Finishing drug or alcohol rehabilitation and rejoining society will no doubt be one of the toughest things you or someone you love will ever go through. Weeks or months in seclusion, which add up to limitless hours of physical, mental and emotional therapy, along with detoxification and withdrawal, are just the start for the recently graduated – and newly sober – rehab patient, who must now face the world from which they drew away, sans the crutch of drugs or alcohol. The adjustment from the shelter and discipline of the rehab center to the overwhelming unknown of life after can be a huge shock, one which no doubt shakes the rehabilitated addict to his or her very core.
Yet the point of rehab is to cleanse the addict of his or her past behaviors, to instruct in how to remain sober and to prepare him or her for the next life phase. Having recently left rehab, the ex-addict can only move forward by looking forward and shifting focus toward his or her future. A great way to achieve this is by creating a post-rehab bucket list, a list of things, as the 2007 film The Bucket List so aptly put it, to achieve before you “kick the bucket.” What could be more hopeful and more exciting than the promise of fun and adventure? Going into rehab is undoubtedly life-changing; what comes after should be, too. Here are some great tips for creating a unique and personal bucket list.
Take it with You Everywhere
It might seem sacred to you, but you don’t have to put your bucket list anywhere fancy. In fact, keeping a little notebook or Moleskin in your purse or back pocket, or even a slip of folded-up thick-weight paper, will keep it close at hand, so that whenever something new strikes you – and it will, often – you can jot it down immediately.
Set it in Pixels
The easiest way to keep your bucket list up-to-date is to create a document on a computer that you can access occasionally with additions. Even if you don’t have your own machine, you can create a document using the computers at a local library and then set up an account with Dropbox or something similar, which gives you plenty of storage space (for free!) and ease of access from anywhere with an internet connection, and saves you from the fear of computer crashes. This will also allow you to effortlessly rearrange or create new headings and subheadings as you go (see below for more on subheadings). Plus, a computer document can’t fall out of your wallet accidentally.
Be a Realistic Dreamer
If you want to fly yourself in a private airplane across the Atlantic, then by all means, put that amazing item on your bucket list. That is your dream and no one can tell you no, you won’t ever be able to achieve it. However, before you go too long without reaching that goal and then end up losing faith in yourself, remember that you are starting out again in life in a difficult place. No one in this world (except perhaps trust fund babies) can automatically get from Point A to Point Z, least of all someone who has had to deal with their inner demons the way an addict has.
So one thing you can do is break your bucket list up with subheadings, such as “Within A Year” or “Within Five Years” or simply “Before I Kick the Bucket”; or if you have a big goal, like the aforementioned one, you might list the main dream and then underneath write in all the other steps necessary to achieve it, crossing those out as you go, until you have come far enough to tackle the big one. This keeps you on the right path toward fulfilling your dream, while also forcing you to think realistically and provide your own road map for getting there. Organization is key, and you should always keep in mind that your ambition now will pay off huge later.
Don’t Be Afraid to Delete
Just as a computerized document allows you to add to your bucket list, you can also take away with the tap of the delete key. As you go on with your life, your goals and dreams can and will change. Don’t keep something on your list because you feel obligated. Your list should reflect your passions, not a misplaced sense of duty. If learning Greek once interested you but then you find yourself much more into French, don’t feel bad about erasing it. If you lost a significant amount of weight, you wouldn’t feel bad about not wearing a shirt that doesn’t fit anymore, would you? Of course not, because that would be (besides ridiculous) holding on to a past that is no longer reflective of who you are. Same with your bucket list!