"You can change a cucumber into a pickle, but you can’t turn a pickle back into a cucumber” is a saying used at Alcoholics Anonymous and other organizations. The saying means that once a person is an addict (an alcoholic, for example), the addiction continues for the rest of that person’s life. The alcoholic can never go back to a pre-alcoholic life.
“Once a cucumber is a pickle it can never be a cucumber again” has been cited in print since at least 1984. The saying has been printed on gift items, such as T-shirts and throw pillows.
How Cocaine Destroys Lives
Once You’re a Pickle, Cucumber Maternity T-Shirt
Once уου′re a pickle, уου саח′t ɡο back tο being a cucumber – a ɡrеаt recovery saying found іח many 12 step groups! Grеаt gift fοr tһе alcoholic іח recovery – newcomers аחԁ οƖԁ timers alike! AA Humor!
Once You’re A Pickle, Cucumber Throw Pillow
Once You’re A
You Can’t Go
Back To Being A
Penn State Digital Library
20 May 1984, Daily Collegian, “The Cocaine Connection” by Tricia Wood:
“Once a cucumber is a pickle it can never be a cucumber again. That’s what happens to people who use chemicals.”—Former cocaine user
The Freedom We Crave:
Addiction--the human condition
By William Lenters
Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans
As is said at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, “Once you’ve been pickled, you can never go back to becoming a cucumber.”
Google News Archive
19 April 1986, Anchorage (AK) Daily News, “L. M. Boyd,” pg. C13, col. 2:
In this way some medicos explain why alcoholism is Irreversible: “You can turn a cucumber Into a pickle, but not a pickle back into a cucumber.”
November 1988, Yoga Journal, pg. 87, col. 2:
Within the recovery community, addiction’s irreversibility is described by a popular analogy: Cucumbers can become pickles, but pickles cannot be turned back into cucumbers. Similarly, once people become addicts, they can never be casual drinkers or drug users again.
Alcohol Problems and Alcoholism:
A comprehensive survey
By James E. Royce
New York, NY: Free Press
Once you have turned a cucumber into a pickle, you cannot change it back.
Developing Effective Drug Education Programs
By Lowell Horton
Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation
The analogy from drug treatment specialists is: “You can turn a cucumber into a pickle, but you can’t turn a pickle back into a cucumber.”
Drinking: a love story
By Caroline Knapp
New York, NY: Dell
A lot of alcoholics use the cucumber-to-pickle analogy to describe that phenomenon: a true alcoholic is someone who’s turned from a cucumber into a pickle; you can try to stop a cucumber from turning into a pickle, but there’s no way you can turn a pickle back into a cucumber.
Addiction to Alcohol - Is there any such thing as an “in control” Alcoholic?
Expert: Rebos - 12/27/2006
Good afternoon Kat. Thank you for your question.
I will answer your specific questions while taking the liberty to editorialize some additional thoughts that may be of interest to you. As you already know alcoholism is cunning, baffling, insidious and powerful. IT HAS NO CURE! Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic! So to speak…“once you make a cucumber into a pickle, you can never change it back to a cucumber”.
Addiction to Alcohol - Adult Son is an alcoholic
Expert: Rebos - 5/17/2007
Good morning Dave and thank you for your question.
Even though alcoholism is considered a disease by the AMA your son must be held accountable for his irresponsible behavior! You state that your son has been through AA twice. Alcoholics Anonymous is definitely NOT a “been through” program, it is a continual program that an alcoholic continues to recover (but never cured) for the rest of there lives. They, however, learn to do it just “one day at a time”. There is on old saying in AA “that once you turn a cucumber into a pickle that you can never change it back to a cucumber again”.
Thinking Simply about Addiction:
A Handbook for Recovery
By Richard S. Sandor
New York, NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin
AAs have a pithy way of describing the irreversibility of an addiction: “You can change a cucumber into a pickle, but you can’t turn a pickle into a cucumber.”
New York City • Food/Drink • (1) Comments • Tuesday, December 07, 2010 • Permalink