Many people describe their decision to begin treatment as having hit “rock bottom.” This phrase refers to the end of the road where a desperate situation makes one resolve to get well. It is a moment when some people finally realize the harm of substance addiction. A rock bottom situation may describe a mental breakdown, or a near-death overdose situation when they feel completely overwhelmed and broken.
The Necessary Moment of Awakening
Breaking down is sometimes the beginning of waking up to reality. When people with an addiction do not listen to advice and hit rock bottom, this can cause them to pause on their path to more self-destruction and have a moment of reflection on whether there are alternatives. This moment is when they decide to seek help.
It is true that many people hit rock bottom and even then, they don’t ask for help or decide to change. Many overdose deaths happen that way. With enough self-awareness, rock bottom can be avoided. Family and friends may detect signs of a person’s physical and mental deterioration and decide to intervene.
A rock bottom moment may also refer to a sober turning point in one’s decision to quit substance use. It does not need to be a desperate or dramatic event. Simply an internal shift in one’s outlook on life can serve as a moment of awakening. Over-emphasizing that you need to hit rock bottom before coming to a sober realization of the harm of addiction can be a dangerous narrative by itself.
Many Types of Rock Bottom
For people who have a substance addiction, the consequences are external and internal. The first category may include losing a job, family disintegration, financial insecurity, homelessness, legal issues, and social isolation. All of these events may be rock bottom for someone. Many people do end up realizing the harm of addiction and decide to begin treatment.
Some internal consequences can also be rock bottom for people. These include chronic depression, worsening mental health, a feeling of hopelessness and disconnection, and emotional breakdowns. These feelings can be as dramatic as external tragedies. In sum, hitting rock bottom is a personal experience that defies over-generalization.
No Need to Wait for Rock Bottom
It has become a myth in the field of recovery that one has to hit rock bottom before he or she seeks treatment. However, this is not a prerequisite for getting sober. Sometimes, family and friends can pull off a successful intervention before a person’s addiction progresses further. Some people may find any excuse to continue denialism, and using this “hitting rock bottom” rationale to justify continued substance use can be harmful.
As explained above, that turning point may look different for everyone. The journey of recovery is more demanding than just going through detox treatment. Even after one achieves sobriety after hitting rock bottom and beginning treatment, the danger of relapse is still there. Surviving rock-bottom moments do not make them immune to ongoing triggers in life.
Stages of Recovery From Addiction
Instead of using the myth of “hitting rock bottom,” experts in the field of recovery offer another way of looking at the process by stage. First, people who live in denialism and would not consider treatment are in the pre-contemplation stage when there is a lack of insight into the harmful impacts of substance use. Second, a change happens when they gain contemplative readiness in the contemplative stage. Still savoring pleasure from using substances, they are now more open to suggestions.
The next stage is characterized by a sense of urgency regarding one’s desire for sobriety. This preparation stage is vital because people’s agency has been awakened. Some take actions toward quitting or improving their lifestyle toward sobriety. There can be a reversal into stage two (contemplation) or stage one (pre-contemplation) before one finally decides to seek help from recovery professionals.
State five of addiction recovery is characterized by action. A person is committed to change and seeks external help to achieve sobriety. This is often when treatment begins. Medically monitored detoxification needs to be complemented by counseling and coaching of self-care techniques while individuals achieve early sobriety. Then, the most challenging phase is the maintenance stage when the risk of relapse is always present. Treatment centers design relapse prevention plans and expect clients to follow through.
The Importance of Maintenance and Aftercare
Substance addiction is a chronic disease that requires significant lifestyle changes to maintain sobriety. Complacency after the maintenance stage often proves risky. One needs to build a strong aftercare and support system to practice what they have learned during detox treatment. These include individual therapy, support groups, or outpatient treatment for ongoing mental health needs.
Aftercare may continue for months and even years after detoxification treatment. You can work with your treatment center to design a comprehensive aftercare plan which involves using resources in your local community and the support from family and friends.
Are you or a loved one struggling with a substance addiction that is related to mental health issues? You should not wait for a “rock bottom” moment before realizing the need for treatment. Early intervention is key to recovery. At Capo Canyon Recovery, near Mission Viejo, CA., we believe in providing a holistic approach to sustainable and long-term recovery. Our trained health care professionals have experience treating every stage of addiction. We know what our clients need, both in terms of physical health and mental health. Joining us for your recovery will ensure you benefit from both our inpatient residential care and outpatient, long-term care programs. With an in-house chef, luxurious beds, and an onsite organic garden, we offer comfort and support during your journey. At Capo Canyon Recovery, you can feel confident in our methods and your own strength. Start your journey with our experienced recovery experts today. Help is here. Call us at (800) 804-8714.