Willpower and Addiction What Role Does Willpower Play in Recovery

Willpower and Addiction: What Role Does Willpower Play in Recovery

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Willpower is integral in many aspects of our lives. While addiction is a medical disease and is not due to a lack of willpower, when someone is battling an addiction, having the willpower to resist temptation is extremely important to aid in the success of sobriety. While medical professionals confirm that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing, willpower and addiction have a relationship that’s important to look at.

Willpower gives us the strength to say no, although there are little voices inside of us that may be trying to get us to say yes. When you have strong willpower, you have the ability to do what’s best for yourself, although it may not always be easy.

As we explore the topic of willpower, we’ll look at why it’s so important and its role in recovery.

What is Willpower?

Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations to meet a long-term goal. In the case of addiction, that long-term goal is sobriety. When someone has willpower, they can stay on task despite distractions.

When someone has willpower, they learn how to defer gratification and overcome an unwanted feeling or impulse. That impulse can be in the form of drugs or alcohol in the case of someone trying to fight a substance abuse disorder.

What Role Does Willpower Play in Addiction?

It’s important to note that a lack of willpower does not cause addiction. But willpower can help to avoid the urge to relapse. Displaying willpower during addiction means fighting off the temptation to relapse. Anyone in this position knows it doesn’t come easy. Statistics show that 85% of people relapse after treatment. [1]

While the statistics may sound discouraging, getting sober and staying that way can be accomplished.

Willpower in recovery requires the decision to put your recovery first above anything else. This means:

  • Avoiding trigger places and people
  • Finding alternate activities that don’t involve drugs and alcohol
  • Staying in tune with your emotions and realizing when you notice something could be impacting your sobriety

Tools to Help Prevent Relapse

Many people mistakenly think that those who use drugs don’t have willpower and can stop by just choosing to do so. But quitting an addiction is complex and requires more than just a strong will. [2]

When willpower starts to fade, it’s important to have a support network to help pick you up. These people can help to steer you away from temptation and get you back on track. They can also help you regain the willpower you may have lost along the way.

Here are some things you can do to prevent relapse and maintain your willpower:

Establish Good Habits

Things like eating properly and exercising can help you stay focused on the goal of remaining sober.

Get Plenty of Sleep

When we don’t get enough rest, we can become moody and disorientated, leading to us not thinking properly. Lack of sleep can lead to poor decision-making.

Keep Your Surroundings Neat

Some people can keep their willpower up by maintaining their surroundings. Keeping your house clean and keeping up with daily tasks can give you the energy you need to continue on your path.

Sticking to these tips can help keep your willpower at a helpful level as you progress through the recovery process.

Willpower and Addiction During Recovery

Think of willpower as a tool in recovery. It may need to get dusted off but can work again with practice. The more you use it, the better your situation is. The important thing to remember is never to give up. As you keep using willpower every day during recovery and beyond, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help

At Desert Cove Recovery, we help people get the treatment they need to stay on the path to sobriety. The tools they gather during addiction treatment, along with a strong support system, can truly make a difference during recovery. When these things work together, they can also give people the willpower they need to stay on track.

Our treatment programs are customized to fit each patient. We offer arizona drug treatment as well as outdoor therapy and activities. We believe that various therapies can be beneficial on the road to recovery.

Call us or contact us online for more information on how treatment programs at Desert Cove Recovery can help you.




[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674771/

[2] https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/addiction-science