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Words of wisdom for addicts

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Words of wisdom for addicts
May 17, 2019 1st Anniversary Wishes 5 comments

Find motivation and inspiration with 20 quotes to inspire your addiction recovery or help a loved one in their journey.

“I understand addiction now. I never did before, you know. How could a man (or a woman) do something so self-destructive, knowing that they’re hurting not only themselves, but the people they love? It seemed that it would be so incredibly easy for them to just not take that next drink. Just stop. It’s so simple, really. But as so often happens with me, my arrogance kept me from seeing the truth of the matter.
I see it now though.
Every day, I tell myself it will be the last. Every night, as I’m falling asleep in his bed, I tell myself that tomorrow I’ll book a flight to Paris, or Hawaii, or maybe New York. It doesn’t matter where I go, as long as it’s not here. I need to get away from Phoenix—away from him—before this goes even one step further.
And then he touches me again, and my convictions disappear like smoke in the wind.
This cannot end well. That’s the crux of the matter, Sweets. I’ve been down this road before—you know I have—and there’s only heartache at the end. There’s no happy ending waiting for me like there was for you and Matt. If I stay here with him, I will become restless and angry. It’s happening already, and I cannot stop it. I’m becoming bitter and terribly resentful. Before long, I will be intolerable, and eventually, he’ll leave me. But if I do what I have to do, what my very nature compels me to do, and move on, the end is no better. One way or another, he’ll be gone. Is it not wiser to end it now, Sweets, before it gets to that point? Is it not better to accept that this happiness I have is destined to self-destruct?
Tomorrow I will leave. Tomorrow I will stop delaying the inevitable. Tomorrow I will quit lying to myself, and to him.
What about today, you ask? Today it’s already too late. He’ll be home soon, and I have dinner on the stove, and wine chilling in the fridge. And he will smile at me when he comes through the door, and I will pretend like this fragile, dangerous thing we have created between us can last forever.
Just one last time, Sweets. Just one last fix. That’s all I need.
And that is why I now understand addiction.”
― Marie Sexton, Strawberries for Dessert


The language we use around people with addiction disorders are powerful enough to help or hurt them. Let's use words that heal and support each other. Old age brings wisdom, right?) I cringe at my actions, realizing that.

Inspirational Quotes to Help You Overcome Addiction

words of wisdom for addicts

If you’re struggling to overcome an addiction, no one needs to tell you it’s tough – you’re living it. Sometimes you could use a few encouraging words to remind you that you’re not in this alone and that, yes, change really is possible. With that in mind, here are 70 quotes for those in recovery, each designed to shine a little light when things look dark.

Best Addiction Recovery Quotes

  1. “I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” – Charlotte Brontë
  2. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverb
  3. “Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell.” – Carrie Fisher
  4. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  5. “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn
  6. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
  7. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  8. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
  9. “It’s difficult to believe in yourself because the idea of self is an artificial construction. You are, in fact, part of the glorious oneness of the universe. Everything beautiful in the world is within you.” – Russell Brand
  10. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford
  11. “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” – Zen proverb
  12. “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard
  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. “It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” – Agnes Repplier
  15. “If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Roger Babson
  16. “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  17. “When the past calls, let it go to voicemail. Believe me, it has nothing new to say.” – Unknown
  18. “Everyone has inside of him 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
  19. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
  20. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard
  21. “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” – John Wayne
  22. “What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.” – Hecato
  23. “Every worthy act is difficult. Ascent is always difficult. Descent is easy and often slippery.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  24. “People can be more forgiving than you can imagine. But you have to forgive yourself. Let go of what’s bitter and move on.” – Bill Cosby
  25. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
  26. “If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.” – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  27. “I understood, through rehab, things about creating characters. I understood that creating whole people means knowing where we come from, how we can make a mistake and how we overcome things to make ourselves stronger.” – Samuel L. Jackson
  28. “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus
  29. “Patience and the mulberry leaf becomes a silk gown.” – Chinese proverb
  30. “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” – Joseph Campbell
  31. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
  32. “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin
  33. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
  34. “The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now.” Bill Cosby
  35. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
  36. “Not feeling is no replacement for reality. Your problems today are still your problems tomorrow.” – Larry Michael Dredla
  37. “I think that the power is the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done.” – Robert Downey Jr.
  38. “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” – Charlotte Whitton
  39. “Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward.” – Brian Tracy
  40. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
  41. Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb
  42. “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
  43. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” – Rosa Parks
  44. “When was the last time you woke up and wished you’d had just one more drink the night before? I have never regretted not drinking. Say this to yourself, and you’ll get through anything.” – Meredith Bell
  45. “The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost
  46. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
  47. “Amazing how we can light tomorrow with today.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  48. “Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking of what we want to become. Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking about who we don’t ever want to be again.” – Shane Niemeyer
  49. “Every noble work is at first impossible.” – Thomas Carlyle
  50. “The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
  51. “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth
  52. “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
  53. “Keep steadily before you the fact that all true success depends at last upon yourself.” – Theodore T. Hunger
  54. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
  55. “Never say anything about yourself you do not want to come true.” – Brian Tracy
  56. 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
  57. “To improve the golden moment of opportunity, and catch the good that is within our reach, is the great art of life.” – Samuel Johnson
  58. “As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.” – Katharine Hepburn
  59. “Happiness is where we find it, but rarely where we seek it.” – J. Petit Senn
  60. “We may think there is willpower involved, but more likely … change is due to want power. Wanting the new addiction more than the old one. Wanting the new me in preference to the person I am now.” – George Sheehan
  61. “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  62. “Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams
  63. “I dwell in possibility.” – Emily Dickinson
  64. “The only journey is the one within.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
  65. “What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.” – Alice Miller
  66. “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” – Michael Jordan
  67. “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean
  68. “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe
  69. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  70. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

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57 Addiction Recovery Quotes and Sayings to Live By

words of wisdom for addicts

Interview Transcript

Interviewer: You have somebody in your life who is entering the alcohol recovery process or is in recovery and you want to be supportive but some of the things you say might actually be harmful.


Health information from expects, supported by research. From University of Utah Health, this is

Interviewer: We're talking with Dr. Jason Hunziker, psychiatrist at the University of Utah. Dr. Hunziker, people who are recovering from alcohol addiction, it's a really hard process and they need all the support they can get.

Dr. Hunziker: The choice to go into recovery is a big deal for everyone who does it. It's a very difficult process and it does take a lot of support not only internally but from people in the environment and from systems that help people enter the recovery process. We do have to be careful however what we say to people as they are getting ready to enter that process and as they are in that process so that we can motivate them to stay sober and make this big change in their life.

Some of the things I recommend that we don't say are things like, "Hey you can have just one, and it's not going to hurt anything." That clearly is not going to be helpful to somebody who is telling you that their life has been destroyed by alcohol. That's sets you up for failure in your process and in your program and so that's something that should be avoided.

Interviewer: So what are some other things that people say sometimes that you think are supportive but really aren't?

Dr. Hunziker: Somebody is in the program and you think you're being supportive by visiting them and then you say, "You know I'm glad you're doing this right now. It's a good time for you to do this but one day you're going to be able to drink again."

Interviewer: Really? They say that?

Dr. Hunziker: Yes, and again that is not something that is helpful at all to maintain the sobriety that they're looking for. When you stop, you still have the addiction. You just choose now not to use. And I use the word choose pretty lightly because if it was that easy to quit, everybody would just quit. So they make the decision to everyday get up in the morning and realize that they're not going to use and then go through that day not using even though they still have some cravings, they still have some desires and they still fight that impulse to go get some alcohol.

Interviewer: Okay, what are some other things that people might say?

Dr. Hunziker: Other things people say when they don't realize you don't realize you're an alcoholic at all they'll say, "Wait a minute. I see you go to work every day. You have a job. You're still making money. How can you be an alcoholic?" They think that just because you can function that you're not an alcoholic. But that still does not mean that this does not interfere with other aspects of your life.

Some people will say when you've been in the process for a long time and you've been going to your recovery meetings and you haven't had a drink they'll say, "Aren't you done yet? I mean, you've been doing this for years, shouldn't you be cured already?" There's no cure. I mean the cure is to not drink and the only way to not drink is to get positive support and to be actively making sure that doesn't happen.

Interviewer: Okay, any other things that people might say they think are supportive to a recovering alcoholic but might not really be that supportive?

Dr. Hunziker: Well I think sometimes people want to down play or minimize the alcoholism in the other person's life and so they will say things like, "Well I eat food every day, that doesn't make me addict so how could you be an addict?"

Interviewer: Because those two things are so comparable.

Dr. Hunziker: Exactly, exactly. So clearly our words are very important when somebody has made the decision to go into recovery and we need to choose those words carefully. We don't shy away from having conversations but I don't think we want to interfere and actively seek out information about the alcoholism. If somebody wants to give it to us, great. Let's listen, let's be supportive but if you start asking a lot questions people feel like you're being intrusive and then when you're intrusive it sets them up for failure.

Interviewer: So what are the words and the conversations that you can say to recovering or you should be saying to a recovering alcoholic?

Dr. Hunziker: It's not so much what you say all the time but some of the things that you do. Be available so if they call you in the middle of the night you don't say, "Oh, you're just drunk again" or " Oh, here it goes again." You're supportive, you're available, and you're encouraging them to use you as a support system so they don't go drink. Other things, you stay positive. Keep giving them encouragement all the time because it is a difficult process.

I mean you could imagine if you had to give up something you really enjoyed doing even if you didn't really think it was causing you that much problems. So you want to make sure that you're positive and they get encouraged by you so they will continue to fight the addiction.

Interviewer: So say you know someone who is thinking, who is considering the recovery process, what can you say to them to kind of motivate them to enter it?

Dr. Hunziker: You know I think normally what you want to do is have them think about how this helps them or doesn't help them. If you can say to them, "Okay, let's make a list of how alcohol helps you in your life, and then let's make a list of how alcohol hurts your."

Interviewer: Doesn't help you in your life.

Dr. Hunziker: Exactly, exactly.

Interviewer: Pros and cons.

Dr. Hunziker: And then people can look at that and then you can provide motivation based on the positive feature say, "Look what you can... You want these, you want that, you want this. The only way to get that is to be sober and if you can be sober, good things are going to come."

Interviewer: So any final thoughts that you have about recovering alcoholics, what you should and shouldn't be saying?

Dr. Hunziker: The only thought I have is that if somebody comes to you and says, "I'm contemplating stopping my drug use or my alcohol use." Please refer them to somebody who has a knowledge of recovery, has a knowledge of treatment, their primary care doctor, Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, somewhere that they can get that process moved from contemplation to full active recovery.


Have a question about a medical procedure? Want to learn more about a health condition? With over 2,000 interviews with our physicians and specialists, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find what you want to know. Check it out at

updated: March 12, 2019
originally published: November 5, 2014

Fest is just around the corner and to prepare - in between packing our bags and planning our costumes - we chatted with Chad from Western.

65 Recovery and Addiction Quotes to Help You Heal

words of wisdom for addicts

Sometimes, the right words can supply us with the inspiration and strength we desperately need. And let’s be honest, inspiration and strength are two vital ingredients for anyone who’s considering sobriety.

On a personal level, I know inspirational quotes and phrases have given me strength in the past – especially when I was at my lowest. Those same quotes and phrases have also helped me make the right decisions when I was contemplating major changes in my life.

Putting the Power of Words to Work For You

As humans, when things get tough, we have a tendency to fall back into our old (unhealthy) patterns. In order to overcome an addiction – something that takes a lot of hard work and personal dedication – we desperately need support and encouragement. When we read powerful and inspiring quotes, they make sense to us. The words resonate with us internally and have a positive impact; they give us the push we need on our way to becoming our best selves.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired and contemplating sobriety, take a look at the five quotes below. They might just inspire you to take the first step towards the rest of your life.

  • “It won’t be like this forever.”Addiction makes a person feel hopeless and trapped. It controls us and makes us forget who we used to be. But the path of recovery is a step towards gaining control of your life once again. You no longer have to be a slave to the disease. And with sobriety, it is possible to gain back that sense of freedom you felt you lost so long ago.
  • “No matter what the situation is, remind yourself “’I have a choice.’”Sobriety is a choice. Ultimately, it’s up to us – and us alone – to come out of denial and make the first step towards recovery. Likewise, when we’re faced with an unexpected setback or a strong urge to use, we have the power to determine the outcome. Effective treatment can help us identify and overcome our triggers, as well as allow us to make our own decisions about how to respond.
  • “You are stronger than you think.”A lot of us think there’s no way we’ll ever be able to give up drugs or alcohol, but we underestimate the strength within ourselves. Sure, the easier route may be to give up and go back to our old ways, but we are fully capable of beating this disease once and for all. All it takes is focus, determination, and hard work.
  • “When everything seems like an uphill struggle, just think of the view from the top.”Nobody ever said getting clean was easy, and it takes discipline to maintain it long-term. And while the uphill climb may seem impossible at first, the end result is one of the most rewarding accomplishments you’ll ever experience. The reward is regaining your life and reaching your true potential, making the hard work at the beginning totally worth it.
  • “You’re worth it.”Many of us suffer from low self-esteem, which, in turn, perpetuates the cycle of addiction. But struggling with an addiction doesn’t mean we’re incapable, weak, or unworthy. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t change our lives around and move past the disease that has been holding us back. We are all worthy of being happy and of living our lives to the fullest. Embrace your worth as a human being and never settle for anything less than the healthy, happy, and sober life you deserve.

Your Responses set out to curate other words of encouragement from our friends on social media. We asked “What gives you strength when you’re struggling with addiction?”

Here’s how people responded:


Learn more about the treatment options for alcohol and drug addiction.
Images: iStock

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Guthrie Govan Words of WISDOM: A Masterclass On Improvisation pt. 1/5

Choosing to enter recovery for alcohol addiction is a difficult decision that requires a lot of support. Psychiatrist Dr. Jason Hunziker discusses.

words of wisdom for addicts
Written by Kajik
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