Dreading going to the AA meeting - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
Go Back   SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information >
Register Blogs FAQ Members List Calendar Arcade Mark Forums Read





Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-22-2012, 02:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
Sobriety Dat 26\10\2012
 
Dan23's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: London
Posts: 48

Dreading going to the AA meeting


Hello everyone I'm going to my first AA meeting tonight and my mind is trying to make up loads of excuses not to go but I'm trying not to listen and I'm going to make my self go weather I want to or not
Dan23 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dan23 For This Useful Post:
aasharon90 (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 02:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Between Meetings
Posts: 9,003
This will give you something good to read....You'll be fine.

The Problem of Fear

Regardless of the type, size or location of their first AA meeting, newcomers face a predictable series of challenges that must be overcome in order to begin to benefit from AA. By far the greatest problem most individuals experience when beginning AA is how to deal with their fear.

Fear is the great enemy of recovery from alcoholism and indeed from any serious addiction. Intensely negative emotions such as fear, shame, and guilt obstruct the road to recovery and detour the alcoholic-addict away from what is good for him(for example, AA meetings, therapy, rehab) and toward what is bad for him(isolation, secrecy, alcohol and drugs). Even when a person has supposedly "hit bottom" as a consequence of his addiction and sincerely, desperately desires to overcome it and begin leading a healthy life, the painful and aversive affects of shame, guilt and fear often conspire with his addiction to thwart him and bring his hopes to naught. In all too many cases the fear of the steps necessary for lasting recovery may be greater than the alcoholic's fear of relapse into alcoholism, resulting in the familiar "On again, off again" pattern many alcoholics and addicts display as they begin to flirt with but not yet commit to recovery. (See Why is Recovery So Hard? and Obstacles to Recovery.)

It is the rare newcomer to an AA meeting who is not at least inwardly quaking in his boots. Fear of the unknown and of strange situations is a perfectly normal human response. In fact, it is a necessary response: for without the capacity for fear, no individual would survive for long. Fearful anticipation and resulting hyper-vigilance serve to protect people from harm in strange situations.

The fear of the typical newcomer to an AA meeting begins but by no means ends with this normal and adaptive apprehension in regard to the unfamiliar. The newcomer is vulnerable to many other fears which usually cause far greater distress and may eventually cause him to run away, to adopt a combative attitude, or simply to be unable to profit from his AA experience.

It is probably true in general that the famous "fight or flight" response is the characteristic response of most higher organisms to perceived threat. If a danger is spotted one must either overcome it, usually by attack, or run away to escape harm and even death.

The majority of alcoholics dispose of their fear –dread would probably be a more accurate word- of AA meetings(and alcohol treatment) by the classical phobic-avoidance method: they stay as far away from them as possible. This phobic avoidance is commonly rationalized in various ways, some of which may be superficially plausible. But the underlying problem in almost all cases is fear.

The alcoholic who actually attends an AA meeting, therefore, is the exception to this rule of avoidance. The "normal" thing is for the alcoholic to shy away from AA and anything remotely resembling AA. And the chief reason for this avoidance is fear, followed closely by the intense shame that is characteristic of most advanced addictive disease.

What is the alcoholic so afraid of that he is willing to go to any length -sometimes even to die- to avoid AA meetings? Every individual has a unique story – but there are some common factors which, while varying in relative importance in each case, actually constitute the principal explanation for the typical alcoholic's fear and loathing of AA.

We should keep in mind that the alcoholic attending his first AA meeting seldom does so in a state of mental calm and physical equilibrium. Usually there has been a drinking-related crisis of some kind that has prompted the first visit to AA. A considerable amount of "energy" is required to lift the alcoholic from his normal, i.e. drinking "orbit" into the initially much more aversive AA "orbit." And it is the nature of addiction that mere rational analysis seldom provides sufficient energy for such a drastic change of state. Something more, and often something painful and undeniable, is usually required in addition to whatever intellectual insight the alcoholic may possess. Attendance at one's first AA meeting does not take place in a vacuum but in the context of an existence that more often than not is riddled and riven with turmoil resulting from alcoholic drinking and behavior.

Something else to keep in mind when considering the first AA meeting is the usually highly abnormal and unstable physical state of the alcoholic. For whether he is still drinking, has attempted to cut down, or has recently stopped altogether, his brain is seldom in a healthy functional state. More often than not these days, drugs besides alcohol are likely to be part of the picture as well. All of this undermines the clarity and stability of the newcomer's psyche and makes the chore of correctly perceiving and interpreting the meeting environment more difficult.

The basic fear of the average alcoholic attending his first AA meeting is loss of face, i.e. fear of painful narcissistic injury, humiliation, or social embarrassment. To attend an AA meeting means to acknowledge that one is or might be an alcoholic who has been unable to control his drinking! This fear originates and is maintained solely in the alcoholic's head and is largely independent of external influence – especially external influence that might be thought to ameliorate it. Thus the newcomer at an AA meeting is frequently ashamed to be seen there despite knowing full well that everyone else present is also an alcoholic. This is because the "seeing" that pains him is his own seeing of himself as someone with a drinking problem who is in need of help. Well-meant reassurances from other people are of little help here and may even make the shame worse. For the alcoholic is ashamed in his own eyes and before himself, feelings that commonly overflow and then are projected upon others. The self-critical and ashamed alcoholic thus experiences his own internal self-condemnation as external criticism and disapproval coming or threatening to come from others.

A soldier on night sentry duty on the frontier of hostile and dangerous territory will naturally be alert to every sound and shadowy movement as possibly indicating the threatening presence of the enemy. His attention is focused and organized to detect and act upon signs of imminent attack. Everything else has been put on the back burner for as long as he stands sentry duty. Such a soldier is not interested in, nor would he be very good at learning various kinds of new information about the theory of standing guard, the politics of warfare, or the geologic history of the landscape he is presently patrolling. His survival depends upon the capacity of his mind to weed out such extraneous or distracting input and to remain fixated upon the immediate task of survival through vigilance and readiness for quick response. Not merely his weapon but the soldier himself is "locked and loaded," i.e. ready for combat.

In the same way the individual exposed for the first time to an entirely new and, in his mind, potentially threatening environment such as an AA meeting will be in a state of heightened defensive vigilance, scanning the environment and the behavior of others for any signs of danger. This is by no means the optimum state of mind to make objective assessments and to draw reliable conclusions about what is going on. People under conditions of perceived high threat view, organize and interpret their environment just as the soldier-sentry described above does: they are watchful, suspicious, cautious, and prepared to fight or flee on a moment's notice.

In brief, the high anxiety and selective attention of many AA newcomers causes them to experience and evaluate their meeting environment and the people in it in a distorted fashion. Only by coming back a number of times with a diminishing level of fear and anxiety do individuals unfamiliar with AA meetings begin to acquire a more rounded, accurate and in-depth view of what is actually going on – as opposed to what they fear is or might shortly be going on.

All of the observations made above apply with even more force to those not infrequent instances in which the newcomer, in addition to suffering from alcoholism, also suffers from a significant anxiety disorder such as "social phobia" or "social anxiety disorder." A very high percentage of alcoholics, 50% or more in some studies, show evidence of an associated anxiety or depressive condition in addition to their alcoholism. In these cases faster progress in AA and sobriety is usually made when separate professional treatment is obtained for the "dual diagnosis" condition.


That comes from this site.

Your First AA Meeting<
Sapling is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Sapling For This Useful Post:
Dorris (09-22-2012), IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), quitforme79 (09-22-2012), Sugarfix (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012), YVRguy (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 02:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Liverpool
Posts: 174
Just go - you will feel so much more positive afterwards for taking a big step
__________________
Quit date: 14/09/2012
Sugarfix is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Sugarfix For This Useful Post:
IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), Sapling (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 02:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
Guest
 

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Surrey, UK
Posts: 522
What are you afraid of Dan? Sometimes it is good to get them all down on paper - and then tear them to shreds with rationality :>!
Vall is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Vall For This Useful Post:
IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), Sapling (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 02:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
Powerless over Alcohol
 
IndaMiricale's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Trudging the Road to Happy Destiny!
Posts: 4,018
It does feel better after you walk through and realize its all okay, I am right where I am supposed to be..
__________________
"The only real thing in life are dreams, which nature cant touch with decay." Bob Dylan

"Each day,somewhere in the world ,recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic , sharing experience,strength and hope."
IndaMiricale is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to IndaMiricale For This Useful Post:
Sapling (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 03:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
Member
 
SunnyFlower's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Central Kansas
Posts: 175
Blog Entries: 2
Dan,

At rehab, 3 of the outpatients in my group who had apprehensions about going to AA Meetings, came back to our group last night (after experiencing their first AA meeting on Tuesday) and were relieved to find it to be better then they thought.

2 of them made plans Monday Night to meet each other at one particular Meeting Place.
Going with someone else, helped each of them to make the commitment to be there.
Is there anyone you know who can join you? (Just a thought)

It's difficult to understand the connections, commonalities, etc. until you make that first meeting. Once you find it, you're hooked. It was for me anyway, I began to warm up right away, and felt I had just found my long lost family. Once you "break the ice" you'll be fine. Wishing you the best!

Sapling, excellent! I'm going to print that one!
__________________
"God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest." *Swedish Proverb
SunnyFlower is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to SunnyFlower For This Useful Post:
IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), Sapling (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 03:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Between Meetings
Posts: 9,003
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunnyFlower View Post
Once you find it, you're hooked. It was for me anyway, I began to warm up right away, and felt I had just found my long lost family. Once you "break the ice" you'll be fine.
That's exactly how it was for me.
Sapling is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Sapling For This Useful Post:
IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012), YVRguy (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 03:34 AM   #8 (permalink)
Member
 
Dorris's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 458
I went to my first meeting on Monday full of fear, eveyone was lovley, just let me sit there and listen, some asked a few questions but left me to it. By listening I could relate to so many similarities and it makes me want to return to have my say this time, to have some on listen to me.

Go tonight, it's one less thing for you to worry about once it's done.
Dorris is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Dorris For This Useful Post:
Hexipuff (09-22-2012), IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), Sapling (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 04:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
pipparina's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: NYC
Posts: 1,225
Dan
For me, I was terrified to go to that first meeting. But once I sat down and listened to people sharing their stories, I felt so safe and finally not alone in my madness of alcoholism.

Just sit and listen. You don't need to do or say anything if you don't want to. I bet you walk out of their feeling a lot of relief you are no longer alone in this in.
__________________
"The mind is its own place; it can make a hell of heaven
or a heaven of hell" Milton
pipparina is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to pipparina For This Useful Post:
IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 04:35 AM   #10 (permalink)
AA member
 

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: United Kingdom.
Posts: 3,007
Please dont worry dan,everybody has to go to their first meeting.I bet everyone worries about it,I know I did.

You can always call your local AA helpline number and speak to someone before you go.

London helpline number 020 7833 0022 manned 10.00-22.00 every day.
heath480 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to heath480 For This Useful Post:
IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), quitforme79 (09-22-2012), SunnyFlower (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 10:01 AM   #11 (permalink)
Powerless over Alcohol
 
IndaMiricale's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Trudging the Road to Happy Destiny!
Posts: 4,018
Cant wait to hear about how it went for you
__________________
"The only real thing in life are dreams, which nature cant touch with decay." Bob Dylan

"Each day,somewhere in the world ,recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic , sharing experience,strength and hope."
IndaMiricale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2012, 10:10 AM   #12 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Posts: 384
I think everyone has covered the first meeting pretty well. I now look forward to meetings. I will say I was very nervous on my first meeting but wow , never before had I been welcomed anywhere from what were total strangers who smiled , shook my hand , gave me a Big Book full of numbers I can call. I had never been so accepted from minute 1 anywhere. That was totally strange and wonderful.
__________________
-----------------------------------------------------

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within

There is more to life than increasing its speed

Ghandi
YVRguy is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to YVRguy For This Useful Post:
IndaMiricale (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 10:13 AM   #13 (permalink)
Member
 
Jeni26's Avatar
 

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: South East England
Posts: 7,949
Dan, I was petrified, literally shaking. I walked through the door and told the first person I saw that I was a newcomer. They looked after me, and 6 months later are still looking after me.
Take deep breaths, walk through the door, and you will be fine x
__________________
Nicotine free since May 2013.
Alcohol free since February 1st, 2016.


Drinking will kill me. If I start thinking any differently, it's a lie.
Jeni26 is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Jeni26 For This Useful Post:
2granddaughters (09-22-2012), IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), quitforme79 (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 10:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Canada. About as far south as you can get
Posts: 4,768
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeni26 View Post
Dan, I was petrified, literally shaking. I walked through the door and told the first person I saw that I was a newcomer. They looked after me, and 6 months later are still looking after me.
Take deep breaths, walk through the door, and you will be fine x
Jeni, great advice. Spoken like an AA oldimer !!

All the best.

Bob R
2granddaughters is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to 2granddaughters For This Useful Post:
Hexipuff (09-22-2012), Jeni26 (09-22-2012), Mizzuno (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 11:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Essex, UK
Posts: 7
Dan, I went to my first AA meeting earlier today and I was exactly the same as you - dreading it. It only took about 2 minutes after I walked through the door before I started to relax. A really nice bloke started talking to me about football which distracted me and in a way it felt like I was stood at the bar chatting to a random stranger.
Once the meeting started I relaxed even more as I realised everyone was focused on the person talking. No-one looked at me, I didn't have to speak, all I had to do was sit and listen. I got so engrossed in what people were saying I forgot I was even at AA until the end.

I hope this helps. I put off going for years because of the fear but now I've cracked it I'll definitely be going back. I feel like I've got 2 new mates that I didn't have at the start of the day and I'm not one to normally socialise or speak to strangers (without a beer of course). I'm looking forward to getting to know more of the people there.
Chipshopchips is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Chipshopchips For This Useful Post:
Hexipuff (09-22-2012), IndaMiricale (09-22-2012), quitforme79 (09-22-2012), Sapling (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 11:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Between Meetings
Posts: 9,003
Welcome to SR....Chipshopchips....I'm glad you walked through your fears and got something out of it...Keep coming back!
Sapling is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Sapling For This Useful Post:
Chipshopchips (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 11:39 AM   #17 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Essex, UK
Posts: 7
Thanks Sapling! I'm planning on going to another one tomorrow as I might struggle during the weekdays due to work / drink commitments.
I'm really liking this forum so far, I think it's going to be really helpful for me. Is it the done thing to start a post saying hello to everyone?
Chipshopchips is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2012, 11:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: east coast
Posts: 1,711
It's normal to be scared. I still fear walking in a bit and have been a few times. But trust me, there is always someone who will come up and talk to and welcome you. You can do this! Keep us posted
quitforme79 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2012, 11:46 AM   #19 (permalink)
Member
 

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Between Meetings
Posts: 9,003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipshopchips View Post
Thanks Sapling! I'm planning on going to another one tomorrow as I might struggle during the weekdays due to work / drink commitments.
I'm really liking this forum so far, I think it's going to be really helpful for me. Is it the done thing to start a post saying hello to everyone?
Why not?....I just got back from an awesome meeting....About 60 people....20 of them from a rehab going to their first meeting....Beautiful stuff. Yeah...This is a great forum.
Sapling is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Sapling For This Useful Post:
quitforme79 (09-22-2012)
Old 09-22-2012, 12:41 PM   #20 (permalink)
Powerless over Alcohol
 
IndaMiricale's Avatar
 

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Trudging the Road to Happy Destiny!
Posts: 4,018
I always was able to find time to drink.. So everday I have no trouble making a meeting when I use that logic..

And Welcome aboard chips..
__________________
"The only real thing in life are dreams, which nature cant touch with decay." Bob Dylan

"Each day,somewhere in the world ,recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic , sharing experience,strength and hope."
IndaMiricale is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to IndaMiricale For This Useful Post:
Sapling (09-22-2012)
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:30 PM.