Q & A: What is Rock Bottom?
August 30, 2019
Q: What is “Rock Bottom?”
A: Rock bottom is a term used to describe a figurative place addicts and alcoholics reach in their substance abuse. When someone hits rock bottom, 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 value on the people, things, and experiences in their lives. One person might reach rock bottom upon getting a DUI/OUI, while another might hit bottom after being revived from a near-fatal overdose. Either way, when someone reaches rock bottom, they are 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 many repercussions within one’s life. Not only will they 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 of getting 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, as each user is different. 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
- 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 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 to get admitted into a program. In many instances, those at rock bottom do not have the capacity even to 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 first and most crucial step after hitting rock bottom.
Q: Do I need to hit rock bottom 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 to be willing to get professional addiction treatment is not entirely accurate. Of course, many people do not get help until they reach rock bottom, but several others find the willingness to change their lives before rock bottom 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 welcomed and 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, you know that it is a place 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 anything is 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 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 and participate in regular therapy sessions. Engaging in self-care is also critical in maintaining sanity and inner peace.
Get Help Now
The disease of addiction can be challenging to manage, even in recovery. At our Lexington Drug & Alcohol Treatment Program, we can help you develop a strong foundation for your recovery so that you can continue to achieve success along the way.