Comfort for the inner child

It’s been a week of focusing on the positives. There were plenty of reasons to feel negative – but we’re trying to get past that at the moment. At work I could have dwelled in anxiety and resentment on Tuesday, when I spent the day in head office and A was a bit standoffish with me, K was tired and disengaged, and one of the managers, J, ignored me again. When I got home that evening mum looked at my waist as if to say “you’ve been growing again,” and I was so disillusioned from the day that I ended up slipping on porn before I went to bed. Afterward I could have chosen to get stuck in toxic anger and fear, but I fought hard not to. I forced myself to look at the positives: I got to spend a day in the type of shiny, modern head office I’d always dreamed of, I was part of an important team meeting there, I got on with my colleagues most of the time, I didn’t fall out with or piss anyone off, I proved helpful to them, and best of all, I didn’t run away from a challenging situation.

I was able to enjoy a few full, satisfying days of work this week in which I could feel useful. I hope there’ll be more. I’m not dreading going back in tomorrow, which is something. There’ll be more tests of my self esteem to come – the difference is I don’t run these days. I just have to keep moving and keep having faith that it will all work out for the best.

I question why those negative things would bother me so much anyway. It’s something to look at. In the depths of fear I see myself as a small child in tears – that’s where the fear really comes from, the past. I’m increasingly aware of this suffering child who needs to be taken care of. I recognise that when I’m feeling fear now, that’s the time to go through it and make myself vulnerable, to come out of my comfort zone, all the time comforting the crying child inside.

*****

On Tuesday it’s my birthday – and I will be at college for most of the day, interviewing for the certificate level counselling course. There’s the usual mixture of feelings: nerves and excitement. I know I know my stuff, I just have to make sure I show them. On the one hand I’ll be pretty surprised if I don’t get a place on the course, my life experience seems so suited to this career path. On the other hand I find it hard to remain convinced that they’ll accept me. I’ve had good encouragement from AA pals this week, which is nice. A was full of tips for the interview, having done it himself before.

I had Thursday booked off work so it’s been a nice few relaxing days. On Friday after the final intro to counselling session they all went out for a farewell meal. There was a weird feeling in the air – I guess it’s marvelling at the unusual sense of closeness that developed between us in the group in such a short space of time. This is just one of the reasons why I want to continue with the training, to experience that again.

It was an emotional meal. Some felt obliged to say that it isn’t the end of something, but the beginning. There was talk of meeting up somewhere on a monthly basis and having a good talk. It’s like they’ve discovered the AA secret. How nice to experience that compassion and empathy with people not in AA. When you spend so long in meetings you can start to think that no one outside would ever get it, would ever want to connect in that way.

After the meal I went to stay with my sponsor in West London as we’d arranged to spend Friday evening + Saturday together. We went to the local meeting that we like over there, and then we returned to his house for a nice meal and a good fellowship chat with another friend from the meeting. We talked about all the important things: friendship and relationships in sobriety, work, mental illness. The next day we went for a walk around Kew Gardens in the December frost. I’d not been there for about fifteen years, it was a beautiful morning.

The more time I spend with my sponsor the more I come across things that I disagree with him on – as a Catholic priest he has some pretty outdated views on things like abortion, transgendered people etc that clash with his liberal and open attitude to gay people. I don’t pick him up on it because I can accept he’s an old man, and just like my mum and P, he won’t change his mind. Given some of these views you’d think he was some angry right wing fogie but he isn’t at all. I still see the rounded, caring person who’s helped me out a great deal this year.

I think I’ve probably spent too much time with him recently, and maybe we need some separation now, for the good of both of us. I don’t want a complete split because I still appreciate all that he’s done for me. I know there will be lots of separation coming up next year anyway, as he has a diary that’s filling up already, and at some point he’s planning to retire to Ireland. So I guess I ought to try and make the most of the time we’ve got now.

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