Many will usher in the new year loading themselves up with drugs and alcohol, but for many who struggle with addiction, that is a choice that could lead to further life ruin or death.
While many will resolve to get back on the treadmill, active addicts have a chance to make 2016 a fresh start, away from a life of self-destruction and degradation and toward a new lease on life in which one can find out who they really are and recover from the self-denial of time spent trying to escape with substances.
And for recovering addicts, it’s a time to reclaim their recovery, analyze the path they’re on and see what is and isn’t working and what could keep them further away from temptation and deeper into self-renewal and self-reclamation.
But that’s all easier said than done and just resolving or promising to quit isn’t enough. Here are some tips to make it happen and make the recovery stick:
- Be realistic. You’re not going to just end your addiction or your old habits overnight. Rather than just resolving to quit drinking today or never use marijuana again, which often seem as very gigantic hurdles for many active addicts, plot out some manageable, attainable steps to help you achieve that larger goal. For example set out to reduce your intake, most importantly only vow each day as long as you are in recovery to just be clean and sober that day. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the prospect of staying clean and sober forever, so just make it for today, or for that moment to the next moment. If you absolutely can’t moderate or quit, seek out professional help
- Remain accountable. It’s unlikely you’re going to be able to stick to your resolution on your own, so enlist the support of loved ones. Talk to your family and friends about your desire to stay clean and sober and tell them how they can help you. Surround yourself with people who are going to support you in your effort to reclaim yourself and your health. In this way you make yourself accountable to them, you have people checking up on you and your progress and that makes it harder to relapse and return to old habits. If you don’t have any family and friends around, seek out 12-step groups or other recovery groups where you can get support from those who know the struggle, have overcome it and can keep you accountable to your goals. Recovery is something that should never be done alone.
- Change your routine. Addiction doesn’t develop in a vacuum. It stems from people developing a life pattern that leads them to use. Examine your daily routine, including your mind state and thoughts, and begin to change it. Don’t try to change everything at once, you will get overwhelmed and could relapse. Quitting is a serious life change, that’s why recovery is about incorporating new, healthier activities into your schedules, such as exercising, meditating, eating healthier, opening up about your feelings, seeking therapy and recovery groups, removing toxic people from your environments. Take it slow, make these changes one step at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time.
- Take it easy on yourself. Quitting and embarking on recovery is not an easy task. You will make mistakes, you will likely have lapses in judgment and may not reach every goal you set on the timeline you want. But those setbacks are never a good excuse to give up. They’re a chance to lean in, go inside and see what happened but also to nourish and love yourself and have self-compassion that you are not perfect and recovery is not an easy, straight-forward or perfect progress. A big part of recovery is learning self-love because you’ve spent so much of it in self-denial and self-degradation, trying to run away from who you are than embrace it. It is hard but such compassion for yourself is ultimately what can propel you to greater heights in recovery, and get you closer to your goals than you anticipated. Use your slip-ups, even relapses, as a learning experience so you can move more confidently toward being sober and drug free.