The “Why” Matters on Motivation

The “Why” Matters on Motivation

Motivation and smartness ought to work together because that is the road to recovery. How often have you decided that you were going to quit using alcohol in harmful ways? Did your decision stand the test of hankering for a few glasses – or more?

Perhaps, you started with one bottle, and it was all right. Your judgement was not affected, and you still excelled in business and in your home. Then you upped your intake because one bottle was not enough. Soon, your whole life depended on alcohol, taking away the things you valued more. The descent to rock bottom started, and you knew you needed recovery. Recovery is possible when you are smart about your decision and motivated to see it through. These two elements are important to the Smart recovery process.

What is SMART?

SMART, an acronym for Self-Management and Recovery Training, is a 4-point program that teaches self-management skills in recovering from various types of addiction. Some of the skills struggling alcohol users learn include the following:

  • Altering negative thought patterns about recovering from alcohol dependence
  • Staying motivated while working towards a long-term recovery goal
  • Classifying their needs on a hierarchy of values

How does SMART Recovery Work on Motivation?

SMART Recovery builds on four paradigms which are based on scientific knowledge of psychological processes. Among the four, one is aimed at building and maintaining motivation. How does it work?

Building and Maintaining Motivation:

Alcohol users increasingly consume it because it offers them a reward- some sort of motivation that floods the brain’s reward circuit. The first stage in SMART Recovery training on motivation involves getting participants to create a value list of things that motivate them when they are not using alcohol. The value list may include factors as a happy relationship, work, and personal integrity. It’s often an eye opener when participants realise that they had chosen alcohol over their values.

The emotional feeling that arises once participants realise they conceded to alcohol helps to move them to the next stage. Now, they are beginning to have imageries of how they want their future, and counsellors work with each participant to create a list of goals for the future. To make sure participants are working towards their goal, counsellors monitor their progress.

As the plan for the future continues to form, participants are processed to the next stage that involves writing a list of the benefits and costs of drinking. The aim is to compare one to the other. For example, a participant may write that he drinks to escape financial burden in his benefits column, but he is usually taken aback when he discovers the mounting cost of consuming alcohol. At the end of this stage, participants are prepared to move to the next step of the 4-step program.

Does SMART Recovery for motivation work? The answer is yes. When participants have completed the steps, they come out smart and motivated to swing to a better future- doing the things they value more.


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