In the beginning it might feel exciting to make a big change in life. It might feel inspiring and motivating to know that something new is on the horizon. It might feel rewarding to know that you’re making a new change in your life. However, over time, that excitement and fulfillment might slowly erode. You might feel the motivation for change slowly slip away and instead, you might actually feel the desire to use drugs or drink again. In order to prevent a relapse, there are some steps you can take when you begin to feel your motivation for sobriety subside.

There are many reasons why a person might lose their motivation for sobriety. These can include:

  • -After a long period of sobriety, some people might forget the pain that substance use caused them and may decide to drink or use drugs again for the enjoyment of it.
  • -If recovering addicts do not learn appropriate coping tools to replace the use of substances, they may not be able to withstand a long period of sobriety. And instead they might yearn for drug use or drinking as a way to cope with life.
  • -In the beginning of recovery there might be an exaggerated idea that everything is going to be fine. However, over time, as the challenges of recovery present themselves, a person might run out of steam and lose their motivation for sobriety.
  • -Unresolved experiences can trigger feelings of anger and resentment which can drain people of their motivation to stay on the path of sobriety.
  • -If a person does not have enough support in recovery, he or she may lose their way and begin to make choices that support returning to an old way of life.


These are examples of why a person might lose their ability to stay motivated during recovery. Certainly, having a network of support, the right treatment for addiction and any other mental illness, as well as learning new coping tools can facilitate recovery and sobriety. When recovering becomes challenging, it can be easy for a person to want to return to drugs or alcohol as a means for escape.

In order to restore motivation and find inspiration for staying sober, you might try the following:

Keep a journal of your successes in recovery, such as every time you avoided a craving. This will keep your attention on your successes versus failures.

Make a list of what you are having trouble with in your recovery and get help for it immediately. For instance, if you notice that you’re having cravings, talk with a sponsor or a drug counselor, attend more meetings, and/or get a mentor to aid you in your sobriety.

Write down on a calendar the events you will attend to support your sobriety. Try to attend at least two events per week. This might be a 12-step meeting, a therapist appointment, or an appointment with a sponsor.

Keep a journal of what you’re grateful for. Similar to writing down your successes, keeping your attention on what you appreciate in your life can keep you enjoying your life versus feeling like you need to escape it.

These are some suggestions for restoring the motivation for sobriety. If you feel that you are in danger of relapse, contact a mental health provider right away.

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