“Here are the two best prayers I know: 'Help me, help me, help me' and 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.'” –Anne Lamott

Asking for help is a critical part of our recovery and healing process. Have you ever asked for help from someone only to have them turn to you and start their sentence with, “I told you…” Maybe it ended with:

  • “…multiple times already how to do that.”
  • “…to call your sponsor and you didn’t listen.”
  • “…to save your money so this would never happen.”
  • “…that it was too risky, but you did it anyway.”

In almost any scenario, the ending comes back around to a finger being pointed at you for “failure” of some kind. I don’t know about you, but I’m left feeling all kinds of feelings after such an exchange. Certainly the feeling of being “less than” arises. The sad part is, both people lose out in communication like this. It’s not always easy to ask for help, and the one being asked to help misses out on a meaningful opportunity.

In situations like these, we may already be feeling badly inside. We know someone has taught us something more than once, but we are still having trouble retaining it. We now wish we had reached out to our sponsor versus struggling with relapse. Or, we realize things didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, yet taking a risk is not a mistake in and of itself. We’ve all heard stories of people who went from having money to being homeless and/or starting over—or, we have personally experienced it. Everything is not in our control. Life happens!

Maya Angelou says, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” That does not bring up “less than” feelings, rather, it gives hope. We can be flexible, brave, adaptable, resilient and it’s empowering. It lets us know that we will make mistakes and learn from them and then bring wisdom forward.

We need not be afraid to ask for help. We seek out those who empower us—not those who treat us in an, “ I told you so” manner. We do our best, while reminding ourselves that mistakes will occur. When mistakes, and life, happen, we look for empowering opportunities to change, gain confidence, be creative, collaborate, get curious, and explore other possibilities.

We have all been in situations to give help and, at times, needed to receive help; gratitude springs from both. When we are in a position of providing help, let us act with kindness, patience, and openness towards one another – and with gratitude remembering those who did that for us – and not perpetuate the “I told you so” and finger-pointing. When we have been gifted with help from someone, in any capacity, let’s reciprocate with gratitude. A heartfelt “Thank you” can melt just about anyone’s heart and yours will feel better for having said it!

You and your time are valuable; please know that my heart feels gratitude for you, and I thank you for our moments of connection!

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.