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As long as I can remember, words have brought me comfort. In times of confusion, happiness, sadness, and everything in between, words have a way of reminding us we are not alone, that other people have been where we are now. I find that reading other people’s quotes and mantras provide a sense of comfort and peace I find in very few places.
When I got thrown into the world of sobriety unexpectedly, I turned to words almost immediately. I spent hours poring over Pinterest looking at quotes related to recovery and browsing websites for sayings that resonated. Over my four years of sobriety, a few of these mantras have really stuck with me and pulled me through some tough times. Here are my favorites.
1. “An alcoholic is anyone whose life gets better when they stop drinking.”
This is a saying I constantly find myself coming back to. I stumbled across it on Pinterest early in sobriety, when I still refused to call myself an alcoholic. I remember reading it and having a moment of clarity. In the time since I had stopped drinking, my life had improved drastically. Simply removing alcohol from the equation made that happen, meaning alcohol was the cause of most of my problems in life. I realized that if that had been the case, then yes, I was an alcoholic. Reading it in such simple terms changed my entire view of addiction and recovery. Even today, after years of sobriety, I still encounter people who tell me I am not an alcoholic and never was. When I hear this, sometimes I start to think maybe they are right. But every time I think that, I return to this quote and I realize that I am doing the right thing by staying sober because I did have a problem.
2. “Nothing changes if nothing changes.”
This saying is so obvious, yet so many of us overlook it in addiction. We wonder why our lives aren’t going better, why we constantly find ourselves in bad situations. The reality is that this happens because we don’t make any changes in our life. Therefore, nothing changes. When we do start to make those small changes, such as cutting out alcohol or acknowledging our feelings, we realize that those things we didn’t think would change do change. This saying is so versatile. It applies to recovery, but it also applies to all aspects of life, such as health, education, and relationships. Once you begin to make small changes, the larger changes take root.
3. “No matter where I go, there I am.”
Like many alcoholics, when I drank, I was often running away from myself. Yet, I never quite got away. No matter how much I drank to cover up my insecurities, they were still there because they were part of me. There is no escaping who we are. No matter where we go and what we do in life, our true selves will always follow. Rather than run from this concept, you have to learn to embrace it. Recovery has allowed me to do that. Today, I take my insecurities and talk about them. I acknowledge them. I try to figure out what I can do to embrace these parts of myself rather than try to cover them up. Because of this mindset, I no longer try to run from myself. Recovery has taught me to embrace all aspects of myself and learn to work with them and shape them into aspects that serve me.
4. “Easy does it.”
Like many people who drank excessively, I had a flair for the dramatic. I overreacted quite often. Small things became huge, all-consuming things. This has changed in recovery, though. Sometimes, I still overreact, but today I can remind myself that when I got sober, I thought my life had ended. Getting sober is the single most scary and confusing thing I had ever done, and I got through it. If I remind myself of this saying when faced with uncertainties in life today, my demeanor immediately changes. I begin to relax and think about what I can do about the situation rather than make myself frantic over it.
5. “Take it one day at a time.”
When you think of anything in terms of forever, it’s likely daunting. This is certainly the case with sobriety. Early on in recovery, I often thought about the fact that I had to stay sober forever. It was scary and unsettling and to be honest, I didn’t know if I could do it. But then I started to hear this saying and there is so much truth to it. The only day we have any control over is the day in front of us. If I make the choice not to drink each day that comes, I eventually have days that add up. This mindset is how I got to four years of sobriety. It’s also how I will get to five years, then six and so on. Just focus on doing what you can do today, and the rest works out.
Of course, there are hundreds more relevant mantras out there when it comes to getting sober and living in recovery. If you’re curious about more, or none of these resonate with you, simply Google “recovery mantras” or “recovery quotes.” You’ll more than likely find something you relate to, something that reminds you that you are never alone in this journey.