I’m sure many of you have heard someone playing an alcoholic or addict in a movie or TV show say “I needed to hit rock bottom before I could stop using.” I heard people say this in some of the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings I used to attend. Some would share how they lost their families and jobs before quitting, and others would share how they experienced jail time or had severe health issues before they were able to see they had a problem.
One person in particular, who I had a lot of respect for because of all the people he helped in the rooms, would tell the story of how even after losing his family and various jobs, he still drank, until one day while driving drunk he rolled his truck over and almost killed his dog. He would always add that at the time he never once considered he could have killed himself, but his love for his dog helped him hit bottom and finally to quit drinking for good.
Not everyone who shared their stories said they hit rock bottom before quitting though. There were others who, like me, still had their health, their families, and their jobs, but finally decided to quit drinking. (High bottom alcoholics who didn’t lose everything.)
Although I called myself a high bottom alcoholic over the first several years of my sobriety, I eventually began calling myself a “recovered alcoholic,” and more recently a self-proclaimed alcoholic. Not that I’m ashamed to call myself one, but I don’t believe everyone has to call themselves an alcoholic or addict to remind them of the fact. If we change as a person and continue to grow, our life becomes about who we are and can be, not who we were.
I also don’t believe every person with a drug or alcohol problem has to hit some kind of bottom before getting sober, but I do think there are physical, mental, and spiritual bottoms people can reach, and that death can be a bottom too.
I believe I hit a spiritual bottom on the morning of April 27, 1996. That’s when I knew in my heart I would have to stop drinking for good if I ever wanted to live a happier and better life.
Another person I knew in the rooms of AA years ago would always say. “I know I have another drunk in me, but I don’t believe I have another recovery.”
I imagine I too have another drunk in me, but it’s not something that I worry about very much these days. I know the happiness I’ve found so far in my sobriety cannot be replaced by a substance and that I’ve only scratched the surface in my spiritual growth.