What Does Rock Bottom Mean?

In general, rock bottom refers to the lowest point of a bad situation. This term is used to describe a progressively worsening negative situation that causes a person to re-evaluate his or her life and make appropriate changes. People can hit this low point with their finances, with their weight gain and with their addiction, just to name a few. For addiction, a person may have lost his or her home, family or career. If you have hit rock bottom, you may have had to declare bankruptcy or experienced an intervention from concerned family members and friends. Some people think it is necessary to reach an all-time low before making changes, but this can be a dangerous gamble. For some, “rock bottom” is actually death, and there is no way to dig oneself out of that.

Recovering From Rock Bottom

If you have hit rock bottom, you may be feeling like a failure, like others would be better off without you or that you will never be able to get your life back on track. Many who reach their wits’ end find inner strength to persevere, and often find strength that they did not know they had. While finding yourself at a record low can be scary, ultimately it can signal the moment you choose to reclaim your life.

Some say you have reached rock bottom when there is nowhere to go but up. Fortunately, when a moment of clarity does signal a wake-up call, it is never too late to make positive changes. Some may find that they sink even further, but for many, they are able to use this experience to turn a positive corner. This is not to suggest that positive changes will be easy. You may have burned some bridges that you just cannot get back. You might have lost income, resources or valuable relationships. However, even if you have burned some bridges that cannot be repaired, there will be others out there from whom you can receive positive support and encouragement. You may even find that you make new connections and have access to new opportunities that are better than what you lost.

In addition to getting support from various friends and family, there are programs available that you can utilize in your journey. Most areas have addiction recovery programs, such as those that use the 12 Steps. You can check yourself into a recovery center for either inpatient or outpatient treatment. There are also online forums for recovery, where those suffering from addiction can offer each other support and encouragement. Most people will utilize a combination of these resources and make adjustments during the recovery process, depending on their needs at the moment.

Helping Someone Who Has Hit Rock Bottom

If a loved one has hit rock bottom, your support can be invaluable in helping him or her recover. While no one can recover without wanting to, offering positive support can help give the loved one strength to persevere. Build up your loved one’s confidence by reminding him or her of important strides made, either recently or the past. While blanket statements are not useful, such as “Everything will be fine” or “Change is easy,” offering tangible words of encouragement can help, like “I believe in you” or “You are incredibly strong.” You can also remind your loved one that you will be there throughout his or her journey.

Offering support during recovery looks different for everyone. You will not want to do anything to put yourself in physical danger. In these cases, it is better to protect yourself and call the police when needed. It may be helpful to offer monetary support, as long as you don’t sacrifice above what you can reasonably afford. Other ways you can help your loved one include babysitting while he or she is in treatment, sending cards during inpatient treatment and offering a listening ear.

Do Not Wait for Rock Bottom

If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, do not put off intervening until he or she has reached a lowest point. You might feel that bringing up the addiction could be risky to your relationship or friendship. You might not be sure how your friend or family member will respond to your conversation. While bringing up addiction can be scary, you are ultimately helping your friend or family member by opening up lines of communication. Often, when you wait for someone to hit a place of desperation before addressing the situation, it is unfortunately too late as there is often much more to the scenario that you are unaware of.

If you are suffering from addiction, it is equally important that you do not wait until you’ve reached a breaking point to make a change. It might be tempting to think you have a handle on the situation or that everything will be better tomorrow. But then tomorrow comes, and each day after, and you still find yourself unable to break free from addiction. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can get your life back. You deserve more than rock bottom.