Monday, July 21, 2008

On Stage and Acting...

I realized today that going to my AA meetings is akin to me getting on stage and acting.  The rules and regulations of social gatherings just don't come natural or easy to me.  I have to make conscious choices to navigate this personal mine field.   Do I shake his hand?  Should I ask how her kids are doing?   How much sobriety do you have?  Excuse me while I melt into a puddle of goo on the floor and ooze home.   It is that exhausting for me.  And yet I keep trying ever harder to learn the skills that never came natural to me as a child or as an adult.

Today's meeting was just your usual AA gathering with people on their lunch breaks needing a meeting.  I shared which is somewhat unusual for me as I usually just listen quietly. 

"I am being blinded by my sobriety," I told the room.  "Blind to the dangers that would occur if I took that first drink.  It is almost reckless how I will put myself in situations where drinking arises.  I found myself Saturday coming close to buying some beer.  It is similar to wanting to commit suicide."

A lot of helpful people came to me after the meeting with advice.  Calling my sponsor which I don't have was the most prominent bit of advice offered.  I just felt better sharing my burdens with a group of caring people.  It somehow lessened the weight bearing down on my shoulders. 

I've made it 244 days sober this time and that is just astonishing to me.  I always thought I was a helpless case or lost cause.  I won't lie and say a beer or six wouldn't be tempting now.  I still have a long ways to go.  


justLacey said...

There is nothing wrong with how you are coping with your social anxiety. With autistic children, that is kind of how they work with them. They show them people interacting and at fisrt for them it's just mimicking the behavior, but after a while they learn to do it on their own. I think it's the same with you. You have been out of touch for so long that you are ill at ease. Try and get out more and just watch and eventually you will want to join in. Maybe someone will volunteer to be your sponsor. What is going on with Karen? Is that her hame?

Portia said...

Most of the world can use these social niceties as a facade. Others see them as a barrier, or an obligation. Like small talk, which isn't always but I can sometimes find to be just wrenching. I think the key is being comfortable with yourself, whether you are making idle chitchat or shaking hands, or choosing not to do either.

Good job on putting yourself out there! The groups at your meetings seem to respond better than you anticipate. I know you can continue to add day after day to that sobriety counter.

Kelly Jene said...

You are doing wonderfully. Just the fact that you are doing something is a step in the right direction. Going to a meeting, saying no to the 6 pack, reaching out. All those things will help you be successful!

Jami said...

Andrew, the alcoholic in my family has been sober 26 years now. He said that over time, the urge and the temptation subsides. Just keep practicing the new thinking, the new coping skills. Acknowledging the temptation is most important; keeping it a secret and hiding your behaviors, as you know, is dangerous.

I commend you for telling your AA group what was going on. I encourage you to keep gathering whatever it takes to find a person you can trust as a sponsor, too. Sponsors are so essential for accountability (good sponsors).

I had an active eating disorder for 12 long years. I have been free of it for 11 years now. I, too, thought I was a hopeless case, but I wasn't, obviously. ONE DAY AT A TIME! So, so important. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small you believe they are. You've come a long way. Build on that success. Don't put yourself down because you've been tempted. That's only normal. You've so far succeeded in redirecting yourself.

One thing at a time, too. You seem to have many things pulling at you, and I know that must be frustrating; that is why the one day at a time saying is so important to live by. That's all you have to do: One minute, of one hour of one day at a time. Celebrate each thing you make it through.

You can do it.

CJM-R said...

You are working so hard to over come your social anxieties. There is no easy answer, so short cuts.

I am never comfortable with small talk, new people, and lots of other social situations. So I can imagine how hard it must be for you. But you aren't giving up... good for u.

Leann said...

I am so very proud of you!! I know it can't be an easy road. Good for you for being brave enough to share your worries and concerns with the group. Sometimes it stops knawing at you so intensly when you verbalize the fear.

Are you still thinking about sharing that recipe with me?? :-)

Le Fleur said...

I'm glad to see that all the entries on the first page are possitive :) Made me think I need to shorten my own entries so people can catch up with me sometimes. Anyhow, congratulations on the long time sober ***hugs***

Moonroot said...

Andrew, you are doing so well, dealing with both your social anxieties and the temptation to drink. I think you are heroic.

kristi said...

I consider myself very social but I struggle some days. I think you are doing great!

recoveryroad said...

Congrats on 244 days. The urge to have a few beers passes. But you know that, anyway!

Thanks for your good wishes on our engagement...there is a 'normal life' out there for us if we want it.

Take it easy, matey.

Candy~ said...

Hi Andrew, I haven't tuned in for a very long time. I'm so glad you have finally found your groove. I know my issues are nowhere near yours but I look to you for hope.
Thank you.

Marsha said...

Have you ever thought about a new counselor? One who can actually HELP you ? If you go once or twice a week and can find someone who knows how to actually help people, you might be able to learn to overcome the anxieties.

It might take a few therapists to weed though, but I'm sure there's someone in you area who actually knwos what he/she's doing.

Good luck.