There is a popular myth circulating communities that are suffering from addiction: in order to be truly ready to get sober, a person must get to the lowest point he or she can reach. This lowest pit, called “rock bottom,” serves as a “reality check” indicating that a person can no longer sustain such a dangerous lifestyle. And what this phrase ignores is the fact that often, rock bottom can be too little, too late for those who need help.
Overall, there is no criteria that serves as a generic guideline to measure rock bottom. Everyone’s rock bottom can mean something different. Perhaps a father no longer allows his son to use his credit card, and that is enough of a reality check for his son to accept help. But for another person, losing financial assistance may not be enough to convince them that the time for help is now. Because there’s no true understanding of what defines rock bottom, identifying a person’s lowest point can be challenging.
Also, consider this: would a doctor tell a patient to wait on receiving treatment for a heart condition? Of course not, because as time progresses, the illness gets worse. The same goes for addiction: the longer a person is abusing substances, the more damage it does to his or her body. And prolonged use not only affects the body but also the mind. Continued substance abuse increasingly alters the brain as time goes on, making the person even more tolerant and dependent on their substance of choice. As a result, a person that is abusing drugs or alcohol will feel like they must increase their dosage in order to feel a strong enough high. Therefore, letting more and more time go on as one awaits a supposedly eventual rock bottom increases the probability that the person will suffer a fatal overdose.
Although rock bottom can be a dangerous endless pit (until it’s too late), recovery is possible. It is imperative that you know when it is time to seek help for your loved one.
Here are common red flags of problematic drinking or drug use:
- Your loved one does not limit themselves. If you notice that your loved one is constantly worrying about when they are going to get their next fix, there’s a problem.
- If you witness your loved one lying in order to obtain more of the substance, your loved one is likely addicted.
- When a loved one is isolating themselves for long periods at a time, know that it may be because it is easier for them to use when no one is there to catch on.
- Though it’s difficult to talk about finances with even those closest to you, pay attention to your loved one’s spending habits. Have you noticed that they are selling their belongings? Do they no longer go out and socialize, as they once did? Do they suddenly have no cable? These could all be signs that your loved one is suffering from addiction.
And if you suspect that you may have a substance abuse problem, look inward. Can you identify any of these warning signs?
- A loved one has expressed concern regarding your intoxication habits.
- You frequently think about the substance(s).
- Your feel anxious or depressed when you cannot use the substance.
- Your personal hygiene has taken a backseat.
- Your consumption has damaged your personal relationships.
- Your mental health has suffered as a result of your use.
Don’t wait for rock bottom to get the help that you or your loved one needs now. By responding to the warning signs that you are witnessing as soon as possible, you can very well save a life. Know that there are various addiction treatment options available to help facilitate a strong recovery. Addiction is a lifelong struggle, but reclaiming control from substance abuse is possible!