Written by Soberinfo
Happy New Year!
It’s that time when people reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead. It offers a fresh start and a blank slate for you to create some healthy habits. Staying alcohol- and drug-free is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Sobriety can improve every aspect of your life from your physical health to your relationships to your overall view of the world.
If you struggle with addiction, long-term recovery often feels like a pipe dream. Living without drugs and alcohol can seem nearly impossible after relying on them for months or even years. Maybe you’ve even set a resolution to stay sober in the past but just couldn’t stick with it.
Sticking to your New Year’s recovery resolution is challenging and at times can feel impossible. Recovery isn’t a one-time decision. Your decision to stay sober in the new year requires your ongoing commitment and participation all year long, year after year.
As the American Psychological Association explains, you need a plan if you want to stick to your New Year’s recovery resolution. Heading into early recovery without a plan is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for failure. These five tips to maintain your recovery in 2021 can help you set up a plan and head into the New Year strong.
1. Long-term Recovery Happens One Day at a Time
Whether you’ve been to a 12-step recovery meeting or not, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “One day at a time” before. What does this really mean?
Anyone can decide to quit using drugs and alcohol, however, not everyone sticks with their decision. Long-term recovery requires an ongoing, daily commitment to staying alcohol- and drug-free. Those who have months and years of sobriety are have been dedicated to their recovery, but they didn’t get there all at once
To take some of the pressure off of yourself, remember sobriety happens one day at a time. You have no control over the past or the future. You can only change today. When you wake up in the morning, decide that you’re going to stay committed to your recovery just for today. As you do this morning after morning, the time adds up.
2. Discover New Activities or Hobbies You Enjoy
Now that your sober, it’s time to get back into all the activities you use to love to do. You’ll find you have more free time now that you’ve gotten rid of alcohol. Use this newfound time to try new activities and hobbies or go back to some old favorites you enjoyed prior to your struggle with alcohol.
Are there things you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to get around to? What about activities you loved when you were younger that fell to the wayside over the years? Maybe it’s painting, participating in a sport, or playing an instrument. Try something new and you’ll find out there’s plenty to do in recovery.
3. Carve Out Some Time For You
As you get back into the swing of daily life it’s easy to get overwhelmed. From work to friendships to family, there are dozens of obligations that require your attention. You are more likely to return to your old habits when you start feeling the pressure and stress of your newfound recovery.
Carving out some time for yourself every day is crucial. Set aside a designated time in the day for some helpful solo practices. Journaling, reading a daily devotional, exercise, and practicing yoga or meditation are all healing ways to take time for yourself.
4. Allow Yourself The Grace to Make Mistakes
No one is perfect. Mistakes will be made as you learn to navigate your newfound recovery. The best thing you can do is allow yourself space to make these mistakes.
Getting down on yourself for slipping up will only make you feel worse and possibly lead to a relapse. Making changes is difficult and you have to be patient with yourself as you try new this new journey in recovery. Forgive yourself and move on. The more grace you allow yourself, the better the outcome will be.
5. Incorporate Recovery Meetings Into Your Schedule
Recovery support meetings are a vital tool in the lives of millions around the world. Trying to get and stay sober on your own is lonely and challenging. You likely spent a lot of time on your own in active addiction or alcohol use disorder. Don’t isolate yourself again.
Meetings are a great way to connect with others who understand your struggles and offer support. This support provides a powerful foundation for your long-term recovery.