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Choose a Bottom; Then Climb

Updated on May 14, 2015
Our bottom ends when we begin climbing out of the pit of addiction
Our bottom ends when we begin climbing out of the pit of addiction | Source

Stop Where You Are

Twenty-six years ago, I was forced to see my addiction through the eyes of others. Confronted by the president of the college and several deans, I felt trapped, embarrassed and alone.

While I did not put up a fight or deny their accusations, I could not see any benefit to treatment but was too afraid of losing my job to object to their mandate. Each was clear in their objective; I would enter treatment that night, there was a bed waiting reserved for me, and they expected me to be successful in recovery.

When I arrived at the treatment center, I was asked if I'd hit a bottom. I did not understand what the nurse meant, other than a vague notion of how bad my situation was.

Realizing that I didn't understand the concept, she explained that how I felt at that moment and what I was thinking about myself and the situation was as bad as it had to get. That this moment was a turning point; that I could choose this as the worst and call it my bottom and begin the process of climbing out the pit of addiction.

Or I could throw away this opportunity and perhaps not have another chance.

Some bottoms are higher than others but no less a starting point in recovery
Some bottoms are higher than others but no less a starting point in recovery | Source

How Far Down is a Bottom?

“Some people are at the top of the ladder, some are in the middle, still more are at the bottom, and a whole lot more don't even know there is a ladder.” - Robert H. Schuller

I was in treatment with over 80 other individuals; all coming to treatment because of a substance abuse problem, but not all experiencing the same intervention techniques or reality checks.

On my second day in treatment, I noticed a woman who resembled a young Elizabeth Taylor standing near the patient bulletin board. She was poised and cheerful. I am someone that to this day, can preen, fluff the hair and do all those beauty routines and five minutes after I am finished, still look like an unmade bed.

She smiled and asked if I needed help. I assumed she was on the staff and asked her what group I was supposed to attend next. She said, “I’m going to that group, just follow me.” I was stunned when she ended up being a patient. Here she was, beautiful, seemingly self-confident, assured, positive and helpful. I then decided that she must be almost finished with her month’s treatment to look and act so positive and vital. Wrong again.

As we talked in the group, she cried when she referenced her bottom; not being able to tuck her child into bed one night. Her five-year-old daughter had gone to her first spend the night party. As sometimes happens, she wanted to go home. My friend got a phone call about 10:30 to come and get her daughter.

With her daughter gone for the night, my friend started drinking earlier than usual and was too intoxicated to pick her up from the part. Her husband went instead.

Because she knew her daughter was upset, she waited for her in her room. When her father carried the half-sleeping child into the room and laid her on her bed, my friend leaned down to straighten the covers and promptly fell into the bed beside her daughter.

My friend entered treatment the next day. Her bottom placed her only slightly higher on her ladder than some others, yet still with room to grow.

Bottoms Are Just the Last Place We Land

Are you satisfied with your life right now? If you decide that your life is not good right now, is it because you are using too much and disappointing yourself and others. Then you have an excellent opportunity to choose this moment to be your bottom.

That's right; you can choose to label this as your bottom; your lowest moment; where you are no longer willing to sacrifice all to get and remain high.

“I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” - J. K. Rowling

Lots of ladders, methods and support when you make a decision to let this be your bottom
Lots of ladders, methods and support when you make a decision to let this be your bottom | Source

After Your Decision, Take Action

You have now decided that you are finished using.

  • What can you expect?
  • What should you do next?

You may need detox, which is a medical issue. Depending on the withdrawal or the threats from DT’s or seizures, it is always advisable to seek a professional evaluation of your decision to quit using and claim this as your bottom.

Actions Follow a Logical Plan

If you do not need detox, or you have finished your detox, how do you stay on track and remain in recovery? Options are varied and individual. Some you might consider are:

  • In-patient treatment
  • Out-patient treatment
  • Recovery Support Meetings
  • Faith-based recovery

Regardless of how you find support, guidance and encouragement for your recovery, know that it is easier to remain in recovery with the help, guidance, and support of others.

Many people try to recover, and many falter and relapse. If they do not die, they can hit yet another lower bottom because they keep trying unsuccessful methods for recovery. If this has happened to you, then this bottom can be the last if you do things differently.

It might be time to stop relying on methods that don't work for you and try something different.

Source

Some Bottoms are Permanent

In this life, there will be individuals, young and old, beautiful, ugly, rich, poor, educated and ignorant who die from their addiction.

It is a permanent bottom and one that if you are reading this, does not have to be your story.

“Some of us can be examples about going ahead and growing, and some of us, unfortunately, don't make it there, and end up being examples because they had to die. I hit rock bottom, but thank God my bottom wasn't death.” -Stevie Ray Vaughan

What method helped you get and stay in recovery after your bottom?

See results

Life is Looking Up

When you find the right support for you, your life takes on new meaning and purpose. Recovery taught me to view this life as a journey. Now, journey is a word I do not like. (Sorry, all for that personal bias; I am sure some of the negative association is with the band of the same name.)

However, like so many other things in this world of addiction, it is commonly used vernacular or lingo. Whether you call your recovery a journey, a found second chance, an opportunity to change, or the way up, embrace it, value it, and know that you do not have to experience another bottom again.

Even after twenty-six years, there are still rungs to climb

Even after twenty-six years, there are still rungs to climb
Even after twenty-six years, there are still rungs to climb | Source

Climb Your Ladder

There is a metaphorical ladder for all of us. We climb out of our self-imposed prison of addiction one rung, one action, and one change at a time.

I struggled with this concept early in my recovery, falsely believing that I would have to reach a higher rung by dislodging someone else.

A wise man told me that the ladders are individual. They sit parallel and in a row so that I could see those above me as an encouragement that there was more that life had to offer. For those on a lower rung, I could encourage them, or see them as a visual reminder that addiction was always present.

His talk helped me use the ladder analogy and still feel compassionate, determined and know that my ladder could take me to heights I never attained in my use.


© 2013 Marilyn L Davis

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    • MDavisatTIERS profile image
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      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, swilliams; thanks for the comment and the share. I've written about how we benefit as well when we share and hopefully, this will come back to you as well. ~Marilyn

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

      What a unique way of expressing such a sensative subject! You did a wonderful job with this article. Voted up and Tweeted out!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image
      Author

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, Colorfulone; thank you. On some days we teach, and on other days we learn. That was what my mentor told me, so to know that someone considers me a role model means I learned a few lessons and hopefully, use my writing to encourage others to overcome their addictions. ~Marilyn

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      I am glad that you are a strong person to be an overcomer of such an addiction. You are making your a difference everyday by being a role model.

      May the wind be at your back!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image
      Author

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, Peggy; thank you for the comment, voting up and sharing.

      My grandmother always said, "When you share, you then have room for blessings to come your way." I simply applied that lesson to my recovery. Each woman who came to the house was student and teacher on any given day. I learned as much as I taught.

      It is the same here at Hub - my tag line is "writing, sharing, and growing together", and that is how this works at Hub and in recovery. ~Marilyn

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      From reading your bio you not only turned your life around but have gone on to help countless others. Excellent hub and I like the analogy of ladders being climbed. Most of us can make improvements in our lives in one manner or another and help others along the way. Up votes and sharing.

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image
      Author

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, Billy; thanks for the comment and your own disclosure. Each day we have is a choice. Congrats on your time. Hindsight gives us the opportunity to review the process. Writing helps me make sense of it. ~Marilyn

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      A very honest, realistic look at addiction and the recovery process. My bottom was hit eight years ago and I've been climbing ever since...was it my ultimate bottom? That's up to me, now isn't it? :) Nicely done!

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image
      Author

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, merej99; thank you for reading and commenting. I am smiling, as in my past, the last thing anyone would say about me was that I was in any way positive. Recovery is possible on many levels. ~Marilyn

    • merej99 profile image

      Meredith Loughran 3 years ago from Florida

      I really appreciate how you emit positivity. Yes, recovery is possible. In the end we all die but climbing out of the abyss with the help and hope of friends and finding the courage to really live makes the journey worthwhile.

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image
      Author

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Kukata; thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate that. I think all of us struggle with many issues, not just addiction and hopefully, my solutions or encouragement will help those as well see that they have ladders to use. ~Marilyn

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image
      Author

      Marilyn L Davis 3 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Btrbell; thank you very much for the kind words. Hopefully, people will realize that there is a way up from that pit of addiction. That is always part of my message in my Hubs. ~Marilyn

    • Kukata Kali profile image

      Kukata Kali 3 years ago

      Wow! This was so encouraging and can be used for more than what one would call, "an addiction". Wonderful expression! Oh, I can really appreciate your solution oriented way of approach as well.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      How wonderful! 25 years! Thank you for sharing this. This is a good, comprehensive hub. Up+ and sharing!