It is the most exciting moment in a soccer game (and in plenty of other sports, too) …that moment when the ball (or puck or whatever) slips past the defenders and ends up in the net. An excited commentator will likely yell, “Goal!” Celebrating will commence on the field, and it may take some time before order is fully restored and the game can continue. A goal is, obviously, a notable thing, worthy of celebration. That is true in sports, and it is true in day-to-day life, too. Both having goals and achieving goals are important to all of us, especially when those goals align with the things we value. For a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, goals—large and small—can be a key tool for building long-lasting sobriety.
Let’s look at the kinds of goals that can serve your recovery well.
Stress Reduction Goals
Most of us wish we were experiencing less stress in our lives. But a wish is not the same as a goal. The key to setting goals is to identify steps you can actually take to get yourself moving toward what you are trying to accomplish.
Examples might include making sure you actually take a lunch break rather than eating (and working) at your desk; taking a real vacation; setting more boundaries so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed all of the time; pursuing a hobby you enjoy; and much more. Finding ways to trade stress for relaxation is achievable if you set some goals and work toward them steadily.
Physical Health Goals
Even small changes in some key areas can make a big difference in terms of your overall physical health. Adding just a little exercise (can you get in 10 minutes of walking a day?), eliminating one sugary indulgence (can you snack on an apple instead of a cookie?), or finding a small fix for your sleep routine (can you avoid caffeine after noon each day?) can lead to improved physical health. And good physical health supports your sobriety, so it is well worth it to set small but meaningful goals—and to build on them over time.
Mental Health Goals
Setting mental health goals can sometimes be challenging because, ironically enough, a mental health disorder can impair your ability to make plans and take action to see those plans through. Whether it is one of the forms of depression, a trauma-based disorder, an anxiety or panic issue, or another kind of mental health disorder, the idea of setting goals can seem pointless or difficult or both.
A good starting goal in this area is to seek help from a doctor, a therapist, or both. Once you are receiving mental health care, you can set other related goals. You might, for example, set a goal to try a week’s worth of mindfulness exercises. Or you might take up journaling and set a goal to write down three things you are grateful for each evening.
Three Goals is Called a Hat Trick
If you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, we would encourage you to set three achievable goals—one related to reducing stress, one related to improving your physical health, and one related to improving your mental health.
This hat trick of goals will support your sobriety. And each goal you accomplish can serve as a stepping stone toward a new goal. Each step toward a new goal helps you accomplish your overall goal: staying sober.
Our Goal? Helping You Get—And Stay—Sober
When you are in the grips of a substance use disorder, there is really only one goal that truly matters—the goal of getting sober. Everyone at French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, PA, is devoted to helping the people we serve do just that. Via medically assisted detoxification and a rehabilitation program grounded in experience, expertise, compassion, and personalization, we help individuals regain their sobriety and their lives.
Part of that process includes identifying and addressing any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be in play. This is essential because good mental health and sobriety are deeply connected. So, our goal of helping you get sober necessarily involves helping you build up your mental health as well.
When your goal is to leave drugs or alcohol behind, our goal is to facilitate that process in an environment that provides you with the comfort, support, and respect you need and deserve.