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Get Motivated: 5 Tools for Building a Sober Life

Motivation is the driving force behind action; it’s also a primary component of the addiction recovery process. When embraced, motivation can drive us away from the chaos and destruction of addiction, steering us into clean and sober lives.

Where does our motivation to change ultimately come from? For centuries, some of the world’s greatest minds sought answers to that question, only to come up with different answers. Despite the lingering mysteries, we know one thing for sure: Motivation is a personal decision that has to come from within.

Getting and Staying Clean

We tend to get serious about overcoming addiction when we realize it’s in our best interest to do so. Naturally, a variety of factors prompt the desire for change – personal well-being, awareness of long-term negative consequences, employment status or family issues to name just a few.

Regardless of the reason, it takes a high level of internal motivation to stay clean in the long run. Without that firm commitment, we’re virtually destined to fall short of those sobriety goals. With that in mind, let’s look at some motivational tips to keep in mind while on the path to recovery:

  • Cost-Benefit Analysismotivation for recovery from addictionThis simple exercise can help you assess everything that you lost and gained while active in addiction. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line straight down the middle, creating two columns. In the left hand column, write down the benefits or gains of addiction. In the right hand column, write down everything lost as a result of addiction. What did it cost you financially, emotionally and socially? What did you gain while using?
  • Once you’ve written down all the pros and cons, it’s pretty easy to see the “benefits” of using drugs are short-term, while the “costs” are long-term. Carry this sheet of paper with you during early recovery and, once faced with temptation, it can serve as a great reality check. Remembering the pain and suffering of active addiction can be a great motivator to change.
  • Hang with Inspirational PeopleThere’s nothing more motivating than a success story. Hearing how someone else tackled hardships and came out the other side proves that success is within reach. Success stories can also reaffirm that you’re totally capable of staying on track and meeting your own recovery goals.
  • Motivational PhrasesFind a few motivational phrases that inspire you, write or print them out, then tape them up in various places around the house. The next time you’re feeling down or in need of a boost, a quick glance at your favorite motivational phrases can encourage you to stay clean.
  • Tap Into Family SupportLove with family and friends is a boost for existing motivationLoving friends and family members have the unique power to boost your existing motivation by simply offering their unconditional love and support. This is particularly helpful when striving to make forward progress. And though the “external” help is key, this is still a form of motivation that’s created from within – it stems from your very own feelings, thoughts and values.
  • Reward YourselfRecovery is a process, not an event. You’ll need to come up with ways to get – and stay – motivated in the long-term. A good way to do this is to treat yourself every now and then. Whether it’s getting a massage or splurging on something sweet, rewards keep you motivated in achieving goals.

Remember: Motivation is a personal thing; the motivators that work for you might not work for someone else. Find what works for you and stick with it.


Additional Reading:   Self-Sabotage: Stop Standing in Your Own Way

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