When Do You Know You Have Hit Bottom?
You’ve lived with your behavior (drinking and/or doing drugs) for so long, made excuses to justify continuing along the same path, and generally convinced yourself and others that you can do what you want, it’s your life. So when do you know you’ve hit bottom?
Bottom is Different for Each Person
What may be the bottom for me may not be the same for you. Why is this? Because each human being has different belief sets (even a lack of religious belief is a belief set), varied backgrounds, education, family circumstances, financial status, jobs, goals (or lack of), and expectations (or not), the picture of bottom will be different for everyone.
What Bottom Looks Like to Some
Talk with an alcoholic or drug addict and you’ll hear a different story or point at which they realized they hit bottom. It’s that realization that is the key to ultimate recovery. Without the realization, no recovery is possible. Here are some bottom stopping points that may ring true for you – or a loved one whom you are concerned about.
- You feel bankrupt – spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
- When the pain gets so great, you don’t want to live – but you don’t want to die either.
- When you wake up in the gutter next to a down-and-out wino and realize – you’re just like him!
- Divorce, loss of children, family.
- You cause a fatal accident.
- Getting locked up.
- Losing your license after multiple DUIs.
- You’re asked to leave a function or family get-together.
- Getting in bar fights.
- You fall asleep, black out, hit a guard rail, veer into oncoming traffic, weave back across the median and into your own traffic – and wake up in a ditch.
- You have a hangover and red eyes in the morning. You take nurofen or some other drug to get yourself going, have a pint at lunch and another before going home. You drive over the speed limit. You surround yourself by false friends, are angry, depressed, full of rage, paranoia and total despair.
- You resign or get fired from your job.
- Your job shuts down or you get laid off – and drink or do drugs to keep the shame and pain at bay.
- Your children refuse to speak to you or see you.
- You stare death in the face, and finally recognize you don’t get a chance to come back from that.
True Bottom: The Common Denominator
Recovery organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and others refer to reaching bottom as the point where you have lost everything and have nothing left to lose. It is a pitiful and incomprehensible state of demoralization. You can’t go any further down, except to die. It’s at this point that you can make the change of direction to climb your way back up into functional living as a clean and sober individual.
Recovery Is Possible
It’s important to recognize that you can recover from jail or prison time, from rehab, from loss of social, societal, familial status, or from any type of hell you’ve subjected yourself to through your use of alcohol and/or drugs.
Famous or infamous, rich or poor, male or female, young or old – alcoholism and drug addiction know no boundaries.
But — everyone can have a second chance.
Look up from the bottom where you find yourself. Realize that you have not yet fulfilled your life’s potential – and ask for help. Have faith. Believe you can do it – and start fresh. Start today.