Before Recovery: I Didn’t Think I Hit My Bottom

I once told a friend that I didn’t think I hit my bottom. I said that my time drinking hadn’t really been that bad. I never got a DUI, and I never went to jail. I managed to pass at least some of my college classes and I had lots of friends and extracurricular activities.

My friend, who had known me many years, looked at me hard. Then she said: “If I remember correctly, you were planning to end your life before you turned nineteen.”

It was such a simple, obvious statement, but it struck me like a brick. So wanting to kill myself wasn’t bad enough?

This was just another moment in my recovery where I surrendered a little bit more. Another layer of the onion was peeled back.

The concept of powerlessness and surrender that Step One talks about has eluded me for a long time. I understood it clearly: what it was and why it was neceBefore Recovery: I Didn't Think I Hit My Bottomssary. But there was still a part of me that didn’t believe I was powerless – hence why I relapsed.

I rebelled against the idea of surrender, because I had spent most of my life feeling helpless, like I couldn’t direct the course of my life. The last thing I wanted to do was admit I was utterly powerless against something like alcohol and drugs, which I knew that many people were able to put down.

But the fact is that I am an alcoholic and a drug addict. That means that when I want to avoid some aspect of my life, I want to obliterate myself as quickly as possible, preferably with a baggie of cocaine and a fifth of vodka.

When I take just one hit or sip, I WANT MORE. My mind then proceeds to convince me that just one more, and one more, and one more, and one more – can’t hurt. First we were smitten by an insane urge to go on drinking, and then by an allergy of the body that insured we would ultimately destroy ourselves in the process.

But over time I have begun to see that admitting I am powerless over alcohol, over drugs, over people, over the weather sets me free. It enables me to admit that I need help from my Higher Power and from other people. That honesty, the admittance that I’m struggling, creates an open channel of trust between me and other people. Not only that, it also shines a light on what the real problem is – which means a real solution can be found. Change can’t happen unless the underlying issues are first revealed.

Like it says in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: “But upon entering AA, we soon take quite another view of this absolute humiliation. We perceive that only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions of personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock upon which happy and purposeful lives may be built.”

The good thing is that our admission of surrender allows the magic and love of a Higher Power to enter our hearts and minds. This means that surrender is available to us at any moment you can choose your bottom. You can decide when you have had enough! You decide when you?re ready to move on to the next glorious phase of your life, where the chains of addiction can no longer hold you back!

But like it also says in the 12×12, “Perhaps you’re not an alcoholic after all. Why don’t you try some more controlled drinking, bearing in mind meanwhile what we have told you about alcoholism.”

OR join us in the sunlight of the spirit. Your choice.

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