Addiction Rock Bottom, Why does it have to be so deep?

Conventional “wisdom” in the field of addiction says that an addict often must “hit bottom” before they will be ready to begin the process of recovery. My question is, “Why does the bottom have to be so deep before that process begins?” Why wait until ones’ life has been completely turned upside down before you realize that you need help. Some would say that the consequences must be great before the disease of addiction finally sinks in. I would say that in most instances consequences don’t matter to an addict. If consequences mattered then the “bottom” would never exist at the point at which an addict’s life is essentially destroyed.

Recently a mother of 3 who drinks too much drank too much in front of her children. It was not the first time. It was not the second time. It has happened on enough occasions that the children could see it coming and implored their Mother not to let it happen. When it did happen they were justifiably upset and the following day the emotional burden was evident on their faces. Evident to everyone it would appear except their Mother. Clearly the Mother has made a choice that her children’s emotional well being is not as important to her as is her alcohol. Shouldn’t the pleas of her children to stop drinking be her “bottom”. Does she really have to wait for someone to get physically hurt or her children to get emotionally scared?

An alcoholic recently received her first DUI. Her attorney told her she did not need to enter treatment. Why not? Is the attorney waiting for her to dive deeper to her “bottom”? Why isn’t the first DUI deep enough? Shouldn’t this be a big enough wake up call to seek treatment before she ends up in jail or someone gets killed?

Lastly an addict in our program is about to lose his family. Estranged from his wife and children, unemployed and just starting to get the message that it is time for help. His problems started years ago but a sense of urgency to change the direction of his life is just catching up to him now. He is too late. His “bottom” is too deep for his family to deal with and they have moved on; emotionally and physically.

I am not sure how we can get the message out to everyone in need. Consequences alone will not do it. We see over and over again that addicts don’t get the message until the “bottom” is so deep that everyone that they care about is jumping ship. We must find a way to bring the “bottom” up to a more acceptable level before lives are destroyed.

There is an old saying, “A fool closes the gate after the horses are gone”. An addict needs to hit his “bottom” before it is too late. Don’t let the bottom be too deep and this won’t happen.

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