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The 7 Most Surprising Things about Being Young in Recovery

The 7 Most Surprising Things about Being Young in Recovery


Recovery is no longer limited to an older crowd, and actually has had a growing young community for decades. Most young people who are addicts and alcoholics that are early in recovery usually do not know what to expect out of joining this community, and there are plenty of surprises in sobriety that you would not expect from the outside looking in. You don’t always have to be sober a long time to have a good time, and not everyone who has some sober time is before your time. Here are the 7 most surprising things about being young in recovery in my experience.

1. Not Everyone is Older

When I was first told I would want to think about joining an active recovery community like a 12 Step fellowship, I was expecting to be surrounded all day by people at least 10 years ahead of me, who would treat me like a grandchild and bore me to death whenever possible. What I was shocked to find was a community of recovery where such a huge population was under 30 years old, my halfway house was like a dorm room, and I related to the people more than I ever expected. When I first came into recovery I thought my sponsor had to be someone who was sober for years and probably twice my age. But once I realized what a young community there is, I was also shown that sponsors come in all ages. My first sponsor turned out to be a few months younger than me, and I even met guys 20-30 years older than their sponsors. It’s all about the solution and not the stigma.

 2. Older Sober People Respect You

Just because you are younger, and you are experiencing totally different situations and substances than many of the ‘Long-Timers’ might have does not mean they do not respect your recovery. Some older members of the sober community actually take a lot of pride in the younger members of 12 Step fellowships and are more than willing to share experiences, and consider yours. They might be mad you can beat them in a race to the door, but they’ll be glad you held it open for them.

3. Life Is NOT Boring

When I decided to get sober, one of the things I feared the most was losing that ‘spice of life’ that I felt when partying. Of course in the end there was a lot more desperation and a lot less satisfaction, but I was so grateful to find out that sobriety actually opened me up to a whole world of chances to do things that were exciting and inspiring. No falling asleep to daytime TV every day, unless I absolutely want to!

 4. Life Still Shows Up

One thing that may be surprising is that even though you are changing your life, life does not stop being a little tough, especially for those in recovery who are trying to attend college and find career paths. Yes, you’re still young and have more time and clarity now that you don’t waste every moment getting… well… wasted! But life is still going to be there every day to deliver some new adventures or obstacles to grow through.

5. You Can Do It At Any Age

Some young people see the older population of the sober community and may start to believe that in order to truly know if they need recovery, or to get the necessary desperation to achieve real sobriety, you need to relapse a few times or be out using and drinking for a few more years. This assumption is completely baseless! If you’re in early recovery, one of the best things you can learn is that you NEVER have to use or drink again. It is NEVER too early to change your life.

6. You Can Build a New Life

Being sober does not just mean you have to go back to the old habits and life-style and bear through it without a drink or drug. The opportunity sobriety gives you to find new goals and succeed in reaching them helps us actually become productive and exceptional members of society and the recovery community. Before recovery I was a warehouse worker who tore apart appliances and loaded shipping trucks, in recovery I’ve branched out to working in an office setting, and now have a job I’m passionate about, writing about news, experiences, and topics relevant to that recovery community.

7. There Is More of Us Than You Think

Fellowships and programs for recovery are everywhere, and the growing number of groups across the world is constantly experiencing growth in the young community. New people are coming in younger and younger, getting clean and staying sober. The community is changing with the times, and new blood is always bringing with it new hope and new passion to recovery. Some places may have more young recovery than others, but the quality of sobriety in young people is on the rise and there are always people out there, probably younger than you think, who would be ready to share their experience, strength and hope.

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