“How Does It Feel To Ask For Help?”

images-4“How Does It Feel To Ask For Help?”

            Just like it states in one of my favorite songs, “I get by with a little help from my friends”.  In my personal life, friends really are the family I choose for myself.  I feel that because of an unstable upbringing, and the lack of ability my family had to meet my very basic needs, I learned at a young age to become self-reliant.  Unfortunately, children can not raised themselves in a manner healthy enough to productive members of society with the coping skills I had learned.  The other unfortunate piece is that my immature and underdeveloped best thinking landed me on a troublesome path.  Self-will run riot is what I call it now that I am a bit healthier than before.

            Asking for help was not something I knew of, and I was taught that if I ask and receive help; I would pay dearly for it later.  I was taught that the world was an ugly place and to “just deal with it”.  Needless to say I dealt with it the way I learned how from my family which was to drink and use for each and every emotion.

At 16 years old, and a cocaine habit, I knew I had a problem yet could not ask for help.  At 18 years old I relocated to California, changed addictions to methamphetamines, quickly developed a new habit and a pregnancy and still could not ask for help.  At this point in life I am 18 pregnant and can not stop using while pregnant, I knew I was in big trouble and still had no where to turn if I wanted to.  I married a friend of mine in the hopes that we could work together to raise my child.  I first warned him of what he was getting into.  After the glory of infancy, my child learned to walk and talk, becoming a little bit more independent, I returned to my old behaviors, and eventually left my good friend who was also my husband.

For the following three years, I abused meth again, I volunteered for one abusive relationship after another and just spiraled into an out of control and pitiful life.  While selling meth to support my child, my habit, and myself I felt like I was on a continuous merry-go-round that I could not get off of.  For someone living my lifestyle, I always knew I was different, however I had no idea why.  I had attempted to return to school before, and that didn’t work out.  Every time I tried to help myself, it never worked out.  Self-will run riot.  I desperately wanted something better and had no idea how to get it.

Eventually one night I got busted, and I remember wondering whether to be scared or relieved.  Through the drug-court program, and not my first attempt, I eventually got some help….  From the courts.  I was placed in a long-term treatment program for substance abuse that was designed for pre-natal women and children.  The first night I was there, I cried with relief.  I had probably cried for the first time in as long as I could remember.  It felt so good to have my will out of my hands.  This is where the magic began for me.

While in treatment there were group therapy/addiction education classes all day, every day.  For me it was like earning a PhD on the subject of Kerry Ann.  Through these groups, 12 Step work, and one on one counseling I learned many things.  One on the most profound things I had heard my counselor say to me was, “Kerry Ann, why does everything with you have to be a business transaction, why cant you just accept something without feeling obliged to give something in return?”  I responded that, “That is the way the world works, everybody wants something and there is nothing for free.”  This may be true, a lot, but if we surround ourselves with people who are not using, we might discover something else.

For me, an addict in recovery, asking for help has a life or death value to it.  If you can ask for help, you can live; if you cannot ask for help, you die with your pride.  Learning to let go, and allow others in to your life for any reason is opening yourself up to vulnerability, however alternative is to risk relapse and death.

Being in a place where you need to ask for help can bring huge feelings of powerlessness, fear, anxiety, and they all lead to relapse if you do not ask for help.  On a daily basis, I have not only ask for God’s help, but the help of my fellow NA’s and AA’s in order to sometimes make the simplest decisions.  My life, my daughters’ lives depend on the humility needed to ask for help.

I still try to suffer alone all the time.  Thankfully I get by with a little help from my friends.  When things aren’t going my way, when I am frustrated, when the bills are bigger than the income my friends help my out by going to coffee and helping my keep things in perspective, help to remember to have gratitude for all of these “luxury problems”.  When my father passed away, my friends were there, not my family.  They loved me when I was suffering, and they did it for free.  This is a concept I couldn’t understand.  Just recently when my daughter got injured and had surgery, families who know me and how busy we are knew that just because I have an injured kid, I still have to live as quickly as always, they made food for my family.  They did it for free, they did it so I could be there for my child without stressing on feeding and cleaning and driving and going bananas.  They did it because that’s what friends do.  I do get by with a little help from my friends, and thankfully I have them.  I had one friend who never left my side this past two weeks.  She drove for me; she made lots of phone calls for me because people actually cared what was happening.  Help, I may struggle to ask for it, but when I do, I get it, and it’s free.

How does it feel to ask for help?  It is really hard, but it gets easier.  For me to name a time where I asked for help; every single day.  Every single day, every single decision.  I know for this addict, when I stop reaching out, and I stop asking for help I will be participating in self-will run riot, clean or not and that is not what I have worked so for.  The most important time I have ever asked for help, was when I called my probation officer and told him that I could not stay clean, even while pregnant and that I needed help.  It was the best phone call that I ever made; in fact it saved my life.

At this time in my life, asking for help is not as hard as it used to be.  I have accepted the fact that we all need help, and it is ok to ask.  Whether it is a small task, like laundry or a large task like loaning money I am always there for others and I like to help out.  When I see a woman who looks like I did 13 years ago, alone, and desperate yet stubborn, I will offer what I have and I will let her know that it is ok to ask for help, it just might save your life.  Being in a severe spot where you need to ask for help in my world is dark, scary, lonely, and fearful in fact terrifying.  But if I practice asking for help, as stubborn as I am, my blessings will keep pouring down on me as they have for the past 13 years.

A Time To Kill : Best Closing, try it, evokes emotion!

ATTKA Time to Kill:  
written by Akiva Goldsman, novel by John Grisham

Jake: I had a great summation all worked out, full of some sharp lawyering…But I’m not going to read it. I’m here to apologize, I am young and I am inexperienced, but you cannot hold Carl lee Hailey responsible for my shortcomings. You see, in all this legal maneuvering something has gotten lost, and that something is the truth. Now, it is incumbent upon us lawyers not to just talk about the truth, but to actually seek it, to find it, to live it. My teacher taught me that. Let’s take Dr Bass for example, now, obviously I would have never knowingly put a convicted felon on the stand, I hope you can believe that, but what is the truth, that he is a disgraced liar?  And what if I told you that the woman he was accused of raping was 17, he was 23 that she later became his wife, bore his children and is still married to the man today. Does that make his testimony more or less true?

What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts? I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the south, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That’s not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes yours and mine, and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded, it will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts where we don’t know better.

I want to tell you a story. I want to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you this story. I want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead close your eyes please. This is a story about a little girl… walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl, suddenly a truck races up, two men jump out and grab her, they drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up, and rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on, first one then the other… raping her…shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they’re done, after they killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to bear children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice, so they start throwing full beer cans at her, they throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones, then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging, they have a rope, they tie a noose; imagine the noose pulling tight around her neck and a sudden blinding jerk. She’s pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking and they don’t find ground. The hanging branch isn’t strong enough it snaps and she falls back to earth. So they pick her up throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to foggy creek bridge and pitch her over the edge and she drops some 30 feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten and broken body, soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl…Now imagine she’s white.

The defense rests your honor.

JFT

Lightening the load

“It will not make us better people to judge the faults of another. It will make us feel better to clean up our lives…”

Basic Text, p. 38

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Sometimes we need something tangible to help us understand what holding a resentment is doing to us. We may not be aware of how destructive resentments actually are. We think, “So what, I have a right to be angry,” or, “I might be nursing a grudge or two, but I don’t see the harm.”

To see more clearly the effect that holding resentments is having in our lives, we might try imagining that we are carrying a rock for each resentment. A small grudge, such as anger at someone driving badly, might be represented by a pebble. Harboring ill will toward an entire group of people might be represented by a enormous boulder. If we actually had to carry stones for each resentment, we would surely tire of the weight. In fact, the more cumbersome our burden, the more sincere our efforts to unload it would be.

The weight of our resentments hinders our spiritual development. If we truly desire freedom, we will seek to rid ourselves of as much extra weight as possible. As we lighten up, we’ll notice an increased ability to forgive our fellow human beings for their mistakes, and to forgive ourselves for our own. We’ll nourish our spirits with good thoughts, kind words, and service to others.

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Just for today: I will seek to have the burden of resentments removed from my spirit.

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