Words to Live By: Inspirational Recovery Phrases

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During hardship, we cling to any bit of hope that times are going to get better, that life is going to get easier. Sometimes our inner strength fails us and we look outward seeking other sources of support.

Giving Words New Life

In my experience, inspirational expressions have always been that secondary support, giving me a dose of encouragement in the times I needed it most.

The following phrases are what I lean on to help me maintain a positive outlook and healthy life perspective when times get tough:

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” (T.S. Eliot)

Regret is a powerful emotion that can keep people from moving on with their lives, and sometimes they can waste years – even decades – looking out the rear-view mirror. This is particularly true when it comes to substance abuse.



Those in their addiction may want to seek treatment, but they end up feeling like they’re too far gone to get clean or they’ve burned too many bridges to ever get back on the right track. This expression fights against the all-too-familiar defeatist attitude and reinforces the notion that it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other one to die.” (Malachy McCourt)

Holding onto a grudge can be one of the biggest hindrances in recovery. Not only does this behavior benefit no one, but it puts an enormous strain on the person carrying around this burden.



It takes a significant amount of mental and emotional energy to maintain the hostility needed to support a grudge, so all that happens is that we end up treading water, filling our head space with negativity. Harboring resentment, then, prevents us from moving on with our lives and focusing on what’s really important – our sobriety.

“No one can allow you to feel inferior without your consent.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Take it from me, ostracism hurts. As a convicted felon, I’ve experienced many situations in which I was labeled and treated as a second-class citizen. This treatment gradually wore me down, so it wasn’t long before I began isolating myself and feeling unworthy of being treated like a human being.



Addiction is no different – like felons, there has long been a stigma against alcoholics and drug addicts in our society. But one thing that helps me when feeling discriminated against is to stop and consider the source. Usually those who are talking bad about you or who go out of their way to make you feel inferior don’t matter in the big scheme of things or play a hand in the course of your life. So, if this is the case, move on and continue to hold your head up high. After all, it’s their problem, not yours.

“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

In the beginning of my prison stint, it was difficult for me to accept the time I’d been given – four years, after all, felt more like a life sentence. But this clichéd expression really was a source of strength for me in my darkest moments. It not only proved that there was a reason I was going through this particular hardship, but it convinced me there was another who believed in my ability to get through this obstacle, even when I was questioning my own strength.



The same can be applied to addiction recovery. Even though the road to sobriety may feel long and hard – if not downright impossible at times – it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the strength and resilience to end up at the destination you’ve been searching for your entire life.




Additional Reading: 7 Inspirational Books About Recovery

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