You’re praised for lifting yourself by your boot straps, for hard work, and determination, and not giving up. You’re told you can do anything if you put your mind to it. But in a society like ours, these deep-seeded beliefs can be misleading. What happens when life just isn’t going according to plan? When you find yourself caught in the throes of harmful substances and unable to see the other side? What do you do when you feel like you’ve tried it all and you can’t seem to figure out a healthy balance?
Asking for help is often seen as a last resort, a sign of weakness, or an option you should be ashamed of. However, this view can keep someone with a substance use disorder in their cycle of misuse for a long time. Asking for help takes courage and many times is needed to find support and treatment to sustain recovery long term. If you’re looking for ways to ask for help, here are some recommendations for when the time comes.
1 – Confide in someone close to you.
As humans, connection is essential for healing and growth. If you’re feeling lonely, isolated, or misunderstood, which can often be the case in addiction, you will feel better by confiding in someone close to you. Most of the time we believe that we won’t be understood, or that no one could possibly relate to the pain we’re feeling. But the reality is, there is always someone who has gone through what we’ve been through, or something similar. This is what in part relationships and connections are for, to reach out when you are struggling or need help. Just voicing your concerns to someone close to you can be the seed you need to plant to get help.
2 – Write down how you’ve tried to solve your issues so far.
Asking for help can seem daunting when you’re not sure how to do it and you have strong feelings about it. Mostly we try everything we can to solve our own problems before asking for help. If you’re having a hard time reaching out for help, I recommend you write down all the ways you’ve tried to solve your addiction issues so far. Have you tried to moderate your drinking or using? Have you told yourself you’ll drink less, or not blackout, or not use certain types of drugs? Write these all down and you’ll see how those have worked for you. This exercise can motivate you to ask for help to solve your issues for good.
3 – Confide in a stranger.
Maybe your strong feelings about asking for help are because you don’t want to disappoint anyone or burden them with your problems. It’s not always easy to confide in our closest loved ones because they hold high expectations of us. We might believe we aren’t worth their help. In this case, another option on asking for help is ask a stranger. No, I don’t mean go up to a stranger on the street and ask for help. I mean reach out to the internet and search for an expert in what you’re dealing with. Search for message boards, social media support groups, or other resources like 12 step meetings where you can find help amongst a group of people who share your same issues. Sometimes it’s easier for us to go directly to a group of strangers who become friends and family, then to involve our loved ones.
4 – Reach out to your insurance provider.
Knowing what kind of coverage you have, including mental health or addiction treatment services can be overwhelming. Why not just call your insurance provider directly? This is a good way of weeding out uncomfortable or anxious conversations with loved ones or strangers about your drinking and using. Insurance providers can answer your questions about what help is available to you and can direct towards a detox or treatment center that can suit your needs. Nothing feels better than taking concrete action towards getting yourself into a place that can help you.
5 – Be clear on what you need.
Like I mentioned before, many times we cannot or will not ask for help because we harbor deep seeded feelings of unworthiness. We feel like our addiction is our fault, that something is wrong with us, or that we don’t deserve the help we so desperately need. It’s true that recovery is a selfish process where we learn to become selfless, possibly for the first time in our lives. But what is hard to understand when you’re in the depths of your pain is that the best thing you can do for anyone in your life that you care about, as well as for yourself, is get better. Needing help is something deep down in your soul you know you need, but you must remove the barriers that will enable you to ask for it. Be clear on what you need and what your goals are. Know that you are worthy of recovery and that the biggest and most important step you can take to get there is to ask for help.
About the Author
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.