Finding the perfect quote for what you’re experiencing right now can be like finding medicine—or magic. This is a list of the 35 most inspirational quotes for addiction recovery. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you—use them. Write them out to post on your wall, make then the wallpaper on your phone or computer, have them printed onto a t-shirt, or recite them to yourself whenever you need a boost.
You have tens of thousands of thoughts running through your head all day—use this list of addiction recovery quotes to make those thoughts as healing as possible.
The Journey of Recovery
Recovery is a lifelong journey of self-discovery, growth, and transformation. Managing addiction requires you to make a thousand different changes in yourself, in your outlook, and in your environment. The person you are at the start of addiction treatment is completely different from the person you’ll become after ten years of sobriety—but it’s still YOU who will make that transformation happen.
1. As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world… as in being able to remake ourselves. – Mahatma Gandhi
2. My recovery must come first so that everything I love in life doesn’t have to come last. – Anonymous
3. Nobody stays recovered unless the life they have created is more rewarding and satisfying than the one they left behind. – Anne Fletcher
4. You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew. – Albert Einstein
Addiction is a progressive, chronic, relapsing disease. This is just a fact. It doesn’t mean that everyone in recovery is destined to relapse, but it does mean that if you do relapse, you shouldn’t see it as a failure.
Relapse can be a natural part of the recovery journey, and the circumstances of your relapse might teach you important lessons that you need to learn to stay substance-free for the rest of your life. Maybe you left counseling too soon, maybe you thought you were strong enough to hang out with friends who drink or use, maybe you aren’t taking good enough care of your physical health. Relapse is just a sign that you need to make a change in your life or your treatment.
5. If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging. – Anonymous
6. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius
7. I am not defined by my relapses, but by my decision to remain in recovery despite them. – Anonymous
8. The best way out is always through. – Robert Frost
Taking It One Day at a Time
The phrase “take it one day at a time” so widespread, it’s pretty much become a cliché. But that doesn’t make it any less true. Recovery is a lifelong journey—emphasis on the word journey. There’s no way to skip ahead; you just have to stay in the moment, and take it step by step.
9. Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. – Robert Collier
10. I personally believe this: We have only today; yesterday’s gone and tomorrow is uncertain. That’s why they call it the present. And sobriety really is a gift… for those who are willing to receive it. – Ace Frehley
11. These feelings, no matter how painful, are part of living. Today, we are alive—not anesthetized, not sedated, not passed out. Take control of your feelings and through action you can change. Today, as every day of sober living, we have a choice. – Ann D. Clark
Motivation and Resilience
To stay strong in recovery requires motivation, and persistence in the face of challenges. You should prepare to overcome discouragement by knowing in advance that your motivation is going to have ups and downs, and you’ll have to keep going anyway.
Resilience, the ability to bounce back despite adversity, is key in addiction recovery. Being able to see both the good and the bad in situations, and sit with the complicated emotions you feel in response, will help you be a better problem solver, and will protect you from destructive stress reactions, such as relapse.
12. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar
13. I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ – Muhammad Ali
14. I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it. – Anonymous
15. I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do. – Georgia O’Keeffe
16. If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. – Vincent Van Gogh
Friends, Family, and Healing
Part of recovery is transforming your social and home lives. You may have to give up friends who encourage your addictions, and you may need intensive family therapy to work through issues and improve communication with your loved ones. These steps aren’t easy, but they are crucial. Isolating yourself will lead to relapse, not recovery. Human beings need to connect with others to thrive, so it’s important to fix the relationships you can, and replace those you can’t.
A great way to make new, sober connections is to attend peer support groups like AA and NA. You’ll find it surprisingly easy to connect with the people you meet in addiction support groups, because they understand where you’re coming from first hand, and they’re working hard to transform their lives, just like you are. Another great thing about these groups is that they give you the opportunity to help others with their recovery, which can be even more healing than receiving help sometimes.
17. Recovery is an ongoing process, for both the addict and his or her family. In recovery, there is hope. And hope is a wonderful thing. – Dean Dauphinais
18. A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. – Brene Brown
19. The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but human connection. – Johann Hari
20. Given love and opportunity, every child and adult can recover. All who know this and have the capacity to help others should assist as they can. – Dallin H. Oaks
Plenty of recent studies have shown that gratitude is important for all human beings, no matter their individual challenges. For people in recovery, gratitude is even more important, and sometimes, less easy to come by. But if you make an effort, you can find many things to be grateful for in your recovery, in your life, and in yourself. Making the effort to identify, acknowledge, and value these things is essential to your current and future happiness.
21. Gratitude always comes into play; research shows that people are happier if they are grateful for the positive things in their lives, rather than worrying about what might be missing. – Dan Buettner
22. The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings. – Henry Ward Beecher
23. The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness. – Dalai Lama
24. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein
This list of addiction recovery quotes is all about inspiration, and the great thing about positive thinking is that it allows you to generate your own inspiration from the inside out. Positive thinking has been shown, time and again, to improve recovery outcomes.
You may find it difficult to keep your thoughts from becoming negative—life isn’t perfect after all—but you shouldn’t try to fight it. When your thoughts become negative, recognize that they are just thoughts, not reality. Seeing negativity in this way will help you let go of it in favor of more positive thoughts.
25. A negative mind will never give you a positive life. – Zig Ziglar
26. Whether you think that you can or that you can’t, you are usually right. – Industrialist Henry Ford
27. Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! – Anne Frank
28. The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. – William James
Letting Go of the Past
The weight of the past can be particularly heavy to a person in recovery. This is because the disease of addiction physically alters the brain, and therefore your ability to think logically, to take positive action, to handle stress, and even to experience pleasure. You do things to facilitate drug use that you would never have done otherwise, and your friends and family may start to feel like they don’t even know you anymore.
In recovery, as the damage addiction has done to your brain starts to heal and your thinking starts to clear, it can be easy to beat yourself up about past mistakes—or to drown in the memory of traumatic experiences you were forced to suffer. While it is important to work through issues like these in counseling, and to make amends wherever you can, you cannot let that work spill over into your entire life. You also can’t keep brooding about the past forever. Eventually, the time always comes to let go—for your own good.
29. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here now with the power to shape your day and your future. – Steve Maraboli
30. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese proverb
31. Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us. – Nicole Reed
32. The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates
Reclaim Your Power and Ask for Help
It can be easy to feel helpless in the face of addiction; the disease has a way of taking over your life and crowding out everything that doesn’t support drug or alcohol use. It is also a disease that requires professional help to overcome. This is not because you are weak; on the contrary, getting help requires great strength. If you aren’t sure whether you’re strong enough to choose recovery, rest assured, you have the power.
33. The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any. – Alice Walker
34. I really mean when I say my biggest fear in early recovery was that I would never have fun again. The beautiful truth is that recovery has given me freedom and the confidence to go out in the world and leave my own mark. – Tom Stoddart
35. I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring. – David Bowie