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The Value of Finding Your “Why” to Overcome Addiction

Everyone who has an addiction has a story to tell. The paths that brought them to a place of needing drugs or alcohol to survive aren’t the same. The same is true for addiction recovery. Everyone’s process is different, and it looks more like a rollercoaster with twists and turns than a straight, flat road.

Addiction recovery is a difficult process. It can be hard to keep going in the face of cravings and feelings of depression but one thing connects those who are successful in their recovery journey. They all have a “why”. Simply put, a “why” is a reason to gain sobriety. For some, it can be as simple as having more job opportunities available to them, and others are literally fighting for their lives. Having a “why” can make all the difference in keeping yourself motivated during recovery. Your “why” doesn’t need to be big or grand; it just needs to help you keep going no matter what else is happening in your life or how difficult it may seem at times.

What drives or motivates your life?

Knowing your “why” can be a powerful force for motivation. It can help you stay focused on your goals and resist the temptation to return to old habits. What drives or motivates your life? Is it a person, place, or activity? You might want to write down what it is that drives you so that when you’re feeling discouraged and tempted by old habits, you can refer back to this list of reasons why quitting was so important in the first place.

What are you fighting for?

Others may need to list what they are fighting for so they don’t give up. A “why” statement is personal to each individual, so there is no right or wrong answer. But the more powerful the “why” is, the more likely you’ll continue on the path of sobriety. Your “why” can be as simple as wanting to feel good again, to get healthy, or being able to keep up with your kids. It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it motivates you and keeps you going through tough times.

Are you able to see past the present moment into where you want to be in the future?

You should be able to see past the present moment and where you want to be in the future. You should also be able to see how you will get there. For example, if your goal is to live without alcohol, what does that future look like? Does it look like family game nights instead of being drunk at the bar? Does it look like being able to go to a family event without getting drunk and embarrassing yourself? It’s important to look toward what kind of a future you want so that you can create a path to get there.

Write down your “why.”

Once you’ve connected with your “why,” write it down somewhere. Writing it down is a powerful statement. It’s almost like you are bringing it to life. You’ll need it to reflect on not only while you’re visiting a local treatment center such as the SparkToRecovery residential treatment program here in Los Angeles, but also once you get home and things get tough. You can put it in a journal, on a sticky note, or even make something to go on your screen on your phone.

Addiction recovery isn’t linear.

You are on a journey of recovery. It is not a straight line, it is not an easy road, and there will be obstacles that you have to work hard to overcome. The good news is that every struggle you go through will make you stronger than before, but only if you stay sober and continue working toward your goal of being happy without substances in your life. Finding a reason to avoid substances is powerful for every step and turn of your addiction recovery.

Your “why” may change over time.

It’s okay if your “why” changes. What motivates you at the beginning, might not be what motivates you to keep going. If you are trying to change your life for the better and find yourself struggling, it is important to reevaluate your “why”. It may be that your “why” is not a good fit for your life or that it needs to change in order for you to progress. Thinking about what caused you to turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place can give you some insight into what you need in your life. Maybe it was pain after an accident, maybe it was boredom or wanting to fit in, or perhaps it was birthed out of trauma.

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