A Little Help From My Friends

Be not ashamed to be helped; for it is thy business to do thy duty like a soldier in an assault on a town. How then, if being lame thou canst not mount up on the battlements alone, but with the help of another is it possible?

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, VII.7

Two are better than one, because they have good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

-Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I began this conversation a couple of days ago via a live stream on Instagram. It was prompted by a discussion topic at an AA meetings concerning what part of the program stands out to me or what aspect has been really helpful in my recovery. It’s true that the program has to work holistically, all parts being a conduit to the whole recovery. Consequently, each part helps me through different stages of growth and development.

Historically, I was an isolated drinker. I rarely drank at a bar out with friends. Sometimes, I would drink with a friend at one of our houses. But, the majority of the time I was sitting at home alone or in my truck, somewhere isolated from any community.

As this cycle continued, my interpersonal relationships deteriorated at an exponential rate. I drew further and further into myself. In a way, this was a good thing because I was less likely to drink and drive, which was a problem that I suffered from. Who’s to say? Regardless, I was pushing away my friends and family because of drink. Let’s be honest. If I drank alone, there were fewer people to fuss at me

I have vocalized this on multiple occasions. Here it goes in print: had it not been for friends, family, and fellow AA members, I probably would not have made it one week sober, let alone the nearly 5 months I have made it thus far. This is because they are teaching me how to control and utilize one of my greatest fears: the fear of asking for help.

As outlined in the quotes above, it is advantageous to have friends and ask for their help. Truth be told, taking on the world all by yourself causes you to be less useful and viable as a human. If I am overburdened and completely stressed out, I become less viable to help others due to many contributing emotional factors, usually anger, frustration, or resentment.

The longer I’m in the program and continue to learn, I see that one of the ultimate goals is to share your knowledge with others and be there for alcoholics who are searching for help with recovery. As I ask more often for help, I am abler to be more holistically available. My sense of freedom and humility increases. Overall, I am more spiritually fit to be there for others.

There is an old saying, “a friend in need is a friend indeed”. Fairly cynical for sure, but it rings true. Realize that is perfectly acceptable to say no, especially if a friend is using you as a means to an end, being advantageous for their needs. However, concerning alcoholics as an alcoholic, remember very carefully who was there for you. Could you have done it alone? Was there someone there when the chips were down? Remember your sobriety in your quest for the 12th step.

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