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The Most Realistic Resolutions For Recovery

The gifts are unwrapped, the lights are coming down, the trees are drying up, the skies are gray – and all the bills are coming in.

As the holidays wrap up and the calendar winds down to the end of December, the final days of the year – and the beginning of the next – can be depressing for many. This time of year is especially difficult for those struggling with alcohol or drug addiction: The temptations of the end-of-the-year celebrations, chances to become stressed out over the holidays, isolation and painful nostalgia.

But, we’re on the verge of a brand new year; a new year that holds new possibilities – and for some, the potential for even a new life.

Unfortunately, many resolutions are made in vain: According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology from the University of Scranton, only about 8% of Americans successfully achieve their resolutions for the new year.

If recovery was as easy as setting a New Year’s resolution, there would be far fewer people in active addiction – and many more free from substance. Recovery takes time. Recovery takes perseverance. Recovery takes determination. But recovery can also start with a series of resolutions.


Realistic Resolutions For Recovery

Have you ever made an ambitious New Year’s resolution, only to find yourself worrying about it – more than enjoying the positive outcomes of your efforts?

You’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association, overly ambitious New Year’s resolutions often result in excess stress for those who start to slide back to their old habits. Instead, it’s more beneficial to make small goals and a clear understand and plan on how to achieve – and maintain them.


  • Resolve To Try New Things.
    While active addiction can look much like chaos and madness – in fact, addiction is the same darn thing over and over again: The search for drugs. The purchase of drugs. Getting high or drunk. Coming down. Doing it all over again. When we talk about ‘breaking the cycle’ of addiction – it’s truly about breaking the spinning pattern of repeated, destructive behaviors.

    Making progress in your life means taking a new approach to things. Been to rehab/therapists/meetings already? Try a different program, a different therapist, a different meeting. Be open to the fact that just because one thing didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean nothing will work. Change is essential for recovery – but you have to allow yourself to accept it.
  • Resolve To Stay Positive.
    It’s easy to become bitter and negative when it comes to active addiction. Whether you are frustrated with yourself, your loved ones, the cards life has dealt you, or everything in between – adjusting your thoughts to the positive truly can make a world of difference in your recovery and your outlook. Do you beat yourself up over past mistakes? Carry a grudge against someone you feel has wronged you? Worry about potential future failures? Do yourself a favor and program yourself to grow gratitude, do your best to forgive yourself and others, and focus on positivity. 
  • Resolve To Reach Out To Loved Ones For Support.
    Family and friends don’t always understand addiction – but chances are because they love and care for you, they truly want the best for you. It’s understandable if you feel isolated, alone and abandoned – but I can nearly guarantee that with a genuine approach, you’ll find support in reaching out to your loved ones. You aren’t alone in your struggles, and if a family member or friend truly wants to help, don’t push them away. 
  • Resolve To End The Blame Game.
    Blame and resentment can fuel addiction. Taking responsibility for your actions and intentions, however, can be a first step in building a solid recovery. If you’re looking to make changes in your own life, it’s time to stop blaming others. You alone control your actions. You alone control your reactions. You alone control your decisions, behaviors, words and intentions. Whether these things unfold positively or negatively – you must acknowledge and accept that every good or bad decision you make results in your own doing. Not someone else’s. 
  • Resolve To Communicate.
    Text messages. Emails. Social media. We can go for days without actually talking to loved ones or friends – or having real conversations. Isolation is a driving factor in the cycle of addiction, which makes it all that more important to actually connect with other human beings. Pick up the phone and call your loved ones. Drop by for a visit. Opening up conversations may feel awkward at first – but resolving to actually communicate can keep you accountable. 
  • Resolve To Count Your Blessings Daily.
    What are you grateful for? Is it a person in your life? A roof over your head? A material possession? An opportunity, place or feeling? Maybe the sunset you saw this evening? Whatever things make you smile or encourage you – take the time to take note. Each night or morning, take the time to jot down in a journal the things that you’re thankful for. When you’re having a particularly challenging day, review your journal to help you stay focused on the good – rather than the bad. Remember resolution #2? This can be a big help in accomplishing that. 


Making Recovery Your Reality

If the new year means a new start for your recovery, we’re here to help. We know that addiction recovery isn’t a one time deal – or simply a New Year’s resolution. It’s a day by day process – sometimes hour by hour or minute by minute. Resolving to start a new life in recovery means moving forward, and if you’re ready, we’ll give you a hand.


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