It is generally recognized that an addict’s recovery begins the moment they hit bottom.

Bottom, of course, is that point where some internal scale tips and the pain of addiction outweighs their fear of giving it up.  It’s the moment they stop denying, surrender to reality, and become willing to do whatever it takes to get better.

But bottoms are necessary for everyone, I think.

Change can be scary and confusing. Change can hurt.  It’s not easy to change your life.  Possible, but never easy.

So we all avoid changing like we avoid the dentist.  We wait until the tooth hurts too much to ignore.

This explains why — at least in my experience — the people helped by therapy just a little vastly outnumber those who are helped by therapy a whole lot.

Members of the latter group aren’t smarter, necessarily.  Just braver,  more honest and more persistent.

If you find yourself in this group, congratulations.

I admire your willingness to do this important inner work.

More power to you.




2 responses to “Bottoms

  • Simona

    A whole lot braver for sure! When a client says in session ” I feel confused now about things”. I say “great!”. To have the courage to sit with and move forward , past the confusion is what takes courage.. And what is found on the other side of confusion can be life changing.

  • Steve Hauptman

    Yeah. I remember how I hated it when I admitted confusion and my therapist treated it like some sort of breakthrough. But it was, because it meant I was becoming less defensive and rigid, letting go of my need to have clear-cut explanations even where none existed.

    Now I see the ability to tolerate confusion or ambiguity as an essential but generally underrated component of mental health.

    “It means means staying in uncertainty, or staying with the question, despite the discomfort of not knowing the answer, or not knowing where we’re headed,” Maggie Dugan writes.

    “It requires relinquishing control – even though a solution isn’t always guaranteed – to make room for new and emerging connections to crystalize into a clear direction.

    “It also means accepting the fact that there might be numerous ways of answering the same question, each with different but potentially positive results.”

    (Tolerating Ambiguity – Knowinnovation

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