Just as we each have unique circumstances which contribute to the forming of our self-destructive tendencies, we each have unique motivations for getting ourselves out of that danger. A person in addiction doesn’t arrive in that place overnight, and a person in recovery undertakes a similarly long journey back to a place of sobriety. What motivates a person to escape life through using drugs and alcohol can be replaced by opposite motivations to continue in a positive direction. The following are some of the most common reasons given for sobriety by those who have successfully reached their goals. Are your motivations on this list, or would your story of recovery add to it?
People very often find their sobriety in tandem with finding their faith. Their recovery testimony will include a story of turning their backs on the belief system they were raised with, or of not truly understanding their spirituality while in their addiction. As they reach the contemplation phase of changing their addictive behaviors, there will often be a rekindling of some forgotten or buried spark of faith. This newly discovered spiritual path works as motivation to keep pressing onward to recovery.
Growing in spirituality and faith has been recognized by reputable psychological sources as a leading factor in maintaining recovery. Having a belief system which includes the aspect of faith means that a person can place hope in a future which has not yet been obtained. It gives people reasons to continue to do well, even if the positive results are not immediately apparent. This desire to strive toward what we have not yet obtained is the nature of perseverance.
Many people in addiction are torn between their love for their family, and the compulsive nature of addiction. The sense of letting their loved ones down, each and every day that they are using, can drive someone with an addiction further into the pit of despair. Finally deciding to do right by those who love and depend on us most can produce a sense of peace and joy that hasn’t been experienced in years. After experiencing such relief, ourselves, continuing in sobriety brings that same relief to our families.
For some people, their social circle is extremely important. As much as friends love and support us, maintaining an addicted person as part of the group can be overwhelming. People under the influence tend to act in ways that are contrary to the necessary give-and-take of relationships. They may say hurtful things about one friend, or another, or may betray the friendships through making poor decisions. At the least, they are likely to be a source of embarrassment to their friends through ruining get-togethers or events by showing up – or ending up – intoxicated.
Like the sting of knowing we are letting our family down, the sting of knowing that we are slowly sabotaging our friendships can push a person even further into addiction. Being able to make amends and rejoin our place within our social circle has an opposite effect, and can motivate us to continue to pull ourselves up out of the situation which has isolated us from them.
Building new social bonds is often a part of the recovery process too. New sober friends can be made during time spent in various sober living programs or communities.
Getting to a place in life where we are secure in our careers can take a long time. There are usually years of hard work and dedication which go into the task of obtaining job security. Education and credentials are obtained, the workplace culture is navigated, and the years are put into proving ourselves to be a valuable asset to the company we work for. The thought of losing all of that effort to an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be enough to motivate some toward taking the important steps to maintain sobriety.
The importance of keeping one’s position at work, in spite of struggles with addiction, has been recognized by the government and by many workplaces. A person whose working ability is severely impacted by addiction can be deemed as protected under the American’s with Disabilities Act. These protections provide an opportunity for the employee to receive treatment and recover from the addiction before being terminated from the job. There is usually only one chance to take this route, however, which can be a healthy motivation to not give in to drugs or alcohol a second time.
For some, finding a life of sobriety comes later in life. Others might be in a unique position while in younger life, where they don’t find themselves having to dedicate all of their energy toward raising a family or continuing in a career. For these types of people, the greatest motivation for remaining sober may be found in the ability to share their gifts with the world through becoming involved in charity work.
A notable number of substance abuse counselors and sponsors, for instance, are those who have successfully returned from the hell of addiction and achieved recovery, themselves. They are able to use their personal experience and specialized training to assist others along their journey of sobriety. Being able to apply their bad experiences in such a transformative way provides them with the drive and motivation to hold onto their prize of sobriety.
Any type of forward movement in life relies on the basic component of having hope. Hope is the ability to imagine a future where things are better. A person seeking recovery may not yet have a clear idea of what he or she is wanting to achieve, while simultaneously knowing that life can’t just be about scoring that next high or taking that next drink. For these people, starting on the path of recovery is the first step toward clearing the body and mind of the obstacles to forward-thinking that addiction imposes. As their vision grows more clear, they will be able to find their reasons for maintaining their choice of sobriety.