View all:  Voices of Recovery

May 9

“To hit bottom is to reach such a low point—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually—that we break through our denial.”

Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 8

A founder of Twelve Step programs reportedly told addicts to remember their bottom every day. As simple as this guidance is, the particulars vary from person to person. For many, it is the painful consequences—relationship and job losses, arrests, diseases, or public humiliations—that result from addictive behavior. For me, the landmarks were more internal.

When I hit bottom, I was flying high in my job, had bought a new house and a new car, just had a new baby, and was getting lots of public approval. Everything on the outside looked good. Inside, though, I was crashing. I was lonely and desperate, terrified of getting caught, and being crushed by the shame of my addiction. I was a lie, a good-looking disaster. Why would I want to remember that?

Every one of the Steps, from facing my powerlessness to carrying the message, leads me to revisit my low points. By remembering, I not only face the facts, I re-experience the emotions of those times, and I become more emotionally and spiritually vulnerable and available. This openness seems to create room for my Higher Power to work in me. The gifts of surrender—another day of abstinence, a little more spiritual growth, a means to be of service, an ever-deepening gratitude for my life—now flow from this remembering.

When I remember what brought me here, it becomes a channel through which my Higher Power delivers hope and strength.