11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

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Addiction changes people’s lives forever. But behind the stories of substance abuse are also those who managed to break out of it and see the brighter side of things. Whatever the reason for turning to drugs or alcohol was in the first place, the most important thing is that they found the courage and strength to turn their lives around. 

Empowering others struggling with hardships, Bored Panda compiled a list of people who prove that overcoming anything is possible with the right mindset and support. Scroll down to see powerful before and after pictures of people’s astonishing achievements in kicking addictions’ behind. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out an important conversation with Gillian Tietz, educator and host of the Sober Powered podcast, and Dr. Hannah Roberts, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, and mindful drinking coach, who use their background and experience to spread information about addiction.

11 PHOTOS

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#1 I’m 19 Months Clean And I’m Finally Starting To See The Beauty In Life Again. Hope, This Inspires Some People Much Love

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#2 I Was An Addict For Over 10 Years Of My Life, But My Son Came Into This World With A Sober Dad

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#3 One Year Sober And 37 Kg (81 Lbs) Down! This Is The Longest I've Gone Without Alcohol Since I Was 15, And I'm Now 29

While the number of people suffering from addiction is disheartening, the good news is that nearly 75% of them are either in recovery or have completed treatment and are working on staying on the right path. Similarly, roughly 75% of all individuals who seek addiction treatment are successful.

Something that helps battle addiction is support and understanding. This can be done by educating ourselves and shedding more light on the misconceptions about substance abuse, which can hinder the progress of providing people with the care they need. 

To better our understanding of this epidemic, we reached out to experts for their insights. One of them is Gillian Tietz, educator and host of the Sober Powered podcast, who uses her biochemistry background and previous experience of alcohol abuse to spread information about addiction.

We also contacted Dr. Hannah Roberts, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and mindful drinking coach who helps individuals change their drinking without judgment or a sobriety requirement through her online course, Mindful Moderation.

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#4 I Just Celebrated My 5th Year Of Being Clean. My Last Mugshot And A Picture From Today, 5 Years Difference. I Hope This Inspires Someone

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#5 While Addicted, My Face Collapsed Because I Lost Most Of My Teeth To Drugs, It's Just Miserable. It's Almost 2 Years After I Got Sober. Now I Have A Fuller Face And A New Puppy

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#6 1 Year Sober From Alcohol. I Never Thought I’d Be Able To Post This. But Here It Is! Life Isn’t Perfect, But It Is So Much Better

Tietz explains that some people find illicit substances appealing because they let a person feel however they wish to at any moment. Roberts mentions, "Humans are always looking for ways to feel different or better and have done so throughout time. Many substances DO alleviate physical or emotional pain or help people feel different in some way. The problem is that these effects are often fleeting."

Another reason why people abuse substances is to relieve negative emotions like anger or strengthen positive emotions like happiness and excitement. “Boredom is also a big trigger for addiction because you don't have to find someone fun or interesting to do, alcohol/drugs can instantly make boring activities fun and make us instantly feel comfortable and connected around people we don't know or like,” Tietz adds.

She also mentions that people who struggle with addiction tend to have a lower tolerance for discomfort and can't tolerate a wide range of emotions without getting overwhelmed or checked out (known as the window of tolerance).

“When emotion goes beyond what we can tolerate, it feels very unpleasant, and we can use alcohol/drugs to bring it back into our window. However, when you repeat this process over and over, your window shrinks and you become less resilient. Plus, alcohol damages all areas of the brain, and when we get sober, emotions will be heightened and more intense for the first few weeks or months after all the years of numbing.”

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#7 Last January I Started My Sobriety And Health Journey, I Am A Year And 16 Days Sober And I've Lost 130 Lbs Already

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#8 6 Years Sober

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#9 45 Days Sober Today

Some turn to harmful remedies when they wish to escape a life they don’t enjoy. Tietz shares this from her own experience. “I looked forward to the 2 hours of enjoyment I'd get from drinking because it made the next 22 hours of misery tolerable. I couldn't stand my life, and drinking was an escape from that.”

However, something that people don’t realize at the moment is that even though addiction provides a couple of hours of relief, it’s fueling those bottled-up feelings even more. She further explains, “Plus, when we drink/use constantly, we can't improve our situation or make our lives more fulfilling. A main part of sobriety is to build a life you don't want to escape from. Your actual life becomes the reward, not the 2-hour escape.”

Tietz also mentions that people who struggle with addiction usually don't have appropriate self-care mechanisms in place. ”They can be people pleasers, not know how to set boundaries, put everyone else's needs before their own, and go go go all day without breaks. By the time the end of the day comes along, alcohol/drugs feel like "me time" because they don't know how to practice self-care. In reality, they're not getting "me time." They're checking out and turning off their brains because they desperately need a break. Poor self-care is one of the most reliable predictors of relapse.”

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#10 Today, I'm 4 Months Sober And Free From My Substance Addiction. Every Day, I Wake Up, And I'm Grateful That I Never Have To Be That Sick Again. Thanks To My Family, Rehab, And Everyone Else

11 Before And After Pictures That Show What Happens When People Overcome Addiction

#11 Photo 1: January 2020, Photo 2: October 2023. Now I Am 31 Years Old And Sober

After a 17-year journey of daily substance abuse involving drugs that nearly took my life, the transformation is one of my biggest achievements. During darkness, I have found a renewed sense of self. The glow I now radiate is not just visible but palpable. Happiness, once forgotten, has been replaced by a profound addiction to pride and self-love.

Keywords: Before and after | Addiction | Drug addiction | Alcohol | Drugs | Lifestyles | Substance abuse

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