The Resilience of People in Addiction Recovery

Sober and happy

Across the media and in the news, addicts often get a bad rap. People in society often look down on people who have struggled with addiction. One unfortunate thing about this is that this stigma surrounding addiction prevents many people from reaching out for their desperately needed help. It can be challenging to admit you have a problem when there is a fear that people will judge you for it.

Having worked at an addiction rehabilitation center for several years and being in addiction recovery myself, I have had the privilege of meeting many admirable people that also happen to have struggled with addiction. While addiction is often a part of their story, it doesn’t mean that it has to be the defining source of their life. While having an addiction certainly has countless negative impacts on a person’s life, I have found several positive qualities that many people I have met in addiction recovery possess. There is something about overcoming the adversity of addiction that uniquely refines a person.

Below are just a few of the traits that I have noticed to be common characteristics among people I have met in addiction recovery.


Believe it or not, learning to live a life of sobriety can lead to a great deal of creativity. I have found that many people in recovery are some of the most innovative and interesting people I've ever met. There are many constructive applications for thinking outside the box.


In order to maintain a life of long-term sobriety, a person must become persistent in their efforts. While this skill is certainly beneficial to living a life of addiction recovery there are many other applications for this as well. Developing persistence is a great example of one of the many benefits of living a sober lifestyle.


To live a life of recovery, a person will need to become relatively resilient. Addiction is dangerous, life-threatening condition, which, sadly, not everyone survives. Working through the early days of recovery is hard work. The process of overcoming cravings forces a person to become resilient. While this may not be an easy process to go through, it can be an opportunity for self-growth. Some of the strongest people I know are the ones who are living a life of long-term sobriety.


Putting in the work of addiction recovery requires a person to gain a much deeper level of self-awareness. It takes much work to overcome a substance abuse problem. Addressing the deep-seated issues that caused a person to develop their addiction in the first place requires much self-examination. Going through this process may be difficult at the time, but it will lead to a deeper self-awareness that comes with learning to be responsible for one's own actions. Self-growth is one of the many positive benefits of putting in the work to achieve a life of sobriety.

Friendly people


One of the coolest things I have found among people in the addiction recovery community is their ability to empathize with other people. There is something about overcoming an addiction that causes many people to want to help other addicts still struggling. There is perhaps no one better equipped to help an addict than someone who has gone through addiction themselves. While many addiction professionals out there do a great job of helping addicts, no one can understand where an addict is coming from better than someone who has been there. For this reason, people in addiction recovery are among the best at empathizing with other people who are still struggling with an addiction.


It takes a lot of inner strength and courage to confront a problem as big as addiction. Addiction recovery is undoubtedly no easy task and is something that can be very intimidating. For this reason, anyone who is in addiction recovery is a courageous person in my book. People in recovery deserve to be celebrated and looked up to for their bravery.


A life of long-term recovery takes a great deal of self-discipline. The early days of sobriety are no easy task. Learning new life skills, developing new habits, and leaving behind negative influences take a great deal of effort. These things help a person in recovery develop a great deal of self-discipline and strength that they might not have had otherwise had they never been through addiction and healing in the first place.


Each day I wake up without a hangover, I am grateful. Addiction takes away everything of importance from a person. It takes away the big things, and it takes away the little things. A person in addiction recovery learns to be grateful for the little things because they had to work hard to get them back. Things that may not seem like such a big deal to someone else mean a whole lot to someone who had to work hard to get it.

Just because someone has dealt with addiction in the past does not mean they are a terrible person. A history of substance abuse issues doesn’t mean that a person is no longer capable of doing amazing things. If anything, some of the most remarkable people I know once struggled with addiction themselves. We all have our difficulties in life; some are just more obvious than others.

Reviewed by Matt Hawk, BS, CADC-II, ICADC



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.