Topics on This Page
The concept of “hitting rock bottom” is perhaps one of the most familiar recovery phrases to work its way into the American mainstream. Most people use it to describe a personal low; for addicts, it usually refers to the defining moment when they realize that addiction has them backed into a corner, so their only choice is to die or get sober.
While many addicts snap out of denial once they lose everything—finances, relationships and careers—hitting bottom in this dramatic sense is optional. Thanks to widespread education efforts and subsequent destigmatization of addiction, people spot signs of growing chemical dependence early in the addiction cycle, which means the condition is easier to treat. In other words, you do not have to hit rock bottom to succeed in rehab.
Hitting Bottom: Myth and Reality
Sometimes addiction seems like a runaway train that only stops when it crashes. Believing this fact, many people ignore the signs of a growing addiction: they minimize the negative impact of consequences (or dismiss them all together) while they rebuff concerned friends who question their substance use patterns. This unfortunate mistake blinds addicts to the opportunity to get help before addiction causes severe damage to their lives. There are several reasons why this act is dangerous, say medical experts writing for CNN—first and foremost, if you wait for a person to “bottom out,” then it can be too late to help. Every person has a different definition of “rock bottom,” so some people might reach a personal low after getting arrested or being forced to live on the streets. However, other drug addicts may recognize their substance-abuse problem earlier on and from much less dramatic losses, such as losing important personal relationships, being confronted by family members, getting fired or flunking out of school.
There is little evidence that people must accumulate a certain level of consequences before seeking help, nor do those consequences increase the chances of succeeding in recovery. On the contrary, science shows that getting help early is better than holding out for the perfect moment. Studies referenced in Psychology Today reveal that individuals with less emotional stress and fewer problems sometimes feel more driven to get sober. In other words, people who take action and seek treatment before addiction sinks deep physical and psychological roots are more likely to achieve lasting sobriety.
Ergo, it is never too early nor too late to find treatment for drug addiction or abuse. Some people delay seeking treatment, because they doubt their drug problem is serious enough for a stay in rehab, but this assumption is false. You do not have to hit rock bottom before you seek help, and drug treatment is not a last resort. In fact, the earlier you start treatment, the sooner you can transition into a life of recovery. A variety of rehab programs are available for all levels of addiction, and the program you choose should be catered to your individual needs.
Common Excuses for Putting Off Addiction Treatment
People who are physically and psychologically addicted to drugs and alcohol may do anything to avoid treatment. Fearing that they cannot function without their substance of choice, they may grasp for ways to justify continued drug use and to keep rehab at arm’s length. The following telltale excuses signal a stalemate with drug abuse and the desire for treatment:
- I don’t need rehab! I don’t have a problem – People who are unfamiliar with the signs of addiction—or who compare themselves to others with more severe addictions—may fail to realize that their escalating drugging and drinking habits are hurting their health
- I can’t take time off for rehab – Many people think they may put their jobs in danger if they seek treatment. In truth, many employers partner to help workers manage an extended absence. A sober employee is a more productive employee.
- Treatment is too expensive – Money is never a valid reason to ignore your health. There are myriad ways to pay for care, such as insurance, sliding scales, charitable admittance policies and through free clinics.
- It could get me fired – Firing an employee for a drug abuse or drinking problem is illegal. Individuals who get help are protected from stigmatization by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
- My reputation will be ruined – Public perception about addiction has shifted. Today, most people do not abide by old stereotypes and stigmas, because they realize that substance abuse is a chronic disease that requires maintenance.
- I don’t want to talk about my problems with strangers – Support groups in treatment are effective ways to get sober and avoid relapse. Having a community help you through the stages of recovery aids recovery.
Making excuses to avoid facing an addiction only allows the problem to get worse. In contrast, asking for help and reaching out for treatment can stop addiction in its tracks.
Help for Addiction
If you or someone you love struggles with addiction, then know that we can help. Admissions coordinators are available at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to guide you to wellness: they can discuss your options with you and help you explore effective treatment plans. Do not go it alone when support is just one phone call away.