Addiction is a terrible thing, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your life. These five people have taken an amazing journey of recovery and rehabilitation, and they’ve chosen to share their before-and-after photos to help others conquer their own demons. Let their pictures, stories and lessons inspire you too.
1. From Meth Head to Mom
This amazing transformation is proof of how much your life can change once you give up drugs. According to the woman in the photos, she started using meth when she was 19, and it wasn’t a happy existence.
“I was a dick,” she admits. “I stole from my friends for drugs. I stole from my family for drugs. I lied.”
Ten years after kicking the habit, however, she’s a mother and soon-to-be college graduate. She’ll collect her bachelor’s degree in accounting in just a few months, and she describes herself as strong, happy and whole.
“I am damn proud of myself,” she says, and when you compare her photographs side by side, you can see that she’s earned that pride.
2. Giving Back to God
This former addict received a sign from God when she was arrested after years of meth and heroin use. She decided to channel her new religious zeal into her sobriety, and it worked.
“With the help of God, I am completing my BA and hope to one day be a prison minister,” she reveals. She’s even become the mother of a beautiful 18-month-old.
She encourages everyone to compare her terrible mugshot to her happy, wholesome face after four years of being clean.
“Sobriety is possible,” she says.
3. Embracing Every Day
“I knew I was an addict when I started having to do it in the morning when I woke up,” says the man in these striking photos. The “before” image shows an emaciated, skeletal figure in a dirty bathroom, and the “after” image shows a healthy man with bright eyes and full cheeks.
While he doesn’t go into the details of his addiction, the subject of these photos is open about the differences that sobriety has made to his life.
“I think more of other people and I see humanity in a different way,” he reveals. “I’m much more passionate about life.”
4. One Woman Breaks the Cycle
It can be difficult to remove yourself from a life of abuse and addiction, but the young woman in these photos found the strength. After losing custody of her young daughter and falling into a daily heroin habit with her abusive boyfriend, she finally realized the depths to which she’d sunk after getting in a spot of legal trouble.
“I told the judge preceding over the guardianship case of my daughter that I had been using and that I needed help,” she says.
The judge put her in jail for a month until he found her a bed in a rehab facility. According to the woman, recovery was an “uphill battle,” but she’s been clean for two years and looking to stay that way.
5. A Token of the Past
“I keep that picture to remind myself where it took me, where I was,” says the subject of these amazing photos. After years of meth use, she looked thin and haggard, and her face was free of both make-up and any signs of vitality.
The second photo is much better. She’s healthy and well-groomed, and a smile dominates her pretty face. She’s completely changed from the desperate woman in the first image.
“I look at the other picture and I think, ‘Wow, I did it,'” she says.
She’s been clean and sober for six years.