When December 31st slowly ticked away, and the clock struck midnight on the first day of 2017, millions of people around the world had a list of goals for the New Year already formed. This may have included quitting a nasty habit or committing to learning a new hobby or reconciling with an old friend or family member. For some people, it meant making another promise to quit drinking or using drugs. For people who have already taken that plunge and begun their sobriety journey, goals for the New Year probably include improving or working on their recovery. Whether you are still struggling to quit, or have already entered the world of sobriety, the New Year can be a tough time. Between the post-holiday blues and the societal expectations of drastic change to honor a new calendar year, this period of time can be difficult for addicts and alcoholics. Fortunately, it can also be productive, peaceful, and fulfilling, if you approach it with a plan of action.
Goals for the New Year: Sobriety
For someone who has a drinking or drug problem, the holidays are tough. Many people suffer from active addiction, withdrawal, or blackouts during this time with the added stress of being around family while trapped in an unhealthy condition. Many families realize for the first time just how sick their loved one is around the holidays, especially because addicts and alcoholics who don’t live at home can often hide their addiction more easily. When they go home for the holidays, their cover is blown and the family may start to worry or research treatment options. This is an important step, but it can be very difficult and emotional for everyone involved. For people stuck in active addiction, their New Year’s Eve resolution may be to quit drinking or using and make a fresh start in the year ahead. Unfortunately, without a plan of action and some help, this can turn out to be another empty promise.
For addicts or alcoholics in recovery, the New Year can hold symbolic meaning. Recovery is all about making a fresh start on life, and a new calendar year can be a good time to set some new goals for sobriety and evaluate the previous year’s progress. This is a worthwhile undertaking, but like the active alcoholic/addict, without a plan of action and support, these commitments and goals for the New Year can lead to disappointment for the recovering individual.
Wherever someone in on the spectrum of recovery- from people trapped in addiction who have decided to get out, to those that are sober and involved in recovery- growing in sobriety is the foundation of having a successful, fulfilling new year. Setting these goals is the first step, but following through with achieving them requires planning and daily action.
Steps for Sobriety in 2017
If one of your goals for the New Year is to put down the drink or the drugs for good, there are a few things you can do to help yourself be more successful in getting sober. If you’ve made the commitment and you’re ready to begin, some of the steps you can take are:
- Reach out to a family member or friend. This will help keep you accountable. If someone you love is aware that you need help, they can help you find resources and ensure that you follow through with seeking it.
- Seek the help of professionals. Medical doctors can help determine whether you will need a supervised detox or whether you have untreated physical conditions that may interfere with your recovery, and they can help treat any complications or refer you to the proper medical care.
- Enroll in a treatment program. The odds of success for recovery only increase when the addict or alcoholic seeks treatment. There are a huge variety of treatment styles that can help, from intensive outpatient programs to partial hospitalization treatment. Whichever format you choose, seeking professional help will only ensure that you have the best chance of staying sober.
- Seek support from the recovery community. In every region of the country, recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meet regularly. These programs can help many addicts or alcoholics, and the people who attend them may be able to answer questions about their own recovery journey or lend a sympathetic ear if you need to talk.
If you have already gotten sober and you want to continue your journey to stay healthy, happy, and whole, your goals for the New Year probably include growing in your recovery in some way. The idea of a fresh start with a new calendar is popular in our society, and for good reason. It is a symbolic time that can hold deep meaning for many people, offering a time to pause and reflect and set new intentions for the future. For the recovering individual who wants to thrive in 2017, here are some steps you can take to develop in your program:
- Widen your circle of support. It’s often recommended that men seek male support and women seek female support. For women in recovery, the advice and the shared experience of another woman can be invaluable. If you are lacking in support, now is a great time to build new networks and make new friends that can aid you in your journey.
- Do some service. Addiction is a selfish disease, and service helps us to mature in our sobriety and give back. Helping those around you can enhance your recovery in many ways.
- Practice your coping skills and make a daily plan of action. Many addicts and alcoholics learn new coping mechanisms, such as meditation, while in treatment. Making a plan to spend five minutes a day practicing those skills, such as doing a mindfulness exercise every morning, helps to build healthy routines and boosts mental and physical well-being.
- Take a healthy risk. Risks taken in addiction are harmful and dangerous, but calculated, healthy risks in sobriety- such as trying something new- can keep life exciting. For example, if you love to dance but you’ve always been self-conscious about your moves, sign up for an amateur dance class with a friend. You might surprise yourself, and as a bonus, you will be reminded of how much fun sobriety can be.
Make a Start
If you’re struggling to begin and you find that you can’t put down the drink or the drugs no matter how badly you want to, you may need help. At Willow Place for Women, we offer comprehensive, high-quality, gender-specific treatment for women who suffer from substance dependence. To get help today and begin your new life of recovery, call 1-888-651-4212.