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scared of AA and strangers, help me please

Old 05-18-2013, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Tamerua View Post
You will get a lot out of just listening. Like most things in life, probably more than others who are thinking about what they are going to say instead of focusing on what is naming said. I'm a big listener.
LOL Tamerua. There's nothing worse than being a regular at a discussion meeting and no one is raising their hand. Then the person chairing starts calling names. I was bad with names so if I was chairing I always hoped after a topic was pickied 20 hands would go up so I didn't have to call on anyone.

But when I was new to the program I would rarely speak because basically I didn't have any experience to share except how not to stay sober. If called on I would just say I'd just like to listen today. I had an old sponsor who was pretty straight forward with me. Some days he would say before the meeting to just shut up and listen today haha. He was a great sponsor though. He didn't sugar coat anything and that is exactly the way I needed it to be.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Grungehead View Post
LOL Tamerua. There's nothing worse than being a regular at a discussion meeting and no one is raising their hand. Then the person chairing starts calling names. I was bad with names so if I was chairing I always hoped after a topic was pickied 20 hands would go up so I didn't have to call on anyone.

But when I was new to the program I would rarely speak because basically I didn't have any experience to share except how not to stay sober. If called on I would just say I'd just like to listen today. I had an old sponsor who was pretty straight forward with me. Some days he would say before the meeting to just shut up and listen today haha. He was a great sponsor though. He didn't sugar coat anything and that is exactly the way I needed it to be.
that is another thing i have heard about is a sponsor, do those people tell you what to do all the time? i have a hard time with stuff like that
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post

that is another thing i have heard about is a sponsor, do those people tell you what to do all the time? i have a hard time with stuff like that
Mine doesn't tell me what to do. I call her every other day to say hi. If there is something bothering me, I tell her about it. Usually, I just say, yeah. Going to work. We meet once a week to work on the steps. Now, I would imagine that if I am doing something that could compromise my sobriety, she would say something, call me out.

Good luck in what you decide... I had chimed in because I am really one of the shyest people you would ever meet and I like going to meetings and listening.
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
its the going alone that stops me, how can i overcome that fear?
You don't have to go alone. If you call the AA hotline they can hook you up with someone to take you to a meeting. They do it all the time.

I did that. I called and a person came and picked me up and took me.

It gets easier after you go several times. You don't have to talk. If it is a discussion meeting that goes around the room for each to share just say your name and you pass. That is it. Then just listen.

Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
that is another thing i have heard about is a sponsor, do those people tell you what to do all the time? i have a hard time with stuff like that
Mine suggests what I she thinks I should do or after talking with me suggests what she thinks I need to work on first. I trust her judgement. She has to know more than I do, right?
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
that is another thing i have heard about is a sponsor, do those people tell you what to do all the time? i have a hard time with stuff like that
welp, they arent supposed to. if ya find one and they try and control you, get another
a sponsor is to help guide us through the steps and help us learn how to apply the program to our lives.
my 1st one was a control freak. too me quite some time to realize it, so i got a new one. he rocks!!! he doesnt beat around the bush, reads between the words i say, suggests what i should do( which at times i disagree and hes cool with that), and we are to a point he even calls me occasionally for advise.
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:41 AM
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ok lets say hypothetically that i go to a few meetings, how would i even know how to pick a sponsor and honestly, would i really need one?
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
ok lets say hypothetically that i go to a few meetings, how would i even know how to pick a sponsor and honestly, would i really need one?
Why don't you get to a meeting first before you worry about all that? Those are things to be dealt with further down the line, not at your first meeting, let alone before you even go.

You can check this out Your First AA Meeting. Understandably, You Want to Know What to Expect.
or you can certainly google AA and find out quite a lot that way too.

I am an Alanon person, but every meeting I have been to asks if there is anyone there for the first time, and if so, there is a special welcome given. Then a regular member of the meeting is asked to speak briefly about what brought him/her to Alanon and what they have gained from it. After the meeting, people approached me and said how glad they were that I had come and that they hoped I would keep coming, also asked if there were any questions they could answer for me and gave me some suggestions on reading material to help me understand.

No one was pushy, and I just felt incredibly relieved and like a weight had been lifted off me.

So yes, just go. It IS hard to go to the first meeting, but so worth it. Many people have told me they understand just exactly how heavy those doors are the first time--but very quickly, they are not a group of "icky strangers", they are your friends and inspiration and support system.

I am also someone who spends a lot of time alone, works from home, etc., so it was tough for me to admit I needed other people. Guess what? I do. You might, too.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
ok lets say hypothetically that i go to a few meetings, how would i even know how to pick a sponsor and honestly, would i really need one?
how to pick one: i would suggest sitting back and listening for a few meetings. listen for sobriety( you'll hear it). your sponsor will appear.

do you need one? no, it isnt a requirement( the only requiremtn for membership is a desire to stop drinking).
but it is highly recommended. a sponsor is someone who has some time under their belt sober, has worked the steps, practices the principles of the program in all their affairs, and can guide you through it.
heres a good read on what a sponsor is:
http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-15_Q&AonSpon.pdf
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:14 AM
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sorry i am asking all these questions, i just like to know what i am getting myself into. the thing is, i went to a couple of meetings back in october but i wasnt comfortable and i felt like a outcast so i went back drinking again. because the drinkers wont look at me like i have a third eyeball
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:46 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Hi Legend from NY --
I have ~ 5 months sober & couldn't have done it w/out AA. If you're in the city, I can send you meeting recommendations.

I was very scared in meetings for the first month or two, and still there are some locations that I don't like -- and some I'm comfortable in. With experience & a little sobriety, my perceptions have changed a lot.

My advice on all your fears is that there's NO commitment w/going to AA -- you don't have to say anything, you don't have to sit in the front, you don't have to get a sponsor. Or you can do any/all of those things, or you can go for a year, never do them, and then start doing them at any time if you feel comfortable. I mostly go to beginners' meetings and no one is ever called on.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by courage2 View Post
Hi Legend from NY --
I have ~ 5 months sober & couldn't have done it w/out AA. If you're in the city, I can send you meeting recommendations.

I was very scared in meetings for the first month or two, and still there are some locations that I don't like -- and some I'm comfortable in. With experience & a little sobriety, my perceptions have changed a lot.

My advice on all your fears is that there's NO commitment w/going to AA -- you don't have to say anything, you don't have to sit in the front, you don't have to get a sponsor. Or you can do any/all of those things, or you can go for a year, never do them, and then start doing them at any time if you feel comfortable. I mostly go to beginners' meetings and no one is ever called on.
no i am from upstate NY, where everyone here knows everyone, that is why i am so sketchy on going. i know i have been reassured that nobody speaks of other peoples business but you dont know this town. ill give it a try but the first time someone approaches me with stuff about my life i am leaving and never going back
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
sorry i am asking all these questions, i just like to know what i am getting myself into. the thing is, i went to a couple of meetings back in october but i wasnt comfortable and i felt like a outcast so i went back drinking again. because the drinkers wont look at me like i have a third eyeball
welp, all of us lookin at ya like ya have a 3rd eyeball also have one! most of us thought we were outcasts of society.

dont be sorry for asking questions. yer not getting into anything thats gonna hurt ya and you can walk away at anytime if ya dont like it, but i highly suggest giving ita chance. go to as many meetings as possible for 3 months. get a sponsor and work the steps with your sponsor( have you happened to read the Big Book?). if ya dont like what ya got at the end of 3 months, the misery you had while drinking will be refunded at the door, but if worked right, yer not gonna want a refund.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:57 AM
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Hi Legend, I am from a small town also.

At meetings here, we talk about anonymity a lot; but what matters also is confidentiality.

Maybe you could call AA, and they could get you in touch with someone who will meet you before the meeting and accompany you.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:05 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
no i am from upstate NY, where everyone here knows everyone, that is why i am so sketchy on going. i know i have been reassured that nobody speaks of other peoples business but you dont know this town. ill give it a try but the first time someone approaches me with stuff about my life i am leaving and never going back
poeple have been talkin about your businees while you have been drinking.. would you rather poeple talk about ya falling off a barstool and stumbling out the door of a bar? screw what others say.

now sloooow down. you dont have to spill the beans about yer life at a meeting. thats not what they are about and yer not required to do that. yes, the program does suggest takin a look at yerself and discussing yer life with another closed mouth individual. but theres something great about doing that: you'll see theres nothing unique about ya. the program will build yer self esteem and ya wont care who knows about yer past or present and youll be able to help another alcoholic achieve sobriety.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Legend40 View Post
no i am from upstate NY, where everyone here knows everyone, that is why i am so sketchy on going. i know i have been reassured that nobody speaks of other peoples business but you dont know this town. ill give it a try but the first time someone approaches me with stuff about my life i am leaving and never going back
I understand. That would make me uncomfortable too -- even in the city I run into AA folks on the street and I find it awkward and scary. And after 5 months there are still only 2 people I really talk to.

That said -- one thing I'm learning is that I'm not the only alcoholic who has serious problems trusting others, and longterm recovery for me is going to have to involve taking some personal risks with human beings. And I'll sometimes get burned. But hey, isn't the whole point that we can't/don't want to keep living life as a miserable, isolated, alienated drunk?
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:22 PM
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i guess maybe if i can get the courage to call the hotline i will try and go, but no promises right now. i am sure you all have felt the exact same anxiety about going that i am feeling at this moment, actually its so bad that i am getting physically sick from it. not a good combo for me to start out with already
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:42 PM
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I have a horrible anxiety problem that has been intensified since I've been sober because I no longer can take my anxiety meds (klonopin) due to the fact that they might cause me to relapse on alcohol.

I only made it to the door my first meeting and had to turn around and go home. When I got up the courage to go in, I was literally shaking. But people welcomed me with open arms and I haven't looked back.

You do what you have to do to stay sober. Part of recovery is doing things that make you uncomfortable at first. I wish you the best and hope you can find what works for you. Just stay strong!
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