Hierarchy of Values

Reclaim Your Values: The Power of HOV in Your Recovery Journey

In the throes of addiction, it's not uncommon for individuals to feel disconnected from what truly matters most to them. Activities, relationships, and principles that once held significant importance might have taken a back seat to the pursuit of addictive behaviors. SMART Recovery's Hierarchy of Values (HOV) tool is designed to bridge this gap, helping you reconnect with your authentic self and realign your daily actions with your deepest values.

Understanding HOV

The Hierarchy of Values is a reflective exercise that encourages you to delve into introspection and identify what is genuinely important in your life. It's about exploring what gives your life meaning, purpose, and fulfillment beyond the transient highs of addictive behaviors. By establishing a clear understanding of your values, you create a roadmap that guides your decisions and behaviors, especially when faced with challenges or temptations along your recovery journey.

  1. Identifying Your Core Values
    The first step in utilizing the HOV tool is to identify your core values. These are the principles and qualities that provide a foundation for how you wish to live your life. Common values might include family, health, career, spirituality, or creativity, but the spectrum of personal values is as diverse as humanity itself.

    Initially, you might find it helpful to write down a broad list of values that resonate with you. From there, reflect on each one, considering its role in your life and its importance to your sense of self and well-being. Remember, these values are personal; there's no right or wrong answer. It's about what truly matters to you.

  2. Constructing Your Hierarchy
    Once you've identified a set of core values, the next step is to arrange them in a hierarchy. This doesn't mean that lower-ranking values aren't important, but it helps to acknowledge which values are absolutely central to your life and which ones can, if necessary, take a back seat in certain situations.

    Ask yourself: "If I had to choose, which value is more important to me?" By forcing a decision, you start to construct a hierarchy that reflects your innermost priorities. This hierarchy will be instrumental in guiding your choices, especially when they may be conflicting or challenging.

  3. The Revelation: Addiction's Absence in Your True Values
    As you review your carefully constructed Hierarchy of Values, an "a-ha" moment awaits. You'll likely realize that addictive behaviors are nowhere to be found in your hierarchy. This revelation is profound: the very behavior that has been dictating your daily actions is glaringly absent from what you truly value in life.

    This dissonance — between what you do under the influence of addiction and what you desire in your heart — is a powerful motivator for change. It becomes clear that the addiction is an intruder, disrupting your authentic life path. It doesn't belong in your story and certainly doesn't align with the chapters you wish to write moving forward. This realization is a turning point, illuminating the stark contrast between a life ruled by addiction and a life steered by your true values.

  4. Living Your Values
    With your Hierarchy of Values established, it becomes both a shield and a compass. It's a shield because when cravings or negative influences arise, you can reflect on your hierarchy to remember what's truly at stake. It's a compass because it provides direction, helping you make choices that align with your deepest values.

    Living your values means making conscious decisions that reflect your hierarchy. It's about creating a life that resonates with your authentic self, not the version of yourself commandeered by addiction. This might mean investing more time in family, returning to neglected hobbies, prioritizing your health, or engaging in work that's meaningful to you.

The Role of Community in HOV

Sharing your Hierarchy of Values with a trusted friend, family member, or your SMART Recovery group can be incredibly powerful. Not only does this help solidify your commitment, but it also opens you up to support from others who understand your values and respect your journey. They can help hold you accountable, offer a different perspective, or even inspire you by sharing their own hierarchies.

Conclusion: The Guiding Star in Your Recovery Journey

The journey of recovery isn't just about abstaining from addictive behaviors; it's about building a life of fulfillment, purpose, and joy. The Hierarchy of Values is your guiding star in this journey, ensuring that each step you take is in alignment with your deepest convictions and desires. Through HOV, you're not just recovering from addiction; you're reclaiming your life and rekindling the passions and principles that define you.

Example Scenarios

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The ABCs Example Scenario

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Disrupting Unhelpful Thinking Example Scenario

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Identifiying Unhelpful Thinking Styles Example Scenario