This article series is exploring the challenging task of asking for help in recovery. In the first part of this series, we explored the inner barriers that recovering addicts frequently feel when they have to ask for help. As mentioned in that article, feeling vulnerable or not wanting to appear like you need help can keep a person from getting the support they need. On the other hand, there are others who ask for help all the time, perhaps a symptom of not believing in their own abilities. Yet, if recovering addicts could learn the skill of asking for help – when they really need it – then they might find themselves with a lot more support than they expected. The second and last part of this article series will include what to tell a person when you’re asking for help, who to ask help from, and how to go about asking.
First, you should know that part of asking for help is knowing who to go to. For instance, if you need money, you’re likely not going to ask a bank teller who guards the bank accounts of customers all day long. However, you might ask a close family member, a loving friend, or perhaps a wealthy relative with whom you have a respectful relationship. Essentially, ask for help from those you believe have what you need.
Another consideration is that not everyone has your best interest in mind. There are some people who may not understand recovery, addiction, and/or mental illness. They may be judgmental and believe your addiction is about laziness or a personal choice. Under the right conditions, you may need to educate others on what your needs are, how addiction affects the brain and ability to make choices, and, if applicable, information on your mental illness.
Another suggestion before seeking help in recovery is to make a list of those in your life who believe in you. As you think about your friends, family members, and relatives, you may find that there are some people who are fully supportive of you, some people that might jeopardize your recovery, and some who are neutral. When asking for help keep this in mind. Although you might want to ask a close friend for help, if he or she is still drinking or using drugs, there might be some resentment or bitterness between you.
Of course, this might go without saying, but ask for help with kindness and confidence. If you’re demanding or angry when you ask for help, most people will be turned off. Or if you are unsure about how you’re going to use the help you’re asking for, this too might turn someone off who may be open to helping out.
These are a few suggestions for how to go about asking for help. It’s not always easy. But if you sincerely need the support and your sincerity comes through, you’re likely to get all the help you need. As mentioned in the first article, if you have no one you can turn to for help, call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This hotline is for emergencies and can provide emotional and psychological help. For other types of assistance, look for a social service agency in your neighborhood that might provide what you need.
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