You’ll often hear the phrase “he finally hit the rock bottom” being tossed around with respect to alcoholics sliding down the slippery slope of addiction. I know I have. Unfortunately, it generally comes from people who have absolutely no clue about the development and evolution of alcoholism because they’ve never had to battle it.
Is there an absolute rock bottom?
To be perfectly honest, rock bottom is almost never depicted correctly. Why? Because that threshold varies from person to person, irrespective of how deeply ingrained their alcoholism is. At the same time, everyone defines his very own, personal rock bottom differently, in accordance to how much more he’s willing to lose before admitting to having a drinking problem. For me, it wasn’t even related to the series of unfortunate events in my life, mostly because alcohol numbed me enough to reach a vegetative state where I didn’t even care anymore; or at least I thought I didn’t.
I failed to see rock bottom sneaking up on me
During the last few months before rehab, almost anything bad that could’ve happened to me had already come to pass. I lost my job, my relationship with my wife had deteriorated to the point where we wouldn’t even speak to each other, my financial state was close to bankruptcy, the only people who I could refer to as friends were the other drunks at the local pub. In short, prospects were looking bleaker day by day.
One might think that – due to all of these accumulated problems – I would’ve taken a hint and realized alcohol was ruining me. I didn’t. In fact, I blamed all my misfortunes on some conglomerate of universal forces – let’s call them fate – that were out to get me. I also saw in Jack the only means of dealing with them. I now think that I was way past rock bottom; I was actually sinking down to the Earth’s core. Can you guess why I was so oblivious to my problems?
Denial, the final refuge against the tumults of life
That’s right, I was in complete denialof the fact that drinking was the source of and not the solution to my misfortunes. As long as I was still employed, the illusion persisted unhindered because I actually believed that I’m nowhere near rock bottom, in spite of the numerous red flags. However, once I lost my job, I started drinking even more heavily. I spent my unemployment days on the couch apathetically watching various shows on Netflix and sipping my Jack.
I had grown so lethargic that even the trips to the bathroom represented a pain in the ass. My mind was wandering without focus. My beard was growing unkempt, I didn’t even bother to change the same pizza stained greasy undershirt I’d been wearing for days.
After a couple of weeks of lounging around, I was stumbling towards the bathroom when, in my drunken haze, I slipped and went heads first into the bathroom mirror. It was the moment when I saw my face in the blood-covered, shattered glass of the broken mirror that I realized what I’ve let myself become. I didn’t even recognize my face covered in that pigeon’s nest of a beard dripping with food, but I noticed that, despite the nearly fatal accident, I was still clutching the glass of Jack in my hand. I’d had finally hit my rock bottom.
I’m not going to lie and say I decided to check into rehab the very next day, but this experience was definitely the turning point of my life. And I’m not sorry it happened, but I do regret it took me so long to figure it out.