When do we begin to fight for our lives?
What constitutes “rock bottom” in the world of alcoholism, drug addiction, or any other detrimental malady that confronts our lives? Anyone who has identified this bottom in his or her own life can easily describe it, as he or she understands it. It is quite simple! Or is it?
I once met a brother of a drug addict in recovery. The brother has since died from active drug addiction. When you met him, you would not see a part of one hand… his index finger and tip of his thumb were charred black, like carbon, from smoking a crack stem. The two brothers would fly from the Northeast US to Bogota, Columbia to pick up their drugs. The deceased brother was a pilot.
Around that same time I met a girl who was in treatment. She was a bartender, and had gotten involved with cocaine eight months earlier. She had a problem getting to work, lost her job, entered treatment voluntarily, and has been sober ever since.
These stories are very true, and happened early in 1990. I know that time frame, as I was rather new in recovery myself. I was hearing so many stories that seemed to trump my own, that I was beginning to question whether or not I belonged with this group of recovering addicts. My story just seemed to pale in comparison to others. Heck, there was even a guy who was such a successful gigolo that he moved around through at least twenty wealthy women who quite readily funded an expensive drug habit! I never even thought of that possibility, and he operated in and around my town! Maybe I didn’t belong here yet.
So, when I met the bartender and then the pilot, I understood my place in recovery. They actually taught me, without even knowing it, that I was somewhere between them both. I used for a very long time and had suffered some significant losses, yet I never flew a plane to Bogota, and my fingers looked just fine. I was just an average addict and alcoholic, and I did belong.
I could fit in quite easily between these two people, as the bartender was accepted in the fellowship, and the pilot was encouraged to be a part of them but could not seem to get it together.
I became “at home” and found my sobriety. Many do not.
Thousands never get the 2×4 smack in the head to find that distinction. Why not? What prevents someone from finding their bottom? Why do so many have to die like that pilot? He was a nice guy! All those I have met were nice people, although maybe not so much when they are out there running behind their addictions, but authentically nice when they chose to look at sobriety. Why do they all not get it?
It is about loss. It is about feeling the losses. It is about accepting that these losses will cripple us. It is about the fact that the losses will continue to mount. It is about the devastation of life in addiction.
It is about a State of Mind that allows us to admit that we are beaten, and that change is mandatory.
The ability to immediately, or eventually, see this point varies from person to person.
This one point of awareness and ownership is the brick wall that the professionals, the families and the 12-Step communities fight every day while trying to help the suffering alcoholic or drug addict.
Yes, the State of Mind, that we have identified our bottom and have accepted that we have had enough, must exist within our conscience and our hearts in order to begin the path that leads to quality long-term sobriety.
About the Author:
Dave Innis, CRC, is an independent certified recovery sober recovery coach, sober companion and case manager. He works with recovering alcoholics and addicts globally, either in person, via Skype sessions, phone or email. Dave Innis began as a substance abuse counselor in late 1994 and has worked in the field both in the southwest and eastern US. Dave operates in the US as well as globally, and lives in Chicopee, Ma. Dave will work with individuals, families, employers or recovery agencies upon request. Contact Dave Innis…
Please share this below. You may help some people to find the help they need. Thank you, Dave.