Strangely, the motivation to get clean from drugs for most people is to avoid pain.
A very common and long-held view of psychiatry is that humans are basically motivated by one of two factors:
- The desire to seek pleasure.
- The desire to avoid pain.
I’m on board with that 100%. If you think about all the reasons people can come up with that they became addicted to drugs there are lots of stories. But when you boil it down in simple terms it comes down to those two factors.
Most people become addicted to drugs because at some point or another the drugs gave them pleasure. The irony is that for those – the drug changes from causing please to pain. Some people also got involved with drugs to avoid pain, be it emotional or physical.
So what is the right sort of motivation needed to get clean? There is no perfect answer, except the motivation has to be yours alone. It has to make sense to you and be big enough to drive you to take action. Another issue is to maintain motivation to get clean and live sober for the long haul.
Motivation can come from desperation or inspiration.
When an addict decides to get clean the motivation is almost always desperation and the avoidance of pain.
Motivation Drives Action And Results, Only All The Time.
Motivation and commitment, along with ability to get clean and attitude are the three necessary mindset components in the “getting ready” phase of getting clean.
Motivation is the driving force, the energy needed to take action. An idea with insufficient motivation to act is just that, an idea, a fleeting thought. Nothing will come out of it.
Think about the flow of getting anything done. For example, you’d like to have pizza for dinner tonight. That’s a thought. Now, in order for you to be chowing down on pizza tonight, you have to be motivated enough to take the action of getting off the couch and go pick up the pizza (or get off the couch and call delivery).
Let’s look at getting clean. Virtually every addict has had the thought of getting clean at one time or another. A thought is just a thought. They have not started the process of getting clean. The trick is they have not developed sufficient motivation to take the action necessary for that to happen. So, without motivation nothing happens.
Most addicts love the concept of getting clean and living sober but are unwilling to take the actions that sober people need to, and have taken to be successful.
What’s Your Motivation To Get Clean And Stay Sober?
Motivation is a necessary component all through the different phases of recovery. It starts with the motivation to do something about the horrible state of affairs of your life and continues all the way to living a happy and productive life.
Your motivations will change along the way. A word of warning – most people relapse because their motivation and commitment gets weak. Complacency (lack of action) sets in. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard ” I knew what I was supposed to do and just stopped doing it.” They have not adapted their motivation as they grow into recovery.
Your motivation is your own. The fact that you are reading this blog indicates that you have a degree of motivation for getting clean and living sober. Your task is to define and refine your motivation and keep it fresh.
Here are some ideas off the top of my head that might help motivate you to get sober and stay sober:
- You will die if you continue to use drugs.
- You will get healthier if you stop using drugs.
- Do it for yourself.
- Do it for your family.
- Your relationships will improve in sobriety.
- You will have more money and be capable of making more in sobriety
- You will feel authentic emotions once again
- The pain of living will stop.
- You will regain your self-esteem.
- You will be able to fill the role of a loving spouse and a good parent.
- You won’t do half as many embarrassing things.
Another Great Way To Stay Motivated For Getting Clean And Living Sober
Positive affirmations are a tool of choice for helping people with low self-esteem. They can also be used to create and sustain motivation and commitment.
Motivational affirmations are another great way to get motivated when you need it the most. They can increase happiness and increase self confidence. A positive statement such as, “I am create the results in my life,” or, “I use my energy to live my life to the fullest” just might be the spark that you need to find inspiration.
These statements will reprogram your mind in a positive way. Doing so will help you find motivation in times of self-doubt or procrastination. Give it a good old-fashioned try; you just might be surprised by the results!
The purpose of repeating affirmations frequently is actually to reprogram your brain in a different direction. Right now is probably programmed along the lines of getting stuck and staying stuck. Motivational affirmations can program the mind to move forward and take action.
Finding Motivational And Inspirational Mentors In Sobriety
I’ll just say this flat out… The 12 step programs are the best places to find mentors and hear inspirational stories. You will find people in various stages of both struggle and success. You will also find people who are experiencing the exact same problems you are but have come out the other side and resolve them.
The problem with motivation is that you are either motivated or not; there isn’t much of a middle ground. You either believe you can get sober or not.
One of the most important things you can do to get motivated is to find someone who has the motivational qualities you desire for yourself. Find a mentor. In the 12 step program they call it a sponsor. This is a person you can develop a one-on-one relationship with and he can coach you through the questions and struggles of getting sober. He can also provide motivational reinforcement in times of struggle or complacency.
Model yourself after this individual and consider chatting with them about their passion and motivation. When you talk to this person, tell him or her that you’d love to learn their motivation secrets. You may find that having this conversation with your role model will help to inspire you into action. We all can use some personal support, so step outside of your comfort zone and give this a try!
Short Video Clip - Motivation Is Nothing Without Action
Motivation is the key driving force in taking any action. If you want to get clean from drugs but are not sure that your motivation is strong enough ask for help. Support is available through drug and alcohol rehabilitation, mental health professionals such as a therapist or drug addiction counselor. Motivating yourself is a key in getting ready to get sober. With the input of an educated second party you just might reveal your own true inner motivation that will initiate and sustain your quest for getting clean and staying sober.
However motivation is nothing without action. Take action big or small but do something!
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Some Really Good Resources
- Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction (Drugabuse.gov) – In my opinion this is the best short read on addiction. I have used the content for many therapy groups and lectures…check it out.
- Impact of Substance Abuse on Families (NCBI) – When a family member abuses substances, the effect on the family may differ according to family structure.