Cocoon is a metaphor for the personal transformation process. It portrays a stage of recovery marked by the need to draw into oneself—to move into a period of isolation and metamorphosis. It is often within this metaphoric cocoon that the business of identity and character reconstruction occurs. It is informative that some of the most powerful transformation experiences in the history of recovery occurred within such isolation. Jerry McAuley’s conversion in Sing Sing Prison (White, 1998), Bill Wilson’s “Hot Flash” in Charles Towns Hospital (Kurtz, 1979), the transformation of “Detroit Red” into Malcolm X in a jail cell (Malcolm X with Haley, 1964) all offer vivid testimony to the power of this cocoon phenomenon. The death-rebirth experiences of the Native Americans who led prophetic, abstinence-based cultural revitalization movements also reflect this cocoon-like process of personal transformation and recovery (Coyhis and White, in press).
Cognitive Reappraisal is and an assessment of the pros and cons of continued alcohol and other drug use and the pros and cons of ceasing such use. This reappraisal grows out of a conscious recognition of both pain and possibilities. Such reappraisal is a common precursor to the initiation of recovery.
Commitment is a (usually public)declaration of one’s recovery goal. Such declarations, whether in the nineteenth century ritual of “signing the pledge” or through one’s self-introduction at a mutual aid meeting, mark a shift from the contemplation and preparation stages of change to the action (willing to go to any lengths) stage of change (Prochaska, et al., 1992) (see Developmental Models of Recovery). Commitment can also take the form of religious pledges. Muslims with a history of excessive drinking who decide to quit drinking often do so by performing ablution (cleansing of the body) and, with their hand on the Holy Qur’an, pledging, “By Allah the Great and His Book, I will never touch kmamr (alcohol) again” (Badri, 1976).
Community versus Clinical Populations distinguishes the recovery prospects and processes of those with AOD problems in community studies from those with AOD problems who seek mutual aid and professionally-directed treatment services. Compared to the general community, those seeking help from mutual aid societies and treatment agencies present with greater problem severity, greater physical and psychiatric co-morbidity, and fewer family and social supports (Dawson, 1996; Ross, et al., 1999). These differences underscore the problem in attempting to transfer recovery research findings across these two quite different populations.
Complete Recovery is a phrase used by Dr. Michael Picucci (2002) to describe an “advanced state” of recovery marked by global health, a heightened capacity for intimacy, serenity and selfacceptance.