn’t deserve it. I’ve been here before in recovery. Six months ago I asked another newcomer out because I thought I was falling in love with them; they didn’t feel the same way and it practically broke our friendship apart. I don’t want that to happen with this one. If we are meant to be with each other, it will happen in the end. I can’t force it to happen.

The truth is that I keep falling for newcomers – I spotted this problem with my previous sponsor. I can’t believe it’s still happening. It’s like my heart is determined to get trampled on. Every time I fall for a newcomer I might as well be falling for some completely unobtainable heterosexual man, because you can’t touch newcomers in AA. It would be taking advantage. Luckily I know better now, and having realised all of this, I do feel better.

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