In early recovery, you are encouraged to think about the future. You are asked to identify characteristics you want to possess, what is important to you, what kind of job you want, how you’d like your relationships to be, and how you would like to interact with the world.
You take a close look at the consequences of your substance use and how you are going to go about fixing them.
Short, medium and long-term goals are puzzled out. You exit treatment with an aftercare plan and new coping skills.
First you have to figure out what you want. And that is a HUGE order.
Your substance use has become the center of your world. All of your time has been spent thinking about, obtaining and using your substance of choice. You have lost sight of everything you used to desire.
Your life is dysfunctional and you need to start over.
New to recovery, you are asked what you want. Chances are you have no clue.
Any dream or goal you used to have has been shattered by your substance use. Looking way off into the future is a good visualization exercise, but it is the short-term you need to focus on.
Defining your values and belief system will help guide you as you begin healing.
Priorities are staying clean and sober, learning coping skills, practicing self-awareness, taking your inventory and making plans to fix your problems.
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
It may be too overwhelming to think of the future and how that might look for you. There are so many variables that are out of your control, you can’t let them sway you.
You need to get very specific for the next 12 months or so. This is where hard work pays off. After 12 months you will have a good foundation in recovery and be reaching some of the goals you set.
Everybody says “I want to be healthy, happy, earning good money, owning a home, in a happy relationship getting on with everyone, yadda, yadda. But these are not things that rotate around staying clean.
THINGS YOU DON’T WANT
If you cannot come up with concrete things you want, then look at the things you don’t want.
If you don’t want criminal or family court involved in your business, you don’t want to be broke, you don’t want to be homeless or estranged from your family, then you need to set goals around making sure these things are avoided.
If you don’t want to be irritable, angry, resentful, argumentative, dishonest or end up in rehab, then write out the steps you need to take to avoid these outcomes.
By focusing on avoiding negative consequences you have found the answer to some of your goals.
Place recovery first and everything else will follow.