Does Everyone Have to Hit Rock Bottom
We have all heard stories of drivers who are high or drunk crashing into a vehicle of strangers killing all on onboard. These are obviously sad stories, and many ask why does it have to happen?
Does every suffering addict have to hit rock bottom before they seek help or die? The short answer is no. However, it is a complex question to answer fully. Addiction is a cunning, baffling and powerful disease. The compulsion a suffering drug addict or alcoholic feels to continue to use is so intense to be almost indescribable.
Here’s a simple illustration to help the non-addict imagine the intensity of this compulsion. Imagine you have a very itchy mosquito bite. It is almost impossible not to scratch it. Now multiply that compulsion to scratch the mosquito bite by one million! That may give you some idea of how strong this compulsion is for those suffering from addiction.
The compulsion is usually both physical and psychological. Physical withdrawal can be lethal if not performed in an actual detoxification treatment center.
Here’s why the compulsion to use is so wildly intense: The areas of the addict’s brain required for judgment are largely blocked. Primitive areas are running the show. These areas of the brain equate using with living and not using with dying. When you combine this with the body’s physical need for the substance, the result is a person will do virtually anything to keep using.
Not surprisingly, if not interrupted through intervention, these people will hit rock bottom. They will then seek help or die.
That said, it is not necessary for every addict to hit rock bottom. There are things that family, friends and employers can do to help. What tends to have the most impact from our experience is referred to as an intervention. Professional interventionists can be contacted to help. In addition, treatment centers and their staff are usually well versed in intervention techniques.
Intervention – a key step
The goal is to get the suffering person in an environment that is safe so the intervention can take place. This often involves having to “trick” the suffering addict into appearing in that environment. Its not that anyone wants to intentionally lie to the person. Remember, you are not trying to corner the person you are trying to corner the disease. It is a matter of life and death.
What happens in an intervention can vary, but there are some common components. The interventionist will typically coach the family members and others participating beforehand. He or she will explain that when they confront their suffering loved one, they are to tell them (usually by reading a letter prepared by each participant) that they love them and are willing to help them if they choose to get help. However, they will cut off all ties should they choose not get help.
Done in love
This approach may sound cruel. It is not. When done out of love it is the absolute best thing that can be done for the suffering addict. The alternative is an ever-lowering rock bottom with ever worsening consequences, jails, institutions and death.