The will to enter recovery usually does not happen all at once, like a bolt from the blue or a lightbulb illuminating in your head. Oftentimes it is an idea that appears as a possibility, no matter how remote, and that idea grows in intensity over time.

Regardless of how or when a person decides that enough is enough, the decision must be from an internal desire. No one outside of the addict can convince him or her to enter recovery and expect that recovery will last. It does not matter how badly recovery is wanted by loved ones, sponsors, therapist, coaches, or medical personnel. The only thing that matters is the internal decision of the person who is suffering from a substance abuse disorder.

Even though some people are seemingly stronger than others, I have seen successes from many different types of people. It would be wonderful if desire were the only ingredient needed, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

Desire must be accompanied by discipline to stay the course and to have and develop the determination to see this battle through many stages of recovery. Even in the face of slips and relapse, no matter how many times that may happen, you must have the determination to start again. Even though at the time you had terribly let yourself down, you must cut your losses immediately! Take a deep breath and call upon your better judgment.

Promise yourself with pigheadedness that you will never allow a slip to become a relapse. Do not allow the addicted part of your brain to lull you into self-deception. You must always be aware that the addicted part of your brain wants any excuse to keep you imprisoned. Always remember that not all of your brain has been hijacked.

Where does the will to recover originate? It comes from your inner intelligence. That part of yourself that tells you right from wrong. It is the body’s desire to be healthy and balanced that is signaling your mind to stop the abuse. In partnership with your inner intelligence, you can do much to assist yourself. You can practice positive thinking. You can practice the habit-forming mantra that tells you that You Control You. You can busy yourself with work, with volunteering to help others, with working a program, just for starters. Or reminding yourself how bad all the things were that happened because you used.

The will also comes from a period of time that your inner healer and your inner intelligence had started laying down the blueprint for you to wake up and follow what you have always known you have had to face. You have to want this more than you have ever wanted anything else in your life. Nothing short of that will do.

Sure, it’s hard. Sure it’s annoying to have to put forth this effort and to continue to have to put the effort forth again and again. But seriously, what is the alternative? Death? Being brain dead? Homelessness? Prison? Prostitution? Loss of everything that is good in life?

It is helpful to feel daily pride in your commitment to yourself to stay clean and sober. Positive thinking is a real thing and helpful. Compliment yourself on being able to face the dragon and extinguish its fire. Also compliment yourself on all the new things you are doing. Perhaps some of those things might be community service, perhaps greater participation in meeting or groups. Be creative. Be strong. Start to work out and eat better. Your body notices and shows its appreciation in how it looks and feels. Your body is where you live and experience life. Take care of it. It is your own very personal house.

Make a gratitude list. Add to it every day. There is much to be grateful for when you allow the will to recover to come to the surface. That will, that desire, has been inside you, just waiting for you to take the ball and run. Go for the touchdown. Just remember that you are part of a team. Do not attempt to go this alone. That doesn’t work, and besides, you have much to give.

Remember, where there is a will, there’s a way!