When you read or hear about addiction treatment you may frequently come across the idea of “rock bottom” being the biggest motivation for getting help. Although hitting rock bottom may be a common story for people with addictions who finally decided to reach out, it is not the only way that someone can realize that they want treatment. People can recover from addiction in many different ways and they do not necessarily need to reach their lowest point before they can get sober.
The concept behind rock bottom is the story of an addict who recklessly continues to use in spite of all the signs that they should quit. They might ignore people that suggest that they should cut back or get defensive if someone talks about recovery. For this person they are only able to realize that they have a problem when they lose everything as a result of their addiction.
Rock bottom could come in the form of losing your job, getting a divorce, getting arrested or any other event that finally makes you understand that your addiction is ruining your life. Someone at rock bottom has nowhere else to turn and needs to seek help to get themselves back on track. Although many people may experience addiction and recovery this way, the idea that all addicts have to hit rock bottom is a myth that can actually be problematic.
The Myth about Addiction and Rock Bottom
One of the issues with the idea of rock bottom is that some people may believe that there is nothing you can do to help an addict until they reach this point. Some people may think that they simply have to wait until the person with the addiction creates enough problems in their life that they will want to seek help on their own. While it can be difficult to get an addict to realize they have a problem, that doesn’t mean you have to let them continue in their own destruction.
The concept of rock bottom can cause people to believe that they are powerless to help a friend or loved one who may be in need. It can also cause the addict themselves to believe that they don’t need help yet because they haven’t reached their lowest point. Believing the myth of rock bottom can delay much needed treatment and cause more damage than is necessary when someone has an addiction.
The reality is that the sooner a person gets treatment for their addiction, the better chance they will have of avoiding health problems and other issues that could make recovery more difficult. People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol for many years may be more vulnerable to developing co-occurring disorders such as depression and anxiety as a result of their dependencies. They can also end up with issues such as liver or brain damage that will require medical treatment if they do not get the help they need.
Rock bottom can also lead to serious financial ruin which can be devastating for a person’s life and their family. Allowing a person to reach that point can mean that they truly lose everything and may have a much harder time bouncing back from their financial loss. Rather than their job and all their money, it may be better for them to recover before they are so devastated by addiction.
Getting Help Early
Instead of waiting for rock bottom, it is better for a person to get help as early as they can so that they can have a successful recovery. At any point that you begin to realize that you or your loved one is suffering from addiction, you can start to take steps toward treatment. Don’t avoid responsibility because you believe that rock bottom is the necessary starting point for recovery.
If someone you love has an addiction it is never too early to consider talking to them one on one or staging an intervention so that you can discuss the possibility of them getting help. Early treatment can actually be a life saving opportunity for someone who might suffer significantly from any delay in getting help. If you yourself believe that you have an addiction, reach out to someone as soon as possible so that you don’t have to experience all of unnecessary pain and struggle that goes along with addiction.
Although for many people rock bottom may have been the only way they were able to end their denial about their addiction, others can be receptive to treatment sooner before they lose everything. Ending addiction is a personal experience and never happens the same way for everyone. Take advantage of any opportunity you have to get yourself or someone you love the treatment they need.