When it comes to addiction, there are certain milestones that people reach that help them realize that they need to change. A common phrase related to substance abuse is the idea that people “hit rock bottom” and from then are able to admit that they have a problem. This is a concept that most people are familiar with even if they have not experienced it for themselves but what does it really mean to hit rock bottom?
Every addict has their own unique story, family life, experiences and personal challenges. Rock bottom can look different for every person but the core of the feeling is the same. It is essentially the moment when an addict realizes that their drug use has gotten out of control and all the consequences of their actions have caught up with them. It is a time when they are finally able to let go of their denial and see and accept the reality of their issues with addiction.
Facing the Truth without Denial
Because addicts can come from every type of background and every walk of life, hitting rock bottom is very subjective. For some people it could mean losing their job, going through a break up or divorce, experiencing health problems or financial difficulties as well as a myriad of other issues that could signify to them that they have a serious addiction.
Some addicts may suffer much more than others but at some point each individual has their own event that gives them a moment of clarity and insight into themselves. Denial is the tool that can keep addicts from reaching an understanding of their problem for many years. It may take a long time for some people to reach rock bottom because their sense of denial is so powerful and takes over their mind.
A person who is deep in denial will never face up to their mistakes but will find anything else to blame. At times friends and family members can enable them and protect them in ways that prevent them from hitting rock bottom. It is important though for each addict to reach this point so that they can begin their recovery.
Starting Over in Recovery
When an addict hits rock bottom they realize how much their addiction has cost them in life and that it is harming them more than it is helping them. For most people, this is the moment when they begin to ask for help in quitting their substance abuse by either checking into a rehab treatment center or attending twelve step meetings.
In group meetings they can share their experiences and talk about the personal event that meant rock bottom for them while hearing other people’s stories that could be similar to their own. Hitting your lowest point can feel both terrible and cathartic. There are a lot of emotions that come up when someone realizes that they need help.
They could feel extremely ashamed, embarrassed and guilty about their situation. At the same time it can feel freeing for them to finally stop hiding and speak openly about their problem. Hitting rock bottom can be both the worst and the best moment in the path of someone’s addiction.
As it is said in twelve step programs, admitting to a problem with substance abuse is only the first step in a long journey to recovery. Hitting the lowest point is the beginning of confronting complex issues that have been developing over years. It can take time and patience to recover from an addiction but knowing that you need help can turn your life around. Finally seeing the truth of your behavior is an eye-opening experience that most people never forget.