For some reason I cannot log in to this dashboard from overseas, so I have been lax in updating. My apologies. Much has occured and passed into the pages of history. In all reality these are minor blips on the radar screen but I have gleaned some sober wisdom from these experiences nonetheless.
My time in Greece was wonderful, productive and exhausting. It tested my emotional sobriety to the breaking point when at last all I had to keep me sober was my Higher Power and the ability to go to bed early. In many ways it is my fault, but, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. It all begins with drinking, of course, but not my own, thank God. I’ll make the tale brief if I can.
Halfway through the term the weather changed from cloudy, wet and cool to sunny and dry. This allowed the younger students to stay out late and party. Let’s face it, they are all very young, away from home for the first time in a country with a very lax drinking age. For a solid week they began coming back to their apartments at 3, 4 or 5AM, making a huge amount of noise and waking the neighbors, of whom I was one. So I complained. I made waves. In doing so I separated myself from the majority by underscoring my own sobriety (or really the fact that I do not drink) and becoming a wet blanket to their international fun, just like the AA Big Book says. I had not been to a meeting in quite a few weeks and was feeling the disconnect from reality. In my emotional state I turned to another student who I had become friends with over the course of the previous year. I turned to her for advice, a way to vent instead of going crazy and, I hoped, a little solidarity. Yes, we agreed on many things: that the school’s reputation was being hurt by this behavior; that something must be done; that there was little unity among the student body, etc…So something was done to stop it, and the noise ended. I had opened up a huge can of worms, however, in confiding to this student In thanks for her friendship and a way to say ‘good luck’ on her future I gave her a gift, a small piece of sea-buffed marble set as a necklace. Remember that this was out of friendship, a fact she actually acknowledged.
The end result is that she blew up at me, told me to stay away from her and in a very cold and callous way ended our friendship surgically and without anesthetic. I was left feeling like my guts had been torn out with a dull spoon, but in the end the only thing I had done wrong was dump too much of my emotional needs on her young shoulders. I have since made amends for that and am able to slowly let the event and her go into the mists behind me. I really do have more important things to do. My last month was lonely and angry, feeling paranoid and wronged. I do feel she handled it badly, but I give her credit for being so cold and cruel. That kind of action takes a lot and is not often found in someone so young. She was obviously frightened of me because she continued to distance herself and even moved to a different apartment, the location of which she lied to me about-as if I was going to come visit her. I have a feeling she felt that I was stalking her. (Nasty business. I even consulted my attorney at one point.) Of course I was not.
The fate of the necklace is truthfully unknown, but I suspect she gave it to one of the other students, a sullen and negative young woman from New Jersey.
There were a small handful of students who really worked and created art of beauty and charm–these I applaud. Many were stuck in the Culture of Death that permeates the USA.
So what have I learned?
Do not rely on anyone except God or an adult older than I for emotional guidance in times of stress.
I return in the fall. My goal is to build friendships with the locals in preparation of a possible move. I will also stick closer to Program in any way that I can. That was my first and biggest mistake and it could have led me back to the bottle and deat.