I am totally digging AA. It’s very clear that the more you put into the program, the more you gain from it.
Keep coming back. It works if you work it.
Yesterday I shared and got a bit emotional. I get very anxious about sharing. I can end up spending the whole meeting with my mind racing, trying to build up the courage to open up. Willing myself to speak but finding myself unable to. However, in the past few meetings I have pushed myself to ‘get it out of the way’ and have been the 2nd or 3rd person to share. Then I get to relax and find myself able to properly listen to the rest of the meeting.
I’m aware I’m making it sound rather an ordeal. I’ll admit – it can be tough going! But as the old adage goes..
Yesterday I gave the room a little background history of my drinking and drug use – a rough timeline starting at 14 until present day. I spoke about the drinking culture I grew up with. About my ‘recreational’ teenage years. Where it started to get out of hand. Times I tried to stop. Times my use went up a gear (or 10!). I started out by saying that I was really battling with my anxiety and that I might lose my thread but that I wanted to start talking and just see where it led me.
To be perfectly frank, I’m not sure how long I shared for or what I divulged but when I stopped, I was shaking like a leaf, my face felt like it was on fire and I was crying. Not hysterically, but my face was wet. The person who was running the meeting called for a 10 minute break. Straight away I had arms around me. A woman whispered in my ear,
‘I can’t believe you just said all that! You did so well.’
She gave me her number. Then another woman gave me her number. Then a man gave me a big hug (after asking my permission ❤ ). Another man came up to me and showed me a particular passage in the Big Book (AA) that he thought was pertinent. Others offered supportive and kind words.
It blew my mind. So much so, I got up early this morning and went to another meeting. I plan to go to one tomorrow too.
These are my people!
At this morning’s meeting there was a man from California. He is on vacation here in Wales and sought out a meeting 5200 miles away from his home group!! Isn’t that brilliant?! I think it’s great.
I’m feeling a bit evangelical about it. Can you tell?
It’s difficult to go from the warmth of the rooms to the somewhat cooler atmosphere at home. Yesterday was better than the day before. Today was better again but still had some odd moments. Same old, same old.
The bare minimum of what is required of me is to not pick up a drink or take a pill. Some days that has to be enough. Last week I could barely manage to get up and get dressed. I had physical, crushing pain in my chest and an upset stomach from the anxiety. I wanted to hide under the duvet and self-soothe myself with books and tv.
For the majority of last week I achieved the bare minimum.
The past few days I have written and exercised. I have gone to meetings and shared. I have spoken on the phone to my family. I have even baked! Rob thinks I don’t see the correlation between my lighter mood and achieving these activities. He gets freaked out when he sees me stopping doing them. Last week I didn’t blog much. I didn’t run. I avoided calling my family on the phone. I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other after a panic attack earlier in the week. I didn’t force myself to run or write because all my energy was going into just about keeping my shit together. Of course this resulted in him panicking and seeing all kinds of red-flags and signals to a potential lapse. I totally understand why he is paranoid and anxious but his reaction to these ‘signs’ is to freeze me out. He shuts down and stops talking to me. I find this incredibly hard to cope with.
I was still going to meetings but because he’s not a witness to what goes on in those rooms, I guess it doesn’t make an impact as such. All he sees is inertia and lack of self-care. It was a ‘bare-minimum’ kind of week. The really sad thing is, I’m so sure it would be easier on both of us if he could support me more when I feel like that but his auto-pilot reaction is to distance himself in case he gets hurt (-i.e incase I did relapse). If I were to feel love and support at those most brutal and ugly times as opposed to pressure, resentment, fear and rejection..well..it doesn’t need spelling out does it.
I did go for a run and wrote a blog entry a few days ago, under slight duress. If it had been left to me, it’s unlikely I would have done so and I said as much in my blog entry. Once he read that post and that thought was in his head – that I was only doing those important things for him and not myself– HE UNRAVELED! He shut himself away in the bedroom and barely spoke to me for 24 hours.
I know I need to want my own recovery. I KNOW it will only work if I want it, NOT if I only do it for others. I KNOW THIS. BUT, I was having a particularly hard week.
A partner who I am totally dependant on that can barely look at me or be in the same room as me. (After reading this he may accuse me of using language that makes me out to be a victim and likely resent that I paint him in this negative way so I remind you readers, that you are only hearing one side to our story and that he didn’t ask for any of this. I wrote this hours ago but have been reluctant to publish because I don’t want to give him any reason to be cold towards me. I have waited until I have come to bed and spent another half an hour editing it.)
I have also been really missing my children and being apart from them for prolonged periods can make my anxiety unbearable at times.
I am feeling much better than I was a few days ago. Not brilliant, but ok. And that run that I went on because I felt under pressure to? Well, maybe that was ok! Maybe it was ok to go for resentful run because the next day I went for myself. And the day after that!
This recovery stuff is hard. For everyone involved.
I’m looking forward to AA tomorrow.