TO give a one line definition to this dynamic phenomenon is impossible. Let me share with you my own account to explain this almost 'a divine paradox.' Personally I have used and abused alcohol for 20yrs. I reached my rock bottom when I was about to run over my 8 year son in a state of drunk driving to get my morning fix. I can't forget his eyes till date.
Yes, it's a paradox of sorts because it happens when one becomes so miserable, that he wants to kill the addiction in him. He wants to die or live , but he surely wants to come out of the hell he is in. This mirage between LIFE AND DEATH is the ROCK BOTTOM.
At this stage one abandons his self destructive belief system and a faint light of wanting to live again emminating through the FEAR of addiction.
At this stage , one wants to come out of this darkness. But ,he does not know how because:
1. He would be financially ruined
2. Emotionally marooned
3. Must be hawked by law machinery due to some reason or the other.
4. Must have lost his friends because he may have borrowed money from them and not returned. .
5. The worst is if the spouse has also deserted him.
So , it is true that rock bottom happens simultaneously with the thought of suicide. In fact, it is the fear psychosis created by alcohol in the addict's mind that he feels he can't face life . He feels that he is incapable of bearing up the PAIN ( withdrawals and craving ) of leaving alchohol addiction. This envisioned pain can be equated to the reason why huge elephants in a circus who are tied to small chains. don't run away even though they can easily free themselves.
The rock bottom phenomenon is not new. Many efforts have been put to avoid the disastrous side of rock bottom. There have been a network of societies, NGO , GOVERNMENT AIDED SCHEMES, twenty four hour helplines . But still the desired results have not been achieved . Suicide rate under alcohol influence is still very high. This is because , firstly , an alcoholic bottom is hit when not only him ,but everything around him is destroyed. Secondly , by that time , the internal damage becomes irreversible.
At The Hermitage we have developed a concept called " INTERVENTION THROUGH TOUGH LOVE " . We believe that due to emotional blackmail of the loved ones or any sort of enabling behaviour the addiction aggravates instead of decreasing. The longer the addiction the lower the bottom. In some cases when an addict has many ENABLERS and CO-ADDICTS he never reaches a rock bottom.
The fact is that we can raise the rock bottom by using the technique of tough love. Tough love simply means to ACCEPT that addiction is a disease and an addict is a patient. In The Hermitage we have used this tough love approach with great success on both alcoholic addiction and drugs addiction.