Even quitting use completely does not mean someone is cured. Complete abstinence from alcohol or drugs is similar to a cancer in remission. As long as the addict/alcoholic does not start using again, his addiction will remain in remission. This is why the person will refer to himself as recovering instead of recovered.
One of the clear signs of addiction or alcoholism is lack of control. I have yet to meet the person who, once chemically dependent, has been able to return to responsible social use. If a person thought to be addicted successfully returns to social use, it means that he or she was not addicted in the first place. Sometimes people need to find this out for themselves before they are ready to seek help.
* Excerpt from page 239 (Q&A with Joe) “Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.”
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