Have you hit rock bottom yet?
What exactly is rock bottom when dealing with addiction? Is rock bottom the day you learn your loved one is an addict? Is it the day you realize your child has stolen from you to feed an addiction? Is it after the fiftieth lie? The hundredth? Or is it the day you realize you drove your son to a drug deal?
Defining rock bottom during addiction is rarely easy, unless there is a game-changing crisis. In fact, you may feel that you’ve hit rock bottom, believing your life with an addict can’t get worse, only to realize that it can, and it will.
Rock bottom during addiction is a moving target, especially for those with no frame of reference in addiction prior to a loved one’s struggle. Addiction changes a person so profoundly that they may become almost unrecognizable to those they love. The addict will do and say things that are by turn frightening, appalling, and dangerous, completely at odds with their sober selves.
Watching an addict’s struggle, we hope that each new low will be the rock bottom. Not only can we not imagine things getting worse, we’re terrified of what worse will mean.
Rock bottom is not the same for an addict as it is for those who love that addict. As a parent, I hoped, in fact, prayed that each horror experienced during David’s addiction would be his rock bottom, because I knew that every step farther down was a step closer to drugs winning the fight for my son’s body and soul. I knew that each new low brought him a step closer to not surviving this scourge.
Eventually, rock bottom for David came in the form of an overdose—which he survived, thank God. Yet even after that experience, David wasn’t totally on board with rehab. It took me informing him that he wasn’t allowed to come home to get him to go. Had I let him return home, even confronting the possibility of his death from an overdose wasn’t enough to convince him to seek help on his own.
Rock bottom for other addicts may arrive during a loss—of relationships, home, jobs, etc. Yet, it’s often a combination of things, as well as the refusal of the addict’s loved ones to continue supporting destructive behavior, that can help get those struggling into treatment.
During this perilous time, when everything “normal” has disappeared, addicts, as well as loved ones trying to support an addict, may feel that rock bottom is imminent. Don’t wait for it to arrive on your doorstep. If you feel you or your loved one is at or near rock bottom in addiction, seek help. Seek support from those who are experts in the recovery field.
DreamLife Recovery is open 24 hours a day. Don’t do this alone. No one should have to live at rock bottom.
Mary Fran Bontempo is a 2x TEDx speaker, author and humorist. Visit her at www.maryfranbontempo.com.
Her latest book, “The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time,” can be found on Amazon.