What is Rock Bottom?


person with head down in distress

Rock bottom is a term you have probably heard frequently, but you may not know the true meaning.  It is often used in reference to addiction, with recovering addicts and alcoholics describing their rock bottom moments.  Addiction is a cunning, baffling, and powerful disease, and it causes people to do things they wouldn’t normally do in a sober situation.  Rock bottom is the absolute lowest a person could feel about themselves.  In fact, it refers to being so low, that there is no possibility of going any further down.  

While rock bottom appears to be a bad thing, it is actually quite beneficial for an addict trying to find recovery.  If you attend a self-help group, you might hear a recovering addict or alcoholic talking about how they are grateful for their past and their rock bottom, which can be puzzling to someone new to recovery.  Reaching a rock bottom usually allows a person to realize they need help.  A person with addiction often has a false impression they have their disease under control.  They may believe they can quit at any time, but simply choose not to.  The truth of the matter is, however, their body is mentally and physically addicted, and until they accept that their addiction is out of their control, there is nothing anyone can do for them.  

When a loved one has an addiction, there is usually always a family member or friend who tries to intervene and help.  Unfortunately, most people end up enabling a person with addiction in various ways.  Addiction is a self-seeking disease and people who have it generally associate with people who will support the continuance of their disease.  When a family member enables someone with an addiction, it doesn’t help anyone or anything.  The family member may often become resentful because their loved one won’t stop using and it ultimately prolongs the disease. 

The only way a person will want to get clean or sober is if their addiction is too painful to continue.  Sobriety is undesirable to someone deep in addiction, and the only thing which will change their mind is if the alternative of continuing to use is worse.  There is no universal rock bottom, and everybody’s low will be unique.  A corporate CEO may never get to the point of homelessness, but losing his job may be the low he needed to seek help.  Alternatively, many people lose so much they end up with nothing, lying on the streets dying.  Rock bottom is the best thing that can happen to someone with addiction, and letting your loved one get there can be one of the most painful, albeit, beneficial ways you can help.

Rock bottom always gets deeper. If you are ready to make the call for help, we are here to answer. The answer to recovery is Simple. Our multi-tiered program is designed to help your loved one find success on a new path in life through school, work, and meaningful volunteering. Structured for progress, clients at Simple Recovery transition seamlessly through each phase of their recovery. For information on our full continuum of care options for recovery from addiction and co-occurring mental health, call us today: 888-743-0490