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The Mythical 'Rock Bottom' of Alcoholism

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When did you hit "rock bottom"?

Tell me your "rock bottom" story.

There is not a chance you've made it through even the first tentative steps of recovery from alcoholism without hearing both of these sentences. Which is a real shame given what a pile of sh*t they both are.

"Rock bottom" is just another myth of alcoholism. One that is so widely received as true wisdom that we've accepted it as fact.

For a start there's no quantifiable "rock bottom". Somebody with money will hit financial crisis later than somebody without. A more physically robust individual will keep their health intact longer than a weaker one. Somebody pre-disposed to mental illness will stop functioning long before someone who is not. Every person has differing levels of tolerance to all these things. Irrespective to- and completely regardless of- the amount they of alcohol they consume.

When did you decide to keep doing something that is destroying you from the inside out?

Tell me the story where you just decided to simply exist through addiction.

Also there's the issue of "rock bottom" in itself. By definition it's the end . Done. Nowhere left to go from there. That's dead. Not near-death. Not clinically dead but resuscitated in A&E. Proper dead. Gone. End of.

Sober at last.

If you're reading this then you aren't dead. If I'm writing this then I'm not either. So that's at least two of us that didn't hit "rock bottom".

So let's stop telling our imaginary "rock bottom" stories now please.

There's a strong sense in recovery circles that if your "rock bottom" story isn't very impressive then it's a source of shame. I've heard a lot of people comment that they don't feel anywhere near "rock bottom" (thank f*ck), but they want to stop drinking anyway. Worried that "rock bottom" is the secret handshake they aren't privy to yet. Those two magic words that give us permission to finally stop this insane behaviour.

The myth of "rock bottom" holds a lot of people back from sobriety. It's a real shame. Very sad. When did we get like this? When did it start being normal to refuse to stop when something makes us unwell and unhappy. Robs the colour from our lives. Numbs us to the beauty that surrounds us. When did that stop being reason enough to start to change?

Why is there such a high tolerance for unhappiness in our society? When we have so many ways to experience happiness? So much time, so much opportunity and more and more so much information on how to live happy and fulfilled lives?

None of us have to be anywhere near a supposed "rock bottom" to stop hurting ourselves. Using the excuse that we've grown up around it or don't know any differently just doesn't cut it anymore-not with the whole entire world at our fingertips. Answers to every single question ever uttered. Solutions being formulated by someone somewhere at the other end of a screen before we've barely finished forming the question.

"Rock bottom" is not a fact. Nor is it an excuse. It's time to stop telling our sad tales of woe. Time to start making lists. Reasons to stay away from the bottom of anything. The bottom of a glass for a start.

When did you hit on the inspiration to get sober?

Tell me about the moment you started really living again.

Around the Web

Alcoholism and Problem Drinking. Withdrawal ... - Patient.co.uk

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Alcoholism Counselling - Counselling Directory

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