Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Going the Distance

Life is a marathon and not a sprint as the cliché goes. Often it can be much easier to be a good sprinter than a long distance runner especially when it comes to ending bad habits and starting good ones. For example, most people have had the experience of making a decision that it is time to start working out. That choice is usually followed by some really good workouts at the gym for a few days or maybe even a few weeks or for as long as our motivation will carry us. Usually however, somewhere between a few days and a few weeks things can fizzle out and bad habits can kick back in. It may not take much to run out of gas with our motivation.

The same is true for quitting an addiction. After an arrest or some other consequence there can be a sudden burst of motivation that can get that process of change started up strongly. Still with time that motivation can unfortunately subside especially as life hands us its usual array of stresses, distractions and other obstacles. Sometimes when we experience the cold reality that change is not so easy, motivation can start to dwindle

With that in mind perhaps the issue may not be getting motivated but instead sustaining motivation.

Sustain: v -to keep up or keep going, as an action or process

Consider the following discussion questions about sustaining motivation:

  • Once you get moving in a positive direction, what might slow you down and drain your motivation?
How can you avoid these motivation killers? 

  • What do you need in your life in order to keep the fire of motivation burning and to keep pressing forward without giving up?

How can you get more of that in your life?

  • What about this group? - How can the people here, including you, help one another to sustain motivation and to stay on the right track?

How can you all encourage and inspire one another?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Outside In

To get started, think about a situation in your life where you were doing everything right on the outside, following the rules and listening to suggestions, but at the same time inside you were dying to do what you knew is wrong. Some examples:
  • Staying faithful in a relationship but inside dying to cheat
  • Being a valued employee at work, but inside hating the job and fantasizing about quitting
  • Abstaining from using a substance or other behavior but still inside yearning to go back to your old life again
These examples highlight the difference between what someone can show on the outside while what is really still going on inside.

Change on the outside is an excellent start. It is better to be doing the right thing even if you still want to do the wrong thing. However, real, lasting change, eventually requires change to happen with the person who you are inside. What does that mean to you?

Changing on the inside is not easy, especially when it comes to substance abuse and addition. Discuss the following questions to start thinking more about where you stand on the inside:

Distractions – What thoughts, if any, still pop up in your head that may not be so good for you?

Looking backward – Ever feel yourself romanticizing the “good old days” of getting high?

Future Fantasies – Do you ever catch yourself allowing your mind to think about scenarios where you could get high again and not get caught?

What has worked for you when it comes to moving on and letting go of those things that you deep down know are no good for you?

What more do you need to do in order to sustain real, lasting positive changes to the person who you are on the inside?