Car accident. A serious fall. Broken tooth. DUI. Stove left on. Forgetting to pick up your children. Arrest. Waking up not knowing where you are. Debt. Injuring someone else. Homelessness. Cirrhosis. Divorce. Hospitalization. Job loss. Death.
These are some bottoms. Some lower than others. Not everyone hits bottom in the same way, and not everyone hits a ‘low’ bottom before they decide to stop.
I’m probably what would be considered a high bottom and formally a high-functioning alcoholic. I never got a DUI, never got arrested, never got into an accident, never got hospitalized, never lost my job.
I think there are a lot more people out there who fit this description and are struggling. And I feel because of my outward experience and lack of serious consequences, I had a hard time getting help in the past.
The first meeting I ever attended was called a SMART meeting, and this was back in 2004 when I lived in Tucson, Arizona. I’ll never forget that meeting, because someone actually came up to me before it started and said, “You know, you have to be addicted to something to come here.” Talk about awkward. I feebly said back, “I am.”
Clearly I didn’t appear to fit the bill.
Some have a preconceived notion of what an alcoholic should look like, the problems they should have, the consequences they should have experienced. Some people might even question or dismiss the authenticity of one’s addiction because they haven’t experienced dire enough outcomes.
But here’s the thing.
You don’t have to decide to stop only when you have hit bottom. You can get off the elevator at any floor you like. And the sooner, the better.
All because someone quit sooner doesn’t mean the person is not an addict, or less of an addict, or any of these other ridiculous judgements. They just got off before things got worse. And that is how it goes. It doesn’t get better. It just gets worse. It’s only a matter of time.
So forget about the expectations for “bottom.” Define your own. Pick your time to stop. You don’t have to end up in one of the aforementioned circumstances. You don’t have to have a crazy story to tell. You don’t have to have a catastrophic bottom to be accepted. And remember, don’t judge others, because you don’t know what their bottom is and it doesn’t matter. What matters is they stopped. And they are committed to staying stopped.