My Recovery: I’m Not An Alcoholic


Hi, my name is Rob, and I am in recovery for alcoholism.  I always hated saying “Hi, I’m Rob, I’m an alcoholic.”  It doesn’t fit anymore.  I don’t drink.  I am in recovery.  I am a recovering alcoholic, but I choose to remove the alcoholic in that phrase.  Eventually, I will introduce myself as “Hi, I’m Rob.  What’s your name?”  Recovery may end up being lifelong, but the label won’t

Most of my drinking “career” was binge drinking:  when I drank, I drank until the liquor was gone and then went looking for more.  I didn’t become a raging alcoholic until I met my ex.  She was an alcoholic as well.  Kaboom!

After our first 6 months I began to drink nightly.  No need to get into all that.  The point of my post is this:  I began a death spiral to nothingness that lasted until just over 6 months ago.  I drank mainly out of boredom, but it quickly escalated to mainly avoiding the situation I found myself in.


In the mind of this drinker I just wanted to get buzzed.  All the time.  I wanted to check out of my surroundings and I did that every night straight for 2.5 years!  Some non-drinkers wonder what goes on in the mind of an alcoholic.  They wonder:

  • Why can’t he quit?  Why doesn’t he quit
  • What is it that I’m doing wrong?
  • Why aren’t we important enough for him to want to quit?
  • Why the relapses?
  • Doesn’t he know what this is doing to him/us/me?

Here’s what was in the mind of my alcoholic me:

  • I can quit, I just don’t want to.  I don’t need to quit, everything is ok.
  • You are not doing anything wrong:  I want to drink, I have to drink.  It’s my obsession.
  • You are important enough, you and my drinking have nothing to do with one another
  • Because try as I might, the urge to check out and to get high are too strong and I haven’t worked my issues out.
  • I know exactly what I am doing to myself/you.  I just don’t have the coping skills to change it.

Or something along those lines.  I never gave sobriety a real shot.  I think I quit once for about 3 months.  I used the death of my mother as an excuse to start up again.  This is my longest period of sobriety at 208 days. 

I do not plan on relapsing.  I can’t.  I won’t.  I am developing new patterns of thinking.  I am learning new ways to cope with life on life’s terms.  I am rigorous in my honesty as to what got me to this point in my life.

I’m going to do the following things that I have learned–and know–will keep me sober:

  1. Continue outpatient therapy when I leave my 3 month VA work program in March.
  2. Attend AA meetings, but keep that whole thing manageable and logical.
  3. Frequent the gym at least 4 times per week:  Health is Wealth-physical and spiritual!
  4. Find new sober friends, sober hangouts, sober things to do.
  5. Write, interact with you wonderful community members, write, write, write.
  6. Rekindle my passion for swimming, hiking, jogging, fishing, bowling.
  7. Kill the TV set.  Nothing good comes out of watching others live fantasy lives.
  8. Avoid isolating behaviors.  If I isolate I will go within and live in my head, and I can’t have that.
  9. Avoid boredom.  Boredom is the number 1 reason why I drank so often.
  10. Moderation in all things.  I have to maintain balance in everything I do.
  11. Meditate.  Meditation is the single most dramatic life changing event that I need to continue.
  12. Avoid people, places, things that might act as triggers.  When triggers come, utilize a myriad of coping skills to deal.
  13. Read.  Read literature that will help strengthen my resolve, help me evolve, help me reach newer heights.
Whatever it takes Robert Levasseur

This is my roadmap to staying sober.  I happen to think it’s a damn good one.  I know in my heart of hearts that as long as I adhere to as many of these things as possible, I will be a lifelong sober man.

I am very fortunate.  I do not obsess over drinking.  I do not crave alcohol.  I am over “missing” my “dear” friend alcohol.  I have faced a few situations where I should have, but did not, think about using.  I am lucky because that would be a hindrance that would be very difficult to overcome.

I refuse to be like many of my fellow Veterans here:  I will not have my name embroidered on one of these chairs.  In other words, treatment is not a lifelong option for me.  This is my one and done.  Take it to the bank; ’cause that’s a check you can cash.


  • As a daughter who grew up with an alcoholic parent, it was very interesting to read indeed! Inspiring. Well done you!

  • Great work Rob! Keep it coming!

  • Rob. You removed the word alcoholic from the admission required in Step One? We admitted that we were ALCOHOLIC…

    Step One, they say, is the only one that must be done perfectly. I’m disturbed that you’ve decided to edit it for yourself.

    You can recover from the craving for alcohol. You can recover from the mental obsession. But there is no cure for alcoholism. It’s still the disease that we have. Alcoholics who don’t drink are still alcoholics.

    Facts are simply facts whether we like them or not.

    • I’m ok with that. Alcoholics Anonymous is a guide for recovery, but it’s not the bible my friend. I may suffer from alcoholism, but that doesn’t mean I have to label myself. And step one does not say “We admitted that we were alcoholic.” It actually states “We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.” So please, if you are going to judge me, at least quite the text correctly, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, but your entire premise of being disturbed is based on incorrect information my friend. And those are the facts, whether you like them or not.

  • I drank just to deal with time. I was what you would call a functioning alcoholic. I just needed something to numb the pain; I am sure you understand the concept of suppression. It’s funny when I try to explain to my family my path because they always claim, “So, that’s why you were so calm or easy going.” Or I never new; I thought it was orange juice or tea.You did serve me tea, right?” I chuckle and say, yes and restrain from telling them just how much their presence required something to top it off in order for me to bare them for a bit, As you mentioned; I have learned a great deal of coping skills. I do get tempted by that sly,devilish bitch of a friend but I just make a point to move along. I didn’t go to a facility or attend groups; I woke up one morning on bathroom floor with a mess all over the place; remnants of my husband drinking himself until his body was so deathly poisoned by our chaotic habit, that he was admitted and so, I decided I was done. Done of the self destruction…He was more important than the escape. It’s a long story and one day I may share it with you …But I can say is that your honesty is very refreshing.

  • I too went through recovery after many years of drinking. I now have 7 years of sobriety. After a while, I also felt that it was no longer necessary to label myself as an alcoholic. I felt like it was not giving me any breathing room or ability to see myself as something other than an alcoholic. I found a lot of support in the program for quite a while but also found that after a point it was time to move out into the world and, like somebody else said, start surrounding myself with people that didn’t have that history and background of addiction. I got very involved in a spiritual community and found my support and a new “program” there. I do believe that this is a spiritual disease, as most people in our society have – it is not just alcoholics or drug addicts. We just chose to deal with ours in the a certain type of way that is not societally accepted after a certain point. Drinking is very accepted as we all know, we just took it to the extreme is all. Now I focus my energy on trying to balance out all aspects and areas of my life – to not be too extreme with anything, though that is one of the challenges I have in this lifetime. Balance and bringing down the intensity. Anyway, thank you so much for your post. I greatly appreciated the title and it pulled me in because this is very much my experience. I don’t feel it is a good idea to label ourselves with anything as it binds us into a certain view of ourselves and does not give us room to grow and breathe once we have locked ourselves into some sort of identity. Alcoholic was not the identity I wanted to live with for the rest of my life. And this is not to say that the program is not amazing and a wonderful support for so many people, I’m just saying that it is beneficial to hold a larger View and to nott get locked into to one way of thinking and looking at the world. There are many many many options out there and the world is a beautiful place full of possibilities.

  • Even though this is not your first post, it is a very motivating post.
    Your opening: “Hi, I’m Rob, I’m not an alcoholic” is a great lead in. And the things you plan to do to remain sober are great!
    I understand how it is good to hang with others who are recovering and both help each other. But, I do imagine finding new friends – ones who never drank or don’t drink – is an amazing way to not trigger drinking, too. It’s hard to find people who don’t drink – except recovering alcoholics. I guess there are strict religious people … but, they can cause some emotional triggers. Stress, stress, stress … it always exists; we just need healthy ways to deal with it.
    Anyway, good luck. I’m praying for you!

  • Great read, Rob. It is nice to hear it from your point of view. Keep your head up ans take it a day at a time!

  • Hi Rob! It makes me really happy to read that you do indeed wish to quit it..the very fact that you made a post about it shows how determined you are and I really hope you continue this way! Stay blessed!

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