I’d like to share with you a personal story that happened tonight.
First, I have been seeing a therapist to help with anxiety issues. Some of the things contributing to my (ahem) problem are escalating social and family issues. Don’t get me wrong though, I have had social anxiety disorder all my life, and this is a definite contributor to making things worse. But recently it had been building to critical mass and exploding beyond my control. Anxiety level – 9.
So after a few sessions with my therapist, he told me to see this group that met every Sunday at 7:00 pm – a group that was supposed to help with stress and anxiety issues, to tell stories and work out these problems and get back on track with life. I was so excited to go to this that I asked my fiancé to join me. Anxiety level – 4
So we go into the church and scope out the meeting, running into my therapist who was just wrapping one up that started earlier. I introduced him to my lover and he was excited to see us. But to my confusion he just happened to be leaving, and another group was forming. He told me that the group was ready for me, and so we took seats around the table where we were introduced to ACA.
ACA – Alcoholic Children of Adults. Anxiety level – WTF?
Um, OK, yeah I come from a family of functional alcoholics, with such family members renown for being awesome military members serving on naval boats and fighting in wars, the engineers who have made chandeliers for Grand Central Station and worked on the Apollo spacecraft, Stealth Fighters and much more, and the artisans, all of which really have not had problems with alcohol, save my grandfather.
What the HELL am I doing here?
Giving both me and my lover the benefit of the doubt for this group, we sit and listen to all who have problems – those with alcoholic parents, are alcoholics themselves and just wanting to get back on track with their lives through AA. I hear prayers, the usual introductions, the “hi” acknowledgements following from the others as the spotlight slooooowly makes it way over to me for my story.
Anxiety level – 11 (!)
So the main coordinator, knowing that I was new to the group, then gave me the option to share. And so I did, as follows:
“Um, well I’m Steve (“Hi Steve”) and to be honest, I was told by my therapist that this was a “Stress and Anxiety Group.”
I paused there, where the the head coordinator then told me “well boy are you in the wrong place” followed by laughs from the entire group. That didn’t really help, but she was right. At first I was hoping I was not in the wrong spot and that alcoholism was just the motif of the group, and this class had ways of coping with stress and anxiety. NOPE!
“Oh well then this is Krystal – she’s with stupid – and I think we are just going to leave. It was nice to hear everyone’s story; very inspiring and I hope that you all are well from here on out. But I think we are just going to go. Picture a piano playing us out right now. Thank you very much!”
That got some smiles from the group, which I was happy to provide, even if it did perpetuate me looking like an idiot. But that was alright – I really needed to laugh at myself again, knowing that a mistake was made down the line from…somewhere, and this night did just that. Whether that was intentional by my therapist or not, it helped a bit. And so I go home with my future wife, the both of us laughing it off, and knowing that it’s time to just let go of my bottled up (no pun intended) emotions, as she is a great listener and friend.
Current anxiety level – 2, and fading. 🙂