the lists: take three

what i liked so much about take two was that things got more specific and i could visualize them better.  since my friends had such a positive experience with it, i decided to do the activity with a couple of my groups.  one group is outpatient chemical dependency treatment for men, the other is inpatient for women.

now it’s been a couple of weeks, so i’m not so much on the details right now, but it was interesting.  it really plays on your sense of hope, and depending on what you’ve been through in life, hope can be a precarious emotion.  though we started by talking about new years resolutions, hopes and dreams, i built on the curriculum over the next couple of weeks with discussions about goal setting and how cognitive distortions (negative, faulty logic) can get in the way.  it made for great discussion.

it was important for me to bring up ideas that have come out of my past experiences with goal setting.  a few short years ago, i was vehemently anti-goals of any kind.  sometimes life takes us places where you find yourself in situations you never thought you would be in, suprising yourself by making decisions you never thought you would make.  i have been there.  i systematically ruined my faith in myself and my integrity to the point where i really didn’t see anything positive about setting goals and making promises that i couldn’t trust myself to keep.

it takes a long time to rebuild trust and integrity.  i don’t disclose a lot of specifics about myself in groups, but if i’ve been through something that to me seems like a no brainer elephant in the room that nobody is bringing up, i’ll do it.

the most striking thing i found in doing the lists activity in my groups was how vague and short-sighted many of the goals were.  but it’s a reminder that dreaming big is a luxury of people who are stable and have their lives together.  i’m thankful to be on this side of it.  but i also really enjoy the part of my job that involves re-igniting the hope that comes from dreaming, even if it’s just for a little while.

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