When was the last time you truly felt motivated? Motivation can be elusive. It can be fleeting. Too often, it can get lost in the swirl of addiction. Staying motivated in recovery can be a challenge. But staying motivated is also crucial to recovery. So what keeps people motivated?
Here are some common answers to that question:
–To use my gifts to help others
–I’m tired of hurting my family and friends
–I want to put recovery first in my life
–Have a career
–Go to college
–I don’t want to live under a bridge
–Have a home
–Get my family back
–Have a normal life without having to use
–Don’t want to keep ending up in treatment
–Be able to survive on my own
–Not have to depend on others
–Make my family proud
–Straighten my life up
–Change my future
–Get everything back that I lost
–Take pride in myself
–Be a better man
–Be a functioning member of society
–Stay out of prison
–Keep my freedom
–To be employed
–Be there for my grandkids
–Have a more productive life
–Strengthen my relationships with my loved ones
–To do better in life
–Stop wasting my potential
–Start a business
So now we know the “what.” But what about the “how?” How do people stay motivated in recovery?
Here are a few simple motivational hacks that you should be practicing:
1. Strive for Simplicity: Don’t let your big goals intimidate you. Break them down into smaller, meaningful steps and try to make these smaller goals as specific as you can. By adjusting your focus to only your immediate actions, you will feel less pressure every day, but still be working towards your larger goals.
2. Positive Self-Affirmations: Take time to think about the positive steps you’ve taken. Think about the positives traits you admire about yourself and the accomplishments you’ve made. If you stumble, remind yourself that in the future we are all wonderful people — but we don’t live in the future, we live in the present — and in the present everyone is entitled to a few stumbles.
3. Positive Relationships: Many of us have to rebuild our relationships with family, friends, coworkers, sponsors, bosses, and significant others. Relationships define how we interact with the important people in our lives. In order to support long-term recovery, we need to develop and nurture positive relationships that can carry us through the good times as well as the challenges of recovery.
4. Stay Active: One of the greatest threats to motivation is to shut down. You’ll lose all your enthusiasm and passion. Stay engaged with activities like meetings, groups and therapy sessions. And also self-care activities that enrich your life like volunteer work, a new career, or hobbies that they enjoy. Being wholly engaged helps people feel more fulfilled and less likely to relapse.
5. Finding Meaning: Often, the lifestyle that comes with addiction can prevent people from living a fulfilling and meaningful life. Many people enter recovery only to discover that they don’t know how to have fun, or that they lack the skills to plan for the future and be a productive and positive member of society. In long-term recovery, discovering how to best engage with life and lead a meaningful existence will help you stay on the right path.
One of the major obstacles that accompanies addiction is an inability to envision a different future, a future in which happiness, good work, and strong relationships are the fabric of daily life. But recovery is possible — not just for a select few — for all of us. Even the most entrenched addictions can be transformed. We can re-envision our lives. Just remember to start anew every day, to reach out for help when you need it, and never ever give up.