Spring cleaning

On Thursday I went to see an old friend, John, for the first time in months. I’ve known John for a few years: we initially met on an internet site and arranged a ‘date’. Sadly John is a lot older than me and also a rampant sex addict, so it was never going to be a life-affirming romance. We became good friends though and have always had good chats. Last time I saw him his sex addiction was worse than ever. It was all he wanted to talk about. I found it quite triggering, and thought I probably shouldn’t see him again. However when he got in touch recently, I felt bad about having ignored him for so long, and thought he would be worth giving another chance.

It was good to see him again. I love his flat in Stratford, just across the river from the new Olympic stadium. We had a nice dinner and chatted well into the early hours about everything that is going on for us. He’d really changed since I last saw him: he knows he has a problem with sex, and seems like he is on the verge of asking for help. He talked about a young friend who has been struggling with alcoholism, and asked if I might have some advice. I felt safe in outing myself as an alcoholic, and offered to take the friend to an AA meeting. It seemed like the least I could do. John graciously thanked me for my offer, and seemed positive that things were going to get better in his life and that of his friend.

I had a really nice weekend. On Saturday morning I went to Balham to do a chair for a dear AA friend. I hadn’t done a chair in ages, and it was good to have the opportunity to speak at the front of a room again. As soon as I sat down I felt the confidence of sobriety enter me and strengthen me. I became like those happy, confident people I have always watched and envied in meetings. I looked the room in the eye, rather than staring at the floor or the ceiling as I talked. I spoke about my spiritual experience, about the realisation I came to in early sobriety that I needed to do all the things that scared me in order to get better. It was wonderful.

After that I came home and made the decision to have a major tidying out of my room. I bought some black bags at the shop and started filling them with things I didn’t need any more. I’ve de-cluttered a few times over the years, but never with such determination. I put some nice music on and got to work; two hours later, I had eight large bags full of unwanted junk, and a much tidier room. I was immensely proud of my achievement. I think the task was a little spiritual for me, if not a lot.

Work has been good this week, if a little boring. Jan’s away on holiday, meaning I have loads to do. It’s not that there’s too much to do, it’s just that without the company and conversation in the office I seem to find the work quite repetitive and mind-numbing. Outside our little office the rest of the company is always there, but I’m not in the habit of leaving my office to go and chat with people outside. I’m essentially tied to my desk, mainly because I don’t have a laptop like everyone else. I have a nice 23” Mac that I don’t really need. A laptop would suffice for the work I have to do, but since I’ve had a Mac for the past fifteen months they don’t want to replace it. It’s a high class problem, I know – I shouldn’t complain.

I’ve been reading about the six wives of King Henry VIII. Amazingly, it’s a fascinating read. Earlier this year I went on a big book-buying binge, and this was one of the books I ended up with. I hated history at school; after that and until now I was indifferent to it. For some reason I find the stories of these historical figures endlessly intriguing. I guess learning that they were human, with faults just like us, is reassuring.


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