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Old 03-22-2014, 07:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Recovered? Recovering? - oh boy'ee.


Last night was a wonderful date night for my husband and I.
(Our date nights now consist of Nanna watching our almost two year old daughter while my husband and I actually eat at the kitchen table and talk. Party, huh? ^_^)

Anywho! While at the table, we got on the subject of vacation. I told him that I probably would not want to go back to New Orleans for a while, not because I would be so much tempted to drink, but, the negative association (seeing a lot of other people drunk) would probably really stress me out while in 'the big easy'. I made it clear to him, that although I have been sober for going on 3 years, he still has to remember that I AM an alcoholic and recovery is a continuous and daily process. Well, he looked at me and said ... "Bull sh**."

He said "let's look up the definition of addiction" ... while doing that he pointed out that I was no longer physically or mentally addicted to booze, that I no longer wanted to drink booze, and that I had made a remarkable turnaround of my life. Dare I say this... he said "YOU'RE RECOVERED! STOP SAYING YOU'RE AN ALCOHOLIC."

*eek...* I tried to explain to him that there is still a part of me that is completely obsessive compulsive with a sprinkle of addictiveness; and yes, although I feel confident enough that I would stay away from booze, it still sometimes consumes my mind. Not drinking booze, but, being put in situations where others around me are drinking. My husband said that I mention not drinking so much and my alcoholism that obviously, alcohol is still controlling my brain.
O_O ... I really did not know what to say to this. I said, well, it's good for me to talk these things out, and he pretty much said that that was crap and that I need to stop calling myself an alcoholic if I no longer drink and that the whole philosophy of alcoholics anonymous (which I did not use, btw) and sober recovery groups is dumb. He said that the whole purpose of these groups are to make you think that you are powerless (in a way) to alcoholism and without the support of a higher power, you cannot overcome your addiction. After that, I pretty much gave up the conversation and said something like.. "You wanna go watch 'King of the Hill'?

Anywho, I would like your perspectives on the tenses of 'recover'.

Thanks!
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know if there's a technical definition of recovering/recovered. I can see both sides. I know that within some recovery programs the definitions are tight and clear, personally I took a multi-faceted approach and don't subscribe to any one method or theory or practice.

I GET that 'we are always alcoholics', and nothing is fixed in the sense that we could go back to drinking again without issue. It takes a lot of ongoing work and vigilance to maintain our sobriety and recovery-hence 'recovering', it's an ongoing process.

However, I have also heard 'round here the answer to "what are we recovering?", and the answer was "our sobriety", which I think is interesting, and simple. I don't drink anymore, I never will again. My sobriety has been recovered, I recovered from active alcoholism. I have said that I am "recovered". I have recovered from active alcoholism, I am no longer an active alcoholic. That does not mean I will ever drink again, it just means that I achieved long term sobriety, and I'm living my life without that monkey on my back now.

Regardless!! He doesn't have the capacity to understand, he probably never will. My husband is the same. For a while he would say things like "well surely by now you could go on vacation and have a few, it's not like you'll get like you used to..". I just have to pat him on the head and walk away. If only it were that simple
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Good morning-

I am firm believer in that whatever you say to yourself, if you keep saying it long enough, is true. Thus, I don't believe or subscribe to terms such as "alcoholic", "addiction" or "recovered." My thought process is simply, simplify, simplify, simplify.

To me, life is very much like the seasons. I was born in spring, I partied in the summer, I am now maturing in my autumn , and will retire in my winter. I loved the summer season of my life, but I have no desire to relive, "it."

BTW, I have absolutely, positively, no desire to be around drunks, or substance abusers of any kind, either. Thus, unless someone is paying me, I avoid them like the plague.

Hope this helps
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It's easy to split hairs when it comes to words and labels. That aside, it sounds like your husband is disappointed about your not wanting to go to New Orleans. I went through a similar thing with wife a few weeks back. Some friends had invited us to a board game night, which gradually evolved into what was to be a board game/beer sampling night. I refused to go and my wife ended up going alone because she had already committed. As with you, the issue was not whether I am 'recovered' or not, rather that I don't want to be tempted.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi. AA readings use the word "recovered" for those not drinking. Personally I don't care for it as I'm daily recovering and recognizing my characteristics that led me into alcoholism so I don't act on them in a harmful manner. Anger and resentments are big triggers to drink so I need to be observant of their happenings and don't follow the old paths to my destruction.

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WHAT I USED TO CALL BOREDOM I NOW CALL SERENITY.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Intriguing conversation, I've never thought about this before. I like Flutter's perspective that you can at some point recover from active alcoholism, recognizing that drinking is no longer an option.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Knat - I think we have the same Party night routine...lol.

As far as the semantics go, I don't really think about it as recovering / recovered but label myself as an addict. It's about living a sober, clean and happy life from today until check out time. I still label myself as an addict because I have to always be vigilant and cognizant of what a single slip up is going to lead me to. I've seen people that don't really like that term, but I am past the point where I care about what I am labeled so long as I don't screw things up.

As far as your husband goes I deal with the exact same thing from my wife. I used to get very frustrated when arguments like that would happen and now I just forgive her for her ignorance and walk away. A non-addict can't understand it no matter how hard they try to empathize. It is too high of a standard to hold someone up to. I don't get angry at my wife anymore because I realized even I didn't get it until I became an addict myself.

Alice in Chains had a perfect description of the scenario. "You can't understand a user's mind. But try, with your books and degrees." They were right.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My opinion is that it's not the best idea to try to find and associate single universal truths (definitions) for these terms. It can even be destructive and dangerous in my view because, say, someone who is not compatible with my approach might perceive theirs as failure or an attack on their self worth. So I tend to go with terms and definitions only as far as "sobriety", meaning giving up substance abuse and in most cases, specific substance use altogether. Now what comes beyond that and how we call it is most often very personal and subjective. Probably one thing that's true is that we all seek happiness and a better life.
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