setting goals

How Do I Make a Recovery Plan That Sticks?

Recovery does not proceed in a straight line of one success after another. There is a steep learning curve with twists and turns, all the while heading towards recovery goals. A plan is necessary to ensure positive results. Find out how to develop a recovery plan that sticks and stays focused on the long view of staying clean and sober.

Why Plans Work

Important journeys are best accomplished by first preparing a plan. Without a plan, route, what to bring and how to get there, the journey may end up haphazard with a risk of falling apart. Recovery goals are much the same, fraught with emotion and the ups and downs of life. Whatever the result, it is always better to create a plan and stick to it even when events of life prove frustrating and ever changing.

Be Flexible

Review the plan and notice what is working and what is not. If it feels to rigid, work to construct a plan that seems more flexible to life’s ups and downs. Being too rigid can lead to frustration which may lead to relapse down the road. People in recovery with a plan are able to get breathing room for things that come up and stay focused on what is truly going on (circumstances out of one’s own control, poor decisions, old habits). Flexibility helps diminish anxiety and frustration, leading to better results.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Recovery is a new lifestyle which takes getting used to after being in active addiction for so long. Most newcomers in recovery find it takes a period of time to get used to the way things are now. Some of the following are ways to set reasonable expectations for a recovery plan:

  • Start with short-term tasks
  • Do what feels most comfortable first
  • Give ample time to complete goals
  • Leave harder, bigger tasks for after smaller ones are finished
  • Aim to walk away with a sense of accomplishment rather than defeat or failure

Learn from Failure

Everyone makes mistakes, some major and some minor, but it happens to every person. The mistakes matter less than how a person responds. Making mistakes is frustrating but a part of the human experience. Eliminate frustration by accepting mistakes happen and offering grace.

Stay Positive

Attitude is everything. Many people in early recovery become pessimistic. Rehab is a grueling process but focus on the positive rather than the negative. Over time, the clean and sober lifestyle will feel more comfortable and appealing. Recovery is as much about a shift in mindset as behavioral changes.

Evaluate The Good

Look over accomplishments on the recovery plan and celebrate. Go out, have fun and enjoy the fruits of labor. Work to build effective strategies for what is difficult and celebrate what is going well. A sense of accomplishment goes a long way to continued recovery goal setting and achievement.


Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.