Question: How long is one considered a recovering addict?

The use of the words “recovering” and “recovered” are a couple of the trivialities that people argue about when they should be paying attention to more important things.

There are two opinions. One is that you are “recovered” when you are able to assume all of the duties and responsibilities of an everyday person, and carry them out competently.

In the opinion of many, including this writer, this ignores (or minimizes) the fact that certain changes in the brain that occur as a result of addiction make it likely that if one uses again one will become re-addicted.

Most people who take this position maintain that “recovering” is more accurate, and that it also helps us get past the denial of continuing issues that may cause us to use again. Many feel that “recovered” shows an arrogance that can lead to trouble — if for no other reason than it is a way to make onself stand out from the crowd (at least in one’s own head).

In the final analysis, however, it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, as long as we continue to be able to do so, and understand fully that “if you go back to doin’ what you used to do, you’ll go back to gettin’ what you used to get.”

2 thoughts on “Question: How long is one considered a recovering addict?

  1. Bill Post author

    My preference as well. It helps me remember that my disease can be arrested, but not completely cured — at least that’s what the real experts say . Absolutes in recovery scare me. They indicate inflexibility, and that’s fatal.


  2. Karen Velen

    For me I prefer “recovering”, I AM recovering (as a full fledged “codie”) but I also realize that I AM an addict to those behaviors. I don’t believe those traits will ever leave but I also believe that it’s the one thing that I can control – my reactions to it.


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