How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions in Recovery
Dec 16, 2022
As the new year approaches, many of us use the occasion to take stock of our lives, to see where we are and where we want to go. If you’ve struggled with drugs and alcohol, the new year presents many opportunities. You can break free, stop the cycle, find freedom and set out on a new way of life in recovery. Maybe you already have some time into your recovery journey or would like to begin one. In any case, here are some suggestions to help strengthen your resolution to overcome drugs and alcohol in the new year and beyond.
Seek Support in Sobriety
People in the grip of active addiction are often isolated, accustomed to doing things on their own and suspicious of others. But to rise above the addiction and forge a new life in recovery, it is necessary to find help beyond yourself. You can’t be expected to do this alone, and many forms of support are available to you on your path. Enrolling in an addiction treatment program is an excellent place to begin the recovery process. It will help you avoid the dangers of withdrawal and cravings, and develop new ways of managing your thoughts, emotions and actions. Further encouragement and guidance can come through 12-step programs, like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, therapy, friends and family.
Formulate SMART Goals
An effective way to achieve any goal, your recovery goals included, is to make them SMART:
- Specific – Specify the goal and the specific steps toward it, day by day. E.g., “I want to stop drinking, and I will pursue that goal today by attending an AA meeting.”
- Measurable – Indicate a quantity or measure which marks your progress. E.g., “Today I have been sober for 67 days.”
- Achievable – Set realistic benchmarks and achievable sub-goals along the way. “E.g., I will achieve my goal by staying clean just for today, using all the tools of recovery which I have been given.”
- Relevant – Remind yourself of the relevant reasons for your recovery, what motivates you to keep going. E.g., “I don’t want to suffer in my addiction anymore.”
- Timebound – Chart the various timeframes for success. E.g., “I will stop drinking by the end of 2022.”
Just for Today
Developing any new habit, practice or way of life takes time. Progress is gradual, with various starts and stops along the way. Don’t psych yourself out right away by contemplating a lifetime of abstinence. Instead of staring up at the peak of the mountain, take the first step toward climbing it and proceed from there. Indeed, the 12-Steps is a “just for today” program, which means that its guiding goal is simply to make it through the day without drinking or doing drugs.
Know Your Triggers
Once you’re on the road to recovery, you still need to remain vigilant. One common concern, especially in the earlier stages, is knowing your triggers. What is a trigger? It is anything that reminds you of using, makes you want to use or puts you in an uncomfortable state. For example, going to bars or seeing people you used to drink with might trigger a desire in you to drink. Also, painful or stressful situations, such as a romantic breakup or a job loss, can also act as triggers, prompting you to want to reach for your drug of choice. Knowing your triggers means identifying them in advance, avoiding them where possible and reaching out for help
Navigate NYE Parties
Whether you make your start date the new year or before, you might fear temptation from New Year’s Eve parties. If you are committed to abstaining or avoiding certain behaviors that night, we’ve got you covered. Here is a step-by-step guide to navigate New Year’s and holiday parties clean and sober.
With the anxiety and stress of everyday living, we all need to practice self-care. What this amounts to is tending to ourselves in mind, body and spirit. Examples of sound self-care practices include:
- Sleeping well
- Eating healthy
- Being kind to yourself
- Living in the present
- Taking breaks from electronic devices
- Keeping a recovery journal
Adopting an attitude of gratitude will support and enrich your life in large and small ways. The things you’re grateful for can bring hope, joy and tranquility. It can also inspire you to be more helpful and generous. Keeping a gratitude journal can help you view each day in recovery as a blessing and a gift. Sharing gratitude with those around you can help you feel more connected.
The freedom you find in recovery might feel unsettling at first. What to do with this newfound free time can sometimes feel overwhelming or boring. Rediscovering old hobbies or developing new ones is a rich and gratifying way to fill the time, meet new people and grow your sense of self and self-worth.
If you or someone you know is looking for support in recovery or would like to find a new way of life in the new year, contact our caring staff at 833-505-4673. Our wrap-around services for substance use disorder have helped thousands achieve a meaningful life in long-term recovery.