At times I've heard people use the term I am a "recovered" alcoholic. Or a "recovered" addict.
But really, that's a misuse of the term "recovered." And I say this because I learned a long time ago that for us addicts and alcoholics there is no such thing as being "recovered." I kind of understand what people mean when they use "recovered" this way.
But the correct way to use the term is recovery. Not recovered. Because even though they mean to say that they are in recovery when they use the term recovered the words have a distinction that is very important. Recovered means that we have arrived at the state of sobriety. And recovery means that we're in the process of recovery and we will never arrive at a time where there is an appropriate use of the word recovered.
Being in recovery means that we are living a certain type of life. Usually one that we learned in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book, the fellowship, the sponsor – sponsee relationship are all part of the process of being in recovery. And the things that I just mentioned are part of a process – not a place where we sit on our laurels and say that finally we have arrived and we no longer have to take any action.
Being in recovery means that we have a toolkit that has been given to us through the generosity of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. And other than the Big Book itself, all of these tools that have been given to us describe a kind of behavior that we practice as members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among these behaviors are making amends when we do something untoward to another person. Another behavior is giving our recovery to others who need our help. Another behavior is sitting alongside of someone who is having a rough time understanding what this recovery thing is all about, explaining to them the process of recovery.
The term recovery – used in the place of "recovered" – signifies action. It signifies that we're following a certain path in life that will help us remain sober and clean.
To put it more simply, recovery means action. And recovered means that there's nothing else we need to do to stay sober – something that's a fallacy in most cases.