Thursday, January 31, 2008

Humility: Learning to Ask for Help

One characteristic of alcoholics/addicts is the need for perfection. One of the things we fear most is being wrong, or making a mistake, which makes it very difficult to ask for help. The notion that we should know things before anyone ever told us or taught us seems to be inherent in us. Often as children if we made a mistake we were cruelly criticized or ridiculed. This created a belief that we didn’t deserve help, and if we asked for it we were weak or stupid.

Many of us tend to put the needs of everyone else first. It is okay for others to need help but when it comes to us, often we believe that asking for help is an admission of failure. It is terrifying to be vulnerable and to expose our potential limitations. Putting the needs of others first and being the “go to” person helps us to feel powerful and in control.

In recovery we learn that we don't have to face life’s challenges on our own. Humility is about asking others for help with issues that trouble us. It should not be confused with humiliation; it is not a lack of self confidence or a weakness. To ask for help when we fear ridicule, to recognize that we have limitations and honestly reveal them, that is a testament to our strength and courage.

For us to recover we need to dare to be ordinary and to make mistakes, instead of being perfect and correct at all times. Twelve-step programs provide the tools and the support for this important process. However, many of us may gain insight and awareness but still remain resistant, unable to accept our humanness. Our life history and experience may be too painful to tackle alone, and our perfectionism may be keeping us stuck, unable to move forward in our recovery. Private or group counseling may be necessary to get us to face and let go of our past and the first step toward the practice of humility.

True humility is an essential ingredient to A Sober Mind. It enables us to honestly see the reality of who we are. It reminds us of where we came from, where we are now and all that is possible in the future.


Anonymous said...

Another great post, thank you Rita. I related to "However, many of us may gain insight and awareness but still remain resistant, unable to accept our humanness." So often, I wish the heart would follow the mind more easily.

Anonymous said...

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