This seems like a simple enough concept. You intend on going somewhere, and once you get there you just open the door and step right on in … However, depending on the place, that’s not always how it goes for me.
Almost four years ago I made myself walk into an AA meeting because I knew I had reached the end of my rope. Groups of people can be a trigger for me though, and I never truly felt comfortable there. After nearly four years I still feel sick to my stomach going into a meeting. You would think I would be past this stage by now, but I’m not.
Which brings us to today … Right now I am in a Starbucks very sick to my stomach because I intended to go to an AA conference which is taking place down the street from here. The closer I got to the conference the sicker I felt. Finally I just came in here instead. I decided to bag the whole thing. I feel like a failure over it, but physically I feel better now that I decided that I am not going.
A person may ask why I try so hard to go to AA. Well, I see people in there that are genuinely happy, and I really don’t want to drink again. Basically, I want what they have. Many of them seem peaceful, sober and happy. When I am able to sit through a meeting without leaving I often hear things that resonate with me. But it is often very painful for me to sit through meetings because of my anxiety of being in a group. There are countless times when I drive all the way to a meeting, and then I turn around and drive home because I can’t make myself go inside.
Truthfully, I’ve had some negative experiences in AA. But I don’t attribute my anxiety to that because I felt this way before I even had those experiences, and I know that those experiences were not unique to me. I know that a number of people have had negative things happen in AA. By the same token, I’ve had some positive experiences as well. Just wish that I could get myself in there to experience more of it, positive or not. I’ll never know until I start going again.
But for today I am going to try to stop beating myself up over it. I feel better now, and that’s not a bad thing.
(Photo credit: Chapendra)