29 People Talk About What They Did to Turn Their Lives Around

I love stories about people who were down on their luck, saw little to no hope in the future, and then turned their lives around for the better.

It gets me every time!

Because there are few things as inspiring as a feel-good, comeback story, right?

AskReddit users shared their personal stories about turning their lives around.

Let’s take a look.

1. Be yourself.

“Realizing I don’t have to act like someone I’m not just to be liked by everyone.

Changed my life choices and it made me a much happier man. I wish I’d done it sooner and not in my late 20s. So much wasted time…”

2. It’s good for you!

“Went to the gym

It helped me break out of OCD induced psychosis and brought me back to reality and have been going everyday since.

Had to replace it with exercising in the park during the peak of COVID though.”

3. Therapy.

“Started going to therapy.

Slowly realized that I have to think about myself too. Started going to gym, setting boundaries, eating foods I like and every day I tried to do one thing that made me happy.

And I finally got the courage to go to school and study something I actually like.”

4. A complete turnaround.

“Realized my quest to find love wouldn’t fix anything wrong with me.

Stopped manipulating and using men to try to fill the void in my soul. Treated men like people instead of tools.

Actually fell in love and am married to the most wonderful person I’ve ever met.”

5. A big improvement.

“Went from just partying hard on the weekends to partying hard every day to losing my job from partying hard (drug test failed for coke). From there it turned to meth. Really low point.

One day, I had an epiphany and realized that it wasn’t want I wanted, and that I’ve seen people go down similar paths. Actively sought help, changed friend groups, stayed in, got clean and am now doing okay.

Can’t say I’m doing great, but my future is looking better every day, even if it’s only slightly. The addiction is still affecting me, even after all this time, it’s caused insomnia and depression, along with anxiety. Things I didn’t have before doing coke/meth.”

6. Very inspiring.

“After being laid off from my last factory job, I suddenly found myself on the streets of Toronto in the early 1990’s with a grade 9 education, no money, no friends, no job references, and not really any family.

So what did I do? Found an unbelievably dirty crappy crawl-space basement apartment. Applied for welfare. Stopped, drinking and smoking, and anything else unhealthy. Got a gym membership and went 4 hours a day. Jogged 5 miles every morning (weather permitting). Enrolled in an adult high school.

Ignored everyone and everything that would be a distraction. Got my High School diploma with honors in 2 years. Applied for university. Got in. Moved to a different city and spent 4 years getting my BA Hon in Philosophy (because I like to think and solve problems).

Applied to a graduate program, and spent the next 10 years getting my MA and my PhD. Then spent the next several years as a professor making good money and having lots of fun. Won’t say how things are going now because I got cursed with poor health etc., and so am no longer working.

I’ll just say that I am happy now and know that I would have ended up either dead or in jail if I hadn’t done what I did all those years ago. Sooner or later everyone has got to take their life seriously.”

7. Quite a story.

“I tot injured in a car accident (rear ended). Lost my business and my wife of 19 years eventually left for another man, leaving behind a 17 year old daughter and 2 year old son.

No job, No car, No money. 2 kids and $2k a month in rent coming due.

Two days after she left I took my real estate license test. I PASSED! I had planned to surprise her but had hid that I was studying in case I failed. Either way it wasn’t enough and I ended up taking a job at Amazon.

I worked a graveyard shift while my daughter stayed home with my son. I also did open houses on the weekend in hopes someone would walk in unrepresented…

It still wasn’t enough so I signed up to drive Uber and lift. I had been able to pick up a decent vehicle from a family member for cheap and I was in business. I switched my graveyard shift to a day shift and started driving through the nights.

The money was alright but I realized I could make a little more if I switched from Amazon to another large company in the area, so I did. I did that for about a year

Things we’re ok, I was making good money and then Coldwell Banker fired me. I didn’t think Coldwell fired anyone as long as they were paying their dues. I had never sold a house so all it meant was I needed to switch to another broker. Turns out that was a blessing in disguise.

A friend called on my way to sign with Keller Williams and convinced me to sign with a temp agency. I was skeptical but what did I have to lose? The first and second day I was placed with Toll Brothers. It was alright and I could see myself doing that. On the third day I was sent to a local developer and my world was changed.

The broker of record and the local developer took me under their wing. After a few months they hired me away from my temp broker, gave me a salary and commissions and provided me with an opportunity to change my kids lives forever. I was able to go from working 4 jobs to just one and I have learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined possible.

It’s been three and a half long years but I wouldn’t change a thing if I could.”

8. Very smart.

“Stopped caring about things I can’t control and put all my energy into the things I can.

It sounds hard, but there’s actually a lot you can control and that doesn’t leave much room for the other sh*t.”

9. Formerly homeless.

“When I was a teenager I was homeless. A lot of places wouldn’t hire me because I had no experience or interview clothes. I went to the board of education and begged the HR lady to give me a chance at any job. I told her I’d scrub the school with a toothbrush if they paid me.

They made me a general sub for clerical. I took a call for one of the “bad neighborhood” schools that some others turned down. Walked across town to get there every day do I had to start walking at 4:30 am to be on time. I wore dress clothes from a church mission that were way too big but I did my best.

After four months they gave me a long-term position. Then a permanent one with benefits. I saved up enough for an apartment (finding a landlord okay with renting to an 18 year old homeless girl was hard) and started college.

I haven’t been homeless a day since in the last 15 years. I even have a house now.”

10. Nice work!

“I quit drinking when I was 24.

Went back to college when I was 26 and graduated at 29.”

11. Take care of #1.

“Decided it’s ok to put yourself first no matter what. I don’t mean that go ahead and cheat and lie for your benefits.

For example, I was seeing this toxic person for some time and I was the one always compromising and making efforts. When things finally ended, I chose to cut off all contact from that person while they wanted to remain in touch (for support or validation).

I felt bad and selfish while doing it but starting to feel better about myself now that that person is out of my life.

You need to be selfish if the other person is being selfish too.”

12. Time to give it up.

“I’m a month free of smoking weed daily for 8 years, I’m struggling still thinking i need it to be happy.

Its been a rough month with sleep but i know after i get past these few months i will proceed to better my life.”

13. On the right track.

“Moving out of my parents house.

I was living with my parents (which is very common thing in India) until end of my med school. I’ve been in my comfort zone all my life and had everything I need.

That led to depression and I wanted to live by myself and to get out of my bubble. Now I can’t say I figured it all but I definitely feel better.”

14. Get in shape!

“I heavily reduced sugar when I was 21 and started resistance training .

2 years later and I am feeling the best I have ever felt, have so much energy and self confidence because I actually like the way I look now.

Clothes fit so much better as well.”

15. A big move.

“I grew up in South Florida during the beginning of the opioid craziness.

From 2006-2011 things got pretty bad. I’m 2011 I sold my last possession, my car for $800 packed 2 suitcases and bought a bus ticket to Denver. Never been to Denver, didn’t know anyone there but weed was starting to be legal and I didn’t want to miss out.

I detoxed on the bus going from Florida to Colorado. Do not recommend. I got lucky and ended up sitting next to a guy that was a grower and needed help in his garden. I didn’t know it at the time but on the Greyhound he said I had an 8 hour job interview.

Got to Denver and he really helped me get established. Within 2 months I was sleeping on his couch and learning how to grow. Haven’t touched a pain killer since I got on that bus almost 9 and a half years ago and now I’m married, home owner, decent car, and working my dream job in the cannabis industry.

It’s not for everyone, but I literally went from homeless sticking needles in my arm to living a life better than I could have ever imagined.”

16. On the road to happiness.

“I wasn’t happy.

I lost weight, shaved head, got tattoos, travel more, complain less. Everything I do is for myself. I have a long way to go.

If it’s me trying to impress someone it never sticks. You have to want to do it yourself.”

17. Life changes.

“Left an abusive home, went to university at 18, got lost in a black hole of depression, drugs and debt for three years, dropped out. Literally can’t even remember half of it.

Broke, desperate, I called up my estranged dad and he helped me get back on my feet, gave me a loan and kept me alive while I battled daily suicidal ideation and worked part time. Eventually graduated.

Now I’m 30 and my fiancé is supporting me while I go through therapy. I even have some money in savings and we’re talking about buying a home.”

18. A good move.

“Forced myself to become a couch-surfing loser in order to reset myself.

I was in my 20s with no job, just bumming at my mom’s place and playing video games 24/7. Mom loves me unconditionally, which is good, but it basically enabled me because she would never throw me out.

I realized I was a f*cking loser and kicked myself out to become “homeless” (but not really), and bummed at my buddies’ places until I could get a job and a place to live.

Now I not only have a well-paying job and a nice (enough) place, but a wife I love and 2 cats and I haven’t hit 30 yet. I just needed to feel the hunger to realize I wanted more.”

19. It’s up to you.

“By taking responsibility.

What I mean by that is that by accepting that This life is mine and I’m the only one that can turn it around. Nobody else . I quit drinking and smoking and all other bad habits And I started training and counting calories to lose weight .

2 years later I’m healthier than ever I’m surrounded by people who I love and love me , I got rid of all toxic people in my life ( including my family ) and I’m about to get married and start my own business .”

20. Enough is enough.

“Was always chubby while growing up. Had been yoyo dieting for almost a decade. It eventually got to the point where the dieting wasn’t effective, i couldn’t lose the weight and wasn’t even eating much.

I decided enough was enough and I was going to beat that f*cking eating addiction.

I remember walking into the kitchen being fed up with the scale, the food, my body. I thought to myself, this is absurd, im not eating much yet I still can’t lose. Im done with this sh*t. I stubborned up.

Cut the junk food, the snacks, and the irregular eating. Within 2 weeks my body caught up. It’s been 2 years since and I am proud to say that I’m actually in love with the way I look. And I dont even look perfect. But I’m content. Am no longer addicted to food and do eat intuitively.

Its not just the food addiction though. As soon as i got that under control, every other aspect of my life has improved significantly. I just feel happier overall…”

21. Leaving Detroit.

“Lived in Detroit. Skies are grey. Got laid off because management made an absolute mess out of the merger. Next door neighbor got murdered.

Decided the city will be the death of me and my happiness, too. Sold the house. Bought a van. Moved to L.A.. Went to school. Now I am doing some of the coolest sh*t imaginable. A number of publications.

Trips to the jungle. Exploring uncharted caves. Meeting celebs. Jumping out of airplanes. Presenting at academic conferences. Now trying to get into a Ph.D. program in archaeology.

That’s it in a nutshell.”

22. Taking control.

“I realized that I needed control of my life…. I was on a bad path to life in jail, and was listening to a bad crowed…. Jail or death were the paths infront of me. One day wile cleaning dishes it dawned on me that I had more worth. I could do better then that.

I now run tow truck and LOVE it. I get to help people and make smiles happen on so many faces it’s not even funny.

I give them a little knowledge along the way cas I know a thing or two. But tell them to take it with a grain of salt as I’m not a mechanic but it’s a start to what may save them money.”

23. No more dead ends.

“I was a high school dropout in a dead end job earning $30k per year.

Found out my girlfriend was pregnant when we were only 20 and had visions of being a deadbeat broke dad who couldn’t provide for a kid I brought in to the world.

So I did a bridging course and went to university at 21 just as my daughter was born. Married my GF at 24 and have since had 2 more kids.

Comfortably earn $200k a year and have a great career and feel like everything just fell in to place.”

24. Good for you!

“After getting arrested and looking forward to nothing but getting f*cked up on something, I found myself sitting under a bridge with a group of friends trying to scrape together money to buy drugs.

A few of them were in their thirties and I was a teenager at the time. After coming down I made up my mind that I didn’t want to end up like them. I joined the military, met the love of my life and settled down in a different part of the country.

I have a great career, a family, and am still happily married. Finding a way to leave was the best decision I ever made. “Under the Bridge” by RHCP is still to this day a very personal song that strongly resonates with me.”

25. Time to focus.

“My girlfriend at the time dumped me to get back with her ex and i remember asker her why and one of the things she said was she saw how hard i struggled with school and didn’t think she could be with someone who wasn’t going to be successful.

After a couple of months of being depressed i ended up internalizing what she said and dropped out of school to focus on culinary (i was already working in kitchens but going to school for business) ended up doing really well and now i run a pretty successful meal prepping business and do private dinners on the side.”

26. Wow.

“After college I got my first real job (IT). I met a girl at work. She had a baby but the daddy wasn’t in the picture. We got married, bought a house in the suburbs and a couple cars…cause that is what I thought you were supposed to do.

Two years later, we were both miserable and she found comfort in the arms of another man. I was at a total loss. My marriage failed, my contract was running out at work and I was super depressed.

The turning point was when my father asked me “who do you know who lives the furthest away that you could go visit?” I told him I had two close friends living in Los Angeles and he said “I’m buying you a plane ticket.”

That simple act changed everything. I went to LA and had a blast with my friends who convinced me to move out and live with them. I flew back home, filed for divorce, sold the house and the cars and packed up my sh*t and left.

That was 20 years ago. Since then I have remarried to an amazing woman. Have two incredible kids. Lived in LA, NYC and now Denver. I have traveled extensively, partied with rock stars, laughed so hard it literally hurt.

I can’t even imagine what live would have been like if I stayed with my first wife, if she hadn’t cheated, if I had let her convince me to stick around and be her baby daddy despite running off with another dude.

I saw her once many years later at a wedding. She said she was sorry for what she had done. I said don’t be and thanked her for it.”

27. Listen to yourself.

“Stopped doing what other people said I should do and started doing the things I thought I should do.”

28. Good advice.

“Eating healthier, sleeping well, and exercising regularly.

The benefits of those three are so noticeable. You feel more energized and motivated.”

29. Excited for the future.

“Bad decisions got me kicked out at 13.

I was homeless for a few weeks until I found a little old lady willing to rent out her severely fire damaged mobile home in the backyard to me for $100/wk. Did that for a few months til I found another little old lady willing to rent out a 1 bed/bath apt/addition to her home.

I think it was $300/mth and I had to do yard work and repairs. Did that for years until I left to go to college. Struggled in college because I was a full-time student while working 2 full time jobs. Met my wife. Got my degree. Tried to reconnect with my parents. It’s tough.

Got married. And then struggled to find lucrative work for a year. Things have been improving exponentially since.

Work like crazy, save like mad, invest aggressively. Bought our first house for cash in 2017, had our first baby in 2019, and hit millionaire status in August 2020.

Excited for what your future will bring!!”

Now we want to hear from you.

In the comments, tell us how you turned your life around.

We’d love to hear from you!