Do I Need To Hit Rock Bottom to Enter Recovery?

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Hitting rock bottom means different things to different people. For some, it’s losing a relationship, a job, a home, or a beloved possession. For others, hitting rock bottom entails losing access to a privilege, such as driving or traveling—or the chance to perform or engage in a creative endeavor. Whether hitting rock bottom spells out a financial, familial, professional, or recovery failure, it’s generally accepted that to hit rock bottom is to fail in some great way.

But more importantly, no matter how you define rock bottom, getting there is not a prerequisite for addiction treatment. In fact, it’s a much wiser decision to seek treatment before you get to a place that feels like total collapse. At St. Gregory Recovery Center, all that’s needed to turn over a new leaf is the desire and willingness to change. Through our residential or outpatient programs, we’re always ready to help you begin a rewarding journey.

How the Stages of Change Relate to Hitting Rock Bottom

In some ways, failure is part of any journey toward change. As you’ll see in the different stages of change outlined below, the path forward typically includes some backward steps from time to time. So instead of waiting for the big and dramatic “failure” of rock bottom, start changing now, and be patient with yourself, accepting that setbacks are part of the process.

Stage 1: Entertaining Change as A Possibility

When people first begin to entertain the possibility that changes can be made to their behaviors, they’re already starting the change process. In this preliminary stage, people begin to question if their behaviors have more drawbacks than rewards. They may initially deny that there’s a need for change, but slowly and surely, they begin to detect flaws in their behavior or attitude.

Stage 2: Planning Change

In the planning stage, people begin to envision benefits that may arise due to making a change, such as eliminating a substance that they tend to abuse. There’s a lot of inner conflict in stage 2, as a person begins to see the obstacles that may deter change: withdrawal symptoms, uncertainty about the future, changes to relationships or jobs, etc.

Stage 3: Preparing for Change

In the preparation stage, folks begin to take baby steps in their change process. In a case of substance use disorder, someone may begin to research and visit addiction treatment centers. They may talk with their insurance company to determine cost or arrange for childcare while they are away. It’s this stage that bridges the baby steps and the larger strides toward change.

Stage 4: Acting Out the Change

In stage 4, people start to actively change. Others around them may begin to take notice and congratulate them or simply comment on the changes that they’re seeing. Stage 4 is an appropriate time to reward yourself for the progress you’re making. Being in residential or outpatient treatment is the essence of stage 4.

Stage 5: Maintaining the Change

In stage 5, we see sustained change. Formal treatment may have ended, but the recovery program is still in place for weeks, months, or even years. You may attend therapy sessions, be active in a recovery support group, seek a recovery sponsor or become a sponsor yourself. You may start to make other changes to improve your health: exercise, healthy eating, creativity, spiritual pursuits, and more. This stage can generate pride in the hard work you’ve done and in your dedication.

Stage 6: Relapsing Is Not Rock Bottom

Stage 6 may sound scary, but it’s just as much an integral part of change as stages 1-5. People are imperfect; they can’t go forever without making a mistake or succumbing to stress. Unfortunately, many people think of relapse as a permanent failure. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Relapses do not indicate permanent failure or hopelessness; they are a chance to reevaluate your recovery plan and make adjustments as needed so you don’t hit rock bottom.

Stage 7: Renegotiating Steps 1-5

After a relapse, you might feel like you’ve hit rock bottom again or that you’ll never fully recover. But that’s simply not true. You can reinitiate the change process whenever you want. Relapse can be an indicator that a change needs to be made or a commitment renewed, but it’s not the end of the world.

Don’t Hit Rock Bottom. Learn More About Creating Changes with St. Gregory Recovery Center

If you have additional questions about identifying what rock bottom is for yourself or a loved one, or if you’re ready to make a change, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. We’re here for you as you begin your journey toward sobriety.

Researching Iowa addiction specialists? To learn more about programs offered at St. Gregory Recovery Center, call and speak with someone today, at (888) 778-5833.

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele

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