Sit down, take a pen and paper and write out all the positive things in your life in one column and the negatives in another. Positives include the fact that you are clean and sober for maybe the first time in years. You have made new friends that share a similar background, and you have gone through treatment with them. You learned new coping skills and techniques and listed those individually, just to remind yourself what they are. You may be healthier than you have ever been, at least while you were drinking or doing drugs. Your eyes are no longer bloodshot. You wake up without a hangover. You remember what happened yesterday and last week.
Negatives may include feeling depressed, wanting to drink or do drugs, feeling the urge to hang out with questionable friends who are still using or going to places that were the scene of your former bad habits. Maybe, you have not dealt sufficiently with the guilt and remorse over what your life had become while you were using, or perhaps some family members did not come around as you hoped, and you are still estranged.
Now take another sheet of paper and write down life goals. Surely you discussed these with your therapist or counselor during treatment. See if they have changed. Have you accomplished any of them? If not, why not? Have you sincerely tried? What about the steps you are undertaking at your support meetings? Are you regularly attending them? This should be paramount on your to-do list. Remember, just because you went through treatment and are now in recovery, it does not mean that you can just walk away from what you learned. You will always be in recovery. And, at times, you will feel depressed, anxious, angry, defeated, or abandoned.
2: Go See Your Counselor or Therapist
In your continuing addiction treatment aftercare, you have resources to get in touch with your counselor or therapist. If this is not part of your treatment and recovery plan, call your treatment facility and inquire how you can receive ongoing counseling and treatment. If finances are a problem, ask about federal, state, and/or local assistance: contact community groups that offer low-cost or no-cost counseling for those in recovery. Call a hotline to discuss your needs and get referrals to agencies in your area.
3: Recommit to Your Goals
Remind yourself what you want to become in one month, a year, two years, or ten. Focus on the following points:
- Things you need to do to get yourself there
- Things you need to change or find a new job or professional training
- Moving your house
- Start over in a new city or state
- Rebuild your family or reconnect with your family
- Make amends to those you have wronged
Mark these goals in big block letters and highlight them, if necessary. You may even want to print them out in large font on a computer and have them laminated on a piece of card stock you carry with you. It is important to keep sight of goals – especially when you wake up in the morning and cannot seem to think of one good reason to get out of bed.