Insight for the Journey: Recovery is not the Goal

Insight for the Journey: Recovery is not the Goal

I’ve spent the better part of the last 30-plus years helping people recover from substance use and mental health disorders. For me to say that recovery is not the goal may come as a surprise, but in reality, the goals for people are as varied and different as the people themselves. For some, the goal might be to live without shame, become an electrical engineer, go back to school, raise their children, get their license back, be honest, like themselves again, restore trust in a relationship, get a good job, or get married.

Recovery is not the goal. It is the avenue to reach the goal. For most of my clients, sobriety and long-term recovery is the only road that makes their goal possible. Without staying active in recovery, raising their own children, working full time, going back to school, or developing a healthy intimate relationship is merely wishful thinking.

Finding What is Important
Which is more important, the goal or the road that takes you there? They are inseparable and we need both. Without the goal, you work diligently toward an unsure and hazy destination. Foggy goals quickly evaporate, leaving one lacking commitment and motivation to do the necessary hard work. If a goal is vague, confusing, or continually moving, it is easy to give up.

Getting Your Treatment to Work
Recovery may be the avenue that makes your goal possible, and treatment might be what makes recovery possible. Don’t regret or fight it. Use it to your advantage. Every part of recovery can be leveraged to help you reach your ultimate goal and become the person you’re destined to be. Get your treatment to work, and get it to work for you. Long-term recovery is the road to get you where you want to go.

Don’t worry about others on the path. Maybe they are ahead of you, or maybe behind you. Reach back to help someone move forward and reach forward for guidance, direction, and the help you need. Keep your goal in front of you, confident that recovery is the only avenue that will take you there.

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!

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