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Do I Always Have to Identify as an Alcoholic in Recovery?

Most people are familiar with the 12-Step program and the introduction, β€œ Hi, my name is so-and-so, and I’m an alcoholic.” While this admittance may be the first step in recovery, how will it impact the rest of your recovery? Will you continue to identify as an alcoholic?

Just thinking about this may arouse feelings of angst. The good news is that you don’t have to identify as an alcoholic for the rest of your recovery. You get to choose how you discuss your past and what you believe is important for others to know about your journey. This blog will discuss how to find your identity in recovery and explore how labels can be destructive in long-term recovery.

Do I Have a Choice on What to Identify as in Recovery?

There is no right or wrong way to be in recovery. How you choose to describe yourself and your struggles is entirely up to you. The most important thing to do is to create an identity that comes from a place of self-love. There is no right or wrong way to identify. It only matters what makes you feel comfortable. This is your story; therefore, you can write it any way you wish.

You always have a choice. Period. No one else can dictate what to identify as in recovery. How you feel about your recovery is a clue to how you may want to define yourself.

The person you were before entering treatment may not be the same as who you are now. Exploring the new you can be a freeing and uplifting experience in all regards. You may have an upbeat thought process and feel that this new version should be presented to everyone around you. Learn to celebrate you and be proud of what you have gone through.

Why Should I Identify as an Alcoholic Even When I Am Sober?

Many people in recovery believe in identifying as an alcoholic even after years of sobriety. Some people believe that referring to this thought process can remind you of where you have been and what you cannot engage in. This label can be a small reminder to not allow your guard down about emerging thoughts and actions that can lead to relapse.

When you identify as an alcoholic, you are reducing the stigma attached to addiction. People tend to feel a sense of encouragement or validation if others are also living β€œone day at a time.” For example, Michael Phelps, who has won more Olympic gold medals than any other athlete in history, entered treatment in 2014 and 2016, dove right back in, and won the Olympic gold medal.

Imagination can be very powerful. Sometimes you can create stories based on imagination alone. The truth is that humans tend to make decisions based on imagination rather than evidence and knowledge. When your thoughts overtake your rational self, though, this can allow unhealthy thoughts to spiral out of control. Your sober brain may battle with your addictive brain when you’re not identifying as an alcoholic.

Finding A New Identity in Recovery

Once you find yourself in a stable state within recovery, you can explore who you are from a different perspective. How you identify does not change who you are. Perhaps you can dedicate a few hours to finding your true self in recovery. This new endeavor can be exciting. After all, you are a new person with a new set of tools to conquer your dreams.

For instance, you can consider what you can offer yourself and others. The following are several activities that can guide you in finding your identity in recovery:

  • Journaling
  • Surrounding yourself with positive people
  • Identifying your values and belief systems
  • Exploring your purpose
  • Being more of your authentic self around others

No matter where you are at on this journey, it is essential to be your genuine self. It takes time and hard work to reflect on the hidden parts of you. Give yourself grace and trust in the process.

Do I Identify as an Alcoholic at The Guest House?

At The Guest House, you are free to identify as anything that you would like, although we do encourage you to be genuine about where you are at on your recovery journey. We support all levels of recovery and understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery.

Simply considering entering treatment is a step in the right direction. You may start to imagine how The Guest House can help you create a new healthier life and upgraded self. Sometimes all you need is to be around positive people who can guide you in a positive direction. Taking steps forward can be difficult at times due to your thought patterns and chaotic feelings. Understandably, you do not want to make any bad choices. Fortunately, there are numerous ways that The Guest House can support you, and you can explore which type of support works best for you.

An alumni program can connect you to like-minded people who have experienced similar thoughts and taken similar actions. We offer genuine connection through yoga, meditation, equine therapy, and many other services. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please give us a call today.

It can be difficult to create a new version of yourself in recovery. You spent so much time with your old self, and now you might be apprehensive about uncovering your true self. Life can be tough, so do not make it any harder on yourself. Your identity comes from who you are now; not who you were. This time period can be an exciting part of your journey and you can identify as anything you want. At The Guest House, we understand the struggle for identity. We want to assist you through these struggles with compassion, as we believe that compassion is the key to a successful recovery. To learn more, give us a call at (855) 483-7800 today.