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Is Willpower a Part of Recovery?

Many people, especially in the media, like to talk about the idea of “willpower” and the ability to change. For many years, the general public has believed that a person addicted to alcohol or drugs just didn’t have the willpower to stop using and reclaim their life. Today, however, most experts in psychology and medicine understand that addiction is a chronic brain disease, not a moral failing. So what does this mean for a person in recovery? Is there any space for willpower at all?

From “Willpower” to Willingness

If you have ever tried to quit using an addictive substance on your own, you probably already know that willpower alone isn’t enough to overcome a substance use disorder.

Many people who appear to have willpower are exercising willingness. For example, athletes who are preparing for a prestigious competition but must stick to a strict diet often do so because they are willing to do whatever it takes to excel.

In recovery, you must exercise willingness often. You have to be willing to listen to others as they share what worked for them. You must be willing to give up old haunts and the people you used drugs with, and ready to make new friends. A willingness to try new things and new behavior patterns is an essential part of changing your life and embracing all that recovery has to offer.

While many people may brag that they have willpower, without willingness, no change can be permanent. Open your mind to what others have to offer, and be willing to humble yourself every once in a while. You’ll be surprised how far this can take you in your new life.

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you are in active addiction and ready to change your life, all it takes for now is a phone call. We can answer any questions and let you know what treatment options are available.

Be willing to take the first step in a new direction. Call us at (949) 279-1376 (US number) or (612) 153-5726 (Mexico). All phone calls are confidential.





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Hi! I’m Melissa Stailey, a freelance writer that loves to cook. I live and work in Washington, DC.