Hope-Rich Recovery

Getting sober can be brutal.
But then something happens…
We find a flicker of hope.

Paths to Recovery

When we’re actively using, we go missing. We take the back door out and find any means of escape: drugs, alcohol, food, or sex, to name just a few. We do this because of our ferocious inner pain.  In the many recovery meetings I’ve attended, I almost always hear some version of this: “I am unlovable.”

Hope is

Our culture thinks addiction is a failing, but it is really the language of the deeply wounded.

But there’s hope on the other side, and it’s called Recovery. 

Recovery requires courage but opens up a whole new way of seeing the world, making us fully present in our lives so we can find our voices and discover all that’s true about us. To be lit bright, and let that light shine on others we connect with.

Hope is both/and because we learn in recovery that we can both have a substance use disorder, and live with steadiness, peace of mind and joy!

Hope propels us to believe in the best of ourselves. We can then inspire others to believe in the best of themselves, too. That’s how we change the world.

Sober Stories

Listen to the courageous young storytellers featured in The Little Book of Sobriety

Submit your story

Picture of Susan Packard holding up a poster with recovery tools. These are just some of the tools sober college students use to help with their recovery. They embrace solutions, a wonderful work and life skill! Click to zoom in, or head to the Resources page for more.

Mindfulness is living in the present moment, without judgment. It really should be called ‘momentness,’ but no one asked me when they named it. Through staying present to suffering as well as joy, we learn to metabolize our emotions, and we come to live our way into kindness and compassion.

Susan Packard in a meditative pose

Self-compassion and self-love come from living mindfully, and both mindfulness and meditation are proven therapies for traumas.

Emotional Sobriety

Emotional sobriety is very similar to emotional fitness. The steps are essentially the same. First, we come to understand why we feel our inner pain. Was it a trauma that occurred in our lives? Are we made with especially sensitive temperaments? Have we been rejected by someone we thought we could trust?

In addition, substance use disorder includes genetics and family history. If a parent or relative has substance use disorder, the odds are we may develop it too. So Step One is understanding how we’re made, which is self-discovery.

Step Two is finding safe places to belong to others, and eventually, to trust. Trust doesn’t come easily for many of us with SUDs, but it’s incredible when you can find places where we hear our story in the stories of others. We can come to trust them.

When others accept us, just as we are, that leads to our own self-acceptance.

Step Three for those of us in recovery is supporting others as they tackle sobriety — or just tackle life — and spreading hope. Spreading hope blossoms into sturdy self-worth.

Decorative graphic of #1


Recognizing how we’re made
Decorative graphic of #2


Tools to gain and grow your sobriety, including learning trust
Decorative graphic of #3

Spreading Hope

Living your recovery and helping others as they tackle sobriety, or just life's challenges.


You’re in the right place for help if:

If you’d like to contact me or any of the storytellers from The Little Book of College Sobriety, send me a message here.