User's Guide - Find Your Voice

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The Resonator

As a person in recovery, you’ve experienced the “Yes-buts” and the “if-only’s” first-hand. Review the issues that resonate, and click the “Rebuttals” to help you debunk the "Yes-buts." Thanks goes to Young People in Recovery who provided the rebuttals. These individuals possess first-hand knowledge and experience as young people in recovery and are well-equipped to address the challenges associated with recovery.

YES-BUT I don’t think I’ll ever have fun again.

Rebuttals more

  • “I thought the same thing. Then I realized that recovery was about not taking life too seriously. My own person-identified recovery allows infinite room to find the joy in school, work, AND play.”
  • “I still have fun. That was my main goal when entering recovery. A large part of getting better for me is dancing, singing, climbing, running, acting, laughing, reading, talking, and socializing.”

YES-BUT my significant other is still using.

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  • “This was probably the most difficult part of my recovery. It all came down to the final realization that I had to leave my boyfriend. I would always give in and use when I knew that he was. I tried to push and plead for him to stop, but it was unrealistic because we just weren't at the same point. I had to accept that I could only be accountable for myself.”
  • “I finally came to the point after a couple of months in recovery when I realized that me and my significant other really had nothing in common anymore.”

YES-BUT it seems like a lot of work.

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  • “It is a lot of work. When I finally realized that I had control over the outcome of my life, and accepted that I was going to have to work hard at it, I was able to begin to put myself back together. Without recovery I would be dead right now.”
  • “You’re right. Recovery is a lot of work, but so was getting high – I can tell you from experience that ‘Recovery work’ is much more fulfilling than drinking and drugging!”

YES-BUT I’m not ready to give it up.

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  • “I wasn't ready either. Then I took a look at how miserable my father was because he never could stop drinking. I decided to give recovery a chance if there was even a possibility that my life could end up like his.”
  • “I wasn't always ready to stop using. The good thing is that I always remembered that recovery was possible if and when I wanted it.”

YES-BUT I live too far away from any resources.

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  • “Remember that ‘resources’ can be any positive support that could help you in your recovery.”
  • “There are so many resources online. Just Google recovery and there are like a million sites that come up. While it's definitely a struggle to not have the peer connection, isn't it amazing how many online communities have been created to support other people who don't have resources within their own physical community?”

YES-BUT being in Recovery means I can’t party.

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  • “This is false. I still party. I just don't drink or drug.”
  • “If by party you mean waking up in an unfamiliar place, not remembering what you did or who you were with last night, where your clothes are and then going home and being sick all day, then NO THANKS.”

YES-BUT nobody will want to date me.

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  • “I never realized how many people in this world are actually able to get through life without abusing a drink or drug until I entered into recovery. My dating life has been anything but boring since I decided to get better. The ‘hotties’ I meet in recovery are part of the reason why I stay in recovery!”
  • “I don't know about you, but I wasn't able to have a healthy relationship with anyone when I was still using!”

YES-BUT my life will be lame.

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  • “On the contrary. Once drugs and alcohol were out of the equation, my life became even more interesting and dynamic than ever before.”
  • “I didn't learn how to really have fun until I got into recovery.”

YES-BUT all my friends are doing it.

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  • “No way – not EVERYONE is doing it! I believed that, too until I started really seeing and asking questions.”
  • “A lot of my friends followed me into recovery, and I met new people who support my decision to stay healthy.”

YES-BUT my life isn’t unmanageable.

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  • “I didn't know how unmanageable my life actually was until I stepped away from actively using.”
  • “Failing a couple classes my senior year of high school because I was too busy buying and smoking pot is pretty unmanageable to me.”

YES-BUT I don’t drink (or drug) every day.

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  • “I didn’t drink every day – at least not at the beginning. It wasn't until I started drinking five or six times a day that I recognized that something wasn’t right. By that time it was too late. I couldn't stop drinking down until I picked up a felony.”
  • “At first, I just didn’t see my drinking as a problem. Then I started to see the consequences even at the level I was drinking and drugging – my grades dropped, I missed a lot of school. I just didn't want to deal with the negative consequences of using drugs and/or alcohol anymore. I wanted to graduate from high school and get into college. I wanted to get a job and support myself. All of these things became easier when I entered into recovery.”

YES-BUT I haven’t hit bottom yet.

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  • “You don't have to hit rock bottom. To hit rock bottom is the lowest of lows, and you might not live through it. For me, rock bottom was the point that I tried to take my own life because I was facing jail time. Now I’m in recovery, I have a job, and I am going to school.”
  • “Hitting bottom is a personal experience and is different for each of us. The best way someone put it was that ‘when we hit rock bottom, some experiences are finally considered unacceptable, and we can't let it happen or let it happen again, no matter what.’"



YES-BUT I’m going to college next year.

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  • “That is an awesome reason to get into recovery now, and begin practicing the lifestyle of recovery as soon as you can. College will be full of moments where all sorts of people will say and do things that could trigger a relapse, but the stronger you can get prior to going to school, the easier it will be to just ignore and move past the thoughts of using.”
  • “I went to college while using drugs AND while in recovery. By far, I had more fun in my Junior and Senior years when I was clean. When I was using, I barely showed up for anything. When I got hooked up with the recovery community at my university, everything changed.”

YES-BUT I just joined the military.

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  • “This is the perfect time to get sober and enter into recovery. You can’t use in boot camp, anyway.”
  • “Recovery is available anywhere. Recovery doesn’t just mean 12-step self-help meetings and I know there’s support on military bases.”

YES-BUT I don’t want to give up selling drugs.

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  • “No drug dealer is ever going get a business license to sell. It's a risk, and it can result in severe legal consequences. For me, I realized that the drugs that I sold were tearing families apart, and I was limiting the futures of so many kids. That wasn't worth the money”.
  • “If the drugs won't kill you the lifestyle will.”

YES-BUT I don’t have insurance.

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  • “This is tricky because it can be really difficult to get insurance as a young person. It might take receiving a clinical diagnosis, but it is just a few words and numbers on a piece of paper. Remember that you are more than a simple label.”
  • “There are facilities that are state-funded. Calling your state department of health directly can be helpful. Also remember that not all services require insurance. Self-help support groups are often free.”

YES-BUT I have a tough time reaching out or being social.

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  • “There are a lot of online recovery supports available. Google is our friend.”
  • “One of my biggest obstacles when I got clean was being uncomfortable in my own skin while in front of groups. I talked to people online, and began to feel better because I realized that I wasn’t alone. I’ve been clean for over four years, participate in online communities, and continue to attend 12-step meetings regularly.”

YES-BUT I don’t think drinking is the problem.

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  • “You need to define recovery for yourself. For me, it took time to realize that any kind of substance that altered my mind actually deterred me from reaching my goals. Like, when I drank (even if not to the point of passing out), I still was way less motivated the next morning. I now find waking up in the morning exciting because I don't feel like I’m in a fog, and I get motivated way more quickly!”
  • “I entered into recovery and found out that the alcohol was just masking how unhappy I was, and yes – even that occasional drink doesn’t let you off the hook!”

YES-BUT I like to smoke weed every now and then.

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  • “It was really difficult for me to stop smoking weed. I guess because it’s socially acceptable within peer groups and in so many professional circles. Smoking also didn't deter my motivation, so I just figured it was fine. Now I see how numb I was because I’m not smoking anymore, and I feel great!”
  • “Smoking weed kept my life at a baseline of mediocrity. I finally realized that this wasn’t acceptable, and I haven't smoked marijuana in five years.”

YES-BUT I don’t want adults telling me what to do.

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  • “The good thing about getting clean right now is that there are so many young people getting clean, too.”
  • “There are some really great adults who have been where I am, and they understand me. It’s these adults who I trust in my recovery. Anyway, I’m an adult now too!”

YES-BUT my family needs me.

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  • “I have a small child, and it took a lot for me to seek support. I realized that I was not living a life that I would want my child to live, and I was not being the mom that I wanted to be. Once I got clean, it was amazing how many parts of myself that I hadn't been able to let my family see because they were just minimized by all the chaos in my life. I finally had patience, compassion, and joy.”
  • “Entering into recovery was the best decision I ever made for my family. I can be there for them when they really need me.”

YES-BUT my parents are doing it.

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    • “My parents are still drinking and using drugs. I had to make the decision to do something different to save my life. I still hold onto the hope that they will find their own path into recovery someday.”
    • “Recovery gives me hope that I won’t have to live with or be like my parents!”

YES-BUT I work so much I don’t have the time.


  • “Having a job while trying to reach and sustain recovery can be difficult. I didn't think I had the time to invest in the process, and it certainly was a challenge, but now that I’m in recovery, I’m much more productive. People who never even knew I was using tell me that I just seem different, in a good way.”
  • “My own personal recovery was more of a change in perspective. I stopped living in the problem and began living in my own identified recovery. Showing up for life, including work, is part of my recovery.”


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