Being Young in Recovery: Challenges and Insights

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Getting sober is difficult and challenging at any age, but when you’re young, say 25 or under, it has its own set of difficulties. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. The younger you get sober and set aside the devastating impacts of drugs and alcohol, the sooner you can realize the benefits of sobriety and the sooner you’ll gain some of the insights that only come from being young in recovery.


Today’s society associates being young with partying. In high school, you’ve got underage drinking parties and bingeing after prom. In college, there’s getting trashed at frat houses and experimenting with psychedelic drugs. There’s your 21st birthday and the three day hangover that follows it.

Yes, these “milestones” are associated with drug use and drinking, but that doesn’t mean it’s a necessity of youth. Many young adults abstain both because they are in recovery and because they simply don’t indulge.

Yet being young and sober does have its own unique challenges. Here are just a few.

  • Convincing yourself you can be “normal.” Once you’re sober and you’ve stayed that way for a while, it’s easy to underestimate how bad your drug or alcohol use was and glorify the old partying days. This leads to thinking that it wasn’t that big of a problem and that you can be “normal” and go back to drinking or drug use.
  • Seeing so many people relapse. The younger you are when you get sober, the more people you’re going to see get addicted, get sober, and relapse. When you’re in the throes of addiction, you don’t see the struggle others are going through, but when you’re sober, you see it all.
  • Feeling like you’re missing out. When you’re young and sober, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on things: college parties, birthday bashes, tailgating, and spring break are just a few. And maybe you are. But you’re also missing the money spent, the hangovers, and the negative consequences of overindulging in drugs and alcohol that you already know all too well.
  • Finding young, sober friends. Let’s face it, it can seem like there aren’t a whole lot of sober people under the age of 25. But there are, you just can’t look for them at the bar, at concerts, or in college frat houses. It can also be hard because you feel like you’re losing your old friends, as all it seems like they want to do is party.


Even though getting sober as a young adult has its own specific challenges, it also comes with a range of insights and benefits. Here are a few.

  • Understanding the struggle is real, no matter what your age.
  • Learning at a young age to be sober in the madness and chaos of life.
  • Finding the fellowship.
  • You have less mess ups.
  • You save money.
  • You have more time.