After work yesterday there was yet another forced social gathering, this time in aid of our company’s quarterly business update meeting. Following the usual three hours of powerpoint slides which covered the company’s growth in the last three months, there was a quick quiz where questions about the company were mixed with general knowledge questions. Having been on the winning team twice in the past, I was in high demand, and ended up in a team with the people that I really liked. Over all we came third in this quarter’s quiz: we did well in the popular culture round, thanks to me, but there were some tough geography questions that we just couldn’t get.
After the quiz, as always the alcohol was brought out for a night of fun and debauchery. For once I didn’t force myself to stay. I’d stayed until the end at all the recent gatherings, and at this one I didn’t feel the need. All the other moderate personalities were leaving at the same time as me, and a small group of us had a good chat as we walked back to the train station together. We talked about our place in the company, how far we’d progressed since we got there and what we hoped to achieve in the future. It was a pleasant end to a reasonable evening.
When I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about the people I hadn’t spoken to at the event. I haven’t really stopped worrying about it since I started working for this company, but this week it’s bothered me more than usual. I guess I’m still struggling to get over the general anxiety that hit me after I got the flu earlier this month. It’s not been a great month and most days I’ve felt some degree of concern over my place in the company. Last month I managed to work out that there were four people who might not like me that much. This month it seems more like six or seven. In a company of nearly eighty people, six people sounds pretty insignificant, you’d think. But I can’t stop fretting over what I may or may not have done to offend them so much.
Like with the situation at home, the thought that I might be disliked by certain people at work has stopped me from going to the kitchen where loads of free food is kept for us when we get hungry. I’ve gone hungry on more than one occasion recently. We’re not expected to rely solely on the company’s supply of food for our health – we are allowed to go out and eat anything we want at lunch breaks and so on – but I find that I can’t always hold until lunch for some nutrition. Whenever there happens to be someone that I don’t generally speak to in the kitchen, I can’t go in there. At home I’ve managed to overcome the fear of bumping into Robert by spending more time in the kitchen recently; but at work I’m still to get that sense of strength which makes me put one foot in front of the other when I need to eat.
I’ve been to a few good AA meetings this week and have heard people share about this aspect of the illness, which is wonderful. Listening to people I know and people I don’t know talk about the fear of awkwardness and conflict in the work place, has really helped me out this week. I even brought myself to share in a meeting for the first time in a month on Wednesday. Afterwards I felt the adrenalin rush that always comes after a good share.
Today I bumped into a fellow AA in town, quite out of the blue, and we decided to go to a meeting that neither of us had attended before. I think that sort of thing must be my higher power in action: if I hadn’t bumped into that person I may not have gone to a meeting, and I would have ended up missing the wonderful 75 minutes of fellowship that we eventually experienced. It was a fantastic meeting, opened by a brilliant share coming from a young woman who seemed to have had an identical drinking career to me. We were all hanging off every word. Afterwards there was magic in the room as people shared about recovery, sobriety and getting better at life.
I guess this must mean that I have come out of whatever slump I was going through. What this month has taught me is that the soul can get ‘colds’ in the same way that the body can. I definitely wasn’t feeling right for a few weeks there, but today I know I’ve reached the other side of it. Thinking of the odd period of depression, or whatever you want to call it, as if it’s a common cold is very helpful. It means that I can get on with my life and not worry about the next time I start to feel down. I also know where I need to go to get help with it from now on.