hitting rock bottom

Do People Really Need to Hit Rock Bottom Before They Get Help?

There’s a common perception that people need to hit rock bottom before they get help or want to change. Is this true? Do you need to reach your lowest point before you can be helped? 

The whole notion of waiting for rock bottom to get help or change is more hurtful than helpful. Why? Because it’s simply not true. Let’s learn more about what it means to hit rock bottom and the stages of change. 

What Does It Mean to Hit ‘Rock Bottom?’

Generally, rock bottom refers to a time or event when a person reaches their lowest point. This phrase is often used in the addiction treatment community, though it applies to many situations. There are often several times in a person’s life when they will feel emotionally overwhelmed and broken. 

Even though hitting rock bottom is not mandatory for change, it is understandable why this phrase exists. Popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous, hitting rock bottom means a person has reached a point where they have nothing else to lose. Therefore, they are willing to accept help and work toward change. 

What’s the Problem with the Rock Bottom Mentality? 

There are a few problems with the rock bottom mentality. First, what does rock bottom mean? This is a subjective phrase that means different things to different people. 

For example, one person’s rock bottom might lose their family after struggling with addiction. Another person’s rock bottom might be becoming homeless after being in an abusive relationship. 

Second, believing that a person must reach rock bottom can prevent them from taking charge early on. Instead, they falsely believe they have to wait until things get worse. Also, hitting rock bottom means there’s a lot more work to be done. By this point, a person could have lost their family or self-worth. 

Understanding the Process of Change

While it’s true that change doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process that you can start at any time. Here are the stages of change

  • Pre-contemplation. A person is unaware that there’s a problem at this stage, so there is no intention to change. 
  • Contemplation. The individual recognizes that there’s a problem, but they are ambivalent about making a change.
  • Preparation. In this stage, small steps toward change are made. 
  • Action. This is where a person takes charge, such as committing to a drug rehab in Agoura Hills. 
  • Maintenance. In this stage, progress continues to be made, but it’s normal to take steps back. 

Whether You’ve Hit Rock Bottom or Not, Change is Possible. 

Everyone finds different reasons to change, but one thing is clear: You don’t need to stick around and wait for things to get worse. You can make change at any time in your life. However, if you do hit your lowest point, rest assured you can return from it. There are many essential life lessons to learn from hitting rock bottom. 

Awakenings Treatment Center is an outpatient drug rehab in Agoura Hills. We treat substance use and mental health disorders in a caring, compassionate setting. We focus on holistic care that nourishes the mind, body and spirit. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment services.