We understand that staying motivated in recovery can be challenging. A lot is going on, mentally and physically that can make a relapse seem like the best option. But it is important to fight those urges and to stay on track now that you are on the road to recovery. The good news is there are things you can do and actions you can take to help maintain your motivation and make it through your rehab and recovery journey. Let’s take a look at a few.
1) Remember What Got You into Rehab
Think about what it was that made you realize that it was time to take steps to treat your addiction. Was it a recognition of what the addiction was doing to you? To your family? To friends? Experiencing a serious personal crisis or incident as a result of substance abuse? Write the reasons down and hold them firmly in your mind. As the catalyst of your move into recovery, they were and remain powerful motivators.
2) Set a Goal
Having a clearly defined goal or objective can be a key to staying motivated in recovery. Again, write the desired outcome(s) down. Refer to them at the beginning of every day. During times of temptation, review your goals as a means of defusing and blunting the urge to slip back, even “just one time” or, “a little bit.”
Without some positive “end game” firmly in mind, you are plotting a rudderless course through your recovery. When events and situations hit you, they can trigger the urge to relapse. Goals help to positively redirect your energy and efforts. But goals need to have a set of specific characteristics. In fact, they need to be SMART. This acronym stands for the following features of well-written goals:
- Specific – It targets a particular area for improvement.
- Measurable – You can see and measure progress towards accomplishing the goal.
- Achievable or attainable – It is within your capability to accomplish.
- Realistic – Goal should consider what you have available to achieve it.
- Time-bound – You set a definite date for accomplishment.
You might recognize this approach from the business world. That is where it was born, but it can apply to your personal goal setting as well. How about a simple example? This one is for the first week after rehab.
- Specific – I will make it through until lunch without using.
- Measurable – No relapse = mission accomplished.
- Achievable – It will take willpower and perhaps the support of others.
- Realistic – It is a small step in the right direction so appears realistic.
- Time-bound – You will know if you accomplish it by noon.
Yes, this is a simplistic example for the sake of illustration. However, as the Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu wrote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Your journey has begun.
3) Keep a Journal
As you recover, progress may be difficult to see. Keeping a record of your achievements is another excellent means of staying motivated in recovery from addiction. One good use of a journal is to use it to record your goals or objectives, and your success in attaining them. The journal then becomes an excellent resource to help you combat urges to fall back into old habits. Keep it handy and review your progress every time something happens that presents the temptation to use the substance.
Other things you can keep in a journal include:
- Inspirational quotes.
- A gratitude list – things you are grateful for.
- Positive results in areas of your life, family, health, work, hobbies.
- Where you struggled and what helped you move ahead.
Having a written journal gives you something tangible to use and refer to as needed. Studies continue to show that writing things down using pen and paper improves retention, understanding, and memory. These factors enhance the power of using your journal to stay motivated.
4) Staying Motivated in Recovery from Addiction – Alone or with Help?
Depending upon your nature, you may be tempted to attempt recovery by yourself. Many things contribute to this desire including embarrassment, negative experiences with group sessions or treatment centers in the past, and others. Resisting this temptation is recommended.
The resources available today make going solo unnecessary, and needlessly puts you at risk of slipping back into old habits. Take advantage of all the resources available to you. They become your “force multiplier,” to borrow a phrase. They are also part of the resources you have to fulfill the Achievable and Realistic requirements of your SMART goals.
We Can Help
Professional support is available for every stage of recovery. This includes help staying motivated in recovery from addiction. No one recovering from addiction is alone, and no one should try it alone. Contact us or call 877-225-7724 today to learn more.