It is common for those overcoming the challenges of addiction recovery to constantly look for new outlets and strategies to overcome each challenge. Persistent urges and cravings, the task of repairing relationships, and establishing a healthy, sober life are all incredibly difficult, especially as an individual takes on more personal and professional responsibilities in sobriety. Among all of this, it is easy to lose track of the accomplishments that each individual has already made in their recovery. Taking a moment to look back on these milestones can be a crucial source of pride and motivation while continuing along each individual’s sober journey.

The Importance of Looking Back

Looking back on past accomplishments can be an amazing experience. For those continuing to navigate the stresses and challenges of sober living as an alumnus, it can also be an amazing resource for motivation. With unforeseen stresses that test each person’s sobriety prevalent even after successfully completing a residential treatment program, alumni still often face many trials in their attempt to manage their present sobriety. This can be both physically and emotionally exhausting. However, looking back on the journey rather than focusing on current stresses can provide some necessary perspective. 

Going over an individual’s goals from earlier in their recovery can illuminate how far each individual has truly come on their journey. Initial goals like “Go 24 hours without drinking” may have once seemed incredibly challenging, and the feelings of pride and accomplishment that came with reaching these goals were likely profound. Even while an alumnus is celebrating their next sober milestone, keeping these perspectives in mind can add needed context to their daily life. Despite the challenges faced, each one has been overcome. Even once-impossible feeling goals are possible to navigate, and an individual has already proven their capabilities of doing so.

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Rewarding Yourself: Being Your Own Best Motivator

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This perspective can also empower alumni to be less hard on themselves in the pursuit of their next milestone. Addiction recovery is difficult, and constant feelings of stagnation or feeling plateaued at a particular point in each person’s recovery are common. However, these past accomplishments can provide the necessary motivation to continue pushing, all while serving as a reminder of each person’s sober goals.

Identifying Past Accomplishments

It can be easy to minimize or lose track of past goals once they are accomplished. However, keeping these feelings of success in focus is important. Fortunately, there are strategies each alumnus can use to identify the true weight of these past accomplishments. 

Practice Journaling

Using journals throughout any point of each person’s recovery journey is a great outlet. Many alumni will benefit from having a space to record challenges, stresses, and more. However, these journals can also be records of accomplishments. Using journals to record when and how an individual navigates stresses, urges, or cravings and how it felt to overcome these challenges can be an amazing experience. 

Recovery is never a purely linear journey, and there will be many ups and downs or feelings of depression or anxiety along the way. Having a repository of positive accomplishments that an individual made for themselves can remind an individual of their own peaks and inform them of pertinent strategies and mindsets for overcoming future challenges. 

Keep Photos of Success Accessible

Taking photos of accomplishments or of oneself along with supports after important milestones can also be a great way to identify the profound nature of these successes. Keeping these photographs accessible, such as in a person’s wallet, purse, or car, or presented prevalently on a desk or wall can ingratiate these memories and accomplishments into daily life. Constantly viewing these past accomplishments can serve as an accessible motivational memory to provide perspective and new motivation to overcome difficult obstacles or stresses. 

Use Effective Goal Setting

Looking at past accomplishments can also help inform new goals and accomplishments through ongoing recovery. While some may use past accomplishments to set even higher expectations, others may look back to see how they can continue to reward themselves for maintaining their transformative lifestyle. For example, just because an individual celebrated the difficult goal of going a week without engaging with drugs and tending to professional treatment outlets doesn’t mean that it should not still be celebrated the following week. 

Consistently celebrating sober anniversaries, milestones, and more can infuse a sense of continued progress. Likewise, they can highlight each person’s sober maintenance as the genuine accomplishment that it is. 

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The Importance of Motivation

Motivation and staying positive in recovery at any stage are paramount. Managing recovery as an alumnus and navigating treatment programs in Hawaii, especially while continuing to pursue new relationships, develop old ones, pursue professional employment, and more, is difficult. Taking a moment to look back and take stock of past accomplishments, milestones, and more is necessary to add context and feelings of pride to how each person continues to manage their daily life in sobriety. 

Motivation is a key resource for continued success in sobriety, and we at Hawaii Island Recovery believe in the importance of being able to recognize success for continued motivation. Our treatment programs in Hawaii are designed not just to help you address your needs and goals for recovery inside and outside of our walls but also to help you recognize each and every accomplishment in your journey to a healthier, sober life. Whether you are overcoming your first goals in recovery or celebrating your next milestone as an alumnus, we are prepared to help you each step of the way. For more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a trained staff member, call (866) 390-5070.