People can get hung up is on the label ‘addict’ or ‘alcoholic.’ There will be people we encounter in life that do not understand the nature of addiction and they may want to point their finger, judging and categorizing because it’s the easy thing to do (or through fear or denial). Perhaps these people are family or colleagues who knew the ‘before’ you – before recovery. These characterizations can potentially set you free in stripping away all pretence or hinder your recovery because you too may actually be defining your entire self through your addiction.

I remember with clarity when I first uttered the words, “I am an alcoholic.” It was actually freeing. All the shame or embarrassment that I thought I would feel, simply didn’t happen. The people attending that same meeting accepted me. I fully embraced this admission within myself. I was being honest. I was taking ownership of my dependence on alcohol. I am an alcoholic. It was enlightening and uplifting to my heart and I felt whole again, and such a sense of tremendous peace.

In accepting that I am alcoholic, that I am currently an alcoholic and will always be an alcoholic, it has not constricted me or how I see myself. My decision to be sober is an unconditional one and it explains the freedom I feel as I enter my fourth year of recovery. As one begins the journey of sober and clean living, the question foremost in their mind is:  can long-term – life-long freedom from addiction really happen and how does a person reconcile the word ‘freedom’ with the label – ‘alcoholic’ or ‘addict?’ 

Being free does not mean you are no longer an addict or an alcoholic. Being free means that you have chosen to live unconditionally -- free from your addiction.  We are all far more than ‘just an addict.’  Don’t let a label define you except as a tool to keep you honest and accountable.  It’s a choice -- one day at a time.  Until next time . . .



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