The Embarrassment of Asking For Help

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated November 26, 2018

Far too often, societal pressures push ideas on us that can be unhealthy in the wrong context. You might have heard such phrases as ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’, ‘self-made success’ and other such rhetoric that might suggest that being self reliant is always the preferred and better option no matter what. While it’s true, in some circumstances, that it actually is more sound to work through a problem alone because of the rewards associated at the end of the effort, this does not prove that every situation can be handled alone. The very goal itself might be only attainable through teamwork and cooperation and even doing the thing that appears to be more and more taboo; asking for help.

There’s no inherent guilt or failure implied in asking for help. No expects a normal person to lift a 500 pound rock by themselves without help. No one thinks the correct way to become a car owner is to study engineering and metal machining to build their own vehicle. Society has overcome many problems that were thought insurmountable because of people helping one another. Entire fields of study and industry have prospered from the efforts of many people in many disciplines coming together, enriching the understanding and quality of fields outside of theirs.


Why it’s Embarrassing

So if this is true, then why is asking for help with problems related to drug addiction and alcoholism so embarrassing for certain people? Are they associating asking for help with some sort of failure? Does comparing their own use to others have something to do with it? Is the fact that they know someone who can drink or use drugs without problems contribute?

This shouldn’t be the case because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Where someone else can drink responsibly they may not, for instance, be able to handle something else important without asking for help. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness in and of itself, it’s a sign of recognizing weakness and correcting for it. Simply admitting weakness in this case is the strength itself. Hiding from the embarrassment of asking for help is covering up that weakness and it doesn’t go away while still leaving you with the task of still having to lift that 500 pound rock or building that car all alone.


Take Action

addiction treatment servicesIf waiting for someone to offer help so as to avoid asking for it, that help is never guaranteed to come. For the same reasons asking for help is embarrassing, society tends to treat helping someone without being asked as taking away agency from the person who didn’t ask for it. What does this mean? It means help might not come until it’s too late and in the case of substance abuse and drug addiction, that could literally be irreversible mental and physical damage, irreparable relationships or even death.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your addiction. Call us at Northbound in Newport Beach. We have counselors who are trained to help you without judgment.

(866) 311-0003


Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.