It’s fair to say that once someone is lost in addiction, their priorities in life get thrown out the window. This is true in most cases of addiction because one of the qualities of the illness is that a person will continue to use to the detriment of all other areas of life. Even though someone’s career, marriage, and/or finances are getting destroyed, alcohol or drugs continues to be their main focus.

That’s why in recovery, it’s time to rethink what you’re priorities are. It’s time to assess what’s worth fighting for. Of course, you’re likely fighting for your own sobriety, but what about your family life, health, finances, or career path?  Each of these take time to rebuild and strengthen. Assessing first what your priorities are can help you determine the best course of action to take.

One of the fastest ways to set your priorities is to first determine what’s important to you. Often, people get lost in what others tell them. Parents, friends, spouses and even the media seem to have instructions for everything. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused by the directions of the world around you, this can make it hard to hear what you want or need to do for yourself. When this happens, it might be useful to pull back from the world and figure out what is uniquely important to you.

To do this, find a quiet place where you won’t be bothered for awhile. Close the door so that you’re safely contained in a room to yourself. Make a list of what’s important in your life. What matters the most to you?  It could be one of the items listed below or something entirely different:

  • -Good health
  • -Friends
  • -Religion
  • -Money
  • -Close relationships
  • -Family
  • -Being creative
  • -Time for yourself
  • -Travel
  • -Love
  • -A good home
  • -New experiences
  • -Spirituality
  • -Sobriety
  • -A fulfilling occupation
  • -Pets


You might also make a list of the areas in your life that are the least important to you. What is important to someone else may not be important to you. By making this list you can sort out what to focus your attention, time, and energy on and what areas of life you can put second.

Then, once you know what you’re priorities are create small goals to achieve so that little by little you’re making vast improvements in your life. Remember that a goal is something within your reach, not something unrealistic and far off. To create goals that feel reachable and doable, create them so that they meet the following guidelines:

Specific – A goal is specific when it is clearly defined. If a goal is not defined well, it might be too general that you won’t know exactly where you’re going. Often a goal can lead the way. It can be the light at the end of the tunnel.

Measurable – One way to make your goal specific is to make it measurable. Make it something within your reach so that once you get there you can reach for another goal.

Attainable – Having goals that are unrealistic and unattainable only set you up for failure. Once you reach a goal it can boost your confidence and keep you going stronger than before.

Relevant – Your goal should be relevant to the direction in which you want to go. Although you might have goals in other areas of your life, if you’re focused on your sobriety, your goals should be recover-related.

Time-Bound – Goals also need to have a deadline. I’m going to attend AA meetings for one month in order to boost my sobriety and lifestyle change. Goals need to have a time limitation on them so that you know the time in which you want to achieve them.

By setting your priorities and working towards goals in your life, you can get rooted in your recovery so that your sobriety is here to stay.

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