Integration

The sun is shining brightly, the first signs of spring are possibly here, though it’s still bloody cold outside. I feel good. It’s been an interesting week. After my latest emotional crisis on Tuesday, the old spiritual malady seems to have settled down a bit, and I’m getting on with things once again. Tempers at work continued to be short for most of the week, but not on my part. Melanie and Kat had a major falling out on Thursday, all of it done in a hideously passive aggressive way with hardly any words spoken; I stayed out of it. On Friday Melanie announced that she was leaving the department to move somewhere else. She certainly kept that quiet. She says it will be a good professional move for her; I think working with us has possibly taken its toll, and she needs a break. I’ll miss her, even though she’ll still be in the same building as us. From Monday onwards we will all have a different boss, someone new to get used to and curry favour with. I guess there’ll be no more Saturday night trips to the gay scene with the boss. Oh well.

We’ll also be moving to the other side of the office, where there is more room for us. Major changes are taking place, then. A few months ago I would have been panicking. Today I think I can just about handle it. The new boss is by all accounts a very nice person, and it will probably be better for us in the long run not having someone so temperamental running things. Much as I love Melanie, she can be incredibly draining sometimes.

My life is just about where I want it to be today, except for a few small issues. In spite of last weekend’s great progress with the flatmates, I have spent most of the week avoiding them, just because I haven’t been in the mood for the small talk. Actually with Ethan it’s less small talk and more like pseudo-therapy, but I’ve much preferred being in my own company this week nonetheless. Things aren’t becoming difficult yet, so I’m not hugely worried about it. I still think I’d be happier living on my own, but I know that’s not going to happen for a very long time. A year ago I wouldn’t have thought of living with friends in Waterloo as at all possible, but here I am.

Is it rude to avoid people sometimes? Most nights this week Robert and Jamie have been down there, watching TV at full volume, eating each other’s food and bonding while I’ve stayed up here watching my own TV. I guess there’s a possibility that we could eventually drift apart at this rate. They might stop inviting me to things; Ethan might start shutting his door when I’m here, so that they can talk about me without me knowing. I have no evidence to support that possibility, other than the fact it happened with everyone I lived with before. Ethan and Robert are both in recovery like me, so I hope they can understand the idea that I just need my own space. The fact is that I’m much more comfortable in one-to-one situations than I am in groups. I’ve always been like that, since I was born. When Ethan and I are here alone I can sit with him for hours, taking the place of his therapist as that seems to be what he needs at the moment. When the flat is full of Ethan and Robert’s friends I don’t like it, just like I didn’t like it when mum had friends over when I was a kid. It made me feel threatened somehow.

I do enough cleaning round here to ensure that they can’t accuse me of being a bad flatmate. I never make any noise, I pay the bills on time, I even buy the milk when it runs out. OK, my motives for doing those things may be coming from a place of insecurity, rather than a natural aptitude for being helpful. When I left Norwich three years ago it was under a huge cloud of shame due to the fact I had spent the past three years being a terrible housemate. I don’t want that to happen again. At the moment I seem to be ticking all the boxes except the one dealing with the social side of things. When I threw myself into that game of Trivial Pursuit last weekend I thought things had really changed, but of course that level of integration needs constant maintenance. Most of the time, I just don’t have the energy to maintain it.

I completed the first bit of step one with my new sponsor last night, the bit where I have to draw up my inner, middle and outer circles. I’ve known what my inner circle behaviours should be for quite some time, so that part of the exercise wasn’t exactly hard. Here’s what I will be trying to avoid from now on: any form of pornography, compulsive (daily) masturbation, unsafe sex, anonymous sex with anyone I don’t know, like or trust, fantasy, intrigue (staring at men in the street), and binge eating (especially chocolate). It may seem like a lot to those who don’t know anything about Sex Addicts Anonymous, but I’ve somehow managed to avoid most of those behaviours for quite a while now, so it’s not completely impossible. The ones I’ve really struggled with this year have been staring at men in the street, and binge eating, They’re both just quick fixes for the inner loneliness, they don’t serve me in any way; in the long run they are very damaging. I look forward to watching them slip away as I progress through the steps.

I was tempted to put social anorexia in my inner circle as well, but in the end decided against it as you can’t always avoid anorexia. Sometimes I really do need to be on my own; it would be impossible to measure when I’m being anorexic and when I’m being good to myself. The outer circle behaviours are where I really need to address that stuff. Dating, making friends, going to meetings, being good to myself are all written in big capital letters on my outer circle. The thought of adhering to all that stuff for the rest of my life is quite scary. That’s why I have to take it one day at a time, as I have to take everything now. It won’t work otherwise.

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