A friend of mine once asked me “what does it mean to hit rock bottom, and how do you know
If you’re there?”
As a crisis supporter, I speak to a lot of people who have hit rock bottom and have
been stuck there for quite some time. I speak with people who are thinking about suicide, are in the
process of planning suicide or have attempted suicide. I would definitely say that if you are in this
extreme frame of mind where you are contemplating or have attempted suicide, then you have “bottomed out” and would fit the most extreme criteria of this definition.
If you are at this stage, please seek help in any form you can. Speak to a family member, a trusted friend, your GP or counselor or by ringing your local Crisis Support Hotline. In Australia, you can ring Lifeline or 1800Respect amongst others…
I asked my friend what he thought rock bottom was and he gave me a wry smile and said that he had hit rock bottom. He told me he was at a club and had gone into a cubicle in the men’s room to have the last bit of crystal methamphetamine that he had left. It was wrapped up in a little square of foil wrap and was neatly tucked away in the bottom of a small jewelry bag. As he took it out he noticed it was spread out along all the creases of the foil wrap, and as he tried to gather it up the whole package slipped from his hands and fell in the toilet. He didn’t hesitate in grabbing it up and even though the whole thing was wet from the toilet water/urine or whatever else was in there he quickly licked it clean.
“I’m so fucking ashamed Bro – that’s fucking rock bottom!” were his words…
This was rock bottom for my toilet water flavoured, crystal meth licking friend (he won’t mind me calling him this!). This simple, disgusting act brought to light the fact that he had a drug problem and for him, this was his realisation that he had hit rock bottom.
This would be his turning point. From that moment, he decided to change his life – this is how he described it to me – “I was so disgusted with myself, I wanted to change, to be anyone but that person that would do something like that…” Let me just say at this juncture, that as a crisis supporter we are trained to have “unconditional positive regard”. This is a fancy way of saying that we should always remain non-judgemental and accept and support someone no matter what they say or do. I did not judge my friend but simply supported him on his road to recovery which had more than a few speed bumps along the way.
If you have hit rock bottom and are trying to turn your life around, the first thing you need to do is to make sure you surround yourself with people that do not judge you but support you. You’re carrying around a big enough bag of guilt without having others add to it! This also applies to the flipside – if someone that you know is trying to pick themselves up, and turn their life around, show them unconditional positive regard. #bekind …
As a crisis supporter, I look for positives. Help Seekers tell you their story which can sound like a made-up tragedy, but then you stop and think, no one can make this shit up, this must be real. Amongst all the despair and carnage that is someone’s life, you look for and try to grasp onto something good! A mention of a brother, a childhood friend, a caring mother or an understanding work colleague… Just a glimmer of something positive, anything that the help seeker can hold on to, can facilitate a positive change in their life. My ex-clubbing (staying away from clubs was one of the many things that he did to distance himself from the drug scene), friend was able to enact the turning on his own with some support from his friends and family. He had an epiphany, a realisation of how far he had strayed from his preferred path and had the gumption to reset his life.
Others are not able to do this on their own and need much deeper guidance, counselling and support. The good news is that in Australia and in most developed countries, there are many services available and many of them are free…
The question then is: can you choose your rock bottom? Yes, you can. Easier said than done, but yes, we have a choice. We can say to ourselves, “this is rock bottom for me” … then you must access every avenue available to you in your road to recovery.
-Be the boss of yourself-
A very important person in my life, my dear Uncle, once told me this… “You must be the boss of yourself. Don’t let food be the boss of you, don’t let alcohol be the boss of you, don’t let gambling be the boss of you, don’t let drugs be the boss of you. You be the boss of you!” In hindsight, I think he was talking about discipline! Something that doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Life can be a constant struggle with some or all of the things I mentioned above, but if you make even the slightest improvement no matter how minuscule, and continue in that positive direction then guess what? Your rock bottom is behind you (no pun intended!).
-Choose your rock bottom –
Written by Guest Blogger “Anonymous” – Thank you, icourage.