I believe that being an alcoholic only makes me stronger… that is a non-drinking, recovering alcoholic. Many may look upon alcoholism as a setback, maybe even a curse. This can be true for many cases, for most alcoholics have rather unfortunate endings, in prison, institutions, and dead. Movies often show us pitiful examples of what alcoholics are, thus giving us this stereotypical image in our heads whenever we hear the word. However there are many out there who feel no shame when the word alcoholic is attached to their identity, the recovering alcoholic that has undergone an amazing transformation.
I grew up in household with an alcoholic mother and a father who traveled often for business. I began drinking at a young age and shortly found myself in trouble. The fun times of drinking did not last long and my disease progressed quickly. After many bad years of multiple treatment centers and negative consequences, I decided to sober up at the age of eighteen. This seems very young to many, but I know that I wouldn’t have survived for much longer. The scary fact is that I was farther along in my alcoholism in six years of drinking than my mother was in thirty years of drinking.
The gory details of my story are not what is important to this belief of mine. It is who I have become today that really stands out. Today I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Not only has this 12-step program saved my life, I have gained much, much more. AA has allowed me to take an in-depth look at myself, particularly at things that I probably don’t want to address. I have begun a lifelong journey of personal growth, as I am constantly looking for ways to better myself. My self-esteem has sky rocketed over these past four months of sobriety. Relationships in all aspects of my life have significantly improved. I feel like my life has already taken a complete 180, and I have just started down this path. I really look forward to going through my college experience sober. I listen to my classmates on Monday mornings brag about how hung over they are (cool…) and I feel great. And I look forward to continuing this process of recovery, for I truly feel like a more complete person as each day passes.
I have come to accept that I have a disease, just like cancer or diabetes, that wants to kill me. I know that I cannot drink successfully, even though the little voice of alcoholism in my head tries to convince me otherwise. But despite these facts, I am a grateful alcoholic and I have a lot of things to be grateful for. All of us are faced with difficult situations throughout our lives that can be opportunities for growth. What we gain from these trying times is often what defines us. I have chosen to embrace my recovery from my alcoholism, and this I believe makes me stronger.
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