Learning How to Accept Help

Table of Contents

People need people — there’s no getting around it. We’d all like to fancy ourselves as independent and self-sufficient, and we all are to varying degrees. But nobody can do it all by themselves. At some point in our lives, we will all need a little help. Sometimes we will need a lot of help, like when we first enter recovery. For those of us who are alcoholics or addicts, we can begin to see pretty clearly here how much help can, well, help

Life is pretty empty without other people, and it often becomes impossible to live without the occasional bit of help from these people. We need each other, whether we like it or not. Sometimes we allow our history in alcoholism or addiction to make us feel unworthy of help. We may not like asking for help, we may wish we didn’t ever need a helping hand, we may feel undeserving, or we may simply not know how to ask for help. But cooperation, assistance, and giving and receiving service are important and necessary — not just in recovery, but life in general. Learning how to accept help is vital to our success.

We Get Recovered With a Little Help From Our Friends

We simply couldn’t have found stable recovery on our own. We needed somebody to show us the ropes, help us find meetings, and much more. For as long as we intend to remain in recovery, we will need somebody to guide us through the 12-Steps. We run a senseless risk when we attempt to go through the recovery literature and the 12-Steps with no counsel but our own. Think about how self-destructive and self-deceived we were in the prison of our disease. There is just no way we could ever understand the Big Book or have an effective experience with the 12-Steps completely on our own. We need someone to help remind us of the solution to our disease when it pulls the wool over our eyes. 

Simply put, we alcoholics and addicts are likely to lose our lives if we don’t recover. Without a doubt or an exception, we need other people’s help to recover successfully and remain in recovery. So, at least for people like us, help is absolutely necessary. The real benefit of recovery comes when we have incorporated the 12-Step program into our way of life. At this point, we understand the beauty and life-changing power of seriously focusing on helping others. We need help to recover, but life becomes incredibly meaningful and wonderful when we begin to give help as often as possible.

Allowing Ourselves To Be Helped

This might seem like something that doesn’t require addressing, but it does. We all have different attitudes about help and being of service. Some of us wish we never needed help, and we do everything we can to avoid asking for it. Some of us aren’t even aware that we feel that way. Some of us need help, but feel like we shouldn’t — we believe we should be able to do it alone. Or maybe we know we need help, but we don’t feel like we deserve it. Rarer are those of us who want too much help, though we often don’t realize we are becoming over-reliant on other people. 

There is something problematic about every one of these attitudes. None of them are balanced or objectively take on the give-and-take system that makes the world go ‘round. Sometimes we need help, and other times we are asked to do the helping. This is the way things are meant to be. People help us with the understanding that their help will make our lives better. We accept help, knowing that someday we will be called upon to help them or someone else. We do so because we have been helped freely, so we help others freely. Most of us don’t help people expecting a direct return, but rather because it’s the right thing to do. Likewise, that is why other people help us. Perhaps this seems a bit idealistic, and maybe it is sometimes, but there is nothing wrong with aiming at good ideals. In fact, the recovery literature encourages us to be forgiving of ourselves and others, even as we aim continually at perfect ideals.

It’s Time to Embrace Help

Our mistaken attitudes and hang-ups around giving and receiving help need work. Frankly, they need our direct action. We need to do the work to break free of our incorrect perspective on this issue. Everybody needs help sometimes, and everybody deserves help. We should be able to give and receive help freely. Life is hard enough sometimes — there seems to be no good reason to make it any harder.

The 12-Step program of recovery can help us overcome our attitude about help. For those of us who are alcoholics or addicts, we can quickly see we will need the help of people who have recovered. Because this is life or death for us, we can at least begin to practice accepting help when it comes to working the 12-Steps. Continuing to work those 12-Steps will guide us through changing our self-opinion and attitudes. It will teach us how to accept help, to know we are deserving of help, and best of all, how to be of help and service to others.

Ultimately we all need help. Receiving help makes us better givers of help, and that is when the wonder and beauty of life really begin to shine — when we do our best to help others.

Alcoholism and addiction are a destructive and potentially deadly disease. They cause the sufferer to become isolated, burn bridges, and lose touch with healthy daily functioning. There is a solution. The 12-Step program is designed to produce the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience that can spell freedom and recovery for the sufferer, as long as the solution is regularly engaged in. All who wish to recover from alcoholism and addiction will have to resign themselves to the fact that they will need help. No one recovers alone. We need each other as we work our common solution. The best part lies ahead, when we begin to help others just beginning their journey in recovery and turn our hearts to helping everyone we can. This spirit of altruism often provides a beautiful, meaningful life in recovery for those who participate in it. Begin your life in recovery with us at Jaywalker Lodge. To learn more, call now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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