“Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics…We learned we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics.”

~The Big Book, Chapter 3


“We therefore arrive at the conclusion that while bondage is an experience, there is a Reality to which bondage is not real.”

~Ernest Holmes,




High Bottom Drunk



I was a high bottom drunk. In my alcoholic, comparison-based mind in the early days, I perceived that as underachieving as an alcoholic. I had no DUIs, no rehab stories, no arrests… I was a high bottom drunk. But therein lies the key word – Drunk.


Someone early on told me he was a high bottom too, but “just as sick as that guy living under the bridge.”


Bridges for me have always been a beautiful metaphor for a transformational opportunity of simply traveling from here to there, safely above any murky dangers that lurk below. So his comment always stuck– under the bridge… Close enough to see the possibilities on the other side, but unwilling or unable to get unstuck from the quick sand where I stood.


My murky dwellings were relatively nice in terms of material things. I always had a roof over my head, always plenty of food. My bills got paid. I had a beautiful family, a job, a car.


But inside my head there was a darker, sadder, lonelier, gasping-for-air place. Grasping for something spiritual that I was filling with unspiritual things in progressive desperation.


My ability to fake it in the world of appearance greatly prolonged my disease and delayed my recovery. Even though I knew I was in trouble, I read into how I perceived other people were perceiving me and figured if they thought I was ok, then I must be.


Even a doctor once dismissed my alcoholism, despite me admitting I was concerned about my drinking too much. She asked me if I drank every day, to which I admitted yes. She then said, “Well, they say a glass or two of wine each day is beneficial. It’s not as if you’re drinking a whole bottle.”


Yes I was. At least one, and mostly more. But I just smiled and nodded. And kept drinking for a few more years.


I must have had a very high looking bottom at that point. Actually I hadn’t hit my bottom yet. That came a few years later as I approached the prolonged ending of my lifeless, dismal, dysfunctional marriage. But even then it didn’t look like what I thought alcoholism was supposed to look like, based on my memories of growing up with one.


I’m grateful I figured out on my own that I was hurting myself. No one else was pressuring me to stop drinking. Had they, I don’t think I would have stopped. Instead I would have had to show them a thing or two all right.


My attitude was “all in” when I finally walked myself into the rooms saying, “Help me. I can’t.”


My recovery is taking place from the inside out. From there I’m getting strong, resilient, and filling in the façade that was my outer nature. I’m able to deal with life on life’s terms. And more than just deal with it, enjoy it – thrive!


When I cast a kind glance across my past, I marvel at how much was possible beyond my imagination. Now that I have the power of my awareness and the framework of my program, I can imagine the greatness that is possible. First imagine, and then make it real.


1. Name some ways that your life is wonderful today that you could not have imagined possible back then.
2. What is something you would like to see in your future and how vividly can you imagine it?
3. Can you separate yourself from you past impression of yourself enough to become the person you are meant to be?



In gratitude, harmony, and support,

High Bottom Drunk

7 thoughts on “High Bottom Drunk

  • October 9, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    I really enjoyed this, Lena. Could totally relate. So many “not yets”, just like me, making it hard for me to finally admit I was powerless over alcohol. Glad I put up the white flag. Life is so much better sober. Number 3 is a tough one. Workin’ on it…. ♥️

    • October 10, 2018 at 6:27 am

      So interesting to me how the outside experience can look so differently from one another (though in your and my case – numerous similarities) BUT the point is on the inside we share that “special something” that has to do with “the impression of ourselves” – that self image, self esteem or lack thereof for some reason. I’m workin’ on it too – finding the balance of humility and knowing greatness and abilities. Why is it easier to acknoweldge the weaknesses and harder to accept the strengths? Let’s keep workin’ on it! It works if you work it – hey where have I heard that before??

  • October 10, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    This lovely bridge in the picture is not the kind of bridges where alcoholic drug addicts live. Try staying under the overpass of the 22 California freeway!
    I was a high bottom alcoholic until I wasn’t.
    What I didn’t know was that I am a perfect child of God. It’s God’s good pleasure to give me the kingdom.
    I changed my thinking and changed my life.
    First I needed medical help from the indigent hospital.

  • October 11, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    I hope its ok Im not there yet. I have a history of high bottoms for 54 years with a total of 10 years sober. IAfter rehab # 1,8 years sober after #2, 2 years sober. I really dont know at this point if I can quit. 3/4 of a quart if vodka daily. Every morning i wake up thinking, Today is the day I recover and stop. I can go a day or two then back to it. I work 45 hrs. week never miss work and generally feel great til 5 then the itch starts. I feell I am as The Big Book says one of those sad unfortunates who will never recover. I know Im a drunk I know Im powerless over alcohol I dont know howcto stop or where to begin. I need help!

    • October 30, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Dear Katie,
      My heart goes out to you as I hold you in my prayers of serenity and peace. Please know that we – New Thought Sobriety – are here for you (and will reach out to you privately).

      Sending you so much Love,

      Cynthia Cavalcanti
      Managing Editor, New Thought Sobriety

  • October 13, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for this Lena … One ‘high bottom experience’ that led me to sobriety was when I reached out to the ‘Big Brothers” organization because I was desperately feeling a need to do something positive in my life; like being a Big Brother. When I talked to a man on the phone, and he explained a little about the responsibilities and the commitments of being a Big Brother, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to sit on my front porch after a hard days work, and take the edge off the day with a couple of beers, while entertaining my ‘Little Brother’. That hit me hard. I wasn’t ready to take even one day a week off from my need to ‘take the edge off’, to do something else that I felt I wanted to do.

    • October 13, 2018 at 6:17 pm

      That is a great example Gary… I imagine that today, that seems hard to believe but at the time, priorities were clear. I completely relate. My former doctor the one I referenced who just couldn’t seem to see me as an alcoholic…) noticed the numbers on my liver test seemed high on my annual blood test … She wanted to re-test… So she told me that I should come back and re-do it … and just to be sure, i should abstain from alcohol for a few weeks prior to, just to make sure my system was clear. I hemmed and hawed and told her that I would do that, but I might put it off a bit as the holidays were coming and there would be so much socializing and such…. It was October.


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