The Power of Addiction Recovery: Before and After Photos and Stories

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with harrowing images of addiction. Whether it’s people overdosing, people passed out on the street or behind the wheel, or mug shots of users who have been arrested, it’s no wonder society has a dismal view of addiction and doesn’t know much about recovery. We’re here to change that. Yes, the world knows that addiction can be an isolating, scary, and dangerous disease, but now it’s time for them to see what recovery looks like. It’s time for us to speak up and let the world know that recovery from addiction is possible and anyone is capable of living a healthy, wonderful life free of drugs and alcohol. Human stories are the most powerful tool we have to combat addiction.


#1. Olivia

Olivia is sober from alcohol since March 26, 2012, sober from drugs since August 5, 2012, and from cigarettes since October 2013. Her story shows us that sometimes it takes more than one set of circumstances to quit harmful substances. Her transformation has given her a new life. She says, “What I love about recovery is growing into the formidable, courageous woman I was always meant to be. Today, I am someone who lives and dreams big!”

#2. Carly

Carly has been sober from cocaine and alcohol since August 17, 2008. She has even found her passion by working as a sobriety ambassador through writing and speaking. She says, “The thing I love most about recovery is that I’ve stepped into my most epic self and I’ve had the privilege to help others find their own paths to sobriety and well-being now too. Recovery has been a gift that keeps giving to me.”

#3. Dorri

Dorri has been sober from her addiction to rum and cocaine since March 22, 1988. She started young at age 11 with smoking pot. Her addiction led her to use crystal meth, LSD, and shoot cocaine. Today she is a different person. When asked about her sobriety she says, “What I love about sobriety is I don’t feel sick all the time. I no longer have self-loathing. I was able to develop a decent relationship with food (I had been anorexic and bulimic for many years). I developed empathy and kindness through the 12 steps and the fellowship. Oh, and I’m glad I stopped trying to kill myself (multiple suicide attempts).”

#4. Melissa

Melissa is a grateful mom in recovery since May 19, 2015. Alcohol was her drug of choice and it took her down many dark roads. Her before picture is a mugshot from her third DUI in 2012 and on the right is her now, living sober. Melissa says, “My favorite thing about recovery is not waking up with that knot in my stomach wondering what I did the night before, who I pissed off and how can I avoid them. But the best thing about recovery is getting to be present for my kids every single day.”

#5. Emma

Emma spent years indulging in her substances of choice including alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes. Like many of us, Emma has found freedom in her recovery and has been sober since January 2, 2016. She says, “My favorite part of sobriety is the ability to genuinely feel the joy and connections that I always chased and forced.”

#6. Lara

Lara overcame her addiction to prescription pills, mainly Adderall and Xanax, starting on February 10, 2014. Since then, her transformation has allowed her to become a truth-teller and a recovery website co-founder. When speaking about her recovery Lara says, “My favorite thing about recovery is to be able to be truly honest about who I am and how I live my life. I have finally discovered myself and I am AWAKE for every moment of my life, with no need or desire to escape.”

#7. Britni

Britni is approaching her fifth year of sobriety. Her life changed on November 4, 2011. She is recovered from an alcohol, cocaine, and Adderall addiction. When reflecting on her sobriety, Britni says, “My favorite thing about recovery is that I get to be a fully present parent for my two children, who are a gift I could never have received without my sobriety.”

#8. Beth

Beth has been in recovery from alcoholism since May 7, 2013. She took her last drink before she was legally allowed to drink alcohol, at the age of 20. After an ultimatum from her parents, Beth attended an outpatient addiction treatment program. After her initial feelings of anger, she realized she was an alcoholic and was able to begin the healing process. She says this about her sobriety and her before and after photo, “The girl on the right is genuinely happy. But even when she’s not, she can cry and pick herself back up without drinking. She can stand in a bar 3 years sober and feel completely at ease, with no desire to drink. She has a full life, a job she loves, a family behind her and a person who makes every day worth it. Most importantly, she has purpose.”

#9. Kelly

Beth and I have the same sobriety date, May 7, 2013, although I had a few more years of drinking and using under my belt because I am older. I call my disease the disease of “more.” Alcohol was my first choice, but throughout my active addiction, I excessively used ecstasy, pain pills, marijuana, and cocaine. I was looking for more of whatever was available at that time in my life. My life changed forever on that day in 2013 when I decided to leave drugs and alcohol behind for good. Recovery has made my life better in every way possible and I am proud to share that with the world.