One of the keys to maintaining sobriety for the long term is intentionality. Choosing your goals, crafting your plan, and being very intentional in everything you do from what you eat to whom you spend time with and how you choose to view the world around you and your place in it can help you make 2015 your best year yet.
The way to continue growing in any endeavor is to avoid stagnation and make a concerted effort to always be moving forward. While you may be unable to control certain events that can become a stumbling block emotionally or mentally, you can control how long you choose to allow yourself to be stymied by it and how quickly you pull yourself up and keep going.
Consider the trajectory of your recovery in 2014. Are you pretty much where you were in terms of emotional and mental health and/or spiritual growth? Did you struggle with the urge to relapse or cravings during the year? What was going on during those times? Did you address that in therapy or with a support group?
Cravings happen as do triggers for relapse but as long as you are paying attention, aware of how you are feeling, and continually practicing and learning new coping skills, they can help you to grow stronger in your recovery rather than slow you down or threaten your ability to stay sober.
Areas that Require Change
When you consider your experience over the past year, you will likely identify times when you felt stronger in your recovery and times when your ability to avoid relapse was threatened by cravings or other triggers. Taking an inventory of 2014 will allow you to identify areas of your life that will require change if you are going to make 2015 a better and stronger year in recovery. Though this is highly specific to the individual, it could mean:
- Ending a relationship with a friend, family member or significant other that is causing constant stress
- Taking care of your physical health by getting to the doctor and addressing any chronic issues
- Taking care of your mental health by working with a therapist or psychiatrist
- Changing jobs so that you are in a more positive environment and/or working with more positive people in a job that you enjoy
- Improving your financial situation so you can increase your choices and decrease your stress
- Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight and/or making more nutritious food choices that improve energy, quality of sleep, mood, and overall health
An End Game
Once you identify the areas that need changing, it’s time to get specific about your goals. Attempting random changes will only result in frustrating false starts that may leave you worse off than when you started. Instead, it’s time to get intentional. State specifically what you would like to accomplish. For example, if you have high blood pressure and this causes you stress, which makes you feel like getting high, then work with your doctor to create a nutrition and medication plan that will help you to manage the issue safely and effectively.
Similarly, if your current job continually puts you in the company of others who are high or drinking, and it makes you want to join them, then take some time to consider your options and the job you would like to have. Then look to see who’s hiring in that capacity.
Being specific helps you to keep your goal in sight, and that alone can help you to stay motivated.
From Here to There
Once you have clearly defined your goal, it’s time to map out a path to get there. If your treatment goal is to escape a job that makes you feel like getting high, and you’ve identified a job you feel you are better suited to, then the next step is to figure out how you can become competitive for that position. For example, you may need to go back to school to attain a certain accreditation or learn specific skills. Or, if you have all the skills and experience you need, then you may need to focus on creating an updated and accurate resume or begin the process of applying to open positions.
The First Step
Once you’ve identified areas of need in your recovery or potential threats to your ability to stay sober, created a goal that addresses the issue, and determined the best path to attaining that goal, the only thing left to do is take that first step.
For some, this is the hardest part. It can be scary to attempt change. Many are afraid of failure so much that they will continue to live with the difficulties in their lives rather than try to make things better. Though it is possible that you won’t get the job that you’re trying for your first time out or that it will take longer than you originally thought to create other healthy practices or see benefits from changes you make, it’s the only way to avoid stagnation in recovery and increase your ability to avoid relapse.
Learn more about setting yourself up for success in sobriety today when you contact us at Michael’s House. We’re here to assist you in identifying the personalized treatment plan that will work best for your needs.