Fighting addiction is one of the hardest things you will ever do. It starts with recognizing you have a substance ruling your life, and this struggle is real. Addiction causes changes in your brain that effect everything you do, even when you are not under the influence.
For anyone who has not experienced the pull of addiction, it is hard to understand. Addiction changes your behavior and makes it impossible for you to live the life you know you could. It forces you to make decisions that are not really in your best interest. Addiction takes over your life and creates a downward spiral.
It takes a lot of courage to fight the forces of addiction and put yourself on a path to a clean, healthy lifestyle. You have to know you want to make a change and be committed to doing what it takes on this long journey out of addiction. No one can make this choice for you, although they may want to.
What a lot of people do not realize is that recovering from addiction requires a lot of outside support, too. No one really recovers alone. From a good rehab program to counselors and friends, every step of the way, you will need help. That support system is what keeps you going during the tough times because addiction recovery is not always easy.
Belief in Yourself
Anyone who attempts to recover from an addiction is already a hero. By making that decision to change your life, you invoke all the courage of a warrior. You are going to fight this disease with everything you have — and then you are going to dig deeper, into resources you didn’t even know you possess, and fight a little harder.
In the early stages of recovery, especially, it is difficult to believe in yourself. Addiction comes with shame and self-doubt, but that is just part of how it controls you. You have to believe in your ability to fight addiction and ultimately prevail.
The key is being able to turn on the energy when the fight gets long and slow. There are times during recovery when it is hard to imagine you will make it through, when you start wondering if it is really worth all the pain of recovery. Those are the times when you need some resources to help you hang on. After all, you cannot achieve a sustained recovery if you stop fighting in the middle.
What Is Inspiration?
The word inspiration tends to have a religious connotation. People who follow the teachings of a particular religion often talk about the inspiration they derive from the divine. These people have a special connection to their beliefs that may help them when times are tough. Everyone needs some help from time to time.
You do not have to be religious, however, to make it through addiction recovery. During recovery, some people actually might adopt a religion or even strengthen one they used to practice before their addiction. But worship is an individual thing. You do not have to believe what others believe. You have to find something you can believe in, though.
Regardless of what you officially call it, recovery will bring you to the belief in a power outside of yourself. Knowing there is a power greater than you in the universe that you can reach out to and rely on in difficult times is the very definition of inspiration. People find this inspiration in different ways. Through your early work in recovery, you will discover that power for yourself.
Where Does Inspiration Come From?
Inspiration can come from a number of different places, and it is unique to everyone. When you first begin your addiction recovery, you may not feel like you have much inspiration. Maybe your decision to change your life by getting help with your addiction was inspired by one fleeting thought — you want to do better for your kids, or you want to make your parents proud.
As you move forward in your recovery, peeling back the layers of emotion, you will start to feel more inspired. You will begin to see you are worthy of all the attention and nurturing recovery teaches. Here are some ideas that inspire people to begin their recovery:
- Treat yourself right. No one else in your life may have done what was right for you, but through your recovery, you are going to treat yourself right. The self care you learn in recovery will give you a reason to continue. Other people may not take care of you, or not even apologize for mistreating you, but you can take care of yourself.
- Erase the past. There may be some incidents in your past that put you on the path to addiction and self loathing. You spent a long time trying to forget about what happened. In recovery, you learn that the way to release these scary emotions is to face them. Pushing through your recovery provides you with a means of erasing a terrible past and moving forward with your life.
- Make them proud. We all have a desire to please our parents, and if addiction interfered with your relationship, you might be inspired to recover from your addiction to make them proud. If you are a parent yourself, your inspiration to get clean and sober may come from a desire to regain the pride of your children. Close relationships can provide inspiration for big life changes like recovery.
- Sunrises and sunsets. Nature offers a number of awesome experiences, even for the casual observer. The power of beauty in a sunrise or sunset has inspired many great acts, and it can help you persevere in addiction recovery. The desire to witness many more sunrises can move you to extreme feats.
- Outpace the last generation. Life is not a contest, but humans do have a competitive spirit. Often we want to out-live or out-achieve our ancestors. If your mother died of disease, you might be determined not to repeat her fate. If your grandfather founded the family business, you may strive to open two new branches. Recovering from addiction could put you on a path to achieving these goals, and having such a focused goal can inspire you to work hard for that recovery.
There are a number of different scenarios that could inspire you to fight your addiction. Starting out with one and maintaining your focus could bring you through the tough times. Many of these inspirations come from within yourself.
Finding Your Inspiration in Addiction Recovery
Addiction creeps up on people when they least expect it. No one sets out to become addicted to substances. Instead, when they begin using a substance for recreational purposes, they think it’s safe. They think they can do it one time, or only to have some fun on the weekends, and it will be okay.
Some also have legitimate medical reasons for using substances like prescription painkillers. However, whether they are prescribed by a doctor or available over the counter, all drugs come with some risk of addiction. For many people, their need for medication turns into an addiction and gets out of control before they know what is happening.
To find your inspiration in addiction recovery, you have to recognize the problem. Other people can tell you you are an addict, but until you see how substances are running your life, you will not be inspired to quit.
For many people, that inspiration comes at a very dark time in their lives. Unfortunately, for many, addiction has to push them beyond their limits before they recognize the problem — and it is not necessarily the addiction they notice. It is the resulting failed marriages, lost jobs and unruly children or unhappy parents that draws an addict’s attention to possible change.
Many people who are addicted to substances find their inspiration to seek recovery in the things that go wrong in their lives. They may wake up homeless one day and realize they cannot continue this way. They see the pain in their parents’ eyes as they are refused a visit home, and they resolve to earn back that respect.
Crisis is a swift teacher for some. You may only have to wake up after a night of partying one time with vague or no recollection of the previous night to decide you have to make a change. Or you may be denied a good job because you were fired from the last three and then understand that addiction is ruining your life.
Finding the inspiration to work toward a lasting recovery from addiction can be as easy as looking around you. If you are unhappy with your life, cannot hold a job or have nothing but failed relationships, your inspiration could be right there. Unfortunately, it still may be hard for you to see.
Often, people who are addicted to substances don’t make the connection between their drug use and the failures in their lives. Failed relationships get blamed on other people, as does poor job performance. Parents are considered too demanding or their expectations are just unrealistic.
Then, when the substance use is understood to be the problem, many people think they can fix it on their own. They are ashamed of their behavior and do not want to admit the problem. They figure if they keep it a secret, they can overcome the addiction and no one will know.
What those people don’t realize is that everyone probably already knows. Addiction is not easily disguised from close friends and family. It is just that elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. The other fact people often fail to grasp is that addiction is serious and requires help to overcome.
If you are moving through these denial phases, though, you are getting closer to finding your inspiration. Taking that first step to begin an addiction recovery program is hard. Just admitting that you have a problem that is highly stigmatized in our society is a big step. When you are ready to admit the problem, your inspiration for getting into recovery is probably close by.
How to Keep It Going
Addiction recovery programs are often 30 or 90 days, but really, recovering from an addiction takes a lot longer than that. It is a process you will be going through in many ways for the rest of your life. You can think of recovery as a lifestyle, not a cure.
Within the first 30 to 90 days, most people get some relief and no longer feel like they are living in crisis. But learning to maintain sobriety goes on much longer. In fact, even people in successful recovery for a couple years can experience struggles, relapse and growth.
Finding the inspiration to begin recovery from addiction is the first step. Figuring out how to increase your motivation to succeed when the program challenges you is another story. Everyone’s recovery has challenging days. Addiction recovery is like peeling an onion: You successfully move past a certain milestone, and it reveals your next challenge in the distance.
A successful long-term recovery requires much inspiration. Every time things get tough and you want to give up or give in to your cravings, you need another shot of inspiration to help you hold on and pull through. Here are some ideas to keep you inspired during the long journey to recovery:
- Be kind to yourself. Addiction is not your fault. It happens as a result of a series of actions and reactions, many of which are out of your control. Your attempts to take control of your life and pull it away from addiction are more than admirable. No one recovers from addiction in a day or a week, or even a month, though, and, no one is too damaged to recover. Give yourself a break for not being there yet.
- Be yourself. We tend to compare ourselves to others and find we do not measure up. Your goal in life is not to become someone else. It is to be a better version of yourself. Don’t worry about how other people live their lives, what they appear to achieve or how they handle their struggles.
- Just live. We cannot accomplish something every minute of every day. Part of recovery is learning and growing, and the two steps are intertwined. Growing doesn’t always take place while you sleep. Trust that you are growing when you don’t feel anything different. Some days you have to just focus on your daily tasks and not try so hard.
- Take one day at a time. This phrase is used a lot in recovery. It is a good reminder when you try to get ahead of yourself. Big picture thinking can sometimes get you into trouble. Worrying about what comes next, and then after that is exhausting and sometimes self-defeating. If you reach a milestone in your recovery and get scared you cannot sustain it for the next 20 years, stop! You got this far, and you’ll get the rest of the way. What you need to focus on today is getting through this one day.
- Remember, you deserve this. Everyone deserves a happy, healthy, substance-free life. No matter how others have made you feel in the past, you are deserving. Addiction changed how you behaved, but not who you are. Ultimately, you are doing this for yourself, because you are worth it!
- You can be the change. If your addiction is part of a long family history of substance abuse, you have a chance to change history. You do not have to be what everyone who went before you was. You can beat addiction and live the rest of your life substance-free. By doing that, you are changing history for the next generation of your family.
- Retreat to your happy place. Visualization is a very powerful tool you can invoke whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by your recovery. Keep a happy place or event in mind for this exercise. Write it down if you have to and keep it handy. When recovery starts to feel like more than you can handle, visualize that happy place and run through the sequence of that happy event. This exercise will actually create happiness chemicals in your brain — the natural kind.
- Believe in yourself. It is easy to get caught up in doing your recovery to please other people. You want to prove to them you are better than they think, show them you can do it or make them proud. These are certainly good inspirations. Those people can be unpredictable, though. The only one you are really doing your recovery for is you. When you believe you can do it, what other people think of you is not so important.
- Take time for you. Part of what is happening as you go through recovery is that your brain is healing. With the substances cleared out, your brain is on its own to regulate thoughts and feelings. Emotions can be difficult to process, so your brain needs time. You can provide that healing time by slowing down. Spend some time alone just letting your thoughts wander. Unplug from the world and just be.
- Reach out to your support network. When recovery is going well, it is easy to forget about your support network. During the challenging times, you should reach out to these people for help. That’s what they are there for. Call your sponsor, your counselor, your trusted friend, or a buddy from your group sessions and talk. Just letting someone know that you are struggling can sometimes relieve the pressure. Interacting with other people who are in recovery will remind you that you are not alone and your inspiration will return.
- Take on a new challenge. Sometimes recovery seems dull. You are not in crisis mode, but you are still in recovery. You may even reach a point where you think you don’t need recovery anymore or that you are done. This can be a dangerous time when relapse is likely. When you have this dull, uninspired feeling, it is a good time to take on a new recovery challenge. Read a recovery book or join a new therapy group. Shake things up, and you will see that sometimes inspiration comes from setting a new goal.
- Remember where you’ve come from. Instead of being concerned that you are not moving forward in your recovery, take some time to look at how far you’ve come. No matter how new your recovery is, you have milestones to reminisce about. Maybe you made it through detox, or you are starting to change some of your behaviors. Maybe you are more conscientious about how you live your life, or maybe you didn’t use any substances for one whole day. That makes today better than yesterday. You can find inspiration in these small steps and build on that.
Contact 12 Keys to learn more about finding the inspiration to face the tough times during your addiction recovery journey. Our experienced, compassionate staff will answer all of your questions about addiction recovery. We understand the challenges that arise during the recovery process, and we are here to help you persevere in addiction recovery. Contact 12 Keys today and let us help you along this challenging journey to a happy, healthy life.