Anxiety when asked to speak

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Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Grateful2bhere » Mon Jun 27, 2016 8:46 am

Dear friends
I have been asked to share my story with a group of drunks. I have been sober a long time but have never gotten over the sheer panic I feel every time I am asked to do it. It usually goes well. But the days leading up to the meeting are SHEER TORTURE. My sponsor says its ego. I am asking for your experience strength and hope regarding this issue. I'm sure my thinking is screwed up about this thing .....so would love to hear how you approach speaking.
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:14 am

what it used to be like, what happened, what its like now
adventures before and after make clear 3 pertinent ideas....
keep it simple
...a score card reading zero...
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Grateful2bhere » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:34 am

Spirit Flower wrote:what it used to be like, what happened, what its like now
adventures before and after make clear 3 pertinent ideas....
keep it simple


Thanks spirit flower
Yes....keep it simple....I complicate everything! My fear tells me I'll forget everything.....ill be boring.....ill talk too much about the dark past.....yada. Yada. Yada.
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Duke » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:51 am

Fear of public speaking is very common, so please don't feel all alone. Something I was told was that it's not against the rules to jot down a few notes about what you want to say. Preparing a bit is one of the ways to help alleviate the anxiety.

The other is to imagine the worst and then have a good laugh with a friend at how silly it all seems. Personally, I used to imagine myself wetting my pants in front of a crowd. It made the real thing a walk in the park.

Good luck to you. Your friends are thinking good thoughts.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Grateful2bhere » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:01 am

Duke
Thanks so much for your prayers. I have been asked to speak at two different meetings this week. Feels overwhelming but I will do it because my sponsor says I have to give back. . Thanks for reminding me that I don't have to do this alone.
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Roberth » Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:32 am

Hello Grateful2bhere, I find it a lot easier just to talk to one person in the crowd.... one of the things I learned it's not what I say, it what someone hears that is important and many time there aren't the same. I never sounded as good at a meeting than I did in the shower the morning so I basically stick with telling them my name and tell the truth. I seem to do well when I just speak from the heart.
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Noels » Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:12 pm

Hi Grateful :D youre not alone. I write better than I speak for the simple reason that I can double check what ive written. I haven't even done a proper share yet (thank goodness - pfew :P ) but when the floor is opened after a share I find my thought and mouth is not on the same level. The one ALWAYS overtake the other. :lol: I think my thought pattern is so fast that my mouth cant keep up so you can imagine what comes out when my thoughts have covered what I wanted to say ten minutes ago but it comes through my mouth only 10 minutes later! I'm positive you are better than me in that respect :D I just burst out laughing then all is A4 and we're okay again. Ive actually thought that when its my turn to speak ill rather speak about how the steps have affected all aspects of my life or perhaps choose a topic and speak about it or even what I have found worked and helped me when I was a roekie - brand spanking new newcomer. But you'll be fine and i'll keep on practising to get my thoughts and my voice on the same page. :lol:
Enjoy :D
Love and light
Noels xxx
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Dan2000 » Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:48 pm

At first I was absolutely terrified at speaking, people would ask me to speak, I would say no, this went on for a couple of years. In one of the groups I go to, who ever chairs the meeting, after they identify (share their story) they then ask someone at random at the meeting, to describe the disease of alcohol, one time someone asked me, I rambled something out in less than a minute....I felt pretty good after I did this (sharing is doing Gods will, each time we do Gods Will, we get some serenity)
I couldn't figure out why I couldn't speak, I could speak with a small group, but not at the podium. I use to say Step 3 was for me, as the principle for it is faith. I wrote a small outline to help me remember my story...goes something like this...started drinking in the 8TH GRADE, then progressed thru HIGH SCHOOL....my FIRST APT, was party central...and so forth, as I knew I wouldn't remember my whole story, however I knew I would probably remember the highlights of my story and a little wording that went along with each of the highlights.
I was going to have a major operation ( I had both my knees replaced at the same time) and I said to myself, if I cash in during the operation, no-one will ever know anything about me. So I got the guts up (leap of faith) to chair a meeting right before my operation...I spoke for 35 minutes where normally one usually speaks for 10-15 minutes.
After that I started to do small commitments, then bigger ones, etc..now I've spoke in front of hundreds.
Like anything, the more you practice, the better you get and you can fine tune your story as you go. I will say, there are times when I first start to share I get a little nervous still, but that goes away in the first few seconds. I usually say a little prayer before I speak and ask God to help with the words.

IMPORTANT: Remember this, sharing is not about you, yes, it's your story, but it's for the other people in the meeting, If your not telling your story, find something you can identify with in the big book or from the steps that you like to share, or ask a question if you have one.

Please read my post on "Self-Centeredness" (your sponsor is right, it's your EGO) that may help you learn more about the sheer terror, you experience prior to speaking, try to take the focus off yourself, again, sharing is not about you, its for the other people.


In all we do, it's Progress not perfection.
Remember in all we do, it's Progress,not perfection.
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby positrac » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:41 am

Grateful2bhere wrote:Dear friends
I have been asked to share my story with a group of drunks. I have been sober a long time but have never gotten over the sheer panic I feel every time I am asked to do it. It usually goes well. But the days leading up to the meeting are SHEER TORTURE. My sponsor says its ego. I am asking for your experience strength and hope regarding this issue. I'm sure my thinking is screwed up about this thing .....so would love to hear how you approach speaking.


That is why I drank to ease that pressure of my own insecurities. I used to have to teach classes while I was in the service and I went to many different locations and stood up and did the same materials except with new data from time to time. For me my security was my uniform and I put on my game face and would find a spot on the wall or the tops of everyone's head and I would glance over the room and that is how I was able to achieve this fear. Once outta uniform I was like a recluse turtle and I stayed in my shell.

For speaking in the rooms I would recommend that you remember your last drink and what lead you to AA in the first place. Next if you were unique then you'd be in a bad way as none of us could remotely relate! So 1/2 the battle is been addressed. Next if this group is a place you know and feel comfortable then you should be able to tell your story as I am sure at least one person will relate and feel like they actually belong.

This might be one of the harder service tasks we are asked to do and in the end I believe you'll find some temporary relief because you overcame this fear. I mentioned temporary relieve as I still suffer with this fear and I have to mentally put my face on and know I have a purpose.

Go and take this challenge because you might be surprised at the ones you reach out to in your story.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
Hopi Proverb
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Brock » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:12 am

Of course I wish you well for the speaking engagements and more or less agree with advice others have offered, but I have a different attitude over these things, here are a couple quotes from your posts -
I have been sober a long time but have never gotten over the sheer panic I feel every time I am asked to do it.
...Feels overwhelming but I will do it because my sponsor says I have to give back.

If it is something we panic about when we “have” to do it, just don't do it. Our founder says very clearly in the 12 & 12 that those of us who feel unable to speak at meetings, have many other avenues to do 12th step work, he even goes on to say those who can't do much face to face 12 step work no problem. I don't know but maybe you are fine speaking one on one or in a small group, but because you are not comfortable in front of larger groups you must force yourself, because according to some sponsor that's giving back. You also say you have been sober a long time, and yet someone is allowed to tell you how you must give back, sorry I will end here, before I really get on my soapbox which has the instructions from the book 'living sober' on it, the part which says a good sponsor says goodbye to their sponsee after the steps are done, as a bird leaves the nest so we must leave.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Layne » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:23 am

Grateful2bhere wrote: My fear tells me I'll forget everything.....ill be boring.....ill talk too much about the dark past.....yada. Yada. Yada.
If that does happen...what happens?
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby Grateful2bhere » Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:44 pm

Just want to say thanks to all of you for your comments and suggestions.....it helped immensely.....I told my story for the second time today.....all went well. I turned it over to God before I began and it went very smoothly. Just want to clarify that my sponsor did not insist that I do this. She said that I must give back only because she knew how badly I wanted to do it. Saying no when asked to speak is just not an option for me. Yes, I'm afraid .....when I drank, it was almost 100 percent to drown my fears. My responsibly to myself is to face my fears and not run away from life experiences....especially those that can benefit me and others. And especially those fears that scare me to death.....when I hide from those experiences, my fears increase dramatically....when I face them, they shrink and become manageable. Love this forum.
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby PaigeB » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:40 am

Glad you are here Grateful !!
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby positrac » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:43 am

Grateful2bhere wrote:Just want to say thanks to all of you for your comments and suggestions.....it helped immensely.....I told my story for the second time today.....all went well. I turned it over to God before I began and it went very smoothly. Just want to clarify that my sponsor did not insist that I do this. She said that I must give back only because she knew how badly I wanted to do it. Saying no when asked to speak is just not an option for me. Yes, I'm afraid .....when I drank, it was almost 100 percent to drown my fears. My responsibly to myself is to face my fears and not run away from life experiences....especially those that can benefit me and others. And especially those fears that scare me to death.....when I hide from those experiences, my fears increase dramatically....when I face them, they shrink and become manageable. Love this forum.


See it is good to open up and give of yourself as this will help with your future and your step work over time.
You must live your life from beginning to end: No one else can do it for you.
Hopi Proverb
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Re: Anxiety when asked to speak

Postby kdub720 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:26 am

I like this one. I think when you just keep it short, sweet and from the heart is the easiest way. Remember though speaking is part of it, to let you share what you talk about is up to you and you do not have to please the crowd. Good luck and have fun.
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