Thursday, December 22, 2011

What defines a person

In my first year of sobriety I took the role of "recovering" alcohol very seriously, as I should. Sometimes I think too seriously. I was letting the role of "recovering alcoholic" define me. Everything I did or said had my recovery in the background. I wonder if this wasn't a big of a defense mechanism for my own fear.

Fear that if I wasn't serious, then neither was my recovery. I was set on being a bit more serious, not so "flighty" as I was in my drinking days. I felt I had something to prove to those around me. That I was an example that should be followed. What a crock of "you know what"! The truth is I wasn't comfortable with my own sobriety. Like the disease I was letting it push me around. I was using it to hide behind. I was using my recovery to "be safe".

I didn't realize any of this until just last weekend. We were invited to an annual Christmas party, and I happen to wander into the family room where a beautiful wood fire was. I sat down next to the warmth when a person walked into the room and said, "oh, is this where the non-drinkers are"? I know they didn't mean anything by it, and this person knows I'm a recovering alcoholic, and yet I was a little taken aback. I should have replied, "no, this is where someone who wants to enjoy a nice fire goes"!

What this statement made me realize is that I don't want to be defined by my alcoholism. I'm me, just a person, not a drinker or nondriker. I have a disease, and I choose to not drink. However there are many other aspects of me: funny, witty, kind, compassionate, observant, intelligent etc. and I don't want to be labeled. I have no problem being a non drinker but it shouldn't define who I am. I sat amongst many drinkers and nondrinkers that night, and joked, and laughed, and had a great time.

And you know what? I didn't need to bring drinking into it to be myself. My alcohlism will always be a part of me. I will always need to be aware of the danger zone, but it doesn't dictate how I live. I choose not to drink. I choose to be sober. I also choose to laugh, and love, and live a full life! Alcoholism is a small part of me, the sober package makes up something so much better! Smiles......


  1. smiles...i am glad you are beyond that...and parties actually are a whole lot more fun when you can remember them..smiles.

  2. SIlly as it sounds, it also took me a while to realize that I am also a human being, not just a "sick alcoholic." Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas!

  3. When I'm considering whether others are aware of the "alcoholic" in the room I always find myself more taken aback by those "ideas seperating me" from the flock. I become suddenly odd-man out and feel the need to duck, cover or retaliate (retaliation comes in many forms even the swirl of thinking that happens and the brilliant retort I come up with too late to really use it.

    I love life too! I'm grateful for sobriety and what that beautiful program of recovery and spiritual discover has brought. I'm also grateful that sometimes I recognize others who are feeling odd-man out at those moments and find myself useful in that very special way.

    I'm grateful for your post. It's nice to see Merry Christmas's being celebrated all over the bloggosphere! :)

  4. Love your post! I have come to a similar place as you. My alcoholism is one of many characteristics that shape my life. It it hugely important that I am always conscious of its impact on my life, but I truly feel it enriches my world. Rather than restricting me to a small group of people who are defined by what we cannot do, I believe it connects me to a broader world of people, ideas, and experiences. Though sobriety can be so deeply challanging, I really treasure all it's gifts every single day. Have a great holiday... lulu

  5. I have realized this as well, from my blog to my conversations I've allowed myself to come out further from the "title" I was under for a period of time.

    Now I find the less I focus upon my "exclusion" from the drinkers at events the more involved I allow myself to become....

    Merry Christmas my friend