Self-Motivation: Why it Makes a Difference in Recovery and Life

In one way, this includes helping recovering addicts create their own motivating factors. The doctors found that the change in these people happened  when they decided that the costs of their addictive behaviors outweighed the benefits. These same individuals found that if they continued to participate in their addiction, their losses – like losing their jobs, their families or their loved ones – would be much too great and not worth going on with their addictions. Outpatient clients who reported a higher baseline level of anger fared better after MET than after CBT and TSF treatments. Conversely, outpatient clients with low baseline levels of anger had better treatment outcomes after TSF and CBT compared with MET (Project MATCH Research Group 1998). No treatment matching effects with MET were found for aftercare clients (Project MATCH Research Group 1998).

What is the average length of sobriety?

Three-year mark: About 57% of individuals who have maintained sobriety for one year are able to continue staying sober for at least three years. Five-year mark: Roughly 85% of alcoholics who have achieved five years of continuous sobriety are likely to maintain their abstinence in the long term.

To combat these feelings, try to remove yourself from the triggering situation. If a song is playing, turn the radio off, if you get a text from an old friend with whom you used to use substances, consider blocking the number. Of course, not every trigger can be avoided but coping with your life being different can help you build a new life filled with less painful reminders from the past. Self-care can even extend to focus more on your individualistic values, such as your spirituality and coping mechanisms. This might be through reading a religious text, mediating, or attending a religious gathering. Having faith in a higher power, whether that’s God  or something different, can help you transform the way you think about drugs, about yourself, and about your future.

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Purchasing drugs from a dealer or alcohol from a nearby store can become a financial burden over time. Spending money on these substances could cut into paying for rent or bills. Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription opioids costs the United States more than $740 billion each year in crime, health care and lost productivity, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. If you spent any time in active addiction, you most likely lost something of importance to you, whether a relationship(s), a home, a job, or yourself. Focus on what it felt like to lose these things and how you can’t undo the damage, but don’t let yourself dwell.

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The care and concern experienced by this participant became an important motivator toward continuing sobriety. Experiences like this were felt to be examples of ways that mutual accountability was facilitated and supported sobriety within the household. Each individual in the household was accountable to other residents, not only in terms of their own behavior (eg, maintaining abstinence), but also in terms of contributing to a healthy recovery environment. The actions of the peers in the above case to reach out and help the resident who was upset and potentially vulnerable to relapse is an excellent example.

Obtaining Serenity and Emotional Sobriety

Let’s say the road is five miles long, and you want to reach the end. Along the way, you stumble on rocks or veer off the course to take in some pretty views. Maybe you take a nap under a tree for a few hours and start back down the road.

  • If you’re interested in exploring Recovery Coaching, I offer a no-charge discovery call to anyone who has questions about their own substance use, or the substance use of a family member.
  • Many times, our inner child has been silenced in order to please others or fit in with societal norms.
  • Living with this kind of alignment is damn near impossible when you’re drinking or using drugs because these substances lower your inhibitions and make it harder to stay true to your own values.
  • However, there are some things that anyone struggling with addiction can do to help stay motivated to staying sober.
  • Based on an individualistic experience, finding what motivates you to stay sober is a big part of the battle of staying sober.

Among the study subjects, the outpatients with high levels of both internal and external motivation had the highest treatment retention and treatment attendance outcomes. Irrespective of their level of external motivation, outpatients with low internal motivation had the worst treatment outcomes. Finally, patients with more severe alcohol problems generally had greater internal motivation for treatment. The severity of the patient’s alcohol problems enhances internal motivation, presumably because the problem severity increases distress and thus influences decisionmaking.

Tips for Staying Motivated in Recovery

As recovery proceeded, many individuals become more discerning about their relationships and considered persons in their social network to be those they knew more intimately. As one participant put it, “find four people you can call at two in the morning and that’s more important than fifty people on speed dial”. In response to the general question about motivation for maintaining sobriety, focus group participants emphasized many factors based on benefits and costs.

Developing and maintaining good health can be a powerful motivation to keep you pushing through the tough choices you may need to make. As you exit treatment and reenter society, you will begin to live your life again. With that freedom comes the immense task of making the right choices for your health.

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