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Social Anxiety

I am an addict in recovery.  I go to NA meetings every day.  When I used drugs I would usually do it alone.  I did not realize it then but now that I have been clean for a month I realize that I spend too much time alone.  I have real problems being around people.  In meetings I sweat, have stomach cramps, rapid heart beat and so on.  This has to stop because it is affecting my recovery.  I already do not want to go to meetings because of the fear.  What can I do about this?  I am taking 20mg of Lexapro daily.My drug of choice was hydrocodone, but I abused all kinds drugs as well as alcohol.  I am 44 years old and my drug use has been going on since I was 13 years old.  
4 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
David, as you can see now your drug taking was probably a cover up for this kind of social anxiety.  It is now time to learn the skills that you have been avoiding.  Read everything you can about social anxiety, and seek cognitive therapy, and begin to work on it seriously as a skill to learn, rather than as an anxiety to run away from.  You can get a lot of help very soon with this issue.
Avatar universal
Hi David,

I too am an addict in recovery. I found that especially in the first two years (note I am only in my third year) my anxiety levels were huge not acting out/using. Even these days, there are still situations where I am around others and I am feeling either depressed or anxious/fearful. What has helped me is exercise, meditation and continuing spiritual growth work. I find that especially exercise and meditation relieve much of the intensity of my fear of others, my anxiety, and sometimes I will purposefully run prior to a situation where I am around others and normally anxious. In at least two recent occasions, my anxiety has been almost gone. Also, at a recent work christmas party where I am normally so inhibited - consequently depressed - out of fear and anxiety, I was quite the opposite, having no anxiety and actually feeling quite connected with others.
However, I tend to spend an inordinate amount of time these days still on my own, perhaps at least partly as I still have no confidence of my ability to handle myself without anxiety around others, or partly due to my solitude now being a well established habit.
All the best. Things will improve for you. Keep going!
Justin
Avatar universal
I am also in recovery.  It takes a long time to get comfortable socially again, even to say hello to the mailman :0)    Hang inm there and talk to your sponsor and talk in meetings about it.  It's going to take time to build a skill you have completely ignored.  Just know it does get better.
Avatar universal
David, I am also a recovering addict. I have been sober for 7 months and like you, i realized during my firsh NA meeting that there were some serious problems with anxiety I was suffering from. I never wanted to leave my house or let anyone see me. When my doorbell rang, i would run and hide, becuase i didn't want to be seen. I was so scared all the time.. Finally I was pushed by the man that led my intervention to speak in an NA meeting.
Now as you can imagine, the next night i was so frightened, so scared i actually spent the whole ride there shaking and crying... but i kept telling myself that it would be ok, i would be ok. So When I got to the meeting, I said hello to everyone outside and walked in and sat down...i waited until the meeting started and as soon as the floor opened up i pushed my self to speak up and say "hello, i'm and addict. and i'm so scared right now i feel like i'm going to puke." Everyone laughed, some patted me on the back, and whispered keep going, it's ok. and we love you no matter what. The cool thing was after that initial bump in the road, i became a regular speaker, i started realizing that i couldn't say anything to scare these people off. Everyone there generally cared... That was weird for me becuase the initial reason for my drug use was the thought that noone did....
Once you realize that people in those meetings from all different walks of life can look at you and see a person and not be so judgemental, you realize that maybe going out to eat and going bowling and things like that and even meeting new people might not be that bad. Think about it.... no more fear. It's a great feeling.
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