On Saturday I worked on the helpdesk for a few hours, and it wasn’t too bad. At work they need the extra helpdesk cover in the build up to Christmas, and I thought I could do with some extra cash to top up my salary. A year ago when I started there, helpdesk cover was the last thing I ever wanted to do, which is why it was such a relief when Melanie whisked me away from the telephone helpdesk job that I originally applied for. A year later, I seem to know just enough about the product to be able to answer most of the calls that the helpdesk receives. When I got up on Saturday I can’t say I was exactly looking forward to six hours of it, but at least I wouldn’t be alone. For the first time in my life, I would be paid for working on a Saturday. In the past any work I’ve done at the weekend has been unpaid, and not much fun. Six hours of taking calls from flustered Christmas shoppers after the best retail discounts might not be the most exciting thing I ever do, but there was a certain buzz to be had from it. I guess if the pay wasn’t so good I wouldn’t do it, but at least it’s more experience to add to the CV.

Deciding that I deserved a treat, I strolled to Oxford Street yesterday to buy some new shoes. The pair I ended up getting was the nicest pair of shoes I’ve ever owned, not cheap but certainly affordable in my current job. I wore the shoes today and felt smarter than I’ve ever felt, for a while. They’re the kind of shoes that any smart high-flying boy in the city would wear. I would have been completely at home anywhere in central London: they’re not the kind of shoes worn by the poor council estate kid I used to be. Today should have been a great day, but in the end it wasn’t. Maybe I’m more prone to depression thannormal at the moment because I’m trying to give up masturbation, but after the novelty of the new shoes had worn off I seemed to become hypersensitive to the negative behaviours of some of my colleagues. It’s not as bad as it used to be, a year ago when I really felt that everyone hated me. But in the space of a year I haven’t quite gotten over the feeling that there are some people who will never like me. When someone failed to say ‘hello’ to me in the kitchen at lunch time, it was almost enough to set me off crying. I couldn’t get it out of my head that I had done something to offend this person, though in reality you couldn’t name one thing that I’ve ever done to them. By the end of the day I was convinced that at least three people hated my guts, and I came home as depressed as I had been all year.

I should have gone straight to a meeting, or I should have phoned my sponsor, but I couldn’t be bothered. I came straight home to write about it because I’m so tired, I didn’t know if I’d be able to stay awake in any AA meetings. Also I didn’t love the idea of talking to people about my feelings. After all this time it still seems tiresome, when I’m feeling low, to have to explain what I’m going through to people who might not have any idea. So I just came home, and here I am, praying that I don’t act out later. I’m sure it must be a result of the withdrawal which I began to experience last weekend, when I’d gone eleven days without anything and ended up nearly suicidal. Today it’s been seven days since the last ‘slip’, and I guess I’m getting to the point once again where the God-shaped hole is becoming tangible. What will I do? Will I call my sponsor like a good boy and let it all out? Will I go to the shop and buy loads of cookies to stuff the hole with? Or will I bring this latest week of clean time to an end by using porn, like I really want to?

Just like last week, this is the reality of addiction, which no pair of pretty shoes can change. Yeah, at least I know what it is. At least I know that when I feel like everyone wants me dead it’s just my illness talking. Tomorrow when I go into work I probably won’t care if someone ignores me in the kitchen, because it will be a new day with a new set of perceptions, thoughts and feelings. Right now, I’m at my lowest because the hole in the soul isn’t being filled with the usual addictive distractions.


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