You accepted that you have an addiction problem. You listened to your loved ones who wanted to help you get better. With their support and your resolve to improve your way of life and physical and mental well-being, you entered a rehab program and underwent the treatment programs. By seeking professional assistance in a treatment facility, you began your alcohol or drug addiction recovery.

At the beginning of recovery, it’s important to set goals for yourself. These are usually big recovery goals, such as finding a new job, rebuilding relationships with your family and friends, staying sober in the long run. These goals are vital because they give you a purpose to work towards. They shape your life post-rehab and guide you in getting your life back in order.

However, the big goals you set for yourself take time to achieve. Finding a job isn’t easy; talking with your loved ones and asking them for forgiveness perhaps even less so. Goals like these aren’t impossible, of course, but they require effort and hard work.

It’s normal to lose motivation somewhere along the way. People burn out, get tired, and lose their excitement. Big wins happen rarely, and if you feel like it’s too difficult (or it is taking too long) to meet your objectives, you might get disheartened and stumble.

Setting realistic goals and celebrating small wins are the key to protecting sobriety.

You can still have your big goals, but you should break them down into smaller, easily digestible pieces. Not only that but celebrating the little things in life that make you and the people around you happy regardless of any recovery programs are also crucial to the process.

Benefits of Small Wins

Celebrating your sobriety is essential to staying on the right path. You may not feel you deserve it, particularly if you used up personal resources or family resources to feed your addiction. After all, paying for treatment, being in and out of recovery homes, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment can take its toll on you and your whole family.

However, every step you take toward improvement should be celebrated. Simply put, small milestones keep you motivated. We all like to meet our goals; we all want to cross things off our to-do lists. But if the thing we have to cross out is a year from now and it’s so big that it scares us a little, there’s a high chance that we’ll put it off until it’s too late to do anything about it. Then we will feel guilty about putting it off, and we’ll seek comfort in unhealthy habits.

If we break down the big thing into several little things that are easily doable and not that far into the future, we will be more motivated to work on them. Finding a job is a big deal, but asking about possible job openings at the local treatment center is a lot more manageable.

Smart goals keep you on track, help you realize the progress you’ve made so far, and get you pumped for what’s next. Every little goal and every little moment of happiness in your recovery matters. Focus on them as you’re maintaining your sobriety.

How to Celebrate the Small Wins

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. If you’ve been in treatment for an eating disorder, a dual diagnosis, or something else entirely – everyone will benefit from these useful ways to celebrate sobriety milestones.

  • Notice your progress

You may feel like you haven’t made much progress. This is true for anyone who is working towards a long-term goal little by little every day. The small changes are almost unnoticeable on a daily basis. However, if you stop and look back, you will see just how far you’ve come.

Sober living isn’t about immediate and complete transformation. It’s about adopting healthy habits and letting go of bad ones. It’s a process, not a switch that you can simply flip on. To truly evaluate your progress, take a look back at your beginnings, where you were after you’ve just completed your alcohol rehab, drug rehab, or dual diagnosis treatment. Yes, you’ve come a long way. You’ve made significant changes to your lifestyle, even if it doesn’t seem so at first.

Just keep going forward.

  • Keep a journal

Starting a journal may sound cliche and even tedious to some. But you don’t have to sit down and write about the details of your day every morning. It is enough to simply jot down your accomplishments once a day, once a week, whenever you have time.

These can be both big and small accomplishments. For example, making healthy food choices that day or spending time with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. The purpose is to appreciate the little things in life that help you celebrate sobriety.

Additionally, keeping a journal could help you spot patterns in your behavior and thoughts. If you’re struggling, it could help you understand why. A journal could also help your therapist or doctor know where you are mentally and how you’re handling your recovery.

  • Share your successes

Having a stable support system is crucial for continuing care in recovery. Your loved ones and your recovery community will cheer you on whenever you have something to celebrate. Their enthusiasm for your success will keep you going.

Find healthy ways to celebrate each sobriety milestone you hit. Take your friends out to dinner, see a movie, or organize a bowling night. These little celebrations will motivate you to achieve small wins in the future. Of course, you should avoid triggering settings and substances that were the center of your addiction, like drugs and alcohol. Allow your community to celebrate your progress in all the right ways.

  • Set rewards

Make a list of rewards for the big wins and the small wins. It can be anything from a beach trip to new nail polish, a new cookbook filled with healthy recipes, and signing up for those yoga classes you’ve been eyeing. Treat yourself to a massage, buy a new book, get tickets for a concert. Refer to this list whenever you hit a goal to see what you’d like to reward yourself with.

Again, as above, don’t reward yourself with triggers. As you’ve learned in substance abuse treatment, it is essential to avoid anything that will encourage addictive habits.

  • Be mindful

It is easier said than done, but try not to live in the past or too far in the future. Continually thinking about what happened will negatively impact your mood and might cause you to spiral into guilt and shame. At the same time, the uncertainty of the future could bring needless worry and anxiety into your days.

Instead, try grounding yourself in the present. Mindfulness is important for truly appreciating what you have in life. Savor the taste of your favorite dish; feel the warm breeze on your nature walk; hear the deep purr of your cat as you’re watching Netflix. These are small, seemingly insignificant moments in life, but by focusing on them, you’re reinforcing the idea that you are better now. You’re living a much better life than when you were so deep in your addiction you couldn’t even tell what day it was.

The little moments count. Don’t miss out on them.

  • Remind yourself why you’re doing this

Finally, take a moment every once in a while to remind yourself of the end goal here. Yes, we’re talking about the biggest goal you likely have – to protect your sobriety in the long run. Everything you’re doing – the job hunting, the healthy diet, the daily exercise, keeping in touch with your friends, attending alcoholics anonymous meetings, undergoing family therapy, and more – is for the purpose of staying sober.

The small wins keep you going, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture, either.

Don’t Give Up

You will have bad days. You will have days where it gets too hard. Despite what you may have heard, addiction treatment and recovery are not so straightforward. You will have setbacks, and they are a normal part of the process.

What is essential when a bad day comes along is that you don’t give up.

Integrate goal setting into your routine. Make a list of big goals. Then make a list of smaller goals that lead up to the big goals. Surround yourself with supportive people. Find healthy ways to celebrate your life. Appropriately reward yourself when you achieve any of these goals. Appreciate the little things.

Recovery lifestyles and treatment outcomes vary from person to person. It may not seem like you’re doing much or have achieved much since you got out of rehab, but rest assured that is not the case. All you need to do is devote a moment of your time to looking back at your progress and devising a plan of how it will continue.

If you’d like some help in coming up with small and big goals in your recovery, feel free to contact us at (619) 630-7844 or through our website. Do you have questions about treatment plans, the admissions process to rehab centers, or outpatient programs? We would love to give you a hand. You got this!