I’ve met plenty of people who have managed to move from being an alcoholic to being a “recovering alcoholic”. These individuals have found something that works for them, and they can inspire other people to do the same. I’m not directing this post at those folks who have made a good life as a recovering alcoholic, but at those people who keep on relapsing because they believe they are an alcoholic. I was once one of these people .
Why I Gave Up Being an Alcoholic
This idea of being a “recovering alcoholic” did not work for me. It meant that during those times when I did manage to stay sober, it felt like I was hanging on for dear life. I embraced the story that alcoholism is an incurable disease with gusto because it gave me a free pass to keep on messing up in life. It meant that I could turn around to loved ones, usually after I relapsed, and tell them, “of course, I’m drinking again I’m an alcoholic – duh” without the slightest sense of shame. It meant that whether I was drinking or not drinking my life revolved around alcohol.
I managed to quit alcohol for 2 years during my twenties with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have some great memories from that time, and I met some wonderful people. I still have a great deal of respect for that program, but I also know that being a “recovering alcoholic” does not work for me. I tried to buy into the idea that all I could hope for was a daily reprieve, but this kept the door open for alcohol, and it meant that I never felt truly free. I felt grateful to be sober, but there was also this uneasiness that comes from holding beliefs that just weren’t right for me. The truth about the “I’m an alcoholic ”story is that it can be used just as easily to justify being a drunk as it can to help people recover from this life.
If Defeating Alcoholism is Proving Too Hard, Just Stop Being a Drunk
I found that being a recovering alcoholic involved way too much hard work. I eventually discovered a solution that worked perfectly for me – I stopped being a drunk. This meant that walking away from addiction became easy, and I’ve never looked back. I went from struggling for two decades with alcoholism to it just being something that I don’t do anymore. I no more believe that I have a daily reprieve from alcoholism, than I believe that I have a daily reprieve from sticking my hand in the fire. I gave up being an alcoholic and everything that went with it – my life has become so much better as a result.
I still sometimes suggest to people that they give groups like Alcoholics Anonymous a try – it might just be the thing that works for them. It is obvious to me though, that being a “recovering alcoholic” is not something that works for everyone. I’m directing this post to those folks who are going through what I went through. I’m suggesting that those individuals who keep relapsing because they are an alcoholic should try not being an alcoholic. They may be amazed at how successful this approach can be for them.