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Sobriety vs. Recovery


by Myers Raymer, Alumni Support at Origins Recovery Centers

Howdy y’all!


Have you ever noticed how, over time, things change? Sure you have! One of the examples I always think of is old TV shows vs. new TV shows. Now, if you are reeeeeally old you might remember The Dick Van Dyke Show. Rob (Dick Van Dyke) would come home from his job as a writer to his stay-at-home wife Laura (Mary Tyler Moore). Some of these episodes show the two talking in their bedroom – their bedroom with TWO small beds (one for each of them) and, as mandated by the censors, at least one foot always had to be on the floor when filming! Wow. Fast forward to what we see today and you can only shake your head. It’s plain to see that things have changed a bunch over the years. Right?


What’s this got to do with our recovery today? 


Well lots, actually. Change didn’t only happen to superficial stuff like TV, it affected lots more. Here is a great example. I was talking to my brother “the evil twin” the other day and he reminded me of an old talk done by the late, great Don P. in Denver, Colorado. Don was an iconic Big Book guy with an amazing ability to convey information about recovery to folks like me who are not so bright! In this talk he said, “Somewhere along the way we have moved from a focus on recovery to a focus on sobriety.”


To some of us this was a pretty profound comment. It explains a lot of things that we experience today in 12 Step fellowships. This specifically explains why there seems to be lots of talk about length of sobriety, but less talk about the KIND and QUALITY of sobriety. The predominant camp today is “just don’t drink and go to meetings,” whereas Don was talking about 164 pages of directions that started out on the title page telling us that a whole bunch of folks had RECOVERED. We moved from “staying sober for good and for all” to “let’s stay sober one day at a time.” See the difference?


Just one more thing: “Sober” means no booze in the picture. “Recovered” means a completely transformed life – rich, authentic, and real. A life of freedom.


This ol’ Texan prays that you all experience recovery this Fourth of July. And remember, being recovered means you know when to let go of the firecracker, too!!!



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