There's nothing quite like a before and after addiction photo to prove we do recover. Heck, the sober smiles alone are 100 proof!
Got doubts? Well, check the snaps we've got posted below. Some of them spring from the Facebook Page of The Addict's Diary; others come from BBC News' Rozina Sini, who put together a charming piece about a Tennessee couple celebrating their third year of sobriety. Then there are the reinforcing snaps assembled by YouTube's Top Pictures, which also includes some of the above. Wherever you turn though, you'll find undeniable proof that if a person truly tries, yes, we do recover.
The Addict's Diary
Kevin Alter started The Addict's Diary for all the right reasons. The site even says so.
I struggled with substance use disorder from the age of seventeen to twenty-seven. When I got clean I noticed that there was a general misconception of the addict. I wanted to change that, so I did my best to humanize addiction. I wanted people to see us for who we really are. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I wanted to break the stigma, inspire people, educate students, and save lives all with stroke of a keyboard. I decided to take the reader along with me on my journey. I put my all into it and it worked.
And how! Between the site and the Facebook Page, which is being Followed by over 850,000 people, Alter's shown a whole lot of folks all that's good, bad and ugly about addiction. He's also shown all those folks just what it looks like when good wills out.
Alter's positive message didn't only spread via the interwebs either. See, he also takes his message to the streets -- to the very communities where said message most needs to be heard. And whether that's a high school auditorium or a corporate boardroom, Alter leaves everyone with wide open eyes. His bearing and learning and accomplishments reinforce another important point: We Do Recover.
Brent & Ashley
BBC News' Rozina Sini found out about Brent and Ashley after the newly-married couple's before-and-after addiction pix were shared over 200,000 times in 10 days.
"In the "before" photo, Brent and Ashley are at the height of their addiction," wrote Sini. "The "after" one was shot last month, as they celebrated three drug-free years."
The difference is proverbially palpable. In the before pix Brent and Ashley share the devious grin of the addict who's just gotten away with something, and who knows something you'll never know. It's the insidious mischievousness of those in the throes of Substance Use Disorder; sometimes it doesn't mean much more than "I'm high and you're not." Other times it might mean "I just stole your wallet. Ha Ha." It is the grin of the sneak, the duplicitous, and the coward.
The after pix, on the other hand, show the couple with actual smiles. Full on, full face displays of happiness worn by folks who aren't afraid of anything, especially of what you might find out about the wearers. They wear the smiles of people who have their act together, and they want to share their pride.
In both photos, the two are in each others' arms. In the first though, they're holding on to each other for dear life; in the second, their embrace is casual and completely assured.
Following photos even further prove the point, especially the snaps taken during what appears to be a positively delightful Florida vacation. Then again, the couple is enjoying themselves in paradise; something they never could've done during active addiction.
Brent and Ashley are currently doing a lot of things they never could've done during active addiction. In the original piece, they married, got an apartment and a car. They were also working on regaining custody of their children. Two years later, a quick check of Ashley's Facebook Page shows she's also got a new job at a much higher salary, and Brent apparently went back and got his High School Diploma. It looks like the two took another Florida vacation as well.
Most importantly, both Brent and Ashley remain sober.
We Do Recover
Recovery Boot Camp applauds Kevin Alter and The Addict's Diary, as well as the scores upon scores of sober folks featured on The Addict's Diary Facebook Page. We especially commend Alter's diligence. Addiction can't be properly addressed if addicts are considered second class citizens. And it sure won't be eradicated. It's the Alters of the world who'll help change the way the world turns.
We'd also like to applaud Brent and Ashley, both for their courage and for what now must be their fifth year of sobriety. It takes guts to put your story out there. Serious guts. And you've both shown more than your fair share. We'd also like to thank the BBC's Rozina Sini for leading us to this charming Tennessee story. Sini's been with the BBC Asian Network for 20 years now, so we have no idea how she stumbled upon such Southern charm. But we're quite glad that she did!
Finally, we'd like to wholeheartedly Thank each and every person who stepped up and shared their Before and After Addiction Story, both those in Top Pictures and beyond. Like we said, it takes serious guts to share such story with the whole wild world. But that courage is crucial, especially if folks are ever going to learn that We Do Recover. So Thank You One and All!
Are you ready for your after shot? Could you use some help? It's out there you know. All you've got to do is call. SAMHSA has a hotline. So does NIDA. RBC can also get you situated. So can Healing Properties. In fact, it would be our honor. So please. Pick up the phone. It just may save your life.