Recovered Or Recovering?

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The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous uses the word Recovered 28 times. There has been a debate the past half century as to whether or not persons in recovery are recovered or recovering. I have posed this question in seminars and participants never  unanimously agree. All agree that if a person dies while in recovery, they are recovered!  

This blog post is dedicated to 5 African American Addictions counselors who spent years in service to others both professionally and personally prior to their death. I knew each of them personally. This is my tribute to them.

Richard Black---Died last week. In the August 2017 story of the month in this museum I introduced him as my brother in law. The last 3 decades of his life were dedicated to helping facilitate recovery in his role as an addictions counselor and volunteer service work.

"Brother" Earl Cannamore---An elder in the addictions field and mentor to many. Earl use to say, "I'm the greatest substance abuse counselor in the world!" He took pride in his work. The word enthusiasm comes from a Greek word which means, "the God within." Brother Earl was the most enthusiastic person I ever met. His clients were fortunate. Earl's legacy includes the multiple recovery videos he created which have outlived him. Earl died in 1995.

Rasheed Akbar---I owe my families recovery to Rasheed Akbar! He was my uncle Isaac's counselor whom was first in our family to recover. He was also my brother's counselor. Just as addiction runs in families, so does recovery! Numerous family members are now in recovery. We no longer have "drunk parties" as a family. We have sober parties. Thank you Rasheed! Rest in peace.

Reverend Elliott Lyons--I met Elliot when I was a young addictions counselor. He was in the winter of his career. I remember hearing scores of persons in recovery credit Elliott with helping to facilitate their recovery. I remember him responding to this feedback with such humility. 32 years ago my wife and I married. We were in different religions and wanted to select a minister to officiate our wedding ceremony who would be non-judgmental of religious differences. We selected Reverend Elliott Lyons, a man who demonstrated an awareness of Gods "bigness" by helping people from all walks of life, secular and religious with their recovery.

Greg Yarborough-- Greg counseled with a rhythm! James Brumley and I as newer counselors marveled at how Greg charismatically  counseled 4 or 5 clients at the same time in the milieu. The magic of how he worked is difficult to explain. I am sorry that counselors today never witnessed this. It was something to see!