People can push, pull, beg and plead for us to stop participating in our addictive behaviors, and we can promise them 100 times that we will, meaning every word. So why is it that even after that heartfelt promise, we still end up testing the waters and continuing to use anyway, knowing we are hurting people around us and ourselves?
I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “hitting rock bottom” in a wide variety of different meanings and situations, but for addicts and alcoholics, this phrase often exemplifies the beginning of the end for us, at least, the end of our using career. Rock bottom is the ultimate catalyst and will often be the only thing that will get us into a state of willingness to begin the rest of our lives in sobriety.
Rock Bottom Looks Different For Everyone
People say it in the rooms all the time, “low bottom” or “high bottom” drunks and addicts. What it means, is that each person’s bottom is going to look different. One person may have to lose everything and everyone in their lives before ending up at a state of willingness to stop using.
Other people may only need to feel enough emotional pain to stop, but they may not necessarily need to lose everything. By “everything”, what we mean is:
Sometimes, losing everything simply means feeling so outside or apart from yourself that nothing seems real anymore, or worthwhile. This is when hitting rock bottom is hitting an emotional bottom. When you feel completely powerless and out of control, even if everything on the outside is still tidy and kept together.
Why Do We Have to Hit Rock Bottom?
If it seems insane that we have to completely destroy our lives or our emotional sanity in order to get better, that’s because it is insane. It is a combination of a mental obsession, a physical allergy, and a spiritual malady that completely envelop us in a state of mind control known as addiction.
The mental obsession tells us that we can continue to use, or that we should find new ways to be successful at it, or that nothing else matters except getting drunk or high.
The physical allergy ensures that as soon as we put a little bit into us, whether it be a shot, a sip, a hit, or a line, we will have to continue until we run out or worse.
The spiritual malady cuts us off from the truth, it separates us from other people and gratitude and connection with others.
In other words, our addicted thinking gets us alone and by ourselves, cutting us off from anything that can help us, until we have nothing else to live for except to get drunk or high. Sure, we can still feel love for things, but mostly, we are run by surviving until we get the next one.
Dark Before The Dawn
Sure, by the time we have hit rock bottom we have most likely experienced a whole slurry of different upsets, catastrophes and hard times. Many people have probably lost trust in us, and we have probably done a lot of things we regret.
The upside to finding the end of your rope is that there is nowhere to go but up. Hitting rock bottom is actually a blessing, whether you can understand it or not. Here’s why:
- When we hit bottom, we find ourselves willing to get help
- When we hit bottom, we have finally experienced enough pain to stop using
- When we hit bottom, we fully understand that we are completely powerless to drugs and alcohol
Once all of these things occur for us, we are able to finally accept help. Chances are, a majority of us will have tried to stop on our own in the past, and found that we were at a loss for how to do it. We may have wanted to stop for some time now but the addiction, the withdrawals, and the obsession were just too intense and we would go back every time.
Once we are really and truly done, we can sometimes run towards help as fast as we ran away from it before. This is when the process of getting clean and sober can actually begin.
How To Get Help
Once we have hit bottom, we will have to make the painful admittance to ourselves, our family, or someone who can help us that we have lost control. Chances are, they will have known this for a long time, and they were simply waiting for us to get to this place we are at now.
It isn’t a fun feeling at all, to feel totally powerless, helpless and alone, but in reality, this place is what sets us up for the rest of our lives. So if you have hit rock bottom and don’t know where to go now, try these suggestions:
- Go to a local AA or NA meeting
- Reach out to a doctor, a friend who has gotten sober, or a therapist who can help you track down a good treatment detox or treatment facility if you need to go
- If you are a part of a religious group, ask your spiritual center about getting help
- Go back to an AA or NA meeting
AA and NA, as much as we always told ourselves we would never end up there, have the answers we need more than anyone else. When we have tried every other option and still find that we cannot stop drinking or getting high, the 12 steps are the only answer left.
Finding solace in treatment can be very helpful as we get to work with a therapist and doctors and we get to be physically separated from drugs and alcohol for an extended period of time. If you are someone who has been to treatment before, try a longer stay. Try anything new to make it this time.
The beautiful gift about finally hitting rock bottom is that if we make it out alive, there is nowhere left to go but up if we are willing to change and want to have a better life. The crazy thing about sobriety is that many of us feel that we don’t deserve to be happy or live healthy lives, but when we put forth effort into our sobriety, we receive nothing but good things and serenity.