Recovered vs. Recovering

Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment
garden variety
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Location: Ohio

Postby garden variety » Wed Aug 23, 2006 5:06 pm

Hi Jim,

So is what you're saying that you have trouble with identifying yourself as an "alcoholic"?

I don't think anyones allowed to kick anybody out of AA. I also know that "the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking". But that also means that there are many in this fellowship that are not alcoholics. I'm sure there are "heavy drinkers" that had to show up from court, and are now "sober" for many years. But a heavy drinker and me are two vastly different kinds of creatures.

I don't expect you'll appreciate me being disagreeable, but I seen and known people who at one time thought a program doesn't always have to be serious. One of those girls was in my home group and she got cremated a couple weeks ago.

For me, my program has to be serious and can't be tailor made, either. I'd be one heck of a fool to tell some of these guys I sponsor to tailor make their program. My program has to agree with the Big Book, the 12 Steps, and the 4 Absolutes. I got a sponsee just the other night who has been tailor making his program for the past 25 years and never got past 6 months of staying sober. Up here we call that AA "Cafeteria Style", where you can pick and choose and do the steps however and whatever order you want to.

If your friend and you are keeping sober this way, well it says AA don't hold the monopoly on staying sober. Here they taught me to always take this serious and be careful how I speak, because I don't want to tell a new guy something that don't agree with what his sponsor says. See up here a newcomer wants to try and try to find a loophole that he can weasel out of doing something that is suggested, especially if he's being paper-trained by the courts. I can't be too careful of what I say or how I say it to the new man. But that's just the way I been taught and what I seen work best up here.

Now I also know that we're not a glum lot, and we do supposed to have fun. But I learned theres a difference between "my program" and "the Fellowship". I can have fun and not always be serious with the Fellowship. They taught me that I'm "in the fellowhsip", and I'm supposed to "work the program". I'm not "in the program" and "working the fellowship".

But anyhow Jim, I aint the sharpest tool in the shed, so I got to have these things spelled out plain and simple.

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Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 4:03 am

Postby campsurf » Thu Aug 24, 2006 2:07 pm

garden variety;

I introduce myself sometimes like this

So is what you're saying that you have trouble with identifying yourself as an "alcoholic"?

I have no problem introducing myself in the standard way we all the beginning there was "the program"....not my program. I just believe there is a time to be rigid and a time laugh a little... I know where I stand and it doesn't matter if you know too... but we do know when someone is on the "beam"..... it is serious business....but I am not going to walk around all full of dome and takes less work to smile.

Most of the time it doesn't even matter what we say to the was what had happened that compelled me to continue this sobriety thing, not what might happen....if this was the case I would have never drank or used.

I agree completely with you on working "the program"....anytime I work my program I am headed to toward the deep end without a life jacket and it is only a matter of time before I can't stay afloat and begin to sink....thank god, there were AA Lifeguards ready to pull me out....

I love disagreements, (but we are in agreement) problem is that I can't type enough words to tell the complete story about my far as newcomers go...I usually don't play games with them....I am right up front...."their chances are slim or none that they will make 6 months let alone a yr.".....don't tell me....Show Me... I too have watched people "bounce"......when they stop bouncing and go "splat"....then all this AA nonsense will make sense and not until. The best I can do is stay sober and if they make it back, I need to be still involved. That always sent a powerful message to me after my relapse at 6 1/2 yrs... that was proof that this stuff worked for only question was...would it work for me....


squawkbox wally
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:31 am
Location: South Texas

Re: Recovered vs. Recovering

Postby squawkbox wally » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:57 am

Greetings and thanks for the forum. My name is Wally and I am a recovered alcoholic. :D

Why do I say I am recovered? I say so because the Big book
says that we have recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body
. I am no longer hopeless, I have been restored to sanity,
and my body is healed from the hopeless state it was in when I first entered AA.

Can I drink like normal men? The answer to that is a resounding NO. Can I drink again? Yep, but today because the power of choice has been restored to me I can choose not to drink one day at a time and I do that one day a time. I no longer suffer the obsession with drinking nor that God awful craving.

I am still an alcoholic, I will never NOT be an alcoholic and if I drink again I'll be right back to where I was at when I hit bottom last time. Because God's grace is sufficient I have not had a drink today and for that I am grateful

Scott: Alcoholic
Posts: 31
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:50 am
Location: District 47, Area 59 - Southeastern Pennsylvania

Postby Scott: Alcoholic » Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:25 am

hmm...Wow! Nicely done - Welcome Wally!!


squawkbox wally
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:31 am
Location: South Texas

Greetings again

Postby squawkbox wally » Sat Aug 26, 2006 6:08 am

Hello Scott

Thank you for the welcome.

I think it is most important that we are true to ourselves. I knew for many years that I was in recovery as it were and the realization of recovered was a long time in coming, but it came so why deny it?

I love AA and her members. They did God's work with me cause I was a mess. The fellowship and a great sponsor helped me discover/realize that I can never drink like a gentleman (I have no desire to try btw) but the 12 Steps can help a drunken bum like I was become a gentleman and productive member of society. I am thoroughly convinced of the "C" in our ABCs. "God could and would if he were sought".

Again I would like to express my gratitude for this site. I stumbled in this pm in a blue funk and reading the experience strength and hope of others have lifted my spirits. Thanks.

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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:34 am

Postby Tim » Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:49 am

In some ways, 'recovered' vs. 'recovering' is mere semantics, a 'you say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to' kind of thing. I've 'recovered' from alcoholism, as the Big Book says, but more importantly to me I am actively 'recovering' from alcoholism by practicing the spiritual principles of recovery embodied in the 200 words of the 12 Steps. I don't drink anymore, but I am learning to maintain a spiritually fit condition, one day at a time, in order to stay recovered. Being sober doesn't keep me sober. I'm a recovered and a recovering alcoholic, grateful and contented to be sober.

P.S. Speaking of recovery, I am back at work after my recovery from prostate cancer surgery this summer. The principles of AA worked magnificently to help me during this difficult period. My AA home group was indescribably supportive. I'm a lucky fellow!

Site Admin
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Postby Dallas » Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:36 am


Congratulations on your recovery from prostate cancer surgery! It's great to have you back with us, and I hope that your health is well.

I would be very interested in having you share with us how you used and applied the 12 Step principles in dealing with your situation. I pray that I never have to use them that way, and I do understand, and have used the 12 Steps applied to many of my own problems other than my alcoholism. I find the experience of others very valuable in ways that I can further use the tools, and also having the information so that I can pass it on when the opportunity is appropriate.

I hope you'll consider sharing it with us.

Best regards,


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Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:34 am

Postby Tim » Thu Sep 07, 2006 3:57 am


It was helpful to have some good recovery under my belt when I got hit below the belt with prostate cancer. It was an unasked for opportunity to practice the spiritual program of 12-Step recovery.

Alcoholism is a disease, cancer is a disease. I'm powerless over them, and both can make life unmanageable. I found myself using the Steps in working thru my prostate cancer. At first, the fact of my cancer took over my thinking and emotions. Until I admitted that I was powerless over it, I could not begin to effectively deal with it. I could not wish it away, deny it, or control it. That was a critical step to begin healing from prostate cancer. (Healing is different from being cured.)

I progressed through the Steps, substituting cancer for alcoholism. It was surprising to me how similar the two diseases are. In Step 2 I came to believe, just as I had with alcoholism, that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity (wholeness). Using Step 3, I again turned my will and my life (not excluding my prostate cancer, which was now a part of me) over to the care of God as I understand him. I also gave God the right to choose the outcome of cancer treatment according to his will for me, not as I would have it.
The first three steps were instrumental in my being able to live life again and to accept my cancer. Acceptance does not mean that I have to like it, but that I fully embrace its reality. That allowed me to read about prostate cancer and its treatments and to fully listen to the expertise of my urologist. I had the peace of mind (not easy to come by when one has a life-threatening illness) that it was now God's business, not mine. He was in control and I was not God.

A 4th Step, listing my fears and resentments concerning cancer, and sharing this with other trusted people, was very freeing. I was concerned, of course, that self-will would again run amuck and that at the very least I would experience emotional insobriety, which could lead to a return to drinking. I discovered that I did not have to fall victim to self-pity or other deadend emotions. I learned that by practicing the 12 Steps actively I could maintain contented sobriety.

Skipping forward to what are commonly called the maintenance Steps ( 10, 11 and 12), it became especially critical that I take a daily inventory of my emotions, my fears, and admit where I had taken a wrong turn. The practice of prayer and meditation, emphasized in Step 11, were lifesavers for me. And Step 12 helped me to continue to work with others, meeting regularly with sponsees and attending meetings--helping set up chairs, the literature rack, greeting people. I never realized how truly useful 'practicing these principles in all our affairs' is until cancer became one of my 'affairs' where I could apply all the tools I've been given in recovery.

Recovery slogans were beneficial to me in recovery from cancer. The slogans may sound glib and trite, but when one scratches their surface they reveal a rich mine of truth. Here are some of the slogans which most helped me: First Things First, Live and Let Live (has anyone here listened to Father Martin's beautiful talk on this?), Easy Does It, One Day at a Time (A godsend to deal with fear and worry), Let Go and Let God, Keep It Simple, and Pass It On (If I don't freely share what has been freely given to me, I become spiritually bankrupt). And the Serenity Prayer helped me to accept with grace what I could not change and courage (is courage fear that has been prayed over?) to change the things I could. (As a practicing Christian, I pray the long version of this prayer, but love the short version and its beautiful simplicity.)

Site Admin
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Postby Dallas » Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:18 am

Thanks Tim! That was an awesome share on how you applied the 12 Steps to your situation. I got a lot of good stuff out of it!


Jim W
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Location: Everett, WA

Recovered vs. Recovering

Postby Jim W » Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:50 am

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.

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