“Cool” is a subjective concept. Society usually comes to a general consensus about what’s considered acceptable and “in,” but individual opinions can vary greatly. Fads come and go, and what’s “cool” now might not have been yesterday and might not be tomorrow either. I’m happy to see what seems like a changing perception, however, when it comes to recovery. I can argue that being in recovery is definitely cool. There are many who might not agree with me, but I can think of many reasons why it should be considered “cool” to be in recovery.
To begin with, I want to make a distinction and explain what I think isn’t cool about recovery. Addiction is and never will be cool. There are people who think doing drugs and drinking to excess is cool, but they are in the minority and often blind to their own reality. Addiction is deadly and tragic, and it certainly isn’t cool. It’s a horrible disease, and while addicts are responsible for the choices they make while addicted, they can’t help that they have the disease in the first place. Addiction is truly uncool. Fighting and coming out of addiction, however, is very cool.
Recovery just isn’t mainstream cool yet. The stigma of addiction is slowly dissipating, but it still exists. It’s a stigma that makes many of us in recovery want to hide our pasts or be ashamed to admit we’re in recovery. I sincerely hope that the tide will change so we can proud of ourselves instead. Overcoming obstacles, smiling in the face of adversity, and being a responsible human being are cool and always will be. Because of that, all of us in recovery should be able to see that what we are today is definitely cool. Our pasts might be bad, but all of our experiences have shaped who we are today, and making a positive change is a cool thing to do.
The recovery movement, especially among youth, is working to change public opinion regarding addiction and recovery. When you look closer at the individuals who are in recovery, you find a lot of traditionally cool stuff. People in recovery are unique, and they’re often edgy, artistic, and passionate. Some of the most compassionate and empathetic people I’ve ever met are recovering addicts. Good or bad, we’ve had a lot of rich experiences. We’re all so different, but two things are always the same: we share an uncool past and yet we are now demonstrating what cool really is.
My wish is that everyone in recovery – and everyone outside of it – can see the true coolness of it. I’d love to see everyone who has turned their life around for the better be proud of themselves for it. Not everyone will recognize how cool recovery really is, but I think the more we share and show ourselves to the world, the more we’ll show everyone what recovery is really about.
Lisa M. Hann is a freelance writer specializing in addiction and recovery. She has a B.A. in Journalism from Temple University. She has been sober since 2010, and she resides in New Jersey with her son. She’s the author of the books How to Have Fun in Recovery and 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober.