“You can’t save everybody. In fact, there are days when I think you can’t save anyone. Each person has to save himself first, then you can move in and help. I have found this philosophy does not work during a gun battle, or a knife fight either. Outside of that it works just fine.” ― Laurell K. Hamilton
Every day that I have been sober there have been increasingly more and more times I feel this to be true. I want to help others but I have to constantly remind myself that when they reject help, that maybe they did not want to be helped. Addiction is painful, it will tear you apart from the inside and it will make you feel that you will never be whole again. But that doesn’t mean you’re a failure and cannot become something great, you can succeed, and you will be HAPPY once more.
When I was consumed with my own addiction I rarely ever looked to anyone else for help. I only expected help when I needed to get out of a jam, needed money or just wanted some sort of verification that what I was becoming wasn’t really that bad. Manipulation at its finest.
Being able to work in the field of addiction I think has been a blessing for me. There are often times I find it difficult trying to help people when I feel that it’s too hard for them to truly listen and see the truth. I see people come in and out, consistently relapse and get hospitalized, and honestly in the end I know there isn’t much that I can do. It truly is up to the individual if they can ever succeed. When I see their pain, I can often relate and I want to know why I can’t help more. How can I help people not suffer like I did? I know that in my darkest moments I had people around me that cared and loved me, tried to help me, and I know I still do. I didn’t want it, until I was willing to except it. But how can I try to pass on my experiences of what I have gone through if it seems no one is listening? I realized that I am just trying to fix a problem, which unfortunately cannot be fixed. There is no fix, no cure for addiction. There is only our own path of recovery and the ability to be able to serve others. That is the answer I have been searching for. That is the answer to my questions. It was there all along.
This is where I know I have to look inward, to my own program of recovery for some sort of guidance. I could not help myself alone, and I cannot even begin to help anyone else alone either. Many times when we try to help we do not really serve anyone. Serving is also different from fixing. One of the pioneers of the Human Potential Movement, Abraham Maslow, said, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.’ Seeing yourself as a fixer may cause you to see brokenness everywhere, to sit in judgment of life itself. When we try to fix others, we may not see their hidden wholeness or trust the integrity of the life in them. Fixers trust their own expertise. When we serve, we see the unborn wholeness in others; we collaborate with it and strengthen it. Others may then be able to see their wholeness for themselves for the first time.”
I don’t think that until now I ever realized that wanting to help others and be able to serve others were two different things. I have to be able to learn daily about myself by finding the truth through serving others and with others. I have to be satisfied with that. I can find great strength in myself through my own path of recovery, and who knows I may be able to help after all.