Hitting Rock Bottom

By: Jul 11th, 2010
Category: Contributor Posts
Rock Bottom

Image © Nihan Aydin stock.xchng

Most of us have heard the phrase “Hitting Rock Bottom”. Many of us, in fact, have reached that point in our lifetimes. Many of us have hit a low and clawed our way back to the top of our game. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation most frequently utilizes this phrase. In order to overcome our problems, we must conquer blame, excuse and denial. However, before we can recognize that we have a problem, it may be crucial to acknowledge that we have hit rock bottom. We may even have to provide ourselves permission to get to that point in order to help ourselves.

I have hit rock bottom several times throughout my lifetime, and I am sure many of you have too. Those times when sorrow seems to overpower, or self-pity has you in its clutches. Those times when we feel the most helpless to benefit those we love, or ourselves. Those periods when we sense that trying to rectify our circumstances is pointless, and we lose all hope. You understand the feeling. We all have moments when we have that devastating desire to throw in the towel and give up. That feeling that being happy is impossible, and accepting that life is too difficult seems like the solution.

I read a book last year that sprinkled some light on the subject of hitting rock bottom. I cannot remember which publication it was, but if I find it, I will amend this. As I studied the material, a light came on for me. The times that I had come close to a breakthrough in my development, I shut down or backed away. My emotions were powerful and I definitely was unwilling to look for the underlying issue. The stirring pain seemed, tormenting, and I refused to go there; I refused to allow the pain to surface.

What is at the Bottom?

Okay so in the book this author presents this idea. We go through life pushing our emotions down and suppressing them until we feel better. Each time a feeling like anger, insecurity, sadness, fear, guilt, etc. causes us anxiety, we set out to move away from it. We move away looking desperately for some peace and look for the joy that surely must exist. We claw our way back to the top of our game in hopes of feeling something more agreeable. However, the writer explains that by climbing out of the rut we have gotten ourselves into, joy eludes us.

So what is at the bottom through all this suppressing and avoiding? According to this particular author, it is innate joy. He explains that as we journey through life, we experience the sorrow. We press it down, over the top of the joy in our hearts; we dampen our ability to experience happiness. Underneath all our pain remains, the source of pleasure we are seeking. Furthermore, each time we turn away from the heartache we turn from joy. His solution is to accept the rock bottom and dig our way through it, discovering the buried treasures of the heart.

Working Through vs. Working Out

Rock Bottom

Image © Nihan Aydin stock.xchng

There is a reason that the Gurus advocate that we work THROUGH our issues. Working through suggests that we locate the underlying cause of the issue, rather than attempting to sidestep the feelings. After we dig through to the joy, we can notice when we are trying to suppress more feelings and stop doing that. We can work through issues as they appear, so that our joy is always available to us. In other words, after we encounter the hidden treasure immersed beneath the rubble, we can maintain that joy. We can identify when we are endeavoring to move away from difficulties as they arise. We can ask for help from loved ones that will help us face our troubles. If we will do this, we will not bury them, and allow them to resurface later.

I hope this theory will help you recognize that we need to work through our troubles rather than working them out. We cannot work around what inconveniences us, suppressing unwanted feelings, and hope to stay on top. We cannot succeed if we are in a perpetual movement away from issues that come up. We must work through to the joy that is in our heart and spirit.

Entreat help or seek a professional that can assist you in working through your concerns. Self-help does suggest that you must do the work yourself, but you are not alone. There are many individuals in the universe to help you help yourself. Rock bottom is actually just a flimsy layer of delusion that feels as if you have to use a jackhammer to get through. If you will open up to another, the joy in life will come to the surface.

What are your thoughts on this? Comment now!

Sandra Hendricks, @thisshouldhelp2 on Twitter


“Angela eloquently shares a powerful message of hope and encouragement wherever she speaks. Her expressive and positive demeanor leaves a memorable impact on others.”

Angela recently shared her “ideas worth spreading” at TEDxUCIrvine.

Print-Banner-White

Watch the video here.


We Invite You to Join the Discussion and Spread the Word. We find inspiration in the comments left by our readers and invite to you join the discussion. We are also grateful should you choose to share this article with your social networks.

About the author

Sandra Hendricks In 1996, Sandra began advocating for stress and time management, as well as communication skills in the trucking industry. Several Trucking magazines have published her inspiring articles. Sandra is also a four-time published poet. She helps people, whenever she can. "I enjoy offering people insight and helping them to create options." She says, "It is my firm belief that you can help those who want to help themselves." Sandra is always willing to lend an ear and a hand. Her favorite questions begin with the word "why".

16 Comments to “Hitting Rock Bottom”

  • JC Duarte says:

    TwitterID: strategyguy
    Thanks for the great post! It’s a very powerful topic & really resonates with me..

    What is at the Bottom? .. Your inner & raw self! It’s an opportunity to look inward and be honest with yourself as to what got you to where you currently are. That confrontation of self is probably the scariest moment of my entire life. It happened in 2002 and more than courage, it was being able to grasp onto the tools that were made available for me to start climbing back up.

    Working Through vs. Working Out.. In this state of raw & brutal honesty, surrounded by true friends holding you accountable, I learned that your present situation (momentary state) is a consequence of your past actions. I learned that actions are the physical expression of thoughts, and in that I learned that I am in sole control of what I transition from thought to action. It’s not easy of course (damn difficult in fact!) and I had to face a lot of demons, but I cautiously took a first step.. and when that was firmly grounded I mustered the courage to take the next, and looking back now.. I realize that is how I learned to run.

    In the end, and I don’t mean to trivialize, I learned that life is only 5% of what happens to you.. and 95% of how you react to life.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share!
    JC

    • TwitterID: thisshouldhelp2
      Hi JC,

      I completely agree with you that working through our inner most areas is exasperating. The learning procedure that we experience while penetrating through the wreckage we have created contains grief and sorrow. The worthwhile work is damn difficult as you say, but doable. I am so glad to hear that you have overcome your own negative thinking, and it sounds as if you are on track now. “I learned that life is only 5% of what happens to you.. and 95% of how you react to life.” I like this addition, I think we all discover that truth when the transitions are underway. Thank you for the wonderful comment.

    • Meisha Young says:

      Working through rock bottom is essential. I feel this article is true. I found myself in the most difficult situation that I have ever faced in life. And life being (38 years). I had no family or friends that I could run to. No one!!!! So what could I do? I ran to Jesus… As I laid in my bed praying day and night and day and night til the nights seemed to turn into days I did not know what to do. I wanted to regain myself; the old me that I used to be that was happy and full of life. I was so afraid that I would never see that person again. Put your trust in God. I know that sounds taboo, but he is the restoring of them that faithfully put their trust in him. Oh, you say I have already tried that! STAND! STAND! STAND! and having done all STAND. HE IS COMING TO DELIVER YOUR SITUATION! I thought how can I doubt in someone that has always come through. Get closer to him for it says that he is closer than a brother and in this case it was true for me. GOD IS ABLE!!! No matter what you are facing he will bring you through and he is a restorer. If you follow these words you will be restored. GET IN YOUR WORD, PRAY AND MOST OF ALL FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HURT YOU AND FOR YOUR SHAME YOU WILL HAVE DOUBLE…. TRUST ME. I dont know who this is for, but as you read this you will know that it is for you. YOU SAY I CANT DO IT, I AM WEAK, BUT remember his strength is made perfect in your weekness. God is the one who can restore you and give you the second chance that you desire and this time when he restores you back and gives you double fold with it, dont do things the same way. Dont let the same people in your circle, be a good steward, pray for wisdom, watch your love life, dont hate, dont be evil to others, treat people good NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO OR SAY and be quiet. Dont let everyone know what God is doing with or for you. Be at Peace. You will return from rock bottom with a testimony like never before! Be BLESSED!!!!

      • Laura says:

        This morning I have stumbled across your thoughts on the article “Hitting Rock Bottom” by Sandra Hendricks. I am so moved by your courage and the thoughts you wrote about, I have no idea your situation, but it seems similar to mine. I have been struggling for some time now, and having no family or friends to reach out to has made my life very lonely and detached. I have been a Christian since childhood (now 45 yrs old); however, have not been at church or involved for over 4 years. It would be great to continue to receive some kind of support from you as I work my way up from bottom. Just know your few thoughts have had an impact on me. Would love to hear from you, again. My email is laurasmith50@hotmail.com Blessings to you, Meisha

        • Darren Sproat says:

          TwitterID: DarrenSproat
          Laura,
          I have forwarded your comment and e-mail address to Sandra. She may choose to respond here before responding via e-mail so keep an eye on the site. :)

          Thanks for sharing.
          Darren

      • Andrea says:

        This message is for me…

  • Ms. Tausha says:

    TwitterID: MsTausha
    This post is absolutely AWESOME! It is so important for us to face our biggest fear: hurt. You can’t get away from it. You have to get to the point where you actually feel it in order to truly overcome it. Placing it on the back burner does not work, and with all that suppressing you’ll eventually blow! The concept of suppressing innate joy blew my mind, awesome revelation! Thank you for sharing!

  • donnarose says:

    TwitterID: tikiprincess
    Love the fact u state – that rock bottom is just a flimsy layer of delusion – may i forever remember this – so as not 2 get stuck & frozen with feelings of despair . Love U Keep up the great & fantastic work u r doing. God bless u honey

  • TwitterID: thisshouldhelp2
    Thank you so much Ms. Tausha for your amazing comment and support. I found it astonishing when I read about the concept too. :)

  • Tony Anders says:

    TwitterID: tonyanders
    The harder you fall, the higher you can bounce! The one thing that is paramount in recovering from a “bounce” is to be aware of our attachment to that “bottom” and our “labels” if you will. We are a sum of our “experiences” and not a sum of our “consequences”. Our past deeds musn’t become our present identity.

    As with anything that hits bottom, movement in one direction ceases. Usually this is a good thing. Often our bottom, that proverbial “wall”, can be a “Divine detour” telling us a change of direction is needed. Indeed it can be painful; but for some, the lesson learned is in direct proportion to the amount of painful pressure needed to get our attention. Great post and thanks for sharing!

  • TwitterID: thisshouldhelp2
    Hi Tony,

    Well said, thank you for adding comprehensibility and for helping define this article! It is wonderful see you here.

  • robin says:

    Hi Sandra, great article!

    Just wondering what the title of the book was that you referred too? Thanks

  • Undisclosed says:

    Hello
    I’ve been at rockbottom and its interesting that one can stay there for years without even realising it. There are even people who will support you in rockbottom. EG If I haggle with the credit card agencies they just keep giving me more credit! For me, I realised I was at rockbottom when I knew that from this point forward I was going to have to change the way I do things forever, so I don’t keep sliding back. Just that realisation.
    Undisclosed

  • omar danda says:

    Hello Sandra,
    First I’d like to congratualte u on ur achievement of overcoming such a gloomy state, I’d like to tell u that I’ve been suffering from such negativity and confusion for around 3-4 years, and the drugs did not make it any easier, or not having any true friends, I definatly agree that my past actions have led me here. But the problem is that I don’t really understand how to look deep inside me cuz its full of sad dark regretful experiences which guard my tur identity.
    Would greatly appreciate the help, u might just save a life :)
    Sincerly yours

  • trebor says:

    Nice article – Rock bottom a place where you can wallow in the sediment of your life. Not a good place to be when you want to get back to the surface for some air. I myself am at the bottom again through circumstance – job loss – divorce -being to nice -realizing that no one in the family cares – no friends. Difficult not to destroy your remaining self esteem in order to know that it’s all down to you and it’s probably what you have brought to yourself?
    Think it was worse still when I lost someone I truly love …and who could blame her.
    There’s not always a glib answer to these situations – As a work colleague once said “life’s a bitch and then you die”

Leave a Comment