If you were to be asked to immediately write down the first 5 words that come to your mind to describe yourself, what would those words be? Would they be different if you knew you had to share them than if you were the only person that would even see the text on the page?

People with addictions of any type have a hard time seeing themselves in any other light than as an addict. They often see themselves as failures, as insignificant, as unimportant and as, first and foremost, an addict.

A Clear, Positive Future

The reality is that how we see ourselves and how we see our future has a lot to do with shaping our recovery. When all we see in our potential is the mistakes and bad choices we have made in the past, all we see is the same type of chaos and failure in our future.

In my book, “The Law of Sobriety,” I talk about the important of being able to see ourselves as positive, changing and evolving people. This isn’t the “fake it until you make it” technique, it is about really seeing ourselves for who we are, not just a sum of our history and past actions.

Turning the Tide

Remember the first question I asked you about writing down words to describe yourself? Try this exercise next, write down 5 to 10 words about how you want yourself to be. Don’t worry if you aren’t there yet; these are your goals and aspirations.

Now, stop and consider one step you could take today to move towards becoming one or more of those words. Let’s say you wrote down “employed” and you are currently seeking work. Think about one thing you could do today to move yourself down the path.

By focusing on what we want in life, not where we are right at the moment, we create goals, objectives, and paths to follow. This isn’t a passive process, but it is effective and something that everyone can achieve.