Although it sounds simple and perhaps obvious, a person in recovery needs to take responsibility for their own well being. There might be doctors, therapists, and support groups readily available, but if you’re not asking for what you need, you might miss out on the benefits of healing from addiction.
Certainly, at the start of recovery, there might be all sorts of people there to help you and they might be asking you about your needs. In fact, at the start of recovery, there might even be people telling you what to do: attend this 12-step meeting, meet me in a week for therapy, return to this facility for a drug test, etc. You might be overloaded with demands regarding your treatment. Although you might find this frustrating, the fact that there are professionals guiding you in your early recovery can be helpful and provide a certain sense of stability.
However, at some point, you may need to take your own responsibility for your needs and healing. If you were the one to call for help initially when you realized you needed it, then you already demonstrated responsibility, maturity, and initiative. It’s those traits in a person that is continues to be required throughout the many phases of recovery. However, if someone made that call for you, if a friend or loved one called for treatment on your behalf, then you might not yet know what it’s like to stand up for your needs. You might not yet know how important it is to speak up when you need something.
Importance of Learning to Express Your Needs
In fact, some people, especially those who have struggled with addiction, can have a hard time expressing their needs. They might believe that their needs don’t matter or that what they are going through has no value. It’s common for addicts to struggle with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and powerlessness and these experiences can contribute to not giving your life value. These experiences might also contribute to making choices in your life that are harmful and self-harming. For instance, those who struggle with an addiction might choose to drink when they are angry versus taking responsibility for their anger by seeing a therapist or psychologist. Another example is avoiding intense feelings after the death of a loved one through drug use versus taking responsibility for the loss and getting help with the grieving process.
You can see that asking for help, no matter what stage you’re at in your recovery, is an act of maturity and responsibility. During an addiction you might not have taken responsibility for your life. However, in recovery, you learn to do the opposite. In recovery, you have the opportunity to take responsibility for your physical, emotional, and psychological well being. And this means saying something when you need medical attention, psychiatric care, or psychological services. This might also mean speaking up when you need to be with others versus staying isolated and alone.Taking responsibility for your recovery might also mean finding a new sponsor if your current one isn’t working for you. Taking responsibility for your recovery means doing anything and everything to ensure that you stay sober, healthy and safe.