Getting sober is not always a straightforward process. Some days you will wake up feeling spiritually fit, bursting with optimism and ready to take on the day with a clear and sober mind. Other days you will wake up wondering what you did to deserve the life you’ve been living. You will feel downtrodden and resentful, mad at the world and everyone in it. It is normal to experience a rollercoaster of emotions when in early recovery. Even those who have been sober for years have bad days on occasion. However, there are some tools you can utilize to help boost and bolster your recovery, so that your bad days are fewer and farther between.

Taking 30 minutes to create a personalized, recovery-oriented vision board can be extremely beneficial to your recovery, and can help you focus your attention on your future goals, ultimately making them easier to achieve. At Guardian IOP we utilize vision boards and other useful tools to help our clients translate their recovery goals and personal ambitions into something tangible. To learn more about constructing a vision board that boosts your recovery, or to learn more about Guardian IOP and our intensive outpatient treatment program, contact us today.

What is a Recovery Vision Board?

If you have been thinking about getting sober or if you are currently in recovery, you likely spend a lot of time thinking about where you are in your life and where you want to be. By displaying images and inspirational words that matter to you, you are able to create a visual representation of what you want to attract into your life. Making a recovery vision board continually reinforces the future you want. Your personal vision board can be whatever you choose to make it; a painting, a drawing, a collage. Focus your attention on what you want to achieve in the context of recovery and create something that speaks to these goals and ambitions. If you would like more specific instructions on how to create a recovery vision board, continue reading — or reach out to Guardian IOP directly at any point in time.

How Can Vision Boards Help in Addiction Recovery

How would creating a vision board help you with your recovery? There are several different ways, including:

  • Creating a vision board will help you set clear-cut intentions. You might have a rough idea of what you want to accomplish in the months ahead. Stay sober, continue working your personal recovery program, find a job you enjoy, spend more time with your loved ones. Creating a detail-oriented board will help you hone in on specifics.
  • Creating any piece of art — including a vision board — serves as a healthy creative outlet. Art therapy is an important part of many recovery journeys, and creating art on your own time often helps you process emotions you might not be able to easily put into words.
  • Your vision board will help you stay focused. If you have a daily reminder of your personal goals staring you in the face when you wake up, it will be harder to forget about them! If you place your vision board in a predominant place in your home it will serve as a daily reminder and help keep you on track.
  • Manifestation has proven to be an effective technique when it comes to addiction recovery — and many other areas of life. What is manifestation? In so many words, manifesting is the process of focusing your thoughts on a specific thing (usually a personal goal) in order to make it real. While there is some science to back the power of positive thought and manifestation, much of this practice stems from the belief, “What you focus on becomes your reality.”

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How to Create a Recovery Vision Board

So, you have decided to make your very own recovery vision board. Where do you begin? We recommend following the steps listed below. If you have any additional questions you are welcome to reach out to us directly for more information.

Step 1 – Choose Your Format

If you aren’t sure where to start, we recommend finding a large piece of cardstock or a poster board, several old magazines (that you won’t mind cutting up), and some glue sticks or tape. The easiest format is a standard poster format, though you are more than welcome to make it your own!

Step 2 – Choose Specific Recovery Goals

You can make a vision board for any aspect of your life (career goals, family life, even financial aspirations), but when making a recovery-oriented vision board it makes sense to stick with recovery-related goals. These could be working through the 12 Steps in a set number of weeks or months, engaging in more service work or developing a deeper connection with your higher power. What do you want for yourself in the context of your addiction recovery journey? Make a list of potential options and hone in on several ideas that stand out.

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Step 3 – Gather Your Inspiration

You can definitely pull inspiration from old magazines you might have lying about, but feel free to pull supplies from other things, too. This is where you really need to get creative. Maybe you have an old worksheet from your time in addiction treatment, or you have old journal entries that detail your recovery-related goals from several years ago, when you first started to come to terms with the fact that you struggled with drugs and alcohol. Pull little pieces of inspiration from wherever you can find them.

Creating a vision board for addiction recovery

Step 4 – Put it All Together

Now comes the fun part! Arrange everything together on your poster board and glue or tape it in place. Add images, words… whatever you see fit. Remember not to focus on making your recovery vision board “perfect.” Let loose and create something which speaks to you and inspires you to keep going.

Step 5 – Place Your Vision Board Somewhere Visible

Your recovery vision board won’t do you much good if you shove it under your bed or into your closet as soon as you’re done creating it. Place it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis — on your bedroom wall, for example, or attached to your refrigerator with a few magnets. You can make several small vision boards and place them throughout your house. Remember, the point of the project is to remind yourself of your personal recovery goals every single day.

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Benefits of Vision Boards in Substance Use Disorder Recovery

There are many benefits of creating a vision board in addiction recovery, in addition to those we have covered already. One of the biggest benefits is being able to translate your personal goals and ambitions into something visual and tangible. Creating a vision board is an ideal way to organize your thoughts and process aspects of your recovery you might not have previously thought about in depth.

There are no hard or fast rules about how often you should update your vision board, but if you ever feel compelled to add to it or take things away, do it! Your vision board will change as you evolve. The end of the year is a logical time to rethink your vision board. As the end of the current year approaches, it is a good time to review your personal recovery goals for the year ahead. What personal goals have you already achieved? What areas could use a little more attention? As you reflect on the past year, don’t forget to congratulate yourself on what you have done well.

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Shifting to a more positive way of thinking is a key part of the law of attraction, but your dreams won’t manifest with positive thinking alone. You actually need to work to turn your personal recovery goals into your reality. In sobriety, you have the power to create the life you want. Guardian IOP can help you create it.
We employ several alternative therapeutic modalities, including art therapy, to teach our clients the immense benefits of self-actualization and visualization. Our art therapy program helps clients reconnect with their true, authentic selves — who they were before addiction devastated their lives.

Creating a recovery vision board is just one of many useful tools we teach our clients. At Guardian IOP we believe in the importance of integrated treatment, implementing a range of evidence-based therapies. If you have been struggling with an addictive disorder and are looking to take the first step on your personal recovery journey, or if you have recently completed a higher level of care, Guardian IOP is available to help. Contact us today to learn more.


Reviewed for accuracy by:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.

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