What to Do if You’re Feeling Helpless in Recovery

Perhaps you have been sober for months or years and have already gone through rehab. Now that you live life on your own and do your best to maintain your sobriety, you might feel helpless, as if you don’t have the support you need to continue. Feelings of helplessness are normal in recovery, and many experience them; all it takes to overcome them is reaching out. Sometimes the ones you love don’t realize what you are going through or when you might need a little more encouragement. Sometimes they don’t understand what you are going through and are nervous to try to help. Despite any contrary thoughts, there are ways to get through it; you just have to reach out and make it known you need more support. 

Look Inwards to See Why You Feel This Way

Isolation is one of the most common reasons for feeling a lack of support. Ask yourself and reflect to see if you may have been shutting others out when they wanted to help you in your recovery. Maybe you are doing this because you are afraid to talk to others about what you are going through and what you are thinking or think they won’t understand. Explaining addiction to someone that has not gone through it themselves can be difficult. They may sympathize with you, but they will not understand the true depths of pain that the disease can bring. For those that have gone through it, it can be easy to compare your experience with theirs, causing you to shut down when you have the opportunity to share with other sober people. 

Remember that your story deserves to be heard, and people out there want to help you. You have to do your part and share to get the support you need in return; otherwise, other people won’t know that you need help.

Open Up to Friends and Family

The only way others will know that you need more support is to open up to them. Opening up can be frightening sometimes and may have you feeling anxious. Remember that those who love you want you to heal and be there for you when you need it. Sometimes life gets busy, but reaching out can let people know that you need a little extra love. 

Even if you find yourself opening up to those that haven’t gone through addiction themselves, you should remember that they can provide the support that you may need to keep going in your recovery. They may have advice on how you can handle stressful situations -- just because they are not in recovery doesn’t mean they don’t deal with stress. Consider opening up to a trusted close friend or family member that has been there for you in your recovery before. They should be someone you know is willing to listen and help you get through any rough patches. This way, you can get the support and encouragement you need from those that mean the most to you.

Grow Your Sober Support Circle

Sometimes you need a little more help than what your friends and family that have not gone through addiction can offer. General advice can only go so far, and those that have been sober for an extended period are often great people to talk to because they can share coping mechanisms that have worked for them when they hit a rough patch. Sometimes empathy is better than sympathy because you know that this person knows exactly the pain you went through with addiction.

To find more sober people to expand your support circle, consider going to support groups or joining online chatrooms for sober individuals. 12-step programs and other addiction recovery groups are typically full of supportive sober individuals that want to help each other stay accountable in their sobriety. Meet new people, make some friends by going to one of these groups, introduce yourself, and talk to the people there about what you are going through. You may just find exactly what you need to keep progressing. 

Practice Self-Care

While recovery can be lonely, you should also remember that sometimes other people aren’t going to be able to give you the support you need. All you have is yourself, and you should put effort into your well-being to ensure your relationship with yourself is healthy. Engaging in self-care and reminding yourself that you are worthy of healing and recovery is essential to ensure you can maintain your sobriety over time.


Recovery is not always linear, but instead takes ups and downs for everyone that goes through it. There will be times when you feel alone and cannot continue, but remember, there is always support. When you feel helpless in your recovery and like you need a little push from other people, consider reaching out to a trusted friend, a close family member, or another sober individual. Humans don’t have crystal balls or mind-reading capabilities to know when you are struggling instantly. Reaching out and expanding your circle is an excellent way to get the support you need. Most of all, though, you should practice self-care and take care of yourself in the meantime. This can make a huge difference in your recovery. Should you need extra help, contact Northstar Transitions today. We are professionally trained to help those struggling in recovery get back on track, and we would be happy to help you heal. Call us today at (303) 558-6400.


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