What Does Hitting Bottom Mean?
Dear Dr. Steve:
friend of mine has tried to convince me that my son has a drug problem. She goes to
Al-Anon meetings so I trust that she knows what shes talking about. But she
isnt much help beyond telling me that he has a problem. When I ask her what I should
do about it, she just shakes her head and grabs my arm and says, Theres
nothing you can do about it. He has to want to change himself and until he hits bottom,
then all you can do is stand by and watch. Do you have any suggestions for me?
who have a problem with drugs and alcohol, it seems that there is little that you can do
because things must get worse before things get better. That is what your friend meant
when she said that your son must hit bottom. Until the pain from the consequences
of his using becomes unbearable, he is likely to continue to drink and drug.
will continue to use right now because his decision to continue drinking and drugging is
being fortified by his denial system. He has different ways of explaining away any
problems he may be experiencing as a result of his drug and alcohol use. He can blame
others. He can make up excuses. He can minimize the severity of his use and his problems.
one thing that we can say for sure is, that if your son does have a problem with drugs and
alcohol, it will get progressively worse rather than level off and/or get better without
any intervention. Thats the nature of the disease of chemical dependency. Its
chronic and progressive.
is your sons bottom? Nobody can say for sure. It varies from person to person. Some
people go on for many years denying their downward spiral into physical, behavioral,
interpersonal, emotional, psychological, financial, and spiritual decline. But rest
assured, your son does have a bottom to hit and when he does, then he might be more
responsive to the wake-up that hitting ones bottom can be.
then, the best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Go with your friend to an
Al-Anon meeting. Learn from others how best to cope with the helplessness and
powerlessness that youre currently experiencing. Learn about the disease of
alcoholism and drug addiction. Learn how the disease affects family members. The more you
learn today, the better able you will be there for your son when he hits bottom and truly
from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to
choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D.
Recovery book seriesFrom Insanity to Serenity.
1.) For a person with a drug and alcohol problem, things have to get worse before things
can get better.
Hitting bottom is the expression used to identify the point in time when the consequences
of ones using overwhelms the users denial system to the point that the user
can admit their powerlessness and the unmanageability of what their life has become.
Friends and loved ones must get support for what their going through. It is critical that
friends and loved ones learn to cope with their own feelings of helplessness and
and loved ones need to learn as much as they can about the disease of chemical dependency
so that they can most effectively help their loved one who is using.