I know firsthand how it feels to be labeled. I’ve been called a loser, a moron and of course a drunk. I’ve been considered a lost cause. I’ve been thrown in jail a bunch of times so you better believe I’ve been labeled by cops and the court system. I have a ton of tattoos which to some may be perceived as sinful. But if someone that doesn’t know me sees me walking my kids to the park, I highly doubt they would think “hey look at that guy, he must have 3 DUI’s”. This is why labels are a bit silly, yeah I do have three DUI’s but I’m not some tattooed punk who walks around with a puffy chest, spitting in the face of the law, supporting the type of behavior that I was arrested for.

For whatever reason, we as a people, associate alcohol with fun and so that means sober people are boring. Listen to me, I will tell you that alcohol and even drugs can be a great time, I mean a fucking great time!!  Some of my favorite memories are with friends and family getting bombed. However, I have learned that the alcohol isn’t what made it fun. For me, I’ve realized that alcohol is just a cover up for the shit that makes us uncomfortable. I remember being in social situations, not knowing what to do. I didn’t know how to feel, or who to talk to. I didn’t know what to do with my hands (I never know what to do with my hands) or how to introduce myself to new people. So I would get trashed. Raise your hand if you can relate.

The funny thing is that now that I don’t drink, I feel ten times more comfortable in social situations (except for public speaking, that shit still terrifies me) and I know I am not going to embarrass myself or someone else because I am being a drunk buffoon. I didn’t get sober to be bored, I got sober to have fun in life and be healthy.

Whether I want to admit it or not I have labeled myself as a loser more times than anyone ever should. I also know that many people have whispered behind my back and probably said shit about me purely based on their opinions on drunk driving or alcoholism. I’ll tell ya what though, just because you have struggled with addiction by no means does that make you a loser. Anyone who feels the need to put other people down because of their personal hardships is the definition of insecure, and their opinion doesn’t matter anyway. If you are an addict in recovery, you are the exact opposite of a loser. You are among the strongest people in the world. Actually consider for a minute how difficult it is to get clean. Think of all the people that have tried and failed to maintain sobriety. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, by far. The odds and the system are against me, yet here I am, staying clean and sober like a bad ass.

My experiences have strengthened me, and it puts all other problems into perspective. Life is difficult for everyone. For those who have survived problems with alcohol, we know a special kind of misery. When I am feeling down, I reflect on what I have gone through and it makes me realize how good I actually have it.

I decide who I am, I know I have my flaws but those flaws don’t make me a bad person. I have made mistakes and I will continue to make mistakes, that is part of life. I was born to be awesome, not perfect.