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 . . .