A New Year Can Be a New Start—Even if You Are Not That Excited About It

Here in the early days of the new year, people experience a lot of emotions. Some are excited about a new start and ready to set and achieve ambitious goals. Others are regretting what they did not accomplish last year and wondering if they can do better this year. Some are just glad to be through the big holidays that dominate the end of the year. Others are sorry to be headed back to the workaday grind. 

No matter how you are feeling about the flip of the calendar into a new year, January is often a month for reflection. If you are a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, we encourage you to reflect on what has been working for you in terms of strategies and resources that support your ongoing sobriety. We encourage you to set a new goal or two that can make the foundation of your sobriety even stronger.

Resolve to Remember What Works

As you look back over the last twelve months, what are the strategies and resources that have served you well on your recovery journey?

Maybe you were diligent all year about attending your 12-Step (or other recovery program) meetings. Maybe you were able to replace some unhealthy food choices with more nutritious options—a strategy that supports your physical health, your mental health, and your continuing sobriety. Maybe you were a reliable volunteer for an organization that is important to you and learned firsthand the ways in which service can support your recovery.

We have barely scratched the surface of things that might have gone well for you during the last year. Taking some time to think about those successes (maybe even writing them down so that you can look back on them when you need a boost) can help you renew your commitment to those approaches during the next year of your sobriety journey.

Resolve to Reach for Additional Success

As you look back over the last twelve months, what are some strategies and resources that you did not take advantage of that might have bolstered your sobriety?

Maybe you had real trouble adding regular exercise to your schedule. Maybe you tried to craft a regular sleep routine to help ensure you would get the rest you need, but ultimately fell back into old habits (like engaging with your various screens too close to bedtime or tossing and turning in bed while you let worry overwhelm you). Maybe you did not find time to hang out with friends or pursue an engaging hobby or simply take regular and relaxing breaks to help you recharge. 

There are, of course, any number of things that you might think you could be doing better in the new year—and that can feel extremely overwhelming. So we encourage you to find one or two positive changes you might make that will support your sobriety and focus on them. Soon enough, you may find that you have moved them from your “could be going better” column to your “things I do regularly to support my sobriety” column. Just as we encouraged you to write down your successes, we would also suggest you write down your goals so you can remind yourself what you are trying to achieve—and why—any time the going gets tough.

Resolve to Keep Competition Out of the Equation

Sometimes when we think about successes and challenges, we automatically start comparing ourselves to other people. Making those comparisons, however, can distract you from the only thing that is truly important: staying sober.

If you get caught up in comparisons, you might actually undo some of your hard work. After all, competition can lead to so-called negative emotions when we perceive we are not “winning”—and negative emotions can tempt you to “self-medicate” with drugs or alcohol. 

That is why it is so very important to keep your focus on yourself when you are reflecting and planning for the future. Your recovery journey is your own, and you are decidedly not in a competition with anyone else. In fact, the best thing you can do in recovery is support others who are traveling the same path. Recovery is challenging for everyone, so a spirit of mutual support is far preferable to one of competition.

Resolve to Get Sober in the New Year

It is a time of new beginnings, and we are ready to help you reclaim your sobriety and your life. At Wooded Glen Recovery Center—located in Henryville, Indiana—we offer personalized treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. The time to get sober is always right now, so resolve to make an absolutely essential change in your life. When you are ready to get started, we are ready to support you.