The Desire Map: A Recovery Resource

I have come a long way from my addictions.

Today, I sit down four times a year, at the beginning of each season, with two of my best friends and talk about big, bad goals! Yes! It’s like a Type-A brouhaha! Seriously, this has been one of the most rewarding groups I have been a part of. To be a witness to watching women I greatly respect, bravely share their goals and brain storm how to achieve them has been a far-out magical thing. Except, something happened earlier this year that cracked the foundation of our sacred, witchy, little circle – it was The Desire Map.

The Desire Map is a book by Danielle LaPorte which is completely revolutionizing the way in which people and businesses make their goals. Traditionally, you and I make goals by simply thinking about what we want, writing it down and working our sweet little buns off for it. Easy enough right? BUT, have you ever achieved a goal and then collapsed on the couch of a hotel lobby baffled, thinking, “Huh, this isn’t how I thought I would feel after getting what I wanted.” Meeeeeeeeeee tooooooooo! BTW: FEEL is the key word here, as LaPorte’s theory is people don’t make goals for the sake of the experience. They make them for the sake of the feeling that they believe the experience will give them. From applying the book to my life I gotta say, LaPorte is spot on.

Maybe it’s because I’m in recovery or maybe it’s just the old fashioned American dream, but this book revealed to me that the goals I had for my career, relationships and travel weren’t necessarily what I wanted. Rather they were what I thought would give me the bright gold stars of accomplishment. To me, accomplishment translates to feeling peace.

So how do you stop reaching for things that you don’t TRULY want and go after what your soul craves? According to LaPorte it’s by finding our core desired feelings. Within the readings and the exercises in the book the reader discovers how they want to feel in life- I know it sounds hippy-dippy, but trust me the results are groovy!

My own personal core desired feelings are:

  • Strong
  • Guided
  • Authentic
  • Playful
  • Peaceful

After establishing the feelings I wanted I looked at the goals I had and realized that some didn’t match the feelings I wanted to cultivate. I have since made adjustments to those goals and now feel great peace on the direction my life is going and the choices I am making to get there. Huge change! Snaps! Snaps for Irvina (and Danielle!)

To boot, LaPorte says, “I don’t do anything that makes me miserable in order to fulfill a vision.” Of course there are things like taxes, exercise and healthy diets that we all have to do in order to maintain balance; both personally and professionally. The greater concept LaPorte is addressing are the things we do because we think we SHOULD. For instance, serving as a room mom in your child’s class even though you hate it. Or going to that networking group even though you can’t stand the people. Acting in martyrdom isn’t good for anyone. If the networking group makes you want to pop a Xanax, find an alternative to meeting people that’s more your speed, like perhaps a young professionals groups that meet for hiking. You can find this on Get creative yo!

Personally, I had to tweak the route in which I was going to achieve my goals. I now participate only in things that align with the feelings I want to create in my life. As the saying goes, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” There is no truer sense of this in going after the things we want. Why would we put ourselves through misery during an entire journey? Do us all a favor- don’t do that.

Goals are a fascinating thing to ponder. Whether you’re fresh out of high school, in a rehab trying to find recovery or middle aged and divorced our goals represent not only who we want to be, but who we used to be. What we think we need, might not always be what we truly want.

When I first started out in recovery all I wanted was to free from my eating disorder. Just getting out of the addiction was the only goal I had in mind. But, as I stabilized my world got bigger and I wanted more, but like the addiction not everything I wanted was triggered by the right things. Eventually, I found my way. I’m doing well now, but it might not always be this way. Life is messy. All we can do is take it day-by-day. Thankfully there are some things that bring us clarity- I am certain The Desire Map is an amazing compass that can lead anyone back to their true self.

Irvina Kanarek is the Founder and Rewriter-In-Chief of Rewrite Beautiful, a non-profit organization that creatively changes how girls see beauty in themselves, for eating disorder prevention through education. Irvina is also the author of How To: Rewrite Beautiful- You Can Be A Hot Mess Today And A World Changer Tomorrow. Follow Irvina on Twitter at @IrvinaKanarek.

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– - Anonymous