A great skill to develop for maintaining ongoing recovery and manifesting goals is knowing how to effectively manage one’s time. Early in recovery, it is enough to do what is suggested by a sponsor, the needs of recovery being placed in top priority. Once recovery has been comfortably established, recovering addicts often find time to rediscovered or develop goals and dreams that had lay dormant and unheeded during their addiction.
As dreams surface, it is important for addicts to learn how to balance their time effectively so they can achieve these goals. This is a good time to learn coping skills for dealing with stressors that are introduced as they advance toward these goals. If they desire career advancement, it may mean that they will undergo an educational process that will allow them to do so. If they are looking for relationships that can enhance their recovery experience, they may decide to date, to get married, to have children, or step into whatever new role desired. If a hobby is desired, one might enroll into an art class or music lessons.
Finding time to increase their social life or take on new responsibilities can upset the balance they had achieved during the early stages of their recovery. Whatever changes they desire to make in their lives, or whatever changes occur that they need to incorporate into their schedules, it is important that the recovery meetings, time with recovering friends, sponsorship and other recovering activities not be compromised.
A easy way to plan to incorporate changes in their schedules is to use a simple pie chart. Drawing a large circle, divide the circle into 24 even slices. These slices represent hours of any given day. Begin by selecting seven or eight slices for the necessary time required for sleep. This is a big key for everyone’s recovery, since lack of sleep can be a trigger for those old habits that remind the addict of their previous lifestyle. Then select the appropriate number of slices to represent their daily work activities, grooming time, and commuting time both to and from their normal activities. Allow slices to represent their recovery activities, such as meetings, sponsorship time, and phone calls made and received to support recovery. This will leave a few of those slices for time with family, children, parents, etc.
Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions’ counselor.