One thing that has impacted me here lately as I continue to pour myself into reading sobriety blogs and viewing different types of methods is the idea of not putting the “Alcoholic” label on oneself. I find that liberating almost on a daily basis since I first read this.
I grew up in a home where negative labels where part of my upbringing. I was never good enough, worth enough, sufficient enough to be loved by my parents. My mother physically, emotionally and mentally abused me for many many years and my father was sexually molesting me. As far as I can remember my mother had labeled me as “FEA” which means UGLY. I was constantly compared to my sister whom was pretty, green eyes and fair skinned (I am dark brown eyed and of darker skin). Mom always kinda hide me behind her in public in order to display my sister. She often got all the compliments while I was invisible not only to my mother but to the strangers that approached my sister to tell her how pretty she is. I only once remembered a lady just adoring my little sis and then halfheartedly said to me..”oh you are pretty too” and she patted my head as if I was a pet. It truly hurt me and at that young age of 6, I knew very well that she was just trying to be nice.
Mother also called me “PENDEJA” which means IDIOT, DUMBASS, STUPID. This was an everyday label on me. I couldn’t do much right in her eyes. I couldn’t clean house correctly and when I spoke, I was usually quieted immediately. “Estas (you are) Pendeja” is what usually followed when I spoke. Even as I got older and was in Junior High school making straight A+’s and making high honor, I was still PENDEJA.
Another label was the I AM WORTHLESS label. “NO VALES NADA.”
That was the beginning of me accepting labels and let them become who I thought I was. I encouraged labels on myself. I labeled myself UNLOVABLE, ADDICT, I AM AN EXTREMIST, UNHEALTHY, DAMAGED, WORTHLESS.
Hi, I am Veronica and I am an ALCOHOLIC and I am incurable. Whhhhhhooooaaa! I just hit the jackpot of all labels! It was easy to give in to this label and just give up hope of anything good in my life. After all… I am incurable! I was starting to tell my family that I am an alcoholic and the more I said it out loud, the more I drank. It also made it very easy for my family to hide their addiction behind mine. Recently I found out that my little pretty sister was telling long lost family members when they ask “how’s Veronica?”, that I am an alcoholic. On my niece’s 15th birthday dinner, she was offered a taste of beer and she was offended and stated that she couldn’t believe that adults would offer her alcohol. I told her I would NEVER offer her a drink as I would never want to be responsible for any dependency she later may develop and proceeded to “educate” her on the alcohol gene and advised her that both set of her parents have that gene. (I didn’t know much of anything beyond what society and AA told me) Very loudly in front of a table of about 10 adults and several children, she says, “I don’t know what you are talking about…the only alcoholic in my family is YOU.” Oooooh, how I so realized right there and then that her momma, my little sister, was putting me out there like that. Shaming me so that she can hide her own struggles.
How I wish I could have stopped the label sooner. Today I have 2 motivations to kick this alcohol thing in the ass. 1. To find FREEDOM from addiction and 2. To not give my sister, any family member or any enemy anything to HIDE behind. They WILL BE exposed once they no longer have me to compare themselves to. “Well at least we are not alcoholics like Veronica” while they drink to blackouts on weekends.
I confided in my mom, sister and brother about my struggles because I was hiding the struggle from my husband and kids and felt SOMEONE needed to know the truth in case I get into some kind of trouble (i.e. sick). Yet instead of helping, they enabled me. Now in the sober clarity of Day 5 I can clearly see how they helped get me drunk. I strongly believe they have secretly liked me being that weak.
Here is to the hard work of removing labels. Let me start new ones today.
I look forward to adding to this list.
“The light in the midst of desperation is hope”