Rock bottom is a term that is used a lot in addiction and for me it means that point of surrender, that time and place where you recognise you can’t be this addict any more. The addiction has finally won and taken over what was you and your free will.
For me I had quite an exciting time, I say this with incredible sarcasm. I was at a works function in London and had spent the whole day pacing. On waking that day I knew I had an event to attend and I knew that there would be free alcohol and that made me feel both nervous and excited.
The nine month period prior to this evening had seen my alcoholism escalate at an incredible pace, my ability to recognise choice had left me and I was on a path of self destruction. At home I would isolate and when I was out I would behave over the top, both scenarios ended up in blackout and hating myself the next day.
On the 4th December 2015 I attended a works event where I had to sit in an auditorium and listen to various talks, the whole time fidgeting and looking at my watch waiting for 4pm when the “fun” would begin. During the breaks I found it hard to interact with anyone else in the room and would rapidly move around drinking coffee and pretending to be busy on my phone.
Finally the time came and when those first glasses of wine appeared I was like a small child at Christmas and was full of excitement. I, of course, hesitated when getting the first one. This was not out of politeness I was desperate to throw it down my throat, but it was an incredibly vain attempt to appear normal almost nonchalant.
Once it was socially acceptable I helped myself and picked up two glasses, hoping it would appear as if I was getting one for someone else. Quickly I entered blackout that night and my rock bottom unfolded. I awoke the next day in my own bed but with blood on my face. I had an awful concussion and was fully dressed with the front door open and my belongings everywhere.
At some point in the evening I had tried to get out of a taxi, hit my head and cracked my skull. I was taken to hospital where I let myself out and somehow got home. All of which happened in blackout, so I will never remember any of it as I was in state which meant I was unable to form any memories.
That morning was my point of surrender, the 5th December 2015 and is the day I count as my sobriety birthday as I am lucky enough to have lost the will to drink and got the help I needed. I was desperate and broken and needed help. I couldn’t live the way I was living any more and had totally burnt myself out.
During my time in recovery I have come to realise that it is not the same for everyone and all rock bottoms are different, apart from surrender and complete helplessness. Recovery cannot be forced on anyone who is not willing so all we can do is be available, listen and empathise. I tried on many occasions to give up alcohol on my own but the social acceptability of it made it near impossible, until I found my path and my fellowship.
Watching people in active addiction will always be hard for me as I want to give everyone this sense of freedom that I have found, but it is their journey and has to be done at their pace and time.
As a society, I believe, our view of alcohol needs to change, the whole drinks industry needs to change but more importantly as people we need to show more love and compassion not criticism and punishment. I am sure that if we can show more people a different and successful way of living then we can help anyone struggling with addiction to find their inner peace.