Milestones are a mark of accomplishment in each person’s life, and most people use these experiences as a way of recording success and growth. Whether they are events, such as birthdays, graduations, new jobs; relationships, such as engagements, children’s births, weddings; or accomplishments, like Warrior Run mud dash, marathons, weight loss goal, or reaching two years of sobriety. These are positive goals to have reached in anyone’s life. And Hallmark is grateful for these, as it keeps them in business! But what makes these happen? What drives anyone to move to these? And, most importantly, how do these change with drug use?
Everyone has the inherent need to feel safe, important and loved. Many of the milestones people work for are to have our existence validated and supported. It is a natural part of how each person is made and unconsciously always searching for. (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) The less we are comfortable where we are, the more basic in needs we search. All these needs, no matter what depth they are, are working to continue creating little miracles in our daily lives. So, what happens to this when we use?
As addicts, we have given up these essential and inherent needs. These focused milestones of daily existence disappear because of lack of seeing beyond the next “fix”. When any person abuses drugs, the loss of becoming a better person is just gone. All motivation and drive for moving forward as a successful human being disappears. And as addicts become clean and start to get their “mojo” back, the desire to work for milestones of success, our drive to work harder to reach these become real. Once we have clear heads and thoughts this push for milestones comes back. But sometimes the miracles just don’t seem to be happening—why not? We have started developing our motivation to move forward and stronger.
But this motivation is very up and down—our emotions are starting to come back into our reality. And we are impatient wanting our lives back as they were before using immediately. These goals take time. Period. So how about trying to focus on the little milestones? These can be the everyday things that happen. We wake up, we have a new day without a doped-up head, we have the chance to be grateful for fresh air—all little milestones. We have laundry to do—which means we have clothes to wear. These little milestones of daily life, these seemingly “insignificant’ experiences, can keep addicts moving forward with a positive attitude of drive and focus. These ARE miracles! Nothing comes without work, and it can be a long road. But these little milestones, these tiny miracles, are stepping stones or notches on the belt of growing and moving forward. It would be nice to have Hallmark cards for these, “Hope you enjoy doing your laundry today. You are getting your Mojo back, you Mighty Man!” (Heart, pretty picture, drawing of a superhero in clean clothes on the card) So if we follow the lead, of seeing the tiny miracles, the mighty but small milestones, we can look forward to the motivation for big milestones coming!