Immediately after I finished writing yesterday morning I went downstairs, ready to head out for another day in the rat race, when I bumped into Ethan, who was not feeling too good. He has been unemployed for several months and the situation is really getting him down. He said all the things I used to say when I was in his position: I’ll never get a job, I’m not good enough, I don’t have what it takes, what’s the use in carrying on? It was hard to know what to say to him, as when I was unemployed I hated hearing all the usual platitudes such as: it’ll be all right, things will change eventually, you will get a job. The only thing which kept me going during my long period out of work was the very weak belief that God would take care of me no matter what. It was incredibly hard to hold onto that belief sometimes; right now Ethan is finding it just about as hard as anyone could.

I really feel for him and I hope more than anything that his situation improves soon. Not just because it is hard living with someone who’s been out of work for so long: it’s truly upsetting to see someone so talented and deserving going through that. A few months ago I didn’t believe I would ever get a permanent job, yet now look where I am, so I know things WILL change for Ethan, it’s just a question of when. It could be tomorrow, it could be next year, and that’s the hardest thing about being unemployed. The not knowing how long it will drag on for.

Our chat yesterday inadvertently served as the great reminder that I needed of how lucky I really am. I have a job, one that is moderately interesting and reasonably paid. I have a roof over my head, food in the fridge and a mostly comfortable existence. Every day I wake up and I only have to look out the window at that amazing view of London to be at least reminded how much has changed for me in recovery. I hope I never have to be unemployed again.

Work was OK yesterday. I chatted to a few people, whilst completing all of my tasks in very good time yet again. Work certainly isn’t a drag to go into any more. I guess there will always be days like Wednesday when I don’t really know what I’m doing there. But I have to remember all the time that it will be OK, I am there for a reason.

Today is pay day, and the first thing I’ve done is book a return flight to New York for next month, when I have some annual leave. What a nightmare the booking process is! Firstly I tried to book through – everything seemed to go through fine, all my account details were taken and payment was even withdrawn from my bank account. But at the very last stage of booking an error page appeared, announcing that the flight I wanted was no longer available. How come I had been charged £300 for the ticket then?

Keeping my wits about me I got straight on the phone to Expedia to claim a refund, all the while dreading that this was some kind of sign. I’m not meant to go to New York, I thought. God doesn’t want this for me. Luckily I didn’t have to wait long to speak to someone at Expedia and an immediate refund was arranged. It was however a very annoying and stressful experience, having £300 taken from my account for a ticket that I couldn’t use. A few years ago I would have been hopelessly panicked, unable to even pick up the phone. At least now I know what to do when these things happen, though I wish to God they wouldn’t happen to me.

After that I was still determined to book my flight to New York, so I looked at other tour operator websites and eventually settled for a cheap ticket with Kuwait Airways. I’d never heard of them before – I had to do some research about them just to reassure myself – their prices are unbelievably reasonable and by all accounts it’s a cheap but cheerful way of flying across the Atlantic.

After that I was alarmed to discover I’d have to go through an online application process for a Visa Waiver in order to be granted access to the US. I was mildly irritated to have to answer a series of personal questions, including one about addiction. Am I a drug addict? I answered ‘no’, of course – I never did illegal drugs, and I’m not going to let a history of alcoholism stop me from achieving a dream.

After answering all the questions I eventually gained authorization, only to discover that I still have to get past the customs officials at JFK Airport when I arrive there. Do they want people to come to America or not?!

It’s been a testing experience, that’s for sure. Everything I seem to want in life always comes at a price. I went through hell to get my job; I’ve had to wait four months before being able to afford flights to the city I’ve dreamed of visiting for years. Now that I’ve paid for the tickets I have hardly any money left for the rest of the month. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. I will live. I might not be able to buy any clothes or books or DVDs, but I will live. AND I’M GOING TO NEW YORK!!! How cool is that? A year ago I couldn’t even afford to travel across the UK.


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