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Post Info TOPIC: Is there such a thing as "recovered" versus "in recovery"


Veteran Member

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Is there such a thing as "recovered" versus "in recovery"


Over the years I've noted that that there are quite a few very wise people on this board, people who seem to have worked the program in depth and have come out on "another side" of living an unmanageable life / crisis lifestyle. It got me thinking: 

1) is there ever a time when one feels that one has Recovered from one's behaviors-related-to-having-an-alcoholic-family-member, or is it just that one eventually gets proficient enough at productive behavior/thought patterns learned through Al-Anon that you are simply not ruled by the alcoholic in your life anymore? 

2) If there is a time when you feel like "I'm not living in crisis mode anymore", does it always end up with people either being divorced Or the alcoholic finds sobriety and you can get on with your life together? 

More than once it has come up in my interactions on this board / in F2F group / with my counselor (a couple of years back when I could see one regularly) that "at some point you have to decide how much you are willing to live with".  It just so happens that in the F2F group I attend (at least from what I can glean; I have not discussed this in detail with anyone) that everyone who seems to be "on the other side" is either divorced or their significant other found sobriety and they remain in the group to just maintain (?).   I'm just wondering if that is true in the experiences of people on this board. 

 



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~*Service Worker*~

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   smile ...A great topic, Fedora. I few years ago- I was at an A A Alanon assembly- maybe the most southern one in the world. I had rellies in that fishing town. One time they had AA meetings there, but the members all came in for these. No-one local attended.

But that must have turned around. For the Saturday night dinner we had all the sea-food delicacies. And i thought here they are treating us drunks and spouses to a chief's dinner- and they were!

At the Alanon meeting I said that my coming to Alanon had improved possibilities for my family- going forward. And someone said to me- "No- you can't say that!"

I was bit angry and disturbed at that comment- but said nothing at the time.

The words I use are: "Care or cure?" And I put a big question mark after that!

Sometimes I say:o- that we are works in progress, and our groups are works in progress too! biggrin ...

Ma'am you have opened up the exact opposite to a can of worms here!

The 'care or cure' thing is about a discussion and a conversation I have.

So I shall read this thread with deep interest... and may contribute more... smile ...

                                        aww ... nice topic ... aww ...



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~*Service Worker*~

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Is there such a thing as


Fantastic topic! In my opinion, no! I am recovering I am getting better, I am progressing, but I am a Leifer in the program because if I were to start my program, the old stinking thanking would come back. Its like the alcoholic is never recovered it is just in remission, my codependency and my struggle with control addiction is in remission as long as I work my program. I live a much better and healthier life but I have to work my program on a regular basis to stay that way. The steps are the hallmark of how I live my life and how I handle things. The 12 steps are as much a part of me as eating food every day. If I were to go without food I would starve. If I were to go without my program, I would slip right back into old ways. That is just my opinion and I am sure that you will get Many other shares on this and I thank you for bringing it up

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Rose, a work in progress!!!

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~*Service Worker*~

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{{{Fedora}}}, Thank you for bringing up this topic. I can share my experience and thoughts:

1. Getting proficient at new behaviors and thought patterns, through repeated practice, is how it is for me. Now, my main qualifier has passed away, but I can still use these new skills daily with all other people and situations in my life. I think it's like going to the gym. I took classes, learned new exercises, and I need to keep going to the gym (or in today's world, using YouTube or Zoom videos!) to keep it up. If I do not continue practicing, my body will go back to where it was. Amazingly, exercise has become a habit for me -- which it never was in the past -- and it's similar with Al-Anon. I can go to my new thoughts/behaviors more quickly and almost automatically now, and it still helps to stay in touch with my fellow Al-Anons to keep myself in good form.

2. I did get to a point where things weren't a constant crisis ... although for me that meant my very sick alcoholic had to live elsewhere AND I was working my program like my life depended on it. I do know people in my F2F Al-Anon groups, couples, where one or both work a program, and remain together and seem to have a good life. Those people are my Al-Anon heroes, because they are in the battle every day and yet they have a good amount of serenity, gratitude, grace. And I am grateful they stay in the group. If everyone in the group was always in crisis, none of us could see hope -- that there can be another side, or at least another day, where we can have serenity.

So, is there such a thing as a "recovered" Al-Anon? I don't know, but for me, it's a case of "greatly improved" but still following the suggestions I was given, in hopes of staying that way.


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"So, is there such a thing as a "recovered" Al-Anon? I don't know, but for me, it's a case of "greatly improved" but still following the suggestions I was given, in hopes of staying that way."

Freetime, this is great what you said.....MY thoughts exactly...I am , as you say , "greatly improved" but I need my program to maintain that.......

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Rose, a work in progress!!!

KEEP IT SIMPLE_EASY DOES IT_KEEP THE FOCUS ON ME



Senior Member

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RE: Is there such a thing as "recovered" versus "in recovery"


Sometimes divorce is win win I know for me #abandonment# issue were really up there Those issues really ran my life. I was also really prone to enmeshment. Life was really #sticky# Now I have boundaries but boundaries take practice I come across dysfunctional situations all the time. These days I do not feel so lost in them Moreover on a long term basis I can consider what I need to do long term There was no long term before .there was only #fear# Maresie

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~*Service Worker*~

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Is there such a thing as


Great topic Fedora! I know of nobody in active recovery, AA or Al-Anon, that considers themselves 'recovered'. I have heard the word 'recovered' used by some who've departed the program(s), and no longer activity works a recovery program. I believe deeply that I'm a work in progress, and will always rely on recovery to help me continue to improve, grow, change.

I am still with my qualifier, my AH. We celebrated 29 years of marriage Saturday. We met in AA more than 30 years ago. I stayed sober; he did not. Quite honestly, his relapse did not bring me to Al-Anon. I knew when we married there were no guarantees - either of us could relapse at any time esp. if we stepped away from recovery. It was this disease in my boys that brought me to my knees, to a state of complete obsession, fear, insanity, etc. The disease was easier to accept in my AH than my boys - and a part of me felt I could control my boys because I birthed them - ha! No such luck...

There have been many good times and many difficult times in our marriage. I have stayed because it felt like the right thing for me to do at the time. Each time I approached a cross-roads of staying/going, I had doubt and I stayed true to what our program suggests - when in doubt, don't. Our life/marriage has been far from perfect but I know today that no marriage is. I can accept the disease in my live, in the life of others and still find and keep my joy every single day...it's because of my willingness to work recovery as best I can, One Day at a Time.

In my area, there are others who have also stayed. There are still others who are separated and others who've divorced. What I have observed through their sharing is the 'isms' will still exist in us or for us even if/when the A is removed simply because this disease is so far-reaching and destructive. I truly shudder deeply when I consider where I would be - mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically without recovery.

So - for me - until I take my last breath, I will be a person in recovery. (((hugs)))

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Practice the PAUSE...Pause before judging.  Pause before assuming.  Pause before accusing.  Pause whenever you are about to react harshly and you will avoid doing and saying things you will later regret.  ~~~~  Lori Deschene

 

 



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Wow, Iamhere, powerful share and I hear you about "your boys" for me it was my daughter, she got on cocaine then the crystal meth....she was 18 when it started..her new boyfriend whom she would marry...it was downhill from then on...I lost my cute, cuddley, sassy girl whom I was so proud of, not because she looked so much like and had sooo much of ME in her but she was her own little spirit and I loved that....She did drugs for decaades, she is, thank God, sober now, going on 8 years....she made it clear to me she .."doesn't need recovery...she *graduated*" she made it clear that she doens't need me and my steps, etc., tho I never ever told her how to do her program.....and yea, it doesn't matter if they are DNA or not like my foster child...she turned out great!!!! we've distanced some because her mother got sober and walked back into her life and so foster mama wasn't so needed..... so I am a 2 time heartache.....

I do my program because I know if I don't i slip back into codependency and addiction to control...the drugs changed my daughter......she is sober, but hard, into self, big time...doesn't have that caring about others like she did before, or am I in denial about her personality???? I think the drugs did change her and tho I love the girl, I hate the disease and how its affected her...even our friends, my age, told me that I did all I could, was a good mom to her, it just is what it is and they hate the way she has turned her back on me...She has this "i'm entitled" attitude according to our friends........I had to let go...and keep letting go till I no longer really hurt ....I pray EVERY day she stays sober, that will never change...I love her every day, that will never change, but i also love me and can only help myself......I hope, one day, I'll get her back, but I hold no expectations.....

I am a lifer here...there is no way, no chance I could remain emotionally half way sober w/out the program....I have to do maintenance now....practice what I learned....do it on a ODAT basis

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Rose, a work in progress!!!

KEEP IT SIMPLE_EASY DOES IT_KEEP THE FOCUS ON ME

Bo


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Great questions Fedora!!! While your questions on the surface may sound or appear simple, to me what resonates is the nature or scope of the questions. What resonates with me is not the "content" of the questions...but the "context" of the questions!!! And the entire context that the questions take place inside of.

So, for me, in my own experience, my own life -- yes, I've been a grateful member of the alanon program for 26 years (this June). Yes, I've worked the program, and yes, I've worked the steps, more than once. Even when I am not working the steps, I am "doing work" every single day. Not because I have to...but because it's innate. Alanon, and how and what the steps speak to, has become a curriculum for living in how I live my life, and after all these years...I am so grateful it has become innate. It's not how I try to live my life...it's how I live my life. The "try" is not there. It's innate. It's like breathing. Do I have slips? Absolutely! More on that later. That said, yes, I've come out on the other side -- the other side being a wonderful, healthy, incredible life... one that I love, enjoy, embrace, and one that I am so grateful and thankful for. No, absent a trigger or two, or an out of the ordinary "situation" -- no, my life is not impacted or invaded by unmanageable, crisis, drama, chaos, havoc, turmoil, etc. However, remember, I lived in a world of crisis, minute to minute drama, chaos, turmoil, havoc, and "what now" for years! My life got to the point where every single time the phone rang, or I got a text from my wife, my body got tensed up. I immediately got "concerned" if not "worried" and more often "scared" so to speak. My life had got to a point where -- 2 or 3 days a week -- when coming home from my office, I would have to pull the car over about a mile from my house, and get out of the car because I was going to, and did, throw up! Why? Simply because I had anxiety and was worried about who and what I was going to find at home. I wasn't "struggling" like you hear most people talk about...I was dying. I was having panic/anxiety attacks. I was not able to keep food down. I was not able to sleep normally. I wasn't able to function normally. So, be that as it may, yes, I've come out the other side. Absolutely positively!!!

For me, and my experience...and in conversations with quality, healthy people in the program, who I know well -- the word "recovered" is simply conversational. It relates to a specific, as an adjective type. "I've recovered...from obsession" so to speak. Yes, I have "recovered" from specific behaviors I had/did, related to having an alcoholic spouse, addict step-son, and the like. I've also "recovered" from specific behaviors I had/did, related to unhealthy, dysfunctional people in my life. But today, these people may be "around" my life...but they are not "in" my life, they don't "invade" or "corrupt" my life. Big difference! However, it's more about "character defects" and "unhealthy behavior" than it is about "being recovered" from a specific behavior. I hope that makes sense to you. I spend a lot of time working in and on that. For me, in my experience, it's not about a behavior. It's about who I am being.

Am I proficient enough, based upon everything I have learned in alanon, so that I am not "ruled" by the alcoholic? Great question!!! As I already said, YES, YES, YES. However, I think there's a lot more to it. First, it's not just what I "learned" in alanon. NO!!! In my experience, what I also learned, for me, is that...It's what I learned...and what I did with it!!! It's what I implemented!!! It's the changes I made!!! In my opinion, and what I've seen countless times in 25 years...Go to meetings...I don't care if you go for 25 years...and don't implement anything, don't make any changes, don't do anything...and you simply wasted 25 years!!! NOTHING CHANGES IF NOTHING CHANGES. That is an alanon slogan and it is about YOU. If you don't make changes...You will still be sick, unhealthy, not happy, and miserable. They say in meetings -- take what you like, and leave the rest...and if you don't like alanon and don't want to come back...we will refund your misery! LOL. Alanon is not just a program about showing up to meetings. The "work" and "doing the work" takes place OUTSIDE meetings! Yes, meeting makers make it...but meeting makers who do something! Second, I loved that you used the term "ruled" -- what a great term!!! Very applicable. However, here's the flip-side of that...I don't think most people think their lives are "ruled" by the alcoholic. In my experience, most people don't see that. They are so in it they can't see the forest through the trees, yet alone the one tree they are obsessed with that's right in front of them! In my experience, most people are in denial. Denial can and does take on several forms. Denial, being so enmeshed, engulfed, being obsessed, wanting to control, fix, prove, be right, and so much more, can all be the person not seeing "reality" and that can be a form of denial. Their "reality" -- their thinking -- has become corrupted. It has become distorted. I know, I was there!!!

Your second question is great! No, I am not living in crisis mode. I haven't in years. But, believe it or not, that had nothing to do with being married, seperated, or divorced. It also had nothing to do with my wife finding sobriety or not. I am sure that doesn't make sense to you, however, believe it or not, married, separated, divorced is separate and distinct from an alcoholic being sober or not, and from living in crisis mode. If you go to face to face meetings...conference approved...you will hear the following: "We, too, were lonely and frustrated but in Al-Anon we discover that no situation is really hopeless and that it is possible for us to find contentment and even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not." I know those words by heart. There is a lot of meaning, philosophy, and mindset behind those words. Far too many people feel they are "in alanon" FOR the alcoholic. You are not in alanon FOR the alcoholic. You are in alanon FOR YOU. For YOURSELF. Beginners and newcomers often think that coming to alanon will teach them how to get the alcoholic to quit drinking and get clean and sober. Another part of the opening of alanon meetings says "Alanon will work for you if you allow it to." I have found this in my experience to be absolutely and positively true! However, many people don't "allow it to" and that's perhaps outside the scope of your question/topic/discussion. Another slogan is "There are no musts in alanon."

I also think your question, for me, resonates the alanon perspective. Alanon, alanon meetings are about alanon, they are about us, our recovery. It's not about AA, it's not about the alcoholic. In the opening of alanon meetings, at least the meetings I go to in Northern NJ and NYC, it says "In alanon, we speak from our experiences which are derived living with an alcoholic rather than being one. It is a different experience which calls for a different interpretation of the 12 steps. We ask that you start out by listening to the suggested solutions based upon the Al-Anon approach to the family illness. We ask that members of other anonymous fellowships remain anonymous and focus on the Al-Anon program." Now, I hear that same thing in meetings in FL and around the country. Some meetings may say something different and some may not say it all. Regardless, for me and my experience, when we talk about recovery...my recovery is an alanon recovery. It is alanon, what I learned, what I implemented, the changes I made that allowed me to not have to live in crisis mode. No more drama, chaos, turmoil, havoc. All of that, and so much more was available to me...and happened...whether the alcoholic was drinking or not, clean and sober or not, and whether or not I was married, separated, or divorced.

It's a very interesting, profound, and almost enigmatic thought process. It is similar to a paradigm shift in thinking...perhaps when someone first comes into the rooms of alanon, the way they look at it is "I can only be happy if he/she stops drinking" or perhaps even more to the point "I don't want to get divorced, but I don't like or can't stand what's going on right now, so I am hoping he/she stops drinking" -- and that's OK. That's not uncommon. For me, when I walked into the rooms, I came from a place where I felt -- I am unhappy, my life has become unmanageable, because of her drinking...so...she stops drinking, and I'll be happy, and life will be wonderful again. It was very simple for me. She drinks, life sucks, she stops drinking, life won't suck any more. Our life was wonderful BEFORE she was drinking. So, she stops, life will be wonderful again. Many people think that. Many people believe that. However, life is not a simple "equation" so to speak. It is not linear in nature or fashion. It is multi-faceted, organic, it is a living, breathing, ever-changing "variable". I looked at the people in the rooms and saw -- people who stayed, people who got divorced, and in both groups were people who had spouses that did quit drinking and also people who had spouses that did NOT quit drinking. I saw people who had a spouse that did NOT quit drinking, and they stayed, and they were miserable. Others were happy. Some convinced themselves they were happy. Some were. Some won't. Some who knows. There is no standard. There is no norm. My sponsor is still married. But, he separated from his wife. They then -- on the advice of their therapist -- started going out on dates, before they got back together and lived together again. There was an entire reasoning and methodology as to why that was the advice and why they did that, but that's neither here nor there. My sponsor got separated, and eventually they did get back together.

Your counselor brings up a very interesting point...and in my experience...first, if nothing changes, nothing changes. If the alcoholic does not stop drinking -- and they certainly might or could in the future -- but just for today, they are drinking...yes, in my experience, you may find yourself in a place, or at a juncture, where you may or may have to say or decide "how much you are willing to live with". But, that doesn't mean "the other side" is about married or divorced, or about the spouse drinking or not. It is not a what-if. Some people make it that way -- and to each their own. That's OK. If a person for whatever reason ends up in a place where they say "Either he/she quits drinking, or I am leaving!" -- well, that's OK. For them. Not for everyone though. This is a to each their own program. There are no musts in alanon. No different than when it comes to married or divorced, staying or leaving...there is no right or wrong...it is up to YOU.

Talk to your sponsor. Lean into your program. All of the answers are there. You'll know when you'll know...and you will know it. All the best.

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Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

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RE: Is there such a thing as "recovered" versus "in recovery"


 

Mahalo Fedora for the post and the opportunity for me to read on what is a "most important" subject in my program/recovery.  The definition of Alcoholism that I host most important to me is that  "it can never be cured, only arrested by total abstinence" and my program hold that total abstinence is a daily condition.  The disease affects me mind, body, spirit and emotions and from my experience is that widely powerful.  To explain like some others on the Al-Anon MIP Forum, I am a double winner.  I am born and raised and no doubt with the DNA an alcoholic.  I inherited it from within my family as I did tuberculosis and like tuberculosis have to practice a certain life protocol so that the disease doesn't expand. As I continue to remember the AMA definition of alcoholism and wish to believe, I  have no cure or there is no cure only total abstinence for arrest.  I have been in recovery, Al-Anon first, since 1979.  I have had near slips supported from personal ego traits. "I can drink...it won't hurt me" and yet these perceptions come from within the personality which has faced death from toxic shock and who was told after review of my qualification, "The next time he drinks he dies".  

 

Recovery for me is a one day at a time day after day.  I haven't drank today.  In fact I haven't even thought about it and in the past 42 year have not been able to say that.  It isn't always about drinking yet it is always leading up to it.  understand ??  The alcoholic's brain is continuously under the compulsion to drink whether he does or not and he can never be cured.   (((((hugs)))))confusewink



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