2021 is right around the corner – and most of us are eagerly anticipating its arrival. 2020 has been an absolute s***storm, from the untimely death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and the onset of that pesky little global pandemic to what shaped up to be one of the most ridiculous, stress-inducing elections in history. Most of us are ready to move on – and never look back. For many of us, especially for men and women who were struggling with substance abuse before this year hit, the devastation of 2020 took a somewhat personal turn.
Rates of substance abuse and dependency skyrocketed during the COVID-related quarantine and associated lockdowns. Many existing cases of substance abuse worsened, and many new cases of substance abuse developed in response to the unique set of stressors that we are all currently facing. Many of us lost our jobs and struggled with unemployment, facing intense and persistent financial and security for what might have been the first time ever. Some of us even lost our homes, finding that without work we were unable to pay rent or cover utilities. We are all still grappling with fear of the unknown, as no one fully understands the long-term implications of COVID and despite the newly emerging vaccine, the future is still entirely uncertain. Many of us are fearful for our elderly or immunocompromised family members and friends… altogether, this year has been one riddled with stress and anxiety, fear of the unknown and compromised mental and emotional health.
There is no question that some of us are going to entirely discard the idea of a New Year’s resolution list – making it through 2020 was stressful enough, no need to set any expectations for the new year. However, for those of us who have been struggling with substance abuse or who have remained sober and might be on shaky ground, developing recovery related New Year’s resolutions is probably a good idea. But how do we stick to these resolutions, ensuring that this year is better than the last at least as far as our recovery goes?
Sticking to New Year’s Resolutions
We have compiled a list of helpful tips and tricks that might make it easier to stick to your recovery-related resolutions. Please feel free to add your own, and reach out to us directly for more information – or if you have any additional questions.
- Choose one or two specific goals – don’t bombard yourself with lofty resolutions. We have a tendency to lay it on a little too thick. We might write out a list of 15 different resolutions, including everything from losing 20 pounds and hitting the gym everyday to saving up enough money to buy a house or making a major career change. Rather than bombarding yourself with a lengthy list of unattainable resolutions, stick to two easily obtainable goals. If you’re in recovery or if you’ve been struggling with substance abuse, try developing goals that are related to sobriety. For example, if you are currently in recovery, make one of your resolutions to attend at least one 12-step meeting every day. This should be obtainable – of course, if you work a full-time job or if you have a wide range of other personal obligations, adjust this goal so that is obtainable for you. Rather than one meeting every day, change it to five or six meetings a week. If you aren’t sober but you’ve been considering sobriety as a prospect, set a resolution to reduce your drinking or recreational drug use. For example, “I will limit my alcohol consumption to two alcoholic beverages every week.” if you find that you can’t do this for any extended period of time, it is a good idea to take a more honest look at your relationship with alcohol.
- Make a comprehensive plan of action. Don’t just leave things up to fate. Once you have settled on a couple of attainable goals, write down a list of steps you’ll take in order to reach them. If you find that whatever goal you have set is a little bit lofty, there’s no shame in scrapping it completely and coming up with another one. Having a plan of action in place will help keep you accountable.
- Baby steps! It is pretty unrealistic to expect yourself to lose 20 pounds, jog 14 miles a day, go vegan and completely eliminate all chemical substances all on the first of the month. Breaking your personal goals down into bite-sized pieces will help them see more manageable and attainable.
- Take an inventory of your past mistakes, and avoid making these same mistakes twice. If you have been setting the same New Year’s resolution for 20 years, you probably aren’t doing something right. Why did your resolutions fall through in the past? Were you setting too many goals at once, or were you consistently biting off more than you could chew? Examine your past failures and where you have fallen short and make sure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
- Reach out for support whenever necessary. No matter what your resolutions, there is a good chance that you cannot obtain all of them on your own. This is especially true when it comes to sobriety. Reach out for help and support whenever necessary, and remember that there is no shame in asking for what you need.
- Adapt to potential setbacks rather than allowing them to throw you completely off-track. Say you said the resolution to attend one 12-step meeting every day, but you weren’t feeling well two days in a row and you skip two full days of meetings. Rather than throw in the towel and say to yourself, “Ah well, I’ll try again next year,” jump back on the horse immediately.
- If you have been struggling with substance use, admit yourself into a medically monitored detox today – there is no sense in waiting! If you have been evaluating your own behaviors and you were pretty sure that drinking (or drug use) has become a problem, there’s no sense in waiting until January 1st rolls around. Addiction is a progressive disease, and without professional intervention the symptoms associated with addiction will only continue to get worse – they will never resolve on their own. You could experience a wide range of severe consequences over the course of one month or even a week or two. All it really takes is one drunken night to get a DUI, completely ruin a lifelong friendship or suffer from any one of a variety of interpersonal consequences. Getting help sooner rather than later is always a good idea. As soon as you become willing to seek professional treatment, give Intrepid Detox Residential a call and we will begin developing a plan for your intake.
Getting Sober in 2021
Even if you don’t regularly engage in problem drinking (or if you have effectively convinced yourself that you don’t have a problem with alcohol despite the fact that you do), going sober in 2021 is not a bad idea. In fact, the benefits of cutting out alcohol – even for a month – are truly endless. Some of the benefits associated with cutting back on booze include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Your sleep patterns will begin to regulate, and you’ll be able to sleep deeper and experience more restorative sleep. Oh, and you’ll never wake up with a raging hangover.
- You will inevitably lose a good deal of weight. Alcoholic beverages are packed with calories – in fact, drinking only 6 pints of beer over one week period of time is equivalent to eating five chocolate bars.
- You’ll save money. Alcohol is expensive, and it’s even more expensive if you are a social and generous drunk. You’ll be amazed by how much you save if you give up drinking for even just a month.
Intrepid Detox Residential – Get Sober Today
If you want to get sober in the new year, there’s no sense in waiting. Call Intrepid Detox Residential today to learn more about our comprehensive program of addiction treatment, and to begin developing your own personal plans for program admission.