“Game plan” is one of many terms to start in sports and eventually get used by almost anyone. A game plan is your strategy for winning, and not having one can make reaching any goals more challenging. When they’re sober goals you’re aiming to reach, you and everybody you know ends up “winning.” So, today, let’s talk about how we create and stick to the game plan for sobriety.
Goal setting in recovery is an important part of the work needed to avoid relapsing. These goals can come from short-term and long-term objectives for each person. Short-term goals could be starting treatment, beginning to attend meetings after treatment, or finding a new job. Long-term goals for drug addicts may be remaining in recovery for a year, regaining a loved one’s trust, or living independently again. When setting goals, it’s helpful to use the SMART guidelines of making them specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic, and time-bound.
Reaching sober goals starts with accepting the specific reason for the goals. This is your commitment to yourself and the steps you need to take to get to the outcome you want. Accepting sobriety as a healthy choice for your personal and professional life can increase your willingness to do the work needed. On the other hand, making it about satisfying someone else can feel like an obligation and become less motivating.
Find an Accountability Partner
Once you’ve made the commitment to yourself, inviting other people to help you reach the sober goals is a next step. A close friend or family member can be a terrific source of support. It could be someone who’s been successful at reaching their own sober goals, such as a sponsor or mentor. Mental health professionals can also help keep you accountable. Tell them about your goals and discuss the kinds of needs you expect to have along the way. Having someone to keep you accountable regularly is a winning strategy.
Thanks to technology, you don’t have to do all the work in documenting your progress. You can list your short-term and long-term goals in an app and simplify taking steps towards each one. Giving each goal a daily task can help you stay more focused by creating a routine for your efforts to stay sober.
A helpful guide to follow comes from the acronym SMART. It stands for specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic, and time-bound. Sobriety is a general goal, but starting treatment by the first of next month is a specific one. An example of a goal you can measure is attending one meeting daily after treatment ends. An acceptable goal might be enrolling in a yoga class, going for a bike ride, or finding some other physical activity you enjoy. Realistic goals should be things you know are within your reach, such as volunteering in your community once a month. The final one, time-bound, means your goal (or mini-goal) has a fixed deadline. It could be starting a new job that’s more aligned with your sober goals by your next birthday.
Reward Yourself When you Accomplish a Goal
Finding a reward to attach to each goal is one way to give yourself a tangible incentive for doing the work. Knowing what motivates you is the best place to start. Matching it to the size of the goal is helpful, too.
If your goal is working with a therapist weekly after treatment ends, you could choose a small reward after each session. If your goal is going to seven meetings with a therapist, the reward you choose might be bigger. The idea is to pick something you don’t have or do or see regularly. Limiting the item or the activity to rewarding behavior in reaching your sober goals is a way to keep it fresh and novel and worth working for.
Stay in Your Group
Getting and staying sober may feel like a solo act much of the time. But, there’s a great benefit to staying connected with others in recovery. In treatment, sharing authentically in a supportive group is valuable. It’s also practice for what you’ll need after treatment.
For many people in recovery, social situations have been part of what contributed to or worsened substance use disorders. Returning to these social connections without changing our behavior after treatment can lead to a risk of relapse. Instead, it’s critical to create new relationships with people who understand the demands of sobriety and will help you stay focused on your goals.
Discover Sobriety Tips at Hanley Center
Hanley Center provides help with setting SMART goals for sobriety. This is a fundamental part of our recovery programs. The ability to set and achieve goals is a big part of what makes a recovery sustainable.
During treatment, we help patients identify their sober goals and create strategies to reach those goals. These are the short-term goals. Before a program ends, we enable patients to choose their long-term goals and make a plan on how to break these larger goals down into bite-sized pieces.
Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting recovery.
For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.