Motivated – adj. - having an incentive or a strong desire to do well or succeed in some pursuit
Perhaps you are in a substance use treatment program and you feel that you are motivated and you truly want to make changes and achieve goals with regard to any substance use or coexisting issues that you may be working on. You may find yourself in a program where your primary reason for being there is for your own personal good yet others in the program may seem that they are only attending because they are mandated. If you believe that you have a good degree of self-motivation for positive change, it may feel frustrating at times when others in the group appear to be less motivated. If you find yourself in this situation where you are one of the more motivated people in the group and there are others who are less serious, does that mean that all is lost and there is no way to benefit? No, you still can benefit from a group program even if others in the group have questionable internal desire for change. This activity is focused on making the most of your own motivation no matter what the situation may be.
“There will be obstacles. There will be doubters.
There will be mistakes.
But with hard work, there are no limits.”
- Michael Phelps
*One thing to note before moving forward is that it is important not to be judgmental of others during the following discussion and group exercises. This is not about pointing a finger at anyone else and labeling them as “unmotivated” or “wasting time” as that does not help anyone. Each person should focus on themselves including trying to be self-aware about your own desires, goals, and motives rather than assessing those things in other people. Motivation is great but keep in mind it can be dangerous to be overconfident and simply conclude that you have things all figured out just because you are motivated. To the contrary, sometimes people who struggle at first with motivation eventually end up doing well in the long term. Again, the point is to focus on yourself and not to judge others in the group in order to get the most out of this. Everyone can benefit from looking at their own motivation
Some Things to be Aware of When it Comes to Motivation
(Discuss as a group: Can you identify with any of these ideas or examples?)
Motivation is not a constant (it can vary with time and situation) -
Charlie – “I feel so motivated when I am on probation but once probation ends and I feel more freedom, that little voice inside my head that tells me to go back to my old lifestyle starts getting louder”
Kira – “When I am sitting in treatment during the day, I feel so motivated and determined to do what is right, but sometimes later at home when things around me are less positive, my motivation dies down”
Motivation can be deceiving especially when it is based on emotion
Karl – “When that amazing guest speaker came in and told his inspirational story I felt a powerful surge of motivation - but I have to admit, over time it wore off”
Trish – “When my fiancée broke off our engagement because of my drinking, I felt super motivated to finally stop drinking and change my life. But eventually after my emotions changed from inspiration to depression and guilt, my motivation took a nosedive”
Epiphanies, “spiritual awakenings” and magic moments do happen sometimes, but many people cannot afford to sit around and wait for that to happen.
Jemila – “I kept hearing about other people’s amazing stories where they hit bottom, they had enough and then it all came together for them. However, that never seems to happen to me, instead I just keep waiting and waiting for it…”
Scott – “I keep on thinking that one day it will all come together for me and I will finally get it, but in the meantime, I keep racking up new charges, problems and consequences of my while I’m waiting”
Stories of quick inspirational turnarounds may make the headlines, but more often “slow and steady wins the race”
Ruby – “The reason that I am still standing here is because I didn’t give up. I had my share of ups and downs, successes and relapse but no matter what I just kept pushing forward”
Frank – “I now know that I am never going to be that guy who blows everyone away with a sudden and drastic life change. Rather, I know that I can do this if I stay consistent and persistent – little by little”
If a person is not careful, feeling motivated can lead to overconfidence which can lead loss of focus which can lead to setbacks or relapse
RJ – “I was so motivated that I was taking the world by storm with my amazing progress. The only problem was that I was doing so well that I got cocky and I thought I could start going back to clubs without getting high or drunk. That didn’t last too long unfortunately…”
Tara - “I was doing so well for so long that got overconfident and I started focusing more and more on telling other people in my program what I thought they should do. Meanwhile, I lost focus on myself and started sliding backward with my own progress as a result”
FINALLY – Everyone has the ability to increase their motivation. Motivation is a lifelong process
DISCUSS – What else have you learned that you can you do to increase your motivation?