For many addicts, it can sometimes seem impossible to resist using again. But there’s hope—studies show that, when it comes to keeping up the confidence to resist relapse, abstaining from drugs is its own biggest help. For drug and alcohol recovery, the simple act of feeling proud of making it through a day sober, and being confident that they can do it again tomorrow, can be a secret weapon in their fight against drugs and alcohol.
The relevant term is “abstinence self-efficacy,” meaning a recovering patient’s assessment of their own ability to keep from using again. It’s been shown that patients who report high abstinence self-efficacy (ASE) stay abstinent from drugs and alcohol much more consistently than those who don’t report high ASE. That is to say, people who are more confident in their ability to stay sober are statistically more likely to have their confidence validated. So the question becomes: how does one become more confident and feel like they have high ASE?
Simple— alcohol and drug recovery, in itself, has been shown to improve ASE. That is, it does get easier. The more days in a row an addict can prove they haven’t used drugs or had a drink makes them see more clearly that the strength to abstain is something they can consistently find in themselves. This can boost their confidence immensely—they think “I’ve gotten this far, I can go even further.” And as studies of ASE prove, this confidence can be the key to staying clean. With perseverance, confidence, and patience, lasting drug or alcohol recovery can be in reach.