Two steps back

I’m fourteen months sober but I really feel like I’m three days sober. In my head I’ve gone back to being a newcomer, because I am just as resentful and fearful of people as I was a year ago. I have allowed myself to get carried away with this resentment towards S and J, and I can’t stop it now. It’s taking me to dark places, to thoughts of drinking, almost all the time. Tonight they were both at the meeting, of course, and I hated them. I was a ball of anxiety throughout the hour and a half, and it became so painful that once all the newcomers had had the chance to share my mouth burst open, I was ready to explode. I didn’t mention the resentment but I talked about the anxiety, the over-sensitivity, the self-obsession and the constant merry-go-round of negative moods. I said that I feel as if every time I make a step forward with my problems, I take two steps back. I talked about the horrific drinking dream which I’d had the other night, the one that scared me so much because it seemed so real. At the end I mentioned something positive about my day: I finally joined my local library, after years of procrastinating about it. So I no longer have to pay when I want to read a book. I’m really glad to have access to free reading material again, but I’m not glad that going to my home group tonight caused me to nearly have an emotional breakdown. Matters were made worse by the arrival of J, the man who sent me several threatening text messages last year after a disagreement over a shared commitment. He’s a sick, frightening person who I never wanted to see again. He appears to be back in the program, which is great for him but not for me. I don’t feel good when I’m around him. It takes me back to my school days, where I felt threatened by everyone. P, the man who has tried and failed for years to get sober, also turned up tonight, causing the usual trouble. I was so on edge the whole time, I have never wanted to be anywhere less. When it was all over at 9 o’clock I rushed home, not in the least bit tempted to go for coffee. What I had shared about seemed to go down well, as several people told me just before I left. Even P approached me to say it had been nice to hear me. It was good of them to be supportive like that. I just wish I could have believed in the positivity that I shared at the end. I have a habit of ending shares with phrases like: “everything’s going to be OK.” Normally that seems true, but tonight it doesn’t.

I’m closer to a drink than I was even yesterday. On the bus home I felt like crying the whole way, and I began planning a relapse in my head. I thought about how nice it would be to go to a gay club and drink beer, meet a sexy man and be irresponsible. That would be so easy. But I would hate myself in the morning, I’m so clear about that. It wouldn’t make me feel better in the long run. It would make everything worse, because I’d have to keep doing it again and again, and the blackouts would undoubtedly get me into so much trouble, and before I know it I would be a hopeless, lost soul like I was last year.

Bad times with me pass like bad weather. I’ll probably feel better by the end of the week. And then something else will happen next week and I’ll feel shit again. This is a painfully familiar pattern in my life. I’m able to detach from it a bit and be objective about it because I’ve done step 4 in AA, I know exactly how my illness functions. The slogan of the weekend’s AA convention was ‘acceptance is the key’, therefore I guess I ought to accept that things really will be OK, no matter how I feel. All my problems are simply the result of uncontrollable emotions. I can’t stop myself from getting angry and scared and hurt and upset, but I can write and share about it, and people out there DO understand. Tonight on the bus I wished for someone from the meeting to get on and see me in that state, so that I could be rescued. Of course no one got on, so I had to deal with the pain alone. I could so easily have called someone and asked for help, but did I heck?! It’s not in my nature to ask for help, I’m a fucking alcoholic!

I’m an adult now, I’m over a year sober and it’s time for me to change my own life. This pattern of fear followed by free-floating anxiety followed by resentment and isolation has become so old, and I’m really sick of it. My sponsor gets back from holiday next week. We’ll have to do a thorough step 5, as soon as possible. God, to think how much worse this would have been if I’d drunk tonight!

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