It’s the classic metaphor for recovery – you’re on a road with bumps and turns and unexpected twists. There are moments of feeling free and other moments of bondage. You’re on a journey, there’s no question about that. You’re discovering who you are, who others are, and who you would like to be, perhaps for the first time.
However, the journey isn’t always mapped out for you. Yes, there’s a road you’re following – Sobriety Street – for every day of your recovery. But you can choose the scenery, the company you keep, and how fast you want to go. You have a say in much of your recovery.
And because you have a say in the process, you can set your goals. You can determine what you want your recovery to look like. Goal setting is actually important to do in order to something. When you read books about achievement in business or personal endeavors, you’ll likely hear about the necessity of setting goals.
It makes sense, right? When you know where you’re going you have more of a chance of getting there. Without a goal you can move aimlessly through your life. You can wander down the road to recovery but you might not be where you want to be in five years. In addiction treatment and sober living, it’s important to establish where you want to be, who you want to become, and how you’re going to get there. These goals are essential to discuss with your therapist or drug counselor because they can inform the direction of treatment.
Of course, it’s important to remember that your goals are going to be dependent upon your needs. However, often, the ultimate goal of addiction treatment and sober living is long-term sobriety. But the goals you establish for yourself along the way should be SMART:
Specific – A goal is specific when it is clearly defined. If a goal is not defined well, it might be too general that you won’t know exactly where you’re going. Often a goal can lead the way. It can be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Measurable – One way to make your goal specific is to make it measurable. Make it something within your reach so that once you get there you can reach for another goal.
Attainable – Having goals that are unrealistic and unattainable only set you up for failure. Once you reach a goal it can boost your confidence and keep you going stronger than before.
Relevant – Your goal should be relevant to the direction in which you want to go. Although you might have goals in other areas of your life, if you’re focused on your sobriety, your goals should be recover-related.
Time-Bound – Goals also need to have a deadline. I’m going to attend AA meetings for one month in order to boost my sobriety and lifestyle change. Goals need to have a time limitation on them so that you know the time in which you want to achieve them.
In your recovery, you may want to work on one area of your life at a time. Setting goals and reaching them in one area, and then moving on to other areas. SAMHSA’s outline for the four major areas in which recovery takes place includes: health (overcoming the disease of addiction or illness), home (having a stable and safe place to live), purpose (engaging in meaningful activities), and community (having supportive relationships and social networks).
Tending to each of these life areas is essential in the recovery process. At the same time, having a community and a healthy social network might be one of the preliminary elements to recovery. Your goals can focus on any of these areas.
Of course, there might be some goals that you want to achieve so that your basic needs are met. For instance, one goal might be – find permanent housing in the next month. However, once your basic needs are met then recovery can be what you make it. You can focus on emotional, psychological, financial, social, and physical goals.
While in sober living, and once you’ve got all your goals set on the road to recovery, don’t forget to enjoy the scenery from time to time.
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