Shaky ground

Someone got out the wrong side of bed today. It hasn’t been a good week so far. I don’t know if I’m pissed off today because a lot of genuinely annoying things have happened, or because I’m on week 4 four of my diet, I’m getting constant cravings for sugar and I haven’t lost any weight yet.

It was a busy day at work yesterday and I was extra sensitive to people’s reactions to me, like I sometimes am when I have a lot on. My boss’s boss asked me to do a big task, halfway through the day when I was busy with other stuff, then left me to it while he got on with his own stuff. In the course of the work I needed to ask a few questions, so I went back and forth to his office, feeling like more of a nuisance as time went on. At the end of the day when I was leaving I wanted to update him on what I’d achieved; his door was wide open but he was in a meeting with his boss at that point, and I felt like I was properly disturbing him. The look on his face nearly sent me home in tears. “Go home, you silly boy!” I thought he was saying.

The last thing I wanted to do was go to and take my home group meeting, but my commitment meant that I had to. I’ve been taking the meeting for the past eight weeks and I haven’t learnt to enjoy it yet. Every week it feels like a chore, and I’m just waiting for someone to pick me up on reading the script wrong, or not sourcing good chairs, or not setting the meeting up in the right way. Yesterday I had my sponsor booked to do the chair, and all week he had been telling me how nervous he was, because in nearly twelve years of recovery he’s never done a chair. He likes to do service “in a different way”, he’s always said. I had persuaded him to do the chair here with nice words and gentle encouragement. However by yesterday evening I had a strong suspicion he was going to pull out. He’d called me in the day to tell me he had a lot on with moving house and he was feeling ill. He was still going to do the chair, he said, but he asked if I had a back up just in case. It was the last thing I needed to hear. My biggest problem with the commitment is finding chairs – when people say “no” it’s stressful enough. When people say “yes” and then pull out it’s even worse because you have to find someone to stand in at the last minute, and no one wants to be asked at the last minute.

Already feeling anxious from the hard day at work, I went to the meeting shaking with panic. I expected to receive a text from my sponsor at any minute telling me he wanted to cancel. When I got there, he was there, so there was small initial relief; but then I had to deal with fears over what he would say in his chair. He kept saying he had no idea what he was going to say. It might turn out to be a purposeless ramble – often when I talk to him he goes into these random monologues about things that have no relation to what we’ve been talking about. Would he do that in the chair? If he did it would surely make the whole meeting think I was a useless secretary and I’d be sacked, humiliated and banished forever.

It turned out all right in the end, as these things do, but I still went home anxious and dissatisfied about the whole day I’d had. I could have done with an easier day, one where I didn’t have to be at the mercy of other people’s moods.

Today I have off work, I should be using the opportunity to enjoy some peace, but I had a doctor’s appointment first thing to get a top-up of my acne cream. When I got there the place was closed because the receptionist hadn’t arrived yet. When she arrived she told those of us with early appointments to wait outside while she opened up shop. We ended up waiting for fifteen minutes in the street, increasingly restless and impatient. Finally another receptionist showed up telling us we didn’t need to keep standing there. I tried to say that we had been told to wait, but as with all doctors’ receptionists I wasn’t listened to, and I was left feeling foolish. Emotionally I took on the weight of everyone’s opprobrium, for being the one who made everyone stand outside because it was me that the first receptionist spoke to.

I’ve spent the rest of the morning in a shitty mood. All I can think about is my life’s problems, and the people who are pissed off with me: my boss’ boss, the doctor’s receptionist, the members of the Tuesday group who might still think I’m a bad secretary (because I don’t smile enough, or I don’t read the script in a funny way like the last secretary did). I can’t know for sure but I suspect this isn’t happening by chance. I’m in the middle of a big period of transition in my life, lots of things are stressful, I’m trying to give up porn and sugar again, and I’m tired, and the weather’s shit, and I just want to travel three years into the future to a point where I’m settled again.

Last week I went to college to pay for my place on the counselling diploma, so I’m all set for another two years of studying and waiting. It feels like I’m doing another degree. The length of study certainly matches, along with much of the study material. The course starts in seven weeks; I was excited about it, until yesterday, when life got in the way.

One of the main changes I need to trust myself to make at this transition point is better spending. I’ve said it before, but the importance of trusting myself to budget properly can’t be overstated. In this area I need to be grown up and responsible every day. Frivolous purchases can no longer be justified. I’m worried about it, of course. Nothing I’ve done in the past few years has exactly given me confidence that I will be able to be sensible from now on. Like the diet and the abstinence from porn, this goes to the heart of my relationship with myself, and whether I can stop myself from giving into the urges that will constantly come up.

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