Before I started blogging for the Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society, I didn’t know many addicts or alcoholics in recovery or otherwise, so I believed like many people that an alcoholic or an addict can only commit to getting clean and sober when they hit rock bottom . Like most people I thought rock bottom was essentially waking up one morning after a three day binge by the side of the road not having any idea how you got there. Such is not the case. If you have been following our blog posts for the last three weeks ( and of course you have) you will have seen and read our interview with Oasis’ founder Taki Liris; as I was preparing for this interview one of the questions I had intended to as was,“What was your rock bottom?” — naturally. In my naivete I had expected Taki to answer the question with a re telling of the sordid details surrounding his last days as an alcoholic. I was very surprised when Taki answered my question by simply saying, “I was going to loose my family”. Obviously rock bottom is different for everyone and this motivated me to want to learn more about it and if it compares to what society in general perceives it to be. Rock bottom, when used as an adjective is “the culmination of a descent to a place where a person has nothing left to lose in terms of possessions, status, wealth and perhaps even shelter, food and warmth as a result of self-destructive behaviours[i.e.alcohol and drug abuse]. I went to the Centre for Addiction and Mental (CAMH) alway my go to source and read about rock bottom and how it pertains to the alcoholic and addict, and then was directed towards a variety of sobriety blogs which dealt with this subject. As I read the testimonials I kept asking myself the same question “Was it really rock bottom that made an addict or an alcoholic want to change or, was it that they were just ready?”
Marilyn Spiller is a sobriety blogger who is asked all the time what was her rock bottom and just like Taki her, answer is quite unexpected “I probably had ten rock bottoms in my life, and none of them were the catalyst for my quitting drinking.” This sentiment is echoed by many alcoholics and addicts alike; there was never really one isolated moment in time, or an aha moment that lead them to seek help rather, it was more like a culmination of rock bottoms that lead to the moment they felt they were ready to change their life. Thus it is irrelevant how many rock bottoms a person lives through, a person must be READY to change.
There are certain “motivators” which can lead to realizing you are ready such as court appointed rehab or a family intervention. In Takis situation his family was his motivator, he had lost so much up until that point he didn’t want to lose his family, and this is what made him realize he was ready to enter rehab. Taki’s situation also made me realize that not only does the addict or alcoholic need to be ready but their families must be ready also; they must be ready to accept that their loved one has a problem, they must be ready to stop making excuses and they must stop enabling their loved ones and they must be ready to let them experience the consequences of their actions. EVERYONE must be ready otherwise sobriety will not be sustainable.
While rock bottom is a painfully low point or series of low points in a person’s life it does not necessarily lead to wanting to get clean and sober, this is only possible when the addict or alcoholic is at a point when they are READY to reclaim the life they lost to drinking and drug use.
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