Setting Realistic Rehab Goals

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Rehab can be a difficult process. Especially if you’re receiving treatment for drug or alcohol use, some individuals understandably struggle with achieving and sustaining freedom from damaging substances.

The difficulty of the rehab process is one of the factors that makes goal-setting in a rehab setting so crucial. The ability to find and pursue the light at the end of the tunnel is so important, especially when you have multiple steps remaining before your rehab process reaches its conclusion.

Anyone looking to reach full abstinence from substance use habits will find hope in the goals they set for themselves, provided that those goals are concrete and attainable. Sometimes, the difference between reaching freedom and returning to a self-damaging cycle of substance use can be as simple as the goals you set and the determination to pursue them. That’s why we’ve taken the time to help you outline the goal-setting process, to help you define realistic rehab goals that put into words everything you’re looking to achieve during and after rehab.

Use the SMART goal format

The S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely – acronym can help you easily craft goals that are accomplishable and concrete.

Specific – Make your goals specific. Often, individuals in rehab make the mistake of setting vague goals, goals that are difficult to gauge simply because they lack concrete details. Make efforts to set specific goals, aspirations that can be tracked and quantified, so that you can identify progress over time, and celebrate success when you reach it.

Measurable – Goals are nothing if they’re not measurable. In fact, goals without the capacity to be measured are more like dreams. Measuring goals is what gives a goal its weight, since measurement allows you to identify the moment when a goal has been completed. Seek to establish rehab goals that are measurable. 

Attainable – This benchmark almost goes without saying: you should be able to accomplish your goals. If goals are not attainable, then you’re only setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Keep rehab goals concrete and attainable, so that they can be reached and new goals can be set.

Realistic – Goals also need to be realistic. Rehab goals like “never look at another substance again” isn’t a realistic one, given the fact that at some point or another you are likely to spot a substance. Instead, setting realistic goals means setting goals that challenge you, but that can be accomplished and that are within your grasp.

Timely – Open-ended goals are seldom completed. Instead, set rehab goals that are timely, in that they can be achieved within a time limit that you set for yourself. Whether that means you want to see quantifiable progress in a month, or that you want to achieve employment above a certain hours and payment threshold, timely goals keep you focused on the future.

Give yourself permission to succeed, and to fail

When you set goals for yourself in rehab, you’re not only committing yourself to making those goals into a reality: you’re also committing to change. You know that you’re going to need to change select aspects of your life, in order to foster the positive difference you want to see day to day. And whenever there is change, there is the possibility of success or failure, and sometimes both.

In order to truly commit yourself to your rehab goals, you need to give yourself permission to both succeed and fail. Giving yourself permission to succeed means opening yourself mentally to the possibility of success. It’s important to come to terms with the fact that when you reach your rehab goals, you’ll have become a healthier, happier, more productive individual. Success comes to the prepared, so make sure that you’re ready for its arrival.

Similarly, you need to provide yourself permission to fail. Understand that setbacks are ok, and are even an organic part of the process of change. Providing yourself permission to fail means accepting that challenges do arise, and we often learn as much from failure, if not more, than we do from success.

Take advantage of available resources

When it comes to setting, and sticking by, your rehab goals, you have an incredible wealth of resources at your disposal. From mobile applications to in-person and remote services, the right resources can make a huge difference when it comes to persevering toward your rehab goals.

Here are just a few suggested resources, that can give pursuit of your rehab goals an extra kick:

1) Mobile applications: If you’re serious about pursuing your rehab goals, rehab-minded smartphone applications can help you track your progress on a mobile device. One app, Sober Grid, allows you to join a supportive, online community, where you can track goals and work collectively toward recovery. Sobriety app Nomo even helps you track specific lengths of time between substance use events.

2) The SAMHSA National Helpline, reachable at 1-800-662-HELP, offers free, confidential help and information for individuals and their families facing the effects of substance use.

3) American Addiction Centers Online Resources offer a wide variety of digital resources for individuals facing a wide variety of substance use challenges, for alcohol and drug use, withdrawal recognition, mental health issues and more.

Pursuing realistic rehab goals from day one

Mobile applications, online resources and the S.M.A.R.T. acronym will certainly put you on the right track toward setting and accomplishing rehab goals. Outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs through Rehab After Work offer flexible and convenient options, to help you realize your rehab goals in a professional, non-judgemental setting. Call (610) 644-6464 or pursue treatment today when you reach out through our easy, online form. Confidential rehab help is now only an easy decision away.