Ask for Help

Ask for Help

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition

Ask for Help

A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.

~Grace Pulpit

The curse of the over compulsive and the addict is the belief that we can rein our behaviors in — all on our own — especially if the behaviors, such as mine, are done in secret. In the beginning my maneuverings afforded me some measure of comfort, helping to ease my mental pain. But in the end, choosing addictive compulsions instead of doing the real work of facing my fears and inadequacies pulled me into the dark underworld of self-loathing.

What had formerly eased my pain was now actually making it worse! Oh what a hellish concoction I had mixed for myself. How I loathed the way my behaviors commanded my will, the way they mocked me. I felt like they were talking to me and saying: “Loser.”

I began plotting and planning ways to break free. I battled my secrets by buying books and CDs, consuming reams of information, believing that if I could just find that one bit of information — that one key that fit my lock — then I would be free. I truly believed that I could tame these compulsive addictions all by myself.

Of course, I was wrong. Instead, for many years, the torture of my secret battle raged on.

Then I came across a copy of Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul and realized I had never acknowledged the most liberating bit of information. I could ask for help!

In “Friends of Bill W., Please Come to the Gate. . .” a flight attendant who is a recovering alcoholic is having a hard time passing the bar in an airport, so in a moment of inspiration, she pages “friends of Bill W.” throughout the airport. More than a dozen people come to her aid, even at the risk of missing their own flights, to talk her through her craving for alcohol.

The most important sentence in the story for me was: “Grace had a moment of sanity, realized she could not do it on her own, took the action of asking for help and received it immediately.”

I began to weep. I finally understood that I could not rein in my destructive behaviors on my own. Alone was my mortal flaw!

I would not be here today if it were not for eye to eye, soul to soul contact with people who were familiar with my condition and helped me.

The road to self-respecting freedom begins by telling someone, “I am powerless. Help!”

~J. Fullerton

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