Q & A: What is Rock Bottom?

Michelle Rosenker

August 30, 2019

Q: What is “rock bottom?”

A: Rock bottom is a term that is used to describe a figurative place addicts and alcoholics reach in their substance abuse. When someone hits rock bottom, it means that they are at the absolute lowest point in their lives. Depending on the individual, rock bottom can be quantified differently, as not everyone places the same level of value on the people, things, and experiences in their lives. One person might reach their own personal rock bottom upon getting a DUI/OUI while another person might hit rock bottom after being revived from a near-fatal overdose. Either way, when someone reaches rock bottom, he or she is at a point where their spiral downward cannot go any farther.

Q: How do people hit rock bottom?

A: The continued abuse of drugs or alcohol will undoubtedly cause a number of repercussions within one’s life. Not only will he or she likely suffer physical and psychological consequences, but social, professional, and spiritual consequences can occur, too. When these consequences, such as losing a job, severing relationships, and struggling physically start t pile up, one’s reserve can quickly deteriorate. Eventually, as the use worsens, so do the consequences. As hardships continue to occur and in a more severe capacity, it becomes easier for someone to hit rock bottom. For many, all it takes is one final consequence to get them to realize that they cannot fall any farther down.

Q: What are common rock bottoms?

A: As mentioned before, one person’s rock bottom might not be anywhere close to another person’s rock bottom, as each individual user is different from one another. However, some of the most common “rock bottoms” shared amongst addicts and alcoholics include the following:

  • Getting arrested/being charged with a drug or alcohol-related crime/having to serve jail time
  • Becoming homeless
  • Having kids taken out of one’s custody
  • Getting divorced
  • Harming/killing someone else while under the influence
  • Overdosing
  • Being diagnosed with a serious physical health problem related to substance abuse

Q: What is the next step after hitting rock bottom?

A: When someone hits rock bottom, it can be the most devastating time of his or her life. At that very moment, he or she might be in such a dark place that it is easy to think that there is no way out. However, rock bottom often serves as a blessing for many people, as it is a moment where those struggling with the disease of addiction can either sink or swim.

The first thing that someone should do upon hitting rock bottom is reach out for help. This does not always mean that someone has to track down a treatment facility and make calls in order to get admitted into a program. In many instances, those at rock bottom do no have the capacity to even do this. Reaching out for help while at rock bottom can include asking a friend, family member, or other loved one to help find treatment. Contacting a primary care provider, therapist, or other professional can also bridge the gap between active addiction and recovery. No matter how it is done, asking for help is the very first and most important step to take after hitting rock bottom.

Rock Bottom

Q: Do I need to hit rock bottom in order to get addiction treatment?

A: No. The idea of having to hit rock bottom or having the bottom “raised” on you by friends, family, or loved ones in order to be willing to get professional treatment is not fully accurate. Of course, many people do not get help until they do reach rock bottom, but several others find the willingness to change their lives before rock bottom even becomes a conversation piece. At any moment in your addiction, you can reach out for help. It is simply a common misconception that you need to be suffering from the worst possible consequences you can think of before you can get treated for addiction. The most important thing to remember is that if you feel ready to get help, asking for that help is not only welcomed, but encouraged regardless of the severity of your addiction.

Q: How do I prevent hitting rock bottom?

A: If you have hit rock bottom in the past, then you know that it is a place that you do not want to reach again. After recovering from active addiction, the thought of ever getting to a point in your life where you are close to rock bottom can be frightening, however, you can prevent yourself from ever getting there again by doing things in your recovery to stay sober. Consider the following:

  • Regularly attend support group meetings such as AA or NA
  • Maintain a connection with your therapist even during the times when you do not feel like there is anything going on in your life that warrants therapy
  • Practice good self-care at all times, especially when you are experiencing hardships
  • Communicate your feelings
  • Find and utilize positive outlets

If you are currently addicted to drugs or alcohol, the only way to avoid hitting your own personal rock bottom is to ask for help. Addiction is a disease that requires professional attention. There is no shame in getting treatment, as doing so can save your life and keep you from losing everything you have.

Q: What kind of support is available for families and loved ones of individuals who are hovering over or hitting rock bottom?

A: Addiction is a family disease, so when one person in a family is struggling, the rest of the family struggles, too, especially when a loved one is at rock bottom. Loved ones and family members can do things such as attend Al-Anon meetings and other related support groups as well as participate in regular therapy sessions. Engaging in self-care is also critical at this time in maintaining sanity and inner peace.

Get Help Now

The disease of addiction is one that can be difficult to manage, even when in recovery. At JourneyPure Lexington, we can help you develop a strong foundation for your recovery so that you can continue to achieve success along the way.