The strait-jacket

Before I begin, I have to confess that I am not going to sound like a grateful, spiritual member of Alcoholics Anonymous tonight. I’m not even going to sound remotely sane. Unfortunately the negativity has seeped in again and I am resolutely wallowing in it like a child in a bath full of ice cream. I am so sick of feeling like this…even though just a few hours ago I was feeling quite normal, having almost forgotten what anger and depression and anxiety were like. The nature of my illness seems to be that the bad feelings can disappear from time to time – they can even be replaced by really nice feelings sometimes, but in the end they always come back – those fucking sick, negative, hateful feelings. There is no rhyme or reason to why the negativity has chosen to come back tonight. It could have returned at any time, technically, and I am still not on top of it or in control of it. All I ever wanted was to learn how to deal with this anger, this pain – I really thought AA was going to teach me, but it hasn’t, and I am so fucking furious I honestly feel like walking into a pub and drinking.

 I’m sorry to break tradition 11 again, but the story requires it, so here goes. I was in a meeting tonight and everyone was going on about panic attacks. A few brave sharers told of how they resisted the temptation to go on anti-depressants, and how they have beaten anxiety by riding through it bareback. Good for them, I thought. How lucky they are to be able to press a magic button and feel fine again. Whenever someone mentions anti-depressants in AA, the anti-anti-depressant brigade never fails to pipe up. I’ve talked before of the general mistrust and contempt that AA holds towards psychiatry; it bugs me because I know that anti-depressants work. Or do I? It doesn’t help me to feel confident in my decision to take medication when you have people saying that all medication is bad and should be avoided, whether it is prescribed or not. They never go further, but there is a blatant underlying belief in these messages that people who take anti-depressants and so forth are not really sober. So if I’m not really sober, what the fuck am I doing claiming to be 19 months into my sobriety?

 It’s one of those things that hits at my core insecurity. Another thing is when so-called friends in AA go out and socialise without me. Twice this week I’ve heard that a big birthday party is coming up to which I have not been invited. Yes, that old chestnut is clanging again. It has been a big threat to my sobriety at times…for some reason I have a thing about not being invited to people’s birthdays…it doesn’t just wind me up, it hurts me deeply. I wasn’t invited to anyone’s birthday when I was a kid – boo hoo! – maybe in sobriety there’s a really stupid, fucked up part of me that expects to get invited to things. Maybe it would be nice to feel included sometimes. When I’m in this frame of mind, the one I’m in right now, it’s hard to think of anything good that’s ever happened to me, such as being invited to someone’s birthday. The seed of negativity has been sewn, and I’m falling, plummeting into darkness, back into depression.

 I want to drink and I never want to go to AA again. I want to see how people would react, how long it would take before they start calling me to find out if I’m all right. Would it be three days, three weeks, or three months? Would people miss me or would they be glad to see me gone? The way some of them looked at me tonight, after I had ranted about anti-depressants, daring to express my actual my opinion on the subject, you’d think the latter. Actually I almost laughed when the person who was supposed to be doing a chair at a meeting for me this weekend came right up to me afterwards to cancel, claiming that he had double-booked himself. It could not be a coincidence. Is that ‘fellowship’? Or is it just people being twats?

 Oh I know that drinking again just because of how I feel right now would be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. It would be pointless and tacky, and it would hurt no one except me. I would be taking ten steps back, wouldn’t I? The thing is, when I feel like this, I can’t see the good in staying sober either. Neither way forward looks very appealing, drinking or remaining sober. The only slight thing that drinking has in its favour is that it would stop me from feeling this pain within minutes. And that is what I’m thinking about right this minute.

 I just cannot see the point in going to AA any more…and just a day ago I could see it so clearly…how ironic is that? I’m absolutely sick to death of being told by amateurs that I need to stop taking anti-depressants…I’m also sick of seeing the same fricking faces all the time, saying all the same stupid things…I want a change. A big change. I feel strait-jacketed by fear and anger all the time. Even though I was on top of the world last week. The darkness was there underneath the surface, all the fucking time. It will never go away, will it? So what good is AA to me now?

 I want to disappear from the face of the Earth. I’m sure someone would wonder where I’ve gone eventually, and the look on their face when they realise that I’ve been gone for months would be so satisfying to see. More than that, the feeling I’ll experience after a few bottles of wine, when all the pain and fury has gone, would be a wonderful thing…not because I’ve really missed it, but because it would tell me whether I really am an alcoholic or not. I’ve always wondered that, whether I went far enough in my drinking or not. Would one more drink tell me everything that I need to know? Would I then be finally ready to let go and take everything that AA has to offer me? Because today, there are doubts remaining…it’s bothered me throughout my so-called recovery, if I’m really honest.

 I don’t want to hurt or upset anyone…I’m not really a bad person, but I remain constantly aware that something is still wrong with me, and it’s not going away. I haven’t fully given myself over to the program yet, I know that. And I’m not sure if I’m ready to yet. I’ve loved my friends in AA, but did they ever love me? I see other people in the fellowship professing ‘brotherly’ love for each other all the time. No one professes that kind of love for me, ever. Not even my fucking sponsor. I’m still an outsider. No one in AA really knows me properly, despite all the endless sharing I’ve done. I haven’t managed to take that final step yet. Will another drink help me to take it? It would be so easy to drink tomorrow, dangerously easy in fact.

Oh I don’t know…I don’t fucking know…I want to know so badly, it hurts.


2 thoughts on “The strait-jacket

  1. josh, catching up on your blog. i’m sorry things have been so hard. i would notice if you stopped writing. i would miss your strength. i wish you the best and hope you find a piece of happiness to hold on to that makes your struggle worth it. it is worth it. i promise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s