An article recently appeared entitled, “What is recovery? A working definition from the Betty Ford Institute” (J Subst Ab Treat 2007 33:221-228).On the one hand, it is encouraging to read that the panel convened by the Institute believes “sobriety” does not preclude individuals “maintained by a medication...“. On the other hand, the definition demands abstinence from alcohol (though not tobacco!); one must wonder why this is considered a sine qua non for the former heroin user, whether or not receiving any prescribed medication, to claim sobriety. Also, the panel considers “citizenship” to be essential, since it is deemed to “capture important traditional recovery elements such as ‘giving back’.” Why should a history of drug or alcohol dependence be the basis for a greater or lesser obligation to “give back” to the community – or to anyone else?