Why Treatment Works: Developing a Positive Attitude, Motivation and Commitment

The first step in recovery is recognizing that a problem exists, but that in and of itself isn’t enough to make your recovery successful. Many people also need some form of motivation to begin and maintain the process of recovery. Motivation – having a reason to be in recovery – along with a positive attitude and commitment to maintaining a changed life, those are the key factors to success in treatment and beyond.

Motivation to change is one of the most important predictors of readiness for alcohol and other drug treatment. People with no motivation have no reason to stick with or maintain the recovery process. Enhancing motivation is an important emphasis of many intervention programs today.

Research has confirmed that commitment to abstinence is a strong predictor of reduction in drug and alcohol use. The level of commitment to abstinence at treatment’s end can help predict sustained abstinence, a requirement for long-term recovery success. In other words, if you are motivated to change and committed to change, your odds of maintaining your change are good.

To clarify the terms, here are the definitions used in this research:

•Attitude: (manner, mood, feeling, or position about a person, object, or situation) What you think and feel about something or someone.

•Commitment: (state of intellectual and emotional attachment to a particular action, practice, or person) When you commit to something, you are making a promise to do or not to do something. When you commit to someone, you pledge to him or her also.

A related, but potentially more potent construct is that of commitment to sobriety as it denotes a clearer re-ranking of motivational hierarchies, such that recovery is given a top priority. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School confirmed these ideas. When people are focused on maintaining their recovery and place a priority on the actions that keep them sober, their chances of successfully maintaining that life change improve.

While in treatment or early in recovery, attitude and commitment are important. Having a positive attitude and making a commitment are both vital to the process of successful recovery. In short, if you think you can do it, you will.



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