Create Your Own Motivation

December 9, 2018

When I was drinking, alcohol was obviously causing problems galore. Perhaps more troubling was how I used alcohol to cover real issues. It worked, sometimes. Alcohol insulated me from some situations that might have killed me. It also provided a reprieve from my uptight serious persona. I let loose and acted guilt-free. I WAS guilt free, but not after the fact. I still had all the same feelings and underneath it all I had the same insecurities. Alcohol solved my problems for a moment, before causing many more than it solved. What alcohol solved, was me having to deal with the cause of suffering. Alcohol was a mask and it fucked with my identity.

I was deep in a cave of despair. No light could penetrate the heavy darkness. The oxygen was limited and thick with the stench of misery. Freshness came through on a breeze. I smelled something other than alcohol-laced breath. It smelled fresh, different, necessary. Like a bloodhound, I followed the scent and found my way to the mouth of the cave where I found something I’d been missing for a long time, hope.

As I get better, I am more frequently confronted by my angry inner bully. The noise I’ve internalized, it doesn’t want to change. It is pissed that I’m not giving up this time. It can make me binge, it can make me pick my face, it can suck my energy. But it cannot make me forget who I am. I never really knew what stable healthy emotions were. I suffered a lot because I didn’t know how to react. I lacked the skills to cope with my pain. All the motivational memes in the world couldn’t fix me.

I don’t like being too motivational, because it is not always true that you can do anything you set your mind to. There are complex intersections, experiences, and institutions that affect how we live. Countless factors out of our control that can dampen our potential.

At the same time, I believe we can all benefit from a pep talk now and again. Everyone, no matter how stereotypically successful, deserves contentment and health.

A friend of mine and I ham it up by putting on highly inaccurate airs of British pomp and circumstance. We talk with ridiculously bad accents, but it makes me happy. When I am losing faith in myself I have been known to ask this friend to send me voice messages with the accent. I always smile from the mini pep talks. This friend also has a lot of praise for me on a regular basis. While I have trouble believing the positive messages I’m receiving, I feel good that someone believes in me. Usually, I laugh it off, but it is there for when I am ready to hear it.

Real motivation ebbs and flows. True dedication to continue the task of working towards contentment and health comes through on the current of a stream. It may rarely be strong and may barely be a trickle. In my experience, those droplets of motivation are just enough to keep me going. To keep me moving forward, to awake another day, to stay sober another hour, to love myself an iota more.

I believe we can all create such a stream of motivation. It isn’t some powerful life-changing Rocky montage, but it’s sustainable and only needs a tiny bit of space to form. After all, the Grand Canyon began with such a stream of water.

Keep Going,

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  1. Adrienne R. on January 28, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    This article was educational for me. Suffering from both alcoholism and mental illness myself, I was surprised to find out there is still so much stigma and discrimination.

  2. William Lynn on December 10, 2018 at 10:40 am


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