Do I Have to Label Myself an Addict or an Alcoholic?

Do I Have to Label Myself an Addict or an Alcoholic?

by Jennifer McDougall

Alcohol and drug addiction is a serious problem, and it’s essential to understand the signs of addiction. But is it also necessary to label yourself an addict?

You Are Not a Label

The first move you need to make in overcoming an addiction is to stop seeing yourself as an addict and start seeing yourself as a person who is struggling with an addiction. This is because you aren’t your addiction—you’re the one with the addiction. You can be a musician, writer, or lawyer, yet those things are not you; they are just one part of your identity.

So too, is being someone who is dealing with underlying conditions causing an addiction: it doesn’t define who you are as a person; it only describes something you are currently experiencing. And that’s okay! Help is available to get sober and live a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Once we’ve learned how not to identify ourselves solely by our addictions, we can begin examining other parts of our lives which may have been affected by them—such as how our actions impacted others around us; what mistakes were made; what details hurt other people’s feelings; etcetera (and so forth).

You Do Not Have to Be Perfect

It’s still possible to make mistakes and learn from them. You do not have to be perfect to get sober. You are still a wonderful person capable of miraculous things.

The truth is that you don’t have to label yourself anything at all. As long as you are working on your recovery, healing your underlying conditions, and staying away from drugs or alcohol, then that is all that matters.

The True Problem Behind Addiction

It’s important to realize that addiction is not the problem itself—it’s a symptom. The actual problem behind addiction is something else entirely, and it can be hard to see it when you’re amid an addiction.

Addiction is a coping mechanism for dealing with life’s difficulties. It’s a way to escape from reality, whether by numbing your mind or finding comfort in other substances. Addictions are most common among those who have had traumatic experiences or have a mental illness or other substance abuse-related problems; people turn toward self-soothing behaviors like drugs and alcohol because they don’t know how to deal with them.

When you’re addicted, it feels like your addiction has taken over your life—but it doesn’t have to be that way forever.

Addiction means that you are trying any way possible (even if they aren’t healthy) to cope with difficult situations and not feel pain anymore. But no matter how much alcohol helps numb out pain temporarily—or even permanently—it never truly solves anything; instead, it just creates more problems down the line: relationship issues, financial problems due to lost productivity due to drinking too much alcohol during weekdays at work/schools (and weekends), etc.

Recovery Is a Process of Self-Discovery

You will have to learn how to live in the real world, where things don’t always go your way and where there are people who don’t always agree with you. It’s easy to get stuck in your head when you’re sober because now that all of the chemical fog has cleared from your brain, it may feel like a challenge just getting through each day without the escape provided by alcohol or drugs.

You’ll have to deal with difficult people daily—and even then, not everyone will be pleasant or accommodating toward you. But if being around certain types of people makes you feel anxious or uncomfortable enough that partaking in any substance seems preferable to dealing with them directly (which was usually my case), then this is one area where we can start making some progress toward recovery.

Having a recovery tool box can help in triggering situations such as family gatherings, stressors at work, preparing for a first date, or spending time alone.

A sobriety toolbox refers to the collection of resources and strategies learned during addiction treatment. People in recovery use these tools to build healthy new habits and reduce their risk of relapse.

These toolboxes include activity ideas or physical items someone can use to cope with their addiction, such as essential oils, a meditation podcast, a small journal to write your thoughts down, tea bags, snacks, or a few phone numbers to call a supportive friend.

Addiction is a challenge you can overcome, and you should work on it in the best way for you.

You are not a label or a statistic. You are a human being with skills and strengths who can overcome addiction. Addiction is not something that you have to accept as part of your identity; instead, it’s something you need to work on in a way that works for you.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, here at Passages, we create a customized treatment program for you to get the proper help you need to break the cycle of addiction by identifying and healing the underlying causes. We do this using various non-12-step and holistic therapy methods that have proven to help save and change the lives of thousands of our incredible alumni.

Our goal is to help you see your inner power and your inner strength and provide you with the tools you need to fully heal and enjoy a sober lifestyle with an abundance of fulfillment and prosperity.


Ultimately, you do not have to label yourself as an alcoholic or an addict. You are a person who is suffering from one of four causes, and you can work on getting better in any way that works for you. Addiction is a challenge that you can overcome if you want it badly enough, but it will take time and a lot of hard work. The important thing is not what label we give ourselves but how we deal with our problems in life.

Discover Your Cause of Addiction Today

Are you curious about what keeps you in the cycle of addiction? Take the Passages Evaluation Assessment to help our admissions team learn about your background so that we can provide you with personalized, quality care and support. This evaluation should only take a few minutes and will better understand what you are experiencing in this challenging addiction battle.

Also Read: What to Say When Somone Asks Why You’re Not Drinking Alcohol

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