Can We Please Stop Describing Sober People as ‘Clean’?

For Healthline

When I was newly sober, I told a friend (who lived across the country and admittedly hadn’t seen the worst of my drinking) that I was no longer drinking alcohol. 

“Yeah, but you can still have a glass of wine every now and then, right?” she replied. “It’s not like you’re an addict.

After a little more discussion, it became clear that her conception of an “addict” was not someone like me: a person in her early 20s who had graduated college, gotten a good job, and appeared to be holding her life together.

Although that perception was very far from my reality, there are plenty of people who struggle with substance use disorders and addiction who don’t fit the stereotype of the “town drunk,” who wanders the streets with a plastic gallon jug of cheap vodka before passing out somewhere obvious and inappropriate.

One of the reasons that’s become the stereotypical picture of addiction is because of how, societally, we’ve talked about addiction for so long. Continued

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Katie MacBride is a freelance journalist, essayist, and co-founder/associate editor of Anxy magazine. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Daily Beast, Vice, Playboy, and Buzzfeed, among other publications. Follow her on Twitter: @msmacb

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