The first year I was sober in Alcoholics Anonymous was hard, I expected it to be hard and I think that is were the difference lies.
This last year has been the hardest year of my sobriety, but I did not see it coming and I did not expect it, as it has been now twelve years since stopping drinking and joining AA. During this last year I have moved house and now live a two-hour plane journey from where I got sober.
My Expectations of the Future
I always expect the future to be easier than my present. I will be longer sober, so the though goes “life will be better and easier”. There is to me something wrong with the logic that only time will affect my life – I lived for 30 something years before getting sober and that time only made my life worse year by year.
Another expectation that runs around in my head goes along the lines of “well I will be x number of years in the program, so I will be happier”. I am not a person that has been natural happy at anytime – so again relying only on time has no logic to it.
New City And New AA
This has been one of the toughest parts of the last year. I moved and now live in a new city and have been getting used to new AA meetings, where I didn’t know anyone. There are much less AA meetings here than my hometown, (this is really my home now – not quite accepted that yet). One of the results of few AA meeting is the meeting are populated by many of the same people at each meeting. This has caused my critic to run mad – mentally I am not leaving people alone, I have become quite critical in my head.
I had no idea before I moved that adapting, or not adapting as has been the case, to a new AA environment would be so difficult. And that perhaps shows a lack of forethought. When we decided to move we only thought about the positive benefits of living a more rural life – no negatives had been taken into account.
Feeling Lonely and Missing Friends
I have always felt that I don’t make friends easily. At the same time since I got sober I have come to understand how important friends are for me. My friends had been evenly split between people in the program and those with nothing to do with AA – this had suited me well.
I had no idea that I would feel so lonely and that I would miss my friends and acquaintances so much. I had never given much import to acquaintances – I get amazed how wrong I can be in some many things.
Because of my background, I think, I have never given a lot of importance to stability, friendships, and security. I have worked at changing this since getting sober – but I seem to have taken no account of it when deciding to move and leave them all behind – one year later and I have not kept up much contact and I have not been back to visit.
Forgetting I am Pretty Much Like Other People
I moved city, left friends behind, moved house, and my other half is now pregnant. Throughout my sobriety I have seen people struggle with this problems. I have wandered into these problems without much forethought on how it would affect me, with no plan on how to fit in and meet new people.
After I was sober for a year I had read a book called First Year Sobriety. The main takeaway from that book was I was fairly similar to other people. However during the last year I have not cut myself the slack in accepting that, while I have expected the newness of my surroundings to effect me little, if at all. I think perhaps it is time to remember that I am just a guy, getting sober in AA, and doing the best I can; and accept that this is where I am right now and stop expecting myself to be different – I do feel.