Society is not kind to people addicted to alcohol or drugs. When ‘hit rock bottom’ is uttered an unflattering picture emerges. The enduring perception of an addict or alcoholic is a skid row bum. Someone on one the very edges of society. A person to be avoided and disdained. Their condition a direct result of their poor moral choices. Lack of control and inadequate motivation has landed them where they are.
If you subscribe to this interpretation, you are part of the problem that prevents people from seeking help.
Nothing could be further than the truth when describing modern day rock bottom. Addicts and alcoholics come from every social class, age, race, culture, socioeconomic group, education level, and so on. Substance abuse involving prescription drugs, street drugs, alcohol, and behavioral addictions all contribute to modern statistics.’
The belief that a person has to ‘hit rock bottom’ and lose everything in their life in order to see the error of their ways and be willing to endure treatment to get well has changed.
According to SAMSHA 38% of the adult population in the US has an illicit drug problem. This does not include prescription drug or alcohol use statistics.
Take a look at your friends, family, and acquaintances, chances are one of them needs help. I bet they don’t look like the classic addict to you.
As mentioned in the rooms of 12-step meetings and in modern literature ‘the bar has been raised.’
The bar being raised seemed to occur as the number of people walking into AA meetings or treatment tanked. There had to be a way to entice new members into groups and treatment facilities. What better way than to get people into treatment earlier than to change the concept of rock bottom.
Ultimately, this means more people get into recovery and have the chance to turn their substance use around and live a life they choose.
The average family does not know anything about substance abuse. There will be one or more family members that drink too much at family gatherings or people who you just don’t talk about.
Not many of you will have been sat down by your parents and told anything more than ‘don’t do drugs.’
Family members are clueless and helpless until they get dragged into family programs at rehab facilities, or get into therapy or similar.
The average family has no clue how to handle someone they love who has an addiction. Break that cycle, get educated, and share with everyone.
SOME PEOPLE JUST STOP
Everyone’s bottom is different.
You will hear people who have a single DUI declare they do not have a problem. Sometimes this is true. A single DUI will be a wakeup call to scale back alcohol use.
Another person will use recreational drugs a few times and decide the problems associated with it are not worth it. And they will stop using.
Same for prescription drug use, once a prescription for pain pills or anxiety meds runs out, some people never refill it.
Maturation has a large impact on people stopping use of substances on their own. Life gets busy, they settle down into careers and have families and there is no room for drugs or alcohol.
Then there are the people who suffer from substance abuse. Fairly easily identified by the mounting consequences and innumerable complications you have.
If you are the one who always gets trashed at gatherings, or has to drink or use before going out, or suffer memory loss after using, rinse and repeat… then you probably can’t stop on your own.
Once substance dependence has taken hold, there is a necessity to use in order to waylay the withdrawal symptoms and to get through the day. Substances become as necessary as air to breathe. THAT is the nature of addiction.
Statistically, you won’t remain below the radar for long. Sooner or later, your substance use will blow up in your face, often, spectacularly.
Can’t stop eclipses the belief that you are making a moral choice or rational choice. The psychological and physical changes that are occurring drive the compulsion to use.
There are a number of contributing factors that influence people to simply stop using on their own. Often persuaded by concerned employers, family, spouses, or friends who have noticed symptoms of overuse, when faced with facts you just stop.
Others get caught up in the legal system and stop. Others just continue until they have burned their lives to the ground.
Mental health issues are exacerbated by substance use, you feel out of control, depressed, anxious, suicidal or get placed on a 5150 hold (72-hour involuntary psychiatric hold for evaluation) due to drug and psychological related issues. Treatment is soon to follow.
Television programs like Intervention became popular and it follows that interventions have become the norm in some communities. Families all over the country stage formal or informal interventions on family members who are out of control.
Being forced into treatment by the powers that be by coercion, threat, brute force, legal action, or incarceration is one way to find the notion of recovery.
Having your eyes opened, you will quite possibly come to your senses once plonked in rehab. Others don’t. Some will die.
Functioning alcoholics and addicts look like they have it all together on the outside. You can show up to work, keep up a home, take care of responsibilities, and be a seemingly respectable adult.
You are able to hide your use and are very adept at spinning tales and denying everything as you grab a bottle or drug whenever there are not eyes on you. Having daily rituals around your substance use is a big red flag.
Inside you may be screaming. Feelings of shame, guilt, unworthiness, insecurity, fear, and loneliness, and the inability to form meaningful relationships with other people shut you down.
Going through the motions of the day, week, and month without any relief from negative emotions is draining. If you feel like something is wrong, it probably is. Seek help.
If you’re hitting the cooking sherry when making dinner, and dragging the bottle out from behind the bleach under the sink when you are doing dishes….not good.
Hiding your drinking or drug use is a classic sign that you have crossed the line.
If you get miserable enough treatment is an option. Once substance use has gone from recreational or experimental to necessary to feel normal, it’s a done deal, you most certainly need to be in treatment.
Drugs and alcohol cloud all thinking and take away rational choice making. You are no longer able to logically process decisions, you will manipulate in order to use and display poor judgment in all areas. There is a saying that when you ‘get sick and tired of being sick and tired’ you will be open to change.
By the time your substance abuse has made you physically, emotionally and spiritually sick, decision making may be out of your hands. Defense mechanisms will be in full force. Your resistance will be a sight to behold.
By the time an overdose occurs, it is too late. Do you have a death wish?
WHAT YOU WILL LOSE
Chances are you will lose friends as you sink deeper into your addiction. Your behavior alone is enough to make people avoid you. Your new friends will be your drinking and using buddies, who you will only hear from if they want something from you.
Losing your job will seriously put a crimp in your using. You will not have the money to use. Using will be a priority and bills will slide. Finding another job when you are actively using will be difficult, especially if you have a bad reference.
Without money, you will not be able to keep a roof over your head or pay for your vehicle, insurance, or other bills. Slowly you will lose everything.
Relationships will become strained. There is a danger of domestic violence with addiction and relationships. Romantic relationships often end and children are traumatized.
It will be hard to hold on to material things. You can only carry so much with you. Or stuff so much into a car. There is a possibility you will hock anything of value.
Substance abuse will take everything of value from you, including your mind. It is a guarantee. The longer you use, the worse it is going to get.
It is up to you how much you want to lose before seeking treatment.
There are peer-led meetings ranging from AA to a gazillion other 12-step meetings, secular, non-secular and CBT type groups for people who want to explore ways to stop using on their own.
Employers have EAP programs that allow you to go to treatment in conjunction with the medical insurance they offer. This protects both them and you as you get into recovery.
There is outpatient offered by the county, private pay, and large medical groups. With this you will receive counseling, testing, meetings, and various daily groups.
The next level is inpatient rehab, again at a county, medical group or private pay level. Rehabs can be found locally, in other States, or overseas. Make sure to do thorough research before committing though.
There are programs and options that cover the basics and are low level up to year-long programs. Your individual circumstance will dictate where you fit into the treatment structure.
CLEAN AND SOBER
Treatment isn’t that difficult. It requires a willingness to change and to consider new education and information. You will be asked to be honest, and to complete assignments that aid self-awareness.
Treatment offers you some time to focus solely on your circumstances and your recovery.
The treatment gives you a starting point back to wellness.
Your medical concerns and conditions will be addressed and a personalized treatment plan put into effect.
You will be an active participant in your recovery. It is up to you to follow through, follow direction and to not drink or use.
Clean and sober is not bad. Your life will not go back to the way it was. There is a lot of personal growth involved in recovery. Building a solid foundation is the key to success.
Recovery is different. Recovery is hard. Recovery requires vigilance and continued work. What you get in return is life. A good life. A life that you choose, a worthwhile life..
THE BOTTOM LINE
It doesn’t matter where you enter the treatment phase of recovery.
You don’t have to lose anything. If you even get an inkling that your substance use is getting out of control, take the reins and get help.
Whether you decide one day to stop using, get a DUI or end up in jail because of your use, treatment is available to get you started on recovery.
The sooner you get treatment the sooner your life gets back on track. It will also be easier to claw your way back to a good life if you have just begun to experience problems because of your substance use.
You can avoid many of the health problems associated with long term drug and alcohol use by seeking treatment now. There can be permanent damage to your brain, organs, and body.
Take the assessment and reach out to find treatment before you lose anything or everything.
If you are sober curious or want to moderate or stop your drinking and using, the 5 day to a clean and sober you course will help you. Take a look at your life and how your substance use is preventing you from living the life you want. Discover how your thoughts, feelings and emotions influence the decisions you make. You have nothing to lose. Sign up now.
- Dealing with emotional, physical or substance abuse rock bottom. //tinybuddha.com/blog/5-steps-to-coming-back-to-life-after-hitting-rock-bottom/
- Psychology Today: //www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/philosophy-stirred-not-shaken/201405/whats-wrong-rock-bottom
- SAMHSA 2017 National Survey on Drug use and Health: //www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHFFR2017/NSDUHFFR2017.pdf
- Substance abuse rock bottom: //www.thefix.com/5-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-hit-rock-botto