Over the weekend I remembered that there was one amend I had forgotten to make as part of my step 9. There’s this guy called Rohan who I had a brief fling with in London a few years ago. I was drunk when we slept together, and when I realised this I quickly lost interest in him: the usual story. It would have been forgotten about, except that Rohan didn’t want to forget. He texted and messaged me online for months afterward, keen to meet again and pick up where we left it. I resolved to ignore his messages because I was frankly embarrassed that I had ever got involved with him. Rohan was slightly weird, to be honest; one night when we were still seeing each other he sent a text message saying he never wanted to see me again because people “don’t make friends in London, everyone is only out for themselves”. The next day he was hugely apologetic, claiming that he had been drunk when he wrote the text, but it was enough to put doubts into my mind. A few months later I was properly ignoring him, and finally he sent a message telling me to “rot in hell, you arrogant cunt”. My behaviour had clearly upset him enough to warrant the worst name I had ever been called, and I couldn’t help wondering if I really had been that bad. I realised that I had been rather mean to him, ignoring all his previously kind messages and blanking him whenever I saw him in bars on the gay scene. I said nothing, though, as I thought that replying to a message with the c-word in it probably wouldn’t do me any good.
Today, I have a program of recovery and a step 9 to complete. I have been unable to rest all week thinking about this final step 9 candidate, and last night I finally contacted him. He had sent me a friend request on facebook, so I thought maybe he would be a bit more receptive to an apology these days. How wrong I was. My message was as sincere and apologetic as I could make it without grovelling. I apologised for ignoring him for so long and for generally being a shit to him three years ago, though I still wasn’t entirely sure that I had been. I expected nothing back from him – it’s been three years, he lives in Australia now and it’s not like we were ever close friends. His reply this morning was about as unforgiving as you can imagine. He wrote:
“You were and still are a shit, a self centred cunt, and I’m glad I never got drawn into your depressive black hole. I spend my life trying to avoid people like you these days. I wish you no best.”
My instant reaction wasn’t to crave a drink – I simply wondered what I had done to deserve such vitriol. Three years later, and he’s still bitter about such a trivial thing? Did I really treat him that badly? I couldn’t help thinking back over my past behaviour, and for a few moments I thought that maybe I was a bad person after all and I just couldn’t see it. Maybe I really meant to hurt him three years ago – maybe I don’t deserve his or anyone’s forgiveness. In that frame of mind, I naturally began to think that AA could never work for me. If I am such a terrible person, what hope do I have?
Then I started to think that perhaps Rohan was trying to suck me into HIS very own depressive black hole. Maybe his intention all along was to say those things, he was just waiting for me to get in touch so he’d have an excuse. I was a sick person three years ago, but I don’t think I am any more. My apology last night was sincere, I didn’t have to send it. It’s the first time in three years anyone has said anything like that to me – many of my friends today would tell me that I am actually NOT a bad person. Perhaps Rohan is bitter and twisted and just saying things to me that are meant for someone else.
For a while this morning I wanted to respond, to punish him for being so cruel. How dare you play this game with me! I wanted to say. I didn’t have to apologise to you – you clearly have issues if after three years you STILL can’t accept a genuine apology for something so trivial. I think you are a bitter, twisted little person who needs a lot of help. I began to write the message, but eventually I discarded it. What good would it do? It would probably just draw me further into the negativity, and do I really want that? The inner child in me is desperate to retaliate, it feels like I’m being weak by saying nothing. But I wouldn’t be turning the other cheek by retaliating. Surely the healthy thing to do is ignore it and move on. Whether I really was a terrible person or not three years ago, I’m not that person any more. He can continue to hate me – he lives on the other side of the planet, I never have to see or speak to him again.
I was going to find some excuse and not go to the step meeting in Holborn tonight, but I’ve just realised that I need to go and share about this stuff. The inner child wants it to be big and dramatic; it wants me to burst into tears and elicit everyone’s sympathy and hugs. That probably won’t happen, I’ll probably just leave quietly at the end of the meeting like I did last week. But I need to keep going to meetings and sharing. I can’t give up now, though I badly want to. As time passes by the illness gets stronger inside me, making me feel weaker all the time. I really want to give up and stay in bed today, because life is SO tough. Right now I feel alone, being forced to fight for myself, and I’ve never been good at fighting. Last night I dreamt about returning to school once again – this time there were some AA friends there, but all too soon they had left school and abandoned me to look after myself there. In the end one of my old classmates picked a fight with me and I just lay on the floor and took all the kicks and punches, because I didn’t feel like I could defend myself.
It’s the worst dream I’ve had in a long time, and I woke up feeling the same depression and anger that I was experiencing earlier in the month. This problem isn’t going away – life isn’t going away. Everything’s getting tougher and I only have two choices: keep going, or throw my hands up and give in. I don’t really know which choice I want to make any more. When you get a message like the one I got from Rohan this morning, it all starts to seem a bit pointless. We’ll see.