Working toward each target builds confidence and recovery skills, which results in building trust and strengthens relationships. People who are successful at recovery all have something in common—they strive for and keep their eyes on each target.

Following are 10 areas to help determine your opportunity for a successful recovery. Each target offers you an opportunity to assess how well you are advancing on the road to recovery. I have found these targets to be reliable indicators for successful recovery. If a person follows the path outlined by these targets, it is possible to find freedom from compulsive behaviors and healthier living. Positive life change can be the result.

For each item below, assess yourself on the following scale:

  • 1: Not Started
  • 2: Started
  • 3: Need Help
  • 4: Good Progress
  • 5: On Target

Grab a piece of paper and write down the number that most describes where you see yourself. You will need to be honest with yourself. Your goal is to identify where you are doing well and where you need to work in order to best assure a positive outcome toward your targets.

1. Establish sobriety. Have you stopped the repetitive patterns of obsession and compulsion? Do you recognize that healing isn’t possible without stopping the acting out. Abstinence has to come first.

2. Willing to work. Progress depends on an attitude of willingness. Although you don’t always feel like doing it, you take part in counseling, meeting with your mentor, and group work (when possible). You recognize the need for change and are willing to learn and grow. You are regularly reading God’s Word and using recovery material.

3. Understand more clearly childhood and family-of-origin issues. You are beginning to see a connection between your out of control behaviors and earlier struggles in your life. You know that taking responsibility for your recovery is necessary. This includes dealing with shame and finding a new positive identity.

4. Help of a trained therapist. You have a relationship with your therapist. Even more important, you are willing to be open and honest with your therapist. You are building trust in him/her.

5. Assistance of peers and trusted adult(s).You see the need for adult support and someone you highly respect. The Twelve Steps call them sponsors. You understand why the support and accountability is a hallmark for success. You benefit greatly from both peers and adults who contribute support and encouragement.

6. Care of a primary physician. This is particularly important, when struggling with certain health issues like ADHD, OCD, depression, and anxiety. You are willing to seek the care of your medical doctor or psychiatrist.

7. Family involvement. You know that treatment outcomes are significantly improved when parents and family members participate. Sometimes parent(s) start working on their own struggles after seeing the positive changes their teen has made.

8. Exercise and eat better for improved health. Teens who experience steady recovery exercise regularly. The exercise and good nutrition improves your mental and physical well-being. Recovery isn’t simply about sobriety; it is a process of improvement on health and wellness.

9. Develop a spiritual life. Most important, you seek to grow in your relationship with God. You put into practice certain spiritual principles such as prayer, meditation, serving others, and the cultivation of gratitude. And, you participate in a spiritual community (i.e., church, synagogue).

10. View recovery as life-long learning and growth. Even after you stop the acting out behaviors, you know there is more to learn ahead. Alvin Toffler put it this way, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”


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