For recovery discussion


Postby Rupe » Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:11 am


I've been sober for 18 months now and i've hit a wall. Last weekend i went to the barbers and had a panic attack right in the chair, passed out and apparently started fitting. So they called me an ambulance and i spent the next four hours in the emergency room. They tested me and it's not epilepsy, just anxiety but now i'm afraid to leave the house, answer the phone or do anything. It's been coming on for weeks. I used to suffer this during my drinking days and i know the feeling only too well.

I've shared this in meetings but been met with a lot of well-meant guff from people who don't actually know me. I am working the program, i do have a sponsor, i do do service, i do read the big book; i've done everything that's been suggested to me and yet i feel like this. I'm angry at the program, at myself and at god. And before anyone says it I don't want to drink or do do drugs; this was caused by my drinking and drugging, i aint gonna go back there even if it does mean living the rest of my life in fear.

I just wish i could cry or feel anything real or in some way make a break thru. I need and want god near me and i don't where he went (and i know the saying if god goes who moved) but i don't know the way out of here.

I know i'm gonna come thru this but man i just wanna know when cos all i wanna do is have a simple peaceful life without fear so i can be of use and of help to other people who are suffering.

NB to any newcomers, not everyone's sobriety goes like this; in fact it's very difficult finding anyone who's been exactly here
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:01 am

Postby ann2 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:31 am

Dear Rupe,

Hi, I'm Ann, alcoholic, good to read you! You mentioned some daily treatment for our disease and I'm wondering, do you meditate regularly as well? I only started meditating this year, at 20 years sober, and I can't believe the difference it has made to my state of mind.

I had to pick up some books on the subject, in the kind of meditation I was interested in, and follow the directions, but the results have been pretty astonishing. It's definitely one of those things that have no immediate "oh yeah!" reaction when I'm doing it, but checking out my reactions over the day shows the impact.

Not to mention the great sleep (even when reduced) I am getting out of the habit. Sometimes I wake up at 3, 4, 5 am and I used to just lie there and get resentful about the zzzz's I was missing. Now I get up, meditate 15-20 minutes, and go back to sleep :-)

Well, if you *are* meditating, then I'd suggest calling a professional and making an appt. You could do both :-)

Glad you shared here,

"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada
User avatar
Forums Old Timer
Posts: 7941
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Sweden

problems other than alcohol

Postby someoneinaa » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:13 am

It may not be a symptom of alcoholism, but a co-existing condition.

Although many alcoholics have suffered "panic attacks" or acute anxiety, it is not a symptom of alcoholism. Yes, the repeated invasive action of alcohol upon a person's nervous system can produce physical vulnerabilities as well as paranoid ideation and the lifestyle a plethora of dilemae. However, when recurring symptoms occur, into the 2nd year of abstinance, one has to suspect a different underlying cause.

Also, be aware that "episodic acute anxiety" is really a description, rather than a diagnosis, when there is no definitive cause detected. All that has happened so far is the "band-aid" of an EMG consultation. You should really be getting a work-up from your doctor and/or a referral to mental health.

"...grave emotional or mental problems, but many do recover, if they have the capacity to be honest."

Not to worry. So often our active alcoholism masked other, unrelated problems, that they don't surface until long after we're in recovery. Or, sometimes the problems interact and need to be treated interactivey, as in "dual diagnosis".

It really only makes sense that once our bodies start to become healthy, that pre-existing conditions may adapt and emerge.

Just as when the children in an alcoholic home, who were always little angels, start acting up. You know they are becoming "normal".
User avatar
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:01 am
Location: Nova Scotia

Postby Bill F » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:31 pm

From Chapter 9 of the Big Book:

But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitated to take your health problems to such persons. Most of them give freely of themselves, that their fellows may enjoy sound minds and bodies. Try to remember that though God has wrought miracles among us, we should never belittle a good doctor or psychiatrist. Their services are often indispensable in treating a newcomer and in following his case afterward

I pray for you that your anxiety is removed and you have a happy and prosperous life in recovery.

Love and Peace,
Knowing you don't know is wholeness
Thinking you know is a disease.
Only by recognizing that you have an illness
can you move to seek a cure. - Lao-Tzu
Bill F
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 12:30 pm
Location: Nashville, TN

Postby stef » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:31 pm

That's a really hard thing to deal with. I've had panic attacks and they're scary. Sounds to me like maybe seeing a professional (not an MD) may help. I had to see a counselor for mine and it was amazing what I worked through. Ann has a good point too--meditation is a beautiful thing. Not every thing is centered around our drinking or our recovery. Some things have nothing to do with it. It's worth checking out--it was for me. Good luck!
User avatar
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:01 am
Location: Kansas

Postby Holly96 » Fri Jul 13, 2007 8:45 am

Yes, some times it takes getting sober to un cover some other things that need to be addressed. The other suggestions are great ones, and I might try seeing a therapist. Just because we are sober, does not mean we will never encounter issues!

I sought "outside help" (a psychiatrist) for years when I was first sober.....there is no shame in that. Good luck!!
don't leave before the will be amazed.

User avatar
Forums Long Timer
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:01 am
Location: Tucson Az

Panic/Anxiety "Me too"

Postby rare » Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:10 pm

I certainly relate to panic attacks as well as the never ending fears that are associated. I am diagnosed w/"Panic Disorder w/Agoaphobia, Severe". Agoraphobia is the fear of public, or people. I believe that this started my drinking career at the age of 13, when I had my first panic attack in school (I hid in the woods for 30 days, but would sneak into town to eat and steal my parents booze). It is not really so important to me which came first, the ckicken or the egg. I just know that I have two problems that have solutions. I see a therapist, a psychiatrist, and go to some groups when possible, and it does help. I also attend DRA (Dual Recovery Anonymous) when physically able. No-one has ever judged me there. I do believe that when I sober up, my other problems are just unmasked. Also, I hide in my home for up to 2 weeks at a time because of those fears that are not rational to others, but are very real to me. The fear of having a Panic Attack can actually trigger one. I do not believe that I could treat one of my diagnos's w/o treating the other at the same time.....
User avatar
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:50 am
Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania, US

Postby Rupe » Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:13 am

Thanks for your replies guys; seen the doctor, getting some counselling and generally starting to come out of it slowly.

@rare, i can totally relate to where you're coming from. This experience has really opened my eyes to just how ill i've been and for how long. The only reason i made it through school was by being drunk and stoned. I think i've been afraid of my own shadow for over two thirds of my life.

And now, things that normal people take for granted are little gifts to me. Being able to go into a shop to buy groceries is a big acheivement for me.

And hey, the love and support i've received from this fellowship brings a lump to my throat. AA is the best thing that ever happened to me.
Forums Enthusiast
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:01 am

My Panic Attacks may never be gone ...

Postby rare » Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:18 am

Hi Rupe, My panic attacks may never go away, but it gives me the opportunity to practice acceptance. I certainly relate to "things that normal people take for granted are little gifts to me." Panic and fear is normal for me! I've not been outside my home 3 times in over a week! I am going to try to get to a 10:30pm "Candlelight" meeting tonight. I feel safer at night, and at the "Candlelight" no-one really sees me. I don't know how many times I've left groceries in a cart and left a store. If I get anything special from my HP today, it will be your assurance that it does get better. I can cope today w/o medication or alcohol. That is far better than what I had done before for relief (And more PAIN}! I am getting some help with this, though. I do believe that both problems need to be treated for me to have a snowballs chance. Love in AA, Rare (Rick)
User avatar
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:50 am
Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania, US

Postby jevonne » Sat Jul 21, 2007 6:33 am

What specifically is a "Normal Person"? I have read this reference in many emails. We are all GOD's creatures! I too have had panic attacks that actually took place before my drinking days. We all have a story, we all react differently. What triggers my attacks I am sure are different than the next person's. It all boils down to working through the layer's of your past. Period. Through this exercise one can recongize and accept what triggers the attacks, what triggers addicition then attempt to move forward. Trust me, my story is not a glorioius one. I witnessed my mother committ suicide at the age of 11. From there lived with an alcoholic step mother and father that were very mentally and physically abusive. I've seen the four walls of a mental institute at the age of 14. Somehow I had the desire and drive to stay married for 14 years and bear two beautiful daughters only to leave the marriage at the age of 35 to become an alcoholic. Only then did I discover a good way to tuck away the past and Bud-lite did it. Now that I am sober, I try not to take too much on my shoulders each day. Truly living one day at a day. It's all mind over matter. Our minds are very powerful. Remember that the next time an attack creeps up. Mind over matter. Good luck and just relax. :wink:
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 7:08 am

Postby rare » Sat Jul 21, 2007 7:48 am

Jevonne, Thank you for keeping me humble. Sometimes I forget that we all "have a story", and some are really heartbreaking! I'm sorry that you went through all that you have! I hurt to see others' pain, but we are all familiar to it. I had my panic attacks before I drank, and I grew up in an "alcoholic home", where all suffered. I enjoy seeing former "drunks" who have had "the promises" fulfilled in their lives. One was a former sponsor in Pennsylvannia, who at one time was a POW in North Korea, and lost his daughter in the "Johnstown Flood". He now has 34 years sober, and a "peace" and "serenity" that I want for all of us. Seeing those "happy, joyous, and free" truely inspires me. Oh, I really don't know what "normal" is (Sometimes I think that 90% of society are like birds flying North for the winter)...Just kidding ... I do still believe that most people have a skelaton in the closet. It is like "the elephant in the living room". All see it, smells it, and even trips over it, BUT NO-ONE talks. Again, thank you!!! Rick (Rare)
User avatar
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:50 am
Location: Altoona, Pennsylvania, US

Re: Panic/Anxiety

Postby MAS » Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:02 am


I'm new to this forum and am working the programme hard - have been for some years now. Your comments below give me great hope and inspiration:

"I know i'm gonna come thru this but man i just wanna know when cos all i wanna do is have a simple peaceful life without fear so i can be of use and of help to other people who are suffering."

I wish you well and every happiness for the future.

Take it easy and all the very best...

User avatar
Forums Newcomer
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 3:25 pm
Location: Scotland UK

Return to Discussions

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests