The finish of each year can bring up many reflections, realizations, and happy or sad memories. Each New Year is a fresh start and the beginning of a new path, but it is natural to look back to the times before sobriety and recovery as well as looking ahead to goals and dreams.

The present moment is a good time to evaluate your accomplishments and difficulties as you move towards pressing the reset button in 2020. Think of the New Year as a celebration of maintaining or starting your sobriety and being the best person you can be. As the New Year kicks off, remember the difference between goals, commitments, and lifestyles. Sobriety is more than a goal; Sobriety is a commitment and recovery is a lifestyle. We offer you 7 New Year’s Resolutions in Recovery that can strengthen your recovery and help reaffirm the better life in sobriety that is available to anyone still active in the disease of addiction. 

1. Tell your personal story.

Willingly share in group meetings and make it personal therapy to share even when you feel like shutting down and just listening. Opening up about your feelings and experiences can help you let your guard down and you will connect with people who may need to hear what you have to say as they trudge the road of early recovery. Being proactive and getting all the skeletons out of the closet can really empower your resolve in recovery and you just might provide a “God Shot” to someone else who is struggling with the same demons. 

2. Make self-care come first.

It is very important to look after your own peace of mind, and mental and physical health, instead of always putting everyone else first. Do a daily or weekly ‘check in’ with yourself and assess how you are feeling. Do something small for yourself like thinking of positive affirmations or a quick mental gratitude list if you sense yourself going to the dark side. Consider meditation or using a guided meditation app at least once a week or even daily for short intervals. Be sure to get physical exercise and consider trying yoga or a new hiking path. Start a new hobby like painting or learning guitar. Take care of yourself but also do not get stuck in your comfort zone and be willing to venture out and meet new people. What is something you have always wanted to try that you have not?

3. Do Something For Others.

Giving back or doing volunteer work is rewarding and healthy on many levels. Being of service enables you to learn about others and to build strong character assets as you get outside of yourself and your own internal monologue. This could mean help hand out meals to the homeless at a soup kitchen or food pantry, or just taking a commitment at a meeting to make the coffee, to meet and greet, or to put chairs out. Maybe you want to volunteer at an animal shelter or help the elderly, and any of these selfless acts with positively bolster your recovery and sobriety, as well as generating good karma. 

4. Set small goals and big goals in recovery.

Whether you have a clear resolution already or whether you have a few goals in mind, remember you can set big and small tasks for yourself. If you discuss goals in your recovery home, with a therapist or counselor, or in group meetings, discuss the little things and huge goals as well. Being able to reach the smaller, attainable goals will help reinforce the pursuit of the larger, tougher resolutions, which may take time to achieve and maintain. A small goal could be to quit drinking soda and a large goal could be an educational or vocational degree. 

5. Gravitate towards positive people and phase out negative relationships.

Have you ever spent time with a friend and left feeling like they made you feel worse or that they bring you down instead of lifting you up? You are not alone. Friends, family, co-workers, and even strangers can have a powerful negative or positive impact on your outlook if pick up on that energy and internalize it. Just like catching a cold from someone, be mindful to spend time with safe people and minimize the drama and negativity that some create. Wouldn’t you prefer positivity? Spending time with safe and supportive people is even more important for people in recovery, because our sobriety is a gift that can be taken away by the triggers caused my negative situations and reacting to people who do not have our best interests in mind. 

6. One day at a time is all we can do.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself regarding your resolution and be sure to give yourself credit for all that was accomplished last year, and share those accomplishments with others. Having stayed sober for a certain amount of time is something to celebrate in itself, as well as getting help at an inpatient or outpatient program. Of course it is admirable to think of all the things you want to accomplish for the next 12 months, but remember to be gentle with yourself, knowing that you can only live one day at a time as you reach those goals. 

7. Make contrary action a resolution when triggers come up.

One great resolution for those of us in recovery is to remember the tool you have in your imaginary sobriety toolbox we call contrary action. When we were using or even now as we deal with stressful situations, we all deal with confrontation or problems in predictable ways. Depending on our personality styles, the way we were raised, and what types of traumatic situations we have been through, contrary action is having the awareness and discipline to NOT say or do what first comes to mind in a “trigger situation”. Taking 5 seconds or 3 deep breaths before deciding what to say or do in a difficult situation can make all the difference. Play out an example of a situation where you “blew up” or “did something that hurt your progress” and think about how you could have handled it differently with contrary action.

Today is the only day. 

Every day is a great day to start getting sober, but the New Year is an obvious starting point that some people use to kick off a new lifestyle. We all know that we have good intentions when making a resolution, but keeping our word, just like maintaining sobriety is a daily task and responsibility. Many of us may not even make resolutions or we may be discouraged because we were unable to keep our past resolutions. Be encouraged by those around you who share the stories of making their goal happen, like weight loss, or starting a new career path. 

Y and Y Recovery is here for you as a resource as you start your path in recovery and a sober life.

Y and Y Recovery offers drug and alcohol assessment plans and treatment, detox services, residential inpatient treatment and many other resources for those ready to heal and recover properly. Call our friendly and experienced intake staff members at 888-877-7326 for a fast and confidential conversation with a live person. We are here to help and inform you, and the family and friends of those who are still suffering from the disease of addiction. Happy 2020!


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