Motivation to quit drugs

We present four (4) exercises on how to find motivation to quit drugs. Spend one hour of homework and increase your chances of sustained recovery here.

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So, why do you want to quit drugs?

If you are relying on external motivations to get clean, LISTEN UP. A nagging parent, girl/boy friend or probation officer may initially motivate you to quit drugs.  Friends and family of drug addicts are notorious for co-dependence.  But without being personally motivated, the likelihood that you will quit drugs and STAY QUIT is rather low.  So how can you get motivated to quit drugs from the inside-out?

Take one hour of your time to complete these exercises and get motivated to quit drugs.  Self treatment for drug addiction is possible. Start here.

1. Learn about TTM – Google “Transtheoretical Model of behavior change” to learn about TTM. Basically, there are stages of change that you go through as you try to quit drugs. In the TTM model, you may fluctuate between these stages from time to time, which include:

  • Precontemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance

Then, get out of the Precontemplation Stage so that you can start a life free of drugs. Once you have made a strong commitment to a drug-free life, you can easier maintain abstinence.

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2. Complete a Cost Benefit Analysis – A Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) is a simple exercise that helps you evaluate what you gain and what you lose when you stop using drugs.

Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center of the page, and one across the center of the page to make 4 squares. At the top of the page, write: Using Drugs. In the top left box, write: Advantages (Benefits & Reward). In the top right box, write: Disadvantages (Costs & Risks). Just above the bottom two squares in the lower half of the page ,write: Quitting Drugs. In the bottom left box, write: Advantages (Benefits & Reward). In the bottom right box, write: Disadvantages (Costs & Risks).

Now start to fill in the blanks.

Advantages of using drug might include euphoric effect, social activity, stress reliever, etc. Disadvantages might include legal problems, health conditions, relationship problems, work problems, etc. Then, label each item in your list with an ST (short-term) or LT (long-term). Now, compare the short and long-term items. Usually, the “Benefits” of using drugs are short-term, while the “Costs” are long term. Then, carry this paper with you wherever you go. If a craving to use or an opportunity to use appears, review the list to remember that the long-term costs outweigh the short term benefits.

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3. Complete a Hierarchy of Values – To complete a Hierarchy of Values, list the five most important things in your life, in order of importance. These will vary by person, and may include family, job, health, faith, finances, happiness, etc. (STOP READING HERE UNTIL YOU MAKE YOUR LIST.)

Now ask yourself, “Where is using drugs on my list of values?” Did drugs make the Top 5? Even though you may not value using drugs as one of the most important activities in your life, drugs often have a major impact on each and everything that is valuable to you.

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Now, consider the impact that drugs have on each of your top five values, and make plans to focus on the things that are most important to you. Compare this with continuing to use drugs. Instead of using, make a decision to do something different. Exercise. Get involved with your family. Talk to a friend or do something else that can enhance the values on your list.

4. Plan and visualize change – Complete a Change Plan Worksheet to help you to “map out” the changes you want to make as you quit drugs. This is an important step when starting to get clean. You will list what changes you want to make, why, how, who can help you, signs of success and how likely you are to achieve the change. Once you have a map of what you want to do, you can put a plan in place for making those changes happen.

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Can you quit using drugs?

Absolutely. These are just four (4) tools from SMART Recovery® that will motivate you to quit using drugs. SMART stands for Self Management And Recovery Training. This program is sometimes known as an alternative to 12-step programs and teaches self-help techniques based on psychological principles. As a scientific recovery program, SMART is recognized by the NIH, by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Society of Addiction Medicine as an addiction recovery resource.

For more ideas about staying motivated to quit drugs, check out the FREE motivational ideas available on the SMART Recovery website. Plus, the SMART Recovery Handbook has additional tools to help you to build and maintain your motivation.

Questions about quitting drugs

Are you having problems quitting drugs? Need some support? Please let us know. We’ll be happy to answer real questions or concerns about getting off weed with a personal and prompt response.




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Call us today. You don’t need to face addiction on your own.
About the author
SMART Recovery® offers free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups for abstaining from any substance or activity addiction. SMART stands for Self Management And Recovery Training. The SMART Recovery 4-Point Program helps people recover from all types of addictive behaviors, including alcohol, drugs, substance abuse, gambling addiction, and addiction to other substances and activities. SMART Recovery currently offers more than 650 face-to-face meetings around the world, and more than 16 online meetings per week, including a weekly online meeting for Family & Friends.Phone: 866-951-5357 OR 440-951-5357


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    1. Hi Kelly. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab program for you.

  1. damage to brain, however, is the most subtle, most often unrecognized, and least understood consequences of drug abuse. drugs is most danger than the alcohols.

  2. Hi …im a doctor and im an addict on drug the problem is that I can’t stop using during my duty but when I becomes outside the hospital even for weeks I don’t take anything even no craving my problem is just in the hospital…thanks and excuse my language pic

  3. Please help. I want to quit so bad. I need to find willpower. I can’t get sick because I can not miss work. So there is my problem I’m stuck. It’s a pill or to sick to go to work. I just got promoted to manager. I can’t go to rehab because I would number 1 miss work 2 loose my job.. I’m screwed huh

    1. Hi Jay. I suggest that you call the helpline displayed on the website to speak with a trusted treatment consultant.

  4. I am 33 yrs old never did drugs before hanging wit a Freind and took a hit of cc and I did quit once it’s been bout a yr I quit for these month’s but it’s al around me n everyone I kno does it wat can I do to try to avoid and not smoke I have spent thousands of dollars for this and I tell myself no but after one hit I’m gone spendin everything I don’t want this more

    1. Hi Rookie. Call the helpline on the website to speak with trusted treatment consultants who can help you make the right decision.

  5. I can’t seem to find enough motivation or long term dreams that give me a reason to quit. I was clean for 2 years in treatment, but as soon as I moved out and lost my support network, and got pregnant and had an abortion I started hating myself. I didn’t want to live anymore. So I turned back to drugs to quit my mind and numb everything. When I think about quitting to save money, I find myself asking why? What will I buy? Where will I go? And I can’t figure out anything I want. I’ve gotten to hopeless I don’t know how to come up with a vision of something I want.

    1. Hello Jessica. Maybe you haven’t found your motivation or dream because of the drugs. I believe in you and I believe that just as many others you can start living a meaningful life that will keep you striving forward. But you have to get off the drugs which kill motivation and aspiration for everything else other than obtaining and using again and again. First you need to want to quit and get clean, and that takes a lot of effort and determination. If you can get clean and stay in recovery, you can do anything!

  6. I’ve been using drugs for about 15 years it doesn’t matter what kind weed, coke, crack, meth, pills, heroine, molly, ecstasy and even cold medicine, butane, and acid. I want to stop because I’m living with all the horrible choices I’ve made and seen all the people I hurt and still am hurting. I just enjoy the highs I’m wondering if there is another way to feel that feeling without spending all my money everyday 7 days a week. I’ve spent close to a million dollars in the past 15 years in afraid that I’ll loose the only thing I have left witch is my landscape business. But as soon as I make it-I spend it. I need a substitute badly.

    1. Hello Junkie Joe. Yes, there are many ways for your brain to get the pleasurable effects and none involve drugs. Things such as exercise, sex, chocolate, etc. increase the neurotransmitter activity in the brain’s reward system. But, after using so many different substances, your brain’s chemistry has been significantly changed and will need some time to come back to normal, return to homeostasis and rewire. My advise is to seek professional help, even if it means going away to a rehab facility for a while. You are aware that you cannot continue like this, so get informed, take your time and consider it an investment in your future. Good luck!

  7. Hello Addy. Right. I can totally relate. The best thing to do to quit the compulsion to use anything with THC is actually….to follow some steps. Seek out the help of an addictions counselor, psychologist, or mental health professional with experience in treating addiction. You can get a referral from your general physician. Next, it will help to change people, places, and things that you do. It’s an ongoing journey, but getting professional help is really the best way to start.

  8. I have been using drugs HASH more than 8 consecutive years , I really want to quit now but I have only friends of bad company , what you suggest me how to avoid drugs. It is some thing that relaxe me oftenly but sometimes it gave me just obsessions.

  9. Among the various types of addiction treatment & recovery programs out there, SMART Recovery has shown to have great success in creating long-lasting, positive change.

  10. I tried rehab for 5 years non stop I was motivated! 12 steps AA and other conventional and outdate paradigm theories or worste (disease in my genes…)

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