The Initiative - Planning

The Initiative - Planning

Things become much easier when we have a plan and some structure.

How are you feeling today?

Make a note in your journal if you like or ping me an email.

Yes, you are following our recovery coaching plan. But it would be a really good idea for you to start thinking about areas that are personal to you in regards to your own pathway. 

When I embarked on my own recovery journey, I knew I had tried and failed countless times before and that in order for me to succeed I was going to have to formulate my own plan of action and that is what we are going to start thinking about today. 

Motivation 

Grab your pen and your journal!

Make a note at the top:

My plan of action (Or something similar) 

Sub heading – My motivation 

Here I want you to write what your motivation is to stay off the alcohol. 

What is your reason for taking up this new journey? 

Think about this, have a little brain storming session with yourself. The first thoughts that come up maybe:

  • For my kids
  • For my health 
  • For financial reasons 

Then begin to look deeper and spend some time on this question and be as honest as you can. When we begin to write things down our inner most thoughts and feelings can surface and seeing this on paper offers a new awareness which will motivate and encourage progression. 

Your motivation is key! 

Write it on a note and stick it on your fridge or bed side, maybe the bathroom mirror. 

Somewhere you will see it often as a reminder of why you started this journey and why you need to keep going! 

Obstacles 

Make a new sub heading now - Obstacles

Now we are going to start writing down what challenges or obstacles have stood in the way of you making this change before. 

The chances are that you have tried to give up alcohol or bring some changes into your life before but have found certain instances have blocked your way and you’ve fallen back into old habits. 

Also make a note of what challenges you feel may present a problem that perhaps you haven't been aware of before. 

Do not rush this step. 

Take into account varying factors such as your:

  • Social environment
  • Your triggers
  • Your work life
  • Peer pressure etc. 

The list goes on so really try and think about this – What you feel may become an obstacle and what has been obstacles on previous attempts.

Are you ready to commit? 

Make a new sub heading – My promise to myself 

Now it's time to hold a mirror up to ourselves and really look within.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I really ready to commit to this?
  • Although I want change am I really ready to change? 

Bringing about any kind of change within ourselves takes motivation and dedication. 

No one can do this for you and you will have to step up and apply what's needed to ensure you keep going in the right direction. 

Yes, I can give you the tools that worked for me No, I cannot wave a magic wand and make sure you apply them Only you can do this. But I can assure you that the further you go on this pathway the easier it will get.

I think of recovery like a marathon, but it is the only marathon in life that actually gets easier the further you get! With each day, with each step you are building up your strength and your mindset towards success. 

When you are ready write a short statement that is personal to you.

Announcing your commitment to this path with a promise to yourself that you are ready and willing to make the change that is right for you. Keep this safe and at times when things may feel tough read your promise to yourself and allow it to motivate you to keep going. 

Goals 

New sub heading – Goals 

Grab your trusty pen and now I want you to think about what your goals are. Our journey into sobriety becomes much easier with structure that has goals in place for us to aim towards. 

Think about your goals. You may have one main goal which could be:

To give up drinking all together or to have a better life.

These are main goals or long term goals. But they are also very vague. 

So, make a note of your main goal but let's not focus on it for now. Instead, I want you to think about smaller goals which will enable you to get there. 

These are what I call stepping stones. 

Stepping stones that lead to the life you want. These are so important but they are also attainable, achievable goals. 

Let me just explain something quickly When we set our stepping stones it is important that we keep our goals attainable. Something that is within reach. 

Have you ever got up in the morning and declared that today is the day, 

IM NEVER DRINKING AGAIN! 

This is a common occurrence normally brought on by guilt from the night before. 

There are two problems that stand out regarding goals like this: 

  • The motivation isn't really there
  • The goal sub consciously will seem like an impossible task coming off the back of a night's drinking 

When the goal is too big and the motivation really is not there, we are setting ourselves up to fail from the outset. 

Example: 

Once upon a time there I was watching country file. I decided that I like the idea of hiking and go out an get the boots, the raincoat some Kendal mint cake and all the rest of the gear. 

In the excitement I decide that I'm not going to settle for a hill. I'm going to climb Everest! 

I get my plane ticket and off I pop. 

On the morning of arriving at the foot of the mountain I look up, see it in front of me and think NO WAY! 

I get the first flight home and I never even took that first step on the mountain.

Setting our goals in recovery is the same Yes, you have your big goal that is fuelled by your motivation. 

But in order to get there you need to make smaller, more attainable, realistic goals. 

Our smaller goals can be written down on a weekly basis and then broken down again into daily ones. 

So, you could write your goals for your first week and tick them off as you go something along the lines of: 

  • Contact my GP to get myself checked out and see what help there is available
  • Contact AA or other peer support
  • Pick up a journal
  • Get my shopping in so I won't have to leave the house during my trigger time
  • Because I'm going to be at home, I need to make arrangements for an activity to keep me buy (Sign up for an online course, get crafting materials, get that guitar that I'm going to learn to play etc. ) 

These are examples of stepping stone goals that will help you to work towards the big goal. And of course, a daily goal of staying sober for today!

This is your most important goal and your stepping stone goals should be in place to help you achieve just that! 

Tracking progress 

New sub heading – How I will track my progress 

Tracking our progress is so important and can help to motivate and encourage progression. 

Make a note here of how you intend to do this. 

Here are a few examples:

  • Get a sober App on your phone
  • Start a savings account
  • Writing in your journal
  • Posting a daily alcohol-free post on this site

The sober apps are very good at helping us to keep track of progression. I use the one called sober time which is on android and perfect for my needs. 

A savings account where you can transfer the money you would have spent on alcohol, add a goal to it – I want to save enough money to pay for a holiday, a new T.V. or something for the kids etc.

Healthy steps 

New sub heading – Healthy steps

What steps are you going to bring in to improve your all-around health?

Alcohol strips the body of vital nutrients and so it is a good idea to start eating healthier. You are also going to find that you're going to have more time on your hands and so how about bringing in some new healthier lifestyle choices like:

  • Joining a gym
  • Taking up yoga
  • Going for a daily walk
  • Learning a new martial art
  • Taking up running

Have a think, what could you do to start forming a new healthier lifestyle?

Fitness is a great way to relieve stress and make us feel good. 

Please remember though before taking up any fitness programme a consult with your doctor would be a great idea first. Think about your diet also what changes can you make to your diet?

Crisis plan 

Sub heading – Crisis plan 

Make a note of:

  • Your doctors number
  • Friends or family you can confide in or call if you are in need of help or support
  • Your sponsor, support worker or recovery coach's number
  • Emergency numbers People you can call in a crisis and you can also make a note of steps to be taken in the event of a crisis. 

Well done you have written a plan of action for your recovery! 

Remember this is not set in stone and can be adjusted as you go.