I went to the big meeting in the centre of town tonight. First time in about two months. I felt I had to go. Having shared all about my misery at work there earlier in the year, I was curious to see whether I could announce to the meeting that I’d quit my job and was about to live my dreams on a tour of Europe. Regulars to the meeting would surely be happy for me. When I’ve shared about the job in the past I’ve had supportive words from them, and when I’ve seen them later on they’ve asked me when I’m going to quit the job.
I got to the meeting and the usual thing happened. Didn’t talk to anyone, sat in the middle far away from everyone I might know, listened to the sharing, wanted to share back but couldn’t. God, it’s so irritating! As usual there were so many things I could have said, but the thing that happens is that when I’m about to open my mouth I don’t know what order I want to say it in, or what I should edit out, and I get confused and nervous and someone else manages to jump in in front of me.
I knew the person giving the chair last night. He’s one of AA’s famous old-timers, practically a living legend, a showman with a dark and funny back story that you’d pay to listen to if he was on stage. I’ve chatted to him in the past and he’s always been kind, but I couldn’t chat to him last night. When he looked at me and tried to wave I had to look away. He’s part of that group of people that I lost touch with and who I assumed didn’t want to speak to me any more. Even though he was making an effort last night to engage with me, I couldn’t change my prior assumptions. Had it been someone else giving the chair, someone I didn’t know, maybe I’d have been able to talk, but because it was him, I couldn’t risk engaging, just in case of rejection.
That’s the tragedy of this meeting for me. I know so many faces there, so many of them could have been life long friends, but every time I go I’m pushing them away. It doesn’t happen to me in any other situation. For God’s sake, I’ve managed to make dozens of friends in an office in Bulgaria! I can go there and start chatting to people the moment I walk in. In AA, it’s like being at school. I assume that no one wants to talk to me and no one goes out of their way to prove me wrong. I honestly don’t know why it’s become like that!
I can only hope it will be different at the new meetings I attend in Europe and in the northern city when I move there. It probably will be different. I’ll have made a clean break, I won’t know anyone there, won’t have awkward back stories with anyone to make me feel awkward. Once I’ve gone, won’t it be sad to know I couldn’t reconnect with this meeting one last time. I’ve only got a few more weeks – it would be nice to think that I can pull some miracle out of the bag in that time and say a proper goodbye to the meeting, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen now.