I Don’t Need You


i got this

I don’t need you.

This was my mantra.  This was my warrior code.  This was the mortar in my wall that I used to block you out.  I didn’t need you – never did before, so why would I now? I liked to be the macho guy, to be the martyr who suffered, <sniff!>, so that you could see that I was strong.  I resented getting assistance in any way, shape or form.  I was beyond what you other weaklings did for one another.  Every man for themselves, I would say, beating my chest. And yet, deep down,  I felt weak, pathetic, and  less of a man.  I was worthless, yet I could still save myself. I had the wherewithal to show everyone that I was made of sandpaper, that I was the anchor of the S.S Lone Wolf. And still…I felt that I couldn’t do right by me or anyone else.  Failure followed me at every turn. I drank.

Leave me alone. 

This was the coat I wore, the mask I painted on, the kryptonite I put into my veins to keep you at bay and away from me.  My eyes, deadened already from pain and drink, seared into others the need for me to be left-the-hell-alone.  And if that wasn’t successful, my words would impale and deflect like a viking in battle. I was afraid that if you got to know me in any way, you would run from me.  So I sent you packing before you could hurt me.  Game, set and match…and yet, I was the only one playing.  I only defeated myself.  And I isolated to finish the deal.  I drank.

I don’t need help.

I was a legend in my own mind and didn’t need someone to come in an play the stud when the lead role was already taken by me.  Take a hike, pal.  I had full control of everything, including my drinking.  Oh sure, there were some rough patches, and who doesn’t have a bad day now and then?  We go through phases don’t we?  I mean, even the hero gets sissy slapped around now and then.  Nothing that a few drinks couldn’t fix.  Or a few more.  I didn’t need anyone to tell me what the deal was with on anything in my life, because I had it all figured out.  I just needed time to figure it out, is all.  I needed just some space to unlock the truth, to crack open my own true self, to hot wire my heart to beat a little stronger.  I drank.

I need help.

Please help me…I’m dying…and I don’t want to die like this.

Where did it all go wrong?  The pain, the suffering, the hurt, the lashes and gashes at my soul and spirit buckled my knees, fears flapped around me like gulls on the pier and the idea of living with the drink and living without the drink had brought me to the point of insanity.  I was crazed and defeated…and dying.  My alcoholism was suicide by installment plan.  It was a matter of time.  I couldn’t do it any more.  I was done. I couldn’t drink.

helpless1

I want to help you. 

Is that really me thinking this now?

If there is something that I have learned in my short time in recovery is that I need to work with others.  I need to help other alcoholics, I need to carry the message of hope , I need to allow my past hurts and heals help someone else turn their own hurts to heals.  I am only a drunk, just someone who’s light-from-dark can perhaps illuminate someone else’s dwelling of pain and sorrow.

Many men and women have done things for me that I can never repay.  They have spent countless time, energy and/or money trying to help me, or hung right by me and watched as I burned my life to the ground yet one more time, but never left.  There are so many who have stood by me, who have picked me up when I wanted anything else but that, who actually gave a damn about me when I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. There aren’t enough dollars or days in me to pay back what has been bestowed upon me from those who would and want help me.

helping others

But what I can do is pay it forward.  I can give to the next person who needs a jump start, I can give to the next person who feels that they are alone, I can give to the next person who just requires someone to tell them that things do indeed get better.  Can I be the one to do that?

Of course I can.

And want to be.

The thing is this – when I help someone else, especially an alcoholic, I get out of myself.  Plain and simple.  I am not spinning, thinking of myself and ingesting copious amounts of Vitamin “I”.  I am being useful – something I never felt before.  I can actually contribute and not take.  I can show love and compassion, not bare my teeth and growl when asked to be near some one and take in their humanness. I can be of service to someone who was once like me.   And if you’re like me – not wanting help, not needing anyone, not feeling deserving of love and attention…that’s ok.  I will still be here, arms waiting to close tightly around you, as I whisper to you, “You are needed”.

I need you.

30 responses to “I Don’t Need You

  1. I LOVE this.
    The being of service to others and the allowing others to be of service to us…
    both hard things to learn, but the allowing was , and still is many times, the hardest for me. So hard to admit that I DON’T have it, CAN’T handle it…
    Thanks for this. Really resonated.
    Love your blog

    • Thanks so much, mished…I totally understand what you mean. I love when we all just understand one another…that’s the beauty of this community and the fellowship. It’s very kind of you to take time to visit and comment!

      Blessings,
      Paul

    • I hope you poke a few airholes for me! I hope your brother is doing better. I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch a loved one go through what he’s gone through…and of course what you’ve gone through. My prayers to you and your brother.

      Paul

  2. Paul,

    I really responded to this one: I still have too much of the ‘lone wolf’ in me, and my tendencies are still to push people away. I am working on this.

    But I have discovered the joy of helping others, speaking up for others, sharing with others. And I’m getting better at it, all the time.

    Gorgeous post. I think my favourite thus far 😉

  3. “I am only a drunk, just someone who’s light-from-dark can perhaps illuminate someone else’s dwelling of pain and sorrow.”

    Exactly. Great blog and it does what you set out to accomplish.

    Best,
    Shell

  4. i was just thinking about how glad i am that my bottom was so hard because it left me in a place where i had to admit i couldn’t control my life. That i was 100% powerless over my drinking. That my life had become completely unmanageable. That my only way out was to swallow my pride and seek help.

    • And swallow our pride we had to, to get to the wonderful place we are now, of being of service and connecting to our true selves in a way that we never would or could have in our drinking days. You nailed it right on, Al. You understand what it takes – and that inspires me.

      Paul

  5. great post! I was the same way and it took YEARS to finally ask for help. I was asking God for help the whole time and he kept sending me people through meetings and AA that would offer help and I kept saying thanks, but no thanks. Then I wondered why God wasn’t helping me and wasn’t answering my prayers! Finally, I got desperate enough to accept the help in the meetings and my whole life has exploded (in a good way). And in hindsight, I say to God, “Oh! So you were answering my prayers all along, sending people to help me. I was just not accepting it.” Duh. My life motto—on my gravestone it should read, “Hindsight is 20/20.”

    • Ha ha…funny because it rings true to me as well, Regina. I think the signs were there for me for a while too, but was too blinded by my alcoholism and selfishness to see them. And don’t forget pride and denial…they work well as a team. But I am convinced God works through others, and I see that to this day…even comments like yours show me that God works through people. Thanks for the comments – I can so identify 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  6. I am always in awe of those that can rise above their pride and humble themselves and ask for help, they are so much farther ahead of the game then I was. All those years I wasted because of my damn pride, all those years I could have live my life instead of cowering in the darkness and shame of alcoholism. Thank God there are people like you shining your light into those dark corners, telling people like me it’s okay to step out into the light.

    Love ya, man!

    • Thanks KM! Right back at ya!
      Pride is a killer for us, isn’t it? I know my pride then almost destroyed me, and even now I have to keep it in check, and working with others helps in that. We may have wasted some time, but I look at it that we have been preparing for this, this recovery, this way to help others. Perhaps it’s our “training time”.

      Love and Light,
      Paul

  7. Pingback: Questioning whether AA is right for me… | emotionaldrinking·

  8. Brilliant Paul ~

    While in my (ahem) ‘first’ inpatient treatment, two evenings per week were dedicated to former patients who had some solid sobriety. Always, they began with, “I’m here this evening for very selfish reasons; it keeps me sober”

    The meaning today is so clear, but your post led me to recall how bizarre I thought these disclaimers were. Like, ya,, right,, Whatever dude… Annoyed me, quite frankly,

    We get this, however,,, I cannot have “healthy” sobriety unless my head is in the game of paying it forward.

    In regard to “I got this” – I will share that just the past few weeks I (in retrospect) found myself in the “I got this” mentality,. And let me tell you – that is a slippery slope NONE of us can afford.

    Recovery DEMANDS daily vigilance. . That cunningness of this disease never rests and will lie to us at every turn,.

    Bravo – loved this post

    • Hi Dawn – thank you so much for chilling a bit in this corner of the recovery world! You are absolutely bang on about the daily vigilance. As you know, we have a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. And like you so well said, the “I got this” thing often fails us. I have to pass it all to the Creator. Let Him have it.

      Wonderful comments…so blessed to read them here!

      Paul

  9. Paul, *you* are needed. Your blog is an inspiration to read and you are reaching so many people who benefit from your messages. The ripple effect (or butterfly effect) is far reaching here my friend. You’re a blessing.

  10. Thanks for this great post! I could so relate! I was always very self sufficient, from a very young age. I could do anything by myself, you name it, I did it. But getting sober… Oh man, just couldn’t! And for the life of me for the longest time I couldn’t figure it out! Anything I set my mind to I accomplished in my life, well till the drinking got in the way… Anyway I just couldn’t figure out why I could do this on my own. But I couldn’t. I needed everyone and and all the help I could get. I found out that I knew nothing about getting sober or asking for help… Still working on that one! 🙂

    • Self sufficient – you just said it. We let that go wild and where did it take us? I think there is a distinction between using the talents and brains we were given to be used positively, and the self-sufficiency that doesn’t allow anything or anyone else in. I too was about doing as much as I could (and taking on too much) growing up, thinking I could handle it all…and it was a very long time until I realized that I could NOT do it all alone.

      Great comments! Thank you so much 🙂

      Paul

  11. I always tell newcomers they can start being of service right away. By reaching out to another alcoholic for help. By accepting that help, they are helping another stay sober. Win/win, eh?
    I’m so glad when Bill W. was in that hotel lobby in Akron, and he heard the tinkling of glasses from the bar, he decided to get a load of nickles and start making calls instead of getting drunk.
    If he had taken a left instead of a right in Albuquerque, I might not be sober. Talk about a butterfly effect.
    Beautifully written, as always, Paul. Trudge on! I’m slogging right beside you, pally.

  12. It is poetry. I have little to say that hasn’t been said. (I think the comments took longer than the blog.) You help so many and especially me. with love, Lisa

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