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Updated on August 21, 2023
7 min read

Inspirational Quotes for Addiction Recovery

7 Inspiring Recovery Quotes & What They Mean

Many people struggle with substance use disorder (SUD). Those who have learned to manage it often share their profound and insightful thoughts about their experiences. Most of the time, these recovery quotes inspire people who also have SUD. 

Addiction recovery quotes help them understand that they are not the first person to experience the emotions and challenges of addiction. 

Identifying with someone else’s story and seeing that they made it to the other side – even if there are setbacks – is a powerful tool you can use in your recovery.

Some of the most significant recovery quotes include:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe 

This quote acknowledges you don’t need to accomplish anything before you begin recovery. You might be at the worst point in your life. That doesn’t matter. 

Often, people don’t realize they need support for their substance use disorder until they hit “rock bottom.” It also focuses on dealing with “the now” and not letting the past steal your present. 

Don’t feel as if you need to wait or get to a certain point before you can ask for help or enter treatment.

“Your best days are ahead of you. The movie starts when the guy gets sober and puts his life back together; it doesn’t end there.” – Bucky Sinister

Feeling hopeful is one of the most important aspects of recovery. Many people with substance use disorder experience hopelessness every day. It might be one of the reasons they don’t seek help. 

Realizing that getting sober is the first step toward a better life free of addiction, even if it improves just a little bit each day, is a great way to feel motivated to seek treatment.

Focusing on who you are destined to become and moving forward as though you can live without drugs and alcohol is an important part of recovery success. No matter how slowly you go, you can be the person you decide to be and keep moving in the right direction. 

You might not be able to go back and make different choices in the past, but you can move forward knowing that every single day now is an opportunity to make the right choice and embrace hope.

“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and, unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” –Russell Brand

People with substance use disorder need to understand their addiction is not their fault. It’s their responsibility to seek the support needed to manage their addiction, but they have very little, if any, control of their actions when under the influence of SUD.

Furthermore, loved ones of people with SUD can better understand the hurtful experiences that occur because of addiction by realizing the addict doesn’t intend to cause pain. 

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

This addiction recovery quote acknowledges the control that addiction takes over a person’s life. Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, the substance becomes the addict’s first and only priority. 

You might feel hopeless when you look back and see what you’ve done. Addiction treatment is an opportunity to reflect on your mistakes and do what you can to correct those mistakes. 

It’s understandable why you’d lack confidence when you think about all that drug or alcohol addiction has cost you. But we can motivate ourselves by thinking about all the future has to offer and by deciding to become the person you are destined to be. 

In many cases, just having the courage to move forward eventually gives you enough confidence to overcome addiction.

“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

Many people with SUD or addiction struggle with the idea of a substance-free life. They’ve gotten to know themselves and they turn to drugs or alcohol because it’s familiar and feels safe. 

Treatment helps them understand themselves better and realize that managing their addiction gives them control over who they become throughout and after recovery.

You’ll likely realize that no matter how slowly you go, you can create order in your life, while being inspired by someone else through their inspirational words. 

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.” –Edgar Allen Poe

Although many people with substance use disorder or addiction first experience pleasure when using drugs or alcohol, it eventually becomes an experience from which they feel no joy. Nobody with control of their situation would choose to destroy their life. 

Furthermore, the idea of living soberly might also cause an addict agony. For a long-time addict, a world without alcohol or drugs can be a scary place. 

As the saying goes, substance use becomes “a lesser of two evils.” It relieves the discomfort and/or pain of being sober, but it isn’t something the addict enjoys. 

Understanding the control addiction takes in one’s life and knowing that you can feel hope that is possible within us, despite addiction, is an important part of achieving an extraordinary destiny.  

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This addiction recovery quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, though not necessarily only about substance use disorder or recovery, can have a significant impact on someone in recovery. It’s important to realize how likely failure is when trying to live soberly.

Health professionals consider relapse a part of the recovery process. The important thing is when you “fall off the wagon” and use drugs or alcohol again after a period of sobriety is that you try again after you fail. 

Not only that, you must accept you’ll fail again and commit to returning to sobriety no matter how many times you fail. We can motivate ourselves by thinking about how far we’ve come and realizing that recovery isn’t a straight line. 

A similar quote, “fall seven times, stand up eight,” shows how important it is to bounce back and keep moving forward. If one fails to stop drinking, it doesn't mean you can't try again, and it doesn't mean you won't succeed the next time.


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You Are Not Alone

If you’re dealing with substance use disorder or addiction, the above recovery quotes might help you understand that you're not alone.

Whether they’re from Ralph Waldo Emerson or someone more current, such as Russell Brand, all offer insight into how people with addictions have managed their ups and downs and live in a world free of alcohol or drugs. 

Many people have been where you are and they’ve done the work to get to a healthier place. Most of them face the same challenges as you on a regular basis, even if they have stayed sober. 

No matter how slowly recovery feels for you, the important thing is to stay focused on the person you are destined to become. 

Reading addiction recovery quotes from people with similar struggles can give you the confidence to move forward and overcome your addiction. 

Recovery is a process, and it takes work. It’s important to not let the past steal the opportunity you have now to build a better life, free from addiction.

Treatment Options

Anyone can start recovery and find the strength to go forward, but sometimes it takes more than motivational quotes to overcome alcohol addiction or drug abuse. 

Nearly everyone with substance use disorder requires support and guidance during their recovery journey. 

Treatment options for addiction include:

It takes a strong support system to turn your life around. A strong health support team, including medical professionals, peers, and loved ones, can increase the chances of a successful recovery journey. 

Here are 7 AA quotes for further reading.

Updated on August 21, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on August 21, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. DiClemente, Ph.D., Carlo C., et al. “Motivation for Change and Alcoholism Treatment.

  2. Tracy, Kathlene, and Samantha Wallace. “Benefits of Peer Support Groups in the Treatment of Addiction.” Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, vol. Volume 7, no. 7, Sept. 2016, pp. 143–154, 10.2147/sar.s81535.

  3. Acharya, Tanvi, and Mark Agius. “The Importance of Hope against Other Factors in the Recovery of Mental Illness.” Psychiatria Danubina, vol. 29, no. Suppl 3, 1 Sept. 2017, pp. 619–622.

  4. Hayes, Laura, et al. “Hope, Recovery and Symptoms: The Importance of Hope for People Living with Severe Mental Illness.” Australasian Psychiatry, vol. 25, no. 6, 4 Sept. 2017, pp. 583–587, 10.1177/1039856217726693.

  5. Wangensteen, Turid, and Jacob Hystad. “A Comprehensive Approach to Understanding Substance Use Disorder and Recovery: Former Patients’ Experiences and Reflections on the Recovery Process Four Years after Discharge from SUD Treatment.” Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health, 27 Aug. 2021, pp. 1–10.

  6. Supporting Recovery | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness.”, 2021.

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