a person holds a ribbon and celebrates addiction recovery rewards

Addiction Recovery’s Most Unexpected Rewards

In honor of those celebrating recovery, we asked bloggers, recovery organization members, authors, and other who’ve made the journey from addiction to sobriety one simple question: “What’s been the most unexpected reward of recovery?” If you’re struggling with drugs or alcohol, the experts at Promises Behavioral Health know that the answers will help show what is possible. We can also inspire you to reach out for the help you need so that you can celebrate recovery too.

What’s Been the Most Unexpected Reward of Recovery?

Jakie Elliot

“Time seems to be in abundance. During my ‘drinking days,’ weeks and months would fly by in a blur. I didn’t seem to be achieving anything, connecting with anyone (so many friends and other relationships neglected), or making any lasting memories at all. When I quit, it was like the world slowed a little on its axis. I had time to fit in so many activities, start a business, have time for writing and other creative pursuits — and still have quality time with my husband and family. The most unexpected, but treasured gift of sobriety, for me, is time.” — Jackie Elliott, sobriety blogger, sobersassylife.com

Amber Tozer

“The most unexpected reward of recovery is evolving into the person who I was trying to be when I was drinking — comfortable and confident in my own skin. When I’m at a party, or with a group of people, and I just blurt out whatever I want, and I don’t care what people think, and whatever I blurt out isn’t offensive or embarrassing (most of the time) — I think, ‘Holy shit! That was easy!’ Then I have some more water.” — Amber Tozer, comedian and author of “Sober Stick Figure”

Tom Coderre

“When I started my journey 13 years ago I just wanted to get well, and was I surprised to learn that there would be so many rewards in addition to that. I’ve become whole in every sense of the word and that is a gift. But an unexpected reward is being able to help people. Whether it’s one on one with individuals or my work at SAMHSA advancing public policy, I’m helping others find what I’ve found. Recovery is truly contagious!” — Tom Coderre, chief of staff at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Tami Harper Winn

“The last thing my ex-husband said to me before I got sober was, ‘The only problem I have is that you are still breathing.’ I could have never foreseen that years later he would be there the night I took my six-year chip. As a result of staying sober and making amends I have been able to repair burnt bridges and mend the damage of my past. I have financial freedom, renewed relationships that I cherish, and I was able to give my mother and father peace and care for each of them in their final moments here on earth. Sobriety has given me a life that I would never have believed I deserved. But I do, because I’m living it.” — Tami Harper Winn, bullet dodger/Sobriety Secrets blogger, drunkless.com/tami-harper-winn-index

Aaron Emerson

“Recovery has brought me countless rewards that continue to come about each day. One reward that was unexpected was the ability to have loads of fun, completely sober. In active addiction, I never thought this would be possible.” — Aaron Emerson, author and blogger, aaronemersonblog.com

Laura Low

“There are a lot of rewards to recovery. The biggest and best one came to me unexpectedly. I grew up with my mom being an addict. I never understood why my childhood was the way it was and her actions. Through my recovery I finally received understanding and closure. I saw how hard it is to recover from addiction. Though my mom is not here with me, I have finally learned to forgive.” — Laura Low, blogger for the International Bipolar Foundation, ibpf.org/tags/laura-low

Kimber Lee Falkingburg

“FINDING MY VOICE! Prior to entering recovery I thought I knew who I was. I was afraid to consider myself as anything different. My pain was hiding the real me, and I wasn’t capable of bringing to light the brilliance of who I was. I’m grateful recovery was a path which led me through the darkness and out the other side to find a powerful, compassionate, fierce voice of a woman I am proud to know today!” — Kimber Lee Falkingburg, program manager, Young People in Recovery

Mike Gilman

“If I had to pick just one unexpected reward it would have to be the shedding of guilt and shame that comes with your addiction. Yes, you are still an alcoholic/addict (and always will be) but your life forward is and can be filled with no guilt or shame. A close second would be the mass amount of money I have saved! Lol.” — Mike Gilman, recovery advocate

K. Lanktree

“The most unexpected reward of my recovery has been a massive change in my perspective on life. Losing literally everything I valued has really taught me what is truly important to me and that material items will always come and go; it’s the people you love that you need to hold on to and cherish.” — K. Lanktree, blogger & lover of all things harm reduction, studiolonline.net 

Daniel D. Maurer

“One of the most astonishing gifts of recovery is that I now never worry about whether I can drive after going out or not. (Not that I cared that much when I still drank—as my past DUI conviction will prove!) I’m a happier person overall, which is nothing short of amazing. Since when I still used I continually chased after trying to make myself feel good, I now find that the ‘peaks and valleys’ of my life stand at an overall higher average altitude. Life without drugs and alcohol is a gift. Period.” — Daniel D. Maurer, freelance writer, author, father, husband, son, transformation-is-real.com

Jim Wallor

“The most unexpected reward of recovery for me has been the joy of knowing how much I have been able to help others. Knowing my story is as important to others as the stories I first listened to from others when I began my recovery years ago. I am truly humbled and love knowing that I now am able to inspire, teach, nurture or help others in ways I never thought possible. The opportunity to reach people worldwide through my ministry, painofaddiction.com, is nothing short of a miracle!” — Jim Wallor, addiction, recovery and inspiration writer

Abbie Wirick

“My most unexpected reward of recovery has been becoming a responsible and trustworthy person. I am an advocate for those who have no voice. I care for the needs of the individuals in my life, at home and at work. And it feels pretty good. I never would have thought I’d be grateful for responsibilities, but recovery has facilitated my becoming an actual adult in many ways.” — Abbie Wirick, recovery writer, abbieinwondrland.wordpress.com

Adam Daar

“The most unexpected gift of my recovery has been the ability to objectively look back on my past. I am able to see today the person that I was and the life I was leading before I entered the world of recovery. These memories serve as a constant motivation to maintain my recovery and to take the necessary steps to remain sober. Knowing that no matter what, I never want to go back to where I was helps me to stay present and to take my recovery seriously and earnestly. Additionally, it keeps me eternally grateful to all the people who helped me get sober, and grow as a human being along the way.” — Adam Daar, college student and recovery peer

Liz Wilson

“The most unexpected reward of my recovery was my sister’s support financially. Now that she knew I was being conscientious, she was willing to become a benefactor in my recovery.” — Liz Wilson, advocate for those with dual diagnosis, International Bipolar Foundation

Chrisi Hard

“The promises really do come true, one day at a time. I am living a life beyond what I dreamed. I have self-respect and self-confidence. I am so blessed with a great family and friends who truly love, respect and trust me. Maybe the biggest reward is to be the kind of mom my beautiful daughters deserve.” — Chrisi Hard, recovery and mental health advocate

Kristin Waite-Labott

“The most unexpected reward of recovery is the ability to live a life without drugs or alcohol. For the last 11 years (and ½ but who’s counting!), I have been able to stay clean and sober, one day at a time, by using the help that my Higher Power places in front of me. And the sky did not come crashing down because I asked for, and accepted, help. I no longer have to go it alone; I have a sea of support in the 12-step meetings I participate in. Life and sobriety are beautiful.” —Kristin Waite-Labott, recovery author

Brent Clark

“The most unexpected reward that has come from my sobriety after years of drinking and drug use has been rediscovering who I was. Throughout the years of addiction, I seemed to lose all of my self-pride and ambition. I didn’t care about much and didn’t feel motivated about anything. Once I gave up the drugs and alcohol, I regained the enthusiasm for life that I had lost so many years ago. I find myself motivated to keep building myself into a better person. It has become a new way of life that I can’t get enough of.” — Brent Clark, addiction prevention and recovery speaker, brentclarkspeaking.com

Brittany Shelton

“Dealing with the difficult things. I imagined sobriety as a perfect place. In reality it is an imperfect place where it’s okay to feel. But the most miraculous part for me has been in loving every second of doing it and knowing that I CAN. I CAN DO HARD THINGS.” — Brittany Shelton, sober blogger, DiscoveringBeautiful.com

Contact Promises Behavioral Health

At Promises Behavioral Health, we’re proud to help you find the addiction recovery rewards. We provide treatment for a range of addictions, including:

To learn more about the benefits of addiction recovery, contact Promises Behavioral Health today at 844.875.5609.

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