Once individuals with substance use disorders decide they want to make a positive change in their lives and enter recovery, they begin a life-long journey. Recovery has been defined as “a voluntarily maintained lifestyle composed characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship.” Recovery explicitly includes abstinence from all drugs and taking a drastically different approach to handling life’s challenges. Many people of all ages have begun speaking about their own experiences of recovery, including the difficulty of maintaining sobriety and the great joy of living a fulfilled life free from all drugs. This is just one of many stories that prove recovery is possible.

There are many ways to support teens in recovery.  Parents can help by keeping their homes substance-free and rewarding and encouraging teens’ good behavior. Attending teen-focused 12-step meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are another great way for young people to find support by others in similar situations.

Some areas offer recovery high school programs and sober living spaces at colleges where everyone in that space is dedicated to maintaining sobriety. Several recovery schools have been featured in the media, including Hope Academy in Indianapolis:

Many communities also have school-based health programs which provide substance use disorder treatment during school hours.

Recovery is possible for anyone suffering from a substance use disorder. There are several national recovery-focused organizations that lift up the voices of individuals who have achieved recovery and advocate for those searching for a path to recovery.



Betty Ford Institute Consensus Panel. (2007). What is recovery? A working definition from the Betty Ford Institute. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 33(3):221-228.


Association of Recovery Schools is a non-profit organization comprised of recovery high schools as well as associate members and individuals who support the integral growth of the recovery high school movement.


Baumann, J. (2017, November 26). One doctor, six counselors and a therapy dog help Denver students beat drug addiction. Denver Post.

Also see the School-Based Health Alliance that works to improve the health of children and youth by advancing and advocating for school-based health care.


Young People in Recovery is a national advocacy organization that through city and state chapters aims to influence public policy to make it easier for youth to find and maintain their recovery from addiction. 

Faces and Voices of Recovery supports individuals in long-term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and their family members, friends and allies through capacity building in support of the national recovery movement, fighting the stigma of addiction and creating groundbreaking recovery messaging trainings.

Back to Top ↑