Asking for Help: The Hardest Step

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 starting over. There are times when we know something in our lives needs to change, but for that change to happen, we must be willing to give up something else. 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 us anything, it’s that people fear what they don’t know.

Addicts Are Often in Denial 

Addicts react strongly to change in any form as if it’s a life-threatening condition and their minds spring shut to the idea. Breaking through this barrier to make the changes necessary to their lives can be almost impossible, causing many addicts to follow the known to their graves. This might seem strange to outsiders, but for addicts, not changing or asking for help seems to be the most logical thing that they can do.

Why exactly is it difficult for addicts to ask for help? 

There isn’t a single answer to this question, 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 issue.

How Addiction Stops People From Asking For Help

People with addictions find it hard to admit that they have a problem. If someone isn’t aware that they’re in trouble, then how could they possibly ask for help? Their friends and loved ones see that their addiction has taken control of their lives, so they can’t understand why the person reacts so violently against the suggestion that they seek treatment. Substance abusers feel that their addiction is still controllable because this is what their diseased mind tells them, so, in their minds, there’s no reason to seek help.

For substance abusers to ask for help, there needs to be an understanding that they have lost all control over their addiction. However, they might not ask for help right away for several reasons. They could feel like they’re not worth it, or they might be afraid to deal with painful withdrawal symptoms. They also might feel too ashamed to ask for help. This is why addicts usually don’t seek the help they need until their lives have become so unbearable that there’s no longer an alternative.

The Societal Implications Of Asking For Help

We have come a long way in our understanding of addiction, but there’s still a societal stigma attached to this disease. People with substance abuse issues are afraid of what their coworkers, families, or their friends and peers will think if they out themselves as addicts. The problem 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 might not always be at the front of their minds, but most of the time it’s present, and it can keep someone sick longer than they need to be. This is why it’s important for people to abandon this stigma and treat addiction like the disease it is. Asking for help with addiction shouldn’t be considered shameful.

The Social Implications Of Asking For Help

In today’s society, asking for help can be considered a weakness. From an early age, we are sent mixed signals as to what asking for help means. 

For instance, in school, we’re told to raise our hands if we don’t 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 we can safely ask for help, and our pride will mostly keep us silent when we should speak up. This results in addicts not asking for help because they’re afraid that they’ll appear weak and that people will ridicule them.

In general, people like to feel that they’re in control and that they can do everything by themselves. However, when someone is abusing substances and can’t stop, they shouldn’t feel afraid to ask for help with addiction. It’s difficult to handle by themselves.

asking for help quote

Overcoming the Shame of Asking for help with addiction

You don’t need to pretend that you have everything figured out and that you have your life together. It’s OK to ask for help with addiction. Pretending is not going to change the fact that you have an addiction that’s ruining your life. It takes courage and strength to face your fears and admit that you have a problem. Remember that you are relearning how to live your life sober and that you’re bound to make some mistakes along the way.

Everyone needs help sometimes. It’s the people we’re closest to that are often the first to offer help with addiction and the easiest people to turn to in difficult situations.

What if When I Ask for Help, Someone Says “No”?

Hearing “no” when you ask for help is discouraging, but don’t give up after that. Keep asking help with addiction until you find someone who will say “yes.” Sometimes if someone says they won’t help you, it isn’t personal; it’s because they can’t. They have other life events going on that are preventing them from helping you at this point. 

Ask another friend, family member, coworker or church group member. There is always someone out there who will be willing to provide you help with addiction. 

How to ask for help with addiction

Once you come to terms with your addiction, it’s time to ask for help. Remember that asking for help isn’t a weakness; it’s a strength. Here are five ways to ask for help when you need it most.

  • Look for someone who’s had a similar experience. Do you have a friend, family member or coworker who’s recovering from substance abuse? Talking with them can give you some perspective on how to begin your journey to sobriety. They might also be able to provide you with resources, such as counselors, treatment centers and crisis hotlines, that helped them when they decided to get clean.
  • Reach out to someone you trust. A therapist is a great person to talk to about your struggles with addiction. If you can’t afford a therapist or don’t have health insurance, talk to a friend or loved one. Even if the ones you trust haven’t gone through addiction, they can provide a sympathetic ear and even give you advice on how to conquer your illness. It feels good to know that someone is on your side is there to help you through your issues.  
  • Write a letter or email. If you’re not quite ready to talk about how you’re feeling, writing your thoughts on paper can be therapeutic and help you sort out what’s going on in your head. It can allow you to organize whatever you’re thinking and fully process your thoughts. This way, when you are ready to ask for help with addiction, you’ll know exactly what to say and how to say it. After you send your letter or email, there’s no going back, so you’ll be forced to confront reality.
  • Reach out to a medical professional. Doctors are ready and able to help you with any medical concerns you have, especially when it comes to addiction. Once you meet with your doctor, he or she will ask you a series of questions to determine the severity of your disease. They’ll lay out the next steps for you (most likely directing you toward a treatment center) so that you can get healthy and sober. 
  • Search for online resources. From Facebook groups to chat rooms and AA meetings, there are plenty of online addiction resources for you to peruse. It might be easier for you to look online for these resources until you’re ready to speak to someone in person. On a website, you can chat online with a representative who can lead you on the right path. Looking through online resources can at least give you some information on what you’re going through and provide you with some help with addiction.

There’s no right or wrong way to ask for help. The important thing is that you’re taking the right step forward in dealing with your addiction. It’s never too late to address your problems and face them head-on. Once you’re able to do this, you can do anything. 

Ask for Help and Seek Treatment at Coastal Detox

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 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 with addiction, contact Coastal Detox today. Our trained professionals are standing by, waiting to help you forge a new beginning and put an end to the harmful path that you were on.

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