An expression used mostly in conjunction with a drug or alcohol problem. To have hit my bottom means to have sunk as low as one can go, either spiritually, morally, physically, mentally, or all of the above. Usually at this point some type of intervention, usually divine, has to occur or serious deprivation or despair, or death is likely to occur.

I hit my bottom in Reno, Nevada in 1995, although it was kind of hard to tell, since I'd been on the cutting room floor more times than I care to count. This time I was living in a motel next to a liquor store and drove a cab for a living, or a least a semblance of living. I was into my fourth decade of out-of-control drinking, seriously powerless over alcohol; Once I started, there was no stopping, just black-outs and telephone poles, and most recently, bar room floors. But like most career alcoholics, I was in deep denial, never having a clue as to the depth of my disease.

So in Reno, on a hot August night some seven years ago, after a typical drunken evening, a knocking on my motel door, brought a friend from high school some forty years before. After I passed out, he slept on the floor, and in the morning as we exited the door, he asked a favor of me. Would I please go to some A.A. meetings? And hey, not just a few, but 90 in 90 days? And without ever having considered it before, I responded with an immediate "Yes", for I knew immediately, this was a God thing. This was stronger than me. I had indeed hit my bottom, spiritually, physically, and mentally. I did as he suggested, and have never taken another drink. I followed the suggestions that were given in the rooms of A.A., and never looked back.

Afterwards, when attempting to thank my friend for his help, he always responded, I was just a messenger, and I believe he was. Hitting our bottom is often the only way we find the resolve to change our ways to those of a more productive nature, and leave behind the ways of a dirty, rotten, scoundrel.

Rock bottom.

It is the apex of failure. However, people seem to be under the impression that hitting rock bottom is a surprise. It’s not.

People say the phrase “hit rock bottom” as if it is a sudden instantaneous event. As if it is unexpected. It’s not. Besides, people don’t really “hit” rock bottom.

They dig there.

And I have never heard of anyone digging there with a shovel.

It is always their nails,
their fingers,
their hands.

No one hits rock bottom. They scrape it.

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