Published on Elephant Journal, 3/3/15
My name is Jamie—I’m an alcoholic and an addict.
I happily introduce myself in this manner at 12-step meetings, even now as a recovering woman with over 12 years sober.
People ask why I still refer to myself in these terms. They regularly challenge me, saying: “Surely Jamie, you’re healed by now? You know so much about trauma too—you teach this stuff for God’s sake! Why do you still call yourself an alcoholic and a drug addict?”
I continue to identify as an alcoholic and an addict because it keeps me in touch with reality.
The reality is that alcohol and drugs won every time. I believe that if I chose to put them back into my body, the chance of them engulfing me again is quite high.
Sure, I now have an enhanced understanding about the traumatic and biochemical origins of my addiction. Yet the reality is, drugs and alcohol made a dangerous impression on my body, mind and spirit. Why would I risk putting that into my body again? Just to prove that enough counseling, specialty trauma therapies and holistic modalities sufficiently healed my brain?
I choose to identify as an alcoholic and addict, to keep me in touch with the reality of where using these substances took me. Being reminded of this reality has special purpose for me because I drank, used, and engaged in other dangerous activities to escape reality.
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Dr. Jamie Marich
Curator of the Dancing Mindfulness expressive arts blog: a celebration of mindfully-inspired, multi-modal creativity