Setting and achieving goals along your path to recovery is incredibly important. Short term, medium range and long term goals should be carefully crafted, deliberately pursued, actively tracked and updated or changed as frequently as necessary. Addiction to drugs like Ativan is a terrible psychological disease that will often have you feeling hopeless, aimless and despondent. As you see your goals being accomplished, however, your confidence and hope for the future will deepen.
The Emotional Benefits of Goal Tracking in Recovery
Self-esteem is often one of the first casualties of addiction. As the personal, financial and relational consequences of substance abuse each take their toll on an addict’s sense of self and purpose, he or she will often end up feeling completely hopeless. This feeling, however, is often a trick of the disease. Addiction is, at its core, about medicating pain. The pain addicts feel about their failures drives further substance abuse. The key to long-term recovery is to thoroughly identify and address any and all underlying emotional disorders or stressors. By establishing healthy and achievable goals and tracking them as you accomplish them, you will boost your self-esteem and your belief that you can change. Tracking your goals and changing them as necessary, also serves as an excellent way to look back on your journey and appreciate the progress you have made.
The Strategic Benefits of Goal Tracking in Recovery
Goal tracking is also an incredibly powerful strategic tool in your recovery. It starts with establishing goals that are reasonable. You might start by setting a goal of staying sober for the rest of today. Don’t think about the rest of your life. Don’t imagine the long road ahead and wind up feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. Imagine, instead, what it would feel like to finish today out without leaning on drugs like Ativan or alcohol. Then set the same goal tomorrow. Write it down and check it off.
As simple as this might seem, it can be the start of a lifetime of forward progress. One of the most important skills addicts learn in rehab is to cultivate a vision for a healthy and thriving future while anchoring themselves in the present moment. Many recovering addicts keep a journal for outlining, tracking and reviewing these goals. Journaling allows the addict to reflect upon his or her thoughts, feelings and ambitions and to articulate them in a private, truthful way. Then, on a daily or weekly basis, they can reflect upon those goals and write about how it felt to achieve them or to miss them. As you grow and mature in your recovery, going back and re-visiting your journal entries months from now may feel like reading the words of a stranger. You will certainly be able to recognize your growth and progress.
Journaling also helps you apply the guidance offered to you by your sponsor or mentor over an extended period of time. If you hear a particularly powerful idea shared in a recovery meeting or read something that really inspires you, write it in your journal and consider how those words might encourage you to live today and tomorrow. Like signposts on a hiking trail or growth marks etched into a doorframe by a rapidly growing child, these reflections will become a resource for future encouragement and motivation.
Setting and achieving goals is the best way to build your future. Think of your new substance-free life as a house that you are building. If your goal is to build a strong, safe, home that will stand for generations, you won’t just randomly hammer nails into pieces of wood. You’d probably start with some plans, then a materials list and then some instructions for building. If you were smart, you’d probably consult those plans constantly as you built. Though frequently referring to blueprints may feel like it is slowing you down, the truth is that the house you are building will last much longer due to the diligence of your planning. The same is true of your new, sober, life. Spend time with people more experienced in the process than you, and set meaningful and achievable goals. Then, as you accomplish those goals and check off your list, you will feel more and more confident and proud of the life you are building.
Recovery Goal Samples
If you are feeling stumped as to where you should start with your goals, consider the following short term, medium range and long range suggestions:
- Short Term – Don’t use drugs, alcohol, or compulsive behaviors to medicate your pain today.
- Short Term – Find an effective, comprehensive, addiction rehabilitation program.
- Short Term – Do something today that enhances your mindfulness about the emotions that drive you.
- Medium Range – Reach out to at least one member of your support network every day for a month.
- Medium Range – Improve the healthiness of the food you eat for one month.
- Medium Range – Get some physical exercise every day for at least one month.
- Long Range – Set five specific goals related to relationships that you need to mend.
- Long Range – Identify one ministry, non-profit or community group you will serve for the next year.
Your goals may be much more specific than these. You might choose to reach out to five specific supporters today or to work your way through a list of good books. You might set some goals about paying off bills or making repairs to your house. At the end of the day, however, make sure to take some time to look back over your goals and write some notes about your progress. Have you accomplished some? Have you made progress on some? Do some need to change?
24-Hour Recovery Support and Goal Achievement Helpline
If you would like more information about the benefits of setting and achieving goals in recovery apart from drugs like Ativan or would like to be connected with the best recovery resources available, please call our toll-free, no-strings-attached, 24 hour helpline right now.