How Do I Know When I’ve Hit Rock Bottom?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, PLEASE call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

When we use the term “rock bottom,” we’re referring to that point we reach in our addiction where we simply can’t go any further. The pain of our addiction has become unbearable, life has become unmanageable, and we just can’t take any more. How do we know when we’ve reached that place? There are some common elements that affect many of us, that might help you understand your situation a little better if you’re in that place.

When we hit rock bottom, that lowest point, sometimes our life is in danger. Our substance abuse might have reached dangerous levels, and physically we can’t survive any more of it. We might be so overcome with thoughts and feelings of suicide that we no longer trust ourselves not to act on those dangerous instincts. We might be in an abusive relationship that has endangered us to the point where we know if we don’t choose recovery for ourselves, we could lose our lives.

Hitting rock bottom emotionally can mean we’ve reached a point where our depression, anxiety and other emotional challenges have become so painful and so distressing that we feel we can’t take them anymore. We might be unable to stop crying or panicking. We might be unable to sleep, eat or function in our daily lives. We might feel like our minds are out of control, or like we’re going crazy.

Our addictive behaviors might have brought us to a place we never thought we’d go, causing us to do things we never thought we’d do, such as endangering the wellbeing or safety of a loved one, or degrading ourselves so much we no longer recognize ourselves.

Sometimes we know intuitively in the moment that we’ve reached our rock bottom. It can be an immediate awareness that hits us directly and forcefully, that we can’t deny, avoid, or hide from. It can be shocking and terrifying to realize we’ve reached this point, that we’ve self-destructed that much. Sometimes it’s an understanding that we don’t have until later, when we can look back, reflect and see that it was our lowest point, that we couldn’t have gone any lower.

The good news is that from our lowest point, the only way we can go is up. Hitting rock bottom can be the catalyst we need to create entirely new lives for ourselves. There is hope in recovery, and we can get better. We can live happy, healthy lives.


Call (800) 871-5440 for information on how we can support you in your recovery.