Hitting Bottom And Why It Helps | Guest Post by Daniel Wittle

I lost my father two months before I got sober. It was devastating to me. Not only was that horrible to experience; I was straddling the line of wanting to be alive and wanting to be dead for quite a few months before he even died. The crushing blow I felt when my mom called me on March 17, 2015 and informed me that dad had a heart attack and didn’t survive, is a feeling I hope to never forget. I hope I never forget the complete hopelessness I felt that day and those two months after. I never want to forget it because it those feelings were what I built a foundation on to what I now call my life. A life I am very fulfilled and happy with.

It’s an interesting dynamic, that hitting ‘bottom’ and experiencing total hopelessness can be the keystone to getting your life back, I know it to be my truth along with many others that I know. My journey in recovery involves so many roadblocks, so many detours, and so many relapses. You may have heard the analogy of banging your head on the wall, saying ‘ouch’ and doing it over and over again. That is my story in a nutshell, I am a stubborn, egotistical, self-centered individual. I blame others for my down fall, I pity myself when I reflect on my life’s sad existence, I rationalize just about anything I want to do because I want to do it and it brings me to a completely isolated lifestyle. No wonder it took being suicidal and losing my biggest supporter, my dad, to finally tell myself that maybe I am wrong about life. Maybe I need to listen to someone else. Maybe this is all my fault.

It was May 17th, 2015 when I went back into treatment, exactly two months after the death of my father. There was a genuine fear that I would never recover and bounce back from the deep negative lifestyle I had been accustomed to. Miraculously, I found hope while in treatment. I realize now that there was no way I could turn my life around without having a place to go, such as treatment, where I was safe, taken care of and most importantly surrounded by people who wanted the best for me. The first significant change I made while in treatment was actually opening up to others about myself. My pride got in the way so often during the other times I had tried to get help, I never truly told people how scared I was and little life skills I had. This time there was no holding back, my bottom had crushed me, I knew I had to put my heart and soul into recovery and into changing otherwise my life was coming very close to an early end.

The best way I dealt with my fears early in recovery was by taking action immediately. I realized a lot of my fears in early recovery were able to be curbed by not putting things off, and doing what I was told […] to do ASAP. I realized I get in what I put out in recovery, it is the single truest fact in my life to this day. I like to tell people you decide when to start getting well in recovery. There’s no time table, there are just results from action, and we decide when to take a lot of those actions as we are also taking direction from others. I am incredibly different than I was four years ago, thank god I am, I had to be different, it wasn’t working out the way I was living. Each second was hard to live through. If it wasn’t for my bottom and the sequence of events that occurred, I don’t know where I would be and that’s what makes me know I wouldn’t change a single thing in my life story even if I could. It was all for a purpose. That purpose is to share my experience with others and build them up from their hopeless broken state. I pray you have had enough, and if you have just take that first step and truly tell someone.

God Bless. 

Daniel Wittler is a writer in South Florida who shares his experience, strength and hope to those who need it. He believes absolutely anyone can get sober provided they are ready to take action and change.