It’s a new year and a fresh opportunity to set life on a more satisfying course. The moment 2018 ended, many of us shed past disappointments and donned a brighter, more optimistic outlook filled with hope for a new love interest, improved fitness level or much-needed relational change. Resolution lists top headlines every year—as if making the right resolution is the key to living a charmed life.
For thousands of Americans, this standard scenario plays out, year after year. First, you make resolutions and stick with them for a couple of weeks. Then, the day-to-day stress of work and family begin to crowd out good intentions. Each hopeful New Year’s resolution is abandoned, forgotten or relegated to next year’s list. Most of the time, life moves on with little thought to the changes that might have been. But, if you are struggling to achieve long-term recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, abandoning the desire to change is a serious disruption to recovery success.
The Value of Resolutions for Achieving Recovery
The Christmas and New Year holidays present a perfect fresh-start opportunity. They act as a natural “timeout” from ordinary life, allowing time for reflection and aspiration. But if you are in detox, rehab or early recovery, you may have faced unexpected challenges like these during the holidays:
- Isolation from loved ones
- Regret for strained relationships
- Triggers that threaten relapse
- Loneliness & longing for the past
- Uncertainty about the future
- Self-doubt & disappointment
Making resolutions and having the recovery and life skills to see them through could be the difference between staying on the recovery path or lapsing into the addictive behaviors you’ve worked hard to escape. Your success will depend on setting realistic goals and developing strategies for year-round self-help and self-discipline.
Strategies for Embracing New Year’s Discipline
After the holidays, your attention returns to the everyday stresses of work, family and finances. During this time, it’s easy to let recovery goals take a backseat to more immediate concerns. If you have successfully maintained sobriety through the holidays, you may feel intentionally set aside resolutions and vow to pick them up when things “settle down.” Complacence during early recovery can be dangerous, though, since you never know when life will become overwhelming and triggers will lure you into relapse. Here are four strategic tips to boost your recovery discipline and help you stay focused on 2019 goals.
- Establish a routine.Sticking to a regular schedule helps you focus your attention and accomplish more. When you set a routine and follow it, you’ll feel empoweredand in control of your life. Routines help us sleep better, enjoy healthier meals and find time for personal enrichment through exercise, meditation and social engagements.
- Make resolutions concrete. A recovery resolution that is too broad or unrealistic is discouraging. Formulate resolutions as concrete and achievable goals. Instead of resolving to “make new sober friends,” phrase your goal as “I will participate in the Friday night socials at AA and ask one person for their phone number each week. I will follow up with a call to them within 48 hours.” Writing your resolution down can also help you determine how achievable it is.
- Track your progress. Keeping a diary or journal helps you keep goals in sight. Journaling allows you to identify unproductive effort and help you get back on track when missteps occur. Remember, recovery is a series of small victories. You will achieve lasting change when improvementis your day-to-day goal.
- Acknowledge your effort, not your shortcomings.Each time you stick to your daily routine, track your progress or resume your plan after a falter, you have used resolve and self-discipline. Think of mental and tangible ways to reward yourself for overcoming challenges and continuing toward your resolution.
- Create an accountability plan. Identify someone who can support your goals and decide how to check in with them (daily, if needed) to provide accountability toward your progress.
Paving the Way for Your Recovery
Substance abuse destroys lives and tears families apart. Sometimes, intervention is the only way to halt the damage and begin the healing. Intervention911 acts as a conduit for bringing life-change and life-saving addiction treatment to those mired in alcohol and drug addiction.
Seen on Dr. Phil, The Doctors and the A&E reality show, Intervention911 expert Ken Seeley is a renowned interventionist and author. He has been sober since 1989 and has proudly dedicated his career to helping others achieve recovery success. Seeley’s CA intervention program empowers families and individuals with the tools, guidance and professional experience they need to achieve lifelong sobriety, recovery success and restored health.
Contact the Intervention911 admissions team online or call 866-888-4911 to speak with our intake coordinator, verify insurance coverage, and begin your 2019 journey to renewal.