Driving the recovery bus – the role of self-motivation in recovery

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Driving the recovery Bus.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Why you need to take charge of your recovery.

Have you ever considered who is in charge of your recovery? Someone needs to take charge and if not you then who? This recovery may be from mental illness, substance abuse or most any other problem in life.

People go into recovery from the 28-day program (now often 30 days) to the long-term commitment without ever think about who will be guiding their recovery process. Yes, there are professions that work in these places but they can only do so much. As a professional, I can give you directions but to really arrive at the destination you want to reach you need to get up front and take the wheel.

In recovery, we get out of programs what we put into them.

Recovery or treatment programs have their place. One reason that programs work is that they can break the cycle of drinking, drug use and abuse or other self-destructive behavior. It is hard to get clean in a place where everyone is still active in their addiction.

This process can hold true for those with mental illness also. It is hard to get your life under control when you live in the midst of chaos. When you are struggling daily with your issues it is hard to look at the big picture and see what needs to change for you to find recovery.

If these programs, and sometimes the stays in the psych hospital, however brief, can be so very helpful in getting the journey of recovery underway, why does the situation revert to the old struggles so soon after you leave the safe walls of the program or hospital?

One reason that recovery does not “stick” is a misunderstanding of what recovery is and where it lives. Do not make the mistake of thinking that recovery lives in the white walls of safe places. You do not need to keep returning to that place where you first started your recovery journey in order to stay on track.

Recovery is a journey, a process, not a place. Once your recovery is launched you need to keep on doing the work. This is where so many people get in trouble. They expect the place, the counselors, therapists, and staff to change them and then they will never have that issue again.

Change comes from the inside, not the out. Yes, knowledgeable people, professional staff, can give you lots of help and information in the beginning stages of your recovery, but to continue to recovery you need to take charge and drive that recovery bus yourself.

You should know what your life looked like when it was saturated with problems and have a clear idea of what recovery looks like. Helpful people can assist you along the journey but eventually, you need to take hold of that wheel and steer your life in the direction of a recovered life however you see that recovery.

Are you driving your recovery bus or are you a passenger going wherever life takes you?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

6 thoughts on “Driving the recovery bus – the role of self-motivation in recovery

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