Do Addicts Have to Hit Rock Bottom to Start Recovering?

June 29, 2019 Jami DeLoe

In the addiction recovery community, you’ll hear talk of addicts hitting “rock bottom” before they finally got clean and sober. There are even people in recovery who believe that addicts have to hit rock bottom before getting better. They believe that addicts and alcoholics have to reach the lowest point in their lives due to their addictions to be motivated to get sober. Often, hitting rock bottom is associated with the loss of jobs, homes, relationships, and health. And it’s true, many people who suffer from addiction do lose those things before they finally get help. But do addicts really have to hit rock bottom to get clean? 

Hitting Rock Bottom Due to Addiction

I think it can be dangerous to think that way. The thought that you can only get sober once you have crashed and burned and find yourself at the lowest point in your life carries some serious potential consequences. I believe that addicts have the opportunity to seek help at any time during their addiction, and the sooner they do, the better. 

If I had waited to hit the rock bottom that people refer to, I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be here writing this now. Yes, in my active drinking days I did lose relationships, and I wrecked cars, and I had legal issues, but I still had a home to live in and a job that paid me. Had I continued to drink while biding my time until everything was gone and I was at rock bottom, I definitely believe that my life would have been in danger. At the very least, I would’ve ended up in jail or prison. At the very worst, I would’ve died, either at my own hand or as a consequence of my alcoholism.

Don't Wait for Rock Bottom to Get Help for Addiction

Consider this: Would a doctor tell you to wait until an infection got much worse before prescribing antibiotics or some other form of treatment? Of course not. Neither should you wait to get help for substance abuse or addiction

Here’s the way I look at it: Your rock bottom, the point where you are the lowest in your life, is simply where you choose to stop digging and ask for help. If that’s before you’ve suffered any of the negative consequences that often go along with addiction, then you are very fortunate. You don’t have to wait until things are worse to be successful in getting better; there is no “right” time to pursue treatment. You can stop digging at any time and work to change your life for the better. 

Recovery Can Start at Any Time

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, the time to seek help is right now. Even if you haven’t suffered significant consequences due to your drinking or using, you’ve likely seen the potential for it. Whether you are simply tired of the cycle of self-destruction or you’ve lost everything that is important to you, it’s time to stop digging and change your life. You don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to start rebuilding your life, you just have to be ready to get started now. 

Tags: rock bottom

APA Reference
DeLoe, J. (2019, June 29). Do Addicts Have to Hit Rock Bottom to Start Recovering?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 23 from

Author: Jami DeLoe

Jami DeLoe is a freelance writer and addiction blogger. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and addiction recovery and is a recovering alcoholic herself. Find Jami DeLoe on her blog, Sober GraceTwitter, and Facebook.

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