Asking for help

I haven’t had a drink again since my last post though the thought of a big glass of wine hovers at the side of my mind along with the hope that this time I’ll be able to drink only one.

At the end of my last post I wrote that I needed to ask for help. Asking for help is not a natural thing for me as an autistic. My natural response is to try to figure it out myself, do the research myself and solve the problem. Which is fine, but there are some problems that need external help. Alcohol is probably one of those. I am not logical or sensible when it comes to drink. I made myself so ill a month ago when I last drank but I still flirt with the idea of a nice glass of wine and kid myself that this time it will be the one. So I need external guidance.

I find it difficult to know when it’s appropriate to ask for help, am I deserving of help, surely there’s someone else who deserves it more, what are the right words to use, how much information to give, how to frame it in a way that someone else can understand and so it doesn’t come across as whinging. I usually worry that I’ve said too much, I feel exposed having told someone a little about me. It’s also exhausting, do I have to follow all the person’s suggestions, should I thank them for their help and am I now indebted to them?

I tried. I posted to an online community that helped me stop drinking before and they offered their advice which I ignored because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. They think I should go to AA. I don’t want to go to AA. I have every right not to go to AA but it hurts me that people who say they care about me won’t listen to my reasons why it’s not for me. I felt unheard.

AA demands surrender to the group and an external Higher Power as a solution to the alcohol problem while I retreat inwards when faced with a problem. It did help me a bit when I originally stopped drinking and was struggling with the rawness of sober life without alcohol as a coping mechanism. Later AA attendance became harder because whatever the problem that arose, the solution was to go to a meeting and talk about it, when for me, in times of difficulty, leaving the house and being among people becomes difficult, impossible at times. This frustrated my AA sponsor who tore me apart. I didn’t know I was autistic then and it hurt badly. I walked away from her and, much later, she apologised but I’m still fearful of AA.

So the people who helped me last time can’t help me this time. I have to seek help elsewhere.

My drinking friend said I am not an alcoholic and I want to believe her. But I know the lack of control when I drink. I know how obsessed I get about it. And I know that my coping mechanisms fall apart with the drink. Her view of me is also coloured by her own relationship with booze So she can’t help.

When I was in a psychiatric hospital years ago it was drummed in to us patients to ask for help. They taught me how to ask for help, you went to the nurses’ office at a certain time and arranged to meet your primary nurse. When I left hospital, I still did not know how to ask for help as unfortunately in the outside world there was no nurses’ office and no specified time to ask for help, you’re meant to figure it out for yourself. I spent a year adrift after that time in hospital, lost in my own world with little support or help.

However they were right in that psychiatric hospital as the right help can really provide that support to turn things around. As a person whose life has a recurring tendency to go off the rails and fall apart, I’ve ended up in a position that I’ve needed to ask for help many times. I can think of times I’ve asked for help and the person has actually helped me, from a nurse in the hospital to autism support workers where I used to live, to a random stranger who helped me when I had a meltdown at an airport, to people online who helped me stop drinking the first time (that I didn’t stay stopped is down to me not them) and even the people in AA who gave up their time to try and help me. I’m sure there are many others I haven’t mentioned. I’m always surprised when I ask for help and people take me seriously.

I am not sure how to get the help I need as I’ve recently moved and I don’t know where to turn but I need to find some way of getting it. But until I figure it out, I haven’t had a drink. And that’s a start.

4 thoughts on “Asking for help

  1. You’re completely right. You haven’t had a drink, and that’s a very good start. Have you researched help groups in your new area? Have you sought help from an online resource? There are likely options out there that can give you the help you need in a way that is more comfortable to you than going to an AA meeting or going to someone you don’t know.

    Good luck – the battle you’re fighting is a tough one. Know that people are rooting for you!

    • Thank you – yes I’ve tried Smart Recovery online – that’s based around Rational Emotion Based Therapy REBT so it’s more concrete than AA. My other online support group is also helpful, they’ve all had positive experiences with AA so their experience is different to mine but they help me with other things.

  2. I’m always surprised when I ask for help and people take me seriously too. I’ve had so many people slap my hand when I reached out for help. And for some reason, I’m not too surprised that AA sometimes worsens the problems it’s claiming to solve. If they caused you an additional trauma, how do they expect you to stop using alcohol to cope? So many organizations that are meant to help “everybody” are really set up for neurotypical people and end up being disastrous for us. And what is an atheist alcoholic to do?

    • Thank you – It’s horrible when you pluck up the courage to ask for help and you just get slapped down. AA isn’t for everyone – it actually has quite a low success rate – some people reckon it’s as low as 5%. It helps some people and I’ve come across Aspies it’s helped but not everyone and it’s not good at admitting that and pointing people to other sources of help. I’ve found very little on autism and addiction except for a book by Sarah Hendrickx and Matthew Tinsley which I thought was a good read.

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