Set a Goal for Addiction Recovery


The majority of the individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are not satisfied with their lives. In addition, many of them suffer from drug and alcohol addiction say that they are not doing what they really want to do with their life. Getting what an individual really wants will involve change and is a process that will take time. For change to truly take place it will not happen instantly or over night. However, this process can be made much more effective and efficient by learning and practicing certain principles. Achieving what we really want in life is about effective planning, doing and accountability. At least initially, many individuals do not get or accomplish what they want from life because the goals that they are seeking are not well formed.

I am currently a psychotherapist at the Holistic Addiction Treatment Program in North Miami Beach, Florida. In addition to a variety of counseling and consulting responsibilities, I also conduct goal-setting sessions with all of the inpatient and outpatient clients admitted to the Holistic residential programs. Twice a week I encourage and coach each client to participate fully in an exercise of learning and putting into practice the technology of well-formed outcome. Participating in the goal setting exercises allows for clients to learn the technology of setting well formed goals and also to begin learning about the internal constraints and barriers that stop them from achieving their goals.

The majority of the individuals who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are not satisfied with their lives.

On Monday afternoon I enroll the clients into setting a goal that they will complete or accomplish by Friday morning. The coaching is to make the goal simple and attainable. On Friday morning I conduct another session to process their progress towards completing their chosen goal. The processing of what stops them or how they achieved their goal can be very powerful. Powerful breakthroughs can appear for clients in this process. During the same session on Friday morning I encourage clients to set another goal to be worked on and completed over the weekend and by Monday afternoon. On Monday afternoon the client’s progress from the weekend is processed and the goal setting exercise starts over again. The repetition of this exercise will allow the client to utilize the technology of setting effective, well formed goals in his or her recovery program and also learn about how he she sabotages himself in the process.

The goal setting exercise is initially about answering three questions:

1. What goal I am committed to achieving by Friday morning?

2. What I will need to do everyday to achieve my chosen recovery goal by Friday.

3. Who will I talk with and have to hold me accountable for my commitment?

Question 1 is about the planning stage. The planning stage is about creating a goal or a well-formed outcome, that which a person will go about achieving. The conversation about well-formed outcome is primarily from the field of Neuro Linguistic Programming. In order to create a well formed outcome there are certain criteria that need to be met. If these seven criteria are met the goal or outcome is well formed. Many people do not achieve the goals that they set for themselves because they are not well formed.

The seven criteria for setting effective goals are taught as apart of the sessions that I conduct. There are seven criteria for creating a well-formed outcome:

1. Is your chosen goal specific?

2. Is your goal within your personal control?

3. Do you have with it takes to achieve your goal?

4. How will you know when you have achieved your goal?

5. Is your goal expressed positively?

6. Is your goal at the right level?

7. What else in your life might be affected by your goal?

Question 2 is about doing, about determining the actions that will be necessary for the person to achieve the goal that they created in question one. Part of the rules for taking on the exercise is that the client’s goal has to be such that it will require the person to do something everyday to achieve it. The goal cannot be completed in one day or even two. In addition, there has to be a specific time and place that the client must declare to do this part of the exercise. For example, to complete his or her goal of reading 20 pages from the NA text, the client will have to read five pages each evening from 6 to 7 pm in his bedroom.

Question 3 is about accountability. The client is given the opportunity to choose another client to hold them accountable for their chosen goal. The client that is selected must be of the same sex. It will be the responsibility of the individual chosen to check with the client everyday to see if the client is doing what he or she has said they would do to achieve their goal. The concept of integrity is very important throughout this exercise. In the training and teaching done for this exercise, the importance and responsibilities of the one holding the client accountable is discussed, reinforced and reviewed each session.

The entire exercise gives a client the opportunity to repeatedly practice creating and achieving a particular goal or well formed outcome and will assist them in their recovery process. Q.1 is about what a person in recovery really wants in his or her life. If the goal is recovery oriented it will be vital that the individual create a specific goal in alignment with being well formed. Q.2 is about what the client will do daily to go about achieving what he or she declares that they want. The answers to question one and question two must be in alignment with each other. Q.3 is about being held answerable, of working with others in recovery treatment, a conversation that could contain conversing with a counselor.

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