No one can force you to change your life. You may be surrounded by the most well-meaning people in the world who are full of suggestions and support, but until you feel motivation coming from deep within your soul, you’re stuck.
One day, you’ll reach a point where you finally feel come to terms with the damage you’ve been inflicting on yourself. You’ll have an awakening, and although you may not know what the solution is, you know you’re ready to make a change. You’re done hurting yourself.
This is your rock bottom, the point in your life where you know you must make a change for the better. Maybe your rock bottom occurs after a dramatic, life-threatening incident, such as an overdose or alcohol poisoning. Maybe your spouse files for divorce and the reality of losing a loved one over your addiction is enough to make you come to your senses.
Or maybe you suffer the consequences of your drinking after being arrested for a DUI and being shocked into action. According to Michael Romano, a DUI lawyer at Romano Law, P.C., a DUI charge is far more than just a traffic ticket; it can mean jail time, thousands of dollars in fines, community service, and a mandatory alcohol rehab program. Having to answer for dangerous behavior long after it has occurred is often enough to encourage people to change their habits.
And yet for some, it isn’t. Others turn into repeat DUI offenders. The point is that rock bottom is a highly personal situation. Some will never reach rock bottom. If you find yourself wondering if you’ve reached this low point yet, chances are you still haven’t quite gotten there. When you’re at rock bottom, there is no second-guessing your position!
So You’re at Rock Bottom … Now What?
First, you need to know that no matter how painful it is to be at rock bottom, this is one of the best things that could ever happen to you. The sooner it happens, the sooner you can make positive changes. Imagine if you spent 20 or 30 years in the same crippling habits, never really living life to its fullest because you never hit rock bottom and were never forced to change your life?
Now you can honestly experience the good things that life has to offer. You know what it’s like to feel crummy day in and day out, and you’re going to leave that behind you. Been there, done that.
But it’s a process. You don’t hit rock bottom one day and start living the dream the next. You need to give yourself time. But you also need to make daily progress. Build some momentum so that there’s no opportunity for you to stall in your efforts.
Build a Support Team
Although no one but yourself can decide to change for the better, if you want to succeed, you can’t go it alone. You need a support team.
You need professionals who can help guide your recovery and help keep you accountable. You need friends and family to talk to and to help with the minor details, like driving you to appointments if your license has been suspended after a DUI charge. When the going gets tough, and you feel your motivation waning, your support team props you up and helps you get through the tough minutes, hours and days. No one gets better alone.
Learn to Be Kind to Yourself
Your inner voice can be alarmingly cruel. You have to learn not to beat yourself up as you put together the pieces of your new life. Practicing self-compassion is an essential part of living a healthy life, and for many people, it doesn’t come easy.
A professional counselor can help you squash negative self-talk, and you can also learn techniques from various self-help books or podcasts. Recognize the need to treat yourself better. Forgive your mistakes, and manage your body kindly too.
Create Positive Habits
Reprogramming the voice in your head is just one of the many positive habits you can cultivate. Full body health should be one of your goals because when your mind and body feel right, you will be less tempted to revert to your harmful habits.
Learn to eat a healthy diet, to exercise regularly, to nurture your mind, to develop a consistent sleep/wake pattern, to spend time with friends and family, to explore new hobbies and to seek a fulfilling career.
These are very broad goals, so break them down into little things you can accomplish today. Maybe your hygiene took a back seat while you were under the influence, and you want to regain control of your daily routine by tending to those basic needs. Maybe you want to trade a candy bar for an apple to start developing healthy eating habits. Know your ultimate goals, but take small, progressive steps each day.
Remember what they say about rock bottom: you can only go up! Embrace the opportunity to do more with your life.