How many New Year’s resolutions have you made to lose weight, save more money, or quit smoking only to find you’ve lost your motivation within weeks?
How do you stay motivated to make the change that you honestly want? Talking about wanting it isn’t enough. Motivation is the key to maintaining lasting, successful recovery. Motivation is what drives you to meet your goals. Point 1, will help build on those first seeds of motivation so that you can begin the process of change and recovery.
Ask Yourself These Questions:
An Example of Answers to These Questions:
Now, Answer the Follow-On Questions:
Once you see the discrepancy between your feelings about what you're currently doing and your feelings about changing your behaviour, you can use that difference as further motivation to stop using.As you start to feel better about being abstinent, you feel more empowered to achieve your goal in #1: Be a good partner, parent, and employee.
Because of the habitual nature of addiction, people don’t stop to think of what they are getting out of their addictive behaviour; however, they must be getting something out of it or they wouldn’t keep doing it. Do you drink to cope with stress? Do you get high to escape a bad relationship? Completing a Cost-Benefit Analysis or CBA will help answer these questions. At some point, the benefits outweighed the costs. A CBA allows you to look at your addictive behaviour under a microscope and examine all the benefits and all the costs, as well as comparing the short-term and long-term benefits of using or not using.
People who want to stop an addictive behaviour have two types of thinking about their behaviour, but never at the same time:
Because short- and long-term thinking don't happen simultaneously, the CBA brings them to one place to help you identify and compare the far-reaching consequences of your behaviour with its "right now" benefits. The CBA also will help you compare long- and short-term benefits of abstinence. To start, consider the costs and benefits of your addictive behaviour.
The Costs and Benefits of Using
Using the CBA example, start by looking at what's pleasurable about your addictive behaviour. Be as specific as possible. For example, instead of writing, "My addictive behaviour helps me cope," write how it helps you cope. "My behaviour makes me brave enough to say what I'm really feeling," or "Acting out helps me forget my loneliness."
Benefits (advantages and rewards)
• What pleasures, benefits, or advantages does it bring to my life?
• With what feelings or moods does my addictive behaviour help me cope (frustration, anger, fear, boredom, depression, anxiety, loneliness, stress, etc.)?
• How does it help me cope?
• What positive feelings, moods, or situations does my addictive behaviour make even better?
• What things does my addictive behaviour help, or at least seem to help me do better?
• Does it help me avoid reality or escape?
• Does it ease or reduce physical or emotional pain?
• Does my addictive behaviour help me socialise and fit in?
• Do I need my addictive behaviour to seem more fun, charming, interesting, or more confident?
• Do I need my addictive behaviour to feel normal?
Costs (risks and disadvantages)
• What is it that I dislike about using?
• How is it harming me?
• What will my life be like if I continue to use?
• How much time have I lost to my addictive behaviour?
• How many people do I lie to in order to hide my addictive behaviour?
• How do I feel after the effects my addictive behaviour wear off?
• How is using affecting my health?
• What legal problems do I face because of my behaviour?
• How does using affect my relationships?
• What effects has it had on my self-respect and self-confidence?
The Costs and Benefits of Not Using
Now, do the same exercise for your life without addictive behaviour. Be honest and realistic.
• How will stopping affect my health?
• How will stopping affect my relationships with the ones I love?
• How will stopping affect my job?
• How much money can I save?
• What will stopping do to my self-respect and self-confidence?
• Will stopping affect my ability to deal with my problems?
• What will I do with the time freed up because I'm not pursuing my addictive behaviour?
• What goals have I abandoned that I could accomplish?
What will I miss about using?
• What issues in my life will I have to find new ways to deal with when I stop using?
• What thoughts and emotions will I have to learn to accept?
• What will change about my life that I like now because I use?
The Change-Plan worksheet helps you identify the steps you can take toward your goals for the future and the people who can help them get there.
The Change-Plan worksheet can also help with problem solving because it breaks large problems down into smaller steps to avoid becoming overwhelmed.