How Many Americans are In Recovery?


While being in addiction recovery may still seem taboo to some, it is becoming more and more of a norm. The public is realizing that addiction is as serious as any other mental disorder, and that only by shedding light on it can we do something about the problem. Over 23 million Americans are in recovery from addiction to alcohol or other drugs. This is a huge number, and when you take into consideration that only about 11% of those with an addiction seek treatment, it is easy to see how addiction can affect anyone.

Addiction Stereotypes Are Wrong

Because of the negative connotation that addiction has, people tend to have the wrong idea of what an addict looks or acts like. They believe in stereotypes that we see in the movies or read about in books – that an addict is a haggard-looking, jobless, homeless man who is a burden on society. In truth, an addict can be anyone – the mom who drops her kids off to school every day and comes home to Xanax and a cocktail, the high-functioning lawyer who blows through thousands of dollars of cocaine each week, or the teenage cheerleader who finds her next opiate fix in the medicine cabinets of her parents and other family members.

Focusing on the wrongful stereotype makes it difficult to recognize just how prevalent addiction is in our society. It is our job to lessen the stigma about asking for and receiving addiction treatment so that more people get the help they need instead of more people ODing, and losing their jobs, families, and future.

A Small Army is Available to Help Those in Recovery

These numbers show that no matter where you go, there is a sizeable army of people also in recovery who are available to help you out with your own sobriety journey. Staying sober is a day by day process that requires major commitment. A big part of staying on the straight and narrow path is the people you surround yourself with. Especially in early recovery, it’s a great idea to stick to people who have a year or more sober, because they have been in your shoes and can help to guide you around potential pitfalls.

It’s all about putting yourself out there – getting yourself to AA or NA meetings, searching out local sober activities, and being vocal about your recovery. When you talk about being in recovery, you’ll start to find that the majority of the time, the person you’re talking to either is in recovery of some sort themselves, or knows someone close to them who is. Don’t be ashamed of this part of your life story – you should be proud to have come this far.

Lots of People in Recovery Means Recovery Works!

The statistics serve as a promising assurance that drug and alcohol addiction recovery can and does work. As an addict gets more sober time under their belt, the better chance of success they have. Studies show that after 5 years of abstinence, there is only a 15% chance of relapse. In those first five years, it’s important to keep taking steps every single day to remain sober, and to recognize signs of relapse well before a relapse actually occurs.

Successful recovery almost always begins with treatment. Addiction wouldn’t be such an issue in the U.S. if people could simply stop on their own. Most addicts are so far down their path of destruction that they lost the tools to get sober on their own. Additionally, chronic use of a substance actually alters the physiological makeup on a person’s brain, causing a serious physical dependency that is difficult to break without medical supervision. Treatment is the most solid starting point for an addict to get sober successfully.

Recovery Tools You Can Utilize

Addiction recovery is huge throughout the U.S., but Southern Florida is actually known at the recovery capital of the world. Because of this, there are a plethora of tools to utilize for recovery. Here are some things you can do for your recovery:

  • First and foremost – look into rehab and detox to get you onto the right path.
  • Attend AA, NA, or other sober-group meetings.
  • Find an Intensive Outpatient Program to go to.
  • Consider living in a sober home.
  • Make friends with people who have long-term sobriety and follow their path.
  • Seek out sober activities. Especially in Florida, there are plenty of outdoor activities to take part in.
  • Keep yourself busy.
  • Set realistic goals and celebrate your achievements.
  • Volunteer your time and give back to the community.

The more of a priority you make your recovery, the better your chances at staying sober. Millions of people are doing it with you, so addiction recovery is achievable.

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