Looking Forward: How To Talk About Future Goals With Your Teen After Substance Abuse in Cambridge, IA
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After a teen has received the proper treatment for teen substance abuse in Cambridge, IA, and is on the path to recovery, they have a clean slate that they can fill with hopes and aspirations. Helping your teen set goals is part of this process as they learn that they can accomplish so much now that they are sober. As we offer tips to help your teen set these goals, we will also explore the importance of setting them and how they can balance them with the recovery process.

The Importance of Setting Goals After Teen Substance Abuse Treatment in Cambridge, IA

Setting goals can help teenagers remain motivated during the recovery process. Once they leave a treatment center, the work of recovery is not over. They must live in the real world, deal with temptations, and carve out their new path. Setting realistic goals is one way to do that. It gives them the motivation and purpose they need to stay on track.

As your teen sets goals, you can give them the support they need to stay on track. If your teen knows they can share their goals and progress with people who support them, it will make them more likely to continue to the finish line.

How to Help Your Teen Set Goals

While some teens may be clear on what they want to accomplish, others need guidance. You can start a conversation about goals by asking your teen where they see themselves in two or five years. This can steer them in the direction of what they want to accomplish.

One of the best ways to do this is to help your teen set “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym used to help people set goals. [1] It stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Let’s look at how you can encourage your teen to use the SMART method to set their goals after treatment for teen substance abuse in Cambridge, IA.


Help your teen choose actions that will help with sobriety, such as continuing to attend therapy sessions or writing in a journal. Studies show that people who write down their goals are 33 percent more likely to achieve them than those who do not. [2]


Ask your teen how they’re going to measure their success. This can be setting a goal of attending 2 group meetings weekly or deciding to eat five healthy meals a week. When your teen can measure their success, they’ll feel like they’ve accomplished something.


While you want to help your teen set goals, you want them to be attainable. By being supportive, you can guide them towards goals they can achieve, which won’t discourage them.


What is a realistic goal that your teen can set either during or following recovery? While you don’t want to discourage your teen, you don’t want them to set themselves up for failure. Have an open conversation about what they want to accomplish and ask them how they will achieve it. This can help to decipher what is realistic and what is not.


Teens need to set a goal that has a timeframe. Shortening the time limit can be a good tip because it will keep your teen focused and motivated. When the time is up, and they’ve hopefully achieved their goal, you can help them set another one. This way, they will already have some self-confidence that they have accomplished something and can look ahead to the next challenge.

You can celebrate these milestones when your teen reaches them by setting a time for specific goals to be accomplished. These celebrations can help keep your teen on track and validate their actions.

You want to remain supportive as you help your teen set their goals. Offering encouraging words, helpful advice, and being non-judgmental are all ways that you can help your teen set and reach their plans.

Balancing Recovery and Pursuing Goals

While your teen pursues their goals, they may stumble upon some roadblocks. These can include coming in contact with past triggers, whether people or places. One way to stay on track is to avoid these people and places and replace them with positive alternatives.

Stress can also become a challenge while pursuing goals. Managing stress by encouraging your teen to exercise, meditate, or take a walk can be a helpful way to deal with stress rather than be tempted to use a substance.

Encouraging your teen to talk about their problems can also help to keep them on track with their goals. If they start to keep their problems bottled up, it can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. Any of these can become a catalyst for your teen to start using substances again.

Finally, you can help your teen balance their goals by teaching them patience. Not everything may go as planned. It’s okay as long as they get back up and try again. They can stay on track with their goals as long as they know it’s a learning process.

Getting Help for Teen Substance Abuse in Cambridge, IA

If your teen needs treatment for teen substance abuse in Cambridge, IA, Ember Recovery is here to help. We offer programs to treat substance abuse disorders specifically for teens and the challenges they face. Call us today or reach out online to learn more about how we can help.



[1] https://www.mindtools.com/a4wo118/smart-goals

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-moment-youth/201803/goal-setting-is-linked-higher-achievement