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Planning for the Future in Uncertain Times

planning for the future

In recovery, you will spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the past. After all, that’s what brought you into recovery in the first place. Poor choices and addictive behavior are things you can dissect and learn from, so you can change your life patterns. However, there always comes a time in recovery when you want to start looking forward to the future. Planning for your future can be an essential way to begin to change your life. Even when you’re forced to cope with uncertain times, such as COVID-19, there are ways for you to continue to change your life.

Creating Goals for the Future

When you were a kid, you probably had a dozen answers to what you wanted to do when you grew up. Addiction probably wasn’t something you could foresee. While COVID-19 may have seemed to stall some recovery plans, sometimes when there’s a will, there’s a way.

If you’re new to recovery, your goals are often simple. You probably want to repair relationships, stay sober, and establish a new job or career. For many people, this means therapy (which is available on the phone or online.) A therapist can also help you create other goals for the future as time moves on, and you get more time in sobriety.

Visualizing Your Future

Choosing a new path can be tricky, so it may help to visualize it. What does the perfect future feel like? Close your eyes. Who are you spending time with? Where do you live? What are you doing for work?

If you’re not sure what goals you have for the distant future, talking to a sponsor or your peers can help you. Often you’ll find that somebody who has several years sober is living your dream life. So it also helps to pay attention at 12-step meetings. Ask around if you are looking for some inspiration for a specific goal you have in mind. Others will be happy to explain how they went about it.

Working Toward Goals

One day at a time, you can start to work toward your goals. For example, if you realize that you have always wanted to be a chef, you now have time to figure out how to make that happen. While COVID-19 has affected our lives, it’s not impossible to search out new goals.

Research is the first thing you’ll want to do to learn more about the steps to make your goals happen. If you’re looking for a job, you’ll need to be able to use the internet to learn more about the requirements and credentials for a job. For a person who hopes to be a chef, this may mean getting a basic food handling certificate. (For example, the city of San Diego allows you to earn this certificate online for a small fee.) Or maybe you want to buy a new car. Searching for a safe, part-time job may require scouring help wanted ads. You can even learn to meditate or program computers online, usually for free or a small fee.

If you are looking for opportunities to change your life, they haven’t gone anywhere. You just have to be willing to accept the circumstances you’re living under today. COVID-19 won’t dictate our every move forever. Things will change, and so will you! So why not take the time to help yourself gain knowledge or skills as you work toward new goals.

Ask for help, advice, and guidance from your peers and people who have been in recovery for a while. You'll be surprised at the things you can accomplish!

Finding Fellowship in Sober Living

Are you looking for a way to branch out and be independent in recovery without taking too many chances? A community of others who are sober can help you continue to work on yourself and your goals, with a mixture of structure and independence. Get in touch with us to learn about which options are available to you right now by calling 760-216-2077.



Once you’ve been in sobriety a while, life becomes more interesting. When you were drinking and drugging, you probably had goals that you thought about. But as addiction takes over, goals and relationships go by the wayside. It’s hard to remember your sense of purpose when you’re using drugs or alcohol. But once you’re sober, you’re probably already thinking of the new possibilities in life. Setting goals is a part of your new life. Using to-do lists can help you stay organized on a daily basis.

Getting Started with Your List

Many planners and organizers online offer to-do list pages. There are many ways that people in recovery learn to chart their progress and set goals. A list of things you want to accomplish every day can help you set aside specific times to work on things.

How many goals do you have right now? Pick up to five to start out with. List them on a piece of paper.  For each of your goals, there are steps to achievement. This is how you can begin to pursue them.

How to Create a List that Makes Sense

For example, if you want to go back to college next year, what are the steps that you would need to take? Break it down into easy steps, such as:

  1. For one thing, you’ll need to choose a school.
  2. You’ll need to apply and wait to be accepted.
  3. You probably need to get your high school or college transcripts and send them to the schools of your choice.
  4. You’ll need to figure out how to pay for school.
  5. You’ll need to decide what semester you’ll go back.
  6. Finally, you’ll choose your classes and take them.

For each of these goals, you can write a new to-do list to accomplish it. Once you’ve done this, you can break each goal into small tasks that move you forward.

Consider Sober Living

Many people who have completed treatment feel like they need more time to focus on their recovery. Sober housing, in a safe and serene environment, can help you learn more about what you want out of recovery. Learn more about how sober housing can help you learn more about life in recovery by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Do you have a lot of expectations in life? Many people who struggle with addiction come up with a great list of goals they expect to reach in recovery. Some of these goals may be tangible and easy to work on and achieve. For example, learning to wake up at six in the morning is an immediate goal that you might make so you can keep on schedule. But another goal you have, such as re-establishing a relationship with a family member, may take time to achieve. For some people, these bridges are burned and won't happen any time soon. It may be hard to accept that your action doesn’t have an immediate payout. But it’s merely a fact of life – many things take time to achieve.

You didn’t become addicted in one day. Do you really believe that you can change your whole life in one day? That’s a huge expectation that you’ve placed on yourself. It’s time to learn how to give yourself a break.

Accepting Your Life As It Is

In recovery, you’re probably learning a lot about acceptance. Accepting that your life is what it is right now. You can help you learn to slow down and take one day at a time.

When you were a kid, you probably wanted Santa and all of your relatives to give you something you thought was really cool. But for whatever reason, not one person got you that toy. Maybe you got some socks and smaller, less fancy toys. You probably accepted those gifts, anyway, if you were a polite kid. After all, a gift is a gift.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re settling for something less than you want. It means you’re accepting what the world has to give. This is something you can do just for the present. Acceptance can give you a lot of peace.

Working Towards Goals

Acceptance is a way to a more peaceful way of life. After a time, it will be easier to realize that you’ve done what you can, and that’s all you can do. The only thing you have control over is your actions and reactions. However, you can become more mindful of how your personal actions can affect others and treat people with kindness.

Working on goals that you’re not sure that you will achieve requires a leap of faith. But everyone in life has failures and successes. That’s how we learn and grow. In recovery, you’ll learn to accept that life isn’t perfect, and things won’t always go in your favor. But putting in the work to change yourself is still worth it because it’s bettering you. Facing challenges, living your life, and taking action help you grow.

You can’t force your mother to forgive you or your children to want to spend time with you if your relationship is damaged. Getting clean or sober for a certain amount of time doesn’t make you a perfect person. Healing takes time. Now it’s time to work on yourself and take action to become a better person. If you’re not sure what will help you achieve your goals, ask your sponsor or others who have been in similar situations.

A Day at a Time

Goals can be daunting if you try to fix them all at once. Taking life a day at a time – with daily action towards your goals – will help you keep your focus. Recovery is a journey, not a destination.

Working the steps and taking suggestions will help you make changes in your life. You’ll begin to heal your own issues, and become a better person.

Everyone in recovery has dreams and goals, but accepting your life as it is, and letting go of expectations can help you grow and live a more peaceful life. You deserve peace! So give yourself a chance and take it a day at a time.

Consider Sober Living

After treatment, transitioning to the “real world” can be stressful. Many people find that sober housing offers them the support and structure they need to stay focused on their recovery. Learn more about our inspiring living program and joining our community by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Many people in recovery from substance abuse disorders start discussing goals after they’ve been sober for a few months. The future is a little brighter, and there is more time to focus on what you want to do with your life. During active addiction, personal goals have gotten off track, sometimes completely. The ability to have goals is a good sign that your recovery is on track.

This means sitting down and doing a bit of homework to help you get familiar with goal setting.

Three tips on setting goals:

  1. Ask yourself, what are your overall goals? Usually, the answer will be something vague such as “be happy” or “change my attitude.” Think about the things in life that are giving you the most pain or trouble. Write them down.
  2. Think about specifics. You need a list of personal recovery goals that will help you move forward in life. Will spending more time with your children make you happier? What kinds of activities will help you have a better attitude? Make these your goals.
  3. The goals you make need to be manageable and straightforward. Break them down into things you can schedule on a calendar. Some things will need to be done every day, while others will probably involve tasks that are about once a month. Be specific about the action you are going to take.

Keep your goal list in your wallet or on your phone in case you need a reminder of what you’re working towards.

Sample goal list:

Having this list is just the beginning of a recovery journey. Knowing what want you want in life is an essential driving force for change.

Sometimes you’ll have to change your goals due to unforeseen circumstances. That’s okay, too. Life changes and we often have to adapt to that.

Achieving the goals feels great. Celebrate your accomplishments, big and small. And when you meet a goal, it’s time to set a new one.

Learn About Sober Living

Sober living can help you work towards goals while making your home in a caring, safe environment around other people in recovery. Many people choose to transition from treatment to “the outside” by taking advantage of sober living homes.

Learn more about your options for sober housing by calling 760-216-2077.

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