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Recovery defined
By notsostrong
6/2/2013 5:56:33 PM
Earlier this year, my wife was talking to me about my lack of recovery. I did not understand. I had been sober for more than 3 months, and was feeling pretty good about myself. She then when on to explain to me that sobriety was not recovery. And she told me that she would not stay with me unless I was in recovery. She then began attending S-Anon meetings, and after her first meeting, she told me that she no longer felt safe sleeping with me, and either I had to move out of the room, or she would. I then moved downstairs into a guestroom in the basement. This was devastating to me, but it woke me up. I started reading about sexual addiction. My meetings with my counselor became much more meaningful. I started participating in SA 12 step phone meetings. My question is this: When can one say they are now in recovery?

Is it when you pass step #? in the 12 step program?
Is it when you start to feel better about yourself inside?
Is it when you find yourself wanting recovery more than indulging in another "fix?"
Is it when you can finally start to open up to your spouse about your addiction, and not avoid the subject like the plague?

I realize this may be a bit of semantics, but I still would appreciate the thoughts of others on this subject. On a similar topic, I have read where spouses of addicts have asked the same question (how will I know when he/she is in recovery?) The response is usually, "you will know." Is that the same for the addict himself? We will just know?

(Finally, just to clarify, I do understand that this is a lifelong process, and being in recovery does not mean that the addiction is gone)

Comments:

Great question    
"Hey buddy, great question. Like you said, being in recovery doesn't mean that you are recovered. It means that you are committed to a new way of life in recovery from addiction through Christ. And your wife is very correct - sobriety doesn't equal recovery. Your strength of recovery will only be as strong as your relationship with Christ and degree of humility.

I feel that I am currently living in recovery for a few reasons. I'm not saying this is the answer to your question, just a few thoughts that I have on the matter.

1) I no longer lie or seek to hide my addiction. I am transparent with my spouse and am not hiding anything. I am open with her about my struggles and am not afraid to have the hard conversations.

2) I have found the way of life where I know that if I do what I should be doing then I will not slip up. I'm not afraid of randomly relapsing - I know that there will need to be a certain number of poor decisions that will lead up to it. I am committed to this new life and do not see 'getting past addiction' as a U-turn or something to get past and then go back to my old way of life. I seek God's will and do what i can to follow it.

3) I no longer dabble. I don't try to go to a certain line and then go back. I don't mess with limits. I don't justify lesser forms of acting out.

4) I no longer thing "I've got this." I know I don't got this. The moment I think I've got this is the moment I'm in danger. I have accepted that I'm powerless over this without God. I need Him to help me maintain my new way of life.

Anyway, those are things that help me feel I am in recovery. Like you said, it's a lifelong thing and I am always just a few stupid decisions away from not being in recovery, but you get the point. I pray I can stay in recovery and continue on the road I am on.

Good luck with your process. It seems liked this has been a good wake up call and that it has knocked down a few of your pride walls, but that there are probably still a few more to go. Stay strong and diligent and don't be afraid to do what it takes. Every effort and any cost is worth it."
posted at 21:39:28 on June 2, 2013 by recovery.gdo
Thanks recovery.rdo    
"Just the type of info I was looking for. And you're right, I do have a ways to go, but it feels good to be heading in the right direction."
posted at 08:53:26 on June 3, 2013 by notsostrong
RECOVERY.GDO    
"I think that's spot on, exactly how I feel. Thanks!"
posted at 21:10:39 on June 3, 2013 by beclean
Good question - Good answer!    
"Loved this question.

Recovery.gdo I loved you answer!!! THANK YOU BOTH!"
posted at 21:41:44 on June 3, 2013 by maddy
RECOVERY.GDO    
"I think that's spot on, exactly how I feel. Thanks!"
posted at 21:55:58 on June 3, 2013 by beclean


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"I will speak briefly of the principle of repentance. How grateful I am for the understanding we have of this great principle. It is not a harsh principle, as I thought when I was a boy. It is kind and merciful. The Hebrew root of the word means, simply, "to turn," or to return, to God. Jehovah pled with the children of Israel: "Return . . . and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful . . . and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God." When we acknowledge our sins, confess them and forsake them, and turn to God, He will forgive us."

— Richard G. Hinckley

General Conference April 2006