First of all, congratulations on your sobriety! I do feel for you since you are still suffering with severe anxiety. That's what I'm worried about - if I don't drink, I'll just end up with severe anxiety with no way to control it, and simply fall back into a drink. If I don't drink and I start thinking about my social anxiety, it makes me crave a drink. It's tiring, but it works. It also costs a large amount of money.
May I ask what complications you had from alcohol that it almost lead to your death? I relate to the word you used: "desperation," because I almost feel desperate at this point, with my social anxiety. I'm very guarded though, so I just don't know how well I'd connect with people at AA, but I guess it would be worth a shot if I felt I truly needed it. But I admire your dedication and work toward becoming sober.
You are right, though, my drinking does concern me. Believe it or not, my boss (of all people) told me that he has anxiety and smokes weed to make it "settle down."
I am sorry that you're still dealing with the anxiety. I appreciate your response. Best of luck to you, and if you want to have a chat through this forum's messenger thing sometime, I'm open to that. I'd honestly be very interested in hearing more about your story of sobriety. Best wishes.
Drinking gave me "permission" to not really connect with anyone. I thought I was connecting because I was socializing while drinking, but really I was too drunk to build meaningful connections. I fell deep into loneliness and isolation, all while alcohol was tricking me into thinking I was ok. Without any rational influences into my sober brain, I was able to convince myself that my friends, family, and the world as a whole would be better off without me and I tried to kill myself.
I actually did go through AA, as well as some group therapy...both things I thought I'd NEVER do due to anxiety. At the time I rarely talked to anyone! But AA was extremely welcoming...it's one of those places where you can show up and cry the whole time, or act as awkward as you want and everyone just accepts you and tells you they're glad you're there. They've all been there. Even if they don't have social anxiety, no one is at their best when trying to get sober. AA was the first place I learned to build real, lasting connections with people who know the real me, and I'm extremely grateful for it.
That said, AA helped me not to turn to alcohol for my anxiety, but it didn't do much to ease the underlying anxiety. Though I'm grateful for my AA experience and the role it's played in my life, I wish I'd known how to get help for my anxiety before I started drinking so heavily. Unfortunately at the time I didn't understand that what I was dealing with was anxiety. I just knew I felt different and icky all the time. I felt lost and alone and just wanted to make it stop.
Now in some ways I'm back to square one, because I have no idea how to get help for anxiety. Though as I think about it my anxiety used to come with a lot more desperation so there has definitely been some overlap. I would imagine if you can find a good therapist they could help you with the anxiety and the drinking. Also, there's nothing wrong with trying out an AA meeting. It's free, and no one's going to make you stay. You can sit in the back and just listen, you don't have to speak. Just see if you hear something there you connect with.
Quick funny story....I used to get SO scared walking into AA meetings that I'd bring fidget toys to play with to keep from running out of the room. One day some people around me noticed I had play-doh and asked for some. Before I knew it I was passing out play-doh to multiple ppl around me and everyone was wishing I had more. So definitely no judgement there!