“Recovering,” “Recovered,” “Cured”: What’s the difference?

After you have a few meetings under your belt and you have listened to several different speakers, you will probably start to notice that some of them say they are “recovering,” others say they have “recovered,” and still others say they are completely “cured.”  Is there a difference?  To many in program, there actually is.

It has been my experience that the majority of the members of 12-Step groups believe in the saying, “once an addict, always an addict.”  (Or, sometimes they put it this way: “You can’t change a pickle back into a cucumber!”)  They will usually use the analogy of having an allergy: when you put a substance that you are allergic to into your system, you have a reaction.  When you remove that substance, the reaction goes away, but you still have the allergy.  These are the people who will tell you that no matter how long they are in program and no matter how well they “work it,” they will never actually fully “recover” – – they will always be in a process of “recovering.”   Others in program agree with the allergy metaphor regarding physical recovery, but they believe that, by doing the the 12-steps, they have actually fully “recovered” because the insanity of continually ingesting substances that cause them pain has been removed.  They would argue that they have finally “fixed” the soul-sickness that was causing their desperate need to seek comfort in their “drug of choice” rather than in a Higher Power. They will also usually site the cover-page of the Big Book which states that the pages to follow will tell “The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism.”  A less popular view that I hear from time-to-time is the idea that, by virtue of the fact that a person will no longer even consider taking a drink shows that they have been “restored to sanity,” and therefore, that they have been “cured” of their alcoholic condition.  However, since even this group of 12-Steppers would agree that by re-introducing your drug of choice back into your body, you are re-activating a physical allergy, this third point of view, in my opinion, is much less convincing than either of the others.

To me, all of this jibber-jabber all comes down to personal belief.  At different times in my recovery, I have felt different ways about this argument.  To be quite honest, I don’t think one is any better or more correct than the others.  All adhere to the basic principle that it is the ongoing process of continually seeking to improve your relationship with your Higher Power that is going to keep you abstinent/sober.  So it’s not like, if you believe you “have recovered” or that you are “cured” you can stop working the principles of the program, cut yourself off from your Higher Power, and hope to stay “clean” on your own because you are “all better now.”  In the end, all of these ideas are just different ways of looking at the same miracle of recovery that is available to all who are willing to follow a few “simple but not easy” steps.

March 8, 2012 This post was written by Categories: For Newbies Tagged with:

6 Responses to ““Recovering,” “Recovered,” “Cured”: What’s the difference?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>