Why is it so hard to reach out for help?
Sobriety is no different from life in regards to the struggle. Life is a daily fight, whether we are fighting to overcome or fighting to maintain what we have achieved. It takes our daily action to find the successes we hope to find no matter what struggles are present or have been in our past. We all face storms, we all have our issues; the only thing that makes some different is their coping mechanism of choice became alcohol. Because of the stigma attached to it reaching out for help can be very difficult for people like me.
There has been much talk lately on many platforms about the stigma of addiction and ways to combat this epidemic of drugs and alcohol. I am not sure of the answer but I do know that we must take it upon ourselves to feel secure in extending our hand for help. Our issues are the same as everyone else; we just must learn a new way of coping. The danger for addicts and alcoholics is that when we fail to cope in a positive manner we flirt with relapse and in some cases death.
I feel fortunate that I have developed a strong program of recovery that keeps me in some balance of sanity and serenity most of the time. There are however pitfalls and moments of weakness for all of us in recovery. It can be complacency, it could even be over-confidence, but what about the failure to take care of your most important asset, YOU!
Reaching out for help is very difficult for me. It is a mixture of pride, embarrassment, and control. These past few weeks have been a real struggle for me. One of the toughest struggles that I think I have experienced in sobriety. I do not know if I was close to a relapse but I sure thought about it several times. What would be the harm in just one night? Surely I am strong enough to handle it by this point? Screw it all, let’s just go get hammered! My mind even entertained that one. I am sure that I was closer than I might want to admit.
They say that pride comes before the fall.
I had come off the usual stress from the holidays expecting great things for 2017. But life began to come in waves and soon I felt like I was drowning. Starting a new business, financial stress, worrying about the welfare of my children, relationship growing pains, and pressures in teaching took its toll. I began to feel burn out, fatigue, hunger, and isolation which shifted my focus away from my purpose and onto all my unrealized expectations in my grand scheme of my life I begun to direct on my own.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…..I know what would happen and I did not want to risk my recovery, my children, my family, or my life but it doesn’t mean I never face that fight. It was one I was well equipped to battle for which I am grateful but could I just get a break from being me. Can I take a day off from recovery, from being a Warrior On Purpose, from just being the whirlwind of emotions that are the ingredients of ME. I just needed a vacation, a legal separation from myself, and the list of “all about me” just continued.
Reaching out for help had crossed my mind many times. I have so many people in the recovery community that I look up to, it would have been easy to send a message or pick up the phone. But then again, I am a warrior, I shouldn’t need help. I have an image to uphold were the lies my pride and embarrassment began to whisper in my ear. I talked to God daily but was I really relinquishing control so He could come in and show his power. Even at church I felt the urge to talk to someone but never did. Family even asked if I was ok and my response was, I’m fine, I’m a warrior.
But I wasn’t fine. I was flirting with the thought of reliving a night on a bar stool. Then it finally hit me, all that I was feeling and overwhelmed with, all that was unacceptable to me, was really only ME. It wasn’t my finances, it wasn’t my kids, it wasn’t a new business, and it wasn’t my relationship. It was the fact that I was not taking time out of the day, weeks, or months for self-care. I was doing nothing to give my body, mind, and soul that vital break it needed to reboot and mend from the battles of life.
Blinded by the storm I was missing the rainbow.
There had been so much tension at home with the holidays, business, money, and our future. But what I thought was a source of my tension was really speaking answers to me. Cindy was talking about self-care and taking time to make sure you are at your best so you can be the best version of you possible. I had become so engrossed in everything that was wrong I had stopped seeing all that was right. It was time for a shift in my mindset. It was time to take the help that was being offered to me.
By not taking time out for myself I had become overwhelmed with life and the daily battles it brings. I was no longer riding the waves I was drowning in the storms. So I have decided that I am setting out to find what things I like to do, for me. It has been so long since I took time for self-care that I don’t even know what that looks like. It is time for some self-discovery and exploration. Time to stop and smell the roses, to enjoy the fruits of my labor, to allow myself to rest up for the next battle that is sure to come.
I had reached out for help in someone who sits across the dinner table from me every night and found my answer. But this self-care is such a foreign topic for me. It is one that I know that I need and I will have to take time exploring what that means for me. It will help me maintain a balance, stay prepared, and keep my serenity for my one day at a time existence. If you don’t take care of you then no one else is going to. If you don’t reach out for help then how will we ever find the answers that we need.
I see my recovery as a blessing. It has forced me to look deep into who I am and how I work. Recovery has exposed my character defects and established in me the tools in which to begin to correct them. Without my alcoholism and my recovery I would still be living with my eyes wide shut. When the storms come I need to be reaching out for help. I need to ditch my pride, embarrassment, and control. I must remember to take the time to take care of me. And to see what I have instead of what I have not.
All in and All together!
If you or someone you know is battling a storm, battling addiction reach out for help. You may email me at [email protected] and I will assist you in finding the help you need. Neither one of us wants to flirt with a relapse nor death so please reach out for help. It is something we all must help each other do. We must be all in and all together.