Recovering VS. Recovered

“We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.” From the Big Book’s Foreword to the First Edition, page xiii.

Yesterday, I went to a Big Book meeting in my food fellowship, where people who are abstinent refer to themselves as recovered. I asked someone why they do that, and they referred me to the Big Book. The word recovered is mentioned 19 times in the Big Book referring to the disease of alcoholism.

The person said that when the obsession has been lifted, when we recoil as from a hot flame, when we are no longer tempted, then it is appropriate to say we are recovered. And, by the way, the person made clear that this is not a reflection of our other character defects, since we “are not saints,” but simply a characterization of having been “relieved of the alcohol obsession” (page 18 of the Big Book – translated to food for me, in this case).

And by the way, recovered does NOT mean cured, nor does it mean that we now are normal or can walk away from our program of recovery. Quite the reverse is true. We must hold on even tighter. They say the further you are from your last binge, the closer you are to your next. I try never to forget that lest I get complacent or cocky.

By that definition, yes, I do believe that just for today I am recovered from compulsive overeating. However, I am clear that I am still in recovery from my compulsive debting, definitely not yet recovered.

The fact is that I am still tempted by stuff. I still yearn and obsess at times. I still might find myself in pain when I cannot buy what I want when I want it.

However, one day at a time I believe I am in recovery from compulsive debting because I stay sober with money and spending despite those occasional problems. I may sometimes still obsess, but I am willing to sit in the discomfort and not act on it. In those cases, I turn to a Higher Power, the Steps, a meeting, the phone, writing, meditation, prayer, and use other tools to stay abstinent with money. Today, I know that if I don’t give in to the obsession, I will never set the craving in motion, and, therefore, the feeling will pass (and it always does).

I am learning a new way of living. I am doing my part in partnership with my Higher Power. And when it is time, I will be relieved of the obsession completely and then I will be recovered one day at a time. Little by little this is happening.

I am so grateful I can see this difference so that I don’t fool myself. April 25th, God willing, will be five years of one day at a time recovery in DA HOW for me. Ok, so I’m not yet recovered but I am grateful, so grateful that I am in recovery. I pray that God will keep me walking the path of recovery until and after I am recovered from my hopeless condition regarding money and debt.

The truth is, it’s only semantics. Let’s face it, there are no guarantees. So recovering or recovered, as long as I do today what I did yesterday with money, I will never incur another unsecured debt. And THAT is RECOVERY.

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