Yesterday was supposed to fun. An after work get together at the pub across the street from us was a good idea.
We ordered pizzas and I had my trusty club soda with cranberry and extra lime.
But then Bobby started talking to Sydney over me, and there was no place for me to move, no place to go. Bobby and Sydney had to speak loudly in order to be heard. I felt trapped, and my brain got all fuzzy and fiery with the loud volume of voices stretching to be heard.
Then the martinis came, the lovely martinis with extra olives in them for my colleagues, Rita and Wanda. At that moment those martinis became the most beautiful things in the world to me. I could sense the ease in which I could grab both, and finish them off in a swish.
Bobby was nudged up against me talking to Sydney, who was on the other side of me. Sydney’s voice was in my ear. I could not move, and there were two beautiful martinis in front of me.
There were only two choices in my brain in that moment, and neither was discreet.
I shot up from the bench, and said, “I gotta go! Sorry guys!” That got Bobby’s attention, and he moved so that I could move, and when I was able to move I scrambled for that door like my life depended on it.
Only one of you knows that this weekend is my five year sobriety anniversary. I wish I could explain to all of you why I behaved so strangely, but I know that it would not be wise to share that bit of information with all of you.
I ran out of the pub, and cried because I wanted to be in there with the rest of you. I wanted to be like the rest of you, but I’m not. I’m a person in long term sobriety that is still figuring out how to navigate the world as a sober person.
I needed an AA meeting at the moment, and I was within easy driving distance of one.
And that’s a whole other story …
You, my fellow colleagues, are not the only ones who don’t get me.
In my infinite wisdom I decided to be straight forward with the group. I shared what had just happened, and the fact that I don’t get AA. I so badly want to get it, but it’s like my brain rebels against it. I truly wish I could love AA. It’s the negativity towards ourselves in the group that turns me off instantly. I’ve been trying to learn how NOT to beat myself up on a regular basis, and coming into these meetings seems to be a return to that way of life for me.
But here’s the frosting that frosted my ass last night. I can try to tolerate the way people beat themselves up in there. But I will never be okay with the way we attack each other. We had someone in our meeting talk about how they previously had decades of time sober, but picked up a drink a few months ago. Since then she has not been able to put together any amount of time sober. This person with so much pain and struggle was so brave in admitting this to all of us. My heart just went out to her because I do not think I would be able to admit what she admitted to all of us.
Then some judgmental gal with a fancy dress spoke up, and wondered aloud what this person learned in the rooms with 20+ years of sobriety, the implication that she must not have learned anything since she picked up a drink. Well, Ms. Fancy Dress, I should hope that you don’t meet someone like you if you ever pick up a drink and come back to the rooms to admit it. I should hope that, but I don’t.
Fellow colleagues, I am not sure if I will attend our next outing to the pub. I assure you that it’s not a reflection of how I feel about you guys. I wish I could tell all of you this so that you would know that it’s really about me, and not you. Sure, Bobby and Sydney were loud, and I felt trapped, but it’s my brain that gets me keyed up in these instances. I recognize that. Please know that I love you guys, and wish I could hang out with you more often.
P.S. I will be ever so grateful if you don’t talk about my Friday weirdness on Monday.