When I was young, I knew I would be many things when I “grew up.”
I just never thought an alcoholic would be one of them.
I never thought I’d be sitting at my computer, at 22 years old, with almost two years of sobriety under my belt. I never thought I’d be writing about it, let alone sharing it with the world. I never thought I would speak the words “Hi my name is Beth and I am an alcoholic.”
Yet here I am.
I’m writing this post because since getting sober almost two years ago, I often struggle with the idea that I’m not a “good enough” alcoholic.
Because my bottom was a high one, I sometimes feel like I haven’t earned the right to call myself an alcoholic. I was never arrested. I never physically hurt anyone. I never drove drunk.
I stopped drinking early enough to avoid doing anything permanently damaging, and because of this, I sometimes feel like people judge me for taking my sobriety so seriously. I feel like they chalk my actions up to “college drinking.” I feel like they think I am being dramatic and that I could drink responsibly if I were to try again. Hell, sometimes I even think that – and that’s dangerous.
One day, early in sobriety when I was still grappling with calling myself an alcoholic, I read this quote:
“An alcoholic is anyone whose life gets better when they stop drinking.”
Let that sink in.
It doesn’t read “An alcoholic is anyone who drinks daily,” or “An alcoholic is anyone who has been arrested,” or “An alcoholic is anyone who has lost everything they care about.”
Nope. Plan and simple, an alcoholic is anyone who has a better quality of life when alcohol is not present.
Even though I never did any irreversible damage, I wasn’t happy with my life when I was drinking. I knew alcohol was detrimental for me. I knew it made me do things I later regretted. I knew it was a means of escape. I knew I wasn’t living up to my full potential.
I knew. Yet I couldn’t stop.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t fall into the stereotypical idea of an alcoholic.
I am still an alcoholic.
And you know what? I shouldn’t need to justify that to anyone, especially myself.