Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hitting Bottom

I was thinking this morning of how everyone's "bottom" is different in addiction/alcoholism.  Each person has their own threshold of no return where enough is enough and change is actively sought.

When the phrase "hitting bottom" is applied to an addict, stereotypical images of a bum sleeping on the street in rags comes to mind.  Does a person have to lose everything and beg on street corners for change before they officially reach "bottom" status?  No. 

It might be a white-collar professional who becomes alarmed at how much brandy is drunk every night and feels the overwhelming need to change.  It might be a single mom on welfare realizing her meth use is going to get her kids taken away from her.  It might be the boss whose wife is threatening divorce unless he stops drinking, and even then he may not stop, and won't until he risks losing the house. 

Everyone has their own wake-up call moment for when they acknowledge - and accept - the fact that they have to stop participating in the self-destruction.  Yes, some people won't stop until they literally have lost everything, and some people don't/won't stop until they're dead.  For some it can be a much lighter, but no less effective, message.  Hell, I heard one story in AA long ago of a woman who upon taking her first ever drink of alcohol got so scared at how much she loved it that she swore to never take another drink again and started going to meetings.  I don't know if that story is true, but how much misery could we all save ourselves and the world if were all in as much tune with reality as she was?

But we aren't in tune with reality because we're so busy trying to escape it.  Even when our lives are crumbling around us and we've fucked things up good and proper we still try to escape reality through our vices, because going through the misery that addiction brings is still preferable to dealing with reality.  How fucked up is that? 

For me, it's the belief that I don't deserve a better life, or will just fuck it all up so why bother trying, that keeps me continually climbing the walls of the pit.  I crawl out for a bit and hover towards the edge, sometimes leaving one foot dangling in, but never have I been able to completely pull myself out and away from the damn thing.

If you read my old blog on Myspace you know I've written extensively about my struggles with addiction.  There was a point that I did reach a point of being that homeless bum on the street and even then I didn't see any point to changing.  Fast foward through the years to now, after countless attempts to get clean and countless relapses, countless second and third chances given by friends and family, countless jobs lost, close shaves with the law and with death.....and still I hover near the edge wanting to dive right back in.

I haven't shared much about my most recent nosedive last summer, except that it was the arrest of my dealer (the only one in the area that deals with heroin) and the thought of being cut off from my supply that prompted getting clean again, not because of any *real* desire to do so.  In September I OD'd; fortunately was with someone at the time who was alert enough to recognize the signs, and upon waking up in the ER did I have some life-changing affirmative moment where I vowed never to use again?  Fuck no.  I used again as soon as I could.  Almost dying wasn't a big deal.  How messed up is it that almost dying didn't make me want to stop, but rather it was a "forced" clean up due to lack of supplies! 

Of course once the dreaded withdrawals are over and I'm thinking slightly more rationally again, I do see the insanity of it all and know if I can't get my shit together I'm going to end up dying from this.  Some days that doesn't seem like such a bad thing.  Some days it scares me enough to stay on the straight and narrow for one more day.  Most often I turn to alcohol to deal with things. 

I don't know what it's going to take to make me genuinely want to stay clean, instead of doing it for reasons outside myself or for others because it's what they want.  There have been times where I thought I wanted it, was sure of it.  I was sure I had hit *my* bottom and was ready to live a better life.  Those times turned out to be me trying to convince myself of it because I was getting clean for someone else, not because I wanted it. 

I've tried AA and NA, have done half-assed attempts at working the steps with a sponsor, but in hindsight it was all for show.  I fully state and acknowledge that I am an addict.  The thing is, I don't care.  I've never felt that deep-down desire to stop, or felt that some mythical higher power could create that desire in me.

Until I believe that I deserve better and want this for myself, I will continue to struggle.  How, then, do I get myself to that point?  That's the million dollar question.  I know the more I delve into my inner self and analyze, the more I face and process my other issues, and the more support I seek from others, it helps, but it's not always enough.  Most days just the thought of all the work and effort this takes shuts me down and makes me want to throw in the towel. 

Sorry for the whine, I just needed to get this off my chest.


  1. Complete Surrender. Lay your 'Isaac' down. Until you let go completely this cycle will continue to happen. It's like hanging on to the last bit of string, you have to release it, and trust your HP, trust your program, and trust yourself that everything will be OK. It's riding on blind faith, but it works, it did for me, it does for many, it can for you. Complete and total surrender, it has to be....

  2. I don't see this as a whine at all. We all need to vent from time to time. With each time you stop and look at things/ situations/ concerns.. your life- as you have done here, I believe you have come a step closer to finding that reason you are looking for, the purpose you seek, that will give you the reason to clean up your act and stay that way.

  3. See, but I just can't grasp the whole surrender and higher power concept. that's why I've failed at the whole step thing, I believe I'm powerless but I don't believe that there's some higher power out there that can help me.

  4. We are all here for you, even through the rants and the rants are important for you need to release it from you and give it to someone else to bear ..... You are a worthy person !!!

  5. You have hit the nail on the head you need to become your friend and feel your worthiness, your failures are not such failures, they are merely steps along the way...we are all imperfect and you are stronger than you think, to share what you have is brave, to still be loved by those who you share with is a triumph.

    Maybe it is about finding trust that you are loveable not only to others but to yourself...and yes there are times that if you were your friend you'd fall out with yourself for the way you were behaving.....we ALL have that about ourselves, especially when we look back...we can all be our worst enemies and our best friend all rolled up into one....hugs xxx