My Not So Secret Diary



The language we use affects the way we think about ourselves. I tried to write this post a few days ago, but I stopped when I realised I hadn’t said what I wanted to. 

By using a word to describe a condition, we create a label which begins to define us as a person. A label can limit us, and make us think that is all we are. 

I struggled with the word ‘alcoholic’. It didn’t sit well with me at all. I worked, I had happy kids and a clean house, how could I possibly be defined as an alcoholic? When I think of the word it conjures images in my mind that I would rather not be associated with and yet I could be. Although I am different in many ways, I am also the same. 

I preferred the term addict, although to be an alcohol addict is much the same as an alcoholic, it felt like the label wasn’t just on me, it was also on the condition. It wasn’t just my failure, it was also the substance’s fault. Before, if tried to define myself I almost whispered the word ‘alcoholic’, I was afraid it could make everyone see there was something wrong with me. More recently I’m trying to come to terms with it, thinking that if I am okay with it, it takes the power away from the word. Gradually it has begun to bother me less and the more I use the term, the less power it seems to have.

I found the same with the term tea-total. Now there is nothing wrong with it at all, but I felt it just a little limiting. I don’t want to be limited by something, I had plenty of that when I worried where my next glass of wine was coming from. Personally I quite like the term alcohol free. That’s how I feel now, free of it, like I’ve shaken it off and it isn’t holding me back anymore. I feel this term implies it’s my choice to be without the burden of alcohol, which of course it is. It makes me feel like I’ve cast something off, rather than have something weigh me down.

Isn’t it funny the power these small words have? I never thought the terminology of something would bother me so much, but I know we are all different, even down to the perceptions we create by using a simple word.

So, is it just me, or do you have any real likes or dislikes about these sorts of things?

Thanks for reading!