From Recovering to Recovered

When is it Okay for an Addict to Move from “Recovering” into “Recovered”?

If we believe we are emotionally and spiritually healed and have done much work on ourselves in those areas with God’s help, and do not want to drink. We may be “recovered”  for real.  To thine own self be true.

This is the Foreword to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as it appeared in the first printing of the first edition in 1939

“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. For them, we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary.”


If you go to Alcoholics Anonymous or any of the twelve step meetings you will notice it’s actually tabu to say your “better”, “well” or even “healed” no matter how much work or how long you have been in the program.  Addicts give off the oppressive concept of “once an addict always an addict.”  Some members insinuate in meetings that as soon as an addict believes he is better he is on the hard cold road to relapse and surely delusional.
Fact is many addicts truly do stay in recovery and sick the rest of their days. They never really do the healing work that has been discovered by the few.

What if we were to clear up the core issues of why we really drank, drugged, and committed self abuse? What if we could change the way we see ourselves and understand why we are/were so sick? Would we no longer be alcoholics? The first question every addict asks in response is, “would I then be able to drink responsibly?” The thing is if we are healed in our hearts and minds of addictive patterns we would no longer want to drink or drug responsibly or otherwise. The reason to be numb would be moot.
Which of the twelve steps so highly regarded and respected around the world quotes the rule; “once an addict always an addict”.   Where is it written in the literature “you will never be better and if you say you are you’re surely in relapse mode”.  Well I can’t find it in the steps or in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  As a matter of fact I found evidence very much to the contrary of these rampant belief systems directly from the lips of Bill Wilson himself.

I found this article online and I couldn’t have put it better myself..well maybe a little.  Written by Bill F

In direct contradiction to the Big Book, New Agers tell us we’ll “never recover,” “always be recovering,” and “never get well.” The message from Bill W. and the first one hundred recovered alcoholics (p. xiii) uses the word “recovered” approximately twenty-three times; “recover,” twenty-eight; and “recovering,” only twice, and then in the context of the newcomer.

We never become cured from the physical allergy. Once we take a drink the phenomenon of craving will be triggered. This is what it means to say “we are not cured from alcoholism” (p. 85). But once we become recovered, the mental obsession to drink is removed. The physical allergy is rather a moot point. We now do not have to take that first drink. Being recovered is conditional. We remain recovered by staying in fit spiritual condition (p. 85).”

Bill F.
Hyattsville, Maryland

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