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Anxiety "payback" for my alcoholism

Hey all, I drank for, well it doesn't matter I suppose, but have been sober now 3.5yrs.   While things are much improved overall,  I still suffer fears of being around people (very self-conscious, afraid of what people think of me), tendency to isolate, and from that I self-neglect, and suffer anxiety and depressive symptoms.   These were issues of why I drank in the first place.  Alcohol being liquid courage, and so now sober I have no courage.  Functioning like this has to change.  

When you get sober, is there a "payback" for all the emotions you numbed out with alcohol?  It would make sense that there would be some catching up to do, but my isolation/social phobia is almost unbearable.

Thanks for any input.
21 Responses
Avatar universal
The 2nd step happened to me at my first meeting although I was totally unaware of it at the time. Just by surrendering to the fact that getting high wasn't working for me anymore, and then going to a meeting with a friend who was trying to help me. By that action I had finally chosen to ask a fellowship of men and women for help, instead of trying to fix my own thinking with my own thinking. Those ppl became a huge power greater than me. I later learned that I could make anything that power as long as it isn't myself. Same with you, as you describe.

I sometimes feel out of place at AA/NA or any other place in a group of people who aren't in my immediate family. On those days I'm the first one out the door and in my car at the end of the meeting. Can't wait to get out of there. I hated the cliques that were always part of my school and military years.  Now, through my program of recovery, I've learned it's me, not them. I'm feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. And honestly, I'll still feel that way, especially when I haven't been at my meetings in a while. But, for me, I will always need to get with my program of recovery, because I'm a perfect fit for someone who will drink himself to death if I give myself a chance.

Aftercare is aftercare, no mater what course you choose. That's why I use the word aftercare. Me? I choose AA and NA. I went to my first meeting in 1982 and got over 27 years of complete sobriety before blowing out my back and landing on pain pills. Now it would be 30 years, but I'm starting over again just to save my life. You? You've found your salvation that you feel works for you. When you posted your initial question, the only thing I could write was my own experience strength and hopes.
Avatar universal
Hello Jbl, Congrats for being sober for 3 1/2 years! That's fantastic!

I could better add my $.02 worth much better if I knew: Are you doing this on your own or are you in an aftercare program?

Alcoholism is a disease not a payback. One way or the other, in general, I think it's standard to feel exactly like you describe, to a degree, if you drank enough for you to want/need to stop drinking completely.

As for my story: I had been sober for many years, in AA, and then drank (and drugged) again for almost 2 years. I again sobered up just shy of 90 days ago, and had the exact feelings like you describe when I first got sober. I felt low-down and below everyone else because I went back out big time. But then I went back to my aftercare meetings, got a big welcome back from everyone, and the more I got with others who are in recovery the better I seemed to feel. Then I missed many of my meetings during the holidays and those feelings partially came back again. I think Its par for the course for a newly sober person to be on the edge like I am. I isolate when I drink, cutting off everyone and everything I love. I only take comfort in my drugs and alcohol. I drink, think and stink. And I'm retired with plenty of time to do so.

You said the word "change" Jbl. You couldn't be more right. We do need to change to get better. I personally couldn't remain sober by just putting the plug in the jug. I drank because I'm a full blown alcoholic. It's a 3-fold disease; physically, mentally, and spiritually. I must treat my ailment, all three parts of it, in order to change. My aftercare program is all about change. If I don't change, nothing changes, including all the ugly symptoms of my disease of alcoholism. So I go to work on myself the best I can.

I hope I answered at least something of what you wanted to know or hear.
God bless, Robert
Avatar universal
I have some hesitance with AA, esp. Step 2 of AA.  I feel sooo claustrophobic in an AA meeting, and almost a pariah for my lack of belief in a step 2 power.  I discovered a secular Alternative that seems to hold no grudges against AA but is supportive of my sobriety.  25 years of junk then 3+ years clean, it must be helping me somewhat!  But I digress, as I still suffer anxiety that seems past-alcohol related.
Avatar universal
COMMUNITY LEADER
So glad u found a secular alternative to AA!there are many roads to recovery and many good secular alternatives out there if but ppl would seek them!Thank U for posting....hope to see more here from u!AA does say for agnostics...and NA as well......"there is no power greater than that of another alcoholic or addict helping one another!"!!!
Avatar universal
COMMUNITY LEADER
AA/NA SOS Rational Recovery......they all helped me......i took what i could use from all of them!We all need sober/clean ppl in our lives to help us remain that way......and check us when we begin to go left of center!:)
Avatar universal
I recommend finding a homegroup that you like well enough to go back to at least once a week in whatever support program you choose. A homegroup can be a meeting where you add your name to a contact list for others in need of support and fellowship to call, where you take a service position and vote in business meetings, or simply a place that you return to often. It can be difficult to return when you feel like an outsider, but eventually people begin to recognize you and get to know you, and you them. I find that I'm most comfortable around the people in my homegroup when I'm attending that meeting three or four times a week. Once you've become comfortable with this group of people, fears will begin to ease in other parts of your life.

If you can share in your homegroup about your social phobia and isolation and anxiety, I can assure you that many people in the group will be able to identify with what you're experiencing. Those were also some of the reasons that I drank. I still experience those feelings, but they are no longer my baseline condition. In AA, I've found that working the twelve steps, slowly and in order, with a sponsor, is helping me to overcome my anxiety and isolation. I would pick the most helpful steps, but every one is important for growth and change. If you're nervous about finding a sponsor, ask the secretary for help in finding one, or request help finding one during a share. I also get outside help in the form of cognitive behavioral therapy, EMDR therapy for cPTSD, and acupuncture and nutritional counseling. Whatever you choose to do, keep an open mind and stick with the winners (meaning do what the people who have the recovery you want are doing). Good luck!
Avatar universal
COMMUNITY LEADER
Well put dear.....i couldn't agree more!:)thx for posting.....hope to c more from u here!
Avatar universal
I need help I don't want to loose my family,I am tired of living this way.alcohol is the root of all my problems.
Avatar universal
COMMUNITY LEADER
Please tell more @ how alcohol is affecting u and ur family life!How long have u been drinking for?How much on a daily basis?any mixing of drugs?
Avatar universal
I have been drinking for 20 years last 10 binge drinking the problem is when I start to think that I can go out for 1-2 i wind up drinking for 14 hours. I hate feeling guilty and tired of having no energy.i am married with child to put them through this is unfair.
190885 tn?1333029491
i have always had anxiety....thats just me.....in society  everyone if wired differently...that has to be.....maybe its good to have some anxiety.....maybe you watch out for things that others might not might miss.....i have 3 alpacas....all the same age...all three we brought up from very young.....but each one is different....one...nothing seems to bother him very tame.....one pretty tame and one that is always on the watch out..nice but not so tame.......they all take their natural places in their society....if not their species could never had made it....with us...the folks with natural anxiety are more looking out...keeping the folks without so much anxiety on check...so us humans can move forward........i always look at the animals for answers.......makes it easier to see ourselves and understand who we are........so next time you get anxiety keep in mind its why we're here!!!!!.............billy.........btw....we had 3 expert snowmobilers go right into open water in maine the other day....i wish one had had enough anxiety to keep the others in check...........
Avatar universal
COMMUNITY LEADER
Sam-ever go to AA?any past attempts @ counseling?billy-beautiful sensitive animals the llamas......how do the dogs like them?
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