A shrink would call this a Social Phobia—a persistent, irrational fear of situations where people might pass negative judgment and observe them doing or saying something that might cause embarrassment.
This is very common and it is based on one simple, single cause: Resentment, that emotional bogey that is at the heart of all troubles, including this one. Unfortunately, the mis-educated pros in the brain sciences haven't a clue for a real solution to it, since the answer lies not in anything for which they have been trained.
The solution lies above intellect-within spiritual awakening and continued conscious contact with God, something doctors and professionals are not equipped to deliver.
Fear such as this is a sure sign that someone has not yet tapped into spiritual principles that restore courage and faith in place of doubt. It could be because they are new, and still getting their spiritual sea legs, but when those who have been around the recovery block a few times become bitter, reclusive and useless - suffering bedevilment, fears and anxiety, it is not a sign of good spiritual health.
Being an ardent 12 stepper equipped with prayer and meditation, has its benefits here - just like anywhere else where human error causes problems.
Overcoming this is not simply a matter of “overcoming my fears”. That is misguided logic that only an ego would propose, usually followed by an ambitious “I can do this!" proposition. Can you see how cunning an ego can be?
There are many of us "recovered alkies" who have lost our reliance upon people--been spared addictions to meetings, social ties ect, but who see the spiritual value in remaining among a Fellowship in order to grow. We actually make progress through the exact kind of abrasion some others may presume we find irksome. We don’t, if we are truly spiritually fit through God consciousnes.
Many folks who come into the rooms of recovery bringing with them this idea that anger is normal, manageable and “only human.” They are taught to ‘accept’ the negative energy that rises up inside them as an inevitable part of themselves and are taught ‘tricks’ to keeping it contained. Caged negative emotions become dangerous creatures.
This suppression will eventually drive them mad before killing them entirely. First, there is uneasiness, then onto bedevilments, emotional and physical sicknesses and finally death – all of it perhaps while dry as a bone.
This anti-12 Step, ‘anger is inescapable’ idea is being induced into the 12-Step Fellowship through people who have no idea what they are doing—naive, misguided “professionals,” self-help gurus, life counselors, New Thought AA sponsors and the like - all who have bought into a great hoax - and for some reason are not challenged when bringing these secular, sometimes 'spiritually' laced concepts into the 12-step environment. (Guess that's what happens when the "spiritual-entity", 12-step juice runs out of a group)
Contrary to what some folks would have us believe, anger is not normal for human beings. It is evidence of great inner conflict and spiritual illness.
Meanwhile they are supposedly embracing a Big Book, "Alcoholics Anonymous" a magnificent How To volume which espouses the complete opposite of this idea, acknowledging instead the ancient Spiritual Principle that all men must be FREE from anger, or else die--not learn to manage anger.
When suppressing negative emotions we shut ourselves off from the Sunlight of the Spirit. “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.” (66:3)
The bad temperament, stuffed annoyances, secret irritations, going along in order to “keep the peace”, playing the martyr - things many people like to think are 'only normal' -- aren't. They each fall into the “grouch and the brainstorm” category and what the Big Book calls a “dubious luxury”.
According to the 1938 edition of The Winston Simplified Dictionary, a “brainstorm” is as “an outburst of passion or agitation so violent as temporarily to deprive one of reason. A “grouch” is a fit of temper. A rose by any other name: ANGER.
Emotional entanglements such as those brought on by resentments, disturb the human psyche and interrupt God consciousness.
They produce thought; mental diversions that erect walls blocking us off from Gods vision, depriving us of our common sense as well as our uncommon sense. Failing to be freed from anger could mean relapse to booze, not that it matters, since a reversion into ‘anger’ is the real relapse, into spiritual illness - departure from God; a drink would only confirm the spiritual diagnoses:
"TERMINAL SPIRITUAL DISEASE"
The chief impulse at the heart of all of the alcoholic’s problems is anger. Unless an alcoholic is free from anger, he can never experience enduring recovery or expect to live wholly or happily.
When we separate from our thoughts, we are free. It is that simple. For a Twelve Stepper, the key lies in effective Step Eleven Practice that installs resilience against invading anger - and if you are honestly trying to practice the "these" Principles in all your affairs, then you have one. If not, maybe its time to stop representing to others that you do.
Today some AA meetings can qualify as a “sordid” place – which in 1938 meant “vile, without noble ideas, degrade, greedy of gain".
Keeping on the firing line of life with the motive of being of maximum helpfulness to others and never, ever hesitating to go anywhere we can be helpful, even if that means going a crappy, middle-of-the-road meeting -- God does keep us unharmed. He shows us how to forgive those who are offensive - if we are awake and aware. If we are God conscious.
Or else maybe you can say this, "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result to these steps I have abandoned attempting to practice these principles in all affairs and have instead decided to practice some of these principles and some of those principles, and whatever other spiritual principles I can find - in some of my affairs.” How long do you recon you’ll stay sane?
You'll be batshit crazy and useless, but BOY will you have accumulated an arsenal of cool "recovery" talking points!
Peace and Love,
Danny S – RLRA
Real Live Recovered Alcoholic
Real Meditation for Real Alcoholics (12 Step Friendly, Non-religious, free)