Testing Motivation in Recovery

Old 09-04-2006, 09:19 PM
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Testing Motivation in Recovery

What is motivation?
Motivation to change problem behavior and sustain the change is:

Being willing to make sacrifices necessary for change.

The acceptance of the belief that if there is "no pain'' then there is "no gain.''

A commitment to rid yourself of problem behaviors, both now and in the future.

The rational perspective that it takes time, energy, effort, hard work, internal strength, and drive to change and sustain the change.

The inner voice of patience, self-love, and nurturing that allows you to recognize the necessary changes that need to be made.

A call to respond to the challenge of life.

Being willing to initiate recovery lifestyle activities.

Enjoying the changes made and wanting to sustain them.

Being unwilling to return to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Accepting relapse in the pursuit of recovery and picking yourself up to start again

Negative consequences of a lack of motivation
If you lack motivation to change or to sustain efforts, a recovery lifestyle eventually will cease. Excuses used, conscious and subconscious, for your lack of personal motivation include:

Your scapegoating of other people, agencies, or circumstances as to why efforts to change or sustain change are unsuccessful.

Experiencing stress, depression, or confusion as to why the efforts to change or sustain change are unsuccessful.

Denial that the change is stagnated.

Blaming others for the inability to succeed in recovery.

Blaming a lack of money, effort, energy, persistence, or time to attain or sustain change.

Not realizing how hard it is to attain and sustain change.

Becoming discouraged with the length of time change takes and the necessity for lifelong commitment to sustain change.

An inability to accept personal responsibility for self.

Depending on others to provide prodding, cajoling, and nagging to attain and sustain change.

Pitfalls of depending on social support to overcome your lack of self-motivation
If you lack personal motivation and depend entirely on social support to attain or sustain a change, you could:

Eventually resent the prodding, encouragement, and support of the others.

Resist sacrificing for change.

Begin to think, "Why should I be doing all the suffering?''

Become jealous of the people in the support system because they are not taking extreme measures to change their own lifestyle.

Begin to feel obligated to pursue the change just to satisfy others.

Feel anger at the others, thinking, "They want this more than I do.''

Feel guilty for not accomplishing the change which others wanted for you.

Begin to blame the others for wanting this change.

Believe that personal self-esteem is dependent on making the change and maintaining it.

Begin to distort the motives, desires, and best wishes of the others.

Feel a sense of coercion, force, or ultimatum which inhibits your freedom to participate in the process of change.

Begin to feel worthless for not changing fast enough, for having relapses or for not sticking to the time frame or the guidelines.

How to sustain healthy self-motivation
In order to sustain healthy self-motivation, you need to:

Love yourself enough to believe you deserve to accomplish change in your life.

Set realistic goals.

Visualize successful change.

Be committed to personal health and self-satisfaction to attain and sustain change.

Devote energy, effort, sustained vigilance, and personal sacrifice.

Accept personal responsibility for problem behavior.

Believe that only through personal efforts can a problem behavior be changed.

Reinforce self success, no matter how small.

Be able to break a large goal into small increments, which are obtainable, reasonable, and measurable, and to reward yourself for the attainment of these sub-goals without regret over the remaining steps still needing to be accomplished or satisfied.

Accept that change of old habits is a lifelong process.

Realize that the efforts to change do not end once initial cessation of old behaviors is attained.

Believe that a work-oriented recovery lifestyle model is a lifelong process.

Sustain the change in problem behaviors.

Commit to a lifelong contract of behavior change.

Irrational thinking contributing to a lack of motivation
Unless I am able to achieve my goal quickly and with little effort, it isn't worth pursuing.

Everybody else is relying on me to change; this is enough to keep me going in my need to change my lifestyle.

There is only a need to lose weight, stop smoking, stop drinking, stop gambling, stop using my credit card, stop using crack, etc., in order to change my life.

There is no reason for me to change my entire lifestyle in order to change my problem behaviors.

It should be easy to change my behaviors.

The professionals who preach lifestyle change don't know what they are talking about.

My problem behavior is not addictive; I am in control at all times; why all the fuss!

Change should be simple and easy to achieve; why am I having so much trouble? There must be something wrong with me.

My friends are all wrong in encouraging me to change. It appears that I mean nothing to them unless I change.

The effort it takes to sustain change is too much; therefore, I will only work on attaining the change and leave sustaining change to time to take care of.

I should enjoy the adventure of change; it should come easy and be pleasant.

If someone makes fun of or criticizes my efforts, I'll get angry enough to give up.

For me to be successful it is important for everyone to understand me and my need to change.

When my family and friends don't make accommodations for my changed lifestyle, I should give up. I can't stand to change alone.

People should realize how hard it is for me to change; they should be more sympathetic.

Unless everyone supports me, I'll never succeed in changing.

I must have warmth, understanding, and caring from others in order to change.

This need to change my lifestyle is being perpetrated by professionals who have a financial interest in it.

Why are they making this seem so difficult? Are they using scare tactics to make me change?

This "change thing'' is beginning to look like a plot hatched by the professionals and my support system. They're never satisfied. J. Messina, Ph.D. & Constance M. Messina, Ph.D.
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Old 03-09-2007, 11:20 PM
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To Life!
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This one's worth looking over again.

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Old 03-10-2007, 12:40 AM
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You're soooo right HT!

I'll be printing this out. There are some areas of life where change is easeier tan others - and at different times too! One of the things I worked very hard on in early sobreity was my physical fitness, but I haven't managed to sustain that. Same with all the work that needs doing round the house - I kept myself really busy with those sorts of projects at first. Last couple years it's been more to do with spending a lot of time with my family, taking risks professionally, and trying to improve my professional development. Which is great, but I feel like I should be able to eat healthier and stay really active too. And there's no reason why I can't - if I can get properly motivated. All it takes is early morning visits to the gym, or runs in the woods.

Thanks both of you. I'm going to use this to reinforce some of my motivations over the weekend, and also to bump up my gratitude that all of these things are possible, now that I'm sober!

Much love!
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by paulmh View Post
...all of these things are possible, now that I'm sober!
spot on Paul! That was a good post to read first thing in the morning.

The more I think about drinking, at the great distance (well..) of four-months-something, the more clear to me that it is that it is a kind of spiritual dying born of fear, as well as a great way of speeding up the actual physical process of dying.

When I think of all the time I spent drunk, it seems like a way of making things impossible: of shutting off possibilities because they were too frightening. Drunk, I could look at possibilities from a safe distance but never ever have to risk them.

People talk about "Dutch courage," but there should be a phrase like "Dutch cowardice"... (Apologies to any Dutch people reading this - it's just a turn of phrase...;o))
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Old 03-10-2007, 05:00 AM
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Nolonger, I could've written that.

I think that's why so many people who have successfully gotten clean and / or sober have done so much more than simply stopping using. They've started living. That's inspirational!
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