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Is rock bottom a rite of passage?

Updated: May 21, 2023


large rock at the bottom of a cliff

There seems to be a common belief that you have to hit a rock bottom before you can even consider making a change to your drinking when alcohol begins to have negative impacts in your life. The notion you have to be at that point of losing or having lost everything before you can try to claw your way back to sobriety. The truth is, waiting for that moment can be dangerous and even counterproductive for some people.

Kind of like "I'll give up xxx when.. (insert condition)" type of thinking. i.e.

"I'll give up drinking when my wife leaves me" but counterproductive because if my wife leaves me I'll be so distraught, I'll keep drinking to numb the pain!

For most people they feel that they would never get to a rock bottom in the first place as they are normal drinkers and not the "other poor soul" in the grip of addiction.

Studies have shown though, that any human being that consumes alcohol in increasing quantities over time will eventually become addicted.

It is the nature of the substance and the effect on the human body, not some inherited flaw or personal defect of the drinker.

For myself, I noticed over time that I needed more alcohol for the same effect. With just beer alone my weekly consumption slowly but surely increased from a carton of beer a fortnight to two cartons of beer a week. Never mind the additional wines and spirits over that time as well.

My consumption never decreased over a period of forty+ years. (Apart from an 8 year break, then a rapid increase to the previous levels of drinking).

The good news is that it's never too early to seek help and support. If you're thinking about changing your drinking habits, if you feel that alcohol is taking more than it is giving, there are lots of resources available to help you make that change.

You don't have to wait until you've lost everything or on your way to even losing just one thing that is important in your life to seek help and support.

It can be even be a wellness conversation, would I be happier and healthier if I were able to drink less?

Remember, you are not alone, and there is no shame in asking for help. Making a change to your drinking habits is a courageous and positive step towards a healthier and happier life.

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