View Full Version : A dirty word

December 7th, 2006, 10:56 PM
At my meeting tonight we had an awesome discussion on that dirty word--alcoholic. I gained some wisdom that will help me continue to stay sober, so I thought I would share.

I knew I had a drinking problem. I knew I had a hard time controlling how much I drank once I started. I knew that drinking was causing me a lot of pain, guilt and shame. Yet I held out on calling myself an alcoholic, because society holds it as one of the worst things to call yourself. Of course there are others like murderer, rapist, slut--but to me alcoholic fell just a bit above those awful things. Alcoholic was a negative and dirty word--and I didn't want to be one. Not because I wanted to drink, but because it was just an awful thing to be.

I realized that I did my fair share to contribute to giving alcoholic its negative meaning. There is nothing admirable about someone who drinks to excess, slurs her words, blacks out, throws up, sits her kids in front of a movie so she can drink, throws up, drunk dials and on and on. And then when I didn't have alcohol in my system I was usually moody, irritable, bloated and all that good stuff. Yep, I did my fair share to help add the negative status of alcoholic.

Being an active alcoholic--which to me means either drinking or obsessing about it when I wasn't, is the ugly part. Being a recovering alcoholic is beautiful. I am now grateful for the little things. Sometimes I can just look at the sky and be amazed at its beauty--even if it is 20 degrees outside. I have much more tolerance, kindness and compassion than I ever thought possible towards people and things. I am there when someone needs me. My kids have a mom who loves to play with them. My nerves are calm and I literally almost glow with just happiness of being grateful that I got to the other side. I am even grateful for some of the bad shit life throws at me. There is only one thing I would need to do to shatter all of this--that is to start thinking about taking a drink. I wouldn't even need ingest the drink--just thinking about it and wishing I could have one would shatter the happiness I have.

Honestly, if someone offered me a million dollars to get drunk I think I would pass. What good is a million dollars if it may even remotely take me back to that ugly place.

Being an active alcoholic is ugly--and no one wants to be in your shoes. Yet, being a recovering alcoholic is beautiful. I have had several people who do not know that I am an alcoholic comment to me on how they wish they could see life the way I do. Which is being grateful for the good stuff and the bad. And I would not have this view of life had I not walked to hell and back. So I can even be grateful for the ugly part of my alcoholism, because it drove me to here--this awesome place called life.


December 8th, 2006, 12:18 AM
Kim, thank you for that. So much to think about.

December 8th, 2006, 12:29 AM
You make the word "alcoholic" a beautiful word, Kim, because there is no light without darkness.

December 8th, 2006, 01:45 AM
Thanks Kim for that post. It so percisely describes how it feels to be "in the moment" and grateful ... which I know I can only do when I'm sober. And, I really like the image of "shattering" all of this goodness, because that is really what happens to me when I've turned around and walked back into hell.
You've given me a great start to my day. :thanks:

December 8th, 2006, 07:56 AM

You've very eloquently described the difference between the bitterness of active alcohlism and the sweetness of recovery. Thanks for posting this. It's a keeper for sure.

It has only been recently that I've been able to appreciate the bitter part of the journey, as it has made me who I am today. I learned some valuable lessons from all the experiences I went through: I think of my active alcoholic days as "wallowing in the mud." It took me a long time of wallowing in that mud before I was ready to come out of it.... and then I'd take a few steps out and jump right back in. Once I even came out for several months, but apparently I wasn't done, so I jumped back into the mud pit once more. It was ugly and nasty and degrading, and each time I jumped back in, it got worse. But without all that experience, I would not be where I am today.

Do I wish it had happened differently? Yes, of course. Could I have made different decisions and gotten out of the pit earlier? Absolutely. But that's not how it happened for me. So I can't waste my time regretting the past. In a way, I just have to be grateful for that time in the mud.

There's a song I hear on the radio now and then and the lyrics catch my attention because they're so sweet. It's by Rascal Flatts, and he's singing about love for his girl, of course. But the metaphor could work if you think of the new selves we find in recovery:

"...God blessed the broken road
that led me straight to you."