What happens when you really want something, but you really don’t want to do the work required to get it? Well, it’s simple. You either do what it takes to achieve your goal and you get what you wanted, or you don’t do it, and you get nothing (except maybe a feeling of disappointment). But what’s the difference between the two scenarios? In the first one, you found something to motivate you—something to keep you going. In the second, you never did.
Motivation seems to be a major struggle for a lot of people in life. I remember the kids in school who were “smart” and “gifted,” but they never really tried hard or earned good grades. And in the end, it caught up with them. Eventually, the kids who were nothing special but worked hard caught up with them—and then passed them. They were the ones who ended up going off to college and getting good jobs, or starting successful business. The ones who never put in effort faded away into the background. They were simply unmotivated.
It’s a good life lesson, and no big surprise, like a lot of life lessons it can be applied to recovery. Not everyone is dealt an equal hand in life. As in our previous example, some people have a little more brainpower than others (if they choose to use it). Some people have something strange about them that causes them to react differently than others when they try drugs or alcohol. They find substances are the thing they never knew they were missing in life. Later, they become the thing they can’t put down. They go on to become addicts and alcoholics. They never chose it, but it happened anyway.
It may not be fair who is born with the disease of addiction and who isn’t, but it’s reality. Choice comes in when it comes time to do something about it. We are lucky to live in a world where we are educated about the dangers of addiction, and we have access to the resources to treat it. Sure, not everyone gets to go to a fancy treatment center, but just about every single town in America has at least an AA meeting—and most have much more than that. I’ve come across countless vibrant and active recovery communities.
Some people will choose not to do anything about their addiction. They will go on, being unhappy and miserable until the bitter end. Sadly, that means death or incarceration for many. But others choose to make a change instead. These people take advantage of every resource available to them, and hold on for dear life. They go to meetings, get a sponsor, and work a program. They take suggestions and never fail to show up. And for them, the miracle happens. They are lifted from addiction and given back the many gifts of a good life.
The difference between the people who make it out and those who don’t can often be boiled down to motivation. No one wants to go through the pain of early recovery—and it can be very painful. Only holding on to the desire for a better life can get you through withdrawal, making life changes, and getting out of your comfort zone. No one can give you motivation—but anyone can go out there and find it.