Recovering vs. Recovered Alcoholic: Which Label Should You Use?

Recovering vs. Recovered Alcoholic: Which Label Should You Use?

Recovering vs. Recovered Alcoholic: Which Label Should You Use?

Is it better to call yourself a recovered alcoholic? How does it differ from a recovering alcoholic label? Here's what you need to know.

Keyword(s): recovered alcoholic

About 90% of people who need recovery decide not to get help. Therefore, if you’ve done the work to overcome your addiction, then you have every reason to be proud of yourself.

However, when you’re new to rehab and 12-step programs, the terms “recovering alcoholic” and “recovered alcoholic” can be confusing. Understanding the difference between these two will help you determine where you are on your path to sobriety. Keep reading for a full explanation of how to tell if you’re a recovering alcoholic or a recovered alcoholic.

What’s the Difference Between a Recovering and a Recovered Alcoholic?

There is no real difference between the two terms. The only difference lies in how they make people feel.

Some consider themselves "recovered alcoholics" after completing rehab. Others may still feel like they’ve got a lot of growth to do afterward, so “recovering” seems more appropriate for them.

There are no hard rules here—it’s all about what makes you comfortable with your identity as a healing alcoholic and whether you think you have changed enough to claim “recovered” status over “recovering.”

How Do I Know if I’m Done Recovering From Alcoholism?

If you’ve been sober for a short while, you might feel that the word “recovered” is too strong. After all, recovering from alcoholism is a lifelong journey.

Some people find that using labels like “recovering alcoholic” helps to reinforce their commitment not to drink. However, if you’ve been sober for a while and feel comfortable referring to yourself as “recovered,” there’s nothing wrong with that either.

It’s important to know that “recovered” doesn’t mean that someone isn’t still struggling with drinking or hasn’t had relapses in their sobriety. It just means that they’re actively working on beating their addiction by attending meetings and staying accountable through sponsorships.

Famous Recovered Alcoholics

There are plenty of famous recovered alcoholics who use their celebrity status to help others. Zac Efron, Keith Urban, and Daniel Radcliffe have all been open about their struggles with addiction and how they were able to overcome them. They’re just a few examples of recovering alcoholics who have been able to find outstanding success after rehab and AA.

The simple fact is that everyone can get sober. It takes time, effort, and commitment, but it’s possible. If you’re struggling to remain sober, look for inspiration in the stories of other recovered alcoholics.

Award Your Sobriety 

If you are a recovering or recovered alcoholic, it’s important to celebrate your sobriety. You’ve worked hard to stay sober, and it’s important to recognize that.

That’s why many AA members choose to give themselves a sobriety coin or medallion. These tokens serve as reminders of the struggles and triumphs that went into recovery—and they can also be used as a reminder of how far you’ve come since your last drink.

Browse our selection of bronze AA coins. We have tokens that acknowledge sobriety at any stage, even if you’ve only been sober for a day.