Being motivated to make positive changes in your life is a great launching point for your future, especially when it comes to addiction recovery. The spark that inspires you to take the steps you need to better your life and create the future of your dreams is important- but it’s not enough. Motivation is unreliable; you can’t depend on it to carry you along your path of recovery or beyond. Relying on it is setting yourself up for trouble- here’s why:
Motivation is Fleeting
Have you ever started your day feeling rejuvenated and ambitious, motivated to tackle all of your tasks and accomplish your goals, only to find that energy and drive depleted and forgotten by the next day? This is the nature of motivation: it’s a great kickstart, but doesn’t do much in the long haul. Being motivated to clean your room or home is great; relying on motivation to keep a long-term cleaning schedule or accomplish a goal that takes time may cause you to fall short. That’s not to say this spark of motivation has no purpose in your recovery or life in general. Every worthy life choice begins in an inspired moment- just don’t let it end there.
We often hear people stating that there motivation for change through addiction recovery is someone or something other than themselves. While desiring to achieve a clean and sober lifestyle for your children, spouse, or other family members is commendable, it can also be dangerous: you don’t want disagreements or other negative interactions with those you love to potentially trigger relapse. If you recovery hinges entirely on others, it can create pressure and undue tension within that relationship. Your loved ones seeing and appreciating your hard work is wonderful and a great source of support, but in the end, this journey must be about and for you.
Motivation is Easy to Surpass
Let’s go back to the previous example: you know you need to clean, or get groceries, or start that homework assignment. You know it. But you also need to do laundry, take a shower, get the car serviced, and a slew of other tasks to tackle. Focusing too much on all the things you have to accomplish kills motivation and leaves you lying on the couch watching reruns of trashy reality TV shows instead. The same thing can happen to your recovery. When you rely on motivation to tell you when to go to your meetings or keep your therapy appointments, despite your best intentions, the motivation eventually dies down. Missing one session turns into two and three until you find yourself overwhelmed and on the verge of relapse. This is a perfect example of when dedication trumps motivation: doing what you must to stay on top of your recovery is key to long-term success.