Not a happy alcoholic tonight. The day started off badly when I managed to sleep in until 4pm, for the first time in about a month. I was doing really well with getting up in the mornings until last week, when the sleepiness started creeping up on me again, as I knew it would. Like the illness, this habit I have of ignoring the alarm when it goes off is insidious, telling me I can afford another five hours in bed when I really can’t. After I’d finally got out of bed I decided to put the rest of the evening to as much use as I could, first going to the launderette to do some much needed washing before heading to the step meeting in Holborn where I used to make the tea. I hadn’t been to that meeting in months and I never wanted to go again – being forced to make the tea there every week for a year really put me off it. I only went today because I knew my sponsor would be there, and I kind of thought it might be good to challenge myself and see if I could get through the hour without a single resentment.
Of course I couldn’t. When I left with my sponsor at 8.30 I was glad to get out of the room. All of the clique that I’d come to resent so much during my year of tea-making were there; three months of being away from them hadn’t made any difference. It’s not just the clique that I dislike about the meeting, it’s the sharing; no one ever shares about the steps, so I don’t know why they bother to call it a step meeting. At 8.30 my sponsor and his partner were heading into Soho for dinner, and I was happy to be invited along. They had these vouchers for a burger restaurant which seemed to offer a good discount, so I thought I wasn’t going to spend anything. Unfortunately when we got to the restaurant and ordered our food it turned out that the vouchers only enabled us to buy any meal for a set price, which I could not afford. By that time I’d ordered my food and had to ask my friends for money, a request which made my skin crawl. I have never liked asking for money; I think it’s a vile thing to do. I subsidised the price of the meal as much as I could, meaning that I managed to spend all the money I had left on my bank account, so now I have nothing left until next week when my benefits come through. Just great.
With the embarrassment of having to ask for money and the knowledge that I have £0 to live on until next Tuesday, I was hardly able to enjoy the food when it finally came to the table. My sponsor’s partner Clive tried to include me in the conversation a few times, but I just wanted to shrivel up and die. He seemed to notice that I was going into one of my ‘isolate’ moods and decided to push me harder for conversation. Clive has never been one of my favourite people in AA – he is camp and loud and nearly everything he talks about is sexual in nature – but he knows me well. My sponsor meanwhile didn’t seem to notice that I’d gone quiet. Or perhaps he did notice but felt too awkward to say anything. He’s just like me – whenever I sense awkwardness in anyone it just leaves me cold.
I rushed the food down just so I could get out of the restaurant as quickly as possible. As I walked home I agreed with myself that I’d never go for another meal with anyone until I have a job. I cannot afford to eat out in fancy restaurants any more, it costs me far more that it’s worth. If someone offers to pay for me then fine, but in most cases I can’t expect them to do that. I’ll just have to live on the cheap £1 ready meals that they sell in the supermarket across the road from now on. I’ve done it before. I’m going to keep a daily spending diary from now on as well. I’ve worked out that if I can keep spending down to £10 a day, I should be fine. That way I save about £10 a week and the holiday that I have planned for the summer should be able to go ahead. Planning a holiday is as good a reason as any for me to try and live on a budget now. At least it’s something real to look forward to, something that will be good for me.
God I’m sick of living like this. But I have no choice. Either I put myself through the misery of getting a job or I stick to £10 a day. This is real life, this is the world I live in. In an ideal world I suppose there would be no such thing as banks and overdraft charges. I accept that this is not an ideal world. I accept that this is the way things are, and I accept that I have to live with it. At least I’m sober, at least I have my creativity and my serenity.