- Recovered vs. Recovering

Recovered vs. Recovering

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Recovered vs. Recovering

Postby Buck V » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:26 pm

We have a guy with quite a few 24 hours behind him who introduces himself "I'm X and I'm a grateful, recovered alcoholic". I asked him about this one day and he said that he had recovered. The desire and obession to drink have left him and he practices the principles of the steps in all his affairs. He noted that in the forward to the first edition, as well as the first paragraph of Chapter 2 use the word "recovered".

I've been taught that I will never recover from my alcoholism and I take this to heart. If I "recover" from a broken leg, I expect to walk again. If I "recover" from a bout of the flu, I expect to eat solid food again. I treat my disease like diabetes. I can control it, but I will never be free of it. I know I'm getting a little too hung up on semantics, but for this alcoholic, it would be extremely dangerous to claim that I'm recovered from my disease. I'd be interested to hear what others think.

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Postby garden variety » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:10 pm

Hi Buck,

I totally agree with you. The Big Book says "We are like men who have lost their legs. We can never grow new ones." To me that just means I can never drink alcohol like normal people, or have alcohol in "any form" safely. I don't think I could ever recover my legs if I lost them.

I been taught that my "illness" of alcoholism has only "been arrested". I get a daily reprieve by keeping spiritually fit. From what I learned, I havent got a defense against the first drink at times, and if my spiritual fitness is gone, and I stop going to meetings, I betcha a buck I won't "stay recovered". I'll be drunk in a New York minute!

I think "arrested" is the more accurate definition. The "illness" is behind the bars of my Higher Power, the Big Book of A.A., the 12 Steps, and the Fellowship of you people. Once any of those bars is gone, my illness is given parole, and it's me that gets arrested!

"Once an Alcoholic...always an Alcoholic."
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Postby Dallas » Sun Aug 06, 2006 11:23 pm

Recovered means that he is sober. :lol: Once a cucumber gets pickled... it never goes back to being a cucumber, regardless of how long you keep it out of the jar! :lol: Kind of like a tree that gets cup up into ice cream sticks.... it's still wood... you could refer to it as a tree... but it sure the heck ain't going to grow any new leaves! :wink:
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Postby anniemac » Mon Aug 07, 2006 3:29 pm

The Big Book uses the word "recovered" many times. I have recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body. My alcoholism ran much deeper than just my drinking. Therefore, now that I am recovered, I don't want to / need to drink to solve my problems. That's the recovery, for me.

From the Forward of the BB:

"We, Of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics PRECISELY HOW WE HAVE RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book." (underlines are mine)
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Postby Dallas » Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:08 pm

It still only means that they were sober.

Of the first one hundred... (there was actually less than one hundred) that the first Title Page, and first Forward to the Big Book referred to ... several returned to drinking and died of their alcoholism.

When the term "recovered" was used, it was never meant to indicate that they were cured of alcoholism. It simply meant that they were sober... in spite of the fact that they all suffered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body... which was to be drunk.

Over the years, I've watched quite a few AA's who got "recovered" stop doing what they were doing that kept them sober... because they began to believe that they were "recovered" in a way that the book never intended to mean. The insanity of the first drink returned, and because they were "recovered" they felt safe in making an often fatal error in their judgement about "recovered" and "alcoholism."

Yes. Through the 12 Steps, we are able to stay sober and live happy and productive lives. By Step 10, for most of us, our sanity is restored. We begin to act like normal people. We cease fighting alcohol. We begin to experience peace of mind and serenity. For many of us, our lives often gets better than anything that we ever imagined. Imagine that!!!

In the light of those wonderful experience, it becomes very tempting for the mind to forget... what is producing those experiences, and we just stop or quit doing what's keeping us sober, happy, joyous and free. :lol:

Fortunately... we were left with a promising reminder in the middle of page 83, BB.... and, the middle of page 85, BB.

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Postby garden variety » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:59 am

I guess for me, I'm fine with being "in recovery" present tense. Then I don't forget that I've lost my legs.

The thing is, today I don't have the desire, craving, and so on. But you know the passing thought will cross my mind. I been told from guys with 20-45 years, I'll always have those thoughts but they won't happen all the time, but once in a while. You know thoughts like a cold one would sure be nice on a hot day like today. As long as I'm active in the program and have these tools you people give me, I can easily resist the thought like the big book says I "recoil"...that's just how it works for me.

But I also think its at those times if I am not living an active "recovery" or program, it's those times that the Big Book says I am without a defense against the first drink.

I'm not real big on the "forwards" in the many editions, and I'm also not real big on the stories in the back. I been taught that its only what's in the Doctor's Opinion and 1-164 of the Big Book that tells me what to do to keep sober. It don't matter to me they say you're "recovered" in the forward. I know for a fact if the only thing I read was the forward, I wouldn't be sober today.

But I agree that what you said about being recovered from that "hopeless state of mind and body" that comes from alcohlism. But I think the terms do make some confusion here.

Like Buck said in the beginning, I'm not going to pay much mind to a lead that says "I'm a grateful recovered alcoholic". I wouldn't be thinking to myself, well that guy means the "forward" of the Big Book. That isn't what is said in the forward anyway. He'd give me the impression that he was cured...then I'd think he was full of crap. And if I had a sponsee with me, I'd have to point out that you're never cured, and then having to fuss around with the forward...then it gets way too complicated for a new guy. Hell..there not grammar students, they're drunks that don't need confusion like that.

All I need to say is "I am an alcoholic." I don't need to say "gratefully recovered", gratefully recovering, happy joyous, and free, or anything else. What am I trying to say and do? "I'm an alcohlic" is the most important thing a new guy hears. This "gratefully recovered" or "gratefully recovering" alcoholic stuff is fluff. To me it's like "I'm an alcoholic and an addict". It's like somebody wants to say in their first sentence, "I'm different". Baloney! "I'm an alcoholic" is all I need to say to introduce myself. I can say I'm grateful to be recovered from the insanity and the illness of the body anywhere in my lead, right?

Anyway, that's just the way I been taught and its worked for long enough for me to not want to change it.
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Postby wareagle10 » Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:47 am

HAHAHA! Great post. If I was religious I would say "amen". Straight forward and to the point, no BS just "I am what Iam and that's all I am".

You've learned well pilgrim. Keep it up.

Take care and straight ahead, John.
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Postby Buck V » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:25 pm

Hey Garden,

You said " 'I'm an alcoholic' is the most important thing a new guy hears." You are so right. When I first walked into these rooms in November of last year, I was seated about 10th in the order in which we go around the group and introduce ourselves. I had never admitted aloud that I was an alcoholic. Never. The first person said "I'm X, and I'm an alcoholic". I had never been to an AA meeting before and I was a little non-plussed that these people were actually admitting in front of all these people that they were alcoholics. I frantically thought of what I should say, because of course I wasn't an alcoholic, just had a little problem with my drinking. But when it got to me I found myself saying "I'm Buck, I'm an alcoholic, I'm new, and I need your help." The incredible feeling of relief I felt at that moment was almost overwhelming and I've been around ever since. Had I not heard those 9 folks in front of me say they were alcoholic, assuring me I wasn't alone, I wonder where I might be today. Thanks

Last edited by Buck V on Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Scott: Alcoholic » Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:32 pm

LOL! Buck...that sounds like one of those moments when your Higher Power took control of your tongue for a minute. :lol: Good stuff!!

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Postby campsurf » Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:02 pm


Sometimes I am reminded of my good friend Frank who never said he was an alcoholic in meetings, his intro was...."I'm Frank and I have alcoholic tendencies." No one kicked him out and he is still sober today, that was 1980 when I first met him.

I like to keep it in perspective as an illness...I introduce myself sometimes like this...."I'm Jim and I have alcoholism" ....or "I'm Jim and I have been affected by the Family Disease of Alcoholism."... I have also introduced myself as a "garbage can" too....or "I suffer/suffered from the disease of alcoholism." Most of us didn't know about alcoholism until we started to attend meetings....it was in AA that I "caught" alcoholism.... before I was just partying.....and then one gal named Norma from across the room spoke outloud...."the party is over." Indeed. 27 yrs later and my life hasn't never been the same. I was 24.

What I am getting at is this....tailor make the program to fit you....have fun with it. It doesn't always have to be serious. Recovering or recovered are one in the same....everyone knows that the difference between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic....a heavy drinker stops drinking and his/her problems go away...an alcoholic stops and they just begin.... drink was but a symptom of our problem....all I do know is that I can never drink safely again. And believe me, I have tried controled drinking...what a miserable place that is....

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