Humiliation, shame, guilt, and anxiety are not the primary causes of change. These negative emotions can actually have the reverse effect, causing a person to feel that change is impossible and undeserved. Constructive behavior change seems to happen when the person connects the change with something of intrinsic value to them, something important to them, and something cherished by them (Miller, & Rollnick, 2002). The way to find the motivation to change is to find what truly matters to you. A way to keep changing is to continuously clarify what truly matters to you.
All people making life changes experience ambivalence. For you, ambivalence is feeling positive and negative emotions about stopping the use of drugs and alcohol. You can work through your periods of ambivalence by:
- Clarifying and challenging the values that allowed you to use.
- Creating new values that support change.
- Challenging your expectations of what a return to alcohol or drugs will give you.