You may not have heard the word self-efficacy; however, it is important in your recovery from alcohol and drug abuse.  Self-efficacy is the belief that you can achieve a goal.  If you have low self-efficacy, you might not believe that you can achieve great things in recovery and that you will most likely fail.  If you do not believe you can do something, you are unlikely to put in the work to make it happen.  Having high self-efficacy on the other hand is the belief that you can achieve something.

Self-efficacy and motivation go hand in hand.  There are two types of motivation—intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.  Intrinsic motivation has to do with internal forces that compel you to complete a goal or task.  Extrinsic motivation refers to feeling compelled to do something, but only because of external pressures from other people and their expectations.  Intrinsic motivation is more powerful; however, those individuals with high self-efficacy seem to also benefit from extrinsic motivation.

Many individuals do not get help for an addiction because they do not believe in their own ability to quit.  Generally, there is low self-efficacy with addicts when it comes to getting treatment.  Maybe this has something to do with the idea that they have tried to stop before and were unsuccessful or because they have watched others struggle with recovery.  Some addicts have quite a bit of extrinsic motivation from family and friends to get help; however, their low self-efficacy will keep them from treatment.  Any person in recovery for an addiction, would benefit from increasing their self-efficacy.

Self-efficacy can be improved and there are things that you can do today to start believing in your ability to enter recovery and be successful.

  • If you see someone in a 12-step meeting or other group setting that has achieved goals, model their behavior.  This can increase self-efficacy, as you can begin to think, if they can do it, so can I.  This is a great idea for those just starting in recovery.
  • Achieve small goals at first before moving onto bigger ones.  If you start recovery with a big goal and you do not quite reach that goal, then you may feel like not trying again.  Start with a small goal that is attainable.  Having little triumphs or successes increases self-efficacy, as over time the little successes add up to bigger ones.  You start believing you can accomplish goals.
  • Engage with others about your goals.  You can increase self-efficacy through persuasion and support from others.  Sometimes a trusted family member or close friend can help you see things that you do not.
  • Attend 12-step meetings for encouragement.  Having support through 12-step meetings can give you a boost emotionally and can provide you with a feeling of, yes, I can do this!


At Hired Power, we believe in you and your ability to enter a program of recovery and be successful.  Call us today (800) 910-9299.