The concept of hitting rock bottom is a traditional view of addiction that many people believe is a crucial part of the process of quitting. The idea behind rock bottom is that the person with an addiction will finally reach a point where they have experienced so many negative consequences from their behavior that they decide they need to get help. Rock bottom is essentially reaching the lowest point of your disease so that the only way to move forward is to admit you have a problem.
Even though rock bottom can be a useful idea in framing the narrative of addiction and understanding people’s motivation to quit, it is not how every addiction story occurs. In fact, believing that hitting rock bottom is the only way that someone can recover can sometimes be dangerous. If loved ones take no action and avoid helping an addict because they are waiting for them to hit rock bottom then they are leaving them alone to cause more damage.
For some people it may take years to finally hit rock bottom and during that time they can cause a lot of problems in their relationships, their physical and mental health and their finances. The gradual changes that they go through as a result of their addiction may become complicated to resolve once they finally do get help. Allowing those issues to build up over many years can take its toll on their lives and make recovery even more challenging.
Getting help as early as possible is usually preferable to hitting rock bottom so that addicts will not have to suffer for a long time. It is important to see if there is anything you can do to help an addict feel motivated to recover before they hit rock bottom.