“I don’t have all the answers. I’m not sure what to do. I need help.”
Sound familiar? Admitting there’s a problem that can’t be managed alone is an essential first step on the road to recovery. But while we recognize and understand the need for those struggling with addiction to admit their powerlessness in order to heal, it can be a lot harder, and a lot scarier, to take a look at ourselves and realize we don’t have all the answers either in other areas of our life. That we’re also not always sure what to do.
That we need help too.
“But aren’t I supposed to be the expert? Shouldn’t the buck stop with me? People expect me to know what to do.”
As a professional in the industry, of course others look to you for clarity, guidance, and support when they’re at their most vulnerable. If they knew that behind your confident exterior you sometimes feel uncertain, insecure, and ill-equipped to deal with challenging situations, would they still trust you? Or would they think you were a fraud?
The truth is we all have our moments of doubt, uncertainty, and fear. In life in general, and addiction recovery in particular, we can easily fall into the trap of a zero-sum mindset. You might feel you can’t confess to not knowing something, because doing so is a slippery slope, and might be the difference between success and failure.
Yet we all sometimes feel lost or afraid…but when everyone around us seems cool, calm, and collected, it can be hard to accept we’re not alone with those feelings. In reality, we all need to learn how to get out of our own way to some extent.
By accepting that asking for help is a sign of strength rather than a weakness, you’re not only in a better position to empathize with those you treat; you’ve also taken the first steps toward fostering a culture of cooperation and unity, something this industry needs in order to provide the help so many desperately require. In other words, in order to gain control, you must first learn to surrender.
“I don’t need to have the answers. It’s ok that I’m unsure what to do. I can ask for help. And that gives me strength to help others in return.”