Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Last night, I listened to a parent talk about anxiety. This wasn't your usual garden-variety form of hand wringing but a gut-wrenching anxiety that hits in the night and lasts until dawn. The question to the group was "What do you do to alleviate anxiety?" I thought back to those many nights that I would lie awake worrying about my work and the things that I had to do, worrying about my SO and what was going to happen to us, and worrying about my mother who had severe depression. Sometimes I would eventually fall asleep but mostly I would just obsess.

I know now that it was normal to obsess over these things because that was part of my codependency and dysfunction. I also think that it was related to my being caught up in drama and insanity. I would let FEAR (false evidence appears real) rule me and make me crazy. I also had to be perfect and not only succeed but exceed at everything that I did. There was nothing that I wouldn't take on because I knew that I could do the job and was really strong. How wrong I was!

I was a basket case filled with anger, resentment and self-pity. I wasn't taking on things because I wanted to, instead I was doing it to make myself feel better by getting approval. I desperately wanted to be loved and admired for doing so much.

Through the program of Al-Anon, I've learned that I don't have to be all things to all people. I only have to please myself and by keeping the focus on myself I can rid myself of the negative feelings. Some of the things that have helped me to keep anxieties at bay are:
  1. Exercise--If I'm anxious or stuck in the muck, going for a run, getting outside, doing something that requires physical exertion really helps rid my mind of the garbage
  2. Reading AA/Al-Anon literature--I keep books and daily readers by my bed so if I wake up in the night, I start reading which calms me down.
  3. Going to meetings--I go to AA and Al-Anon meetings several times a week. These meetings keep me grounded in the program and give me hope.
  4. Looking to my HP--When things are more than I can handle, I look to my Higher Power for guidance and to lift the burdens. Prayer and meditation are great ways to stop obsessing over something or someone that I'm trying to control.
  5. Focusing on the moment--By not looking back or looking forward, I can think about the here and now. Even if I can only do this for a half hour, it may be enough to not let the "do loop" of anxiety get going in my head.
  6. Call my sponsor and talk about my anxiety and the root of it. I'm fortunate to have a caring wise sponsor who doesn't mind listening when I'm not on the right path.
  7. Revisiting the steps, especially steps 1-3. I know that I am powerless over people, places and things and am willing to turn my life over to my HP to steer me when I'm rudderless.
The things that I mention are those that I've found useful to get me through anxious moments. It's a lot better than facing the demons alone.


  1. Oh this post rocked! I needed to read it thank you I llove the acronym for FEAR (false evidence appears real) how freaking true.
    I will take this post with me today as I am having a little bit of this again. Have a great day SYD

  2. Remembering post like this when I am anxious helps me just as much as my lit.I love learning to stay in the long as its a good
    Thanks for sharing :)

  3. Hi Syd,
    Saw you on MC's blog and thought I would stop by. Great post. I find prayer and meditation have been the biggest insturment in my anxiety issues. Of course I need reminding so I need meetings and literature and sponsor as you said.

    Have a great day.

  4. All the Anxiety and Fear I had about things never HAPPENED.......

    When tragedy did strike at times; it was totally UNPREDICTABLE.

    I have on my refrigerator the JUST FOR TODAY. It keeps me focus on things.

    I'm actually very happy now in a calm way (not a giddy pretend way).

  5. Great post, it is to good to hear the is a normal part of codependency and dysfunction to obsess.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.