In our addiction, we had no time for anything but getting our next fix. All our time and money was spent on our addiction. We had no time for family, friends not even ourselves. Our lives had no direction, no future; the life we once wished for ourselves was lost with that one hit, that one shot and it seemed hard to believe we could ever get it back. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug. When we decide that we have had enough, no matter how long it takes, and are tired of being sick and tired, we finally take that first step and ask for help. We either enter into a detox facility or treatment program or join a support group. Whatever the steps we take to end our addiction, we have made that choice that we are ready for a life in active recovery.
Setting Achievable Goals in Addiction Recovery
Unlike a dream, which is nice to have but sometimes they are not realistic, healthy goals in sobriety are something that you want to accomplish in a measurable and organized way. It has some type of time frame for completion, even if that time is months, or even several years, in the future. To achieve a goal, you’ll need to put in the effort and do some work. Goals in early recovery can look like:
- Getting clean and sober
- Staying for the suggested stay time at a treatment program
- Getting to know fellow patients
- Participating in therapy (group and individual)
- Listening to others and taking suggestions
Even though we may have thought the first couple of months in recovery were difficult, it wasn’t. It’s easy to follow rules and live in the bubble of treatment, but after you leave and once you are faced with real life, it can be triggering, confusing, basically sensory overload without the drugs or alcohol to cope. We are so used to responding to our emotions, or any situation that we find uncomfortable, with drugs or alcohol, but now in this new life of recovery, we must find new healthy ways of coping and through recovery we learn these skills. While we were in treatment we should have learned some coping skills while getting our minds back to proper working function, but we still may feel lost and not know what lies ahead. This is where continuing to have a set of goals to accomplish after treatment can help in this stage of recovery.
Continuing Healthy Goals in Recovery
You may have completed our 28 or 90-day treatment programs but you still have a lot of learning and experiences that lie ahead and if we aren’t prepared it could lead to a relapse. Some goals to have after treatment are:
- Attend 12-step program meetings regularly
- Go to follow-up outpatient counseling sessions
- Look out for your physical, emotional and spiritual health by ways of eating healthy, meditation and exercise
Now that you achieved some short-term goals, this is where you can take some time for yourself and think about what you want the future to look like. Ask yourself: What would you like to do over the next few weeks or months (short-term goals), the next six-twelve months (medium-length goals) and over the next few years or more (long-term goals)? When you are thinking about your goals it helps to write then down to keep track of them and commit to them by making them more “official”. You also want to maybe divide them into manageable steps so you don’t get overwhelmed. However, you go about your recovery just remember that’s what it is, your recovery and your journey. So enjoy it. We at Evoke Wellness at Miramar can help you get your life back. We understand that the treatment process can be difficult at times. At Evoke Wellness at Miramar, we are committed to assisting you in making progress towards a new life free from the grips of addiction. Every second in active addiction makes it more difficult to reach out for help. Break the barrier of substance abuse and begin healing from the underlying causes of your addiction and reach out for help today.