Kevin Alter created "The Addict's Diary" so that people would have a place online to share their failures, successes, and lessons they have learned throughout their path to recovery from addiction. Empowering people to speak up, the platform allows those affected by substance abuse to spread their story, offering a sense of catharsis and community while informing the unaware of the gruesome realities of this epidemic.
Below are some of the latest transformations people have submitted to "The Addict's Diary." For more, check out Bored Panda's earlier article on the project here.
From dying in the streets from a heart infection, to sleeping in my car starving for days at a time. To being turned away from the hospital and left to die because they wouldn't treat me, to abandoned by everyone and everything, I found the strength to get clean, get treatment at a different hospital, get the heart surgery I needed, and from there I stayed clean even though I was still homeless. It's been a rough ride but it's now been six months since then! I've come so far. Yesterday I finally moved in to a shared house and my own little space and bought myself some nice things for it! I'm so happy. I thought I would be dead by the end of the year last year. But I'm thriving more than ever. It's cool to be back to living.
Alter said that it depends on the person whether or not they want to share such a personal story but they're usually inclined to. "I think it's difficult for some, but a lot of people can't wait to get their story out there," he told Bored Panda. "Most of society has seen them at their lowest and this an opportunity to show the world that they've changed their life."
My name is Emerald. The last year of my heroin and meth addiction had me living in motel rooms and shelters. Both of my sons were taken from me. I was a shell of a human being. Today, I am 21 months drug free! I have custody of both of my boys and I have found peace for the first time in my life. With all the division on Facebook lately, share this to let everyone know that recovery is possible!
Alter thinks people who have struggled with substance abuse can relate to these confessions because it's more or less exactly what they've been through, but those who haven't fallen victim to it empathize as well. And you have to admit, there's something intrinsically human in suffering and persevering against the odds.
A few months ago, Shaun Weiss was arrested on drug charges. He starred as Goldberg in our childhood favorite film Mighty Ducks. I’m sure you remember this, because his decline went viral. Everyone couldn’t wait to share how far he had spiraled down. Well, now he has over 200 days sober and a brand new smile.
This is Misty Loman. She is internet famous for meth progression. A lot of you probably recognize her and have seen the post to the left. What you didn’t know is that Misty was diagnosed with Lupus, bone cancer and scleroderma (hardening of the skin). She also suffered the deaths of not one but three children, which was ultimately her reasons for turning to drugs. What hasn't been shared is the picture on the right. This woman, in all her hardship, has been in recovery for a few months now. If she can fight this fight, there is no worldly reason we can't!
This was me 613 days ago when I entered rehab. Physically, mentally & spiritually broken. I'd lost everything and thought that death was what I deserved. 613 days later I'm still clean and sober and I only look back to learn from the lesson that my addiction taught me.
Two months into our relationship she found me overdosed on the bathroom floor. When most women would run, she stuck by my side. She held my hand as a ventilator pushed air into my lungs. She held my hand as I clung to life. She loved me before I knew what love was. She loved me before I loved myself. I put her through hell for a year, but she never left. We’ve been together for 6 years now. The first year was terrible, but the last 5 years I have been sober. Yesterday, I held her hand and asked her to be my wife. She said YES!
My name is Jorden and I’m an addict. I have used heroin and meth for the last ten years of my life. Just to keep it short and sweet, my inability to deal with life lead to me to a needle and spoon. I lived in complete misery and dereliction for years, feeling sorry for myself and using anyone I could to get my next shot of dope. I’ve had multiple overdoses and many other life threatening situations as a result of my addiction. I lived homeless for years and my family didn’t know what else to do with me. I’ve also been to treatment 8 times, each time I never fully surrendered to any type of program or new way of life. One thing I did do was never stop trying. I came to treatment court ordered for my eighth time on January 1st, 2020. I remember being sick to my stomach that I had to try and do this thing again. The longer I stayed and actually put forth some effort things started to change. I started realizing that drugs were never the problem, my thinking and my reaction to drugs was the problem. Today I’m 6 months clean and I’m blown away at how much better my life has gotten. I have bad days, but I used to have bad months and years. There’s a lot of people that are probably waiting on me to relapse and they have good reason for that. I’ve finally reached the point where I I’m grateful today that I don’t have to pick up or put one in me when life gets hard. If I can do it so can you.
"19 years of gratitude one day at a time...It is the road worth traveling if you are struggling. Old timers are here to guide us but new comers to sobriety are the greatest gift to this simple program. Of course it's not always easy. First thing I did and continue to do is cut toxic people outta my life, then comes the first step and then freedom (if you work it). Even non-addicts could use the 12 step program to better their lives. To me it's a life program. I am a better man, father, husband, friend, band mate and creative spirit because of this program. I LOOK UP EVERYDAY AND SAY THANK YOU" - Nikki Sixx
He celebrates 5 years clean tomorrow so I figured I would show you what living clean and working a 12 step program can do for you ! BTW anyone is welcome to share his story!! As you all have been with us for this amazing life changing Journey. He was a crack ,heroin, and pill addict for 30 plus years. The 1st photo is in active addiction. The 2nd photo is at 5 years clean. I am so damn proud of him!
Change is possible. So glad I finally decided to ask for help. please if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction reach out! It’s never too late!
This is reality. On the left, I am running from the cops, strung out on heroin, and getting arrested. I hated my life. I hated myself. I wanted to die. Some days I’d wish I’d just OD and get it over with. Maybe then I’d stop letting everyone down and hurting everyone I loved. I felt like I had nothing to live for. I wouldn’t eat for days at a time. I’d steal money, food, and anything just get that next high. Most of my friends and family had given up on me. I was in and out of rehab several times. I ended up on the run, leaving state, and running from the cops. It was bound to come to an end one day. Nobody can live like that forever. Eventually I ended up getting pregnant. When I found out, I cried for hours on end. How was I supposed to take care of a baby when I couldn’t even take care of myself? Fighting addiction has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. I believe god knew I needed something bigger than myself to believe in, which is why he brought me my daughter. She gave me something to believe in — something to fight for. She saved my life and I am now celebrating a little over 2 years clean!
I am an addict. I’ll always be an addict. Today I’m a grateful addict. I’m grateful for the people I have in my life, for the people who’ve helped me along the way, and continue to help me. Today I’m at peace. After all the relapses time and time again, I continued to try. That’s all we can do. Today I’m clean. Tomorrow I’m going to wake up clean. That’s what matters, one day at a time. Some days are hard and some days are easy. If we keep trying, WE DO RECOVER.
I’m Hadassah and this is my son Braxton. I was a teenage mother. I was not with the baby’s father when I went through my pregnancy. I didn’t have many people there by my side. After I had my son, I learned that I still wanted to be a teenager. Unfortunately I didn’t get the memo that it is not how it works. I had many close friends and family that tried showing me that. I did not listen. After a night of being drugged, taken advantage of, and being on the verge of overdosing, my mother Jennifer Lane and Rebecca Adkins Goulart convinced me that I wasn’t a piece of crud. They said that they knew deep down I had a heart and soul. I was a product of my toxicity and sexual abuse. Now I can say I’m a product of God. So when you see an addict I am she. I am he. I am them.
Today, June 3rd 2020 marks my one year... that’s 1 year, or 12 months, or 365 days, 8760 in hours, 525,600 in minutes, 31,536,000 in seconds… & I’m still standing.
The first photo to the left was me in my active addiction, using meth, fentanyl, and just about anything I could get my hands on. Homeless, sleeping in cars, on sidewalks, behind dumpsters, or just about anywhere I could find. A complete prey to misery and depression—I was on the verge of suicide.
The picture to the right is me with 72 days clean. I have never felt so much better about myself than I do right now. I currently have 75 days clean and sober from all mind-altering substances. I am so very grateful for this program, the 12 steps, and my higher power, for they have brought light back into my life. I’m pregnant with my son as well, and he’s a huge motivation for my sobriety, but I’m staying clean for myself.
Dear Mom, Thank you for kicking me out when I wouldn’t stop using. Thank you for never giving me money when I was dope sick . Thank you for not enabling me. Thank you for yelling at me when I wasn’t hearing you. Thank you for removing me from your life. Thank you for talking to my therapists. Thank you for the letters you wrote to me when I was in treatment. Thank you for the phone calls you took when no one else would pick up the phone. Thank you for the prayers you said. Thank you for never lying to me. Thank you for the tears you shed. Thank you for the disappointment I saw in your eyes. Thank you for the nights I slept in a train station. Thank you for forcing me to grow up. Thank you for telling me to, “figure it out." Thank you for being my mom. Thank you for teaching me to be a man. Thank you for not allowing me to play the victim. I see now you knew what you were doing the whole time.
Last summer we drugged hard, this summer we recovered even harder.
A little while ago my grandma sent me a message saying, “ If you ever start to forget where you came from, here’s a reminder. I’m so proud of you!” Along with that, she sent me some pictures of me in active addiction. And can I just say ... WOW! Passed out in her bathroom, on the toilet, pants down, because I thought if it looked like I was actually using the restroom she wouldn’t suspect I was using drugs when she busted in. And passed out in her driveway because I was no longer was wanted inside anywhere and just needed somewhere I felt safe enough to use and sleep without the fear of cops or being seen. My life is a direct reflection of the work I’ve put in to get and STAY clean and I cant wait to see what this next year brings. My name is Donae, and I am a RECOVERING drug addict.
My biggest tragedy also became my greatest asset - my addiction. I crawled from hell and hitch hiked home, time and time again. Thank god for those who also scraped their knees crawling from the depths of their addictions, only to survive and teach me how to do so as well. I’m not embarrassed by the photo on the left, because I’m empowered to keep going by knowing how far I’ve come and what I’ve overcame to be the girl on the right. Oh, and one last thing: Narcan saved my life.
5 years of sobriety and a life I'm finally proud of! Two times to prison. Six felonies. And more county jail arrests then I can even remember. Today, I run a business. I'm married and in a healthy relationship. I have my kids. I am finally a person I can be proud of! It's taken me a lot of nerve to even tell this much of my story, to put it out there for judgement, but I hope maybe one person can see my change and feel like they have hope!
258 days ago, I chose to get clean. I could never go minutes without putting something in my body. I finally threw my hands up. The benefits of being clean and sober are phenomenal, but the biggest benefit is finally being somewhat okay with myself. The drugs and alcohol were just a piece of the problem. These past 8.5 months, I finally came to terms with the fact that there’s been a problem deep down inside for years. Now, I am finally working on that.
I was an IV drug addict for 8 years and have overdosed several times in my life. In 2018 I was on life support twice from my addiction. I got into legal trouble and lost all my kids. I was hopeless and wanted to die. God saw fit to give me another chance and I went to rehab in Barbourville KY. I sought the lord He delivered me. He set me free and I now have full custody back of all 5 of my kids. I have my own home and help other women just like myself. There is real hope out there and it’s in the lord.
That first picture is my mugshot. I weighed 97 pounds. When I was taken into the jail, I had a seizure and almost died (again). I had to be rushed to the emergency room and put on a ventilator. Guards were crying, because I had been there so much over the years, and they thought I was gone. I can still hear them saying, "Thats Artemisio? Oh my god. I don't know how many times that I should have left this world. I should be gone. But my higher power wasn't finished with me yet. I look at this picture and see a sad little girl who was running from all her problems and mistakes. I was numbing myself with absolutely anything and everything I could. When I see her, I cant help but love her, too. If it wasn't for where I've been, I wouldn't be where I'm at today. I had to learn the hard way (my whole life) before trying something different. Flash forward 21 months and I am a different person. In every way. Not just staying clean, but I LOVE MYSELF today. I have a work ethic like I never had. I have serenity. I'm confident. I love my friends and my life. My children have their momma back.
My third overdose was almost my last one, but not in the way you’d hope. I was in a coma for days. I barely made it out alive. I realized that I was destined for something more than that life. Today, I have four months sober. And if I keep doing what I’m doing, that will be be my last overdose.
My name is Allison. I am 30 years old and just hit one year sober after many, many years of trying. I became an addict in 2012, as a pharmacy tech. It started with pills. I then got into a relationship with a man 30 years my senior who was a pharmacist and sugar daddy. He enabled me and I gave him a young sexual partner. I did so many disgusting things. I had zero self-worth. I overdosed multiple times. I went to at least 8 rehabs. Nothing clicked. In May 2019, I sent a text to someone named Linda who I knew from a previous attempt to get sober. She lived in Jacksonville, FL and I was in Augusta, GA. By some miracle from God, she texted me back and told me she was IN AUGUSTA and would be at my house in 15 minutes. She picked me up and brought me to Florida. I got here and I got a job immediately working for the CEO of a company. I made so many friends who I consider sisters. I met the most amazing man who is 2 years sober and today we are engaged. Let me say that before I came to Florida, I was on the verge of having myself declared incompetent and having my mom get legal guardianship over me. I was 100% convinced I could not take care of myself. I wanted to die. Today, I have the most beautiful life. I pay my bills. I have an amazing job. I have a car I pay for myself. I have a savings account! If things can be this amazing in a year, I can’t even imagine how amazing life will be 5 or 10 years from now!
As I think back to the state I was in 5 years ago: I was broken, lost, confused, and hated everything about myself. My arms full of track marks, in and out of rehabs and hospitals. I would wear bandaids on my face to try to keep from picking the sores I made. I never thought my life would be different. I am filled with thankfulness that I don’t know that girl anymore. I will never stop sharing what Jesus has done for me. No matter how far gone you feel or how hopeless it seems, I promise, there is hope. I pray He meets you right where you are, that He heals your heart and breaks your chains. 5 years clean!
I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams for real. I’ve come a long way. It’s not much but it’s definitely some honest work I’ve put in in the almost 18 months. I do this all for myself most importantly, but also for the fallen ones so I can prove this new way of life is possible and obtainable. You just gotta put some work in. The real question is, are you ready to do so ?
I have been an opiate addict since I was 12. When I was 25, I became addicted to meth. At 31, I tried heroin for the first time. By the time I was 32 I was dealing with heroin to support my habit. At 35, I got put in jail on a possession charge. I came out 3 months later on a 3 year deferred sentence. I am now 18 months sober. In the first picture I was 3 months sober and 2 days out of jail. The second picture is me 2 days ago and 18 months sober. God is so good. I am saved by his grace.
Being sober isn’t something to hide or be ashamed of. The picture on the left, I was just a shell of a person. I used to live and lived to use. I didn’t know another way. Thanks to the 12 steps that led me to a relationship with God and family that never gave up on me. Sober since 12.14.18
5 years ago today: The sun rose ending the worst night of my life. I had spent the entire night in my broken down car alternately shooting meth and planning to kill myself. At some point in the night I screamed at God that IF He was real to DO SOMETHING. If you are struggling, know that it isn’t the end of the story. We do recover. There is a better life on the other side of your brokenness.
Note: this post originally had 98 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.