Updated: Sep 16
We've heard of the "rock bottom", the time an alcoholic is living in so much turmoil, their life just a wreckage, that they've hit rock bottom and turned their life around.
That's not been my experience - of what I went through or what I've seen since.
My rock bottom was May 24, 2020 when alcohol turned on me. Instead of calming my anxiety it increased it. Then I started hallucinating and feeling I was losing my mind.
My physical health was also in trouble. Pains in my side were getting stronger, just like my drinking was. I knew I was headed for a psych hospital or ER or worse. In desperation I called my doctor who also feared for my life and told me to get into detox immediately.
"I don't want to die," I kept repeating in my head as my husband drove me to a detox facility about 15 minutes from our suburban townhome. But that wasn't the same day, it was the next - May 25, 2020. I waited a day for a "private room" to open up.
My life was on the line and having a luxury room was my priority.
After a couple of body shaking days in detox, the counselors advised dual treatment for at least 90 days for my PTSD and alcoholism. Sitting with a counselor we perused a few rehab websites for me to choose. Two were in my home state of New Jersey and three were in bordering states. "How about this one in Pennsylvania?" she asked and showed me the home page. The main photo showed an estate with an inground pool and acreage. It looked like a luxury vacation spa. Picturing myself lounging poolside and servers bringing me smoothies and "mocktails" I happily turned to her and said, "That's the one!"
A mini-vacation was what I now planned and called my husband to pack some resort wear for my rehab "vacay." I felt I deserved one after what I'd gone through!
But the reality didn't match the website and I "ordered" the women's house manager not to unpack my clothes because I wasn't staying. How could I stay? The pool on the website was at the men's house, we had to cook and clean and worst of all - I didn't even have a private room!
Three days of complaining were enough for me and I packed my bags in the middle of the night and borrowed a forbidden phone to call my husband to bring me back home. When our "druggie buggie" (mini-van for transporting rehab clients) pulled into our clinical office lote I saw my husband's car and practically cried for joy! I was out of there!
Inside the building I was told my husband had arrived a half hour early and was waiting for me in the clinical director's office. I ran inside and barely looked at the director as I threw my arms around my husband and thanked him.
"Have a seat Karen," I heard the director say. So, I sat and took the opportunity to tell him what was wrong with the women's recovery house, how hard it was living there, and all the improvements they needed to make. My mental list of complaints took about 15 minutes to spew. I felt great!
"There's a lot of "I's" in that story," the director softly said. "Why don't you ask your husband how he's doing?"
The whole time I was ranting I'd been looking out the window. Now I turned and looked at my husband with red-rimmed eyes and quiet tears falling.
With years of pain held inside he barely could speak but he managed to plead, "This is the best place for you right now.. You have to stop running."
In the quiet of the room I knew the road had just ended.
You know the saying, "feeling small" or the cartoons where a character is so ashamed they shrink down to the size of an ant? That's how I felt; like the smallest person. I was struck by the wreckage and destruction I'd caused, the pain I'd brought on my husband.
I was humbled. That was the worst, and now the best, day of my life. It was my humility, not my "rock bottom" that turned my life around. Why? Because only the humble can admit their mistakes. Only through humility can we realize we have much to learn. Only the humble want to turn their lives around and do whatever is necessary.
In the bible Christ went to the sick and suffering to teach. Why? Because the pharoahs and wealthy thought they knew it all. They were arrogant - as I was when I asked for a private room and packed my swimsuits and resort wear. They were unteachable.
In the past three years I've met a lot of people who have hit rock bottom, gone to detox or rehab and then went right back to drinking. I feel the piece missing is the humility. The deep sense that something is missing and lessons need to be learned.
My humility, my change to being humble, made me teachable. Humility is like a stream cutting through through and floating over rock bottoms. My humility started me on a journey of Life Coaching, Transformational Coaching and Recovery Coaching. My quest for learning and discovery continues every day.