Asking for help. It can be one of the most difficult things we do in life, but often it’s literally a life-saver.
I found myself in what I consider to be the worst days of my life. My addiction to alcohol had been one of the primary reasons for my marital separation and eventual divorce. The brick wall of “hitting bottom” hit me square in the face and I didn’t know what to do. As I looked out the back window of my home, I cried out loud, “My God, what have I done?”
I then took what was perhaps in the biggest step in my eventual recovery and that was to grab the phone book and turn to the yellow pages to look for some help with my plight (In fact, I still have that page from the book, complete with markings of the first few places I called). At that moment in time, I realized that I had a problem that I couldn’t solve on my own and needed some professional help. I eventually got that help in the form of counseling and outpatient rehab using my employee’s assistance plan from work. That fateful day was nearly twenty years ago and I can honestly say that reaching out for help was one of the most important things I’ve ever done.
Why do we find it so difficult to reach out for help when our lives have gotten beyond our own skill set? I’m thinking a part of it is that we’ve been trained that we’re supposed to be skillful enough to handle everything on our own. I think this is especially true with the male gender, although not limited to it. A part of our self-esteem and ego are wrapped up in being able to figure out solutions to all the problems we encounter. But we also need to realize there are those times when we can’t do it on our own and need outside help.
The road of recovery, especially that first year, was far from easy. Treatment for alcoholism and the break-up of a twenty-three-year marriage were difficult from the outside. But I found along my path plenty of trained counselors, therapists, and the like that were more than capable of helping me maneuver through those difficult days. Without them, I have no doubt, I would not be sitting at this keyboard sharing my thoughts with you this day.
I also feel that a part of the reason we go through life’s hard times is so we can be of service later down the road when we encounter others who are going through similar situations. We can share our experience, strength, and hope with others and help them to see it is entirely possible to get through what we’ve got to get through. But of course, none of that is possible if we don’t take that important first step: Reaching out for help when we realize we can’t handle it on our own.