There are a number of subjective variables surrounding the disease of addiction. It’s not like having cancer, where you go to the doctor, run the necessary tests, and then have it revealed to you that you have cancer. In fact, many people don’t even believe that addiction is a disease at all, although any drug and alcohol rehab will tell you that it is. Due to the lack of “hard” details or specific, traceable events, addiction is the only disease that is self-diagnosed. Until the addict realizes that they do have a disease, it will not exist. It may exists in the minds of others and be crystal clear to them, perhaps family and close friends, but it will not be real to the person suffering. This is why that it is often said that the addict must hit “rock bottom” before they realize their disease is real and seek help.
What Exactly is “Rock Bottom”?
You’ve probably heard this term before, but unless you are an addict that has hit it, you might not know exactly what it means.
To hit rock bottom means that you are in the possible the worst place in life you have ever been in your life. It is when things have become so bad that you just cannot take it anymore and you snap. It can include feelings of despair, extreme hopelessness, and suicide. Some common rock bottom experiences can any combination of the following:
Serious legal trouble
Near death experience
Life threatening medical diagnosis
Witnessing the addiction related death of another addict
Divorce or forcible removal of your children
A complete mental and emotional breakdown
Loss of all family and friends
If you are an addict yourself or close to one, then you understand what it is like to be asked to get help or asking the person you care about to get help, but they almost never do. The reason is that the consequences of their use still hasn’t become serious enough for them to admit they have a problem and get to a drug and alcohol treatment. This is why each person has their own rock bottom. The consequences needed to say that you have had enough are different for each person.
The Benefits of Hitting Rock Bottom
In many situations, the addict is being enabled to continue using. For example, despite possibly violent behavior inside the family home and exposing others to danger, loved ones will still refuse to kick them out or ask them to leave. They cannot stand the idea that they will have nowhere to live, and thus, enabling them. Some think that they are helping by giving them money and other things they need, but they are again ultimately enabling them to keep using. It’s a pattern of feeding the addiction
When an intervention is staged, the participants usually read well thought out letters, expressing their feelings, but also including consequences. Many times this consequence it to cut off all contact with them. This is sometimes enough to get them to go to drug and alcohol treatment. If there are no consequences, they will use as long as they are enabled, and their rock bottom will never come. The intervention could be the rock bottom they need.
Hitting rock bottom indicates a readiness to change and once and for all. Although a bleak situation at the time, there is nowhere to go but up. You can build on this, which provides hope for what your future could become. If you have never experienced failure, you will never know what it is like to experience success.
Why Must You Hit Rock Bottom Before You Seek Help?
Well, the truth is that you don’t, but hitting rock bottom can go a long way to getting the person on the right track of thinking that they need to find a way to change their lives and that they have had too much. It’s never a bad time to seek treatment, but it can certainly be more effective after hitting rock bottom.