Motivation in alcohol recovery

Motivation in alcohol recovery

I always say that recovery is like a Marathon but it is the only one where it gets easier the further, we go.

But that’s not to say that our journey will not be filled with obstacles and times when opportunities to give up and fall back into old behaviour patterns will not cause us problems. 

It is also a good point to note that it is not necessarily those who seem to be smashing it in the beginning who will have a successful long-term recovery. 

**To join the initiative and transform your relationship with alcohol please see the link at the end of this article**

Think of the hare and the tortoise. 

Like anything in life recovery from an alcohol problem or other substances can be something we throw ourselves into and bring it to the forefront of our mind in everything we do, because it is important to us and that’s why we are here. 

Making sacrifices and doing all we can to bring about change within our lives. 

Motivation can seem easier in the beginning but as we go further along complacency can step in and our motivation can begin to lag. 

There is no easy strategy that we can put in place to ensure we remain motivated as we are all different and live very different lives with all manner of obstacles popping up at different times and varying milestones along the way. 

So, what is motivation 

Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a making a sandwich to reduce hunger or going for a run to get slimmer. 

Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior. 

So, if we want to do something with consistency that will help us to form new, healthier habits or maintain an awareness of our recovery, motivation is very important. 

Motivation can be viewed as a skill in itself in many ways, motivation can be difficult for us to do equally well every day. 

Some days we seem to be able to smash everything and others our motivation can feel decreased and we can feel fortunate that we managed to simply get through! 

This is naturally and we should not punish ourselves on those days or feel that we are not good enough or trying as hard as we should.  

Many factors could be affecting our motivation such as: 

  • Tiredness 
  • Hydration 
  • Hunger 
  • Stress 
  • Impatience 
  • The people that surround us 
  • Self-talk 
  • Our ability to set the right goals 

The list goes on as there are so many variables that can affect our motivation from day to day depending on what our goals are. 

But just like everything else if we can practice motivating ourselves with consistency while also creating the right conditions for us the power of motivation will get easier and more natural. 

So, what can you do to maintain your motivation and aid long term recovery? 

Have a vision 

Having a clear focal of point of why you are doing this will help you massively during your alcohol recovery. 

This gives us an incentive to be persistent when the going gets tough. Personally, I don’t recommend on focusing upon the big goal of a sober life.

Yes, this is a main goal we keep at the back of our mind but we don’t want to feel overwhelmed or as though we are fighting an impossible task. 

So, one thing we can do is keep a focus on our core values like our loved ones. Keeping pictures of those you love dearly around you and maybe from time to time write about them in your journal, why they are important to you and how grateful you are to have them in your life. 

A little exercise like this is great to reinforce our reasoning for recovery and will help us to stay present so that we can make healthier choices. 

Creating new structures of behaviour 
As I've said on many occasions it is important that we increase our safe behaviours and decrease our unsafe behaviours. 

These are the patterns that put us at risk of relapse. 

So, the structures through increasing our new behaviour patterns we want to involve having new, healthier, happy habits. 

It will take around 60 days to form a new habit but of course this varies from person to person. But once the new happier habits are nicely integrated into your life, they will become your new autopilot. 

So, it makes sense to realise that many people who relapse when asked, what did you change aside from getting sober?

Say they didn’t do anything they used willpower alone. 

A journey better taken with others 

Within your new sobriety structure, it is important to also build yourselves a sober network of friends, supportive family members as well as peer support, coaches, therapists and sponsors etc. 

This will help you in many ways to keep your stress levels down by being able to offload with people who are prepare to actively listen to you without casting judgement but could offer advice and guidance. 

But not only this, through a support network you will also receive accountability. Yes, my friend no one wants to turn up to their meeting and say they lapsed so this support can be a major influencer and motivating tool. 

Oh, doubting Thomas you have no place in recovery 

A mind filled with doubt and disbelief can be one of the biggest tools that will break down your motivation. 

That voice in our head which seems determined to pull us back into active addiction will play havoc with our motivations. 

So, in order for you to succeed you will need to have a reasonable expectation that you will succeed.

Many have done it before you and many will do it after so start believing that you can to! 

The real tough time regarding this is in those early days and you may need to do some work on building up your self belief. 

Which of course within this initiative we do! Yay 

Peer support will help with this as you will see others succeeding and that will reinforce your belief that this is possible.

But always remember not to compare yourself to them as this will be demotivating, remember the only person I want you to compare yourself to is the person you were yesterday. 

Work on your mindset with our mindfulness courses and guides to help reframe that self-talk from negative to positive. 

The focus on one day at a time thing is spouted a lot because it works 

This goes back to our goal setting again, we don’t want huge goals so we don’t focus on one year, one month or even one week sober. 

We will be more motivated taking it day by day. 

If you are having a tough day even focusing on that hour can make a massive difference.  

Remember with our mindfulness practice we are focusing on moment to moment this is the only time we have any power or control over. 

This is the time you can motivate yourself to link in with the group, call a friend, to say no to that drink. 

That quite simply is all we really need to worry about, this moment and if you can do that today you can do it tomorrow. 

Run through the scenario 

This is where you think through the consequences of drinking or using again.  

Typically, when you have a craving, you’re focused on the immediate gratification of drinking, that first mouthful or glass.  

Now you know that gratification only lasts a short time and then you have to deal with the consequences of having a relapse.  

So instead of focusing on the relapse itself, think through the entire thing--the next hour, the next day, the next week, and so on. 

Think about how relapsing will make you feel. 

The shame, guilt, anger, depression and anxiety that will flood you. 

Bring your attention to this and all those negative feelings that you know will come as a result of drinking as well as the battles with yourself and others will far outweigh the momentary gratification that one glass will give, I can assure you. 

So, in short: 

  • Form a structure 
  • Build a support network 
  • Form healthier habits 
  • Work on developing a strong mindset with positive self-talk 

**To join the initiative and transform your relationship with alcohol please see the link below this article**

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