Sunday, June 05, 2016

How the Words “Recovered” and “Recovering” Are Used Regarding Alcoholism in “Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th Ed. (2001)

Posted by Dick B.'s son Ken

So how does one settle apparent controversies in A.A. such as the one swirling around the words "recovered" and "recovering?" The following wise words from the current edition of the Big Book might be of help: ". . . [O]ur literature has preserved the integrity of the A.A. message, . . ." ["Alcoholics Anonymous," 4th ed., xxiv].

According to a concordance available online of the current, fourth edition of “Alcoholics Anonymous” (“the Big Book”) published in 2001, the word “recovered” relating to alcoholism occurs 15 times [; accessed 6/5/16] up to and including page 164. The word “recovering” used in relation to alcoholism occurs twice, once in a footnote on page 104 in chapter eight, “To Wives” (which note was not present in the first printing of the first edition of “Alcoholics Anonymous” published in 1939); and once on page 122 in chapter nine, “The Family Afterward.” [; accessed 6/5/16]

“Foreword to First Edition” [1939]

We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., xiii]
“To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., xiii]

“Foreword to Second Edition” [1955]

“In that brief space [“Sixteen years . . . between our first printing . . . and . . . our second edition.”], Alcoholics Anonymous has mushroomed into nearly 6,000 groups whose membership is far above 150,000 recovered alcoholics.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., xv]
“Their very first case, a desperate one, recovered immediately and became A.A. number three.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., xvii]

“The Doctor's Opinion”

“This man and over one hundred others appear to have recovered.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., xxv]

“There Is a Solution”

“Nearly all have recovered.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 17]
“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.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 20]
“Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 29]

“We Agnostics”

“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.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 45]

 “Working with Others”

“If he says yes, then his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 90]
“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.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 96]

“To Wives”

“But many of the suggestions given here may be adapted to help the person who lives with a woman alcoholic -- whether she is still drinking or is recovering in A.A.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 104, footnote (added after the first printing of the first edition of “Alcoholics Anonymous” was published in April 1939]
“He knows that thousands of men, much like himself, have recovered.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 113]

“The Family Afterward”

“Our women folk have suggested certain attitudes a wife may take with the husband who is recovering.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 122]
“We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 132]
“We, who have recovered from serious drinking, are miracles of mental health.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 133]

“To Employers”

“An alcoholic who has recovered, but holds a relatively unimportant job, can talk to a man with a better position.” [“Alcoholics Anonymous,” 4th ed., 146]