10 Recovery Slogans – Why They Work

Man holding sign with a recovery slogan


Much of my writing is intense (e.g., Family Guide to Understanding Relapse). So, I’m ready to try something a little lighter yet equally informative. For example, a part of the recovery dialogue revealed to me over the years is the use of slogans in recovery. At first, I thought they were silly. I couldn’t understand them, and I couldn’t believe these catchphrases could be helpful to people. Little did I know!


Recovery Slogans

I learned more about substance use disorders (SUDs), recovery, and recovering family life, and my awareness of my behaviors increased. When that happened, I realized how much recovery wisdom was expressed in these sayings and slogans. These groupings of words held a whole lot of truth for me. So I wondered if our readers, and the folks in the Sanford Behavioral Health Family Program, might find some of the same validity as they move forward in their recovery work.


The unique thing about recovery slogans is that many are “equal opportunity.” In other words, they apply to recovery for family members of people with SUDs and those in recovery from SUDs themselves.  No matter what side of the coin you fall on, we all have a great deal in common with our loved ones when it comes to recovery. Who knew, right?


As addiction progresses on its destructive path, everyone on either side of the issue begins to move further away from who they were as individuals. Family members begin to view themselves as very different and separate from their loved ones with an SUD. And folks with developing SUDs begin to feel less and less understood and connected to the people they love.


family on the beach reoresenting recovery slogans


Communication is Key

Communication and mutual problem-solving come to an end. We feel so alienated from each other that life begins to feel like we are on separate paths – never to meet again.  Then, thankfully, treatment and recovery enter the picture. As individuals, we all learn and grow through our recovery plans. But how are we going to come together again?


One way to begin this re-connection is to share our experience and knowledge gained from slogans and sayings. We all have some of the same feelings and thoughts, just from different angles of the problem.


I’ve checked around the recovery community and found ten slogans, sayings, and catchphrases that apply to recovery tasks. Some recovery slogans are from traditional 12-step recovery; some are from recovery authors. and others from Smart Recovery.


10 Recovery Slogans, Sayings & Catchphrases

  • Gratitude and resentment can’t go together.
  • If nothing changes, nothing changes.
  • The three Ps – Practice, patience, persistence.
  • Progress, not perfection!
  • The lesson I must learn is simply that my control is limited to my behavior and attitudes.
  • (HOW recovery works): honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.
  • Keep coming back – it works if you work it.
  • Identify specific and important goals you want to achieve to bring more meaning to your life.
  • Be part of the solution, not the problem.
  • What do I want for my future? What am I currently doing to achieve that?  How do I feel about what I’m currently doing?


Applying These Words of Wisdom

So, what might you do with these words of wisdom? Certainly, as an individual, you could read and apply them to your current and past behaviors in recovery. Ask yourself what has changed about your behavior since you have started recovery. What does the saying or slogan mean to you and your recovery behaviors?  When did you first hear or read the slogan? How have you heard it used by others?


Sharing your personal experiences and the impact of these slogans, sayings, and catchphrases with your loved one in recovery could be a step toward healing for your family. At Sanford Behavioral Health, we learn the value of communication in our free Family Program – LEARN MORE. Do you have any favorite slogans? Share those, too! Why not give it a try?





Caroline (Carli) Parmelee-Noffsinger has 20 years clinical experience including: primary therapist and case manager for residential, IOP and outpatient therapy. Carli’s primary role at Sanford House is facilitating the Family Program. She is currently updating and revising the program design and content and hopes to improve upon an already successful approach to family intervention. In her free time, Carli spends time with her horse. She has been a horse lover and owner for most of her life and has facilitated equine therapy sessions. She says, “The back of a horse is good for the inside of a person.” You can reach Carli with questions about The Sanford House Family Program at cnoffsinger@sanfordhouse.com