Very commonly in 12 step recovery fellowships, there is the belief that no one is ever “RECOVERED” and that we are always “RECOVERING”. The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book states many times, that we have “RECOVERED” and only states the word “RECOVERING” once. 

Here are the references to the word RECOVERED in the Big Book taken from an AA concordance to the 3rd Edition:

  1. We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have RECOVERED from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.(p. xiii)
  2. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book.(p.xiii)
  3. In that brief space, Alcoholics Anonymous has mushroomed into nearly 6,ooo groups whose membership is far above 150,000 RECOVERED alcoholics.(p.xv)
  4. Their very first case, a desperate one, RECOVERED  immediately and became AA number three.(p.xvii)
  5. This man and over one hundred others appear to have RECOVERED.(p.xxii)
  6. He had but partially RECOVERED from a gastric hemorrhage and seemed to be a case of pathological mental deterioration.(p.xxix)
  7. Nearly all have RECOVERED.(p.17)
  8. Doubtless you are curious to discover how and why, in the face of expert opinion to the contrary, we have RECOVERED from a hopeless condition of mind and body.(p.20)
  9. Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we RECOVERED.(p.29)
  10. If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have RECOVERED long ago.(p.44)
  11. If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has RECOVERED.(p.90)
  12. He often says that if he had continued to work on them, he might have deprived many others, who have since RECOVERED, of their chance.(p.96)
  13. He knows that thousands of men, much like him-self, have RECOVERED.(p.113)
  14. We have RECOVERED, and have been given the power to help others.(p.132)
  15. We, who have RECOVERED from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health.(p.133)
  16. An alcoholic who has RECOVERED, but holds a relatively unimportant job, can talk to a man with a better position.(p.146)

Here is the sole instance that the word RECOVERING is referred to:

1. Our women folk have suggested certain attitudes a wife may take with the husband who is RECOVERING.(p.122)

Is the Big Book wrong when it so often states that we have RECOVERED? Or is it an issue of perspective amongst the people in 12 step fellowships of what the book is referring to that we have recovered from?

On page xii, it states “We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have RECOVERED from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”

Is the book referring to being recovered from alcoholism OR from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body?

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