When we first get sober, all our previously repressed emotions come rushing back in an overwhelming deluge. Often this manifests as severe anxiety in early recovery, especially when it comes to social interactions. Paradoxically, social interaction is imperative if we are to stay sober, so it is important we work through this uncomfortability and branch out in the recovery community in order to form a sober support network. Here are a few tips you can try in order to overcome your anxiety and form new relationships in your recovery community.
First, there is truth in the old saying “safety in numbers”, and you can use this fact to gain a sense of calm confidence in the rooms of recovery early on. Hopefully you have chosen to reside in a sober living facility, perhaps even the one provided by your treatment center. If so, you have a built in group of like-minded individuals with whom you are close. Capitalize on this opportunity and go to meetings together! Having a few friends along with you will build your confidence, and you can encourage each other to reach out after the meeting to get contact information for sober supports and potential sponsors. Challenge each other by setting achievable goals in this regard, and motivate one another to pursue these goals at every meeting.
It is one thing to collect phone numbers at meetings, it is quite another to pick up the phone and talk to these fellows in recovery. A phone list is only good if it is getting used, so this is another uncomfortable action with which you need to get comfortable! A great way to overcome anxiety surrounding these phone calls is to set aside a time during the day dedicated to making one such call. Run down the list of phone numbers through the week, calling at least one every day around the same time, and soon picking up the phone and talking to a fellow AA or NA member will feel like a natural part of your life. If you tend to feel anxiety building up during the day leading up to a phone call, make your daily call first thing in the morning. No matter the situation, there is always a way for you to overcome your anxiety for the sake of your success in sobriety.
Social anxiety is very common among those in early sobriety, as for years we have relied upon substances as a means to achieve comfortability in our daily lives and interactions with others. Now that drugs and alcohol are no longer an option for you to quell your anxiety, it is important you find ways to overcome these feelings in order to socialize among members of your recovery community. We did not get sober by ourselves, and we certainly cannot stay sober by ourselves, so this process is crucial if you are serious about your recovery. Remember that everyone in the rooms of AA and NA has been where you are, felt what you are feeling, and still managed to overcome it and get involved. If so many before you have succeeded, so can you!