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How to Motivate Yourself to Get Sober

Written By
Matt Gonzales
This page features
7 Cited Research Articles

Getting sober requires individuals to overcome an unhealthy lifestyle. Because of the difficulties that sobriety presents, many people need motivation to avoid drug or alcohol abuse. Luckily, many sources of motivation exist, from inspirational quotes to 12-step meetings.

Substance abuse has a number of social, financial and health consequences. Drug or alcohol use can damage many aspects of life, causing people to feel hopeless and dejected. Over time, substance use can cause mental health disorders, such as depression.

However, many rehab centers in the United States can help people overcome substance use problems and co-occurring disorders. These treatment facilities provide tools to help individuals get sober and live healthier lives.

Before entering treatment, individuals must commit to getting sober. This isn’t easy. Abstaining from substance use can be physically and psychologically painful. In many instances, people turn to drugs or alcohol to help reduce stress and relax. But, over time, this harmful behavior can lead to long-term consequences, including addiction.

Finding motivation to achieve and maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol is a critical first step to getting sober. The inspiration to live a sober lifestyle can come from loved ones, from people in similar situations or simply from thinking about the consequences of substance use.

Tips for Establishing Your Commitment to Sobriety

Motivation can help people to strive to achieve their goals. For many individuals with drug or alcohol problems, motivational factors such as religion can inspire them to change their lives and avoid substance use.

Attend 12-Step Meetings

Support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous connect people who deal with behavioral problems caused by addiction. During meetings, participants share stories of their successes and failures during recovery. Listening to these testimonials and abiding by 12-step principles can inspire people to achieve or sustain sobriety.

Consider the Costs of Drug Use

Drug and alcohol use isn’t cheap. Purchasing drugs from a dealer or alcohol from a nearby store can become a financial burden over time. Spending money on these substances could cut into paying for rent or bills. Addiction comes with costs to society as well. Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription opioids costs the United States more than $740 billion each year in crime, health care and lost productivity, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Read Inspirational Quotes

Reading motivational or inspirational quotes can elicit change and help people avoid substance use. Many people who are discouraged by their behaviors use quotes as tools to build motivation and encouragement.

Think About the Health Risks of Drug Use

Getting drunk or high can lead to painful hangovers. But abusing drugs or alcohol over an extended period can cause more severe health consequences, including cardiovascular, respiratory and psychological problems. Substance abuse can also lead to violence, trauma, injury or diseases such as HIV. Alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses may result in death.

Seek Religion or Spirituality

Many people turn to a higher power for motivation to overcome drug misuse. A higher power often refers to a deity, but some people interpret it as nature or self-will. Religion or spirituality can help people achieve calmness, peace and sanity. Staying connected to a higher power can give people the strength to avoid drug or alcohol use and commit their lives to sobriety.

How Tash Found Sobriety

Tash used alcohol to fit in with her new friends. When it didn’t work, she turned to therapy to quit drinking and cope with depression and anxiety.

Read Her Story

Reasons to Get Sober

Before committing to a life free of drugs and alcohol, people should understand why it is important to achieve sobriety. They need to learn that addiction is a disease that can hurt their loved ones as much as it hurts them.

Substance Abuse Hurts Families

Drug or alcohol abuse affects more than just the individual. It can hurt an entire family. When people struggle with substance abuse problems, family members may argue more often, harbor shame or develop an anxiety disorder. Over time, relationships could become damaged beyond repair.

Substance Use Can Lead to Addiction

Frequent drug or alcohol abuse can result in addiction, a chronic brain disease that causes compulsive behaviors despite knowing the harmful consequences. People with addiction may lie or steal to support their drug or alcohol use. Substance use disorders can also result in heart disease, cancer and mental illness.

Risk of Legal Consequences

Substance abuse is associated with legal problems. For example, someone addicted to alcohol risks arrest for driving while under the influence. And a person with an opioid addiction could participate in a drug transaction with an undercover police officer. As of October 2017, more than 46 percent of federal prison inmates were arrested for a drug crime, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Staying Sober Requires Commitment

Staying sober can be strenuous. Many factors can trigger relapse among people in recovery, including cravings, memories and stress. Completing treatment does not guarantee sobriety.

Upon completing rehab, individuals should seek aftercare. These services include counseling, 12-step programs and sober housing. Engaging in aftercare services is a critical component to recovery because 40 to 60 percent of people who complete treatment experience relapse.

Finding motivation to stay sober can be as challenging as becoming inspired to get sober. But people can stay sober by confiding in loved ones who are emotionally invested in their sobriety, communicating with others in recovery and remembering how difficult life was prior to sobriety.

A 2015 report published in the journal Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation examined the motivation to maintain sobriety among residents of sober living homes. Many residents cited drug testing, costs associated with substance use and support from other residents as motivational factors for remaining sober. Some study participants also stayed sober to avoid homelessness, a common outcome of addiction.

Substance abuse ruins lives. But sobriety saves them. Finding inspiration to get and stay sober can allow individuals to experience a number of health, social and financial benefits.

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