There comes a time during the course of every addict and alcoholic’s drinking and using where the darkness becomes too bleak to continue. Life cannot go on the way it once had. It is one of the cornerstones that makes long-term recovery possible. The question of what is hitting bottom, though, can be very hard to define.
What Is Hitting Bottom?
Hitting bottom looks different for everyone. For some, it is going to jail; while for others, it is as simple as realizing that life took a drastically different turn than was expected.
The thing is, you can always reach lower and lower bottoms while you are alive. There is nothing that says, “At this point, you’re at your lowest, so now it’s time to put the chemicals away.”
You don’t hit your final bottom until you put the shovel down and stop using.
Raising the Bottom
Because of this, many in recovery do what is called “raising the bottom” of those coming into recovery. Let’s face it: no one goes to an Orange County drug and alcohol treatment center unless they have at the very least had some really bad “luck.” If you are in a program, chances are you’ve had to deal with some unpleasant stuff as a result of your drinking and using.
This is where putting down that shovel becomes important. Sometimes we need a little help to see just how desperate our situation was, and that is where treatment centers and the Fellowship can really help.
If the pain and suffering you’ve dealt with is enough to give you the desire to quit drinking or using, then that is all that’s needed. It has to be a sincere desire, though; otherwise it is just delaying the inevitable and a relapse is sure to follow.
When Bottom Hasn’t Been Hit
Sometimes, no matter how much family or friends may try to raise the bottom of the addict or alcoholic, that desire remains elusive. It may be that the addict or alcoholic has to experience more pain both in quantity and severity. For the co-dependent, this is the hardest part, and many refuse to allow that. However, for long-term recovery, it is necessary.
This is where the idea of loving someone to death becomes a reality. By rescuing the addict or alcoholic, and denying them the lessons from that pain, they may cross the threshold that cannot be crossed again. It is difficult—no doubt! However, the permanent loss of a friend or loved one is far more difficult, and sadly, we have seen it happen far too many times before.
What is hitting bottom for you? When did you know it was the end?