Do I Have to Hit Bottom?
Working in treatment many people ask me if they can avoid losing everything before they get clean. My response is simple: I lost more than I ever could have imagined, and then I lost even more.
No, you don’t have to “hit bottom” in order to get sober. Or is it possible instead to be forced into treatment or 12-step meetings, and somehow prevent actually hitting bottom and losing everything? I freely admit it took bottom for me but quick to point out to young people “don’t be like me.” My addiction can be traced back to 1978 but I only entered the rooms in 2009 when it was suggested that I might have a problem. In my case, I saw myself as fully functional business executive who flew on planes, went to important meetings and raised a family. Yup, I needed to see and feel from the bottom (before a worse one arrives).
I think the wisdom here is that we can all feel a bottom of some kind that pauses is to think that “my way” isn’t working. Since we are all different people a bottom maybe different but have the same effect. The big book tells us “jails, institutions or death”. However, losing a job or getting kicked out of school can be just as painful and consequential depending on your threshold for pain.
I’ve learned through my own findings and friends that there are other ways for addicts to get sober. The fact is, each one of us is different. We all need different things to get sober. You will know it when you see it!