The start of a new year is that perennial time when individuals across the world makes pledges to take up new hobbies or go to the gym more often. Wellness is often a big focus of New Year’s resolutions, and those dealing with a substance abuse disorder can take this time to similarly prioritize their physical and mental well-being.
There is no easy way to manage or beat a drug addiction or substance abuse disorder, but opportunities to take positive steps do present themselves. And even if New Year’s resolutions may seem a little corny, it’s the promise you make to yourself to do better that matters.
A new year is a clean slate of sorts, and with that in mind, it may be beneficial to take the time to craft some resolutions to start on your best foot toward recovery:
Resolve to keep a journal
Jan. 1 begins a new year, and a new you. What better way to chronicle — and support — your journey than a journal. Writing can be therapeutic in many ways, as well as a good reinforcement tool to use in recovery. Your entries don’t have to be entirely about sobriety, but reflect whatever you’re thinking at the moment, or recount some experience from that day. It can be hard to practice mindfulness and other good behaviors and habits with a troubled and racing mind, which is something a journal may be able to help with. Write down a dream from the night before, a conversation, a goal, a thought — write anything, as it may help more than you might think.
Resolve to be active in your recovery
Substance abuse can affect your mental health as much as your physical. Fighting side effects like isolation or depression can become a drain. Getting out of bed, much less the front door can seem like the biggest challenge. And even though come January, much of the country may be covered in snow and ice, there’s no better time to take that step outside and find active means to progress your recovery. That may mean attending meetings with a support group that you fell off with, or finding a new program entirely. Whatever action you take is a move in the right direction, as recovery can’t be achieved from a couch.
Resolve to ask for help
This resolution falls a bit in line with the one above. For any number of reasons, reaching out can be just as hard as stepping out. However, no person is an island. A support network is key, but can only be drawn on if you ask those around you to participate in your recovery process. It can be hard to contact and involve family, friends, sponsors or peers. Many take the burden of beating substance abuse solely unto themselves, often mistakenly and at their own risk.
Resolve to do something each week
It doesn’t matter what you choose to do — take a walk, play with shelter dogs, go to the library, take a drawing class — so long as you choose to do something productive each week. It can be something you know (like gardening) or something entirely different (like learning a musical instrument). Just the simple activity itself can do a world of good. One opportunity for such self-enrichment is volunteering. Depending on where you are in your recovery, volunteering can prove to be a valuable experience that can help you find meaning in giving back to others.
Resolve to prepare for a setback
The road to sobriety is not the easiest one to travel, with many detours and obstacles possible along the way. In the long course of a year, there’s the potential you may be dealt a setback. It happens, and it happens to everyone on the same trek to recovery. The difference comes down to how you respond. Having the foresight to anticipate a challenge like a relapse may help you better pick yourself up and continue on. Working up the inner strength and willpower to succeed in recovery can make a misstep just that — only a misstep and not an event that completely derails your sobriety.
In the end, New Year’s resolutions may only take recovery efforts so far, as they need to be followed through on to have any effect. If you or a loved one is dealing with a substance abuse disorder and is ready to enter treatment, call Fairwinds Treatment Centers today.