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5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Recovery

Recovery, as they say, is a marathon, not a sprint. You get through one day at a time and try to stay focused. Early in recovery, you may feel some lingering effects from detoxing, and you might feel depressed or irritable as you adjust to living without drugs or alcohol, but you also have one big advantage–your reasons for quitting are still fresh in your mind.

As you get more time in recovery, it may be hard to maintain that initial motivation. You have to build some motivation into your regular routine to remind you why you’re doing this. Good motivation is ideally part carrot and part stick. You want something to work for and look forward to, but since people typically are motivated more by fear than hope, you also need to remind yourself what you have to lose.

Play the tape.

This is definitely more stick than carrot. Train yourself to think all the way through whenever a craving hits. Imagine how angry you will be at yourself for relapsing, how disappointed your family will be, how terrible you will feel after a bender, and how hard it will be to get back to where you are now. In short, don’t just think about the relief of using again, think of all the bad stuff that comes with it.

Go to meetings.

This can be part carrot and part stick. You will hear plenty of stories that will remind you how bad life was before recovery, and that will help motivate you to stay sober. You will also hear stories about how much life has improved in sobriety, which can give you something to shoot for. When you hear someone who may have been in worse shape than you has turned her life around, it gives you hope. Your sponsor should be someone who has the kind of recovery you would like to have. It’s good to have a mentor who has been there before and who can encourage you.

Keep track of wins.

Any little way your life has improved since sobriety can encourage you. The important thing is to actually recognize and appreciate these little things. Maybe you woke up without a hangover for the first time in years. That’s amazing; write it down. Keep a list of ways life has improved since you got sober. It shows that your effort is paying off and it’s also a record of what you stand to lose if you relapse.

Help others.

Any way you can help others makes you feel better about yourself and it’s particularly good for your recovery if you help others stay sober. Make it a regular part of your week if you can. Going to meetings and volunteering is an excellent way to do it. Helping others reinforces your own commitment to sobriety and forces you think about what has worked for you and how sobriety has improved your life.

Set goals.

There are a lot more things you can do in recovery than you could do in active addiction. Identify some of those things, even if they are small things, and work toward achieving them. Not only will this give you a concrete reason to stay sober, but it will also give you a bit of a dopamine boost every time you achieve a goal. This boost can help with some of the flatness people often feel early in recovery.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.