Recovery Symbols to Maintain Sobriety

Semicolon Recovery Symbols | Mental Health Symbols | Find Addiction Rehabs | Semicolon for mental health addiction recoveryTo someone looking in from outside the realm, the face of addiction recovery might appear somewhat odd and filled with slogans, chants, symbols, and prayers. It might appear that these recovery symbols are ubiquitous and are as important to addiction recovery as rehab itself.

And, they would be correct.

Those symbols serve as a reminder to those who are in recovery to stay strong throughout their journey. These emblems also help identify someone who has made it through to the other side of their addiction, or at least is trying their hardest.

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Recovery Requires Reminders

Slogans are time-tested phrases with powerful impacts. “One day at a time” is more than a reminder for a person in recovery. It promises that every day in recovery is a battleground with a potential victorious outcome for those who finish. For some, it’s a five-word prayer, “One step at a time.” While these sayings come off as trite to the casual observer, they’re beloved messages that help many who struggle with addiction remain clean and sober. There is evidence that mental health recovery in general has a positive relationship with this sort of reinforcement.

Not-So-Secret Images

Similarly, the recovery community has also embraced other images that convey powerful messages to others who are fighting the same daily fight against addiction. For example, a woman sporting a butterfly tattoo could be inferring that her world is as carefree as a spring day or that she transformed herself from a homely caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly on the day she became sober.

Badges of Sobriety Pride

Below, is a list of symbols that are among the easily recognized within the recovery community. These often represent powerful personal choices made by the person wearing them. In addition, they send a message of hope to others in the recovery community. They say “I’m proud and grateful to walk with others who are recovering from addictions. I’m on your side.”

Take a quick look at those recovery symbols and meanings:

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Birds and Phoenixes

Phoenix Recovery Symbol | Addiction Recovery | Find Addiction Rehabs | Native American design of phoenixPeople in recovery often choose the phoenix, a mythical bird. In ancient folk tales, the phoenix was a bird that died in a fire and was reborn from its ashes 500 years after his death. While the fire was indeed destructive, it was also what enabled the phoenix to be reborn. Those in recovery prefer to show the phoenix in flight with the back of his wings still smoldering after rising.

However, other birds are also popular. This is because the majestic image of a bird taking flight captures the essence of peace and freedom we seek during recovery. Popular bird images are songbirds, blue jays, and cardinals.

A Triangle Within A Circle

The geometric merging of an encircled triangle represents two different things.

First off, the triangle represents three vital concepts during recovery: strength, willpower, and hope. Others interpret this as the spiritual, mental, and physical realms of their lives.

The circle is generally used to represent the community of support which enables recovery and the power of a support network. This is one of the better examples of the relationship between addiction recovery and mental health at large.

Yin and Yang

The Yin and Yang symbols are a circle divided into two swirling shapes. They appear almost like the number 6 and the number 9 facing each other. This image is taken from ancient Chinese Taoism. Indeed, it’s still a cultural symbol in China today.

While it made a resurgence during the anti-war movement in the 1960s, it is meant to symbolize balance and inner peace. Beyond being one of the more broad recovery symbols, it also is one of the more subtle.

Because Yin and Yang hold broad mainstream appeal, the symbol is less identified with the recovery community. However, those in recover still choose it as a personal symbol.

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Lotus Flower

Like the phoenix, the lotus flower embodies rebirth. It is often depicted simply as a series of petals forming a W-shape.

The lotus flower emerged from ancient Greek culture. It was their symbol for enchantment and captivation. It was chosen for its inherent beauty and is sometimes associated with the concept of resurrection.

This notion came about because the blooms fold in at night and open again when the sun rises the next day. It patiently waits all night long to flourish at the first light of dawn.


A semicolon (;) is chosen by many in the recovery community as a sign of strength and rebirth. Suicide prevention programs initially adopted this symbol. After all, a semicolon is a sentence that the writer could have easily ended; they chose not to do so.

Because mental wellness and addiction recovery are so closely intertwined, this makes the semicolon one of the more ambiguous recovery symbols, and thus holds great appeal to those in the recovery community.


Some in recovery use short words or simple phrases to convey their thoughts and remind themselves to remain clean and sober.

Short words like “Strength,” “Hope,” and “Love” serve as inspiration

Short, simple phrases are ideal for people in recovery.  “Fake it until you make it,” is a deceptively easy slogan that’s ideal for someone in early recovery.

Breathe in, breathe out, move on” serves as an inspiration to others. “Every day is a gift, that’s why we call it the ‘present ‘” is a beacon that could help someone suddenly hit with depression in the middle of any typical day–such moments are well-known by those in early recovery.

What recovery symbols inspire you in your journey to rise above addiction?

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