Why Hitting Rock Bottom is the Catalyst for Sobriety

hitting rock bottom before sobriety

The one thing guaranteed in life: there are no guarantees.

Rock Bottom and Alcoholism

Addiction and alcoholism have a funny way of promising us time and time again fun and happy experience. Only to then turn around and backstabbed us all. It instead has provided to us a swift kick to our head and body by some well-crafted steel-toed boots. Then proceeded in it’s torture by throwing salt into our eyes, mouth, and open wounds. Why do we let addiction and alcoholism bring us to our rock bottom? Why do we continue to give this illness a chance before seeking treatment? Between the various negative aspects, including the stress that chemical dependency delivers, why is it that we choose to ignore rock bottom showing up right at our feet? Addiction, that’s why! It is a disease and one that must be treated by medical professionals like at Coastal Detox located in South Florida. 

Negative Aspects of Alcoholism- Short Term Side Effects

  • Slurred Speech
  • Vision
  • Coordination issues
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Lapse in memory
  • Shallow breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Uncontrolled defecation / urination  
  • Coma
  • Death

Negative Aspects of Alcoholism- Body 

  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Breasts
  • Colon
  • Bones and muscles
  • Central nervous system
  • Immune system

The brain is the first to be impacted by even the first sip of alcohol. By a prolonged use or abuse of alcohol, it has been proven to shrink the brain size. Blackouts are a sure symptom of the brain’s impact of alcohol, a sure-fire sign that it has begun to cause major issues to our health.

The heart, although proven to be positively impacted by alcohol in moderate use, has detrimental effects with heavy intake. Heart attack and heart failure are two issues that are proven to arise from long term heavy use of alcohol.

The liver’s main objective in the body is to clear the toxins. The impact of heavy use in a shortened period of time leads to the metabolism being overwhelmed. This then causes fatty liver disease leading to an array of issues.

The pancreas becomes inflamed, even with occasional drinking. Diabetes and organ damage are possible outcomes of long term heavy alcohol use. 

The breasts and the colon are impacted by heavy alcohol use. The breasts are impacted by a rise in estrogen causing possible breast cancer to occur. The colon is impacted by the development of adenomas, which are capable of becoming cancerous polyps if not treated. 

The bones are impacted due to the loss of appetite which leads to fewer nutrients within the body, weakening the bones themselves. The muscles, not being supplied with nutrients, most importantly protein leading to loss of muscle mass and deterioration. 

The central system, as mentioned previously, slurred speech and coordination are impacted by alcohol use. Both are a part of the nervous system. With long term alcohol abuse or alcoholism, larger issues arise such as pain or numbness in the extremities. 

The immune system is impacted by alcohol use by causing the body to not make the required amount of white blood cells. Without the immune system able to create our own natural defense against the outside world we are more susceptible to virus’ or colds.

Negative Aspects of Alcoholism- Long Term Side Effects

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Liver disease
  • Ulcers
  • Cancer
  • Nerve damage
  • Respiratory infections

The sickness or the disease of addiction and alcoholism is the resounding fact that alcoholism and addiction want us to only remember all of those glorious times. The belly laughs and the fun that we had while we were shoving chemicals into our bloodstreams. The most ridiculous part is that while we may remember all those ‘good times’ we are ignoring the blatantly obvious aspect that the ‘good times’ are no longer here to comfort us. The obvious aspects such as spending endless days and nights attempting to piece our lives back together. With only the fragments of our lives, we hope are still intact. For some, there are no fragments left.  We lie awake in a stupor of depression, shame, guilt, and isolation. Only to be hoping our true rock bottom arrives or is it here? Addiction and alcoholism want us to only recall those ‘good times’ so we nonchalantly cold shoulder the recounted days where suicide was on the front burner of our minds. Our choice of poison and television were the only allies, in our muddled minds anyway, we had to comfort the tears.

We reach what some might consider a low point, only to realize- that it can always get worse. Eventually, if we continue to abuse alcohol or another substance at the rate our minds and our conditioned impulse reminds us to, the grim reaper is sure to arrive on our doorstep. Death is the endgame of the Russian roulette we were sucked into. Rock bottom doesn’t have to be shaking hands with the grim reaper. Unfortunately, some of us have a rock bottom that’s depth knows no bounds while they sink further into the abyss. Drowning their fear, shame, guilt, and depression at the bottom of the bottle.

Rock bottom is not always defined by death. It can be defined by the complete isolation from peers and loved ones or complete loss of connection with people in general. Rock bottom can appear as receiving lower grades than their usual straight ‘A’s.’ It can manifest as a loss of identity by losing the job or career that makes up your whole self.  

However, for some of us, the concept of hitting rock bottom and playing games with the afterlife is what it takes to shake us to our core. To thrust us into drive and tiptoe away slowly. Although others that prefer to live on the edge and push the limits despite how far they have sunk. By realizing that they, or possibly you must turn back now or jump off the cliff is a pretty intimidating thought. 

Rock Bottom and Fear

Rock bottom for alcoholism or addiction can look different for each and every person. Just like the differences between culture or personality, rock bottom varies from this person to the next. However, rock bottom stems from fear. Fear of change, fear of a new start, fear of isolation, fear of admittance, and the list goes on.

Fear isn’t an emotion only experienced by those stricken with the disease of addiction. Fear sneaks in for each of us throughout our life experience. Poking holes into our well-constructed timeline or as a child in a dark room. However, those of us that are addicts and alcoholics, well, allow fear to seep into the very fabric of our soul and dictate every single aspect of our lives. All while we lie in a fetal position(figuratively or some- our reality) chained to a pile of shame and justification. We allow fear to prevent us from discovering that rock bottom so we can push forward with our lives.

Imagination and Alcoholism

We live on a planet that consists of roughly 8 billion people, over 320 million live within the United States.  If we take a moment to pause, to stop and think just how different everyone is. The various qualities of each corner of the world.  Everyone has a specific mindset, personality, and their own ambitions. 

Imagine each one of us blindly walking forward through life. Each one of us attempting to jam random keys in locked doors. Following maps that have lost their “X” long ago. Yet, here we are, with our own specific treasure hunt. Different from anyone else’s.  All of our paths are different, despite their similar obstacles. Our paths cross and knot together occasionally. Obstructing each other’s pathways along the way. This is, in part, why we here at Coastal Detox exist. 

With each of us having our own vivid imagination and set of Walt Disneyesque dreams, it’s no wonder addiction/alcoholism only attaches onto some and not others. Of those that happen to have the leeching disease of addiction snag onto them, 21 million here in the United States, some are able to persevere while others seem to struggle far greater to overcome the disease. Some fight that rock bottom and hold onto their using times- or the “glory days.”

Alcoholism and Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms 

Signs of Alcoholism              

  • Quantity or general use of alcohol has increased
  • Tolerance had grown, hangovers are less likely
  • Social situations without alcohol are less appealing and avoided
  • Avoiding contact or interaction with loved ones
  • Emotional issues and turmoil
  • Needing alcohol each day to manage
  • Negative mood swings when not drinking
  • Hiding drinking from loved ones and associates
  • Job loss, arrests, legal problems linked to alcohol use
  • Issues with loved ones and associates stemmed from alcohol use bringing forth further abuse or alcohol.

Mild Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Hand tremors
  • Sweat increase
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Headache

Major Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Heavy production of sweat
  • Racing heart &/or high blood pressure
  • Confusion 
  • Hallucinations 

Each of these symptoms of withdrawal is indicative of the necessity of treatment for alcoholism. Admitting the severity of the symptoms is always the first step. However, admitting the problem and taking the necessary steps to better ourselves can be the scariest step. Realizing that we need to seek out a professional for our disease, the addiction to alcohol, is terrifying but seeking that help is such a brave step.

Healing, Recognition, and Alcoholism

By recognizing that we have hit our own personal rock bottom and are living in that mindset is what truly drops people to their knees. To admit one is an addict or alcoholic is the easy part, we admit it. We are facing ourselves in the mirror and admitting how far we have sunk. Then we must accept it. Then to realize there is no other direction- no other option- then this disease, addiction, or disparaging illness can take us. This is where the revelations begin. Where healing and growth can finally start to occur, as long as we allow it. By acknowledging that we are at the worst we can possibly allow ourselves to get. Everything in our lives is disintegrating before our eyes and our only directional choices are painted out for us, clear as night and day.

It is an unfortunate reality, how our alcoholic thinking just takes over any of our autonomy. Making our decisions for us. There is no specific timeline or length. For some it can go on for a short time, luckily realizing what is happening. Unfortunately for others it systematically stems out for a conglomeration of years. Some addicts and alcoholics never find their perfect solution. 

History of Alcoholism

However, there is a solution for all of us. We are not doomed to wander the earth in an uncomfortable stupor.  A bit short of a hundred years ago, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was created by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob. They themselves were also one of us.  Individuals who dealt with the grips of alcoholism. They were doing everything in their power to climb up and out of their own rock bottom to continue living. They wanted to take back their own lives, their true path in life, instead of vicariously through an empty glass bottle.

It was upon this founding of A.A. that the 12 steps were created, and these two men were saved from rock bottom by discovering the powers of friendship and fellowship. Through their efforts of trading their rocks for pebbles, these two men created an entity that has saved countless thousands and thousands of addicts and alcoholics struggling with the phenomenon of craving. Bill and Bob were at a point where there was no other direction. They were at their rock bottom and it was those bottoms that inspired the anonymous programs we are so fond of today. For the longest time, there has been a hole inside for most that needed to be filled. Addiction and alcoholism dig up that hole. Once recovery and solution are provided, the hole that leads to rock bottom is filled and it becomes just another step in your bottomless day.

End Of The Line

Life likes to throw curveballs at you while addiction and alcoholism pelt you with rocks and make everything very dark around you. It gets old and gloomy quick- but there are alternatives to living in such dark times. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification and/or alcohol treatment, please call 1-877-406-6623 or visit us here at Coastal Detox. Our teams of specialists are waiting to help. Let us help figure out and decide what options are best for sending your life in a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.