Addiction & Motivation to Change - Premier Counseling
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Addiction & Motivation to Change

By Kristy Burton, LPC, NCC

As National Recovery Month comes to an end, let’s take one final look at addiction. Whether you’ve tried rehab before and struggled to achieve and maintain sobriety or you’re having a difficult time even taking the first steps to achieve sobriety, you may be missing motivation. Humans need motivation to make lasting change. For many of us, we find external motivators that might be lead us down the road to successful change. However, finding internal motivation may be the key to sustaining recovery. Afterall, the world is going to change, so if you don’t want your sobriety to change, it has to start and end with you. In this blog, we’re going to take a closer look at the role motivation plays in addiction recovery and how therapy can help you develop your intrinsic motivation to sustain recovery no matter what the world sends your way.

How Motivation Works

Motivation is what makes us want to change. It’s the “why” of addiction recovery. For most people, it is a process that begins with external factors and is sustained through developing internal motivation.

External Motivation – What Your Addiction Costs

For many of us, change motivation begins from outside. That’s okay. Whether you’ve lost your job, alienated your loved ones, developed serious health concerns related to your addiction, you’re severely in debt, or you’re dealing with any other adverse effects of addiction, this may be the thing that gets you started down the road to recovery. Most people struggling with addiction only decide it’s time to make a change when the consequences of their actions outweigh the benefits experienced when participating in their addictive behavior. For many, that means the cost of continuing their addiction needs to be really high.

Intrinsic Motivation – Reclaiming a Sense of Self-Worth & Control

While these extrinsic motivators are a great resource to jumpstart recovery, they change. For instance, if your spouse says they will need to leave you if you don’t work toward recovery, you may easily find yourself several years into sobriety convinced that they would forgive you again. You’ve done the work for long enough. Or, maybe you’ve worked to recover financially from a gambling addiction. Now, you convince yourself that it wasn’t that big of a problem. You have a little extra to spend at the casino. Whatever your external motivation to begin change, it will become less demanding as time goes on. That’s human nature.

The role of therapy within the continuum of care for individuals in addiction recovery is multifaceted, but one of the most important things we do as therapists is help clients to find internal motivators to maintain sobriety. You can only control you, so when you rely on external motivation to sustain sobriety, the transitory nature of life might mean your recovery becomes transitory as well. By taking the time to look deeper and find reasons why you want to sustain recovery for yourself, those outside motivators no longer have to do all the heavy lifting in your addiction recovery. This increases your resilience, which is the likelihood you can sustain recovery amid life’s chaos.

How Do I Start Developing Motivation for Change?

If you want to change and you’re ready to change, go for it. If you need support through the addiction recovery process, you may want to work with a counselor who can help you understand more deeply how to make lasting changes. If you’re at the point where therapy can be a beneficial aspect of your recovery plan, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Central Arkansas Group Counseling.

Photo by Martin Sanchez on Unsplash