Addiction can result from and bring forth emotions and thoughts that are difficult to deal with. These emotions can drive an addict to behave in ways they later regret. It can be challenging to figure out how to act in opposite ways that have more positive outcomes. A question I often ask my own clients is: “Are your behaviors getting you to where you want to go?” If the answer is ‘no’ and it’s time to work on changing behaviors, then it’s helpful to get an idea of what your values are. Knowing what is most important or worthwhile for you will help keep you on track and guide your decision making in recovery.

You may be asking yourself, ‘How do I uncover my own values?’ The disease of addiction can cause a person to put aside or ignore values such as honesty or loyalty. You may have lied about your substance use many times to your family members or spouse for example. That doesn’t mean you don’t value these things! It means you are reconnecting with yourself and taking steps towards the life you want to live.

Value Categories

Consider value categories to help kickstart uncovering your own values. These categories include family, friendships, romance or intimacy, education, work (work ethic), honesty, respect, loyalty, health, community, faith, and sobriety. For each category, ask yourself what this means for you and come up with specific examples of each value’s meaning. Make a list of each value and each example. Take a moment to come up with examples of times you have acted on these values in the past, before your addiction. Use these examples as proof that you can act on these values again! Explore what kinds of changes you can make in your life now to respect your values. Identify values involved in any kind of choice you want to make and what behaviors could go along with those values.

For More Information

Specialized Therapy Associates provides a wide range of addiction recovery services for adolescents and adults. If you would like to find out more, please call the intake department at 201-488-6678, or