In the end yesterday turned out to be a waste of time. We all arrived at the court as instructed at 9.30, only to be made to wait around for three hours while they (whoever is in charge of these things) decided whether there was time to deal with our case or not. There is no system to who gets dealt with in a magistrate’s court on any given day: apparently you just turn up and with any luck you will be seen. After three hours of waiting in a crampy little witness room we were called to court where we were briefly told that the case was to be adjourned yet again until November, because there just wasn’t the space and time for the whole hearing yesterday. Everyone was exceptionally miffed by this outcome – my sponsor Rob had had to take the day off work during one of the busiest times of year for his craft. So this will continue to hang over us for another two months. In a way it should have been a relief not to have to testify yesterday, as part of me really didn’t feel ready, but I know I’m probably never going to feel ready.
It was a very surreal experience, a bit like being in one of those courtroom dramas on TV. Appearing in court was not one of the things I foresaw for myself at the start of recovery. Seeing Ben again was perhaps the weirdest part of the whole experience. I’d like to say he looks much better now than he did a year ago, but yesterday he looked neither well nor unwell. He silently stared at me for most of the time that we were in the same room as each other. It was a cold, dead stare; his illness has drained all the personality out of him. I felt very sad for him yesterday, as did Rob. Everyone knows that no good is going to come out of this court hearing when it finally happens. The most we might expect is financial compensation for our trouble, which neither of us wants. I was terrified of seeing Ben again, in the way that I might be terrified to see one of my school bullies again. What Ben did to me last year was undoubtedly bullying, but it wasn’t done in a calculated way, he was (and is) just a very sick person. I think he is at least suffering from bipolar disorder or something similar. And he is not getting any help for it. I would feel as bad about taking one of the people who used to bully me at school to court as I do about Ben. It wouldn’t serve any purpose now, all these years later. But we have to go through with it because Ben has pushed this as far as he possibly can. He refused to cooperate with police when he was arrested last year, and he has constantly denied that any assault took place.
When we left the court yesterday afternoon it was chucking down with rain. Luckily I only live ten minutes up the road from the local magistrate’s, though I still got soaked through to the skin and ended up stripping off and lying on the sofa for the rest of the day to recover. In the evening I went to my home group, not expecting to enjoy it much after the day I’d had. It was as busy as ever, full of a surprising amount of attractive young men who I couldn’t take my eyes off. Afterwards a big group of us braved the rain and went down the road for coffee. I astonished myself by managing to speak to some of the group’s newcomers who had so far scared me quite a lot. It was a lovely hour, as we spoke about all the things that we have in common, such as facebook addiction and fear of intimacy. I loved being there last night. Maybe I’ve actually managed to make a few new friends for once. I could easily have gone home after the meeting and avoided the whole thing. It would have saved me some much needed cash. But sometimes I think that spending the money is necessary. I might be broke for a very long time, but the fact is that I get an awful lot out of sitting in coffee houses with fellow recovering alcoholics. Nowhere else can I make friends with like minded people. It’s not so easy befriending people in the meeting room, where everyone is busy just trying to get their cups of tea and find a seat. For the first time in months I guess I like my home group again. This problem I have with speaking to new people has bugged me forever. At my home group it is especially pronounced at the moment. Until yesterday I wondered whether I would ever learn to just say ‘hello’ to everyone I see regardless of whether I know them or not. Last night by some miracle I managed to approach people who I had avoided for weeks, and the rest is history.