By "recovery mode" you probably mean single-user mode. Did you already try
at the LILO boot prompt? Here 'linux' would be the entry you usually boot (depending on how you named it)..it's been long since I used LILO, but I recall you could just add the runlevel number after the normal boot entry to get it boot that runlevel (1 for single-user mode etc.) or pass other options to the kernel..
Why won't you use GRUB? It's less a headache to configure..