FREE Help & Advice - 0808 163 9632 | Intl: +44(0) 203 1313 416  

How to Deal with Lost Motivation in Recovery

helpLosing motivation can be a real danger in recovery because it means you may stop doing the things you need to do in order to maintain your sobriety. Standing still in recovery is often not an option; if you are not going forward, the chances are that you will start backsliding. Short periods of low motivation are not that big a deal, but things become far more dangerous if you become stuck in this mood of low energy.

The Dangers of Low Motivation in Recovery

The main danger with low motivation is that you stop taking those daily actions that have been helping to keep you safe from relapse. Developing a routine in sobriety is important, but when you are lacking energy, you could fall out of this routine. This slowing down in your activity is made worse because the less you do the less you want to do. At this stage, you can be very vulnerable to relapse because not all of the good habits that you had set up to protect you are still there.

The fact that you stop making progress due to your low motivation could soon lead to feelings of disillusionment with recovery. You may start to become depressed, which opens the door to stinking thinking. You may decide that sobriety is just too hard or that it is not what you expected it to be like; at this stage, you may begin to think back fondly to the days when you used to be able to escape your troubles with alcohol or drugs.

Low motivation can lead right back to the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that is so characteristic of addiction. You could begin to lose faith in the possibilities available to you in sobriety and become cynical about this new life. It can be at this stage that you develop dry drunk syndrome; you are still physically sober but in many ways, you may act as if you are still in the midst of addiction.

Why Do People Develop Low Motivation in Recovery

When individuals first break away from addiction, they are usually highly motivated to stay sober.  This is because the pain created from this behaviour is still fresh in their mind. At this stage, sober living tends to be very new and exciting; the person may be so enthusiastic about this new life that they develop pink cloud syndrome. Continuing to enjoy the same level of motivation as in early recovery would make it easier to remain sober long-term. The problem is that this motivation tends to wane over time.

There is a well-known saying about time healing all wounds but this quirk of nature can be bad news for those who have escaped addiction. The pain that gave them the motivation to quit can be forgotten about once the person has been sober for a few months. The individual may begin to wonder if things were that bad when they were drinking or using drugs. Another relevant saying that sums up the situation is that those who forget their mistakes are doomed to repeat them; forgetting the reasons for staying sober in the first place may see motivation for sobriety slip away.

Taking Things for Granted

One of the other reasons many lose their motivation is that they begin to take the gains they have made in recovery for granted. When initially getting sober, there is usually a dramatic improvement to life, but later the rate of improvement can slow down. Things are likely to always be getting better for the individual so long as they keep making an effort, but the changes are no longer so obvious. This is a real problem because the individual may decide that they have stopped making any progress and may use this as an excuse to relapse. They may also fail to appreciate just how much better their life is now when compared to how things used to be.

A mistake that many can make in early recovery is to take on too much. The individual decides they want to try to make their life perfect right away, setting unrealistic goals that are certain to lead to failure. The right way to approach recovery is to aim for progress and not for perfection; this progress needs to be slow and steady. It is also strongly recommended to not take on too many extra challenges in early recovery because there will already be enough on the plate by just trying to remain sober.

The other mistake common mistake that many make is that they fail to keep taking action to sustain their motivation. It is helpful to think of motivation as being similar to an engine – it needs fuel to be able to keep on working. One of the important things about having healthy habits in recovery is that it helps to sustain motivation.

How to Deal with Lost Motivation in Recovery

A person who is grateful for their recovery is very unlikely to relapse. If you believe that your sobriety is worth fighting for, this should be enough to keep your motivation levels replenished. One way to develop this level of gratitude is to begin keeping a gratitude journal; this is where you document all the good things in your life so you are always aware of them.

A common reason that makes many initially break away from addiction is fear. This is a poor long-time motivator because this fear is likely to become less over time as you forget how bad it all was during the midst of your addiction. It is therefore important that you develop positive reasons for staying sober; a gratitude journal could help with this as well.

In order to enjoy a lasting sobriety, you need to make this your number one priority in life. As soon as you begin to put other things ahead of your recovery, you will be moving your motivation away from where it needs to be concentrated. It is important that you have plenty of new goals in your new life so that you can stay on the path of achieving your dreams, but it is important to never allow any of these goals get in the way of your sobriety.

Fellowship Groups

A good way to remain committed to recovery long-term is to become a member of a fellowship group. This type of community means you are always going to be around individuals who are attempting to follow the same path as you; this means that you help to keep each other motivated. You will also get the chance to meet people who are still struggling with addiction, which can be a reminder of what you have to go back to.

If you feel that your motivation for recovery is on the wane, it is vital that you take steps to rectify the situation. The worst thing you can do is to try to ignore the problem. Loss of motivation can be a sign that you are off-track, so you need to get back on track quickly or you could easily end up back where you started in addiction.

Get Into
24 Hours

We'll Call You

close help
Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0808 163 9632