Addiction statistics can feel overwhelming, but the truth is more encouraging than you might think.
The truth is, most Americans who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction survive, recover, and even thrive. They go on to live full, healthy lives. But it takes time…and for most, it takes multiple chances.
Travis, who struggled with heroin for a decade, knows this first hand.
“I wanted to quit, but I was too stubborn to admit that I couldn’t do it on my own,” says Travis.
Eventually, he got into treatment. And he discovered that, with some help from professionals, he actually could quit. And he’s thankful he was given more than one chance at recovery and more than one chance to rebuild his life. Travis is now married with a newborn and in the process of buying the family’s first home.
“This is something I never thought possible, something I never even thought I deserved for the longest time. I have all the good things in life that everybody talks about,” he adds. “I’m worthy of that, too. Once you get to that place, it’s pretty liberating.”
Millions in Addiction Recovery
Dr. John Kelly, head of the Recovery Research Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, says this number “kind of goes against our cultural perception that people never get better.”
But the numbers tell the truth. The data contradicts the popular misconception that addiction is a permanent affliction that tends to be fatal. The number of overdoses and drug-related deaths we hear about are tragic. But the data only represents a fraction of the number of Americans who struggle with addiction and seek professional help to recover. For most, recovery follows a path that is similar to the paths of Richard and Anna.
Richard’s Recovery Story
Richard’s drinking habit started after he joined the Marines. What started out as some fun with the guys on weekends turned into a lifestyle. Five years later, Richard’s life was a mess.
After conduct unbecoming discharge, Richard wasn’t able to hold down a civilian job due to his drinking. And his relationships with his family were strained.
He got treatment, but relapsed soon after rehab.
Fortunately, he didn’t give up. It was a long road, but Richard eventually recovered. He slowly made changes – which included two more trips to rehab and several more relapses over a period of two years. But he did it.
That was 30 years ago. He’s since lived a full life – married, two kids, a house, pets, and a pool. After getting sober, he landed a stable job working for the U.S. post office and recently retired with a nice pension.
Richard is one of the millions who make up the 75 percent that recover.
Anna’s Recovery Story
Anna started experimenting with crack cocaine in college. It quickly took her on a downward spiral. Over the next decade, she struggled with a severe addiction to both crack and cocaine. She was on a repeating cycle of rehab and relapse. Her family truly didn’t know if she would survive.
“My mother [started] calling the morgues,” she admits. “She’d call my sister and say ‘I haven’t heard from Anna.’”
But Anna’s addiction did not kill her. She was able to turn her life around. She went to inpatient rehab (two times in total), and she’s been in recovery for more than 20 years at this point.
Anna is a homeowner, a car owner, and even started her own business.
“Things that I believed I could never gain again – through the process of recovery, I have them all again.” Never let anyone tell you that you can’t overcome an addiction, grow into a productive member of society, and achieve all of your dreams.
Addiction Recovery: Add Your Own Success Story
The 75 percent statistic includes people who fall on the mild end of the addiction spectrum to the severe end of the addiction spectrum and all points in between. So, there is hope for everyone. And the research shows encouraging numbers of people who thrive in long-term in addiction recovery, rebuilding relationships and enjoying financial success.
Dr. David Eddie, researcher and professor at Harvard Medical School, notes, “They end up achieving things they wouldn’t have achieved if they hadn’t gone through the hell of addiction.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, you could be the next Richard, Anna, or Travis. There’s hope, there’s help, and the sky’s the limit on what you can achieve in recovery.
Ready to talk to a treatment specialist? Contact us today at 800-483-2193(Who Answers?) to learn about our flexible treatment programs for drug and alcohol addiction.