When a person starts out on the road to recovery from an addiction, the first steps are critical to success. It is during the first three months that most relapses occur. The former addict is clean and sober but not yet in the habit of doing the things a normal person does to avoid addiction.
Interestingly, success in life depends very much on the same skill set necessary to recover from addiction. Look at the programs of any successful treatment facility like The Recovery Village or the Swedish Medical Center and you will find an eerie similarity to the habits preached by Stephen Covey and Tony Robbins.
If success in life is as important to you as recovering from drug addiction, here’s some advice:
Write down your goal
Make your goal concrete enough you can write it down. Then make a list of all the things that have to happen to get there. Prioritize the items. Which is most important? Which is second and third and so on? Consider a time-line as well. Which things need to happen first and which come later? Small, short-term goals are very important. Achieving them will let you see progress and provide something of an emotional reward.
Make and keep a daily schedule
Making a schedule for yourself is not the same thing as staying busy. It is part of your plan to take the baby steps necessary to achieve the giant leaps in getting what you really want out of life. It is important at first to schedule in absolutely every little thing you will do every minute of the day. These include the times you wake up, eat, exercise, work, spend time with family and friends, and sleep.
Schedule your so-called “free time” as well, whether it includes reading, sports, or hobbies. You don’t have “free time.” Time is precious and you can’t get it back once it is lost.
Make education and skill acquisition a priority
What is your idea of success? It should be precise, detailed, vivid, and alluring. Do you want to be a doctor? What classes will you need to take? What subject matter will you need to master? What experience will help you achieve that? Never miss an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience that will help you on your way.
Find yourself a mentor
One of the most important things you can do is find a person who has travelled the same road you will. The advice and help of a mentor is beyond price and will keep you from making costly mistakes along the way and getting lost.
Create a safe space
Distractions are many and diverse. From TV to Facebook to friends who just want to hang out, there is no end to the time-wasting activities that will pull you away from your purpose in life. Everyone needs a space they can control and to which they can get away just to think and recharge their batteries. It may be your room or a bench in the park, but you need your own private get-away.
Get your friends on board with you
Share your dreams of success with those closest to you and ask for their understanding and support in helping you get where you want to go. Help and encouragement from friends can be very valuable when you get discouraged and at the very least, stop being a distraction. Nobody truly succeeds at anything on their own. We all need the help of others.
Finally, reward yourself when you achieve something special. You’re worth it!