Why I Call Myself An Alcoholic
Why I Call Myself An Alcoholic
In this post, I will explain why I call myself an alcoholic. The reason I am writing this post is because I’m sick of so many people thinking it’s a fucking crime to use the word alcoholic. Like, if you say you’re an alcoholic, then you’re doomed to live a pointless, miserable existence.
The terms alcoholic, alcoholism, drug addict, and addict are universal. They mean the person is suffering from the brain disease of alcoholism, or drug addiction.
There are other terms to describe someone who suffers from alcohol addiction, or drug addiction as well. Those terms are Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), and Substance Use Disorder (SUD).
The latter terms are most widely used in treatment settings because they are the terms used in the DSM-V (Diagnostics and Statistics Manual – Part 5). I also think the medical community likes to stick with the medical terminology when describing the disease of addiction. These terms are used in treatment settings because no one can term anyone an alcoholic, or drug addict. That is for the individual to decide on their own.
There are two reasons why I choose the term alcoholic. The first is, I didn’t know the other terms existed when I first got sober. Granted, I didn’t know what being an alcoholic meant, but from everything I had learned from T.V., I had a pretty good idea I was one. I didn’t know there were different severity levels to alcoholism. I didn’t know the term Alcohol Use Disorder. All I knew at the time was, I was fucking desperate, and I needed help.
After I got sober, and looked at my alcohol evaluation that the therapist at my treatment center typed out on me, I learned the term Alcohol Use Disorder. The therapist said I was at the moderate, going on severe, stage. Yes, there are three stages to an AUD. Mild, moderate, and severe. But, that’s for another post. The point I’m trying to make here is, I had no information about my disease, other than what I learned from T.V.
The second reason I choose the term alcoholic is, I like it better. The term alcoholic to me sums up the hell I went through in my drinking days. The blackouts, the shakes, the complete and utter lack of will to survive. The incomprehensible demoralization I faced when my card was declined at the store when I tried to buy beer, which happened more than once. Everything that I went through is summed up in that one little word.
Everything that I am today is also summed up in that word as well. I’m a fighter, I’m stubborn as all get out, I know what it means to struggle but survive, and I am a living example of what it means to be a survivor. The term alcoholic doesn’t define me as a person. It doesn’t mean I am weak, or lack will power, or mean that I’m doomed to live a miserable existence. It only describes the disease that I live with every day. A disease that is arrested, never cured, by the actions I take daily to maintain my sobriety, and spiritual condition.
I also choose the term alcoholic because to me, anything else is a fluffy bunny saying. For example:
Alcohol Use Disorder
Those terms, in my opinion, are fluffy bunny sayings, and take the seriousness out of a very serious disease. When I think of Alcohol Use Disorder, my brain registers that as a medical term, and not very serious. I guess maybe it’s because I choose a more holistic approach to life and healing, and tend to stay away from anything medical. But, it still doesn’t sound serious to me.
The term teetotaler is the same. When I think of the term teetotaler, I think of someone who can drink or put it down if they want to. Someone who doesn’t have a serious disease from drinking, and needs an excuse to not drink. That again is a whole other post that I’ll get into later.
But, when I think of the term alcoholic, I remember the last time I got really, really, drunk, and put my picture CD and flash drive away while I was in a blackout. I think about the time I got so drunk that I puked, but I didn’t make it to the bathroom in time, and puked on the front of my robe. Dark, nasty times like that from my drinking days. Because for me, I have to remember those days. If I don’t remember those days, I’ll start to think about the “good times” I had drinking. I’ll start to romanticize my drinking. And that’s when I get in trouble.
This is only my experience. I choose to call myself an alcoholic. If you want to use the word alcoholic, or something else, that is your decision. At the end of the day, you are the only one who can decide what term fits you best. If you consider yourself an alcoholic, okay. If you term yourself as a person with an Alcohol Use Disorder, okay. If you want to call yourself a teetotaler, awesome sauce. But the point is, only you can decide. No one can label you except you. And, if they do, then fuck them, because the only opinion that matters is yours.