How Do You Keep Your Motivation Going When Recovery Gets Rough?


Our chronic relapses teach us some valuable lessons. Ultimately we learn that we have to be motivated in order to stay sober. Does that mean that when we become unmotivated we relapse? In a sense. Relapse is a process, not an episode. Relapse is usually many months coming made evident through a series of changes in thought and behavior. When motivation to stay sober is lost, it is difficult to continue finding meaning in it. For recovering addicts and alcoholics, this is critical.

Addiction and alcoholism have a peculiar way of creating motivation. As chemical dependency sets in, the neurochemistry of the brain changes to prioritize drugs and alcohol. Motivation is suddenly a strong force when there is a crippling need for more substances, especially in the midst of withdrawal syndromes and cravings. One can find themselves motivated enough to get to the next drink or the next high. Finding motivation beyond that is difficult. Overtime, the brain becomes programmed to prioritize the motivation for drugs and alcohol over everything else. In sobriety, though life is going well, changes are happening, and health is being restored, the brain might still be more motivated by the thought of drinking or using again than it is spending more time sober. Good times and bad, one has to feel motivated to keep going in their recovery.

How To Keep Your Motivation

According to business magazine Forbes, “A person who is grateful is motivated to face challenges with optimism.” Such a grateful person, Forbes explains, “is a motivated person, and the key to sustained motivation may be regularly giving thanks.”

Gratitude has been under the microscope in recent years. Studies have found that gratitude can reduce stress, as well as improve wellbeing and reduce stress. Practicing gratitude is a core belief of Buddhist practice. Gratitude is an answer to suffering.

In recovery there is a saying about the “attitude of gratitude”- ‘show me an attitude of gratitude and I’ll show you lifelong recovery’. People who stay sober stay motivated by their gratitude for their sobriety. It’s a recipe for success.


Refuge Recovery Center strives to inspire each resident to develop a meaningful and authentic life which motivates them to continue staying sober after treatment. Our continuum of care spans from detox to transitional living, supporting residents at every stage. For more information, call or text: 323-207-0276.


Recommended Posts