Getting sober is like starting an entire new chapter in your life.
You feel as though you’ve been given a clean slate. Since you’re making a fresh start, you’ll be making decisions about what you want to accomplish. There’s no doubt you have a lot of ideas about what you want your life to look like, but have you thought about the best time to set personal goals in recovery?
Positive Changes in Recovery Lead to Optimism
It’s normal to feel excited and optimistic when you start to feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. You have more energy and you may be thinking more clearly.
The combination of a regular schedule for waking and sleeping, combined with healthy meals and individual and group therapy in the drug and alcohol treatment center is likely playing a big part in the feeling that you have a positive future. It’s normal to be really happy and excited about all the good things that are possible.
The Pink Cloud of Recovery
Do you remember the first few weeks or months of falling in love? These are the precious days when your relationship is unfolding and you have eyes only for each other. You’re both walking on air and just thinking about the one you love makes you feel peaceful and euphoric. The future is nothing but bright.
Alcoholics Anonymous talks about the pink cloud of recovery. It refers to a short period in the early part of their recovery process that some people experience where they feel really good. They are very hopeful about their future, but seem to forget that being in recovery doesn’t shield them from the stresses that occur in everyday life.
In the same way that reality must set in sooner or later for our couple in love, people in recovery need to move past their own pink cloud.
Early Recovery Is a Full-time Undertaking
Someone who is in the early stages of recovery after leaving a residential treatment program is just taking their first steps away from a highly structured program to independent living. During this time, it may be enough to adjust to the change in living conditions and going to support group meetings.
Make Lists of Things You Want to Accomplish
Even though you may not be ready to start working on your new goals yet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start making lists of the kinds of things you want to achieve. Some of your early ideas might be general suggestions, such as “improve my relationships” or “be a better person.” Others may be more specific, such as “find paid employment.”
Best Time to Set Recovery Goals
The best time to set goals in recovery is after the “pink cloud” or “honeymoon” stage has worn off. You’ll be several weeks or perhaps months into the journey, since each person’s recovery is different. At this point, you’ll be better able to realistically focus on what you want to achieve.
Look After Old Issues Before Setting New Goals
A person in recovery may need to look after issues from their past. If you need to deal with legal issues that arose before you sought treatment, then these need to be a priority. You’re better off to resolve any criminal charges, child custody, and visitation issues and whether you should consider bankruptcy before you start making new plans. Otherwise, these issues can come up later on, causing stress and disruption to your life.
Focus on the Results You Want Instead What You Don’t Want
There are many resources available that can help you set goals. They will tell you to break down what you want into small, measurable chunks and to be consistent in working toward them.
Another tip that will help you achieve your goals is in the way you word them to yourself. Always focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. This kind of self-talk is very important, since you want to set yourself up for success. Instead of telling yourself, “I won’t drink,” try setting a goal that states, “I will preserve my sobriety.”
Take the First Step Toward Recovery at Great Oaks
The first step toward a life in sobriety begins with getting professional help. If you have been struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, Great Oaks Recovery offers a full continuum of care to clients. From detoxification to our family program, our experienced staff can help you.