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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