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Setting and Achieving Goals in Recovery

A life without goals is a life without purpose, especially if you’re recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Living day to day without a set of goals or values is particularly harmful, sober or not, but if you’re transitioning out of a life of addiction, setting and achieving goals for yourself is even more important.

Benefits of Goal-Setting

Setting goals for yourself has lots of great benefits.

  • Goals are great motivators.

  • Goals give us purpose.

  • Goals help us define our values in life.

  • Goals help us develop responsibility and self-efficacy.

  • Goals help us focus on the future instead of the past.

  • Goals help us focus on what is important in life.

Although these benefits are great for all people in all walks of life, they are especially beneficial for individuals in recovery from addiction. For example, a sober living resident may initially find it difficult to prioritise daily responsibilities because the priority was his or her drug and alcohol use for so long. As a newly sober person, redefining life’s priorities can be challenging, but setting short and long-term goals in life can make this process easier.

Examples of Realistic Recovery Goals

In rehab, you probably had many of your recovery goals defined and set out for you by your counselors, mentors, and the recovery programming itself. If you’ve recently completed rehab and have enroled in a transitional living programme, you’ve probably recognised that sober living homes and transitional housing programmes give you more freedom to define these goals for yourself.

People who set goals for themselves are much more likely to achieve positive change in their lives. On the same note, if your goals are unrealistic, you may only be setting yourself up for failure. Starting small, being specific, and giving yourself a time limit to achieve certain tasks are all great ways to ensure that your goals are realistic and healthy.

If you’re struggling to set your own goals in recovery, here are some examples you can use for inspiration:

  • I will save $100 each month for the next 12 months.

  • I will submit two job applications every day until I secure full-time employment.

  • I will meet with my mentor twice a week for the next six months.

  • I will eat dinner out on Saturday night each week and cook my dinners at home every other night.

  • I will make a list of people to make amends with by the end of this week.

If you are still unsure about your own life goals, talk to your sponsor, a sober living roommate, or bring it up at your next 12-step meeting. Other people in recovery have likely struggled with the same thing and can provide suggestions and encouragement that may help get you started.

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