You don't need to wind up toothless in a crack house with every STD known to man before you're ready to get better. It's a nice cliche, but we don't have to wait that long, nor does there have to be a singular or distinct bottom. The last time I went to detox, I only went because I was broke as hell one day and started sinking into withdrawals. I know plenty of fellow idiots who had no intention of getting better and who weren't ready at all, but then something hit them along the way while in treatment and they somehow recovered (in spite of themselves). Perhaps some of it is larger than us. Perhaps it is already scripted as to when and how we finally decide to change and get better. For me, I believe with all my heart that is was a series of mystical events and divine intervention that got me to treatment, to the Steps, and ultimately, to GOD. And thus, Fate, as it were, is my best answer.
I suppose if I had to define it practically, it's probably when we get to the point where we can no longer lie... to others, and especially to ourselves. I came to that point when I finally looked in the mirror one day and wanted to stop but couldn't. And if I had to really pinpoint a turning point, it was probably when they told me I couldn't smoke cigarettes as I was being admitted into detox. Every cell in my body wanted to run out of the door as I felt myself becoming increasingly trapped and going crazy. But in that very moment of learning there was no smoking allowed, something came over me. I can't explain it. And by the time the nurse slapped a nicotine patch on my arm, I didn't even need it. God had decided that I would be staying in the detox ward and not leaving against medical advice for one last butt. At that point, nothing could have altered my resolve.
However, there are a slew of worldly forces actually preventing us from hitting bottom, interfering with fate and thus serving to prevent us from recovering sooner. First on the list is doctors/pharmaceutical companies and their dual-diagnosis scam (i.e. sell you as many drugs as possible). The dual-diagnosis hoax prevented me from truly getting better for at least 4 or 5 years. If we are well on our way to hitting some kind of 'bottom' and suddenly get stopped by some hero PhD who slaps us with a dual-diagnosis and throws us on a bunch of powerful and mind-numbing meds, we will never hit bottom in earnest. At that point, we simply stop where we are, forever wallowing in purgatory. The moment we begin medicating for some abstraction that we don't even have, we are officially stuck. We are also, and more importantly, shut off from the light and the power of God.
Other and more unintentional forces that prevent us from hitting bottom are the people who love and enable us. If we still have access to love, comfort, money and other resources, we will continue to bide time and ride the train as long as possible. It's not their fault, needless to say, as it is very difficult to act counter-instinctually. It goes against our human nature. But that's okay. One way or the other, we will either hit bottom and finally get better, not hit bottom but get better in spite of ourselves, or never have the chance to hit bottom. My personal belief is that forces which act to prevent us from 'hitting bottom' are in fact doing us a disservice, because think about it, the worse we get, the closer we are actually getting to finally getting better, that is if we don't die along the way. But we should remember that we cannot control other people's lives. It is one of many fruitless endeavors, for the most part.
God, help me to feel the 1st Step in my bones, in every cell of my being...