Anxiety and Recovery

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Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Timothy3012 » Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:50 am

''The pain of my character defects is the very substance God uses to cleanse my character and set me free...''

I read this recently in another online recovery forum and it has to rank up there in the 10 most profound sentences I have ever come across. My name is Tim, and I am a 26 year old alcoholic coming up to my first ever year of sobriety - due completely to the program and fellowship of AA. I am a sober, active member of AA, and I am also someone who experiences extreme anxiety...

Many years ago, while still drinking, I was diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder. I have lived with extreme anxiety from about the age of 11. When I say lived, it would be more accurate to say I have been tyrannized by it. Every social interaction I had from this age involved the same process repeating in my mind time and time again; I would almost be having an out of body experience, watching myself speaking from above and thinking 'What I'm saying is so boring, I'm such and idiot, I'm speaking too much, now I'm not speaking enough! Am I looking at them too much, am I looking away too often? Am I mumbling, now am I speaking too well and sounding arrogant...?''

I have only just realised, in such overwhelming gratitude to my God, that at some point along the way I have created a whole host of imaginary rules and laws for all of my social interactions - laws that an imperfect human being can never possibly live up to. Each time I interact with someone, I feel 'done-in' about it and feel like the whole thing has gone terribly wrong. This was so intense in my first few months of sobriety that, many times, I have left AA meetings and while driving home have literally screamed out and burst into tears because I felt like such a fool...

This is where recovery has probably saved my life, again. I know the 12 Steps have saved me from an alcoholic death, but they have now started to save me from the feelings of wanting to kill myself because, in my head, I could never measure up to my own imaginary, bullshit standards. As the Big Book says, acceptance truly is the key. I accept myself by trusting God. I trust that I do not know what is best for me or for anyone else and that God does know. Who am I to judge how I come across to other people? - I can never actually know what someone else is thinking and, in fact, it's none of my business whether they like me or not. Even if, for whatever reason, they don't like me then they are not supposed to! I honestly believe that nothing happens in God's world by mistake.

I have experienced such intense freedom and relief recently from accepting that I do not sit in the judgement seat over my own life - In realising that I am in no way qualified to do so - and that I get to leave all my anxieties and demands for myself in the hands of my loving God. However social interactions go, it is simply how they go. If they are pleasant and peaceful, great! If they are difficult or surprising, also great because it simply gives me the chance to take any feelings of anxiety or self-hate to God and practice the process of trusting Him in everything.

This incessant 'people-pleasing' is 100% a character defect of mine that has the potential to send me back into the hell of active alcoholism. I said at the start of my sobriety that I would go to any lengths to stay sober, surrendering this character defect to God is a part of that. At the root of my desire to please people is self-centred fear. I am not doing it out of love for them, but out of fear of rejection. God has blessed me by allowing such extreme anxiety around this that I absolutely have to deal with it and can't pretend it is not happening. He is using the very pain of this defect to show me a new way of living that is infinitely better - the way of admitting I have no idea what is best for me - ever! - and that God is in charge of my life. I can breathe so much easier knowing I rest in the safety of my God's plan for my life.

Hopefully some of this makes sense to you (but even if it doesn't, that is also OK!)... I know the pain, isolation and loneliness which persistent anxiety has caused me, and I want to encourage anyone else out there who has also been a prisoner to it; there is a way out and, for me, the door which is allowing me to escape has the 12 Steps carved into it.

GB.
Last edited by Timothy3012 on Mon Aug 28, 2017 2:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Brock » Wed Aug 23, 2017 4:36 am

Very nice one again Timothy, so many alcoholics inquiring about recovery, say that anxiety, particularly social anxiety, is a problem for them. The relief you have found in total acceptance, that it does not matter what others think about us, once we believe our actions and words are not designed to hurt, and are loving in nature, is something I also have experienced. It is a freedom beyond description, but I am quick to admit that for me it comes and goes, and is a work in progress.

My spiritual reading has for some time included an interest in the ego, how it affects our relationship with the God of our understanding, and how it wrongly has us judging ourselves in social and other situations. One of the books by Eckhart Tolle, “A New Earth,” is pretty well devoted to this subject, and I have gained much from it. For anyone interested it can usually be found on Google in pdf, some may have highlighting, also the early copies have some typing errors. I have seen people write here and elsewhere, that they read that book and it didn't do anything for them, that is the same as saying you read the big book and it didn't work. These things are not just to read, but rather absorb in small doses and ponder on points made that interest you. After going through this book on the computer maybe three times in the last few months, I ordered a hard copy which coincidentally will arrive tomorrow, this can be kept where I can read a little when TV's not so good. To realize that our thoughts have very little to do with who we actually are, is a little frightening but fascinating, and that 'committee in the head' that so many AA's speak about, is becoming a thing of the past.

Our forums are often up and down in participation, we have been lucky to have some new members like yourself here recently, and they have been making things more interesting and enjoyable for us all, thanks.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Mary » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:16 am

Hey Tim,

I liked what you had to say...especially regards people pleasing and trusting that God wants something far better for us and is using our character defects to cleanse us - a very helpful way of looking at it. Instead of getting bogged down in the pain and tragic story we can thus create about ourselves , we could use the pain as a sign post.

Cool :-)
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Cristy99 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:15 pm

Thanks Tim!! Awesome share!! I have caught myself being afraid of being afraid many times.....bat sh** crazy!!!

Are you sure you are only 26?

You are wise beyond your years!!

(clapping imoji, lol)
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Timothy3012 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:44 pm

Are you sure you are only 26?

You are wise beyond your years!!

(clapping imoji, lol)[/quote]

Hey Christy,

I have spent such an excessive amount of time in my head trying to work everything out - sometimes a terrible thing as my head always leans towards the negative, but sometimes it's a blessing... Obsessive thinking over AA literature and about what I hear in meetings has actually been great for me in early recovery. It has meant my mind has been saturated with great information, and it's helping to change the negative default I seemed to have been born with!

I figure these days that my mind always tends to be obsessive, so I just try to direct the obsession towards God and AA - the only things I have ever found that give me peace. It seems to be the way I am wired so I'm just embracing it and letting God use it for the purpose of recovery!
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby clouds » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:03 am

I completely relate to this defect of social anxiety Tim, thanks for writing about it the way you did.

Its sorta funny to think there are plenty of times in my life where this notion of entitlement includes a feeling that since I try so hard to be nice to everybody that that should somehow put me in a category where no one should ever reject, dislike or disinherit me. :lol:
" Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." page 98 A.A.
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby kdub720 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:15 am

This is an awesome post. We deal with alcohol and all our other problems, but if we leave it all to God we will survive and thrive. I liked how you can recognize your own flaws and how they affect you personally and socially. I have a hard time because I am my own worst critic and my own biggest fan. I snowboard which is a very individualistic activity of artistic and self expression. I often do things that impresses myself, yet to anyone else is no great feat. Then I do sometihing I deam as dumb and receive social acclaids. This lead me to be kind of a loner and not trust others opinions, which lead me further into the bottle. These judgments and social anxieties are crippling to the active drinker. I used the booze to cover so much pain and frustration. This was a great post and again got me all sorts of thinking this morning. Thanks Tim, Good Job.
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby PaigeB » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:40 am

Many years ago, while still drinking, I was diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder. I have lived with extreme anxiety from about the age of 11. When I say lived, it would be more accurate to say I have been tyrannized by it. Every social interaction I had from this age involved the same process repeating in my mind time and time again; I would almost be having an out of body experience, watching myself speaking from above and thinking 'What I'm saying is so boring, I'm such and idiot, I'm speaking too much, now I'm not speaking enough! Am I looking at them too much, am I looking away too often? Am I mumbling, now am I speaking too well and sounding arrogant...?''

I can Identify with this! Even to this day I have to watch how I talk to myself! I wouldn't treat a sick friend this way! See page 67 "God save me from being angry" with myself! I know now that I will never know how I help others, but if I am in God's Will - then it is All Good. Maybe someone in the audience needed to see me anxious and still having the integrity to get up there and speak.

I have found A LOT of us have negative self talk... I have to remember that I am a Divine Creation - no matter what MyEgo might be telling me! :wink:

Be nice to yourselves friends!
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Noels » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:31 am

Double post
Last edited by Noels on Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Noels » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:37 am

Hi Timothy as usual I relate to your share very much. At times I find myself hugely disappointed in humanity but then remind myself that sometimes God use me to try and show others how to be and live. Ego-thinking? Maybe, maybe not but possibly something to consider since I remember a quote saying something about 'when the student is ready the teacher miraculously appear ".

I have also found (with myself ) - that in some instances what appeared to me as my 'defects ' actually turned out to be my strengths, and more particularly my uniqueness separating me, my thinking, behaviour and actions from the 'accepted norm ' around me. In this instance I remember a quote 'you were born an original, don't die a copy ' and I've made peace with myself being the way I am - perfectly uniquely created in God/Creators image ' and am grateful for and proud of being who and what I am. I also remember a very honest and true being tell me once that he doesn't think that particular quotation will ever happen to me and those words have pulled me through many a doubtful moment.
Lastly I'd like to share my take on the meaning of our serenity prayer for what it's worth -
'GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE ' my interpretation of 'things I can no charge ' - if I can make aware some person, institution or organisation of bad behaviour or bad attitude by sharing verbally, via email or by any means available to me the possibility exist that such behaviour Can change simply by me using the tools available to me as mentioned. 'Cannot change ' would be acts of nature, acts of God - something where there is No tools available for me to try with first.
'THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN ' - prayer, passion and general inborn 'right /wrong ' knowledge takes care of this one
'AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE ' - this is revealed to me as I do and proceed /progress but 'incorporated ' with the two mentioned above. We have an 'inborn wisdom ' and when walking closely with God it intensifies. We just need to hear and believe that it is communication from God direct and act accordingly.

We have a saying in AA that God won't do for us what we can do for ourselves so when in doubt I always ask myself - 'does the possibility exist that if I do this or that that something can actually change - regardless of the odds and what others think - if the answer is 'yes - no matter how slim - I first try myself. If it then doesn't work after having tried my absolute best - I hand over to God.
Just my personal take on how I do things. Hope it helps.

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Re: Anxiety and Recovery

Postby Cristy99 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:28 pm

Timothy wrote:
I figure these days that my mind always tends to be obsessive, so I just try to direct the obsession towards God and AA - the only things I have ever found that give me peace. It seems to be the way I am wired so I'm just embracing it and letting God use it for the purpose of recovery!


Ohhhhhhh my sweet English friend, we have much in common!!! Thanks for this...I am so glad we are learning to turn old habits and ideas into new ones. One small step at a time we are healing, learning, and making positive impacts rather than negative ones.

My son is your age. It is so painful to watch him suffer with this disease. Of course, I can't say for sure, but his life sure looks familiar. I hope someday he can find what you have found. So far I have only been a living example to him that there is life after alcohol. I don't think he is ready to hear me out if I try to talk with him. God will tell me when it's time.

Always love hearing from you!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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