We all know how critically important help, support and encouragement are if you’re recovering from a physical or mental health issue or addiction. But it’s really hard to ask for help because of fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, and a host of other challenges and barriers.
If you’ve ever wanted to reach out for help and support with your recovery but you weren’t sure what to say, here are some ideas to help you get started, in the form of a letter to a friend, family member or someone else who cares about you. Feel free to adapt these to meet your own specific needs and concerns.
As I continue on my journey of personal recovery related to my _________ (health condition, mental illness or addiction), it’s sometimes difficult for me to ask you (or anyone) for help. It’s also often hard to know just what I need help with the most right now or at any given moment.
But I do want to ask you for your help now, since I value your support and know that you care about me and have my best interests at heart.
So, here are 10 possible ways you may be able to help me with my recovery. When you have a little time, let’s talk about these and see how you might be able to assist me with some of them.
You may be able to help me…
1) Locate appropriate treatment providers
While I’m open to getting help, I’m sometimes at a loss to know where to turn for help. Please help me identify some competent health care providers and/or peer supporters who may be able to assist me with my specific concerns.
2) Find out more about my condition and treatment options
Sometimes it’s hard to understand the technical terms about my diagnoses or condition, and to know what treatments are available to manage my concerns safely and effectively. Please help me learn to better appreciate what my condition is and what some of the best treatment options may be.
3) Get the most from my health care appointments
It’s a little overwhelming to know what to say when I go to see a doctor or therapist. Please help me jot down some important questions to ask so I won’t forget them when I’m there. Also, it’s hard to capture all of the information the health care provider gives me, since I’m sometimes anxious, stressed or not feeling well. It would be really helpful if you could go with me, take some brief notes while we’re there, and then review them with me after the appointment.
4) Remember to take my medication
It’s sometimes difficult to remember to take my medications consistently, so I would appreciate some gentle reminders. It could also be helpful to show me how to set up automatic alarm reminders on my phone, and to help me put my medicines into a pill organizer.
5) Make informed treatment decisions
Sometimes when I’m faced with different treatment options, such as various therapies or medications, I could benefit from having you remind me to weigh the pros and cons of these choices with my treatment providers so I can make a more informed decision about how to proceed.
6) Develop a recovery plan
I could use some help in putting my short and long-term recovery goals in written form so I can have a concrete plan to follow and review on a regular basis. I know these goals need to be broken down into specific, measurable action steps with some defined time frames and a list of the people who can help me achieve each goal. I also need a safety or crisis plan to use if my health or safety seems to be in jeopardy.
7) By giving me honest feedback
I need you to be honest and let me know how you think I’m progressing (or not progressing) with my recovery plan. If I seem to be doing well, your frequent positive comments will help keep me motivated and on track. Perhaps even more importantly, if I’m not getting some things done, your advice and ideas for how to manage tasks more effectively will be extremely beneficial.
8) Notice concerning changes
If you see that I’m doing potentially harmful things or behaving in a way that could jeopardize my progress, I really need your immediate attention and feedback to help keep me from getting into serious trouble. If I don’t seem to hear you or am ignoring you, please tell me directly that you are really concerned and help steer me to professional help if it looks like I’m having a real crisis.
9) Manage everyday tasks
Sometimes I just need a little help with the routine, mundane things like paying bills, grocery shopping, picking up my medications, and getting chores done at home. It’s also really helpful if you could occasionally watch the kids or walk the dog so I can have a little break or a nap. These things are so incredibly helpful to me when I’m feeling stressed.
10) Make healthy lifestyle choices
Please keep reminding me to make healthy choices related to my diet and nutrition, getting some physical activity (maybe let’s not call it exercise, ok?!), getting regular sleep and rest, connecting with my faith or spiritual beliefs, staying around positive people, avoiding the negative folks, and remembering to laugh and express my gratitude for the many good things in my life.
Thanks so much for being willing and available to help me. You’re an incredibly important part of my recovery. While I know I have to be in charge of myself and my life, I also know that your support and encouragement make all the difference in the world.
Here’s a question: Who can you reach out to for help with your recovery and what are some possible ways they can assist you? Please leave a comment. Also, please subscribe to my blog and feel free to follow me on Twitter, “like” my Facebook page, or connect on LinkedIn. Thanks!