Waiting to Bottom Out

Waiting to Bottom Out

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Jan 2001, 20:05 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library

He Will Quit When He "Bottoms Out!"

It used to be believed that when dealing with drug addictions, such as alcoholism or illegal drug abuse, the addict had to "bottom out" before realizing the need for help. Bottoming out meant life became so complicated and unmanageable that the abuser would finally see that there was no other alternative except to quit drugs or lose everything and everyone close to him. What types of situations would precipitate an addict to come to such a realization? Things so severe as losing a family, career, health, or maybe even ending up homeless or in jail.

All these occurrences are traumatic and should be considered life shattering experiences. However given a lot of time, support and professional assistance, the addict can often regain some semblance of a normal lifestyle. Many even feel that living through such an experience gives them a real love of life and sobriety that they could never have fully appreciated without having survived such devastating experiences. As long as bottoming out doesn't entail loss of life, there is always some hope for rectifying the problems the drugs brought on and maybe coming out stronger than they were before drugs became a part of their lives.

Smokers, too, are drug addicts. Unfortunately, some smokers are content with the idea of waiting to bottom out before making a drastic move like quitting smoking. Until then they feel that their lives are quite manageable. When things get bad enough they believe they will quit with relative ease. While this sort of logic has been known to work with other drug dependencies, there is a major flaw in approaching smoking in this manner.

Bottoming out experiences for smokers are not normally correctable by time. Smokers generally won't lose their families from smoking. They probably won't lose their job, and they probably won't end up homeless and penniless trying to support their addiction. They won't end up in jail for smoking, and they will never be committed to treatment without their own consent. So what kind of incident is likely to be considered bottoming out for the smoker?

Diagnosis is the most common way smokers bottom out--diagnosis of a disease like cancer, heart disease or emphysema. While quitting upon diagnosis may improve chances of survival, a lot of irreparable damage is already done. With emphysema, the patient's breathing will be impaired for the rest of his or her life. Stopping smoking will significantly slow up or stop further deterioration, but normal breathing will never again be possible. Waiting for a diagnosis of cancer or circulatory disease as the bottoming out experience may cost the smoker his or her life. In fact, some smokers never have the opportunity to bottom out. The first discernible symptom for these smokers is sudden death which is not the bottoming out experience the smoker was likely counting on.

Many who quit before bottoming out recognize that they feel physically and emotionally better than they have in years and truly do appreciate the health and self esteem improvements. Those who quit should be proud of their accomplishment. They quit before they had to, and they will derive the greatest benefits for having taken that action.

For those who are waiting for that magic moment when they know it is time, be forewarned. You may not have the strength to quit at that time; you may not get the desire to quit in time; and, most importantly, you may not have the opportunity to quit in time. Last year, 418,000 Americans died prematurely waiting for the right time. They never found it. Don't feel the need to wait for some unforeseen inspiration. Quit now before you have to. Quit now and - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Added new video version of this string:

Last edited by Joel on 09 May 2016, 22:18, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Feb 2001, 19:25 #2

I saw a relapser make a comment today about maybe this being a wake up call. I think a wake up call is just another creative variation of the term bottoming out. A thousand people died yesterday in America who at one time or another were waiting for a wake up call. Well a wake up call is pretty useless to them now. Over another 1,000 are going to die the same way today. Once cigarettes get their grip in you a wake call may not be enough. I don't care how loud an alarm clock is--it will not wake the dead.

A puff is going to awake your addiction though, no matter how silently it sleeps. If you "really" want to put your nicotine need to bed forever remember that you can never take another puff!


John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Feb 2001, 19:36 #3

Do you remember this quote from an email you sent me Joel? It's just as true today!

"These are not cries for help. Stop me from taking that first puff is a cry for help. I've relapsed is a cry for attention. We can't undo the fact that they don't accept their addiction." Joel


mirigirl (silver)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

24 Feb 2001, 20:18 #4

Dear Zep and Joel - What you are saying here is all too true - as you all know, I have learnt from my own bitter experience. Maybe we can have a few new sayings, for us ones who come to Freedom and just DON"T get it:
I tell myself these things everyday -to try to condense all the readings in my head, I MUST remind myself to
I'm still learning everyday. I still come here everyday.
Just for Today Freedom is Working for Me and It is Getting Better Everyday
Today 99% of the time I don't even think about drinking alcohol and probably 80% of the time I don't think about smoking -all I get are thoughts -though the smoking thoughts are stronger because it is earlier in my Quit and it has taken me a while to separate out my other health issues, which I've realised haven't really got to do with smoking - it just meant I didn't feel real good at all, for the first month.
Just for Today I Have a Little Flame Inside Me That Says -No Matter What - everything is Gonna be OK - because I'm Free! It grows brighter each day.
Maybe the % thing isn't a good way of putting it. Is it possible to have two thoughts at the same time?? Most of the time I'm going about my business not thinking about smoking but at the same time I have a thought in the back of my head that says
Just in case NICODEMON wants to jump up and grab me by surprise!!
I think I pretty much have that "total comfort" you talk about Zep, when it comes to alcohol (which for me is also an addiction) and I'm lookin forward to feeling that way with cigarettes. Actually I'd like to change my signing off to healing too - because I'm only just realising it's a lot more than just being nicotine free!! - although of course that is the basis of our freedom.....

Thanks Freedom
One month, three days, 23 hours, 17 minutes and 19 seconds of FREEDOM!!
Last edited by mirigirl (silver) on 26 Mar 2009, 21:31, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

24 Feb 2001, 20:35 #5


I just want to add that my Quit Date is so important to me. I am an addict in the biggest sense of the word. I have worked hard on this quit. I am dedicated to it because I know I can't go through **** week again. I Have smoked for 35 years and I have NOT smoked for 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours.

This is a major accomplishment for me and I intend to keep January 27 as a very important day in my life. It could be the very day that saved my life. I am breathing better, feeling better , looking better.....WOW I am so proud of me.



Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:49

29 May 2001, 11:55 #6

I'm not waiting until that diagnosis. I still fear it, in the future, but I know I've done the right thing by quitting and I'll NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!! I'm feeling a bit discouraged for my hubby. You see Jeff has always been the one to encourage me to quit, he always intends to quit with me. NOT!!! I understand where he's at, after all I desperately want to be thin again, but it is merely a wish at this point. I'm not dieting, or exercising. I'm simply wishing. You see I know that Jeff wants to be free of Nicotine. Jeff is scared, really scared and he fears heart disease, strokes, emphysema, cancer etc. But, he feels he CAN'T QUIT. Jeff wants me to encourage him, and when we talk about it, he always says...Don't give up on me, keep praying!!!
I have peeked his interest in atleast reading your messages Joel! He has been intrigued by many! I will continue to PRAY, to almighty God for the confidence Jeff needs to quit. Thank you for your posts, and your support. It is helping... TLC Heather

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Jul 2001, 04:21 #7

The link to the following cartoon was emailed to me by one of our family members, Bradly, who is approaching the one year mark. The link was at http://www.non-sequitur.com/index.php3? ... &inmonth=7
I also had one of my recent clinic graduates email me that the cartoon was in the Chicago Tribune this past week. I thought it seemed like a good cartoon to compliment this post.
Last edited by Joel on 26 Mar 2009, 21:32, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

31 Jul 2001, 07:13 #8

In my 8 month quit I don't remember seeing this on the board before. Needless to say I printed it out and my bride of 48 years, who is still smoking ,is reading it right now. Regards and Thanks Again Freedom

Hal @Eight months, two days, 4 hours, 17 minutes and 55 seconds. 9767 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,220.68. Life saved: 4 weeks, 5 days, 21 hours, 55 minutes.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Jul 2002, 00:23 #9

Eleven Thousand
Tobacco Deaths Today!

Nicotine dependency will today -- July 18, 2002 -- claim over 11,000 tobacco users, each dying an average of 14 to 15 years early. Thousands of them thought they'd get a chance to bottom out. They thought there would be a bit of advance notice and an opportunity to quit and turn things around. Meet Noni, a 32 year old first time new mom who on February 13, 1999 received exactly 30 days verbal notice that her 32nd birthday --March 13, 1999 -- would be the last birthday she should ever expect.
Click the above link to meet Noni

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Jan 2003, 11:29 #10

From December 31 New York Times:

Habits: Gasping for Air, but Still Smoking

Having a chronic illness like emphysema is often not enough to push people to quit smoking, a new study reports.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, said last week that 37.9 percent of patients with emphysema had said in a survey that they continued to smoke.

So did 24.8 percent of asthma patients, 20 percent of those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems, and 18.8 percent with diabetes.

About 60 percent of those patients said that doctors had urged them to stop smoking in the previous year, but that they had not done so.

The information was obtained from a broader survey the federal government administered to more than 15,600 people in 2000 and 2001, as part of a continuing effort to keep track of health data.

The study also found that 23.1 percent of Americans living outside institutionalized settings smoked. Whites and non-Hispanic blacks smoked most (about 23 percent), compared with 16.8 percent of Hispanics.

People with less than a high school education were also more likely to smoke (32.8 percent) than those with more than 12 years of education (15.8 percent).