Establishing Your Own Baseline

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Recovery from addiction involves a lot of goal-setting and measuring progress. When someone decides that it is time for a change in their lives, people often think of all the ways that their lives may be better without using drugs, alcohol, or acting on any other kind of addiction.

While setting goals is important, it can be difficult to do it effectively without first knowing where someone is in their lives. Not everyone seeking aid for their addiction is dependent on the same thing or in the same way. Different symptoms may manifest depending on the person, and the way that someone’s life is affected can differ widely from person to person.

So before someone can begin setting on the path they want to travel, they first have to know where they are starting from in recovery. While this can be difficult, especially if someone is constantly bombarded by feelings of shame, guilt, or isolation, it is paramount to formulating a plan that is going to be unique and effective for each individual.

Use Empirical Evidence and Look at the Facts

Addiction recovery is a very personal and very emotional journey. Life can feel out of one’s control when someone is first seeking professional help for an addiction. Emotions can be overwhelming and can dictate the way that they see and value themselves.

However, it is important to look not just at one’s emotional state in recovery, but also at the empirical evidence surrounding their addiction. Someone may say that they feel they cannot go on without using drugs or alcohol, but that feeling doesn’t inform them of how much they are drinking or how often they use drugs or other substances.

While two people may both feel that way, their usage may differ. When beginning recovery, it is important to keep track of a few things numerically: How much money does one spend acting on their addiction? How many times a day does someone drink or use drugs? And when they do, how much is typically consumed during each session?

Seeing these numbers on paper can provide details about the portrait that someone has painted about their addiction. Not only can this help someone realize the real level to which they engage in their addictive behavior, it can also inform the kind of treatment that they may need. Each person may require a different level of care or a different focus, depending on the empirical evidence about their addiction.

Keeping a Daily Record of Your Feelings

As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of different emotions that go into addiction recovery. Keeping a daily record of how someone is feeling–both the positive and negative–can help in establishing a baseline. Knowing how often someone experiences mood swings that may affect their addictive behavior can help professionals understand the mental aspects behind someone’s addiction.

However, simply knowing that someone experiences mood swings, even if they aren’t aware of it at the time, can continue to inform how someone’s recovery path may look. For example, having this information written down can help inform someone’s family and support systems of how they may act during recovery and how to best help the person continue down a healthy path to recovery.

Not only does this inform where someone is starting from, but it can also help track their progress. Looking back at someone’s mental state and the difficulties they faced and seeing recorded progress can be a huge motivational tool. Knowing that someone spent most of their time feeling guilty, only to begin recording thoughts and feelings of self-empowerment is the kind of change that someone strives for in recovery and should be proud of when they see it in themselves.

Avoiding Labels and Assumptions

Looking at the evidence that someone has created about their baseline can help someone know where to go. However, it can be tempting to think of one’s self in very definitive terms. “Addict” can be a detrimental label for someone, as a person is defined by much more than whatever addiction ails them. Attempting to label someone under such concrete terms, or self-diagnose their own condition, can lead to preconceived notions about themselves and their recovery.

Instead of expecting certain things about recovery or assuming shortcomings or difficulties during the process, keep in mind the empirical evidence that makes up someone’s own baseline. No two recoveries will be identical. There will be variance based on where someone is when they decide that they need to seek professional help, what their goals are, and what recovery means to them.

There is no one word that can define any person or one label that describes all of who someone is or wants to be. Treating recovery as the personal, unique journey that it is can help someone establish not only where they are starting from and where they want to go, but also who they want to be in their goal of self-actualization.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, regardless of the phase of recovery, contact The Kimberly Center today. With programs available from sober living to intensive outpatient and aftercare, there is always a way to help you start or continue your recovery path. With each program able to be adjusted for your own difficulties and goals, the caring staff will work alongside you to understand the person and the addiction, as well as the best way to help you specifically. Knowing where someone is in recovery is a powerful first step and one that the Kimberly Center can help you make and then build upon in your own journey to a healthy, sober life. For more information on how The Kimberly Center can help you, contact them today at (855) 452-3683.

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