How many times did you try doing things your way, only to discover that you let your ego get in the way of making things right? When you started treatment, you admitted that your life was unmanageable and you were sick and tired of being sick and tired.
So much was learned while in treatment on how to accept, change and manage things in your life. One of the important things you were always reminded of was to reach out to others and stay connected. Isolation and pride are a part of the disease of addiction and departing from these behaviours will take time and practice, but it is worthwhile. Accepting the support and help from others can help your recovery in so many ways.
Until you take an honest look at yourself and “put your pride aside in all situations,” it will be difficult for you to accept the support or advice from others. For some people, it can be difficult to reach out and accept help when you’ve had to be self-sufficient all your life because you had no other choice. It may feel uncomfortable and scary at first, but having the help and relationships with others who understand the challenges you are facing as you make your transition from rehab to sobriety, can make the world of a difference. Having a support group or a place to go, such as a sober living house or going to regular Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings, can help alleviate anxiety, fear and act as reminders of why sobriety is important to you and the importance of living life “one day at a time.”
Accepting help from people can also be a sign that you are moving in the right direction of being more open to building and fostering stronger, healthier relationships and being honest with yourself when you can’t do everything on your own.
Tristan Johnson, one of Bellwood’s evening addiction counselors who’s in recovery himself, shared with us his experience and challenges with accepting help or advice from others when he was in early recovery.
“With my experience, I had a difficult time accepting the advice and help from others in early recovery because I didn’t trust anyone. I figured that I would just fail because every other time I tried to “stop” I was unsuccessful. So what could anyone else do for me? I was fearful of opening up and allowing myself to feel vulnerable because when I was using, I had to wear the false front. I was so used to wearing a false front that I did not want to open up. When I was in Bellwood I only accepted help from a few people. I really started to accept help from others when “crap hit the fan” when I was one and a half years clean and sober but really didn’t change internally and life really started to stink.”
Tristan now several years into his recovery says accepting help from others is no longer a challenge and rather a gift: “The challenge of accepting help from others is no longer part of my recover now. If it was I would contradict myself daily. I do my best to follow the 12-step philosophy which I have been taught by a sponsor in all of my affairs. When I do, every aspect of my life seems to fall into place and I am okay with the way things are. When I don’t, I notice the calamity and chaos start to come on fast. I have been taught that if I want to keep myself in recovery I have to show people “who want” to learn how to recover. That is by showing them through my “actions” rather than my “words” how I live in recovery. Service is a keystone for my recovery. I learned “a whole lot” about myself when I started to accept people’s feedback and help. Ultimately life became a whole lot simpler.”
Giving yourself the chance to connect with people and listening to people’s personal stories of recovery that are shared with you, may help you make different decisions or perhaps realize that things can be easier if you let yourself be helped. Remember, you can always reach out to us for help when you need it by phone or via email. You are never alone.