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Setting Goals and Expectations for Detox and Recovery

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Addiction recovery programs present a truly transformative experience, and while some may approach the prospect of a sober life with uncertainty and trepidation, others may look to professional detox and treatment programs as an opportunity to pursue other personal and professional goals. Recovery addresses a person’s use of drugs and alcohol, It also recognizes the lifestyle and mentality that accompanies their use to bring genuine change in their life. 

Setting appropriate goals and expectations for recovery is crucial for individuals to make the most of their time in these professional treatment programs. Individuals are cared for from the first step into detox to transitioning to further levels of care.

The Importance of Appropriate Expectations

Setting appropriate expectations and goals while in recovery is crucial for continued success, progress, and mental health. Having grandiose expectations can create unrealistic goals that may not be possible to achieve, inviting avoidable and difficult feelings of shame and guilt. Even worse, it may cause an individual to perceive themselves as somehow “beyond recovery.” 

While recovery is always possible, having expectations to be able to manage every aspect of the sober journey without issue is wholly unrealistic for an individual’s recovery journey. Working with professionals to set appropriate expectations as a person begins their journey to sobriety is crucial for managing their mental health. 

Others may set goals that are too low, which can bring with it a dangerous overconfidence in their abilities to manage their sobriety, even amidst stressors. This can compromise an individual’s willingness to continue developing personalized coping strategies or push their goals further. It may also cause an individual to engage in unnecessary high-risk situations that can invite further stressors, complacency, and potentially relapse. 

Managing Your Expectations

Detox is the first step towards a sober future. Yet, graduating from a detox program does not mean that a person is “cured” of addiction. There are still many challenges and skills that need to be learned. For those beginning their recovery journey, this can be a truly eye-opening experience as their minds break through the veil created by drugs and alcohol to create a newfound clarity and perspective in their life. Although, managing expectations and pacing through recovery is all a part of the process. Professionals can help those going through detox gain the necessary skills and mentality necessary to navigate this time.

Feelings of anxiety, pervasive cravings and urges, stress, nightmares, and more can be common as a person begins their recovery journey. While an individual in treatment may feel they should be able to navigate these intense emotions, in reality, these persistent effects of addiction are completely normal. 

Detox is not the end of a recovery journey, and there is no cure for addiction. Rather, treatment and sustained sobriety are about a person being able to maintain their transformative efforts, constantly adapting effective coping strategies, and developing new ones to handle the myriad of stresses that they will face. Experiencing urges, cravings, anxiety, or depression does not mean that an individual is failing in their recovery efforts. Expecting detox to be the end of the recovery journey can be a very dangerous prospect. 

Recovery Is 24/7

While dedicated treatment facilities are filled with educated professionals and resources to aid in the development of a healthy, sober life, a person’s recovery efforts do not stop when they exit the walls of these facilities. From detox through residential and outpatient treatment, recovery is always a full-time affair. It is important to continue practicing sober strategies and exploring new techniques with the help of professionals and peers, as well as on their own time. Seeing recovery as a transformative experience means embracing change in every aspect of life, not just while a person is in an individual or group session.

There Will Be Ups and Downs

Recovery is difficult, and each individual may face many unforeseen obstacles throughout the journey. Challenging and overcoming addiction is rarely a linear path. Rather, it is a path filled with great peaks and difficult lows, and these inconsistencies can be difficult to process. 

Setting appropriate expectations for the recovery journey means understanding that each of these highs and lows will end. Just because a person is hitting new strides and reaching milestones does not mean that there will not still be difficulties ahead. Experiencing excess stress, anxiety, and other kinds of hurdles will continue to be a part of life. 

Nothing about recovery is going to be simple, but that does not make it impossible. Rather, constantly reevaluating goals, tracking progress, and working with supports is the hallmark of courage and the mindset necessary for a healthy, sustained, sober life. 

Detox and recovery can be enigmatic, and setting appropriate expectations is instrumental for creating a healthy approach to one’s progress, needs, goals, and emotional health. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, located in beautiful Santa Ana, CA, we are prepared to help you set your own pace and expectations for a healthy recovery. From our professional care in detox, to residential and outpatient treatment, we are committed to a healthy life each step of the way. We offer an array of unique programs, from 12-Step programs to medication-assisted treatment, and a plethora of personalized therapeutic modalities that can all be customized to your needs and goals. Your time is also filled within a comfortable atmosphere filled with like-minded peers and professionals dedicated to your future. For more information on how we can support you on your journey to a healthy life, call us today at (949) 426-7962.


  • I would just like to share how Grateful I am with my experience through my addiction at this facility. I couldn’t possibly ask to be in such a “SAFE/COMFORTABLE” environment while receiving treatment for my addiction. I would just like to say Thank you sooo much to ALL the staff there from the Nurse’s to counselors and therapist all of you are a True Blessing in helping me through my journey of sobriety. I couldn’t feel more comfortable there on how they monitored my physical health and on dealing with my emotional health with there therapy sessions and groups I truly see them ALL as Family!

    Andrew N.
  • As a professional in the recovery field I have worked with many detox centers and none compare to The this one. Their staff is incredibly attentive and knowledgable regarding the needs of individuals seeking recovery from the very start. Their facility is welcoming and homey while remaining very luxe. I would recommend this facility to any loved one or friend looking to start down their journey of sobriety.

  • This place helped saved my life, and a great stepping stone to get my life on the right track. Was there first client under new management, caring staff and owners, comfortable place to get you on your feet in sobriety.

  • Great Staff. Comfortable Environment. Awesome place to Get Clean and Sober. Thank you guys for everything.


    Pacific Sands Recovery Center

    1909 W Carlton Pl
    Santa Ana, CA 92704


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