Asking for Help, by Stephen Girard
I can sum up my recovery in two words: giving and asking. This blog is about asking. You see, the reason I haven’t relapsed — even after experiencing serious adversity and loss a few times over in the last thirty-two years — is that I have always had the willingness to ask for help.
When I got out of treatment in my early twenties, I had the gift of desperation, and was motivated to follow the common suggestions: daily meetings, sponsorship, commitments, literature, and helping others. By following the common suggestions it became aware to me that I didn’t know much about life as a clean and sober person, and if I was going to make it I was going to need some serious help.
Humility is often described as the willingness to ask for help when you need it. Luckily, I intuitively figured out that if I was to make it, I would have to go to any length and dig deep, which included following ALL of the suggestions. Prior to getting clean and sober, asking for help was not a part of my vocabulary, but I was able to find and ask members with strong programs to help me. I had three criteria: if the person was genuinely happy, serious about the program, and walked the walk.
A few days after
9/11, I went to a literature study in New York City, and the literature for the day’s meeting was about relapse. The literature made reference to a study of alcoholics who had relapsed who were questioned if on the day of the relapse they had asked a higher power to keep them sober that day. None of the participants in the study had asked a higher power to help them stay sober on the day of their relapse. This hit me like a ton of bricks, because I had been thinking about drinking that week. From that day forward, during my daily prayer and meditation, I ask a higher power to help me stay away from the first drink or drug.
Learning to ask for help has had a positive spillover into every area of my life. For example, I have been able to apply the concept to other areas: financial, spiritual, physical, and musical. I have found that most people who perform at a high level in their profession, regardless of their background, have the innate ability to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength.