In 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, each of the 12 steps…
Asking for Help with Addiction – It Isn’t Shameful
When you admit to yourself that you have an alcohol and/or drug problem, that’s the first step. And it is a big one, make no mistake. But just telling yourself you know something isn’t going to remedy the problem. You need help to do that – and you won’t get it if you don’t seek it. Don’t think that asking for help with drug or alcohol addiction is shameful. It’s far from that. Here are some things to think about.
Asking For Help Shows Courage
It’s common for anyone with drug or alcohol dependency to think that asking for help shows weakness of character. Men have an even more difficult time asking for help with their addiction than women, remnants of the whole macho self-view that’s so yesterday. We are all human beings with complicated emotions and psychological makeup – and we all are deserving of assistance if we ask for it. When you reach out and request help to deal with your alcohol or drug problem, you’re actually demonstrating great courage. Acknowledge this fact and then go on to get the help you need.
Don’t Let Pride Stand In The Way
Naturally, you want to be proud of your accomplishments, of the way you live your life, of having strong relationships and being a loving partner, father, mother or sibling. When you’ve destroyed your life and your relationships due to your alcoholism or drug addiction, you know you’re not in a very good position as a role model. The tendency in these situations is to clam up and not ask for help out of a sense of pride. You may feel you should be able to handle this problem on your own. Trouble is, it won’t happen. You simply cannot undo all the harm that’s been done, or learn new and appropriate behavior, without the help and support of professionals trained in dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. Forget your pride. That’s a false roadblock, an excuse your subconscious tells you in order to keep on drinking and using. Instead, admit to yourself (you don’t have to say it out loud to anyone else) that you don’t feel very good about what’s happened. Then locate a support group or treatment facility and get started on the road to recovery.
Fear Of Being Dependent On Others
Along with being too proud to ask for help, you may also fear being dependent on others for your care as you try to kick alcohol or drugs. No one likes to think of themselves as dependent on others. You need to face the fact that there’s no way you can go through this alone. You absolutely need the support, counseling and guidance that you get with drug and alcohol treatment and rehab. During the course of your treatment, you will learn new coping skills and techniques so that you will be able to steer clear of the drugs and alcohol that has so compromised your life. You will get to the point where you have the confidence to live your life again, and will be bolstered by the support of allies and friends you meet in your recovery.
Emotions Are Important – But Don’t Let Them Get In The Way
Recognize that when you ask for help, you are at a vulnerable stage. While you are in treatment, you will at first feel a flood of emotions. These may peak and crash with varying intensity. You will rediscover emotions that you’ve long kept buried as a result of chronic drinking and/or drug use. You may feel like you don’t deserve to be loved or that you don’t even deserve to love another back. Feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, anxiety, depression, fear of rejection and abandonment – all are common during the first stage of treatment which is detoxification. Accept that these emotions will be part of the process, and you will get help to move past them. Yes, you will feel hurt at times. Part of the side effects of detoxing from alcohol or drugs is that emotions swing back and forth wildly as the chemical substances leave your body. But the fact that you are feeling the emotions is a very positive sign that you are on the road to recovery.
Embarrassed? Don’t Be
If you feel embarrassed about asking for help, afraid that you can’t tell your parents or husband or wife or significant other – don’t be. They certainly won’t be surprised, given the length of time you’ve probably been abusing alcohol or drugs. And if you’ve been successful at somehow keeping it from them, after initial surprise, they’ll more than likely want to help you overcome your addiction. Don’t forget that while you are the one who is addicted, they are also affected. Part of your recovery means that they will need help and support to learn how to deal with the situation in order to be of assistance to you as well as them.
Asking For Help Is Constructive
After months or years of dependence on alcohol and drugs, you need to do something constructive with your life. Asking for help to rid yourself of these substances that are, in essence, killing you, your relationships with friends and family, your social standing and your job, is the best action-oriented decision you can make.
Addiction Treatment Is Hard Work
There’s no denying that addiction treatment is the hardest personal work you’ll ever undergo. But the light on the other side is more than worth it. Know that asking for help and taking it means the difference between a life of pain and one of joy. Every day you will become stronger, have more self confidence and be able to live up to more of your responsibilities. Yes, there will be difficult days. That’s why you have your support group and friends who are in the same position as you – working on recovery, working for the goal of a new life that’s clean and sober. After treatment and rehab, groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous, among others, can help you with continuing support and friendship as you get even stronger in your newfound sobriety.
It’s Never Too Late To Ask For Help
Perhaps the most important thing about asking for help is that you can always do it. It is never too late to want to become clean and sober – no matter what’s happened in the past, how many times you may have relapsed, how awful of an existence you’ve had. Get up, go to treatment, and say you need help. That’s what treatment is all about: Helping you to recovery.