Anxiety and AA meetings

Hi. I am a recovering alcoholic who would use alcohol to self medicate my anxiety. I have social anxiety. I have a difficult time going to AA meetings because it exasperates my anxiety. When I walk into the room my heart starts pounding. I have a hard time staying focused and engaged during the meeting. I find my self looking at my watch to see how much time is left before it ends. Can anyone relate? And if so what tools do you use to,lessens the anxiety . Thanks!

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  • Check the AA meetings list for telephone meetings. They work just like face to face meetings accept you don't have to leave your home office or car and you are totally anonymous. I use the Alanon phone meetings. There's a variety of times and types. Some are men only some are mixed. Read the meeting notes. There is a phone number and a code. Dial the number and enter the code and pound sign when prompted. You are automatically muted when you enter the conference call. They work great fir the timid and anxious. They are convenient and can help you grow toward recovery. Good luck

  • Thank you. I will look into it.

  • Hello Joyfullness,

    Nice to talk with you again. Glad you are considering AA, or maybe also NA (NA considers alcohol a drug too).

    Your anxiety is keeping you from being comfortable at AA meetings.

    Good. It should be. Yet to meet anyone who attends AA or NA as a newcomer who was comfortable at their first meetings.

    What to do? Get a friend to go with you. Speak up early when the meetings open to sharing.....tell the group exactly how you feel and you are afraid you may not come back because of your anxiety.

    The "most important person in a meeting is the newcomer".......speak up as early in the meeting as you can, so that others can share things which will help you feel less anxious.

    Go to many different meetings until you find one you like.

    Offer to make the coffee or offer to help clean up after the meeting.

    That gives you something to do, to contribute and be part of the meeting.

    Offer to read out loud one of the meeting's opening statements.

    Arrive early so others have a chance to say hello to you and welcome you. Stay a bit after the meetings to say good night and thanks to those who welcomed you. And to ask for phone numbers from the members.

    Get a number from at least two people you can call in between meetings when your anxiety is affecting you. And get the call number for the organization so you have a human voice of another alcoholic to help you when your anxiety hits.

    You didn't really confirm if you are attending any AA meetings, and toughing out your discomfort to stay in the meetings. If you are following the 90 days, 90 minutes mantra , you must have attended a few meetings so far.

    Just about anyone starting to go to AA or NA has anxiety, some worse than others. The meetings aren't causing your anxiety, your anxiety is popping up because you are starting to do something new to stop drinking and deal with your anxiety. Your anxiety doesn't like that.

    A mantra to first timers is 90 meetings in 90 days because the more meetings you go to, the less your anxiety is going to be as it becomes a habit to attend and participate.

    AA and NA don't just work on keeping you clean and sober, they are organizations of alcoholics or drug addicts that help others learn how to live clean and sober, and a whole way of life that addresses anxiety, depression, loneliness and all the other situations that everyone, whether a member or not, face in everyday life.

    You can do this. The first meetings can be difficult. Some people who have been attending a long time still deal with anxiety, because it is a constant vigilance to stay away from the drugs they used to dampen their anxiety.

    YOU CAN DO THIS.

    My best wishes for your future and encouragement for you to take one meeting at a time....an hour or so.....you can do it. :)

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