The past couple of days haven’t been great. It’s been hot, I haven’t been sleeping well and so I haven’t been on top form physically. I keep having stomach problems, an indicator of poor diet that I’ve been unable to do anything about for years. The other day, I tried cooking a proper meal on the stove for the first time in ages, and I thought of it as a success, until later that night when mum came home and told me I’d left the stove on. It had been on without me realising for two hours by that point. I immediately fell into a hole emotionally, panicking about what could have happened if she hadn’t seen the stove burning. It was embarrassing, and since then I’ve had what I can only call an OCD flare up, with the strong conviction that I have to check the oven, all the taps and the locks at least twice before I go out.
My sponsor’s gone to Ireland for another long break this week, so I was on my own at the home group on Tuesday again. Although I know most of the people there really well I still sense a different chemistry in the group when my sponsor’s not there. I often wonder if anyone else feels that way, like it’s not the same group when an important person is absent. I tried my best to be normal, to talk to people and smile, but I had to admit to myself I was only there because of my commitment.
Yesterday was pretty depressing as well. The weather was really nice so I decided to go for a walk to try and get out of my thoughts, but my heart wasn’t really in it. I felt like a teenager again, trapped in depression with nowhere to go. Like the last fifteen years hadn’t happened. This often happens in depressive episodes. When I got to town I randomly bumped into L, a regular from the meetings. He must live around there because I’ve seen him there before. I knew I ought to say ‘hello’ to him but I couldn’t. I really was back to my old self, not acknowledging someone until they acknowledged me. I thought L was going to walk past me and ignore me, but right at the last second he waved and said ‘hello’, and I had to shamefacedly acknowledge him.
In the past I’ve got the impression that L struggles with the same problem as me, because a few times I’ve seen him outside meetings and he’s looked right through me. In those moments I’ve clearly seen him struggling with what to do, whether to acknowledge me or not. We’ve talked about quite personal things before in meetings, and maybe it’s the memory of that vulnerability that’s made him unsure of me later on. Knowing that he might have gone through the same thought processes as me when seeing me in the street didn’t make it easier to accept what happened yesterday. I still went home beating myself up over it.
It had been a while since anything like that had happened to me, and I was shocked by the intensity of my feelings. Since I left the bank I’ve enjoyed quite a stable period, mood wise, and it was disappointing to get so off balance again. For a while I thought about not going to meetings a while, to give L a chance to get over the embarrassment while I stayed at home, safe from vulnerability. I was annoyed with L, and with all of AA, for putting me through this again.
It would be crazy to start avoiding meetings again. I just can’t go down that road of blaming AA for my problems now. I’ve been there before and although it’s easier to blame external things I’ve known for too long that there is only one way of solving this problem. I will keep going to AA as normal and I will keep trying to change my ways – everything I’ve been through has convinced me that it’s the only way.
The charity that offered me a job last week sent me my new contract yesterday along with a link to an online health questionnaire that I had to fill out. The questions focused on my medical history, whether I’d ever had any physical or mental health problems that might impact my ability to work for them. I answered as honestly as I could, including information about the treatment for anxiety that I received a few years ago. I didn’t mention AA or alcoholism because it wouldn’t be relevant. The questionnaire was quite easy and I thought it would just be a quick formality. Once I’d finished I let HR know, expecting them to give me the green light for the job. I was a bit surprised when they said that everything should be fine but they would need to wait for the results of the questionnaire before confirming my role.
I immediately wanted to reply by asking how long it would take, but I didn’t. I realised that I had to let go, I couldn’t control this. Everything would surely still go ahead. It would be really silly for my job offer to be revoked because I was once on antidepressant medication several years ago – my HP wouldn’t do that to me.
I thought I’d hear something from them by the end of the day, but I didn’t. I decided to email them back this morning, as I couldn’t wait any longer. Immediately I got an out of office response from the person who’d been dealing with my case. They’re not back in until next week. I don’t want to wait until next week, but it looks like I’m going to have to. It drives me mad that I’m sat waiting here again, uncertain about the future, all because of some stupid questionnaire and someone’s holiday. Logically I know I’ve got the job, they can’t discriminate against me because I gave honest answers about my history, but until I have that final confirmation I can’t relax. The fact that they said they need to wait for the results of the questionnaire from the external company that runs it means that I can’t relax.
The only thing I can do, as always, is let go. But in spite of all the years of practice I’ve had at letting go, it’s still the hardest thing. I don’t want to fucking let go of this, I want them to tell me I can do the job they offered to me. Shit, it’s not like I’m doing this for an amazing salary. I’ll be starting on a worse salary than what I got from my first job in 2009, and I’ll be working more hours than I did back then. It’s unfair. I had to go through the same thing when I was waiting for the bank to approve my references, and I wasn’t supposed to go through that again. It was supposed to be different this time.
All I can do is let go, which means accepting that I might not have this job in the bag. I’ll be ok if I don’t have this job. There’ll be others. I’ll have to live with that injustice. Surrender to it. I have no power to do anything else right now.