Once upon a time, Fridays were lovely for the simple reason that two days off at the weekend meant the shame didn’t feel quite so suffocating. What I mean is, it’s easier to write off a Saturday or Sunday if you’re unproductive because heeeeey it’s the weekend! Harder on a weekday to feel good about operating at 10% of your capacity whilst fighting to get through the day. I suppose weekends were less guilt ridden than the working week. Think about it – during the last couple of years of my drinking I worked for the nicest bosses I’ve ever had, genuinely lovely people whom I adored, yet I performed at my absolute worst and was as productive as a slug on Valium. That means a fairly large scoop of shame and guilt on a daily basis. No one wants to be THAT person but I was and it wasn’t nice. The weekend were a respite however, because at the weekend it’s acceptable to be lazy and not achieve very much.
At this present time, Fridays are still lovely. Lovelier. Ahead of me I don’t have two days of consequence free(‘er) drinking, but instead our lovely Friday tradition where Hubby and I go for a run together – always the same loop and always together. That’s how my weekends start now and it’s fabulous. The rest of them we do what we feel like – we might rush around like blue-arsed flies and accomplish lots or we may binge watch Netflix and not move from the couch all day. All guilt free! I guess there’s less of a contrast between the weekdays and the weekends now because I’m not in that thick fog anymore. Here I am, Friday morning and my desk is pretty clear because I’ve worked hard all week and have got everything done. I’m on top of everything, unlike back in the drinking days when I was forever anticipating mistakes and sloppiness to blow up in my face at every turn. It’s nice to feel like this. No stress, just contentment knowing I’ve done good.
Bully-Face has been tolerable this week, which means I hopefully won’t leave later like I did last Friday with a sick feeling in my gut. Either they feel bad, knowing deep down they went too far and pulled back a little, or it’s my new approach. My strategy is this: I am polite, positive and cooperative. I do what I’m asked to the best of my ability. What I don’t do is engage in anything else – any time Bully-Face begins a conversation that isn’t about work, I find a way to disengage quickly without appearing rude. I don’t pander to Bully-Face’s ego but I’m respectful and approachable. This is probably how normal people act all the time but for me it take effort to fine tune as I have no boundaries or filters. It seems to be working. So far, so good.
And so the therapy. I’ve gone four times now and there are already things that make perfect sense but that I never thought of before. Like, why am I such a cow in the mornings? No, honestly. I wake up super happy and I love mornings, but I quickly get prickly if my dream boat husband offers to make some coffee. I always used to think it was all about me just liking things Anna’s Way and that I’m just really inflexible and controlling. We even laugh at it, dismissing it as “Anna’s Morning Grump” when in fact mornings are my favourite time of day. It didn’t take a lot of digging to discover that what it comes down to is how I can’t stand having people do things for me. It makes me feel indebted. I’m such a shitty and undeserving person anyway, so in my fucked-up brain when my loving husband makes me coffee it further emphasises how I don’t deserve him.
Same thing when someone on the counselling course gave me a little gift earlier in the week. I’d commented the week before that I used to have a bunch of those textile shopper bags you can get for 50p but never used them so threw them out, yet now I need one with the books and folders for the course that don’t fit in my handbag. Well, this lovely woman had some bags at home and brought one in for me. Printed on it was the logo for an addiction charity. “I thought you’d like this one”, she told me. What a sweet thing to do! I felt overwhelmed at the gesture and it made my day, but what my brain immediately did was begin to work out how I can reciprocate.
Love to me, it would seem, is a little transactional. It’s as though I can’t accept being shown love or kindness unless I’ve earned it and of course in my own head I haven’t. Ever. I don’t know if this is correct, I’ve certainly never thought of it that way but it would make sense as I’m not at ALL grumpy in the mornings – mornings are the BEST! – but get spiky and irritable when e.g. Hubby tries to do something nice for me. I was going to say how stupid it is, but actually more accurate would be fascinating, isn’t it? Well, I think so. Not that I think I, Anna, am interesting or fascinating per se, but how what our emotions can be so out of sync with what we actually think and believe. I.e. I have never consciously thought “oh no, don’t like being shown love or kindness” – I’ve only ever thought “I like things MY way“. However, thinking about it now, I realise it DOES make me seriously uncomfortable, with a handful of exceptions.
Well. There we are. It’s Friday, I’m happy and I’m doing what I can to figure everything out, be it bullies, myself or where I’m headed.
Today I’m not going to drink.