When you are at the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up. Rock bottom is a term frequently associated with addiction and recovery. While the term makes a lot of sense in that context, we probably all have had times in our life that we would identify as low points. How you respond and recover from those low points says a great deal about your character and resilience.
Baskin Creek Falls
The hike to and from Baskin Creek Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a lot like the path one takes to rock bottom and the recovery from that low point in life. As hikes in the park go, it’s not that long; a 3.2-mile round trip. You do, however, make a decision (conscious or otherwise) to begin the hike, which is mostly downhill all the way to the falls.
That means the route to the falls is easy; just like many of the life decisions that lead to finding yourself at a personal rock bottom. You typically get there by taking the easy way out or by not choosing to make difficult decisions along the way. It’s just easier to go with the flow and coast downhill.
One nice thing about the Baskin Creek Falls trail is at the end of the trail there is a beautiful waterfall. Life’s rock bottoms are never pretty when you are living them; but they are an opportunity to grow and become a better and different person.
The trail back from Rock Bottom
So, you find yourself at rock bottom like I found myself, 1.6 miles from the car and uphill most of the way back. What’s your next move?
I can tell you that the way back from Baskin Creek Falls, while not easy, is just one step at a time. It’s one foot in front of the other. Sometimes the steps are small and slow when the path is most steep. Other times, you need to stop along the way and catch your breath. And worst of all, you might stumble and fall – as one member of our party did – and have to retrace a few of your steps while in some pain.
That’s how a recovery from rock bottom looks: slow, steady and exhausting.
There are no quick fixes or easy ways out. You need to create a strategy or path to get from where you are at the bottom of your life back to where you want to be. It won’t be a single decision or step. Instead it will be a process of many decisions and steps along the way. You’ll undoubtedly make a few bad decisions and missteps as well. That’s okay as long as you pick yourself up, take a moment to rest and reevaluate, and then continue on the journey from the bottom to the top of your life.
Now it’s your turn to share in the comments a story of how you hiked back uphill from a personal rock bottom.