Resolutions can be some of the most difficult demands we place on ourselves every year. For those recovering from alcohol or drug addiction, these resolutions come with additional risks. If you’re in recovery, there are several things you should consider about resolutions, including the right type to make. As the new year approaches, take a moment to reflect on where you came from and what you hope to achieve in the year moving forward.
Recovery Is a Process
One of the first things to think about when it comes to making resolutions is this simple statement: Recovery is a long process that takes time. Recognize that you want to be a changed person and, while you may not be using right now, you are in fact still changing. As you work to develop those New Year’s resolutions, then, keep in mind that you are not to the point of being cured. Avoid over-promising yourself or high expectations of a perfect life.
Resolve to Be Responsible
One of the resolutions you may wish to consider is this one: Instead of promising to exercise and eat healthily, focus on making responsible decisions. Resolve to be responsible for the actions you take. For those with a substance abuse disorder, responsibility is critical and can define your long-term success.
For many people in recovery, blame is a big component of the process. You may be learning that blaming anyone else isn’t good for you, though. Instead, take responsibility for your actions in the New Year. Put blame to the side and focus on just making good decisions for yourself. Remember, the decisions you make are the result of your own actions, not those another person creates, encourages or makes.
Resolve to Forgive
Forgiveness is an important component of the recovery process. In the New Year, try to make an effort to forgive yourself and others in your life. At this time of year, it may be time to take a long look at life as it is right now.
For example, take a personal inventory of the people in your life now. Are you treating them the best you can? Do they deserve more? Perhaps there are people in your past who have caused you hurt or even pushed you along the road to addiction.
Forgive. When you do, you make peace possible for yourself. It doesn’t help anyone else, but it does give you the ability to focus on the good. And while you’re doing this, consider also the value of forgiving yourself. Many times, this is the harder decision.
Resolve to Lean on Others for Support
Addiction recovery is a long process that will have numerous steep climbs and dark valleys to work through on your path. During these points, you may need significant help. At FHE Health, many of our patients receive ongoing care and support for years after they’ve completed residential or outpatient care. We welcome you to continue your care.
Yet, for many, it is about the personal relationships you have and building a strong path towards the best possible end result. Your loved ones may not always understand what addiction feels like or what you’ve been through, but they may want to be there for you. Let them. This year, resolve to include the people who you know want to support you to do so, as long as their support comes in a positive form.
This may be important to your long-term recovery. When you learn to lean on others, you learn to manage many of the problems that create addictions in the first place. That is, you learn how to manage stress, deal with depression and get help when you need it. It’s a simple change, but making the decision to accept help is life-changing.
Resolve to Be Positive
While many drug and alcohol recovery patients focus on the here and now, it’s hard not to look further down the road. Perhaps you’re just moving out to start your recovery process back at home. You may be years down the line but still dealing with consequences. To aid your long-term success, you have to find a way to be positive.
One way to do this is to commit to it right at the start of the new year. This year, push the bitterness, hurt, frustrations and negative history you have to the side. Allow your true personality to come through. Reinforce this with positive actions and words. The more positive you bring into each day, the more opportunities you have for creating positive outcomes throughout your recovery.
How to Keep Your Resolutions in the Year Ahead
For those who are recovering from alcohol or drug abuse, resolutions are never easy to maintain. To achieve them and not give up, focus on limiting your resolutions to attainable goals, like those discussed here. Then, consider a few more tips to help you to stay the course.
Make a Conscious Effort Daily
Write down your resolutions on a piece of paper. Place them on the bathroom mirror or at your desk. Read them or say them out loud every day. By doing this, you’re making a conscious effort to continue to achieve your goals. You keep them in the back of your mind throughout the day, ensuring you’re always able to remember what you’ve promised yourself.
Realize You Are Worthy
It may be easier to write a few things down on a piece of paper than to make them come to life. When frustrations begin to pile up, it may be easy to slip up or even give up. To avoid this, realize you are worthy of achieving your goals. No matter what your goals are, you deserve to have them. Focusing on this can help you push aside those overwhelming moments to create a new opportunity for yourself.
Include Others in Your Goals
While your resolutions can be very personal, it can help to have someone to keep you accountable. If you don’t have anyone in your day-to-day life to share them with, that’s okay. Allow your 12-step program or your counselor to be there to support you. Include them in your plans so they can encourage you, support you and even help you achieve them. Be proud of the goals you’ve set for yourself.
At FHE Health, the very best resolution you can make is to get healthy. If you’re struggling with alcohol or drug abuse or battling mental health issues on your own, seek help. Resolve to make this the year you turn the page and begin creating the life you really want for yourself, no matter what that means to you or what you’re up against. In many situations, the best level of care you can give yourself is treatment, support, and medical care to move beyond addiction.