One of the things I most often hear from folks I serve is how awkward it is for them to reach out and ask for help. I totally understand that feeling, but I encourage folks to consider that this is the easiest way to stagnate their recovery. To be self-conscious and embarrassed is understandable. We need to be mindful that these experiences are not only common; they’re familiar to the folks we’d reach out to.
We tend to be unfair in our judgment of self. Worse, we project our self-image and decide that others view us as we do. We would do well to allow others the right to their own opinion. We should also consider that our expectations of how we’ll be received are based on past experiences with sick people and not with good people in recovery.
One of the important hacks to recovery: relate to people based on who you believe them to be, not based on who you fear they’ll reveal themselves to be.
Necessity and desperation often make a therapist’s job easy. When folks have reached the end of their rope, they often have a stronger willingness to move out of their comfort zone. The in-between times are what cause us so much stress – like in between the time when we know what we need to do and the time in which we actually take action.
I remind my clients that agony is optional and procrastination is fear. I implore the clinicians and coaches who work for me to embrace awkwardness. I am a firm believer in practicing what I preach. I’m willing to approach awkward situations because I have a ton of experience in the cost of not facing my fears and almost as much experience garnering the rewards of admitting that I need help.
One of the most counter-intuitive aspects of recovery: It helps us to help you. When we are afraid, we withdraw and we lie to ourselves about how we shouldn’t be a burden or imposition. Instead of taking accountability for our fears we make it about the other person and tell ourselves, “They already have too much on their plate.” This is addictive thinking at its finest – we are unknowingly making decisions for the other party about what they can and can’t do and what they do and don’t want in their lives.
We are self-centered people even when we’re not intending to be selfish. I promise you that the five minutes or so of awkward conversation results in less shame, guilt, and feeling apart from. It keeps us from reinventing the wheel and allows others to garner something positive out of the hell they’ve been through. We all want good things to come out of our pain – allowing others to teach is a great way to facilitate this.