As the politicians in Washington have reminded us in recent days, it’s natural for many of us to put off taking difficult but important steps until we are in a dangerous or desperate situation that forces our hands. But in the world of recovery from addiction, a belief has arisen among many people that waiting for “rock bottom” is not only a good approach, but the best one. Not uncommonly, I’ll hear loved ones of a drug-addicted person say, “Just wait ‘til he hits rock bottom. Then he’ll come around and get some help. There’s no point in bothering with him until then.”
It’s true, hitting “rock bottom” can motivate many of us in ways that almost nothing else can. But we need to remember: for some people – particularly those with an alcohol or drug addiction – “rock bottom” is literally death. “Rock bottom,” therefore, can sometimes be too late. So don’t wait for “rock bottom.” Keep trying, by any means necessary, to get help for your loved one with an addiction problem or a mental illness or whatever kind of struggle they may have. Take advantage of any “window of opportunity” that might present itself to get them help – and frankly, the earlier the better. Don’t just wait for opportunities. Try to create them. Waiting for “rock bottom” isn’t as good an idea as it seems. And for some people, it may be dead wrong.