When you received treatment at a facility for your addiction, you asked for help and it changed your life. You came to terms with the fact that you needed help. Whether it was your friends and family who convinced you to seek treatment or something you decided on your own, you found the resources to start getting better.
It probably wasn’t easy. You might have felt shame and guilt. You might have felt like a burden to everyone you care about. Now that you’re in recovery, you might feel like you’ve got everything under control and that you can do this all on your own — but this isn’t the case. Recovery can be just as stressful as you re-enter the world with a lifelong disease. Without the right support system, relapse is possible.
Why Is It So Difficult To Ask For Help?
Many people who have used substances in the past come from households where they weren’t raised to ask for help. They were raised to be independent or told that asking for help meant they were weak. It’s hard to unlearn these deeply ingrained beliefs, but it’s essential to learning how to ask for help.
If you became addicted to substances, chances are that your self-esteem and sense of worth were demolished. You may think you don’t deserve help because of the decisions you made that have caused your life to be difficult. Again, this isn’t the case. Not only do you deserve to be helped, but you aren’t a burden for needing the help then or now.
Becoming Comfortable With Asking For Help
If you’re not used to asking for help, it can be difficult — especially in the beginning. But asking for help is absolutely necessary for long-term sobriety. To live a healthy life, you need a support system. This can include friends and family as well as people who are educated about what you’re going through. The first step to building this support system is reaching out in the first place.
During this stage, remember that you are still getting back on your feet. You might still need to build a foundation, fix financial issues like debt and unemployment, and mend broken relationships, all while balancing the daily struggle of maintaining sobriety. It can be a lot to handle on your own.
When you begin to ask for help, be sure to:
- Consider how you might handle rejection if a person can’t help you.
- Start with small requests for safe people.
- Practice honesty, especially if you have a history of manipulative behavior during your substance use.
- Ask as soon as things start to become overwhelming. Do not wait too long.
- Be aware of your needs and limits.
- Delegate tasks if needed.
If you currently don’t have anyone to help you, then it’s time to build a support network of people who you can trust.
Building Your Support System
In early recovery, you may have lost some people in your life who were a toxic influence. Perhaps what felt like a support system was more of an enabling system. But these empty spaces can still be felt, even if they were bad for your overall health.
Addiction can also destroy close relationships between friends and family, ruining trust and communication. They might not want to offer personal resources out of fear that you’ll take advantage of them or fear that they will be enabling addictive behaviors. Whether these fears are valid or misguided, it can make you feel as if you have no one to turn to.
Outside of friends and family, there is an abundance of people who are well-equipped to help you with any problems you might face in recovery. These people can include sponsors, recovery alumni, therapists, and more. Sponsors, who are common in 12-Step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), are there to help with personal problems that you might not feel comfortable sharing in a large group. Recovery alumni are people who have graduated from your treatment center. They understand the challenges you are facing because they have faced them as well. For any mental health concerns, there are therapists who specialize in helping people after substance use.
If you still have good relationships with friends and family, one of the greatest things they can do to help you get back on your feet is to encourage accountability. Involving friends and family in your journey to recovery can mend strained or broken relationships and give them ways to feel involved.
The 1st-Step of the 12-Step program of recovery is an admission of powerlessness. This can be the hardest step to take, but it’s absolutely vital to recovery. Admitting to powerlessness makes it easier to accept help when you are in need, despite your pride, ego, or anything else that might be getting in the way. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or dependent on others. Reaching out takes an enormous amount of courage, especially if you are fighting against deeply ingrained lessons that tell you otherwise. People in recovery will likely need the support and guidance of friends and family, sponsors, recovery alumni, therapists, and many others to pave the way for a healthy and fulfilling life of sobriety. Asking for help can make you stronger, more independent, and more confident as you learn that you deserve the resources to help you thrive and grow as a person. Here at Renaissance Ranch, we know how essential it is to build a strong support system in recovery, and we are eager to help you. To learn more, call us today at (801) 308-8898.