Some Things You May Not Know About Substance Abuse, Part 7: In the beginning of recovery, it doesn’t matter if you are self motivated. It just matters that you have motivation

In the beginning of recovery, it doesn’t matter if you are self motivated. It just matters that you have motivation

Most people believe that internal or self motivation is the best kind of motivation and that people who are motivated for recovery to please others, whether they be the court, a spouse, a boss, or a parent, are not as well motivated.

Facts and figures show otherwise. They show that people who are externally motivated are more likely to succeed in staying clean than those who are doing it just to please themselves.

The one who is only self motivated is free to change his mind, and most of them do.

It’s one thing to sit and say, I’m never going to use again. What alcoholic has not prayed to the porcelain god that very prayer? Most say they do not want to use again when they are suffering from the consequences, not the desires, of use. When the desire to use returns, there is nothing to stop them. The bars, drug houses, and tobacco shops are filled with people who want to stop using. The ones who do stop have a reason to do so and have the need to make sacrifices.

The person who is externally motivated has more to lose.

I will help anyone where they are at, whether they are internally or externally motivated. But, if I were to chose who I would work with in recovery, I would rather work with the ones who are both externally and internally motivated. They would be the most likely to succeed. But I would take a client who was externally motivated over someone who only had to please himself.

That is particularly the case if the addict has someone: a spouse, a parent, an employer, or a judge, who could externally motivate him, but chooses not to. That person is set up to fail because others have failed him.

The person who is externally motivated has people in her life that care enough to take a stand.

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Published by Keith R Wilson

I'm a licensed mental health counselor and certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor in private practice with more than 30 years experience. My newest book is The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. I recently published a workbook connected to it titled, How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again. I also have another self help book, Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments. I’ve also published two novels, a satire of the mental health field: Fate’s Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic, and Intersections , which takes readers on a road trip with a suicidal therapist. If you prefer your reading in easily digestible bits, with or without with pictures, I have created a Twitter account @theshrinkslinks. MyFacebook page is called Keith R Wilson – Author.

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