What it Means to Hit Rock Bottom

What it Means to Hit Rock Bottom


The rock bottom point is different for every individual. Sometimes it is a life altering event, other times it is something personal such as losing a job or a broken relationship. Hitting bottom is a process as a person with addiction to alcohol or drugs goes through to lift denial about the nature of addiction and the damage caused physically and emotionally. It is a light bulb moment when the person realizes he or she has had enough.



The very premise of hitting rock bottom is that persons with addiction hit one bottom and when that is achieved, the individual becomes sober or checks in for treatment. Individuals with addiction are resilient. Bouncing along the bottom for years, individuals may not recognize the need for help until a tough spot emerges.


Mental Games

The disease of addiction is the only one people can experience where a person can deny the existence of what is the root cause of the problem. If a person breaks an arm, medical attention is sought to fix what’s broken. Alcoholism and addiction work the opposite way in that physical symptoms manifest but the disease sabotages the message between the brain and body to keep the person with addiction captive to the whims of the illness (denial). Things to remember about hitting rock bottom include:

  • A life-altering event is usually required for a person to admit a problem exists
  • Many alcoholics stay in denial about the disorder by saying bad things have not happened ‘yet’
  • Hitting rock bottom is a place where everything feels lost. It is best to get help before reaching this low



Below are five tips to help individuals with addiction find help before hitting rock bottom.

  • Take a self-assessment test for alcohol problems. If a problem with alcohol or drugs is suspected, chances are it is happening. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers a test to identify possible alcoholism or addiction.
  • Seek support. Attend an AA meeting, SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery (among others) as a good place to begin. Try a few different meetings before deciding which is best.
  • Seek one-on-one professional help. Speaking with a therapeutic support person whether a counselor, therapist or other individual can help address underlying issues which led to addiction.
  • Find treatment centers. Mental health clinics offer intensive outpatient programs. Residential rehab may work for some yet others find a treatment center is the best option.
  • Treat the family. Attend Al-Anon or CRAFT-modeled programs which require participation from family with training available.


The journey back from rock bottom feels difficult and challenging but is ultimately essential to recovery. If you need help getting back from rock bottom to the top, we can help. Call us to find out how we can support your journey to sobriety.