Recovery Tools

Aspects of Treatment:

Understanding Core Values

   Becoming You Again-Understanding Your Core Values

What are Core Values?

The things which you identify as most important in your life are your Core Values.  These values are what you live by and live for, shaping your decisions and choices.  In recovery, many of our values may have been hijacked by our addiction and we have lost our connection to them.  

This exercise is to help you reconnect with your individual and personal Core Values.

From the lists below, choose 3-4 values from each category that you identify as important, or valuable to you.  Space is provided for you to add your own.

Personal Values

Honesty Integrity Responsibility Loyalty
Intelligence Love Peace Truth                 
Honor Trust Recovery Health
Kinship Confidence Commitment Faith


Social Values


Equality Justice Liberty


Family Friends Community


Humanity Service Responsibility


Communication Diversity Relationships



Religious or Spiritual Values


Higher Power Christianity Catholic


Prayer Hedonism Buddist


Hindu Muslim Belief Mystical
Religion Church Expectation



Economic Values


Property Car/Transportation Home


Education Employment Accountability


Profit Vacations Sustainable


Organic/Green Self-sustaining Contributional



Political Values


Democracy Socialism Free Speech


Personal Rights Self-Enhancement Rights 


Coexistence Militarism Facist


Capitalism Independent Pragmatism



Below, write in the 3-4 values from each category you have chosen as what best meets your ideas; then choose 1 which best describes all of them.


  1.  Personal Values
    1. _____________________
    2. _____________________
    3. _____________________
    4. _____________________
      1. _____________________
  2. Social Values
    1. _____________________
    2. _____________________
    3. _____________________
    4. _____________________
      1. _____________________
  3. Religious or Spiritual Values
    1. _____________________
    2. _____________________
    3. _____________________
    4. _____________________
      1. _____________________
  4. Economic Values
    1. _____________________
    2. _____________________
    3. _____________________
    4. _____________________
      1. _____________________
  5. Political Values
    1. _____________________
    2. _____________________
    3. _____________________
    4. _____________________
      1. _____________________


Now, looking at these 5 Core Values, create a Goal, as in what would you like to have happen?  Next, you will add an action you are willing to do to make that goal real.

For instance, if your Personal Core Value is Honesty, what would a goal for that be?  How will I act on that goal?  Two examples are below:


#1  Personal Core Value Goal

Honesty I want to be honest about my addiction


I’m going to talk with my (sponsor, counselor,therapist) honestly about my addiction-what it is, what happened, and what I want to do so I do not relapse again.

#2  Political  Core Value Goal

Voting Rights:  I want to make sure my vote counts


I’m going to register as a voter and keep up on the topics and platforms.


  • Your Core Values are who you are-there are no right or wrong answers here.  This is about you getting to know you, and if there are things that you want to change about you, this is a great start.  
  • It might be as simple as getting your feet back on the ground from addiction- for some of us, it is getting to know ourselves for the first time.  
  • Your Goals will most likely change over time- they do as we grow.  Just keep yourself grounded in your values-those too, may change as you do!  
  • If you can’t reconcile a goal and an action, maybe it isn’t the right value for you-try another.  Pay attention to the tension you feel- it is yourself talking to you!


Personal Core Value Goal



Action Plan



Social Core Value




Action Plan



Spiritual Core Value Goal



Action Plan



Economic Core Value Goal



Action Plan



Political Core Value Goal



Action Plan




Re-Evaluate and Grow


Throughout your life, there will always be choices in whatever you do.  You ask, “What should I do?”  These daily dilemmas can create angst and frustration-there is not always a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice to be made.  Sometimes, both choices seem bad, sometimes there are more than two choices.

When that happens, go back through your Core Values- do the outcomes and goals match your core values?  Try making a Decision Tree to help you.  And remember- this is your life-what may seem right for others may not be right for you.  Only you can be you!  


As always, my hopes are for your hopes and dreams…..T


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