Yes, you read that headline correctly.
I, Kelly Fitzgerald, am lucky to be an alcoholic. If you're shocked at hearing this statement, rest assured, you aren't the only one. I surprise myself in thinking this way daily. Who would ever call themselves lucky to be an alcoholic? It seemed like a crazy notion to me, until well into my sobriety. During my first sober months, I saw and heard people refer to being grateful for their addiction and alcoholism. I didn't understand and frankly, I was appalled. I was still in denial. I didn't want to admit I was an alcoholic and I could never imagine feeling grateful about it. At three years sober, my views have completely changed. I now count myself as one of those crazy people who believes they are truly lucky to be an alcoholic.
1. I don't have to drink anymore
Wait, isn't that why people get upset that they are alcoholics? Not me. I'm relieved. Identifying as an alcoholic and being in recovery has saved me a lot of pain, the pain of attempting to drink normally. It was a merry-go-round that wasn't ever going to stop. I'm lucky I was able to get off.
2. I get to work on myself every day
When I was drinking, I never took responsibility for my actions. I thought the world was out to get me and I couldn't fathom that I might have something to do with it. In recovery, I get to learn about myself and work on growing every day. This is the beauty of admitting to your addiction and evolving from it.
3. I am able to show up for my family and friends
When I was drinking I was incapable of being a good daughter, sister, aunt, friend, or partner. I didn't have it in me. I didn't know how to show up for the important people in my life, yet I criticized anyone who would do the same to me. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to show up for all of my friends and family now. I've learned this through the 12 steps and working on my recovery.
4. I get to be connected
I never realized how disconnected I was until I got sober, but at the heart of addiction is disconnection. We yearn for someone or something to understand us and sympathize with us. I had been searching for connection for years at the bottom of a bottle, but was surprised when I never found it. I was too numb to have a real connection with anyone. But luckily today, as someone in recovery, I can finally connect.
5. I'm alive
While drinking, I had a shield of protection called alcohol. I thought I was invincible, and at times when I knew I wasn't, I didn't care if I lived or died. I wasn't even aware that I had lost the passion to live until after I entered sobriety. Had I not admitted that I had issues with alcohol and could no longer drink, I might not be alive today. And if I was, my quality of life would not be like it is now.