In 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, each of the 12 steps…
The Art of Asking for Help in Addiction Recovery
Recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction is a personal journey. Along the way, people with more experience at addiction recovery than you have will make suggestions to you on how to stay away from a drink or a drug for a day. Most people will not try to dictate to you what you need to do. They will only make suggestions. Some explain suggestions by referencing the statement that if you jump out of an airplane with a parachute, it is suggested that you pull the rip cord.
In the end, the choice is yours.
Some of the most common suggestions include
- Go to meetings
- Get a sponsor
- Join a group
- Get active with your group
- Ask for help
Of all of these common suggestions, the one that suggests to addicts or alcoholics that they should ask for help is often thought to be the most difficult. Who wants to ask for help? Who wants to admit that they don’t have it all together?
How do you ask for help? How do you admit to other people, particularly to strangers, that you have a problem that you don’t know how to solve? This is a very big fear that a lot of people new to recovery experience.
Life includes many moments that cause extreme anxiety. Think of experiences like job interviews, asking for your first date or giving an oral report in school. You were shaking in your shoes, but you faced your fear and went through with it. And you survived.
Many of life’s greatest successes require you to step outside your comfort zone. Without taking risks, there is no hope of attaining your goals.
Asking for help requires that you bite the bullet and ignore your discomfort. And just do it.
Of course, there are no guarantees that you will get what you ask for. Whenever you ask for help from another human being, there is always the possibility that you will be rejected. Consider this: what is the worst thing that can happen if you are rejected?
Dealing With Rejection in Recovery
Ok, so you asked someone for help. You might have asked someone to be your sponsor or to give you a ride to a meeting or to help you understand certain aspects of recovery. The scenario you feared has happened — they either ignored you or said no.
The worst thing you can do is run back to the bottle or to call your drug dealer. When you don’t get what you want from other people, it’s important to keep in mind that they are human, too. They may not have anything to give right now, or they might not be as strong as you think they are.
It’s OK. Remember that when you ask for help from a human being, there is always somebody else to ask. If you keep trying, someone will definitely be willing to help you. People in recovery groups know that other people need help, and most are willing to give it when asked.
Then there is asking for help from a higher power. Some people struggle with the thought that when they ask for help from their higher power and don’t get the answer they are hoping for, maybe it means no one is looking out for them. These kinds of feelings should be sorted out with a sponsor or a spiritual advisor.
No one figures out all the answers instantly. When you ask for help from a higher power, you might not get what you want. Most likely, though, you will get what you need. You ask for help, you wait, and you trust that you will get what you need, including the right people who are willing to help you.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are “we” programs. They are programs built on the belief that together we can do what none of us can do alone. When you let others know you need help, most of them will be more than willing to help you, because in helping you, they are helping themselves.
Let go of your fears, and ask for help. And you will probably get it.