Your Identity in Addiction Recovery

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November 07, 2013

Your Identity in Addiction Recovery

the anonymous people in addiction recovery

Who Are You After Rehab?


Here’s an oxymoron: Anonymity has been in the news a lot lately.  Well, anonymity in recovery. The second A in AA means ‘anonymous’ and has protected people in recovery for almost 80 years. Yes, anonymity can protect people from the stigma linked to alcohol and drug abuse. But what about the flip side: If you remain anonymous, how can you identify yourself? What is your identity?
The new documentary “The Anonymous People” discusses how people in recovery can create an identity. The Boston mayoral race was won by a candidate in recovery, Marty Walsh, who brought out a lot of supporters who are in recovery themselves.  All these people are adding new verses to the song about the pros and cons of anonymity.
But how you identify yourself, even to yourself, makes a difference and frames how you live your life. Recently, Pope Francis gave his first interview as pope and when asked who he was, he replied “I am a sinner.” Not the leader of the Catholic Church, a priest or an Argentinian man, but a sinner.  He then elaborated on his original answer, which explains the framework of his life: “I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.“
How do you identify yourself?

  • I am an addict.
  • I am an alcoholic.
  • I am someone special and I have to do these things and no one understands that.

How does that identity frame you, whether you say it inside your head, at a meeting or to the whole world?  “I’m an alcoholic; I can’t do that.”  The same way someone else might say “I have diabetes; I can’t eat that.”
Defining yourself to yourself can make a difference in how you live your life. And learning to do that is one of the first things you learn in addiction treatment. You can find that identity and make it the basis for a new sober life. Call Lakeview Health at 866.704.7692 and find out how to get started.

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