Goal Setting and How It Relates to Addiction Recovery
As 2011 winds down and 2012 approaches, people are reflecting on the year that has passed and the year ahead. They start to think about goal setting, what they were able to accomplish and what nevertheless looms on the horizon. For many struggling with substance abuse problems, it’s an annual battle they confront – trying to get sober once and for all.
It’s a commitment that people try to make but often times may seem overwhelming because sobriety, in the scope of a year, and already a lifetime, seems like too much. When alcohol or drugs are a fix, a crutch to cling to during times of struggle and hardship, it’s not so easy letting go. And many recovering alcoholics and addicts will tell you that already with every intention of being sober, it’s very easy to revert back to old tendencies.
It’s easy to revert back to tendencies because as humans, we’re creatures of habit and breaking those habits can be very, very difficult. Say you’re a social drinker and you use a lot of time at the neighborhood bar. Naturally, you’ll never every patron or bartender by name. Being in an ecosystem such as a bar is not conducive to recovery, but leaving those relationships behind isn’t so easy, especially when you don’t have friends or hobbies outside of the bar scene.
Before you make the declaration of sobriety (you’ve nevertheless got time until the New Year arrives), start making new friends and getting involved in activities away from the bar scene. Join a running club (if you have a associate pounds to lose, you’d be essentially getting a “two-for-one” New Year’s resolution). If you like the air that a bar brings, try spending more time at your neighborhood coffee shop. Often times these establishments have live bands and an ecosystem that fosters good conversation.
Sign up for an adult softball or kickball league. You’ll make new friends who embrace active lifestyles, although you’ll want to be sure that these leagues don’t revolve around the bar scene or have participants drinking during events, as some do. You could also take up cycling or join a running club. Why not prepare to race in a 5k? Anything active that requires goal setting and shifts your focus can help you in your road to recovery.
You should also let your friends and family members know what your intentions are so they can help you stay on track. By making your intentions for sobriety known to the people around you, you’re automatically holding yourself accountable, both to them, and to yourself. Having this kind of peer pressure can be a very positive thing. It can also help you during those difficult times when you’re alone and feel as though you’re on the verge of cracking. Phone one of these people and have them talk you off the ledge or distract you.
By developing these habits now, you’re creating an ecosystem for success so when it’s time to let go, you can, and you will. It should be noted, however, that substance abuse problems, whether we’re talking about alcoholism or drug addiction, can be medical and inner psychological problems that require more than just willpower. They may require medication, counseling, and already hospitalization, but no matter what is needed, the journey to sobriety is worth it, no matter what. You’re worth it.