What Does It Mean?
“Hitting Bottom” is a phrase that everyone has heard of when talking about the topic of addiction. For a phrase, so important to the discussion of addiction, you may think that “hitting bottom” could be easily defined or identified. It is a concept that means something different for everyone.
A person with Substance Use Disorder will use every excuse to rationalize and justify their addiction. They say things like:
- I’ve never been in jail, so I can’t be an addict.
- I’ve never experienced withdrawals so how can I be addicted.
- I still have a job, home, and family.
- When I get that bad, I will quit.
Using these excuses, they continue to use, some die, and their deaths can be attributed to a misunderstanding of the disease of addiction.
The truth is this: However different a person may be externally, they are the same internally, for they all have the following things in common:
- Their behavior conflicts with their values, and this is a symptom of spiritual sickness.
- They all have developed the ability to lie to themselves effectively, and this is a symptom of mental sickness.
Addiction does not discriminate. It does not care who you are, your social status, employed or unemployed, or what kind of substance you are using how you end up feeling on the inside is the same for everyone.
When the addict reaches their spiritual bottom, they are at a point of complete realization of the truth. One can hit a spiritual bottom without having enormous mental and physical damage. The person then must choose life – insanity or death.
Having to Hit Bottom is a Myth
Many people believe that for treatment to be successful addicts must want treatment and before the addict can want treatment they must hit bottom. This creates a consensus that, if they have not “seen the light” or if they continue to relapse, then we have not hit bottom yet.
Believing things must get worse before they get better feels counterintuitive.
Bottom is not a prerequisite for getting sober. Addiction, like most other diseases, progresses with time. The longer the wait, the more mental and physical damage is done. A colossal fallout is not necessary for some to realize they truly want and need treatment.
“Research has shown that even addicts who into treatment only because they have been forced to go – perhaps by a court – have the same chance of getting and staying sober as anyone else,” explains Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Problem with Hitting Bottom
People spend years addicted to drugs or alcohol, waiting for that “aha” moment. The situation feels consuming, dark and hopeless. The truth is not everyone has a bottom to hit. This “bottom” event has built up such a status that many addicts feel like they must wait on the event to happen. The problem, however, is that every situation can always get worse.
The only true bottom is death. It is the only scenario in which the addict has no control or opportunity to turn things around.
It is never too early to seek out addiction treatment.
New Outlook Detox has seen and even experienced “bottom” for ourselves. We do not ever recommend reaching that point. Addiction is a treatable disease, and it is never too early to start treating. It can, however, be too late. The earlier a substance addiction is treated, the better the treatment outcomes.