Giving hope to someone who needs it, whether their situation be a desperate one or simply a need for inspiration is perhaps the most important gift one can give, as well as in many ways being the most difficult thing to help instigate. It is often easier to give a false sense of hope than a real sense of hope, and this is often done as a reaction to a difficult situation that people find it difficult to cope with.

Real hope has to come from within, but it is certainly possible for other people to help initiate this. People's reaction when told someone else's bad news or problem is often to try and placate them by telling them that everything will be okay, or that things won't work out as badly as the person fears. The problem is this may not be true. Things may well be as bad as the person fears, or work out as badly as the person is projecting.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate how hope can be given to someone is to look at how alcoholics and people who have addictions to other substances are able to stop and turn their lives around. Obviously the enormous number of people and their different situations mean there is no one solution to alcoholism, but perhaps a look at how the 12-step movement in general and Alcoholics Anonymous in particular work might give some sense of the best way to give someone hope in any situation, that they can turn their life around or make their life better.

The 12 step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous is often referred to as a spiritual program, although this tends to generate a fair amount of excitement amongst AA members, as to the meaning of spirituality and other religious terms. Hope is something that is almost a byproduct of the recovery process in Alcoholics Anonymous, which starts for some people when entering a rehab, and for others by simply beginning to attend AA meetings and progressing from there.

Perhaps the single biggest inspiration for hope is when people are willing to share their own stories of what happened to them during their drinking, an understanding of how they came to stop drinking, and an account of what they have done to help rebuild their lives once sober. People's own individual stories effectively bear witness to a process that has happened to them, rather than lecturing other people as to what they should do with their lives.

This is a hugely important part of the process as it is one half of giving people the real hope that they can stop drinking and turn their lives around because other people have done it. The other half of giving people hope is by giving them a sense that they can do it as well. People's own lack of a sense of self and a sense of their own ability to own the reality of their lives often makes this extremely difficult.

People who are in active alcoholism or who are trying to stop drinking will often look at someone who has stopped drinking and effectively turned their life around and say to themselves, well it's okay for them but it is not something that I could do. This is a common reaction and cannot be changed simply by someone else telling them that yes they can do it. A belief in oneself begins at birth, and is very much shaped by life experiences in childhood, both in terms of what happens to people and how they deal with it.

This sense of self is developmentally crucial to whether a person believes they have any sense of power over their own lives, and where their locus of control is. If this has been seriously damaged during childhood and subsequent adolescence, then it will take a significant amount of work and inner child work especially to rebuild. However this is where the second-half of hope really comes from, a sense that it is possible to change one's outer world by first of all changing one's inner world. The experience of doing this will give a person a real core sense of hope, that is invaluable.

Author's Bio: 

Peter Main is a freelance journalist and copywriter who writes extensively about all areas of self growth and self development. He has a particular focus on self help issues for people who are in recovery from or who have been affected by alcoholism and other addictions.Some people begin their journey of recovery and healing in a rehab, others in a twelve step fellowship such as Alcoholics Anonymous, others in a religious or spiritual setting. He has worked in this field for just under thirty years and has extensive experience in many areas of different therapeutic approaches, including counselling, inner child work,meditation, spirituality, adult children work etc