Taking Action Matters
Imagine you nick your finger while cutting up some vegetables for dinner. Your first move would likely be to run some water over the cut, maybe find some antibacterial salve in your medicine cabinet, and then cover the cut with a bandage. Having taken those steps, you can be fairly sure that things will heal up both properly and quickly.
But let’s imagine you decide to play it another way. You staunch the bleeding so you can finish making dinner, but beyond that, you don’t worry about it too much. You don’t wrap it up or keep it clean. Instead, you just ignore it.
If you take that approach, you probably shouldn’t be too surprised when you discover the cut has gotten infected. Time to do something, right? Well, maybe you put it off until you are in a significant amount of pain. By the time you make your way to see a doctor, things may be truly dire. If the infection is bad enough, you could even lose the finger.
This little story might strike you as ridiculous. Who would let a small cut cost them a finger? Obviously, the right thing to do is to take care of the cut right away. Putting it off is just going to cause additional—and unnecessarily dire—problems.
Waiting for Rock Bottom
But far too many people who are struggling with drugs or alcohol do something remarkably similar. Rather than getting help for a worsening issue, they make the decision to wait, figuring they don’t really need help until they hit what might be called “rock bottom.”
Here is how that might play out:
The hangovers, it goes without saying, are a long way from rock bottom. And that DUI from the other night? Still miles and miles from rock bottom. And did you get in a fight? Are you having trouble remembering exactly how it started? That’s kind of scary, but you still aren’t at rock bottom, so everything is probably okay.
See what you are doing there? You are letting a small cut on your finger lead to an amputation.
Making It Worse By Kicking the Rock Down the Road
It might seem that “rock bottom” at least has the virtue of being a firmly established and easily recognized condition. The name certainly seems definitive. But in practice, how exactly will you define “rock bottom”?
Maybe you promise yourself you will get help if you get into a fender bender after drinking. But then you get into a fender bender, and it doesn’t seem so bad, so you promise yourself that you will get help if you ever wake up in a strange place after a night of drinking. And then you do, and you redefine rock bottom again. And things just keep getting worse.
You have probably heard this sort of thinking called “moving the goalposts.” The idea is the same: You claim one activity or incident is the one you will not go past. But when you get there, you “move the goalposts” so that you can keep doing what you are doing. Redefining rock bottom or constantly moving the goalposts is never a good move. It only makes a bad situation worse.
The Right Time to Make the Right Decision Is Right Now
If you believe you may be developing a substance use disorder, do not put off getting help. Making excuses or ignoring the signs or moving the goalposts—any and all of these put you at increasing risk for long-term consequences and a longer, harder struggle when you do finally try to recapture your sobriety.
If you know you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get into treatment right away. No matter how long you have been struggling, the staff at The Aviary Recovery Center is ready to help you change your direction so that you can start your recovery journey with confidence.
We offer expertise and compassion in a judgment-free environment. Our treatment strategies are personalized for each individual we serve and take into account your full story—including any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to your difficulties with drugs or alcohol. And when it comes time for you to leave treatment, we will make sure you have the resources and support you need to maintain your hard-won sobriety. We are committed to a continuum of care because we are invested in your sobriety.
Don’t wait to get help—and don’t hesitate to reach out to us.