Alcoholic. It’s difficult for me to admit, but I would say yes, I was an alcoholic. It’s not quite 5 months since I gave up drinking once and for all but even this soon, I refuse to be defined by what I was. Labels are only useful if they’re helpful and personally – and I know it’s not the same for everyone – I don’t find that calling my non-drinking self an alcoholic helps me. I had a major drinking problem. I drank almost every day for near on 20 years, then I stopped -not that simply, but I stopped. For me, an alcoholic is someone who drinks too much. Not someone who doesn’t drink at all. If I slip, then I guess I’ll have to reassess how I identify, but I have no intention of slipping. I intend to continue being a non-drinker.
I’ve worked damn hard on myself to get to the point where I no longer celebrate my wins or drown my sorrows with alcohol, or end each day drinking until bedtime. I’ve worked bloody hard to make myself see that I neither want or need alcohol in my life. We don’t carry labels that represent things we are not, for anything else. Why should I treat this differently. For example, in spite of the fact that I had been intimate with men, once I realised I was attracted to women I didn’t continue to identify as straight. When I was no longer training everyday and racing regularly I no longer referred to myself as an athlete. Those labels shifted, they became things that I once was, or thought I was. Why should I have to carry a label for the rest of my life that I no longer feel fits me!
I don’t disagree with the importance of taking things one day at a time. For some people that may be precisely what they need to do and for them, that is what they should do! But there are other people, like me, who need a bigger picture. I need to see myself being sober tomorrow, next week, next year. This is what I am – a non drinker and I prefer to indulge myself with the positive affirmation that I am a sober warrior NOT an alcoholic. One of the greatest things about the human mind is the potential to change it. We would lead a pretty shallow existence without this ability. It is what allows us to be our own person and to live the best life we can.
Whatever works for you, keep doing it! Me, I intend to continue rocking sobriety.