When I was new to Al‑Anon meetings, I heard members ask, “Do you want recovery, or just relief?” I realized I didn’t know the difference between those two things, and, as a newcomer, that little word “just” gave me the idea that getting or finding relief was less than desirable. Someone pointed me to page 125 in Courage to Change (B-16), where it says, “Recovery is a wonderful word. It means getting something back. Today I will try to remember that ‘that something’ is me.” I still struggled. What does that mean in daily action? What does that feel like? How do I know if I’m “just” getting relief or actually on the path to recovery?
As I continued to think about these ideas, I realized that, actually, relief is far from a “just” for me. Rather, it is critical to moving forward toward recovery. I imagine recovery as swimming underwater. I can’t begin or keep swimming (recovering) without a big gulp of air (relief). In daily action, sometimes I feel like I’m underwater, and things like going to a meeting, venting to another member, having a good cry, and reading the literature are my relief, my breath of air, my preparation to move forward. The next piece—whether I choose to act differently, remember my choices, reason something out with my Sponsor, stay in contact with my Higher Power, journal honestly about my motives, or choose to show up with kindness and love as God would have me—this is recovery in action.
By Azelie F., Massachusetts
The Forum, March 2022
Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
I first learn about the Serenity Prayer from my alcoholic sister. It was powerful in my life 30 years ago just as it is today. I’m thankful for Al-Anon and the love they show.
I’d like to say good morning but it is crashing down around me, I’m not sure what to do but I want recovery for my son.
I had never heard “Do you just want relief or do you want recovery?” I am glad I did not hear it because it’s not a very positive phrase. As a newcomer I did not know the difference and would have taken that as some kind of put-down. Now I get it !