Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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This paper examines the competing construals of the phrase , which, as a (Sacks 1992), serves to fulfill a commitment to an identity category and at the same time evokes other category-bound activities, often with unintended consequences. Former problem drinkers are routinely referred to by themselves and others as , yet they are not ‘recovering’ in the canonical sense of the word, and they participate in a behavior – not drinking – which is a negation of the behavior that originally qualified them as This use of the relatively new identity marker may discourage a problem drinker from attempting sobriety, as it implies an unbounded, never-ending period of recovery, unlike recovery from other diseases (and, oddly, unlike the recovery proffered by ).

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