One of my Favorite Recovery Acronyms is ASK—Ass Saving Kit
Day to day, living life, we encounter many challenging situations. For some, it can be making it through the holidays without loved ones; or harboring resentments towards those we love or those we can’t stand to look at or think about; or making ends meet because of financial difficulties. The list can be endless. However, in anyone of the myriad of challenges I have encountered, the key for me is to ASK for help.
Contrary to popular belief, people are completely unaware of what we are thinking or what we are going through unless we, ourselves, speak up and tell them. For example, around Thanksgiving, a friend announced he was not going to his extended family’s Thanksgiving meal. Calmly he stated, “My Mom isn’t up to it.” At the time, I sensed he did not want to discuss it further so I dropped the subject. However, I let him know that I was there for him if he wanted to talk and his Mom would be in my thoughts and in my daily prayers.
A month later, we made dinner together (our favorite pastime) and with compassion I asked how his Mom was feeling. He opened up to me and told me that his Mom had been diagnosed with an un-curable form of cancer five years ago and her wishes were to keep it hush-hush. She did not want to burden others with her illness and did not want to be pitied. I was grateful my friend trusted and confided in me and shared what was going on. I sensed that it was a relief for him to unburden himself of the secret he had been holding on to. Telling me was his way to ASK.
I thought to myself, “What would happen in my household if my Mom was diagnosed with cancer?” I believe it would have been a very different scenario. My Mom would tell EVERYONE! She would call her family and her friends and go to temple and let her community know what she was going through so she could get the emotional and physical and spiritual support she needed to survive. She would be willing to ASK for help.
Fellowship is the bedrock on which I was raised. I need the support of my fellows. Without it I feel isolated and alone. My mind begins to trip over its self, replaying events in my head and second guessing myself and my actions. I have the need to feel connected. In fact, a colleague recently told me, “Connection is the opposite of addiction.” That statement really resonated in me. What a break through! It explained one of the main reasons that groups work—we get better together.
If I do not ASK for help I will not get help. Asking for help is my Ass Saving Kit. When I am troubled and unsure of the next right action to take, I speak with someone I trust, who I know will listen and understand where I am coming from and what I am talking about. For me, that is usually someone in recovery. For you, it may be a friend or a sister or a rabbi or a minister or a therapist or a colleague or your sponsor/program friend. The important thing is to be willing to ASK in order to receive.
David Avram Wolfe