In today’s episode, Annie talks ‘rock bottom’. What does hitting rock bottom mean for you and why do some of us just accept that we must get there before we change? Would we be better off if we had thoughtful foresight for our future and took control now? Today’s episode is a monologue where Annie dives deep into the ‘rock bottom’ philosophy and shares her own experience on what drove her to avoid a painful end to addiction.
You hear it said so many times that, “Oh, well, you just need to hit rock bottom and then everything turns around. You just need to hit rock bottom.” So I was thinking a lot about this. I was thinking about this when I was at the ocean visiting my grandma. My son and I were in the waves, and we were kind of on a boogie board, and the bottom was really rocky. I was like, “Oh, it’s like a rock bottom,” and I was like, “Huh, well, what is a rock bottom, really?”
Can’t Go Deeper
A rock bottom is where you hit rock at the bottom of something and you literally can’t go any deeper. You can’t go any further. You’re down. You’re done. I was thinking about that in the context that we use rock bottom with addiction. One of the thoughts I had was – Well, how come, then, people can have multiple rock bottoms? How come somebody can have a rock bottom and then go back into it and have a lower bottom and a lower bottom and a lower bottom? They say, “Oh, this is it, never again,” but then, two months later, five months later, a year later, they’re back again and they’re gone lower.
The problem is that when something goes really wrong, while, yes, it can be a catalyst for change, it’s not always a catalyst for change. Human beings, we change in one of two ways. We change to either avoid pain, which is obviously a rock bottom; you’re trying to avoid more of that pain. The other is to move towards pleasure. I think that around this conversation about alcohol we should shift our thinking as a society. To where we’re really looking at ourselves honestly and saying, “Is this bringing me as much pleasure? Is the pain that I’m experiencing,” even if it’s just hangovers in the morning or even if it’s just feeling slightly disconnected from people because, “I’m the designated driver so I’m a little miserable about not being able to drink,” or even if it’s just starting to hide a drink or two here or there, “Is this worth it?”
Shifting The Perspective
I think, often because we’re not presented with a view of living alcohol free as being a positive thing, that we get afraid of that. We just carry on in some of our pain until something bad or something catastrophic happens.
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Rock bottom, for me, it’s not really the disaster that facilitates the change as much as it’s a point of indecision. If you think about it literally, the fact that people can have multiple rock bottoms, the really true only rock bottom, therefore, is death. Maybe you could argue imprisonment could be one because you can’t really drink very easily in prison or do drugs very easily in prison. Then, if you get out of prison, you could have a lower rock bottom and go back to prison.
If we act on that, that really prison or death are the very lowest rock bottoms, most people don’t reach that point. Yet they do something in their life that they’re no longer willing to tolerate. The interesting thing about that is that I think as human beings, we have the capacity to look forward and anticipate what we’re no longer willing to tolerate before it happens.
Tune into the complete podcast for more on what Annie has to say on rock bottom.
Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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