We may hear the phrase “hit bottom” more than once as we begin our journey into the world of sobriety. What does “hit bottom” mean? Maybe we have a preconceived notion about what hitting bottom looks like. Is it someone clutching a bottle of the cheapest booze, half propped up on yellowed newspapers against a rusted out dumpster in a rat infested alleyway using a cardboard box for shelter? There are bottoms that do, in fact, look like that however many more bottoms do not resemble that particular image.
The fact of the matter is that our “bottom” isn’t really about how awful our life may or may not look outside of us. There are bottoms that people have hit where they did not lose their jobs, their places to live, their cars, had their children taken away, divorced or split from their partners, lost their businesses, etc.
What “hitting bottom” actually means is that we get to that place where we feel ever-so-lost, writhing in agonizing emotional pain, empty, and very, very alone. What we may have done, be it drank, took drugs, numbed ourselves out in some way, no longer keeps that soul-suffering at bay. We are wholly and totally broken, from the inside out.
In this California drug rehabilitation center, the staff is able to help us see how our outside differences are not the defining factor when it comes to measuring our respective bottoms. Instead, they show us it’s that misery which we can tolerate no longer that is the binding factor between us. We are now at a place where we can no longer ease our way by drinking alcohol and/or using drugs. Our stories may differ about how we arrived but our sense of utter hopeless desperation is the same. This is hitting bottom.