Most people arrive to addiction treatment out of necessity. They are desperate to get better and find a different way of life. Others might be forced into treatment by friends, family, co-workers, or the law. And still, others might not be in danger or under any obligation, but they recognize a problem in themselves and want to get treatment for it. However, no matter how you’ve arrived at treatment, sobriety is nothing other than setting a goal and going after it. It’s like reaching any other accomplishment in life. You set a course and you steer your life in that direction.

Of course, the determination it takes to reach a large life goal might be absent during the first few days of early recovery. But simply by having a goal and holding fast to the vision of yourself, you’re likely to bring it into fruition.  The most important step you can take is to set the goal in the first place.

In fact, you may want to create a vision for yourself. And at the same time, you can create smaller goals that will ultimately lead up to the vision you have for the future. For instance, if you’re  desire is to live a drug-free life filled with meaning and happiness, you can create smaller goals to reach this vision. Here are some examples of recovery goals you might create for yourself:

  • –Stay sober for at least six months.
  • –Rebuild family relationships and friendships that were damaged by the addiction
  • –Find meaningful work
  • –Learn coping skills to manage life’s stress without substances
  • –Find worthwhile activities and hobbies to bring fulfillment into my life
  • –Find a community of friends who value sobriety
  • –Build a strong network of support
  • –Build a circle of service professionals who know me and my recovery goals
  • –Learn how to overcome character flaws, such as impulsiveness, which can contribute to relapse
  • –Learn how to stay in touch with what I’m feeling and when so that intense feelings don’t lead to substance use.


Remember that a great way to create your goals, whether they are recovery-related or not, is to make them SMART. The following explains more about what SMART goals are:

S – Specific

Clearly define your goal so that you know what you’re going to achieve.

M – Measurable

Can the progress of your goal be tracked and measured? This will help you reach your goal and keep you motivated to go all the way. For instance, if you’re goal is to attend 90 12-step meetings in 90 days, you can keep track on a calendar the meetings you’ve attended.

A – Attainable

Make sure that your goal is achievable. Although everyone wants to have the money to buy a convertible, it might not always be within reach. Your goal should be attainable, given the resources you have.

R – Relevant

You’re goal should be relevant to the larger vision of your life. Although this might sound obvious, it’s sometimes easy to get sidetracked and lose direction. However, if you stick with goals that align with your larger vision, then you’ll get closer and closer to it.

T – Timely

Give your goal a timeline. By when do you want to accomplish it?  What do you need to do in two weeks in order to accomplish this goal in a month? And if you want to have your larger vision complete in 5 years, by when do you need to accomplish your smaller goals?

This is a guideline for creating goals. You can use it to create goals for recovery and creating a happy, healthy, and sober life.

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