June 02, 2016
People in recovery often say they are given a second chance at life. They are given the opportunity to do things they wouldn’t have been able to while in active addiction, or perhaps even before that. What have you gained in your sobriety? Were you able to graduate from college? Walk your daughter down the aisle? Hike a mountain and see a beautiful sunset?
For our #WhatIveGained campaign, we’re asking the public to share how their life has changed for the better in their sobriety. Here are the photos and messages we’ve received so far. To participate, click here.
I no longer live in fear. I'm free to be me for the first time in my life. Thank you Caron for your continued support.
"I got back a better life."
A wife, a job, some $$... but mostly moments like this. Peaceful, calm, and present.
I've gained the ability to be present in my daughter's life and the opportunity to be the best husband I can be.
"Everything. Most of all LOVE.”
I have gained a loving, trusting, and honest relationship with my family. I have gained freedom, both from the clutches of addiction and from the incessant worry of being judged by others. I have gained confidence, determination, self-esteem, and the knowledge that if I put my mind to something and give it everything I have, I WILL succeed. Most importantly, I have gained my degree in psychology, so that I can help others realize that their lives ARE worth living, and that every single one of us has something beautiful and unique to contribute to this world.
This is the beautiful gift from G-d that I lost through my addiction and now through recovery, I found myself and got my most precious children back into my life.
"DEFINITELY the ability to help THOSE WHO ARE NOT."
You find yourself out here.
"No more fear."
I have gained courage from my recovery. I recently traveled by myself across the US on Route 66 and the Oregon Trail. I even started a blog and wrote about it. In active addiction, I was too afraid to travel outside a 10 mile radius of my own home and certainly could not have shared my story with anyone, much less anyone on the internet. Now, I am fearless!
"I am trustworthy."
"A husband :-)"
A schedule and a second chance. 31 days clean. Thank you :)
The happiest day of my life.
“Recovery has gifted me with the ability to share what I am learning, living & leading about: CARE & RECOVERY!”
I didn't leave before the miracle happened.
My family and I got myself back. I can be a better mother and wife.
“Too many to name. ❤”
More sunsets at home.
Morning bonding with Miss Kitty Litter.
"G-d bless you and amen. Keep pushing though. Some days are harder than others, but the blessings are definitely worth it… even if you have to struggle. My health is not good right now and I choose to stay clean and have faith. It is easier than picking up. Never stop trying... you gain so much self respect and love."
My life and a relationship with G-D by surrendering my addiction to Heroin
I have grown in Recovery from an alcoholic and addict into a Recovery Counselor working with adolescents. Life is amazing! Sobriety is amazing!
My beautiful daughter just graduated from an intensive rehab program. I'm in recovery as well. We have gotten ourselves back and a newfound love & respect for each other through both of our recovery programs. This is not the kind of "Mother-Daughter bonding" I imagined when I held her in my arms after giving birth, but it is by far the greatest gift to/for ourselves together and individually ♡♡
Healthy, happy memories!
I have had such a blessed journey. I have met some of the most incredible people. My family communicates and we support each other. And when we laugh it's a gut laugh that feels so good, not to mention the hugs and love that is genuine. ❤
I'm free to do what I want. I have choices, understanding, and above all - mindfulness. My decisions are based on a Wisemind. I have experience, connection to all that was, and can wait for all that will. Right now, I am me and I love the person I've become.
So grateful for what I learned and the experience I had at Caron. First time in treatment and have been clean ever since. I had a wonderful foundation...Thank you!
Everyone has their own path. What I've gained is losing my ego and letting my love out...replacing resentments and fear with tolerance and compassion. I'm alive.
I was able to complete the 14 week course at Christian Women's Job I now have a better relationship with my children and God
The most important thing, myself. Now the rest will come.
I lost my first child in 1999 (late term miscarriage) and preceded to go on a bender that lasted for several months...I got sober in January 2000 and then 6 years later had my second child. She gave me the hope that good things come out of bad situations.
The Miracle of my sober son graduating.
I’m 34 and started using when I was 12 years old. I have been clean since 9-6-15. I have two beautiful children ages 13 and 8. My daughter is in this picture with me. She and I get along. She has goals for herself and does not date boys, do drugs, or smoking cigarettes. She had witnessed a lot of domestic abuse, but is an awesome kid. I love my children and recovery has given me and my children a new life. You get more than what you put in.
I was able to dance with my son, Matthew, at his wedding.
40 years of recovery, 22 years with a beautiful woman (went home to the Lord last July); and, following Bill Wilson's suggestion regarding going back to the religion of your choice, a loving Savior, Jesus Christ.
My life has a meaning and purpose I never thought possible.
"My daughter back."
I've gained a whole new world! But just one example is getting a CDL license with passenger and school bus endorsements. Those qualifications made it possible for this old lady to get a job to pay health insurance premiums for the 3 years before I went on Medicare. I'm about to retire (again!) but it has been a lot of fun.
That's the best thing I have earned from this journey besides my sobriety and my marriage!!! All three I am so very proud of and work on every single day of my life!!!
Pride And Self-esteem.
God's Grace, Mercy, the Program, and the Fellowship
I am a survivor
So far being sober has been a blessing; my second chance at life. Currently, I am working a great job, I have my own house, and I get to see my daughter. Please don't give up the fight!
Peace of mind, joy, mercy, humility
My family in front of our recently purchased home. Having my family together is my reason for being in recovery; buying a home, going on weekend outings, those are the perks of staying in recovery. I love my life now!
Without recovery I know without a doubt that I would not have a loving relationship with these precious children. They are in my heart and bring me great joy and serenity. Thank you Ryan and Morgan!
I've been given everything that I could have ever imagined and then some. But, the best part is I've been given me. All of my faults, all of my good deeds, and even mistakes - I finally learned that I don't have to be perfect; that I can just be human and be loved anyway. Thank you G-d and Recovery.
I get to be with my babies and be a good mother
Freedom! I have myself back AND a POWER Greater than me
"I've gained a world of impossible dreams!! But what RECOVERY has done for me is taken away the FEAR, INSECURITY, THE FEELING OF BEING ALONE; all those things are the things that led me down the path of destruction! THE PROMISES have come true!! Sometimes what I've lost has led me to what I've gained, for without having lost all of that negativity I wouldn't have any of what I have today!!"
Getting clean has been the most rewarding opportunity in my life. First, I have a testimony of my Higher Power. Second, I am truly blessed with three wonderful children that I'm finally getting to know. Third, my brother and sister in law are the best example of a happy marriage and how spouses that love and care for each other. Finally, I have my health. I was addicted to pain pills. Now after experimental brain surgery, I am pain free. Too blessed!
"That I can have an even closer walk with G-d through spirituality vs the organized religion I was raised with. And that life's all about G-d's will, through me, to help others!"
My whole life back!
Freedom and peace. Thank G-d.
I have gained freedom to live my life as I choose.
I have gained dignity, family, a hope for a future, appreciation for the grace that got me clean and sober.
My child is back
I have gained stronger relationships with my family and friends. I was able to become an Addiction Counselor and graduated college with a Bachelor's Degree in Forensic Psychology. I continue to pursue other goals such as gaining my recovery coach certificate and a Master's Degree in Social Work.
I get to be present for my 2 beautiful kids!
A relationship with my kids again and an awesome man that loves me. Ronnie, thank you for giving me the tools and ability to be able to love myself and life again.
Enjoying and sharing beautiful moments with my husband.
A lot of TRUE friends
May 2016 is an incredible month for me. This month I celebrate 6 years clean and sober. I also graduate from college Sunday, May 15th. Last week I was asked to be one of the commencement speakers at graduation. Although it’s taken me fourteen years to complete my degree, it is in a field that I love, and it's only because of my recovery that I was able to discover who I am and what I love. This picture is of me and an academic award I recently received for my scholarly contributions to theater and drama. The best part of all is that my children and my husband have been a part of the process. My family is healthy and intact because of my continued, ongoing recovery process.
A relationship with my grandchildren.
Practicing acceptance has given me serenity. I have also crossed paths and joined hands with the most supportive people.
"I've gained my faith, trust from my family, and G-d is giving me my life back the way He knows it should be! Praise G-d!!!"
My amazing husband and my 8 beautiful grand children - shown here with one of them going to watch our favorite sport.
I lost everything to my addiction 17 years ago. I was what I call a "housewife addict". It didn't happen until I was 36, had gotten my degree, had a teen and 2 babies (that took 8 years of infertility treatment to have). And after hurting my back, I became an addict. Got separated – lost my marriage, home, kids, job, and career. I was a chronic relapser for 3 years. Once I surrendered and did the work (4 years away from my family) I got clean and sober. Staying that way is a daily amend. Under any and all circumstances DO NOT PICK UP. I'm lucky. I got my family back. Let Go Let G-d. Recovery is a Blessing.
Ability to talk in front of people, forgiveness, not everything has to be perfect, caring, etc. Thank you HP and AA.
Beautiful double rainbow on St Patty’s Day outside where my sponsor and I were reading out of the Big Book! Also could afford to get my car back on the road after a year and a half! Sober is better!!
With the second chance OR more like my 50th chance, I've gained an education, my self confidence, character, integrity, an attitude, a purpose and most importantly HOPE. I've been able to start a recovery advocacy group in Delaware, called Hope Street DE to help addicts and family connect to resources and also provide education to our community. #WhatIveGained #IveGainHope #WeHaveOnlyScrstchedtheSurface #NEVERGIVEUP
A fulfilling life – one with a greater good for myself and in turn with others..
All of my family members and I have relationships that are meaningful and we are there for one another. Life wouldn't be as wonderful as it is without family.
"23 years today. I am so grateful!!!"
I've gained a relationship back with my family. Something I've struggled with for years. Here is a photo from my first Mother's Day sober. I can't recall the last time that was until now! I'm so grateful for Caron! It changed my thinking and is changing my Life!
Recovery has given me the opportunity to become a better mother, a better wife, a better daughter. It has given me the ability to watch my children graduate and get married, allow me to become a grandmother, as well as go to college and get my Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology. I do believe that my living a life of recovery is my second chance at life and my journey continues everyday. I am blessed and grateful for my life today.
Peace and family.
I'm able to volunteer my skills in other parts of the world and along the way I can share my story and say to others that recovery is real and possible!!!
I've gained the trust of my children and that means a wonderful relationship and being able to have my 5 grandchildren whenever I want.
My life, family, and my love of G-d.
I have been restored from a dying drug addict (that's me in the middle), to a grateful Child of G-d. I have my life, my family, my spiritual, mental and emotional balance and a self worth I never knew existed. I have learned how to love myself and others unconditionally.
Peace, family and serenity.
Good, clean, peaceful, honest living. Taking and living one moment at a time – just as it is at that moment with dignity and respect! With the love of G-d to guide me. And most of all, an honest, loving, caring relationship with my daughters who are my everything! Thank be to my higher power who I choose to call G-D. May you find him also!
This too shall pass - there is the miracle and hope of good things to come, just believe it's possible.
I have gained the respect of being a valued family member and the ability to "show up and stand up" when needed. I have regained family trust, love, and loyalty. I have found and continue to build a life with the man who stands by my side everyday. These are the gifts and reality of recovery.
Wonderful friends! G-d’s grace and mercy.
#WhatIveGained? Strength. Power over that part of myself that says “do it.”
I walked into the doors of Narcotics Anonymous in 1997.
Everything! Especially a great relationship with HP, a new life, an effective strategy for living it (Steps), kids, decades, and lots love faith, hope, love, and gratitude!
I've been blessed with a life beyond my dreams and Imagination. With a G-d-centered G-d loving husband.
I am 6 years clean and I have gained so much in my life. I became a grandmother and I take care of my grandbaby. I have both my kids in my life. My family has become my biggest supporter. I was in a toxic 18 year marriage and I'm learning how to live on my own and pay my own bills. I love who I am today. My life has been such a blessing. I enjoy life and if I can help one addict who needs support, my life will be complete. My message is if it seems like it is too hard, the feeling does pass. Keep doing. Life is too short.
My recovery is and will always be through a god of my understanding!
Sobriety date May 23rd 2013. Besides being sober and having a new life beyond my wildest dreams, my wife and I were blessed with this beautiful gift of G-d and sobriety on 12/23/15.
"A daughter, my family back, self respect, respect from others, an education, good friends, peace, and happiness."
Still unstable but slowly getting there.
In Recovery I met my husband, a sober man and my best friend. Sobriety has made it possible for me to start my own business, enjoy a healthy relationship, and really be present for my family through the toughest times in their lives. 14 years ago, I had nothing. I had 10 years of sobriety and relapsed and lost everything. In 2002 I walked back into an AA meeting as desperate as the dying can be, and here I am today with my husband standing on a golf course visiting family in Albany. Grateful to G-d everyday.
What I gained was a better appreciation for my life and the world around me and its wonders.
15 years of married (sober) bliss with this guy!
Formerly alcohol and opioid addicted. Twenty-three years (1986 - 2009) of relapse after relapse. Finally 'got it' in March 2009 and living 100% sober since (seven years). Priceless and beyond measure.
Taking care of mom.
"I gained trust. I got my life back. I’m talking to my HP whom I call G-d in every moment. I gained a stable clean date. I’m a mom today. What more can I ask for? I know this and more will be revealed."
I have gained so much more than I could have ever imagined! The first and most important aspect of my life has been regaining my self respect, integrity, character and confidence. Next has been the love and devotion of Family. My oldest son and I have been able to cross a very broken bridge; and, for this alone I will be Forever Grateful! I have grandchildren who cannot begin to imagine this other person who stole my identity. They think and tell me "Grandma you're so cool. What happened to my parents?" Purpose has been restored in my life for which I can live and love life. I now have the ability to think about something other than me, myself, I, and mine. That is certainly a huge relief! The last thing I will share is that G-d, in His Infinite Wisdom, chose me as Guardian of my baby boy's baby boy. We have been together for his entire life! He came to me at 3 months old and now he is 8. Can you imagine a 60 year old soccer mom with a 7 year old soccer player? Hey, G-d's got a sense of humor! I know I said that would be the last thing; however, the thought occurred to me is that this year will be my 23rd Year in Recovery. In November, I will have been In Recovery as long I was up on Planet Olivia! Only By The Grace of G-d!
"Got with the lord.”
So true. It's a lifelong road.
"Peace of Mind!"
"My freedom, self respect, autonomy, a master's degree, a career, AA = the best friends I have ever had!"
Freedom from being deep down in the hole to enjoying the view from the top!
My sobriety date is Jan 24th, 2011. My 18 year old son passed away on Feb 16, 2010.
The 11 months after my son’s death were the darkest days of my life. I tried to drink and drug myself to Death. G-d had other plans for me... I checked into a rehab center for 35 days and moved into a sober house (away from my husband and 2 daughters) for 6 months. I had destroyed my marriage and couldn't see past my own grief to even see my daughters’ pain. I was dead inside. My recovery began the day I "Surrendered" to the program of recovery that was being offered. I gave it my all and knew it was my last chance to change and to be alive again.
I found a power greater than me(I call him G-D) and that power restored my family, made my marriage beautiful again (out of the ashes of a divorce that was inevitable) and prepared me for what was to come in the next few years of sobriety.
My beautiful mother was called home on Nov 19th, 2014... I was there for her last breath and I didn't drink! My precious daddy was called home on Feb 11th, 2016, just 14 months after my mom. I got to spend 10 days taking care of him and loving him before he was called home! I didn't drink!!
My life is beautiful today... I appreciate every day I get. I have been able to help my oldest daughter get through her own battle with addiction and care for my granddaughter while she was away getting treatment. She has been sober since May 14th, 2015. I could go on for hours, write a book filled with the blessings I've received!! All because of my precious son "Joey". Reaching out for my hand in my darkest hour and placing it in the hand of Jesus!!! His death has given me life!!! Profound Blessing that few can comprehend!!!
Let Go, Let G-D!!! I love recovery and I am a member of AA. Today I can say that I am Happy, Joyous, and FREE!!! G-d bless the still sick and suffering. NEVER GIVE UP!!! It's simple really... Just don't drink (or use) one drink for one day!!! Stay present and G-d has the rest!!! Love and light✝
"My family and enjoying my grandson without a hangover!!"
These 2 and a whole lot more❤❤ 14 months clean and sober.
Living for the beauty of the moment.
I learned how to accept love and to love completely! Relationship with myself, G-d and others. Found happiness!
I gained the trust of my children back. I truly was given back my life on 8/26/08. It took time for us to all heal. But they loved me through it. Thank you G-d for another chance!!
The ability to be the best wife, mom and soon to be Grammy that I can possibly be! The ability to give and accept love!
LIFE, KNOWING ME, AND FAMILY.
I have learned how to face myself and not let fear drive me.
Self respect is the best but the respect of my family and friends is priceless.
The freedom from active addiction (15 years).
In #recovery we have gained friends to share the #Buckeye experience with! #WhatIveGained
I have MYSELF and many blessings each day.
In sobriety, I've gained my independence and the job of my dreams. I've regained my health, my self-respect, my love of life. I have connected with people who have made my view of the world bright.
My life in recovery is like a road trip that never ends. Filled with bumps, curves, highways, and sometimes sideways but my 28 year journey still fascinates me no matter where the road leads. The vastness of my experience is never ending.
Too numerous to mention are my Blessings!
A new life in my own tranquil, peaceful home.
I am a PhD! Class of 2015! 23 years, 11 months in recovery. My life’s dream has become a reality and I could only do it in recovery.
I gained a sense of worth. I am somebody now. I have a voice now. I am trusted now. I have a sense of responsibility now. I have remorse now when I do wrong… a G-d-conscience. My life means something now! I am 3 yrs, 2 mos. clean today.
Recovery provided the gateway for me and my husband, who is also in recovery, to raise our grandson. Our combined accomplishments are extensive; however there is none greater than the ones closest to our heart. Love, compassion, understanding, empathy, creativity, patience, forgiveness, tolerance, and acceptance have been learned through the process of growth and change.
My G-d has given me a new view and meaningful way of life. It consists of Freedom, Peace, Love and Serenity.
I got my family back.
I have gained an amazing relationship with G-d, Jesus, and most of all with my children and grandchildren. G-d has blessed me immensely and then some.
#WhatIveGained in #recovery is the best job ever at the greatest university!
The sweetest great-grandson ever, along with his parents and his aunties and uncles. All in my life.
Becoming sober was the best thing I ever did for myself (with G-d's help.) My whole world changed for the better as I went to meetings and worked the steps. I was learning how to be at peace for the first time... sober.
This says it all..
I found a road that takes me a New Freedom. I now have hope and courage that seemed for a long time would never happen.
What haven’t I gained? A life rich that money cant buy. My Jesus who is my higher power. A great group of friends that are true to their word. A relationship with a beautiful man that I share a sobriety date with. A life built on truth not lies. Thank you AA, my sponsor and G-d the Father.
I've gained a meaningful relationship with my only child, my son. And he tells me he loves me almost daily… thank you, G-d!
You can go anywhere on the planet and remember and cherish every moment!!! Bali 2016
Peace of mind.
One of many that I have gained in recovery… my soul mate!
Self respect and self love so I can respect & love others.
Fifteen years of sobriety has given me the opportunity to have peace in my heart... one day at a time. Peace doesn't mean that there is no longer any discomfort, mental anguish, trouble or hard work. It means that we are able to carry on with calm in our hearts in spite of those things – if we are willing to go to ANY lengths, keep a Spiritual connection, and give back what has so freely been given to us. I have accomplished many things in fifteen years and some things have not been reconciled. That is where the tools of really living RECOVERY and a God of my understanding keep me moving forward in a positive direction. "Acceptance is the answer to ALL my problems .Every time I am disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with me." Today I have a peaceful heart, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Today, one more day free of alcohol and drugs, life, friends, family and so much more!
My recovery has given me my family back. I hurt them so much in my active addiction, I thought I would never have them in my life again, I thought I would never spend one clean day. I often think if I could go back and change things I would, but everything I did in my past has brought me to where I am today. I have my family, a home, a car, a job but most importantly I have peace of mind. I don't worry about everything and anything that goes on in my life, I just take one day at a time.
I have gained 1,915 days I wouldn't have had. Can't top that.
Life is good in Hawaii Nei
Positive thoughts now
I should have died a year-and-a-half ago on January 6th 2015 but by the grace of G-d I have pulled through and still today I’m being strong. I've made many changes in my life – quit drinking and quit smoking cigarettes and my whole life has changed ever since. I’m gone from being a drug addicted alcoholic being. G-d is good.
Thanks to my sobriety I completed my BSN. And the list goes on. Spiritually I have grown and learned how strong I am. Not a day goes by where I don't thank my higher power for helping along my journey in life.
Peace, centered, prayers, loving, listening, faith.
I now work for the sport I've loved since I was a child. It would've never happened if it wasn't for the program. One day at a time, my wildest dreams are coming true.
I have a personal relationship with G-d. I almost have 6 months clean and it hasn't been easy for me. I live and learn everyday. I am grateful for all the promises I am receiving daily. My worst enemy is myself, I need to get out of my own way. The thing I am grateful for the most is that I allowed myself to trust other women. I love my sponsor and sponsee sisters. I finally know how it feels to have real friends. Thank you ladies – could never do this without you!!!
I became the woman I always wanted to be, one who can love, and be loved.
I gained a Firefighter/EMT! By raising my child while maintaining my sobriety and making good decisions, I've gotten rewards I never expected! 21 years of sobriety produced a happy, healthy human being in my daughter and kept me sane during every challenge we faced together.
I’ve gained a whole new world!
Came to BELIEVE that I am loved by G-D beyond measure.
I have gained a whole new life in recovery.
Sobriety – honest, willing acceptance.
A relationship with Jesus and learned not to put people on a pedestal – I see them for who they are not who they want me to.
Being present (and silly) with my family ❤
My recovery has given me the opportunity be a son, brother, husband, and dad! I am fortunate to be one of millions!
Oh yes, just going to cruise on the ocean.
I like waking up each and every day with a new perspective. Feeling real and alive and meeting others with the same struggles.
Inner Peace, Emotional Balance, and Self Love.
I got my daughter back. She became the person I have always wanted her to be.
I've been clean for over 5 years. What it has given me is my health and new friends.
I got me back and memories with my girls and grandsons.
Graduation 2012 from Barry University.
Broken down Harley Davidson on 35w north in Minnesota, Memorial Day 2016. I chose to meditate, I chose to Be Present. My boyfriend snapped this photo. My sobriety and my recovery allows me to be calm in each moment, accept what comes my way and simply be with what is. In my past, this would have been cause for major freaking out. Today I live in the moment. Today I chose to love the view of the countryside on the other side of the busy freeway noise and simply be with the God of my understanding and connect to the oneness of all. Namaste.
I have found a new way of life.
My little serenity pup Fabby Boy.
I gained my LIFE back!
To participate in our #WhatIveGained campaign, click here.