There are many changes that someone experiences when going through recovery to an addiction of any kind. Especially as someone moves from an inpatient or residential treatment to an outpatient program, change is an inevitable constant. During an IOP, the structure that a person is used to is not in their own hands, and the responsibility lies on them to continue their motivation and progress.
Keeping this motivation is difficult now that someone is recovering in an environment that isn’t as curated for recovery as residential treatment. However, there are ways for someone to keep their motivation up and maintain a positive outlook on the recovery process.
You Are Not as Alone as You May Feel
Transitioning to an IOP can feel like someone’s safety net has been removed. A person transitions from a tightly curated and professional environment into the world at large, which may still seem dangerous and frightening. However, people are often not as alone as they may feel.
Maintaining motivation takes effort and the effective recognition of support systems is key in creating a positive framework. While IOPs have a group therapy component embedded in their program, a person’s own home life, family, and loved ones also create a support network to be utilized. Motivation is a group activity, both for the person in recovery as well as their support system. Seeing someone try their best to recover can be an empowering sight on its own.
Personal Challenges Ahead
As someone begins their IOP, they will have new freedoms to explore. However, that also comes with new risks. Each person will have their own differing degree of proficiency with various coping skills. No two home lives are alike, and so the challenges that someone faces will be wholly unique.
However, that doesn’t mean that a person is left out on their own. Staying motivated will inherently involve other people. Group therapy is a great way to continue seeing success in others, and motivate one’s self to continue to be a part of that group.
A person’s unique challenges, however, can also be a blessing in disguise. Someone’s personal experiences with recovery can also be identifications of personal identity. Seeing what aspects are more difficult than others can help someone define who they are through the recovery process and beyond.
Each difficulty faced during an IOP is a facet of one’s identity; looking at the different challenges that someone faces as well as their coping mechanisms can help that person realize what strategies are best for them. Coupled with an appropriate rewards system, this information is critical for staying motivated through recovery.
Creating a Rewards System
With unique challenges defining identity, a person can create a unique rewards system that is catered specifically to them. Having goals is important at every step of the way, and each goal should be rewarded appropriately. While setting goals such as “stay sober for the rest of my life” may be the goal for some people, that isn’t’ always the case.
It is important to not just have large, overarching goals for the entirety of recovery, but also to have stepping stones that can be accomplished on a daily basis. Setting goals of simply being able to identify an urge, or not spending money on drugs when an urge hits are all very potent and can be rewarded in turn.
Rewards are highly personalized and can take the form of allowing oneself to dedicate more time to themselves for a hobby or allocating the amount of money that they would have spent on alcohol or substances, on a nice dinner, a new video game, or pair of shoes instead.
Keeping smaller goals that can be achieved easily can often help create positive connotations around recovery. A person will no longer feel as if recovery is the process of denying themselves something. Instead, they can look forward to a reward of their choice.
Rewards systems are essential for creating a positive, productive mindset around recovery as opposed to one based on the refusal or denial of an urge. Motivation is difficult to quantify. However, having tangible reasons in which to continue the path to recovery can aid in combating the complacency that can set in during IOPs.
As someone is reintroduced to the world with all of their freedoms intact, urges and triggers can set in fast and hard. Constantly having something to look forward to, such as a “week without drinking” award, can be important for maintaining the positivity necessary for continuing sobriety. It is a time for people to experiment with their identities outside of addiction, and use their rewards and support systems in order to create an effective strategy that they can look forward to.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is always help available. Taking the first step can be difficult, and it can be scary if you aren’t sure what to expect when putting your vulnerabilities out there. However, Lighthouse Recovery specializes in personalizing a recovery program based on your specific needs and goals with recovery. Each goal is different, and each person will respond differently to the skills and strategies that can be implemented.