When someone with substance use disorder becomes sober or first gets out of rehab, there’s a lot of excitement involved even when they know that there is a hard road in front of them. It is exciting to get free and change your life even if it can seem a bit scary at the time. Consider the advice below to maintain your motivation in sobriety.
It can seem like a lot to you to remain sober and have goals at the same time. Being sober is amazing in and of itself, and your life is going to continue to open up to amazing possibilities as a result. You might want to gain back what you have lost or reach for something you put off long ago. You can do this.
In fact, it helps your sobriety a great deal to work on other aspects of your life. Addiction has most likely negatively impacted your health and personal relationships. Setting and working toward goals can help you to take back what was stolen, and it will give you additional motivation to remain sober.
Choose large goals, but break those goals up into smaller ones. For example, if you want to run a marathon, you can’t start off running the whole thing just because you used to do it. Instead, start by working toward smaller milestones. You might want to build up to running 5 miles, but you need to start with simply walking. Then jog before moving on from there. Achieving smaller goals will help to boost your confidence, which will also prevent you from sabotaging your own efforts.
Understand That You Are Worth Your Sobriety
Speaking of self-sabotage, you need to understand that you’re worth your sobriety, and you deserve a fulfilling life. You are not damaged goods, and you are not too far gone. Don’t believe that nonsense. You were meant for something great. You have been through the worst, which means you can help a great many people. People will listen to you because you have been where they are, and you can show them that awesome things await them in their sobriety.
You might become fearful or suffer from a feeling of inadequacy while on your journey, but don’t let that stop you. These feelings are temporary, and you can change them with the right mental attitude. You know what’s important to you. Staying motivated in recovery means being honest with yourself. So, when you feel tempted to drink or get high, ask yourself what’s really going on. You could just be afraid of success. It happens to more people than you might think.
Get Rid of the “All or Nothing” Mentality
On your journey, things aren’t always going to be great. You’re not going to have perfect days, and that’s okay. The important thing to remember is that you don’t throw in the towel just because things aren’t perfect. Don’t beat yourself up or quit because you didn’t work out or didn’t complete something else you set out to do. Pick up where you left off and keep going.
Imagine that you’re walking down a road. Let’s say the road is 5 miles long, and you want to reach the end. Along the way, you stumble on some rocks or veer off the course to take in some pretty views. Maybe you take a nap under a tree for a few hours and start back down the road. Would you be upset that you stumbled on rocks, looked out over the landscape, or took a nap? No, of course not.
Just because you’re not steadily walking down the road, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to get to the end, and it doesn’t mean you haven’t crossed the same amount of road to get to where you are. Progress is progress. Don’t disregard all of your previous achievements and beat yourself up for getting off-track. Just get back on the road and keep going.
Keep a Journal
It’s easy to forget where you’ve been, all you have struggled with, and how you used to think. If you keep a journal and read your earlier entries, you will find that you have grown a great deal.
In fact, with a record of what you’ve been up to, you might find that you have drastically changed in just a few months, which is nothing short of amazing. This can be incredibly encouraging on days when you feel down or think you aren’t progressing.
If there are areas you haven’t been able to overcome, don’t lose heart. It happens, but don’t forget to celebrate your successes. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, look at it as a learning opportunity and use it to continue on your path to personal growth. Be sure to take things as they come, and don’t forget to write down your thoughts, feelings, and actions along the way.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
On your recovery journey, you’ll discover many reasons why you want to be sober. In the beginning, it might simply be because you’re done living the way you did before sobriety. For others, they might want to be sober for their kids.
All of the reasons you have for being sober are valid and will help you stay committed, but it’s important to remain diligent. When life gets hard, because it will, you will need to stay focused on what you want. You will need to get rid of all of the distractions keeping you from your goals. Also, be sure to constantly remind yourself why sobriety is important and why you’re worth the effort.
Don’t Chase the Past
Addiction has a way of robbing people of precious moments that occur on a daily basis. After the storm has cleared, you might have this overwhelming desire to make up for lost time. However, it’s important to remember that you can’t change the past, and you don’t live there.
What’s more, if you’re busy worrying about the past, you’ll never live in the present, and you’ll rob yourself of your future. So, allow the past to teach you and propel you in the present so that you’ll have brighter days ahead. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do with what I have today?” Then, stay focused on the present and remember that looking back at the past with regret will not help you reach your goals for a more hopeful future.
Decide What You Want in Life
It might be beneficial to you to create a vision board. Put everything on it that you want in life. This could be as simple as taking cuttings of things you want from a magazine. During the process, avoid focusing on superficial things and think of what it is you truly value in life.
This might be family, friends, or health. Think big and small. Eventually, you might want to get your dream car or pay off debt, but you also might want to enjoy the morning air on your front porch with a good cup of coffee. Put that on your vision board, and look at it often. Whenever you do one of the things on your vision board, put a star or some other mark to see how much you have accomplished.
Take Time to Love Yourself
You’ve been through a lot, and it’s time to love yourself. Along the way, you might have caused harm to others, but you have been harmed too. Taking time to love yourself helps to undo some of the harm you have experienced.
Self-care lets you know you matter and will give you fuel to keep on moving. You will start to feel better about yourself and begin to grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Self-care activities that can boost your overall well-being include yoga, jogging, and other exercises. You can also start daily meditation or take time out of each day to read an inspirational book. Life can get busy, but it’s important to focus on healing, especially during the recovery process.
Keep a Schedule
Along with maintaining a self-care routine, keeping a schedule is vital to your success. When you keep a schedule, you will prevent yourself from not achieving your goals and having fruitless days. Having a schedule in place is also one of the best things that you can do to properly manage your activities so that you don’t begin to feel overwhelmed.
If you have unhealthy people in your life, your schedule can also help you to maintain your personal boundaries. It’s vital that you attend to what’s important and avoid putting your needs on the backburner for the sake of “helping” others. A schedule will ensure that you avoid distractions, meet your daily responsibilities, and remain focused on your sobriety.
You weren’t meant to carry all of your burdens on your own. Consider attending AA, NA, or other meetings to talk with people who have been where you have. You’ll find “old timers” and new people at these meetings who can help you both learn and grow. Meetings will also give you the opportunity to work with a trustworthy and wise sponsor who can provide support along your recovery journey.
In addition to attending meetings, it’s important to reach out to true friends and beloved family members who really have your back. Also, consider getting in touch with your higher power. Learn from those around you, and remember that you don’t have to go through life alone.
Take Time to Enjoy Life
It’s time to start living the life you always wanted. Trying to stay sober can be hard work, and you might feel it’s an uphill climb. Because of this, you need to take time to enjoy life to avoid getting burned out.
Enjoy fresh air, take a bath, get out in nature, and find other healthy things that bring you pleasure. This may be something as simple as an exciting TV show, a good book, or some comfy clothes. Whatever it is, embrace it. Doing so will make the process of staying sober easier.
Make a Gratitude List
When you start thinking of all the things that have gone wrong in your life, it’s time to be grateful for all the positive things that have happened to you. Make a list of all the things that are good, no matter what they are. You can be grateful that your bed is comfortable or that at least you have a bed. If you went through rehab, be grateful for the opportunity and don’t forget to express gratitude daily for being able to live life sober. Keep a list of all the positives in your life and refer to it often. Say “thank you” to your higher power and work hard every day to keep a feeling of gratitude in your heart.
It can be difficult to give yourself time to achieve everything you set out to do or to stay motivated in recovery. However, it’s very important that you don’t look at everything you need to do and get discouraged or overwhelmed. Staying motivated in recovery is about understanding where you’re going while focusing on achieving your goals in doable steps. You weren’t meant to do it all overnight. Recovery is a process, but step by step, you’re going to do this. You’ll see.