If you have recently faced up to the fact that addiction has become a real issue in your life, then you may be ready to get help. This could be in the form of a residential programme or outpatient treatment with a doctor or counsellor. Alternatively, you could be considering joining a fellowship programme such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
All of these treatment options are effective at conquering addiction, but many addicts feel uncomfortable with the idea of attending a support group such as AA or NA. They may be dreading it and worry that it is not for them.
Fear of the Unknown
There are a number of reasons people are anxious before attending a fellowship group for the first time, and it may simply be because it is something new. Situations such as starting a new relationship or job can often bring about feelings of fear or anxiety, and starting a recovery journey can have the same effect.
It is important to remember that change can be good and is nothing to be afraid of. You are bound to be nervous before your first meeting because it is something unknown. Fear of the unknown is common and natural. Nevertheless, once you have been to a few meetings, you should start to relax because you will know what to expect.
Fear of Change
You may also be scared of change and what it will mean for you. If you have been relying on drugs or alcohol for a long time, you may be fearful of what sober life will be like and may be reluctant about having to give up your crutch. It could also be that you are still in denial and are convincing yourself that AA or NA is not for you because, deep down, you are not ready to quit.
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of sharing their feelings with strangers, and this can put them off fellowship support groups. You are not the only one to feel this way. Many people do not like the idea of sharing their most private thoughts and feelings with others they hardly know. They may be too shy to speak up but after a while, most members will want to share their stories. It is important to note that you do not have to talk at a fellowship meeting. Many new members prefer to just sit back and listen to others for a while until they feel more comfortable with their surroundings and the other members.
It is usually when others’ stories inspire them or when they hear something that they can relate to that most people feel ready to open up. Most are then surprised at how helpful and therapeutic it is to speak about their experiences.
Many addicts are ashamed of things they did while addicted and fear that they will have to disclose this information at a fellowship meeting. This can be enough to put them off joining. Nonetheless, there is no obligation to reveal facts that will make you feel uncomfortable. And bear in mind, you will be expected to omit certain facts if they could harm other people. You do not have to speak about every little thing you did while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is enough to talk generally about your experiences. While some speakers will get specific about their life and their stories, others will talk in more general terms, depending on how comfortable they are. The same applies to you. Remember that you can discuss these things in private with your counsellor or therapist while opting against sharing them publicly with your fellowship group.