You’ve Hit Your Bottom When You Put Down The Shovel
In my time working with young adults in recovery, I often run into the flawed thinking that concludes they haven’t hit their bottom yet, and I think this stems from a few different slippery slopes. There’s a deadly misconception that imagines a bottom to look a certain way; homeless, shot out, and lonely. This is rare, and no one should hold off their recovery until they reach skid row. This is a risky lie people tell themselves in an effort to rationalize further using, and it may even prevent them from ever finding their way back into the rooms of recovery. So what is a bottom exactly and when do you know you’ve hit your bottom?
A bottom is a point at which an addict is beaten into a state of reasonableness, and accepts a program of action for help. This is NOT a set of outside circumstances, and it IS in fact an internal disposition. I can’t stress this enough, the fact that a bottom has nothing to do with the current circumstances of your life, and that it has everything to do with your emotional state. If we allow a bottom to be a set of circumstances, we set ourselves up for an array of different issues.
- The lines drawn in the sand may be pushed back further: This happened for me – I told myself that once my life looked a certain way then I’d get help, but once it looked that way, I convinced myself that it wasn’t that bad and then I set up a new set of circumstances.
- The outside circumstances don’t necessarily entail certain emotional states: Don’t be fooled to think that outside circumstances dictate the way you feel on the inside. By doing this you fall into a trap on both sides of the coin; you won’t feel bad enough to get help until you hit a certain set of circumstances, AND you won’t be happy until you reach a certain set of circumstances. BOTH are flawed, and there is no regular evidence to prove that particular circumstances entail particular emotional states. This could be a result of hedonic adaptation, which is a confirmed theory that states that people get used to their circumstances, good or bad, after a period of time.
- Hospitals, Institutions, or Death: Let’s not forget that addiction, and/ or alcoholism, leads many of the people in it’s grasp in these three places, and there is no guarantee that you will make it back to a recovery platform if you decide to continue to use. This misconception could literally kill you, by convincing yourself you should go hit a darker bottom and end up dying in the process.
Young adults trick themselves to believe that it hasn’t gotten “bad enough yet,” I see it all the time and this false belief is often smashed once they put their emotional state into perspective. The misconception that your bottom is, or should be a certain set of circumstances holds you back from recovery and ultimately happiness. In my opinion, the rationale is not only fallible, but it is also an effort to convince yourself and others that it’s ok to continue to use; why else would you say it?
They say “your bottom is when you stop digging” in the program for a reason. They don’t say “your bottom is when you dig 12 feet deep” or anything along those lines because your bottom can really be anytime. You can stop the vicious cycle today, all you have to do is accept help, and I promise you’ll flourish. The circumstances of your life can ultimately look any way you want them to (if physically possible at least) and these results are dictated by the actions you take and the preparation you make for chances that present themselves. By focusing on the actions we take, one at a time, we get to build our lives up from the bottom we reached (however it looked) and become a certain type of person that we had previously been incapable of being.