Hitting Rock Bottom
It is very common for people with chemical dependency in the recovery process to refer to “hitting rock bottom” when they speak of the moment of greatest pain and therefore of conscience to request help and recognize that alcoholism or drug use is a problem in their life.
How deep is this bottom?
If addiction is defined as a progressive disease, the deeper background may be death. Prior to this, accidents, illnesses, separations, economic losses, etc. can be found.
And we can also ask ourselves how to know that it has hit bottom? Thie answer is as individual as the disease and the causes of why a person consumes. Bill W. co-founder of mutual aid groups describes his illness as: “The alcohol was killing me, yet I was unable to stop drinking. He had no human capacity to stop drinking. When I stopped drinking, I again began to enjoy the joie de vivre.
Hitting rock bottom should not be seen as a catastrophic situation in which the person is emotionally and physically devastated.
We are used to seeing in films and documentaries this process, in cocaine or heroin users who appear emaciated and depressed, explaining that they cannot take any more and need help to get out of that well. In many cases it is extreme and does not fit all the reality of addiction problems. Many times, it is simply about people who have realized that they have lost everything or that they have lost the most important thing in their life: family, health, work… And hitting rock bottom is actually an internal assessment of costs and benefits, advantages and disadvantages, derived from the alcohol consumption or addiction that the person has maintained for a long time, an assessment that finally gives them a negative result.
This, which seems so simple, in reality is not so simple, since people with addiction problems make a highly distorted assessment of costs and benefits due to the effect of the drugs they consume; for example, cocaine addiction creates a false sense of control, or abusive users of alcohol and cannabis see its effects as very beneficial, and believe that despite the inconveniences it is worthwhile to continue abusing them.
The assessment of costs and benefits that can lead to bottoming out is very personal due to the fact that each one places a different value on the things that surround them.
What may be essential to us, such as health or family, may not represent anything of value to someone with a long use of, for example, cocaine, who may only have eyes for his friends or the weekly parties.
Likewise, in an alcoholic a lamentable physical appearance can be completely indifferent, because for him the only really important thing is to be able to drink to calm an unbearable emotional pain or anxiety.
Hitting rock bottom, to a greater or lesser extent, is a necessary state that makes it easier to ask for help and to be helped by the environment in order to begin to become aware that it is necessary to do things differently if you want different things.
- Learn more about eating disorders and its comorbidity with addiction at La Jolla Recovery in San Diego, California.
This turning point means going from a contemplative state to taking control of the action of a life unfocused in which the person himself is the new protagonist of his actions, his commitments and their consequences.