There is a baffling phenomenon that affects only addicts and alcoholics. We are the only breed of people who have to completely destroy our lives in order to get better. In active addiction, addicts are like kamikaze pilots; in order to gain purpose, we have to destroy everything around us. However, hitting rock bottom gives us the gift of desperation that we need in order to become new people.
The struggle for us to perpetually try to control and moderate our using, to just feel better for a little while, is what tears us apart. For many of us, we don’t even see a correlation in the destruction of ourselves and our using, as we only see our using as what makes us feel okay. This endless searching, the continuous cycle of using, feeling better, then feeling 100 times worse is what fills our days, and becomes the only thing we really know. It also becomes the only thing we think can ever be.
How dark it is before the dawn
For those of us who have hit our rock bottom, have been blessed with the gift of desperation, and have made it out the other side, the delusions of addiction are astounding. It baffles us as we get a little time and look back at our old selves and see just how sick in the head we really were. We come to not even know who that person was. However, we didn’t get here overnight. It took us a lot of searching, a lot of struggling, and a lot of killing ourselves to be given that gift of desperation.
The danger of having our own rock bottom and coming into the rooms is when we measure our own with the experiences of others. It can be easy for us to compare our bottoms to other people’s, therein setting ourselves apart from them. This is a slippery slope. They tell us in the rooms to never compare, and for good reason. Each person has a different threshold for pain and misery, and some people have a much higher bottom than others. However, the underlying feelings and the presence of the addiction is all that really matters in the end. When we compare a high bottom to the low bottom, the person with the high bottom may think that they can safely use because they were never “THAT bad”.
This is dangerous thinking. So it is important for us to always remember just how we felt before we were given the gift of desperation and got sober. We must remember the feelings we felt during our active using, and we must never forget how completely broken we were when we first came into these rooms. These memories will save us down the line if we ever think we can try to safely use again.
That being said, being a low bottom drunk or addict is nothing to be ashamed of. Many of us get sober and think that we will be judged and ostracized because of the way we used in the past. However, the most beautiful aspect of being involved in the fellowship is having the opportunity to be surrounded by like-minded people. We are the rejects, the outcasts, the black sheep. We understand each other better than anyone else can. That is why the 12th step is so important. In most situations, when other people that don’t suffer from addiction try to offer us help, we are prone to distance ourselves from their offer as it is hard for us to relate to them. However, when another addict or alcoholic who has been where we have been and who has hit rock bottom and lived, we tend to be more apt to listen to what they have to say.
No one in these rooms is going to tell us that what we went through in our addiction makes us an inherently bad person. Every other person you will meet has been in a similar situation, has hit rock bottom, and has been given the gift of desperation. Their goal now is to share their message of hope with others who suffer from addiction and may not yet see a way out.
For those of us who come in here and assume that this will never work, keep at it. I myself felt this way for a long time, I didn’t think I was going to make it, I didn’t think that these people would be able to help me, and I constantly compared myself to the story of others. Some people were worse than I had been, and some people hadn’t been so bad. But this constant comparing kept me relapsing for months. Until one meeting, when I was desperately trying to stay sober, I heard a woman talk about, not what she DID, but how she was feeling during her rock bottom.
Then it hit me, we had come from completely different walks of life, had been raised by completely different types of parents, came from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and even favored different drugs. But the way that I felt, and the way that she felt when we were at our complete lowest points – was exactly the same. Both of us felt that we didn’t want to live anymore, both of us felt completely alone and isolated, both of us felt that no one cared about us and neither of us cared about ourselves. We had both experienced the painful beauty of hitting rock bottom and had been given the gift of desperation.
We are the only people on the planet who get to live another life after we destroy our own. It is a blessing. Many times, we don’t get to fully see the beauty of our own struggle until we stay sober for a while and get some program under our belt, but if we stick around, and we put in the work, the blessings of our turnaround will be astounding.
Seeking Treatment for Alcoholism and Addiction
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcoholism or addiction and want to experience recovery in a thriving community with lots of people just like you, then call the professionals at Stout Street today at 866-722-7040. Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and help you in any way we can. We know how difficult of a decision this can be and we know what it takes to ensure you find your own person path in recovery. You no longer have to do it alone, so give us a call today and find the happy and sober life you’ve always dreamed of.