Maintaining the motivation for staying sober is one of the most difficult parts of recovery and something that never really goes away, though it will likely become easier with time. Cravings are a part of recovery, and any number of factors— stress, mental health, work, relationships— can impact your ability to resist them. Some people are highly motivated when they first get sober and find that this motivation wanes with long-term recovery. Staying motivated can be difficult, but people can and do recover every day by doing so. How can you stay motivated to maintain your sobriety?
Remind yourself why you got sober
Why do you get sober to begin with? Whether you hit a breaking point or just became “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” as the saying goes, you made the decision to stop using or drinking. List the reasons in your head, on paper, or to another person as many times as you need to for them all to sink in.
Remind yourself what you lost
If you spent any time in active addiction, you most likely lost something of importance to you, whether a relationship(s), a home, a job, or yourself. Focus on what it felt like to lose these things and how you can’t undo the damage, but don’t let yourself dwell. Allow what you lost in the past to become motivation for staying sober in the present and future.
Remind yourself what you have to lose
Hopefully, you’ve been able to begin to rebuild parts of your life that were jeopardized or lost to addiction, as well as build new parts. When you face cravings, temptation, or bleak thoughts, remind yourself of all that you have to lose. You’ve probably lost things to addiction before. Do you really want to experience that all over? You might break trust in relationships that you just started to make progress in, or lose the job that is sustaining you financially.
Don’t get too comfortable in your sober life to the point that you begin to take things for granted and lose sight of what is important to you.
Remind yourself to help others
If you worked the 12 steps, you know that the final step is spreading the message of recovery. You don’t necessarily need to sponsor someone else to help them in their sobriety. Offering to listen or reaching out to someone who seems to be having a difficult time with recovery can help you with staying sober. Sharing your own experiences and how you overcame some of the struggles that they are facing can re-inspire and re-encourage you.
Remind yourself to take care of you
It can be difficult to find the motivation to stay sober when you are not feeling your best physically or mentally. Make sure you are taking time to yourself to eat the right foods, get enough sleep, and fit in some exercise, and set aside alone time, as well as time to be spent with sober friends and family. Also take care to ensure that you continue to meet with a counselor, or are taking time to speak with someone about recovery and your mental health.
Maintaining motivation in sobriety can be difficult, but your worst day sober is infinitely better than your best day drinking or using. Long-term recovery and a sober life are completely possible.
At Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound, we understand the complications of getting and staying sober, but we are here to help you through it and remind you that recovery is possible. Our medical detox and residential inpatient programs are designed to get you started on, or back on track in, your recovery journey. If you or a loved one has a substance use disorder and is ready to take the right steps toward sobriety, please reach out to us at (877)-RECOVER. Our center treats dependence on alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, opioids, and methamphetamine.