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Do You Have to Hit Rock Bottom To Beat Addiction?

One of the most persistent myths about addiction and recovery is that you have to hit rock bottom before you can recover from addiction. This myth probably persists because it is useful. It absolves the person with the substance use disorder from taking responsibility as long as he can still imagine life getting worse and it absolves his family and friends from making any real effort to convince him to get help. To be clear, friends and family are not responsible for their loved one’s addiction but people often do decide to get help with encouragement from friends and family. Loved ones can show concern, listen, refrain from judgment, suggest treatment, refrain from enabling, and so on. Here are the major problems with waiting to hit rock bottom before seeking help for addiction.


Sometimes rock bottom never comes. 

The first thing to keep in mind is that rock bottom may never come. It’s not written anywhere that someone with a substance use disorder will eventually realize he’s in bad shape and decide to turn things around. In 2017, more than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses and more than 88,000 people died of alcohol-related causes. Addiction is a progressive disease and you tolerance for a substance’s psychoactive effects far outpaces your body’s tolerance for the physiological effects. That means at some point, you will overdose and that might happen before you reach rock bottom.


It’s also worth considering that some of those 150,000-plus people probably did have a rock-bottom moment, or even several, but for whatever reason, it didn’t lead to lasting change. Recovering from addiction requires more than just the realization that you can’t go on doing what you’re doing.


No one is completely ready to enter treatment.

The other major problem with the rock-bottom myth is that it rests on the hidden assumption that at some point, everything will become clear to you and you will be ready to commit to treatment. In reality, few people who enter treatment are completely sure they want to. Either they feel like something has to change, even if they aren’t sure they’re ready or their families, or perhaps a drug court, has given them no other choice. People typically act first, then their motivation to get sober grows gradually during treatment. You don’t have to be sure that you want to get sober or that treatment is right for you; you only have to be willing to try it. 


Making the decision to get help for addiction is never easy. Everyone has doubts or reservations. However, the longer you wait, the harder it gets, and the more risk you expose yourself to. Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a unique addiction treatment program that uses fitness, team-building, and therapy to help men create better lives, free from addiction. To learn more about our program, call us today at 855-202-2138.

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