I have recently discovered that the local hospital holds OA meetings twice a week. I want to go because I think I could use it, but I'm terrified. I have serious social anxiety as well as anticipatory anxiety and I don't like to leave my apartment. For that reason, I have pretty much walled off the world. I don't socialize or interact with people if I can at all help it, but even going to the store to buy milk is difficult for me. I feel like everybody is looking at me, watching me, staring at me... judging me. In fact, I've isolated myself for so long that I feel like I don't know how to interact with others. If somebody tries to strike up a random conversation with me, I feel like I've been put on the spot. My mouth goes dry and I never know what to say. So 99% of the time I just remain quiet. Yeah, you know me. I'm the one standing in the darkest corner of the room, not saying anything to anyone, not interacting with anyone. I spend most of my time watching everyone else having a good time.
So anyhow, that's where this place comes in. Maybe once I get a bit more comfortable interacting with people I don't know, going to OA meetings won't seem as terrifying.
I'm just scared to go because I'm afraid of being judged. I'm afraid of running into somebody I know. I don't know what to expect and that terrifies me as well. Are these meetings just like they show on TV and in the movies? You go in, grab a coffee then stand at the podium (or sit in a circle) and say "Hi. My name is ...... and I'm a/an .... (whatever).".
Maybe you could try one of the online chat meetings or the telephone meetings. Then you will at least know what to expect during a normal meeting. You may also be able to get an email or phone number for the leader and possibly even members. That could only help boost your confidence by having had an email or phone discussion with someone first.
It's okay to be scared and it's okay to not know what to say. I suspect it's also more than fine to be quiet during OA meetings and simply soak in the conversation. After all, we all learn and interact in different ways.
If you run into someone you know, they will be at the meeting for the same reason you are. If you run into someone outside of the meeting, what are the chances they would know you are coming from an OA meeting? But more than that, your health, your well-being, your goals are SO much more important than someone else's reaction - and if their reaction is snotty, then you know what, that says EONS about them but nothing about you. It just means they lack the sensitivity and compassion to think about things open-mindedly and in loving ways. All that attending OA means about you is that you are doing your best to care for yourself and are willing to be responsible and accountable. That's amazing and nothing to be ashamed of.
As for not knowing what to expect, have you had a chance to check out the OA website? Perhaps there is some information on their site (especially if they have a local site based on city/meetings) about meetings or maybe that info will be under a FAQ section.
I understand feeling anxious - my anxiety isn't as strong as what you've described, but when I was younger it probably was that high. I know we all deal with our challenges in different ways, but let me just say that I think you are brave for even thinking about this and I, for one, am applauding you from this side of the screen. You can do this, and I have no doubt it will be okay. Take the steps you need to get there -- do keep taking them and believe in yourself. You can handle anything that comes your way. Truly.
To answer your questions... it is just like you see on TV. You don't have to get up in front of everyone, but they will be nice enough to want to know your name. All you have to do is say your name. If you are still reserved, they will sense it and not press you with more questions. Just sit, listen and realize they are or were in the same situation that you are in. No pressure, they will welcome you and they will tell you they hope you come back. The first step is the hardest. But you can't get there if you don't take that first step. Good luck!!
I've been wanting to go to an OA meeting for the past 3 weeks but haven't gotten the willpower to go.
I'm like you when it comes to interacting with others.... I only go out to go to work or if I absolutely have somewhere else to go (doctors). I basically stay inside, even when it's so beautiful out. And when I do go out, I'm with my husband (who's a social butterfly.... and I'm the wallflower). As for interacting with others, I feel like I don't have the skills anymore... esp. with women, since I work with guys.
I avoid people... not to be rude but out of fear. Just like talking on the phone.
Maybe one of these days I'll go to a meeting.... but I keep reading negative experiences about them (here in the forums). I know it's all opinion but I just want a place where I feel comfortable.
I remember going to OA and you don;t even need to talk if you don't want to.People know and understand if your shy or afraid.Everyone was differnt.Som e were even positive but I can't find them.OA isn't big like it ust to be.i like only the special topic ones that deal with being a compulsive eater who's also overweight and no anerexia/bulmias allowed.They already have their special groups under eating disorders.And dieters and compulsive eaters don't really fit together either.
I have been where you are. I have terrible social anxiety and had to FORCE myself to my first meeting. What I found was the most accepting and understanding people ever. You will never be forced to talk. When they are doing readings from the books, plenty of people for whatever reason will just say pass, and pass along the book to the next person.
I see you are from Vermont, I am also. You can expect very small meetings, very welcoming. Also don't be shocked if most people are not over weight. My second meeting, someone noticed I was new and asked who ever was willing to share their weight loss. Most people has lost 80-120 pounds, because the program works. They did not want me to feel like I was there with all these thin people who did not understand me.
I have problems with this too. It's a big part of why I haven't been able to succeed at Weight Watchers, First Place, and other similar weight loss programs. There were days when just thinking about the meeting led to a full blown anxiety attack and binging to self medicate. My grandmother went to OA for years and I think it is something that I need to do. I want to do a group program that doesn't involve getting onto a scale in front of everyone and then obsessive talk of calories and points for an hour. That just made me want to eat when I left.
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