Recovery is often a two-step forward, one-step back kind of experience. Because of the many opposing feelings a recovering addict feels (wanting to get sober and not wanting to get sober at the same time) it can feel difficult to keep your eye on recovery. For instance, you might be doing well with your sobriety and then suddenly you run into an old drinking friend. You remember the good times, the laughs, and the how much fun it was. And you find yourself being pulled back to drinking.
That kind of going backwards (even if your mind) can create obstacles for moving forward. Truthfully, relapse begins with one thought. And with enough attention to that thought, you might think to yourself, “Well, one drink won’t hurt.” It’s this kind of back and forth in recovery that can make abstinence difficult to sustain.
However, when you have a goal, there’s something that’s drawing you forward. You have a vision, an idea of what you want in the future. Many life coaches describe it as having a compass and a direction. With a goal, you have the power to direct your life to stay on one course. And depending upon how badly you want that goal, you’ll work hard to ensure that all your choices are in favor of reaching your goal.
Here are a few common goals that recovering addicts are reaching for and what’s propelling their sobriety:
- Go back to school and earn a degree.
- Find meaningful work or achieve in your career.
- Better tend to the needs of your children.
- Heal your marriage.
- Get married again.
- Restore your health.
- Rebuild family relationships and friendships that were damaged by the addiction.
- Express yourself in healthy ways such as through painting, playing music, or dancing.
- Get out of financial debt.
- Learn coping skills to manage life’s stress without substances.
- Find a community of friends who value sobriety and who I can have fun with in safe and healthy ways.
- Learn how to overcome character flaws, such as impulsiveness, which can contribute to relapse.
- Learn how to stay in touch with what I’m feeling and when so that intense feelings don’t lead to substance use.
- Learn to love yourself and others.
To help you with feeling like you are moving toward your goals, you may want to come up with smaller objectives. Because as you get closer and closer to your goals, there are many benefits to be gained, which in turn can support your sobriety. For instance:
- Experiencing a greater self esteem and self worth.
- Experiencing a greater sense of self-confidence.
- Feeling good about your life in general.
- Boosting your commitment towards sobriety and where your life is headed.
- Depending upon the goal, it can bring a great sense of joy. For instance, if you got sober to get your children back, then having this happen can be a great success.
- It can boost your confidence in reaching other goals.
- It can give you a more optimistic view of their life.
- Reaching a goal can prevent relapse.
You might see that setting goals and reaching them creates a positive cycle. Achievement brings positivity and positivity brings more good feelings. This ongoing cycle can help you feel great again and again!
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