What Does ‘Recovery’ Really Mean?

What Does ‘Recovery’ Really Mean 

‘Recover’ is defined as to “make good, recapture, reclaim.” For many addicts, this means recapturing healthy relationships that wilted during addiction and reclaiming life goals that were put on hold in the face of alcohol and drug use. But what about the first phrase? What is one making good in recovery, and in the life that unfolds outside of a drug or alcohol recovery centre?

I want to argue that drug recovery or alcohol recovery should be renamed ‘addiction recovering.’ The gerund reinforces the idea that recovery for those addicted to alcohol or drugs is a constant, life-long process.

Regardless, what does ‘recovery’ or ‘recovering’ really mean?

‘Recover’ is defined as to “make good, recapture, reclaim.” For many addicts, this means recapturing healthy relationships that wilted during addiction and reclaiming life goals that were put on hold in the face of alcohol and drug use. But what about the first phrase? What is one making good in recovery, and in the life that unfolds outside of a drug or alcohol recovery centre?

At it’s core, I think “make good” in relation to recovery means that when you are faced with bad, or negative, things such as fear or doubt, you must find a way to make them good, to face the fear with courage and to squelch the doubt with unrelenting confidence.

The process or recovery, or ‘recovering’ as I’ve suggested, asks you to “make good” of not just your addiction, but everything in your life. It asks you to make good decisions and to have faith that that is enough to cultivate a healthy life.

In an article on The Huffington Post, licensed psychotherapist Irene Rubaum-Keller writes about how addiction professionals didn’t agree upon a definition for recovery until as recent as 2007. What the committee that formed to define the process came up with supports a holistic view of recovery.

Rubaum-Keller explains, “[Recovery] involves trading the easy drug/sex/gambling/food/shopping/alcohol high, with something more difficult to attain that is also more meaningful and lasting. Recovery does not just mean sobriety. It is a more holistic experience that involves improving one’s life in various ways.”