When I celebrated my 12 year sobriety anniversary with my home group yesterday, I mentioned the fact that on New Year ever New Year's Eve, I always write down intentions for the upcoming year. A member of the group commented, "I don't like to make resolutions. I take my recovery one day at a time." I paused to reflect on what both of us stated and feel that semantics sometimes confuse the message.
To clarify, when I state that I write out intentions for the New Year, I simply mean that I construct in my mind and on paper how I want to grow spiritually in the following year. This inventory is more of a grand scale 10th step since I reflect on my good and bad behavior over the prior year and imagine how I can act my way into greater freedom, connection and fulfillment in the following year.
Every person who is successful in an endeavor will tell you that it is important to have a clear idea of what you want and how you plan to achieve it if you are to succeed. An important part of goal setting is to be realistic. Realistic goals can be hard for addicts in recovery. Due to our overwhelming guilt or sloth or perfectionism, we can set goals that are either way too lofty or impossible. This is why I like to review my intentions with my sponsor or someone else in my support group. In this way, I gain a sense of how healthy my intentions are from someone who is not emotionally attached.
I set out to achieve those goals ONE DAY AT A TIME. I do the best I can do for the day and I slowly act my way into progress toward my goals. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of AA say a few things about creating a plan for successful sobriety and growth. First, "we prepare ourselves for the adventure of a new life." Second, "Many AA's go in for annual or semiannual housecleanings." Third, we look to sponsors or spiritual advisors to acquire the habit of "accurate self-appraisal." And, lastly, "there's nothing the matter with constructive imagination; all sound achievement rests upon it. No man can build a house until he first envisions a plan for it."
Whether its to begin the New Year, the path of sobriety or just another sober day in AA, experience tells me "it helps to envision our spiritual objective before we try to move toward it."