How do we help others when we are in pain?

Community Leader
Registered: 09-14-1997
How do we help others when we are in pain?
8
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 10:42am

In many self help groups, AA and AlAnon included, we help other people and, in turn, are helped ourselves. The problem is that we need to help others while not getting caught up in things over which we have no control. 

Right now people I love are having a tough time. My 20 year old niece has seizure and a stomach disorder. My sister is trying to get some doctor to find out what is wrong. Both of our daughters were in the ER on Thursday. Too bad we live 1000 miles apart. The next day, while my daughter was at her follow up appt, my friend, also a recoverying alcoholic, text messaged me. HER 17 year old daughter has a breast tumor.  

I can listen to them. I can tell them what I have learned about living one day at a time. 

How do you help others, but stay detached enough to not get pulled into things you cannot control?


Community Leader
Registered: 10-08-2002
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 10:27am
Oh Beth, what a wonderful question. It is also a hard one to answer. Sometimes, in order for me to meet and face the tough times in my life, I just have to stop thinking about me and put myself out there to others. This has meant to just keep working the steps with a newcomer, teaching a sponsee about prayer and meditation (not who to pray to but how to pray without giving orders), just holding my loved ones hand that is having a hard time handling how to act around me with my bad news. I can only be effective if I am getting out of the me..me...me thinking. When I was last in Florida to have some intensive medical work, I was going to take a sponsee thru the steps again...and the day after I got there, she was taken to the emergency room, tested in every way from up to down, and 5 days later given the news that she had inoperable lung cancer with only about 6 months to live. While sitting at the hospital with her, we got to go down the hall and sit with another AA member that has liver cancer....wow...and my little issues did not look so big...and I really only felt the need to be able to be there emotionally for these two brave women. My sponsee has, in the past three weeks, stopped all chemo and radiation, and made the decision to let nature take its course and feel physically better being around folks more without the chemicals in her body while she lives until she cant live anymore. My hat is off to her...she is completely at peace in her heart with her God and her family. She guides me on this life road. This has been my experience since I got sober...others lead me when I let myself listen and learn. The folks in AA have taught me how to live, and if I pay attention, they also teach me how to move on to the next life with dignity to my God and myself. This is only a repeat of life as I never knew it could be.....happy, joyous and free.....even in the sad times. These folks that I "claim" to help have done so much more to help me and keep me focused on God, sharing, my fellows, and how to stay in the present moment so as not to lose a precious minute of this life to random, maudlin pity and selfish concerns. God is good. Life is good....so evidently....God is life....these things keep going on, by all of us....each person reaching out and helping the other...
Alcohol, Addictions & Recovery. It's a long way down, but only 12 steps UP
Community Leader
Registered: 09-14-1997
Tue, 10-09-2012 - 5:18pm
Wow

Community Leader
Registered: 12-21-2001
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 2:42pm

namaste Beth,

I don't know the answer to that question and it has dogged me for years. After too many years and tears most who don't know me well, think I'm rather cold and didactic in response to their very heated emotional problem.

All I can say to Brenda is WOW

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Community Leader
Registered: 09-14-1997
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 2:55pm
I am being buried alive

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010

Double wow.  Just reading her post humbled me and made me rethink my own life and how I'VE been handling things. 

Amazing...

Community Leader
Registered: 10-08-2002
Thu, 10-11-2012 - 11:56pm
I truly believe that the best thing we can do to help anyone is to just show up to life. I never did when I was out there drinking and drugging...and not even after I got sober for awhile. I had to learn HOW to do that. I honestly believe that each and every one of us can and will do exactly that after we sober up and start taking our place in the universe. Sometimes the best thing we can do is just BE.....be there, be available, be helpful, be kind, be thoughtful....just BE. These things are not necessarily traits that I have, but I have felt the results of those traits when others gave them to me and I wanted to be able to let others feel the quiet sense of completeness they brought me when I was in need, so I started by emulating what others did until I learned how to just do them myself....and watch others get that feeling of peace and ease that I got....and seeing that gives me the same since of peace and ease. Just showing up and being present. its a learned thing.....
Alcohol, Addictions & Recovery. It's a long way down, but only 12 steps UP
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2005
Sat, 10-13-2012 - 7:58am

Thank you Brenda.

Frances

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-22-2012
Sun, 11-25-2012 - 8:58pm

In my opinion in order to help others you have to be mentally healthy to do so. if you are preoccupied with helping others while you have unresolved issues, eventually your issues will surface again. Laughing