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How to tell when you've reached the rock bottom of your drinking

Updated: May 22

Your drinking has taken you to a place that's dark, depressing and hopeless. You feel paralysed, defeated and despairing. There seems to be no way out. You've reached what is known as a rock bottom.

Reaching that rock bottom looks different for everyone. For some people, it's when they lose a job because of their destructive drinking. For others, it could mean having their health affected by the way they drink alcohol. Some people call time on their alliance with booze when their relationships are suffering, or even destroyed. Perhaps losing possessions, large or small, is the turning point for some who abuse substances.

Regardless, it seems it's human nature to keep pushing limits until the pain gets too much, and it's difficult or impossible to carry on.

Have you reached your last rock bottom?

In truth, rock bottoms are rarely a single event. Anyone who has experienced substance abuse will know that rock bottoms are really more like patterns. A new pattern might develop when you break one of your 'rules' about how you use alcohol, such as, "I'll never drink before 5pm". After you've broken the rule, you regularly start drinking before 5pm. That is a new level of rock bottom.

Or, you might have a rule about never drinking in the morning, and then break that rule. Before you know it, you're sipping on alcohol out of a coffee cup at breakfast time. That is a new level of rock bottom.

How to tell if you've reached the rock bottom of your drinking
Making a decision to ask for help is the first step in creating a life of sustainable sobriety

Rock bottom doesn't have to be ground zero

It can be difficult to stop drinking before circumstances force you to, but it's very much a possibility. In recovery circles, this is often referred to being able to get off the elevator at any floor. There's no need to go the ground floor, or beyond, if you want to get off at a higher floor when the damage to your life might be less extreme.

But wanting to stop before you have to takes more than just acknowledging that you need to take action. It means making a decision, asking for help, and setting your life up with enough support to help you get sober, and live a life that means you can stay that way.

If you're starting to realise that there have been patterns of rock bottoms in your substance use, maybe it's time to make a decision to stop another layer from forming. Reach out to the team at Ocean Hills Rehab for a confidential chat on how you can make a plan to stop, assess and make a plan to get and stay sober.

If you're worried about your drinking or that of a loved one, call Elaine on 027 573 7744 for a confidential chat.

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