It’s an old cliché that people aren’t ready to get sober until they hit “rock bottom.”
Rather than talk about or try to define what rock bottom may be for you, it’s more important to talk about being ready to get sober once you reach a certain level of awareness about your addiction.
For the most part, you know you are ready to get sober when you can admit to yourself that you have a problem. That usually happens when you realize of one or more of the following six things:
- You find yourself in a financial mess and take an honest inventory of the reasons why. Your bank account doesn’t lie — when 50 percent or more of your earnings go to the bar or your ATM withdrawals go to the drug dealer, you know you’re in trouble. Since we live in an electronic world, where you are spending your money can give you an obvious state of affairs in just a few clicks.
- You find yourself lying, and the lies are motivated by trying to hide your drug or alcohol use. You also lie in order to obtain your substance of choice. For example, a simple “What did you do over the weekend?” from a co-worker may unleash a cascade of shame in your mind about being on a bender. “Oh, I just laid around the house,” becomes a common response. Or you may start to find yourself borrowing money and lying about what you need it for. “Oh, my washer went out.” Or, “The cat is sick.” In reality, you want the money for drugs. It may be true that you need money for a washer, or because the cat got sick, but you don’t have that money on hand because so much of it already went to drugs or alcohol.
- You miss work often and the reason you miss is because you don’t feel well. You finally admit that you don’t feel well because you’re hung over all the time or have developed a chronic health condition as a result of your drug and alcohol abuse. Maybe at your last doctor visit your physician ordered a “hep (hepatitis) panel,” and it revealed some liver dysfunction, or your blood pressure was dangerously high due to continued drug use. If your doctor asks you how many drinks per day or per week you are having, and you lie to cover up your problem, it’s time to get help.
- People don’t want to be around you because you’ve become increasingly negative. You finally realize the reason you are so negative is because your life is in shambles due to your drinking and drug abuse. Waking up with a hangover and intestinal distress is a horrible way to start the day. Worrying 24/7 about how you will make a house or car payment distracts from the focus you need to be the best at whatever job you do. Having a boss ride your tail for poor job performance can pretty quickly put you in a bad space.
- You begin to find content about seeking treatment and recovery informative and helpful, instead of dismissing it as “preachy.” Perhaps something you have read about addiction science has finally made you understand it is not the result of moral failing. Maybe you have read about new medications that can help even the most chemically dependent addict become clean again. Maybe you know someone who used to drink so much that you thought he never had a prayer of getting sober, and now you are watching him live a better life. You begin to realize that people can get better when they admit they have a problem and then seek help.
- Getting drunk or high isn’t fun anymore. After a while, you may get to a point where you drink all by yourself, in massive amounts, just to numb the pain and to finally pass out. You’re not doing this because drinking is fun, but because your addiction is telling you that you need to keep drinking even when it hurts you and those around you.
Finding Help for Substance Abuse
When you stop blaming everyone and everything else for the things that are happening to you, you then have the power to make things better or worse for yourself. Realizing you need help and can make the choice to change is the first and most important step on the road to recovery. If you’re ready to take that first step toward a new life, reach out for help today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24-hours a day to answer your questions about available treatment options. Call us now.
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Understanding Drug Use and Addiction,” August 2016. Accessed April 14, 2017. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction
 Mayo Clinic. “Diseases and Conditions- Drug Addiction,” December 5, 2014. Accessed April 14, 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/definition/con-20020970
Written by David Heitz