Anyone can get sober / clean no matter how long they’ve been drinking or using. Just like addiction isn’t selective, neither is recovery. It’s about being willing and ready. In order for that to happen, you usually have to hit some kind of a “bottom”. A bottom is the lowest point you can get before you’re broken enough to give in. When the pain you’re feeling is greater than the fear. Some people never hit a bottom, they just allow their addictions to lead them straight to their graves. That may be a harsh reality, but it is a reality.
It takes some people longer to get to that point. They have to lose everything before the reality of it all hits them. 99% of the time, alcoholics and addicts aren’t even aware that they are sick. Therefore it takes massive measures for them to have their eyes opened. Ones who lose everything are what’s called “Low bottom drunks / addicts” I heard a story once of a woman who woke up in the county jail. She was hungover, feeling like crap and having no idea how or why she was there. Turns out she was driving her car during a blackout, side swiped a car and ran them off the road. The driver was in a coma as a result of that accident. I couldn’t imagine hitting a bottom like that and thank God I got sober before it could ever have become a reality. I’m what you call a “High bottom drunk” I still had a roof over my head, a wife and people in my life (although even that was coming to an end unbeknownst to me) My bottom was extremely mental. The last thing I remember during my last drunk was having a shot in my hand and not being able to put it down, no matter how hard I willed myself to. After seeing the video of myself the next day, any bit of denial that I was hanging on to went right out the window. As I watched it, I felt myself getting physically ill as the reality of it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been “faking” recovery until that relapse because I still swore up and down that I didn’t have a problem and that everyone was merely exaggerating about my drinking. After seeing that video, I knew and I instantly became broken and willing. When I went back to recovery, I went in waving the proverbial white flag . My attitude was “Okay, I’m broken, how do you fix me?” My friend saw that I was well on my way to self destruction, and didn’t want to wait around for me to hit my bottom on my own. By that time, it may have killed me. She decided to raise the bottom in order for me to hit it. By the grace of God, I’ve been sober ever since. My bottom wasn’t as drastic as some, but it was drastic enough for me to realize I was out of control and needed help to find my way back.
The reality is, we have to be willing to seek help, we have to be willing to do what we need to do in our own recoveries, and we have to be WILLING to maintain our sobriety and use the tools we’ve learned in order to do so. We can’t get clean and sober on will power.
There are those on occasion, who don’t hit a bottom at all. For what ever reason, they come to the conclusion that they need help on their own, and they act accordingly. It’s rare, but it does happen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen enough.
June 1, 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist