I received my first pay cheque on Monday morning. An exciting event in my life, naturally. I’ve received pay cheques before – not for a very long time, and none have ever been that big. Immediately I was able to buy myself a monthly travelcard that will cover all my travel across London until the New Year. It’s actually amazing: no longer do I have to save up pennies to pay for the odd bus journey, walk across London the rest of the time. At the step 11 meeting the other night the person doing the chair talked about walking across London to meetings all the time in her early days. Already I’d forgotten how I used to walk to meetings nearly every day for the first couple of years of my recovery. I quite enjoyed the walking – I got to see London properly for the first time in my life. Now I don’t have to do that any more; I’m not sure I’ll miss it. In the winter at least, being able to access the warmth and shelter of a train carriage every evening is very nice. The best thing is that I paid for the travelcard with my own money, with cash that I had earned for many hours of hard work.

Next weekend I’ll be moving to Waterloo. I’m starting to think of things that are now happening for the last time: never again will I shop at the supermarket on Holloway Road, buy my travelcard at the tube station here, get the no.29 bus from central London at midnight, sign on at the local job centre. Last time I thought of things in that way I was getting ready to leave home for the first time in 2001. Back then I had no idea if I wanted the move to be permanent. Today I’m absolutely sure that I never want to live on Holloway Road again. It’s a terrible place to live, in that it is completely soulless. Nowhere else in London lacks life and character in the way that Lower Holloway does. One side of the street consists of chain supermarkets, the other side consists of dirty public houses full of old Irish men. For twenty-seven years I’ve had to look at the same view of the same rowdy pub from my bedroom window. Next week I’ll be looking at the London Eye when I get up in the morning.

My permanent departure could be something that my mother finds much harder to deal with than I do. I’ve long since accepted that our relationship is better when we live apart, I don’t know if she feels the same. I’ve talked here at length in the past about how she has no life outside of work and sitting in front of the TV at home (I will NOT miss the television when I move to Waterloo – I’m planning not to have one when I go there!) Of course she’ll miss me, I’m the only company she has at home. I have to go, but I’m still worried about how she’ll be after next weekend. Whether she’ll be able to find some peace without me. I think if she can manage to move away from Holloway Road it will do her a lot of good. She’s often said that she likes the idea of living outside London. I think perhaps she’d be happier out there. Somewhere quieter, nicer, less hard.

Ethan has found someone to fill the third room in our house: a friend from SLAA who, coincidentally, once sponsored him. Luckily they’re not sponsor/sponsee any more – I can’t think of anything healthy about living with one’s sponsor. I don’t know this person at all, but I hear he’s got amazing recovery. So I’m moving from a home life where there has been potentially toxic codependency to a home that could be like a meeting 24 hours a day. Great! I’m actually dying to see what it’s going to be like. I already know it’s going to be interesting. I like interesting things.

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