accept the reality of their addiction until they hit “rock bottom”

Rock Bottom

In mental health by Tree House Recovery

There has often been an assumption regarding the treatment of addicts whereby we expect that individuals will not become willing to acknowledge and accept the reality of their addiction until they hit “rock bottom”. While this assumption is not true 100% of the time, it is certainly reasonable to predict that the addict will not willingly seek out help until they believe there are no other options, or until they are mandated to get help by the legal system. Because of the nature of the addiction cycle and how it acts as a temporary regulating system for the suffering individual, it seems almost inconceivable that an addict would decide, prior to being forced by the courts, a health problem, or another severe event, to voluntarily stop the very behavior that directs all other behaviors in their life.

The addiction industry has turned to interventions as a solution for the lack of willingness that generally accompanies the addiction cycle. The theory behind interventions is actually quite clever because rather than waiting for the addict to reach rock bottom, the theory states that the intervention experience will actually bring the bottom up to the addict. The bottom is brought to the addict by way of commitments made by friends and family to discontinue their support for the addict until they commit to entering treatment. There seems to be some utility in this approach, but it also seems it would be advantageous to explore other alternatives as certain individuals could be severely triggered by this “sneak-attack” approach conducted by their loved ones. If the addict experiences this type of intervention as a betrayal (whether real or imagined) they can become hostile, angry, and refuse treatment with even more veracity than prior to the intervention.

While there doesn’t seem to be an obvious solution to the very real problem of getting the suffering addict to accept help prior to fully destroying their lives, it seems as though at least engaging with an open and honest dialogue may be beneficial. It seems as though disseminating information about addiction and especially about the benefit of seeking out help before things grow exponentially worse could help ameliorate, at least partially, this problem in question. While waiting for the addict to hit rock bottom, or bringing their rock bottom to them via interventions are both ways in which we can tackle the issue of getting people the help they need, honest communication and dialogue can also be of great motivational value for the addict, and for those looking to help.


Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon is a men’s addiction treatment center that teaches our clients how to roll with life’s punches and use the tools they’ve learned throughout the treatment process to stay on top of anything life throws at them. Call (503) 850-2474 to see how we can help you today.