I first heard rapper Eminem's song “Rock Bottom” when I was roughly 12 years old. Even at 12, his words resonated with me. Granted, I was too young to know "rock bottom" is the term addicts/alcoholics use to refer to their lowest point that convinced them to try and change.
It's a point every alcoholic or addict eventually hits. One that causes them so much anguish and stress, they're finally convinced they can no longer carry on drinking and using.
One that allows them to recognize their only two choices are to stop using or let their lives continue to rapidly fall apart as they hurt the people who love them most – or even worse, they die.
I wish I could tell you it only took me hitting rock bottom once to learn my lesson and convince me to stay away from drugs and alcohol once and for all.
However, it didn't.
It took several irreconcilable losses of multiple kinds and several years of reflecting on them before I could finally admit to myself and another that I was powerless over alcohol and drugs.
My first rock bottom came after doing cocaine almost daily during my 10th- and 11th-grade years of high school.
Sure, the high was amazing – I felt indestructible when using it. However, coming down is one of the worst feelings I've ever endured.
The rock bottom I'd hit when I was crashing from the exceedingly high amount I was using in high school was enough to convince me to quit cold turkey and never look back, thankfully.
However, I was still a teenager, a kid at this time. Despite all the ugliness I had put myself through via drugs and alcohol, getting sober still seemed unrealistic for me – or at least staying that way did.
Rock bottom was when the love of my life, my high school sweetheart, whom I was asking to marry me, ended our relationship and threw me out of our home of 4 years, at a moment's notice.
Rock bottom is where I found myself when the pills and alcohol I was using daily almost killed me and caused me to be rushed to the hospital with internal bleeding – before a blood transfusion and surgery saved my life.
The rockiest bottom I ever hit was when the love of my life and I were reconciling things between us 5 years after she threw me out – before my drinking and overall insanity caused her to walk out on me again and follow up with a letter stating she never wanted to see or speak to me again.
It was then that I decided I was tired of hitting bottom and to change for the better, and for what I prayed would be forever.
I was clean and practicing a 12-step program for years when the unthinkable happened.
My best friend of 20-plus years died in March of 2021 unexpectedly, and I was broken. I simply refused to deal with it sober and picked back up. Anything to help ease the pain of my best friend’s death.
However, I'm grateful to say the rock bottom of his death and my using brought me to a treatment/rehab facility for 30 days. I'm happy to say I've been going strong since I entered treatment in December of 2021. Though I'm far from where I want to be in life, it's a relief to know I never have to hit rock bottom again, as long as I stay on course.
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