There is a myth that people need to “hit rock bottom” before getting sober. “Rock bottom” means—as the phrase suggests—the lowest point you can go in your addiction. This is often an event that challenges your idea of yourself.
Firstly, rock bottom is highly subjective. Everyone has a different concept of a low point—and it may change within a single person over time. This is one reason lowest points are not a good gauge for whether you should get sober; as addiction progresses, people often tolerate things they might not have before. The longer a person waits to hit rock bottom, the more damage that is done—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
While it is true that many people who enter addiction treatment are at a low point in their lives, you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get sober. In fact, this is a dangerous idea. Addiction causes people to rationalize harmful behaviors. The myth of the rock bottom is a common way for people to rationalize substance use that may not be destroying their life, but is having a negative impact.
Some people are able to hold on to traditional markers of “success” while suffering in other important ways due to their substance use. They need treatment as much as the person who has hit their lowest point.
The idea of rock bottom also implies that when a person has hit their lowest point, they will automatically be ready for sobriety. This is not always the case. This idea often leads people to wait, assuming that once they hit this mythological bottom, they will feel ready. This delays treatment unnecessarily. Deciding to become sober is a hard first step; putting it off doesn’t make it any easier.
Many people have an “aha” moment after reaching their lowest point. However, it is also common for people to decide to get sober after an accumulation of personal consequences—not one big rock bottom.
If you are considering getting sober, chances are substance use is affecting your life in a negative way. You don’t have to wait for an unknown time in the future when things are worse. If you wait, you will have a much steeper hill to climb.
Getting sober is worth the work. If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, the best time to ask for help is now. At TruHealing Centers across the country, our staff will help you build a life in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.