There have been times in my sobriety when I have found it difficult to muster up the willingness necessary to do what was expected of me. This may mean that I start to slack on my meetings, I don’t call my sponsor or support group as much, or I start to place other things in my life above my sobriety. Regardless of where my motivation is lacking the result is usually me being discontent until I realize that I have to redouble my efforts.
Staying motivated has really become the name of the game for me now that I have been sober for a little while. Or as a friend put it staying sober long term is really a battle against yourself at times. The willingness and desperation that I felt walking through the doors is all but gone at this point and my life has been completely transformed. This means that I can’t necessarily rest on the desperation of the past in order to keep me sober today. In order to continue my sobriety I have had to find ways to motivate myself, even when I don’t feel like doing any of the things that I have to.
The number one thing that keeps me motivated in my recovery is my children. Anytime that I start to feel unmotivated, or start to think, do I really want to do this anymore, I take one look at their faces and know that I have to keep going no matter what.
When I was in treatment and receiving services I was taken to a memorial for all of the addicts and alcoholics who had recently passed away. They had a large screen and on it, they projected pictures of all of the people that were recently deceased. As I sat there and watched I began to notice a pattern. A majority of the people that had died were in their 30s and they had children. This really affected me and I thought about what losing my battle to addiction would mean to my children. It meant that they would forever think of their mother as just an addict and alcoholic and the pain that this would cause was unbearable for me to think of. I knew I didn’t want to put them through that and I couldn’t imagine not being around to see them grow up. The thought of those two things is devastating to me and whenever I start to feel unmotivated in my recovery I think about that.
Another way that I stay motivated in my recovery is through sponsorship. This really can be a saving grace at times because it not gives me a fresh perspective on recovery but it also keeps me accountable when I don’t want to be. Both things are necessary for my continued motivation. For instance, sometimes I will go to meetings and be very bored. I’ll think to myself, I’ve heard this before a hundred times and I start to get jaded toward the program. Then I bring one of my sponsees to a meeting and afterward she tells me about some epiphany that she had because of something the speaker said. This allows me to see recovery through fresh eyes and in doing so, gives me the motivation to continue. It reminds me about where I came from and usually I am grateful afterward.
Sponsorship also keeps me motivated because it reminds me what my purpose in recovery is. After a little while of being sober, it is no longer about me, but rather it is about the new person who walks through the door. Helping them get the gift that I was given is my purpose and remembering this, gives me the willingness to continue when I don’t want to.
Speaking of meetings, one of the best ways that I have been able to stay motivated with going to meetings, is by changing them up from time to time. It is very easy for me to get stagnant in my meetings and when this happens I usually start to lose motivation to go. When this happens I know that it is time to change them up and seek out different messages in different places. I try to remain accountable to certain meetings because this is important, but other times I just need to get away for a bit and seek out new things.
Recovery to me is all encompassing. This means that it is directly related to every part of my life. What I have found is that when I don’t feel fulfilled in my work life, or relationship life, I usually don’t feel great about my recovery either. What I have found the longer that I have stayed sober is that in order to stay motivated in my recovery I must also be working towards certain goals in my life. I can’t just hide out in meetings or recovery, but I have to be working towards something. This, possibly above everything else, has allowed me to stay motivated in my sobriety.
This may sound strange because as we’re told from early on, we have to put our recovery before everything else otherwise we’ll lose it, but I have found seeking fulfillment in my life outside of the rooms to be integral in my continued motivation.
Having goals and working towards them gives me something to look forward to and in doing so it allows me to stay focused in the present as I work toward achieving it.
A good example of this was with the main goal of my early sobriety, moving back to my home state in order to be with my children. For the first 18 months of my sobriety I was away from my children and I knew that in the end I wanted to end up back with them. In order to do this I had to get myself right and so I used this as a motivation to continue to grow in my recovery.
I often find myself looking at spiritual growth and recovery as a quest. A quest that I have set out on in order to discover more about myself and grow in my understanding of the world and God. Looking at my recovery in this way has helped to offset some of the boredom that could possibly set in from going to meetings day in and day out and hearing the same things over and over again. While it isn’t always easy to stay motivated in sobriety, it is possible if you challenge yourself to do so. The more tricks you have in your bag, the better your chances are, so hopefully if you’re feeling unmotivated in recovery, some of this helped.