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Updated: January 21, 2021

The Art of Setting Goals in Recovery

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:

  • Spend an hour helping the kids with homework.
  • Manage my physical health by taking my pills daily.
  • Maintain my mental health (anxiety) by keeping meetings with my therapist.
  • Attend 12 step meetings every day.
  • Learn to meditate.
  • Spend less time on social media (less than 1 hour every day)
  • Get to sleep by 11 pm daily.
  • Create a resume for job hunting in January.
  • Buy a used car at an auction by March.

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.


If you or a loved one is looking for a safe and sober home in North County San Diego, call 760-216-2077. One of our caring members is ready to answer all of your questions.

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