First Anxiety Attack of My Sobriety Challenge

I overlooked a small detail about sobriety. That overwhelming urge to flee a crowded room before freaking the fuck out.


This happened to me last night. I was at Maxwell’s in Hoboken for their weekly open mic, which has exploded in popularity in recent months. I do love seeing so many unfamiliar faces making new music I’ve never heard. I got their early. The room was empty, but not for long. The multitudes of dudes and axes rolled in like the rushing tide suddenly brought on a sensation of claustrophobia.

I tried desperately to keep my shit together, but the adrenaline was pumping. That’s when those familiar chest pains and dizziness started. Familiar because I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life. I was never one to seek help from doctors and pills, preferring instead to seek help from bartenders and bottles.

Dizzy, shaking, in desperate need of a drink, I had to get out out of there.

I headed back to the cafe and spent some time cleaning and working to burn off the nervous energy. I admit thinking I was a failure. I felt as though I should’ve been strong enough to wait for the anxiety to pass and enjoy the night. After some time past, I realized I was wrong. Those thoughts were side effects of the attack.

There is no shame in fleeing from time to time. It is a valid strategy for survival. The trick is to not let the fear that makes me want to run take over my life. Because then what’s the point of all of this sobriety if it manifests into a social disorder?

OK. So. First bump in the road found and passed over.

On to the next challenge.

Whatever that may be.


Tags: , , , ,

2 Responses to “First Anxiety Attack of My Sobriety Challenge”

  1. Susan Scimeca Vitacco
    01/24/17 at 6:19 pm #

    My husband has been dealing with anxiety since June of 2016 and I just wanted to say, you hang in there, and never give up on the simple joys because of your anxiety….you fight and you overcome it….If one night its 10 minutes you lasted at Maxwells, then the next time you make it 15, and so on.

  2. Debra Devi
    05/03/17 at 10:48 pm #

    Such true words – “there’s no shame in fleeing from time to time.” Our nervous systems are wired to be fearful of strangers and overstimulation. Drinking makes it seem easier to overcome that social anxiety and not drinking can make it feel overwhelming. Anyway, love this! You’re gonna be alright. ;-)

Leave a comment

*