2020 is behind us and it is time to look forward with hope for the future. All the gifts have been unwrapped, the lights have come down (for most of us), the trees are gone out and the bills are coming in.
The new year is a time to reflect and to set new goals and make new resolutions for the upcoming year. For those in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, this can be a difficult time of year and, with the added stress of COVID, one can be tempted to return to their substance of choice to cope with these triggers.
The new year also holds new possibilities for success, new hope at a dream deferred, and even the potential for a new life. Many new year’s resolutions are made in vain, starting well in January, dying out by February. A resolution to be in recovery takes perseverance, determination, and … time! Recovery can start with making a series of resolutions, and a series of small goals with a plan for achieving and maintaining them.
Reflect on your year
The first step in preparing yourself for a new season is to understand the past. Reflect on this past year with a filter on identifying your strengths and weaknesses. When you know your triggers for relapse, you can be better prepared for them and change how you react to them.
Resolve to stay positive
It’s easy to become bitter and negative when it comes to active addiction. Whether you are frustrated with yourself, your family, your lot in life, or everything in between, simply adjusting your thoughts to the positive can make a huge difference in your recovery and your outlook on the future. Are we beating ourselves up for past mistakes? Or are we carrying a grudge against someone who has wronged us? Perhaps we should let ourselves and others off the hook and begin to practice gratitude as a coping skill. Forgiving ourselves and others can help us stay strong and mentally healthy.
During this new year, set yourself up with healthy habits like self-care, a fresh setting, and an encouraging support team.
As you take the steps toward improving your recovery and your lifestyle, it is important that you recognize your improvements. Celebrate the victories, even if they are small, because those are the victories that keep your momentum moving you forward. Acknowledging your achievements can improve your confidence and strengthen your resolve for recovery.
Gather A Support Team
A good network of support people is vital to recovery and can help you feel capable of growth. Whether you have an accountability partner, a 12 step sponsor, a group of your loved ones, or a combination. The main point is that gathering a group of support people who can bring positivity and non-judgmental help means leaving behind toxic relationships and negative influences that prevent you from maintaining your recovery.
End The Blame Game
Blame and resentment can fuel addiction. Taking responsibility for your actions and intentions can be a vital step in building and maintaining a solid foundation for recovery. If we are looking to make changes in our life, we will have to stop blaming others. We alone control our actions, reactions, behaviors, words, and intentions. We need to realize that every decision we make, good or bad, is our responsibility, not someone else’s.
At the top of your list should be well-regulated sleep hygiene, a balance between work and personal life, exercise, a healthy diet. All of these things require taking time for ourselves. This may mean setting boundaries to do what is best for us and our loved ones. We may even need to schedule time in our planner for these types of self-care activities. In the busyness of life, it can be hard to slow down and recharge. We have to be intentional about this discipline and make it a habit. We need not feel guilty about taking time for our own mental and physical health.
During this new year, set yourself up with healthy habits like self-care, a fresh setting, and an encouraging support team. Reflect on your goals and celebrate your victories. Most importantly give yourself guilt-free time to take care of yourself. When you take care of yourself, you are in a better place to care for others and you will find a new sense of purpose and meaning in your life.
If you or a loved one needs assistance with a substance abuse problem, please call TARP at 800-522-8277 or TAP at 800-253-8326.