Self Confidence, Sobriety, and Mental Health

I’ve always struggled with self-confidence. It didn’t help that I had a dad who Never complimented me or told me anything I did was in any way ‘right’ or ‘ok’. Mom didn’t help since she was just plain emotionally absent. My oldest sister ended up taking the reins from mom and did her best. Life’s a struggle on the best of days with that kind of upbringing. What it did to me was leave me with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, and addiction issues. I don’t trust people to be ‘good’ to me because I really don’t feel I deserve it.

I hit a point sometime in 2012 where I just said ‘fuck-it’ and started drinking again after 25 years of sobriety. My ‘rationale’ (hardly rational at all) was who was going to notice one more person drinking? Who would notice just another alcoholic buying booze again? This is apparently a departure from many of my AA cohorts who took great pains to hide not only their drinking but how much they were buying as well. I didn’t care. I don’t answer to anyone in my home because I live alone. Plus, I knew I was an alcoholic so no one could surprise me with that information. I admit feeling a need to hide it from my sisters, but that didn’t stop me from indulging in some wine at my nephews wedding…. Right in front of everyone. Oddly enough, no one noticed! It took my own body rebelling against me to get me started on sobriety and improving my life. Pancreatitis is funny that way. And Fucking Painful!!!!

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve taken a more active role in my own mental health. It really couldn’t improve without Some sort of cooperation on my part anyway! After a five-year relapse, I entered outpatient treatment in June of 2017. My resolve was set. I would make the best I could of treatment and AA. I had already started attending AA twice a week before treatment even started. I’ve posted about Suburban North Alano which is where I now go for my three meetings a week.

It’s been an interesting road so far. I’ve met many interesting people and watched and listened to them tell their stories. We are a lovely, loving bunch of people intent on keeping our sobriety. We have a disease that we all know can kill us.

I have also had a struggle that started in November of 2017. Let me say first that before starting AA, or having pancreatitis, I had become a hermit, a recluse. I hated leaving my apartment but would do so in order to earn money at my part-time job and do the necessary shopping that needed to get done. I don’t know if Instacart was a god-send or a curse for people like me, but I was making more and more use of it. Also, Doordash and Bitesquad… W.A.Y. too much money for food delivery, but great if you didn’t want to go out. Again… blessing or curse? I don’t know.

The point is I was not used to dealing much with humans, much less in groups. Having finally figured out what the fuck BPD was and how it affected me, I had determined, based on previous (bad) experiences that dating was a bad idea for me – at least for the foreseeable future. AA only added to that need because taking on someone Else’s problems, plus the nearly inevitable need to ‘fill’ that aching emptiness inside is usually a pretty bad recipe for a disastrous relationship.

Back to November 2017. I had been talking to someone both before and after meetings Very regularly. I wasn’t doing it to flirt, only reaching out to someone I had something in common with and to find out what he knew that maybe I didn’t. We seemed to have ‘things’ in common, addiction being the primary thing, and we talked quite easily. Apparently my heart was developing different ideas.

One night when he approached me after a meeting – nothing special, just the same as always – it hit me like a ton of bricks!

Let me segue here for a minute to tell you that being emotionally overwhelmed is one of the characteristics of BPD and was the primary reason I had decided not to date – it was too painful. I much preferred staying on an even keel.

It was Great and it Sucked All At Once. Great because suddenly I knew I could feel that way for someone, but it sucked even more because, no matter what he felt, I knew I couldn’t have him. Also, he attended the same two meetings I was going to so I couldn’t get away from him.

My emotional even keel sank like a rock. I was beside myself for months after that, not knowing what to do, debating whether or not to go to meetings, wanting but not wanting to see him. One night I stood up from my desk at home and told myself I was quitting AA meetings! Then I sat down and knew I Had to go, and I had to do Something about this problem. I needed his cooperation. I didn’t fall for a pig (as had been typical of me so many times in the past), he was a nice, reasonable guy. In the world of scary things, telling someone who may or may not be interested in you that you like them – even if it was to strike a bargain – is definitely up there! My interest was not to find out if he was interested in me, but to find out if he would be willing to split the two meetings with me. We both needed meetings, and, from my understanding, he was going to meetings 2 to 3 times per day. At the time, I only had the two. He was quite reasonable, even telling me he was flattered and that he was fine with splitting the meetings.

It fell apart before it even began.

After a month or two, he stopped going to both meetings. At first, I was worried for him. Then I realized that this was what I needed and settled in to get some serious meeting time. I also added a third meeting to my schedule – a women’s meeting.

Eventually he came back, and I started to obsess. I thought at first that it would be ok, but the more time that went by the worse it got.

We had talked about so many things and my mind kept playing with the idea that he ‘might’ be attracted to me. One of the things he told me when we met that one time was that he can take up to a couple of years to even start a relationship after meeting someone. My busy brain had a field day with that.

Being alone is not conducive to getting over an obsession. Facing him in the same meetings for so long didn’t seem like the right thing to do to get over it either, so in January of this year, I quit going to both those meetings. I’d hit a wall.

I couldn’t stand not going though! Those two meetings were my Home meetings and I Love them both! I missed them both! Eventually I realized that I needed those meetings more than I needed to worry about whether or not he liked me. I also realized – drove it into my head – that he was not interested in being anything more than friends with me, and I refuse to entertain ideas that suggest otherwise.

He has, yet again, stopped coming to both of those meetings, at least for the last couple of weeks since I restarted them. AA is – in my life – not a tool for dating!

By the way, there has been one man in my life who is my soulmate and who has always done right by me. He is my BFF.

So… drama happens no matter what I do. I just want to keep it simple, go to my meetings, enjoy my friends there, and stay sober.

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