Recovered vs. Recovering

Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment
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Re: Recovered vs. Recovering

Postby Tim » Fri Sep 15, 2006 3:39 am

Jim W wrote:The book is either true or it's not. I've recovered. No big deal, I don't suffer from alcoholism anymore. Most people that say they're recovering aren't.

You may be right

Jim W
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Recovering vs. Recovered

Postby Jim W » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:23 am

I don't know if it's a matter of me being right (although I must admit I like it when I am-LOL), but for me, I've got to embrace the recovery process wholeheartedly and not be on the fence. I measure my recovery against the criteria set for forth in our basic text-namely the ninth step promises and the tenth step promises. Not to mention what it says in step eleven about being able to trust my mind when my thinking is on a higher plane and coming to rely on intuitive thought. Not that I don't make mistakes, or even that I'm a marvel of mental health on any given day. But the stuff that ate my lunch when I was recovering doesn't eat my lunch anymore.

I read your story about your bout with cancer, which by the way I found very inspiring. I take it you have recovered from cancer. That doesn't mean that, God forbid, you can't ever get cancer again. I take the same stance towards alcoholism. After all, we are given a daily reprieve, which is basically a post ponement of a death sentence.

I see your are from the Pacific Northwest. Me too. I live in Edmonds, just north of Seattle. Maybe our paths have crossed.
A Fellow Northwesterner,

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Postby Dallas » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:51 am

Jim W wrote: I measure my recovery against the criteria set for forth in our basic text-namely the ninth step promises and the tenth step promises. Not to mention what it says in step eleven about being able to trust my mind when my thinking is on a higher plane and coming to rely on intuitive thought.

Ditto on that.

This is why I stay out of the "recovery" and "recovered" debate.

Daily... I "measure my recovery". And, the day that I get recovered... will probably be the day that I stop "measuring my recovery".

I made this error in 1973, thirteen years before making it to A.A.

I was pursuing a different spiritual path then, and it was suggested to me that... because of that particular path, "if I understood it correctly"... then, I was recovered... delivered... healed... new creature... signed, sealed and delivered.

It was an ex-A.A. member who made the suggestion to me. He explained how he had been in A.A. for 25 years... sober... before switching over to the same spiritual path that I was on at that time. He was my "elder", and my "boss"... and he was very convincing with his suggestion... as he pulled out a bottle of whiskey and set two glasses on top of his desk, asking me if I wanted a drink.

At that time... I was nearly a year sober... without A.A. Didn't have a clue what A.A. or alcoholism was really about. However, as I look back now, with the information that I have... I certainly was a real alcoholic.

Funny thing... when he set the glasses up, I was at the time experiencing the 9th and 10 Step promises... without even knowing about the 12 Steps. My reaction was that I "recoiled from the drink" as if it were a hot flame.

A few weeks later... the insanity of the first drink started lurking around in my head. My thought was: Well, if I am really healed, recovered and delivered... and it's okay to drink whiskey... surely a half of a can of beer wouldn't hurt me. It took another 13 years of suffering in my alcoholism before I learned about the concept of alcoholism and recovery.

I will say... that I have seen more "recovered alcoholics" return to drinking while in A.A., than I have seen "recovering alcoholics" return to drinking while in A.A.

I have also seen more "recovered alcoholics" leave A.A., and pursue other paths... which eventually led them back to drinking, and sometimes worse... than I have seen that happen to alcoholics who stay in A.A. recovery for their alcoholism.

It has no effect and doesn't have anything to do with the results in my life, what someone else understands or believes. But, it most certainly has an effect and has everything to do with the results in my life... regarding what I understand and believe.

I've always tried to learn from a few "what to do" and from many "what not to do."

A healthy thought for me... is to remind myself, that in reality... the odds of me staying sober... because of my alcoholism... are stacked against me. And, while I am "in active recovery"... I've pretty well balanced out the odds.

For me... recovery, recover and recovered... simply means that I am sober today.

If I want to better insure that I'll be sober tomorrow... I had better be taking the same actions today... that kept me sober yesterday, and the day before, and the day before.... etceteras.

A few times, over the last 19 years... I've considered myself as "recovered enough" to cut back on what I was doing that was keeping me sober.

I didn't drink... but I sure created some hell in my life and those 9th and 10th and 11th and 12th Step promises sure vaporized out of my life. And, it wasn't easy to get them back either. It took a lot of work and effort to get that peace of mind, and serenity, and clear thinking, and the happiness and joy to return. My own discovery has been that it's easier for me to hang on to what I've got... than it is to start all over again.

For those that are "recovered" and "recovered" means more to them than being sober today... "my hat is off to you!" And, I wish you well. I also... hope you are right.

Personally, for me... it's more important for me to stay sober, happy, joyous and free... than it is for me to be right. It's okay for me to be wrong and hang on to what I've got... than to be right and lose it all.

I've been wrong many times and stayed happy... and I've been right a few times... and suffered needlessly and miserably.


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Postby Tim » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:21 am

Good stuff, Jim and Dallas.

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Postby cinderbobble » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:35 am

Thank you Dallas. For your insight. I realize that there is danger in thinking my recovery is a 'done deal.' If I think that I have recovered,then what need for the continuous inventory and setting things right. What further need for a God of my understanding. What need for humility, which enables me to see that I must take a look at myself, and as that song goes, "...and you can look at others differently! Truly, many have recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body, perhaps as a diabetic recovers when they watch their diet. In my case, I suffer froma spiritual malady, in which I am prone to pride, and self-righteousness. The stumbling blocks of anybody on a spiritual path. Fortunately, we have a program which allows for 'limitless expansion' which is one of the fruits of our 12-step program. I may think I have humility, but when I am pointing a finger outward, as has been pointed, there are always four pointing back.

Semantics can lead to pitfalls, it is true, but sometimes we find ourselves 'straining at gnats while swallowing a camel! At first I thought this the case on the wording here, but at least it has brought about many meaningful responses which point out the need for constant vigilance! Since there is a power greater than me, whom I choose to call God, he has helped me stay sober anyway, not because of me, but in spite of me. I hope that I may continue learning as I trudge this road of happy destiny!

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