Hitting Rock Bottom Quickly
I am speeding towards the ground, surrounded by flames. As I hit the ground, hit rock bottom, as it were, I feel nothing. There is nothing left of me to burn. There is nothing left of me to care. I cease.
I wonder, would I recognize myself in the ashes of my fall? If I were to reconnect those ashes, would I want to? I want to put them back but in a different configuration.
That is how I envisioned hitting rock bottom – a quick burn, like a capsule re-entering earth’s atmosphere and burning up on re-entry due to operator error. My fall would happen so fast that I would not recognize that was happening until it was too late and I hit rock bottom.
Consumed by Flames
Then from the flames of my epic speedy fall, I would rise, like the phoenix (which I have been slightly obsessed with lately)—my obsession with a mythical creature that rises from the ashes of its previous existence.
Maybe I see those ashes as rock bottom? Is that why, or where did this idea of rock bottom originates? This idea that I had to get to the point that I realize that I can no longer exist in the manner I have?
Why did I need to get to that point? Why does anyone? I have read a lot about addiction as it pertains to alcohol. I am learning more about my struggles with the most available, socially acceptable, poisonous drug out there in the world today – alcohol.
Here is the sticky bit – not one of my friends or family saw my behavior as indicative of addiction. I saw it, I knew it, but no one else did. That scared me more than anything else. I was slowly destroying myself, and no one could see it.
One Day I am Fine
Is it that everyone thought the descent to rock bottom would be fast? One day I am fine, and the next, I am sitting in a park with a can of alcohol, the dull look of a rough life reflected in my eyes? But that is not how it happens.
I have read the stories of other addicts. None of them had a quick descent, hit rock bottom, and then rose from that, engaged with treatment, etc.; that is not how hitting rock bottom works. It took me years to realize that I was falling. YEARS, and I am thinking probably thirty years.
Hitting rock bottom felt like jumping out of a plane. I had everything ready, equipment check, landing target, the training, etc., to make a successful jump. I thought it would be fast, jump out of the plane and you go rushing towards the earth.
Free Fall in Molasses
It is more like free-falling through molasses. The feeling of the slow-motion free fall is so lovely, and I forgot that I was falling. I forgot that I needed to pay attention. THUMP! I hit the ground. But it wasn’t jarring because I was free-falling through molasses. When I hit rock bottom, it was startling only because I didn’t see it coming.
Then there I was, sitting on my ass, crying cause I miss that warm molasses, and suddenly everything hurts. I was angry at the unfairness of being unceremoniously dumped on my backside when I was unprepared. Things weren’t great! What the heck is this reality crap?
Reality of Hitting Rock Bottom
I mean, I knew at times that I was plunging slowly to the ground, but it felt so nice and comforting while it was happening that I could ignore the reality. Which now makes reality especially hard to deal with.
The reality is this: I screwed up. I failed by staying in a false sense of slow free-fall, not looking up and looking around, and asking myself the most critical question. And there are still days that I miss that molasses cloud.
The Most essential Question
“What…?”(insert rest of the question) such as ‘what am I doing? ‘What am I trying to get done?’ ‘What happened to me?’ ‘What do I want to be doing?’ and so on. I stopped asking myself ‘why?’ It only frustrated me because there are times that the why is elusive or it doesn’t matter. What is a better question to start with? It provides a lot of openness to your answer.
Relying on Others
The other mistake that I know I made was turning to others to determine my rock bottom. Here is the problem with that, no one thought I had a problem. Yeah, I know; I am not sure either how that was possible.
I remember thinking, many, many times, ‘why hasn’t someone stopped me?’ Or maybe not stopped, because I am the only one that can do that, but at least say something, anything. Most likely, it wouldn’t have helped because it is so easy to tune that out too.
But when I finally admitted to having a problem, I had people denying my truth, telling me that I didn’t have a problem. Huh. And this is where I had to stand up for myself, and stand up to what I knew, what I know within my heart of hearts, is my truth. I hit rock bottom because I am an addict.