“I give up.”
This is probably one of the most common things heard from people who are going through a tough time. Surely, you’ve said this line at least once in your life, whether due to exasperation, to express frustration, or as a serious consequence of losing hope.
For people who are in addiction recovery, hope is such an important element. The term “hope” is defined as an optimistic state of mind. It’s a way of thinking that something good will happen in the future and that you are going to achieve your goals.
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In recovery, hope is not simply wanting or wishing. Hope serves as the continuous fire burning inside you…spurring you into action so you’ll keep working towards your recovery. However, keeping this fire aflame is not always easy. There will be difficult moments that will challenge you and push you towards the brink of relapse. In these situations, how do you still find hope? What can you do to keep yourself motivated and driven towards your sobriety goals?
Here is a list of things you can do that could help.
1. Write a “Thank You” list
When something bad happens, hope dissipates. In these situations, it can be very challenging to still stay hopeful. It is also human nature to find someone or something to blame. Most people often blame themselves and just give up. When you feel that you’re in this situation, instead of finding something to blame, it will be helpful to write a list of the things you should be thankful for. For example, just having clean air to breathe, legs to walk freely, and eyes to witness the beauty of nature may seem so simple but many people are deprived of these simple things. Learning to appreciate the things around you and what you still have can help you go through the most difficult moments.
2. Browse through pictures of happy moments
Memories of happy times can work both ways. For some people, this can make them feel more upset but what you can do is use those happy moments as a reminder and motivation. This can help you gather up hope that there will come a time that you will build new, happy memories.
3. Make micro goals
There are times when the journey can seem very long and tiresome. This can demotivate a lot of people and cause them to just give up. If you are feeling this way, change your approach. Take your recovery one day at a time, one step at a time. You can do this by making micro goals that can be achieved in a short time. Think of it as a to-do list that is less overwhelming. Write down simple tasks or things that you need to achieve each day to help you in your recovery and once you ticked those tasks off, celebrate those mini-successes to keep you motivated.
For example, if your goal is to quit drinking alcohol, your micro goals can look like this:
Monday: Skip the alcohol section at the supermarket
Tuesday: Go to the gym instead of happy hour
Wednesday: Clean out the liquor cabinet
Thursday: Create a non-alcoholic cocktail (mocktail) for the weekend’s dinner party
Friday: Volunteer in a community event helping other alcoholics in recovery
4. Explore something new
Hopelessness is often the result of doubting yourself, losing confidence, and overthinking the future. When you’re left alone and anxious, it’s easy to convince yourself that you cannot do it. While some people may find it helpful to read motivational recovery quotes or listen to music that can help in recovery, these may not work for you.
One thing that you can try is to go out of your comfort zone by exploring new things. Attend sober events, meet up with other people in recovery, travel to new places, or discover a new hobby. These things will divert your focus and also help you meet a supportive network of people who can help you get over the difficult moments. Exploring new activities will also help in building your skills and values.
5. Practice self-care
It will be difficult to find hope if you are constantly feeling down, weak, and unhealthy. What you can do to avoid this is by practicing self-care activities and focusing on your own physical, mental, and spiritual health. Doing this will help you stay happier and stronger. Eat well, exercise, meditate, read a book, or have a bubble bath. Instead of buying drugs or alcohol, go and get a massage. These are simple things that will go a long way.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
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