Pre-Treatment: Part One

Hitting Rock Bottom

Hitting Bottom

Major motivation for recovery occurs when you have hit your bottom, which is the point in time when you experience the reality that you have an addiction and that it is hurting your life and the lives of your loved ones. When you hit a bottom, the negatives of your behavior become real, your defenses break down, and denial is gone. You are left with the consequences that your addiction has caused in your life. Connecting as fully as you can to this awareness will motivate your need for change. Everyone has their own enough level, which is their bottom. You can raise your bottom by looking at your illusions, and reconsidering the mythical value that using has in your life. Let the reality of your using sink in. Connect with your healthy self and with those who care about you.

If you are fortunate, you will have hit your bottom early in your using career. If you say, “I’m not that bad, yet,” good! Why would you want to get worse or get that bad? Hitting bottom is not completely negative. It’s a crisis, but like any crisis, it’s an opportunity to experience change and growth and become better. Choosing to continue your addiction can lead to many problems, such as jail, illness, loss of a job, loss of money, damaged relationships, and ultimately death.

Brain Scan

Brain Scan

A brain scan is a powerful reality check. It’s very hard to deny that there’s a problem while looking at an image of the physical damage that has resulted from your behavior. This can be expensive, unless you can get medical insurance to help with the cost.

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Before Recovery Can Start



You have an addiction when using causes significant life problems, and yet you continue to use. Using has become the problem, but it still feels like a solution. Addiction is a biological, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual based disease. It creates excessive negative behaviors that you can’t control. Addictions especially flood the brain with neurotransmitters.  These cause the brain to be rewired so it eventually believes, “I must use to survive.” Even when you aren’t using, you’re thinking about it. If you think you may have an addiction issue, you do.

Underneath the misuse of substances, destructive behaviors, and codependency, are emotional feelings that are pushing your addiction along. Coping with your addiction is difficult, but you must move past your issues and build a positive emotional life. A major factor in addiction is avoiding negative emotions. In recovery, connect with all of your feelings and with your heart.

In the beginning, your addiction likely did help you avoid negative emotions, or at least it seemed to help, but now it has turned on you. You may have sworn off using for a period of time, believing time off would solve your addiction problems, only to find the same issues reappearing when you started using again. It’s time to look at and accept the reality of your using before the dues become even heavier, or it’s too late. If there is no problem, prove it to yourself and abstain from using for six months or longer.

Addictions are common. Stop asking, “Am I an addict or not?” And ask, “How is addiction affecting my life?” or “To what degree is my behavior negatively affecting me and my family?” You may also be addicted to the process, to the experience, and to the behaviors of addiction. These include stimulation, scoring, obtaining, preparing, using rituals, social interactions, and a sense of belonging.

The key to the self-evaluation below is to be honest. Avoid rationalizing your responses. The following quiz should only be a starting place.


Addiction Self-Evaluation

Answer Yes or No:

_____ Has anyone asked me or commented about my using?

_____ Do I use more, or more often, than I plan on?

_____ Do I feel negative emotions about my using?

_____ Do I hide or sneak my using from others?

_____ Do I cover up my using or the consequences?

_____ Do I have fewer close friends than I used to?

_____ Do I continue to use despite negative results?

_____ Do I think about using for hours before I do it?

_____ Has my using caused me to act undesirably?

_____ Has my using decreased my desired activities?

_____ Has anyone confronted me about my using?

One yes answer should be a concern; three or more and you should seriously consider that you have an addiction issue and explore recovery; six or more and you have a problem. Start recovery immediately.


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