Asking for Help: The Hardest Step

asking for help for alcoholism

What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.
-T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot perfectly expresses the difficulty that we have with making a new beginning. There are often times that we know something in our lives needs to change, but in order for that change to occur we must be willing to give up something else up, because as he says, “what we call the beginning is often the end.” No matter what that thing is or how harmful it may be, letting go is often an exceedingly difficult task. Ending one thing to begin another means leaving the safety and comfort of the known for the unknown, and if human history has shown anything, it is that what people fear most is that which they do not know.

As with many things that plague the alcoholic or the addict, the difficulty with making a beginning is amplified. Alcoholics and addicts react against change in any form as if it is a life-threatening condition and their minds spring shut to the idea, circling the wagons of the psyche in order to protect the known. Breaking through this in order to make the changes necessary to their lives can be almost impossible, causing a great many addicts and alcoholics to follow the known all the way to their graves. To many on the outside looking in, this seems to be mere insanity, and to a certain degree it is, but to the alcoholic or addict, not changing or asking for help seems to be the most logical thing that they can do, and their mind will concur with this assumption, allowing them to remain so sick.

So why exactly is asking for help so difficult for the alcoholic or the addict? Why when they are faced with their own destruction do these often verbose peoples, find a lack of ability to communicate? There is not a singular answer to these questions, but the nature of alcoholism and addiction, the societal implications of being an addict, and the larger social implications of asking for help, can shed some light on this confounding predicament.

How the Nature of Addiction Stops People from Asking for Help

The illness of addiction is strange in that it tends to convince the person afflicted that it doesn’t exist. If someone is not aware that they are in trouble, then how could they possibly ask for help? The people around them see that their addiction has taken complete control of their lives and so to them they cannot understand why the person reacts so violently against the suggestion that they seek treatment. To the person with the addiction, their addiction is still controllable, because this is what their diseased mind tells them, and since there is a perceived measure of control, there is no reason to seek help.

Usually, before the person will ask for help, there needs to be an understanding that they have lost all control over their addiction. However, this understanding does not always mean that they will ask for help immediately after, and this is because addiction and alcoholism have numerous tricks up its sleeve in order to keep someone in active addiction. It can convince them that they cannot seek help because they are not worth it, or that no one will help them, or that the withdrawal symptoms will be too much, or what’s even worse that they are resigned to the life of an addict and they will die this way. All of this contends with the person’s ability to ask for help, making such a declaration exceedingly difficult. This is why usually people do not actually seek the help they need until their lives have become so unbearable that there is no longer an alternative.

asking for help quote

How the Societal Implications of Being an Addict or Alcoholic Keep People from Asking for Help

We have come a long way in this country in our understanding of what addiction and alcoholism truly is, but that being said, there is still a societal stigma attached to having the disease of addiction. When you tell someone that you don’t know that well that you are sober, they are usually happy for you, but in their eyes, there is a sort of sadness that sometimes appears, and this sadness is the result of an unknowing of what addiction truly is and what recovery truly means. For many people who need help, they are afraid of what their jobs, their families, or their friends and peers will think if they out themselves as an addict or alcoholic. The main logical fallacy with this line of thinking is that many people whom the addict thought they were fooling were extremely aware of what was going on.

This underlying fear of what society will think if they ask for help with their addiction is not always a conscious thought that the person suffering from addiction has, but most of the time it is present, and often it can keep someone sick longer than they need to be.

How the Social Implications of Asking for Help Can Keep Someone from Doing So

This is often not addressed in regards to why people, especially addicts and alcoholics, do not ask for help, but within our society, there is a push towards self-sufficiency, and asking for help is seen as a weakness. From an early age, we are sent mixed signals as to what asking for help means. On one hand in school, we are told to raise our hand if we do not know something or need extra help, but on the other hand, we know that if we do, we could open ourselves up for ridicule. This causes confusion as to whether or not we can safely ask for help, and our pride will mostly keep us silent when we should speak up. This results in the addict and alcoholic not asking for help, because on an either conscious or subconscious level, they are afraid that they will appear weak and that people will ridicule them.

Asking For Help and Seeking Treatment

The interesting thing about all of this is that once you take that first step and ask for help, you realize how all of your fears were not actually true, and even if any of them do come to fruition, it doesn’t affect you in the way you thought it would. So if you are on the fence as to whether or not you need to seek help for alcoholism or addiction, call Coastal Detox today at 1-866-802-6848. Our trained professionals are standing by, waiting to help you make a beginning and in doing so put an end to the harmful path that you were on.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.