The Importance of Asking For Help

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asking for help

Asking for help is not always easy. In order to ask for help we have to humble ourselves, coming to terms with the fact that there is a challenge we cannot conquer on our own. Some of us might feel asking for help makes us appear weak or incompetent. We might fear that asking for help burdens other people. We might assume that other people will not be inclined to help us, so why even bother to ask? For those of us who have personal histories of substance misuse and dependence, asking for help can be particularly challenging. However, relying on other people is a fundamental part of the recovery process. In order to successfully overcome addiction and go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives, we must first admit that we need help and begin reaching out. This looks different for everyone, but one fact remains true — recovery is something we cannot achieve on our own.

If you or someone close to you has been struggling with a substance use disorder of any type or severity, there are numerous treatment options available. At 12 Step East Coast we are dedicated to helping people of all ages on the East Coast move in the direction of recovery. To learn more about the 12 Step resources available to you, reach out to us today.

Why Is Asking For Help So Difficult?

Asking for help is not easy. But why? Several reasons why asking for help is so difficult are:

  • We don’t want to be a burden on other people.
  • We are afraid of appearing weak or vulnerable.
  • We are inclined to make assumptions about other people’s willingness to help.
  • We are afraid of the change that asking for help will bring about.
  • We are afraid of appearing entitled.
  • We fear rejection if the person we ask for help says, “no.”
  • We are afraid that asking for help will mean we lose control of the situation.
  • We are uncertain about the transactional nature of asking for help.

We might assume that if we ask someone for something, we have to do something for them in return. Maybe asking for assistance with something makes us feel like we are acting entitled, or we know that if we do receive the help we ask for, our lives will change immensely — and change can be scary. There have been numerous research studies conducted on why asking for the help we need often proves so difficult.

A news article published by Stanford reads, “There are several common reasons why people struggle to ask for help. Some people may fear that asking for help would make them appear incompetent, weak, or inferior – recent research from Stanford doctoral student Kayla Good finds that children as young as seven can hold this belief. Some people are concerned about being rejected, which can be embarrassing and painful. Others may be concerned about burdening and inconveniencing others – a topic I recently explored.  These concerns may feel more relevant in some contexts than others, but they are all very relatable and very human.

The good news is those concerns are oftentimes exaggerated and mistaken.”

Ways to Ask For Help in Recovery

When might you need to ask for help during the addiction recovery process? It is important to get used to the idea of requesting assistance, because those who are actively engaged in a 12 Step program will be asking for help (and dishing help out to others) on a regular basis. It is important to understand that AA is a mutual aid fellowship, meaning that group members help one another through the Steps. In order to be an active participant in AA you must be both willing to help others and willing to ask for help when you run into a challenge you can’t easily navigate on your own. Below are several examples of instances in which you might ask for help:

  • You are at a party and there is a little too much drinking going on. You rode with a friend who wants to stay, but you know if you stay at the party any longer you’ll be tempted to drink. You call up a friend from AA and ask for a ride home.
  • Your car is in the shop, but you don’t want to miss your homegroup. You call another group member and ask for a ride.
  • You find someone who has qualities that you admire and who seems to be very solid in their sobriety, and you ask them to walk you through the 12 Steps. This person will be your sponsor, and will be someone you frequently turn to for help.
  • You recognize that despite your staying sober for an extended period of time, you still struggle with feelings of sadness. You make an appointment with a licensed psychiatrist to see if you might have a diagnosable depressive disorder.
  • You are making the move from a sober living home into an apartment. You ask a few of your friends to help you pack up your belongings and move them to your new place.

AA is a symbiotic program, meaning that the relationships you develop within the program will be mutually beneficial. Maybe you ask a friend for a ride to a meeting, not knowing that they were on the brink of drinking again. When you reach out for help they want to be of service, so they make the decision to go to a meeting with you, which ends up putting things back pinto perspective for them and ultimately saving their sobriety.


If you or someone close to you has been struggling with a substance use issue of any type or severity, engaging in a 12 Step program might be a beneficial solution. 12 Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous can serve as a standalone treatment option in some instances, though we recommend a step-down treatment program for those who have been using chemical substances continuously for an extended period of time. A higher level of care might also be beneficial to those who have underlying, co-occurring issues, like unresolved trauma, anxiety, or depression. If you would like to learn more about the treatment options available to you, or if you would like help determining which course of action makes the most sense for your unique case, contact us today. At 12 Step East Coast we are dedicated to helping people of all ages and walks of life move in the direction of recovery. We understand how difficult it can be to take the initial step and reach out for help. However, once you take this step, you are well on your way to living a beautiful and fulfilling life free from the devastation of addiction. We look forward to speaking with you soon and answering any additional questions you might have.

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