Most people tend to avoid being seen as weak. As a result, we may avoid asking for help. As a society, we have an ingrained misconception of weakness. Vulnerability is not weakness. When you are vulnerable and willing to ask for help, you exhibit extraordinary strength.
What Does Vulnerability Have to Do With Strength?
When you entered recovery, you showed you knew yourself and your abilities well enough to ask for help. Your family was proud of you for asking for help. Recognizing a problem is the beginning of the battle for recovery. The first step of recovery, when you asked for help, was the moment you put on your armor and prepared for battle. That decision might have been the bravest thing you ever did.
Being brave enough to ask for help required incredible vulnerability. As someone who struggles with any form of mental illness, you may know how asking for help affects your sense of well-being and your ability to manage without help. You might feel weak, but you are not weak by any measurement or perception of others. If another perceives you as weak, this perception is more often a reflection of their own struggle and unwillingness to ask for help.
Being vulnerable enough to ask for help shows one’s strength of character and is impressive to those who understand the struggle of recovery. You are never weak when vulnerable – you are incredibly strong.
What Does Vulnerability Look Like?
Vulnerability is more than just asking for help. Vulnerability is a willingness to help others by sharing your story. Recovery is a battle not fought alone but with those who are willing to stand alongside you and help you, as well as those supported by you.
Vulnerability is attending meetings and connecting with your sponsor. Recovery is difficult, and you need support. You cannot expect quality support unless you share your struggles. When you find yourself walking those steps toward relapse, you need to reach out to those who care about your recovery. Reaching out involves being vulnerable and honest about your struggle.
Vulnerability does not always appear as a tell-all in a meeting but sometimes appears as a willingness to say, “I am having a hard time this week.” Being honest and vulnerable in even the smallest statement can help you in your recovery and enable others to help you.
Other Ways Vulnerability Can Help You
Vulnerability does more than provide you with support. Vulnerability also helps you build up the ability to become self-compassionate and more compassionate toward others. Being vulnerable with others helps you learn how to problem-solve. Interestingly, voicing your concerns and struggles can help you identify your root problems and develop solutions consistent with your values and yearnings for a better life.
Vulnerability is about more than receiving help for yourself. Openness also helps others. Your sponsor is likely to share his struggles as a means of helping you understand yours. As you continue in recovery, perhaps beginning the process of sponsoring others, you will learn how your struggles impact your ability to understand others. Sharing stories of your struggles and how you overcame them can help others. Sharing these experiences can also build self-confidence in your abilities.
Remember, you have overcome so much. The beginning of your journey into recovery began by being vulnerable. You were willing to speak up for yourself and declare you had a problem, admitting to yourself, others, and your Higher Power that you needed help. The level of vulnerability in asking for help required more strength than you knew you had. The road to recovery is long and hard but made possible with every moment of honesty.
Relapse Prevention Requires Vulnerability
In an article about relapse prevention, Steven M. Melemis outlines five steps to relapse prevention. These five rules are:
1. Change your life: This rule involves a change of attitude, which means facing your problems and being willing to communicate the changes you need to make.
2. Be completely honest: Honesty requires complete vulnerability. You cannot make a change or be vulnerable enough to change without honesty.
3. Ask for help: Again, this is another rule requiring vulnerability. Asking for help is a difficult task but is integral to avoiding relapse.
4. Practice self-care: Self-care requires making time for yourself and admitting when you need a break.
5. Don’t bend the rules: You must be vigilant in following your recovery plan. If you struggle to follow the program, you need to be vulnerable and ask for help.
These five rules are paramount to succeeding in recovery. Notice how each rule relates to vulnerability.
Overcoming addiction to alcohol and/or other substances requires so much strength only available to us if we are willing to be vulnerable. Take a risk, be strong, and share your struggles. Vulnerability shows the strength and willingness to overcome addiction.
Being vulnerable is one of the most challenging and terrifying aspects of recovery because we often equate being vulnerable with being weak. The truth is, being vulnerable requires incredible strength of character and shows a willingness to recover. At Renaissance Ranch, we know how difficult recovery is for those just beginning the process and those trying to maintain stability and avoid relapse. We believe in the power of vulnerability and see the strength necessary to admit problems. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to alcohol and/or other substances, Renaissance Ranch can help. We offer clinically-driven and gospel-centered treatment for every step of the recovery process. We even provide services for those maintaining sobriety through our sober-living home as well as our alumni network, The Band of Brothers. We know how difficult recovery can be. Reach out to us today at (801) 308-8898 and learn how we can help you maintain your recovery.