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Memory Motivation and Maintenance

March 1, 2006
by George DuWors, MSW, LCSW
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The addict must remember past suffering without being consumed by guilt

But from what? Evidently, the inventory/amends process consistently transforms shameful memories into assets. They become gifts that keep the individual's motivation fresh, as fresh as the now often-shared memory itself, without carrying the old load of shame. At the same time, memories shared offer hope and support (motivation) to those still overwhelmed by active use, guilt, shame, and fear.

Clearly, sustained motivation for recovery from addiction requires sustained memory. To be effective, the memory must be strong enough to counter the relentless desire that lurks in the brain of any alcoholic/addict, often unrecognized. Given that chronic internal pressure, the universal trigger for relapse is nothing less than abstinence itself. And the practical question isn't “What triggers relapse?” but “What blocks it?” Memory, motivation, and maintenance.

George DuWors, MSW, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and trainer in Everett, Washington. The author of

White Knuckles and Wishful Thinking, he has presented workshops across the United States, in Canada, and in the United Kingdom.

References

  1. Beck AT, Wright FD Newman CF, et al. Cognitive Therapy of Substance Abuse. New York:The Guilford Press; 1993.
  2. Anonymous Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism. New York:Alcohol-ics Anonymous World Services, Inc.; 2001.
  3. Gorski TT, Miller M. Counseling for Relapse Prevention. Independence Mo.:Independence Press; 1982.
  4. Marlatt GA Gordon JR. Relapse Pre-vention: Maintenance Strategies in the Treatment of Addictive Behaviors. New York:The Guilford Press, 1985.
  5. Miller WR Rollnick S. Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People for Change. New York:The Guilford Press; 2002.

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