The Next Step: Future Plans
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When an individual decides to seek treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder, they are taking the first step toward a brand new life. With substance use no longer in the way to hold them back, just about anything is possible if they set their mind to it. When someone completes their initial stages of treatment, their treatment team will likely sit down with them and ask where they want to go from here and what their future plans are. 

Maybe they want to further their education or work toward a particular career. Before returning to their everyday life, they must take the time to consider what their future plans are and what steps they are going to take to try to accomplish them. 

The First Steps Toward Future Plans 

When someone first completes recovery and prepares for what’s next, they may feel overwhelmed. They may feel as if there is so much to be done and don’t know where to start. Working with a counselor or advisor can help break things down, put things in perspective, and determine one’s priorities. This involves going back to the basics and looking at what life will look like when the individual returns to their life. This is especially important if the individual has been in sober living or staying at a treatment facility for an extended period. 

The individual first needs to consider where they are going to be living. Perhaps they are leaving a toxic relationship and need to find someplace else to stay. They may need to reach out to a friend or family member who they can stay with temporarily until they can find permanent housing of their own. If this is not an option, they may need to be connected with a sober living home or temporary shelter. 

The individual must also consider how they are going to attend to their most basic needs, such as paying for food and other necessities. If they don’t already have a job that they can return to, they may need to sign up for government assistance or locate soup kitchens and other places that provide such help. 

Coming up With Long and Short-Term Goals

It’s good to have big goals for the future to be excited about. But it’s also essential to ensure these goals are realistic and attainable. When someone is constantly working toward a significant goal that is just not realistic for the stage they are at, they are not going to see the results they are hoping for. This can, in turn, cause them to feel frustrated and burnt out. They might even feel like giving up entirely. 

This is why it is so important to not just determine long-term goals but to determine what steps are needed to reach them. It can help to sit down and create a list of short-term and long-term goals. The long-term goals may be things that aren’t necessarily attainable in the next month, year, or even the next couple of years. However, they are certainly possible to accomplish someday. The short-term goals can be more minor things to work toward that will eventually set the individual up for success and lead them to achieve their larger, long-term goal. 

For example, consider someone whose long-term goal is to attend the four-year college or university of their dreams. Maybe this isn’t something they can do right now due to finances or their current education level. However, there are things they can do in the meantime to ensure that they do get to attend that higher education establishment someday. 

Starting With Smaller Goals

For example, the individual can work towards getting their GED if they don’t already have one. They can then attend community college until they have the grades to get into the university. They can apply for scholarships to help ensure they will have the finances to afford the school. The individual can work toward saving up money by taking another job. 

Maybe someone’s goal is to own their own house one day where they can raise a family. This might not be possible at this point in time, and they may have to settle for an apartment or another type of temporary living. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t actively work toward that long-term goal of owning a home. They can work toward paying off their debt and building their credit so they can be considered for that house one day. They can work on cutting back on unnecessary costs so they can save up for the house. 

No matter what one’s long-term goal may be, there are steps that one can take to make it possible. It can help track their progress by looking back on their goals and seeing what they have accomplished so far. 

A big part of the recovery journey is figuring out what’s next. A person has to take a look at their goals for the future and try to determine how they are going to accomplish them. Some goals may not be attainable at this point in time. However, they can still take active steps every day to work toward them. It can help to create a list of both short and long-term goals. These short-term goals can ultimately lead them to accomplish long-term goals in the future. If you are struggling with substance misuse, our team at The Ho Tai Way can help. Call (714) 581-3974 today to learn more.