Hitting Rock Bottom in Addiction or Alcoholism

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    Hitting rock bottom in addiction or alcoholism is actually a good thing in most cases.  This is the point where you have truly reached your lowest point and you cannot possibly imagine going any lower.

    Specifically, this is the moment where the addict can look back and say “that was my lowest point.  I have never felt like a worse piece of trash than what I did at that moment.”

    Interestingly, this is not usually the moment of change.  Hitting rock bottom usually precedes the moment of surrender by a brief period of time.  Maybe it will take another few weeks or another few months for the addict or alcoholic to say “OK, I am ready to change now.”  There is a period of limbo there where they are figuring out if they can possibly go on, how they can go on, if they want to go on, and so on.

    The moment of surrender for addiction is right up against the point of madness.  They are never far apart.  If you are not about to go completely nuts, then you probably are not quite to the point of surrender.

    Caernarfon Barred Door
    Creative Commons License photo credit: Foucalt

    If you are watching a struggling addict or alcoholic in your life who is not yet able to get clean and sober, then knowing this information should help you to figure out how to behave around them.  You don’t have to be malicious or anything, but you don’t want to enable them or rescue them either.  Do you see why now?  If you prevent them from hitting rock bottom, then you will prevent them from going through the pain that is necessary to make them change.

    Addicts don’t decide to quit using drugs and change their entire life when things are going good for them.  In fact, if things are just going halfway decent, they probably will not in a million years think about going through the massive pain and discomfort of facing life sober and learning how to live without drugs.

    This is a huge change and it takes a lot of guts to go through with it.  No addict or alcoholic would do this lightly.

    No addict or alcoholic is just going to sober up on a whim.  It is not going to happen when things are good or even status quo.  Life has to be really miserable for the addict to hit rock bottom and think about doing something different with their life.  Don’t get in the way of letting this happen.

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