Getting and Staying Clean for Others

It’s often said an addict must quit only for herself—she has to want to get and stay clean for her own sake and sobriety, not for others. But what if you’re motivation for quitting is not for yourself, but for someone else? Say, for your marriage or job?

One addict I coach, recently confessed: “If I don’t get ‘recovery’ down to my guts, I feel like I’m not doing it right. When, in fact, as long as I don’t pick up today because I want to save my marriage, it was still a good day. A successful day. I didn’t use.”

The reality is, in many cases, a person stops using because a relationship to someone he or she loves motivates them to quit. Take the example of Maria, a mother of two who used for over five years. After an intervention and a short time in rehab, it was love for her husband and children, and the obvious pain that her using caused them, that motivated her to stay clean during that tough first year. Getting clean for someone else—for your parents, your spouse or children, or any loved one—can be a powerful reason to stay clean, especially during those first turbulent months.

And if you can get your loved one active in your recovery, all the better. Research proves that when your family or other loved ones are involved in your recovery, the chances for successfully quitting improve significantly.

Even if you don’t feel that recovery in your “gut” yet, consider getting your immediate and extended family/friends involved in your recovery. Let one of the motivating factors to stay clean be the love you carry for them.

In time, you will realize that you ultimately stay clean for yourself. But in the meantime, staying clean for someone you love can also help sustain recovery.