As I was scrolling through my social media sites I came upon a post whose title was “The Legend of J.K. Rowling”, now since I am a huge Harry Potter fan (or geek depending on your perspective) I clicked on the link and was treated to the Harvard University commencement speech she gave in June of 2008. I know quite a bit about the author’s life before and after her Harry Potter fame; I know she was a poor single mother, who could only afford to make a precious few copies of her manuscript and, whenever a publisher turned her down without returning her manuscript it was a true hardship. What I did not know was how in those days she thought herself a failure. In her speech she says, “I had failed on an epic scale…”, her marriage had failed, she was a single and dangerously destitute mother and she describes herself as “… the biggest failure I knew”. Hard to believe this woman, who is perhaps one of the greatest story tellers of our time had such a low opinion of herself. BUT failure was the best thing that could have ever happend to her, because failure meant she had to face her reality
“I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me… I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized and I was still alive… And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life”
Truer words have never been spoken! The term rock bottom however when used in context with alcohol and drug addiction is a little different; it is the place a person reaches in their life where they have nothing left to loose in terms of possessions, status, wealth etc., and more often than not occurs as a result of a person’s self destructive behaviours. Last summer, we had written a series with one of the founders of the Oasis Addiction and Society and recovering alcoholic Takis Liris; when I asked him what his rock bottom was he replied “I was going to loose my family”. Taki’s alcoholism stripped him of everything, his job, his place in society and yet this was not rock bottom. Taki hit rock bottom when he finally realized that his behaviour was ultimately going to cost him his family. The next day he admitted himself into a rehab facility and focused all his attentions on getting clean and sober and, upon this rock bottom Taki built his opus — the Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society.
Now, not everybody hits rock bottom and then goes onto to write a best selling series with movie prospects, or creates an organization to help former addicts and alcoholics re claim their position in our society. Use your rock bottom as the foundation for a healthy and purposeful life and, be content in the knowledge that you survived whatever brought you to this point and are stronger for it!