Why Motivation Matters In Recovery

When people become sober the first time, they tend to become highly motivated. The excitement about their new life and the world promises lots of possibilities. As time passes however, this feeling of excitement in recovery soon wares off. Even though being sober is a lot more fulfilling than the life of addiction, the person begins to take things for granted.

Eventually, the motivation to stay sober starts to fade away, and the danger of relapse increases. This is why motivation is one of the major challenges for former addicts in recovery. Before we proceed, it is important to understand what motivation means.

What Is Motivation?

Motivation is explained as the process that starts, influences, and sustains goal-oriented behaviours. Motivation is what drives us to perform, whether it is standing up to get the mail or reading a magazine to gain more knowledge.

In layman’s words, motivation is mainly used to describe why a person does something. So, what really lies behind motivation? Why do we do something? Without going into clinical details, scientists have labelled three theories for motivation:

Instincts

The instinct theory suggests that our behaviour is motivated by instinct. This means we do what we do because of a fixed inborn pattern of behaviour.

Drives And Needs

This especially drives our biological behaviours like eating, drinking and sleeping. As living things with biological needs, we are motivated to satisfy our urges.

Arousal Levels

This theory states that people are motivated to exhibit behaviours that help them maintain their peak levels of arousal. For example, a person with low arousal levels might prefer to relax and someone with higher levels may wish to exercise instead.

How Do We Relate Motivation To Recovery?

Sobriety is a process, not a single event. The thought that people become sober and live happily ever after is a misconception. This is because there is a reason why someone falls into an addiction in the first place; and that reason might still be there in their sobriety.

The common motivation that makes people turn towards substance use is the inability to cope with life. For example, people who run into debts often resort to drinking to numb their anxiety. Other forms of stress drive people to seek relief from dangerous substances. Substance abuse is an in-effective coping strategy.

In sobriety, the problems might still exist, so more work is needed to motivate the individual to face their problems with a positive mind-set. This may involve motivating them to get a job and earn income to offset those debts. Hence, it’s not just enough to quit the addiction, but be motivated to overcome the inherent problems.

Achieving Emotional Sobriety And Tranquillity

People who seek to build a successful life far from addiction must develop emotional sobriety. This means that they have learned the ability to handle their emotions in a positive way. An emotionally restrained person no longer needs to escape or hide from the cause of their addiction. Instead, they face it squarely and are willing to deal life on its own terms.

Motivation is what helps you acquire emotional sobriety.

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