Happy National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month! I say “happy” because recovery, while it is tough, is a beautiful thing. Recognizing addiction and accepting you have a problem—a disease—is hard. Taking the first steps towards recovery will be more critical and more important than the first steps you took as a child. But really, they’re similar, because you’re beginning a new life. You’ll learn to feel again and to cope with life’s heartbreaks and detours substance-free. You’ll gain motivation to escape active addiction when you understand the hope that lies within recovery and believe in it.

To fuel your journey to sobriety, I’ve compiled 45 quotes about recognizing addictive behavior, addressing addiction, and finding hope in recovery.

Recognizing Addiction and Addictive Behavior

“I had two speeds, which often varied with my blood alcohol level: fine with whatever, and never, ever satisfied. Where was the balance between these two?” Sarah Hepola, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

“This is what I think. Addiction is just a way of trying to get at something else. Something bigger. Call it transcendence if you want, but it’s a fucked-up way, like a rat in a maze. We all want the same thing. We all have this hole. The thing you want offers relief, but it’s a trap.” Tess Callahan, April & Oliver

“Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down. Sometimes it made me paranoid and impotent, but mostly it just made me withdrawn.” Robin Williams, People Magazine

“I had a big problem with pills and alcohol, and I couldn’t stop. From an outsider’s perspective, it would seem like I had it all. It was actually a very lonely time for me because I was suffering from alcoholism. It was going on before (Friends), but it is progressive disease.” Matthew Perry, People Magazine via NY Daily News

“When I hit that moment I was like, it’s no longer fun when you’re doing it alone… I think at 19 years old, I had a moment where I was like, ‘Oh my God… that is alcoholic behavior.’ [It’s] no longer, I’m young and rebellious and out having fun. It was, ‘wow, I’m one of those people… I gotta get my s*** together.’” Demi Lovato, Access Hollywood

“More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character. This is the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation, but knows in his heart he doesn’t deserve it.” Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous

“You’ve recognised a fundamental feature of an addict’s life. Maintaining your habit is so important you’ve no real interest in anything else.” Marian Keyes, Rachel’s Holiday

“I’m very, very good at manipulating people and that was something that I did in my disease, I would manipulate everyone around me. There were times I would just continue to lie, so that everything looked OK on the outside.” Demi Lovato, Access Hollywood

“I couldn’t have just one bunch of flowers or one line of coke or one drink or one pair of shoes.” Elton John

“We have never known the average, the mediocre. All or nothing, that’s us.” Bill Wilson, My Name Is Bill

“When I took my first Vicodin, it was like this feeling of ‘Ahh.’ Like everything was not only mellow, but [I] didn’t feel any pain. I don’t know at what point exactly it started to be a problem. I just remember liking it more and more. People tried to tell me that I had a problem. I would say ’Get that fucking person outta here. I can’t believe they said that shit to me. I’m not out there shooting heroin. I’m not fucking out there putting coke up my nose. I’m not smoking crack.” Eminem, MTV

“When I was on drugs, there was a monstrous side to me, but I’m not really like that.” Elton John

“That’s all drugs and alcohol do; they cut off your emotions in the end.” Ringo Starr, How to Care for a Cancer

“Addiction was the inverse of honest work. It was everything, right now. I drank away nervousness, and I drank away boredom, and I needed to build a new tolerance. Yes to discomfort, yes to frustration, yes to failure, because it meant I was getting stronger. I refused to be the person who only played games she could win.” Sarah Hepola, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget

“It wasn’t to the point of going to the hospital, but I remember getting up off the floor in the morning—and that was the last day I ever touched a drug again.” Pink, Shape Magazine via Contactmusic.com

Addressing the Disease of Addiction

“[Rehab] was absolutely trying to relearn to live. You are learning to become someone else.” Drew Barrymore

“Weakness is living in denial. Only the strongest people ask for help.” Demi Lovato

“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope.” Russell Brand, The Guardian

“[Crystal meth] was the hardest boyfriend I ever had to break up with. I dug deep as to why I got there. It’s the drug that’s addicting. But it’s why you start doing it in the first place that’s interesting.” Fergie, People Magazine

“But sometimes it sucks, and I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a fuckin’ drink. But that’s the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot—for fuck’s sake, you can not—fuck around with nothing ever again. I never understood when people would say it’s a disease. Like, ’Stop it, dickhead. It’s not a disease!’ But I finally realized, fuck, man—it really is.” Eminem, GQ

“On the days that are harder, there’s this saying called ‘play the record forward’ [or ‘play the tape through’]. So like, if I ever want to pick up and drink or use, I have to imagine, I have to play it out and imagine, like, ‘OK, well, what would happen if I did that?’” Demi Lovato

“We’ve been there and come back. When you fall in the pit, people are supposed to help you up. But you have to get up on your own. We’ll take your arms, but you have to get your legs underneath you and stand.” Bucky Sinister

“Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is.” Bill Wilson, In God’s Economy

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.” Bill Wilson, The Recovery Bible

“Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.” Demi Lovato, Access Hollywood

“You can’t think your way into right action, but you can act your way into right thinking.” Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous

“No matter how unreasonable others may seem, I am responsible for not reacting negatively. Regardless of what is happening around me I will always have the prerogative, and the responsibility, of choosing what happens within me. I am the creator of my own reality. When I [review my day], I know that I must stop judging others. If I judge others, I am probably judging myself. Whoever is upsetting me most is my best teacher. I have much to learn from him or her, and in my hearts, I should thank that person.” Bill Wilson, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

“I said, “Ebby, tell me once more about how you dried up.” And he reviewed it again for me. Honesty with oneself, of a kind I had never had before. Complete honesty with someone else. Straightening out all my twisted relationships as best I could. Giving of myself to help someone else in need. And prayer.” Bill Wilson, Alcohol, Science and Society

“Even if you may be down to the worst, the best is potentially within you. You only have to find it, release it, and rise up with it. This requires courage and character, to be sure, but the main requirement is faith. Cultivate faith and you will have the necessary courage and character.” Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.” Brené Brown

Finding Hope in Recovery

“I made a commitment to completely cut out drinking and anything that might hamper me from getting my mind and body together. And the floodgates of goodness have opened upon me, spiritually and financially.” Denzel Washington

“It is 10 years since I used drugs or alcohol and my life has improved immeasurably. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and, generally, a bright outlook… The price of this is constant vigilance because the disease of addiction is not rational.” Russell Brand, The Guardian

“It’s been a learning process. I’m growing. I couldn’t believe that anybody could be naturally happy without being on something. So I would say to anybody, ‘It does get better.’” Eminem, MTV

“Your best days are ahead of you. The movie starts when the guy gets sober and puts his life back together; it doesn’t end there.” Bucky Sinister

“If people take any notice of what we say, we say we’ve been through the drug scene, man, and there’s nothing like being straight.” John Lennon, Life Is What Happens

“Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself. I don’t put it on a platform. I don’t campaign about it. It’s just something that works for me. It enabled me to really connect with another human being—my wife, Sheryl—which I was never able to do before.” Rob Lowe

“How dark it is before the dawn! In reality, that was the beginning of my last debauch. I was soon to be catapulted into what I like to call the fourth dimension of existence. I was to know happiness, peace, and usefulness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes.” Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous

“[Through Alcoholics Anonymous] we commenced to make many fast friends and a fellowship has grown up among us of which it is a wonderful thing to feel a part of. The joy of living we really have, even under pressure and difficulty.” Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous

“I found the prospect [of recovery] daunting, but somehow comforting, too, because the counselors insisted it could be done, and, after all, many of them were recovering alcoholics themselves.” Craig Ferguson, American on Purpose

“Intensity-seeking is an enslavement of our own perpetuation. When we step out of the delirium of always seeking someone new, and meet the same old sad and lonely child within, our healing journey begins. Exhausting ourselves with novelty is a defense against our deepest pain, one that we cannot outrun. But once we stop and feel our losses, we can begin our healing journey and be the authentic, joyous person we were born to be.” Alexandra Katehakis, Mirror of Intimacy

“[Through recovery] I have seen hundreds of families set their feet in the path that really goes somewhere; have seen the most impossible domestic situations righted; feuds and bitterness of all sorts wiped out. I have seen men come out of asylums and resume a vital place in the lives of their families and communities. Business and professional men have regained their standing. There is scarcely any form of trouble and misery which has not been overcome among us.” Bill Wilson, Alcoholics Anonymous

“Change. It has the power to uplift, to heal, to stimulate, surprise, open new doors, bring fresh experience and create excitement in life. Certainly it is worth the risk.”
 Leo Buscaglia, Creative Wisdom

“I have other obligations now – the show, my family, my life… though I know that without my sobriety I wouldn’t have any of those things.” Rob Lowe

“My identity shifted when I got into recovery. That’s who I am now, and it actually gives me greater pleasure to have that identity than to be a musician or anything else, because it keeps me in a manageable size. When I’m down on the ground with my disease—which I’m happy to have—it gets me in tune. It gives me a spiritual anchor. Don’t ask me to explain.” Eric Clapton, Esquire

“I wanted to get clean. I knew that my highest potential, the place that I was most spiritual, the place that I was the most rich in terms of my life, and my livelihood, and my art and my creativity, was when I was sober.” Macklemore

Want to hear more from fellow addicts in recovery? Check out Alcoholics Anonymous (www.aa.org) and Narcotics Anonymous (www.na.org).

Easy does it,
A Friend of Bill