Happy New Year 2015!
It happens every year that we come to the end of another year and find hope and strength in starting a new. We begin to think of resolutions we have for the year to come, in hope that this year will be better than the one before, and that all of our friends and family will be healthy and happy in the new year. This might be the first year that the topic of quitting drinking or drugging comes up for either a family member, a friend, or ourselves. The success of accomplishing our “resolutions” for 2015 can seem like a daunting task. And yes it is difficult. But nothing is worth more than living a happy healthy life.
I wanted to include a few things to help people get off on the right foot in 2015. The first being that today is the first day, and it only a day. Try not to think too much about tomorrow or too much about yesterday. Just focus on today. Second is that there are many resources out there to lend a helping hand for this new adventure in life. Do not feel like a failure if at first you don’t succeed, it’s all about trying and finding a new way of life that works for you. (believe me it took many tries for myself). There is always someone willing and ready to listen and help, but the person seeking help needs to be willing and ready also. Happy New Year, and keep trudging the happy road!
Here are some key tools to think about and try on your road to recovery, and remember that all of us at A Way Out are here to help also.
Resolve to tell friends and family about your addiction and desire for sobriety. If nothing else, being accountable to others makes it much harder to slip up and return to your old, addictive patterns of behavior.
Resolve to seek professional help, if you haven’t sought it already. The easiest way to do this is to find a local therapist who specializes in addiction. Usually they offer both individual and group sessions focused on combating addiction. You might also consider – or your therapist may recommend – a period of inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment as a way to jump-start your recovery. These concentrated programs separate you from the people, places, and things that drive your addiction, while also grounding you in sobriety and reducing your risk of relapse.
Resolve to participate in a 12-step recovery group. Whatever your addiction, there is a group designed to help you. Attending meetings regularly is a great way to meet and interact with others who share your problem and speak your language. Many recovering addicts attend meetings daily. After all, they engaged in their addictive behaviors daily, didn’t they? Typically, people in recovery find that having sober friends to hang out with is a key element of maintaining sobriety over the long-haul.
Resolve to change your routine. Active addicts always have a routine or pattern that eventually leads to using. Take a look at your regular day, and figure out where the path veers off toward addiction. At that point, you must do something different. Instead of driving home down the street with all the bars, take a different route. Instead of turning on the TV and eventually smoking pot, go for a walk in a nearby park. It doesn’t really matter what you do that’s different, as long as it breaks the pattern that leads to using.
Resolve to improve your physical health. Getting sober is not just about stopping with the drinking, using, and other compulsive behaviors. It’s a complete lifestyle change. Healthy eating and regular exercise help you in numerous respects. Most obviously, you feel better, which makes it easier to not “self-medicate.”
Resolve to try new things and to make new friends. Taking a cooking class (maybe as part of eating healthier meals), starting a new hobby or resuming and old hobby, healthy dating, redecorating the house, joining a social club, and just about any other new activity will put you in contact with lots of new people, some of whom may become friends. These activities also can invigorate an otherwise stalled life. If you can find another recovering addict to enjoy these activities with, that’s even better.