Okay, this is a question that goes out to all of you who attend AA meetings. I have been attending the same meeting almost daily (during my lunch hour) for about 3 weeks or so now. I am a tad shy when I attend new functions. I am not the loudest person in the room nor do I speak up right away. As a general rule, I don’t like to speak in public. On my first day in attendance, I had a few people – well, 2 – say welcome and glad you are here.

Now that I have been there awhile, I feel like the odd man out. Like this is one big clique and I am not part of it. Everyone is nice enough, but no one seems to go out of their way to bring me into the fold. I thought that’s what AA was all about? Helping those who are newbies into the group. My question is: I’m I going about this all wrong? Am I supposed to become an extrovert and force myself in?

I don’t speak at the meetings. Like I said, I’m not comfortable with it. So, you say, “step out of yourself and get over the fear.” Ha, that’s not going to happen. Everyone at this meeting is stepping over themselves trying to talk. Right now, I like to hear what everyone has to say. I wouldn’t mind talking if I had something I felt I wanted to say. But, at this stage, I don’t have anything to share. Do I have to share so that people notice me? I feel like I’m invisible.

I like going but I don’t feel like I belong. The talk today was about strategies for surviving trips and company functions where alcohol is always present (and almost encouraged.) Numerous times it was mentioned that you needed to have your friends (who get it), a sponsor or other AA members on speed dial. Because we are family. Sorry, but I don’t feel much like a member of this “family.” Well, this may sound a bunch like a pitty party, but I have very few friends, I don’t have a sponsor (and don’t know if I really want one just yet), and the AA members don’t know I’m there. So, this particular strategy – of contacting other AA members when you have a need – won’t work for me. Hearing it though just made me realize how alone I am.

First time in a VERY long time I feel extremely close to tears. Must run to the bathroom — back in a few.

Shew, I’m back.

So, do I lack social skills?
Is the scar on my face from the bug bite from hell scaring people away?
Am I going about this all wrong?
Am I creating this reality on purpose?
Do I need to be more “in your face”?
Maybe I just need to find another group?

Okay so that is my question, which turned into questionS, of the day.

Any answers?


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7 Responses to question

  1. Is it just me or is your bite is in the shape of a heart? How cool is that? 😀
    As for your question… I’m thinking we’re due for a long phone conversation. 😉 In the meantime, just know that you are NOT alone! 😀

  2. good2begone says:

    That sounds like a very disheartening experience. I would suggest finding a new group where you do feel welcomed. Feeling like you belong may take some time but you won’t reach that if you don’t feel welcomed. You should be the most important person there and greeted by everyone in the group who has a clue what the organization is about. Don’t give up.

    • Debbie says:

      Thanks for responding. I do like the group as a whole, but you are right. I should probably see what else is out there. I have a group close to me but I don’t feel the right “vibe” in that one. So frustrating. I won’t give up 😉

  3. I could have written this a few years ago…lol.

    You bring up a lot of stuff that I went through, and to a certain extent kind of go with now. I too remember being the ugly duckling (my words) at the ball and too wondered if I have to be an extroverted, gregarious dude. I tried. And failed miserably. I am an introvert, through and through. My energy level, my decibel level, my excitement level is low key. If you handed me a winning $1 million dollar ticket, I would probably smile inside only…no jumping hysterics, etc…ha ha. So I thought I had to be Mr. Handshake and Hug , but it’s just not me. Now, I have had to get out of my box – I had to approach people I didn’t know (gasp!) and introduce myself. I had to get past the fact that people forgot my name a day or two later. I had to get past that people I knew – names, face, length of sobriety, their story, etc. didn’t even know I was there. And that’s the thing – it’s how I react to these things. People aren’t out to get me. They aren’t out to make me feel shitty. They are in their own worlds, often. They are sometimes in pain, and just trying to keep appearances. I know many people who work the fellowship. I don’t. I work the steps and show other men how to do them. I share at meetings, I make small baby steps in getting acquainted with others. I did (and still do) have to get out of my fear and make the first step. I speak at meetings (even to say that you’re new, nervous, don’t know what to say, etc. – people will get that) and usually that starts conversations.

    One way to start a chat is to approach someone after the meeting and tell them that you really identified with something in their share. That sometimes gets people to open up. But what you said about AAs trying to make the newcomer welcome …you are right. And sometimes we forget that, and use the fellowship as a social club rather than a place to welcome and introduce newcomers to the message. Are there other meetings you can try? not all groups are the same. There are different vibes to different groups – I went to different groups until I found the ones that jived with me. They are out there.

    Anyway, don’t be discouraged. Try a little bit to talk to others – I was the same. I don’t do big splashes, but little ones I can manage, and it didn’t take me long before I felt I belonged. I mean, you DO belong, but sometimes we don’t feel it at times:)


    • Debbie says:

      Thanks Paul. It’s nice to know I’m not the only introverted one in the bunch. Appreciate the advise. Because the meeting is during my lunch hour, it’s hard to stay after to chat. I’ll just have to make the effort. Thanks again for being there for me.

  4. tfay64 says:

    These are all good questions, and I can totally relate to that feeling. What I can tell you, is that AA isn’t my thing, and what you wrote about is a big part of the reason why. When I first decided to stop drinking for a while, I checked out some AA meetings and just didn’t feel it. Going to the few meetings I did, didn’t make me feel better, it made me feel worse on top of the insecurities, self doubt, uncertainty and feeling alone in the unknown of where I was going with not drinking was taking me. HOWEVER; I tried LOTS of different support avenues, and I feel with this smorgasbord, it brought me to a place where I could define and meld a support system that worked for me. Ultimately, we all need support in all that we do, and quitting drinking is a big deal. Keep trying. Maybe this isn’t the right meeting or venue for you, but maybe it is. But don’t try to put square pegs in round holes on top of everything else. At least, that’s my thinking. It just makes things harder. And it’s really freakin’ hard in the early days. Here’s a few things I tried…. online support – you got that one…. blogs, BFB, online in the room meetings (which I didn’t get anything out of), 4 different AA meetings including one at the Zen Center which I really did like and included lead meditation and a completely different type of introduction and take on the 12 steps, Addiction Busters meetings (2 of them) – you can google for in your area, my own blog, The Bubble Hour, The 100 Day Challenge (which has been my personal rock), a good friend or two, movies, yoga, memoirs… I read Drinking, A Love Story in the beginning and it really resonated, a list of why I wasn’t going to drink and….. well…. I’m just not drinking today. I hope this might help you. Most of all, Everything is going to be OK. Chart a course that works for you, your life, your spirit. me.

    • Debbie says:

      I didn’t think AA was my thing either. But, figured I would try all avenues. Thanks for the list of other options. I am #55 on Belle’s 100 Day Challenge and still working it!! Just hitting Day 1 A LOT. Yesterday was just a really rough day. Thank you so much for being there for me.

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