In many of the depictions of addiction, there’s often an emphasis on people who hit rock bottom and experience an overwhelming despair and desperation that are central to an addict’s daily life. For an addict, substance abuse becomes an imperative and one’s driving life force.
In addition to the psychological dependency that comes with being addicted, addicts must continually abuse alcohol and drugs in order to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. If an addict tries to go more than a few hours without his or her substance of choice, the individual will begin to experience the uncomfortable and sometimes even painful symptoms of withdrawal.
For everyone who before addicted to a chemical substance or even a behavior, the journey is different. There are different underlying factors and contributors for each person, resulting in great variation in the experiences and backgrounds of addicts.
While some addicts might have managed to retain their jobs or keep themselves from falling into complete financial disrepair before beginning an addiction treatment programs, there are others whose lives are made much worse as a direct result of their habitual substance abuse, which can result in the contracting of bloodborne illnesses, homelessness, and so on.
In fact, this is often referred to as hitting “rock bottom,” but one might wonder if an addict can only ever become truly ready to begin the recovery journey after they hit rock bottom. Therefore, the following will define what it means to hit rock bottom, including an explanation of how rock bottom differs for every addict, and answer the question of whether rock bottom is an essential precursor to recovery.
What Does It Mean to Hit “Rock Bottom”?
As mentioned above, the experience of living in addiction has been captured or portrayed numerous times in various mediums and art forms. Despite each portrayal being unique, there are also a number of similarities. In short, addiction renders individuals helpless against their own self-destructive impulses, causing them to behave in ways that are in direct opposition of their best interests.
Another way of putting this would be to say that suffering from an addiction makes individuals more willing to behave in ways that they never would if they weren’t dependent on alcohol or drugs. The expression “hitting rock bottom” is used to refer to an individual who has reached a low-point in his or her life, usually as a consequence of poor decisions and/or behaviors.
In the case of substance abuse and addiction, this refers to the deterioration of one’s body, mind, and overall life that has resulted from a substance abuse problem. Much like each addict’s development of an addiction is due to different circumstances, each addict’s rock bottom is different.
Why Rock Bottom Pushes Addicts into Recovery
The lowest possible point in one’s life depends on many factors, including where a person is in his or her life when the individual is only just beginning to abuse alcohol or drugs, which indicates what the individual stands to lose as a result of a substance abuse problem.
For many, hitting rock bottom means losing jobs, becoming financially destitute, destroying a marriage or relationship, losing custody of one’s children, having one’s home fall into foreclosure, and/or contracting a disease from another drug user.
In effect, a person hits rock bottom when they decide that he or she either has nothing left to lose and, therefore, must seek treatment for addiction, or the individual decides that he or she is not willing to sink any lower and chooses to find help.
Is Rock Bottom a Prerequisite to Addiction Rehabilitation?
Just as one can reach the point of addiction in many ways and for many different reasons, the point of choosing to seek treatment for addiction can likewise occur for a number of reasons. Oftentimes the decision to finally overcome an addiction to alcohol or drugs is a cumulative result after experiencing the various consequences of addiction for a prolonged period of time.
For instance, perhaps after the realization that one’s health should continue to deteriorate, an addict is faced with criminal charges for a crime they committed to get more money to fund their substance abuse problem. Although there are even worse things that the individual could experience due to their addiction, the addict might decide that they are no longer willing to sacrifice physical health and quality of life.
However, hitting rock bottom can be highly motivating. When an individual has hit rock bottom as a result of their addiction, they can no longer deny the profound effects that addiction has had on their life. Confronted with this harsh reality, the individual must essentially choose between recovery or certain death.
There are many people who have initiated the recovery process after experiencing a very bleak rock bottom such as this, but it’s not a requirement for recovery. There are also many individuals who finally choose to receive treatment at an alcohol or drug rehab without reaching such an extreme low.
Why Hitting Rock Bottom Is Discussed in Treatment
Despite it not being a prerequisite or requirement for recovery, rock bottom is frequently discussed in counseling and group sessions as part of treatment. The reason why therapists and other treatment facilitators encourage recovering addicts to discuss how low they had gotten before beginning the treatment process is because it causes them to more closely associate addiction with those severe consequences.
In other words, the addicts begin to look back on their time spent in the throes of active addiction and see all the losses and hardship they experienced, making it less likely for them to relapse or regress back into active addiction.
Hit Rock Bottom? Call Us for Help in Getting Addiction Treatment
The process of recovery is different for everyone. However, we can find anyone suffering from alcohol or drug addiction the right programming with treatments that address each individual’s specific recovery needs. For a free consultation and assessment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today at 855-619-8070. Our recovery specialists are available no matter what time of day, ready and able to help you or your addicted loved one begin the healing journey now.