You may think that you have a pretty strong will, which is probably one of the reasons you are frustrated that it is not working for your efforts to stop your alcohol or drug use. Even people who are successful in exerting their will to reach academic, professional, and other personal achievements are baffled that the same determination does not seem to work for a drinking or substance abuse issue.

The truth is that willpower alone will not get you far when it comes to these complex issues. Try to turn the situation around, how much determination and will power are you using to drink or use? Are you so committed that you are going out of your way to buy alcohol or drugs? If your will to drink or use is changing your life, that’s a lot to overcome, using the same tool, which essentially won’t switch teams!

Here are five reasons why it just won’t work….

1. Addiction is not a choice. First, if you had sufficient willpower, you probably would not have a substance use disorder. No one plans to become addicted to drugs or alcohol, but this develops when the power of choice disappears. At some point, you were no longer able to control the decision to drink, use drugs, or take part in other unhealthy behaviours.

2. Willpower suppresses trauma. If you are living with a trauma, or have survived a trauma, without some form of treatment or therapy, it is likely that you are suppressing it. It is difficult to overcome addiction with suppressed pain, and you will not be able to get to the root of your issues by continuing to fight a silent battle. If trauma is an issue for you, take a look at our trauma retreat options as a way to comfortably address these issues and begin to heal here. The trauma retreat can easily be added on following a primary program – it is important to address the addiction first.

3. A decision is not enough. Have you ever just decided that you were going to stop using drugs or drinking and then found that you could not keep that promise? Resolve and commitment are well and good, but they are not sufficient to make this type of a change over the long-term. If you have tried to stop and cannot, or if you can’t stay stopped, it’s likely you will fall into a revolving door situation. Every time you make the decision and fail it becomes more frustrating, disheartening and depressing. Take control of the situation and give yourself the best chances of success by getting proper professional help. You can never go overkill by getting more help than you need or what is required. It’s more than likely you need a residential program to ensure that once you have made the decision to stop, it’s a decision that is followed through with the outcome you are seeking – continual sobriety.

4. Willpower helps you avoid connections. The people who are most successful in addiction recovery get there with help. If you continue to believe that you have enough strength to handle anything and everything on your own, there will be no incentive to put your hand out to ask for help or let someone else get to know you. This is detrimental to your recovery.

5. Humans forget too quickly. Even if your willpower allows you to give up alcohol or drugs for a short period, this is not likely to last without other treatment and methods of support. Why? There is a tiny voice inside the addict’s head that loves to whisper, “It’s going to be different this time.” Willpower is never enough to overcome this because you are more likely to remember what drugs or alcohol did for you instead of what they did to you.

How to Harness Your Willpower For Recovery

Changing the way you view the world and behave is a tall order, and it is not always comfortable. That strong will you have can be re-harnessed for the better. Use your strong will to become committed to recovery, to getting help, for becoming dedicated to a program and following advice from professionals.  


If you are at a stage in your addiction or alcoholism whereby you need to detox, willpower is NOT a solution. You may be putting your life at risk and you must seek professional, medical assistance and guidance. The Lighthouse Bali is one of only a few rehabs in Southeast Asia that offers a medically assisted detox. Our medical and support teams have extensive experience helping individuals to withdraw from alcohol and substances. This is by far the most comfortable way to detox. Medical detox is part of our 28 day Primary Inpatient Program for those who require it.

Inpatient Care and Rehab

The Lighthouse Bali’s 28 day Primary Inpatient Program has helped countless people to get their lives back on track. Through professional, expert care and therapy, individuals are given the tools they need to ensure the best possible chances for long term recovery.

If you are concerned about yourself (or a loved one) we urge you to reach out and contact us. Our private programs are tailormade to suit individual needs in complete confidence and our doctorate level clinical staff have extensive experience in the field of addiction. If you are not currently in Bali but would like to begin a recovery program immediately, we also have online recovery options available which can be taken in this interim period.

To talk to one of our team members, contact us today. We understand that making the first call is never easy, but it’s the first step to getting back on track.

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