How can we motivate ourselves as drug addicts in recovery?
The first question is this: what stage are you at? Different addicts might be at different stages in their recovery, and generating motivation at each stage might be a little different.
So let’s break it down and see where it goes:
Motivation for drug addicts who are in denial
If an addict is still in denial, there is no magic cure for this….if there was, then it probably wouldn’t be denial! The very nature of denial is that it is very difficult to pierce through with logical arguments because the person has closed their mind off to any such ideas. As such, sometimes the best you can do in attempting to support and connect with a struggling addict is to simply offer your support and let them know that you are there for them and that you have hope for their sobriety.
I would say that the secret is looking ahead to the next stage of recovery (from actively using to early recovery, or from early recovery to long term sobriety), but I know this isn’t true. It did no good to try to entice me with stories about a better life when I was still stuck in my addiction. I simply did not believe that recovery would ever work for me.
Sometimes the best you can do is to let them know that there is a solution, and that you support them.
Motivation for addicts who are in early recovery
At this point, I think looking ahead can, in fact, be an inspiration. In some recovery circles, they are told to “stick with the winners,” meaning that we should look up to those in recovery that we see as being successful and who are living a good life in recovery. This becomes our aim and our goal; something to shoot for. Such examples become a motivating factor in early recovery.
Another motivating factor for the addict in early recovery is the promise of serenity if they stick it out and finally make the transition into long term holistic living and make recovery a way of life.
Motivation for addicts who have transitioned to long term, holistic living
If you have already transitioned into long term recovery then you are in a position of having to maintain momentum more so than having to create it. The key is to keep the ball rolling and to continue growing and this really means that you are simply trying to avoid complacency. One of the most useful ways of doing this over the long haul is to find a way to consistently reach out and help other recovering drug addicts. Working with newcomers on a regular basis can be a powerful motivator. A big chunk of that motivation comes from the idea of “boy, I am glad I’m not struggling to get clean and sober all over again. What a blessing to still be in recovery.”
The key is in figuring out what really motivates you to grow in new directions. At this point, it is not so important to focus your recovery efforts, but instead to diversify them.
Once you are living in this holistic stage of sobriety, success usually breeds more success. Growth becomes a question of momentum rather than motivation. The only enemy is complacency.