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The start of the New Year is almost always a time when people feel ready to make some positive changes that will improve their lives.
These can be small adjustments like committing to a journal entry every day or they might be more sweeping lifestyle modifications, such as a weight loss goal that includes strict dietary restrictions along with regular exercise.
There is also a segment of the population, people struggling with substance abuse or addiction as well as those maintaining a precarious hold on their sobriety, that understand just how important it is that they make serious lifestyle changes.
Whatever stage you might be in, January is an ideal time make recovery a priority in your life, and we offer some tips to help get started…
Here Are 5 Positive Ways to Start the New Year in Sobriety or Recommit to a Healthy Recovery
1. Stop Drinking or Using Drugs
For people battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol, this means finding a treatment program to attend.
Addiction has nothing to do with weakness or a lack of willpower because, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains, “…addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.”
2. Continue Working on Your Sobriety and Recovery
Even for those that have been to treatment and have an established sober lifestyle, continued recovery often requires a recommitment to the basics.
Perhaps it’s time to take stock of your choices and behavior, ask yourself whether or not you’ve been placing your sobriety in danger by hanging out in places that trigger cravings to drink or use drugs.
Maybe you notice old patterns of thought creeping back and haven’t bothered to do anything about them.
If you’ve already had a drink of alcohol or used drugs again, realize that addiction rates of relapse are consistent with other chronic diseases, like asthma and high blood pressure, and that doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track with your recovery.
3. Commit to Attending Meetings or Regularly Going to Therapy
For both the newly sober and the recovery veteran, group therapy or one-on-one counseling can be the glue that holds their sobriety together at times.
Individuals that are learning to stay sober benefit at meetings by listening to those who have successfully managed a life in recovery. The person with years of sobriety under their belt benefits by helping those new to recovery.
Additionally, regularly seeing a counselor helps people examine and address the underlying psychological patterns that can drive negative feelings and bad choices.
4. Spend Time With People That Support and Uplift You
For anyone trying to maintain a positive mental outlook, but especially for those in recovery, avoiding toxic relationships and individuals is key.
Often, these are people that don’t understand recovery and continue to question your new, healthier decisions.
Instead of continuing these relationships, make an effort to be around that family member, friend or coworker that’s proud of your recovery and goes out of their way to be a supportive advocate.
5. Make One Small Change and Stick To It
Not every change we make in recovery has to feel like work. Sometimes, setting a small goal, such as reading a book a month or taking a 30 minute walk every single day, will provide us with a sense of accomplishment that feeds into other areas of life.
Most people know that small steps lead to bigger ones, and it often took a lot of little steps to make it to a successful recovery. The key with everything new, is to take that first step.
Without even noticing it, you may start to feel a greater sense of inner peace that continues to drive a healthy recovery from addiction.
Other Positive Ways to Start the New Year
People with a positive outlook on life view each day as a fresh start. For those of us who subscribe to the “glass is half-full” mentality, every bad day comes with an automatic reset button that begins the next morning when waking up.
Unfortunately, this outlook on life doesn’t come easy for everyone, and for some, it’s a lot of work just to get out of bed, let alone to be happy about it.
Even though it’s not possible for all of us to view each day as a reset, the New Year is a special event that only happens once every 365 days. In that time, we all age a little and sometimes mature a lot. Our attitudes can change and we find there are things we’ve always wanted to try but put them off until another day.
Starting the New Year is the perfect time take up one of the things on your To Do list and put it into action. It doesn’t have to be a grand, across-the-board change or resolution, but instead, something small that you know you can accomplish and will be able to follow through the entire year.
Here are a few widely popular ideas people begin in January. The key to success is taking small steps to accomplish them without any big expectations other than trying to practice them as the year goes along.
- Start a Journal
- Learn to meditate, or meditate more often
- Get better sleep at a regular time each night
- Be mindful about everything you do
- Practice self care and focus on “me time” once in a while
- Be more active and exercise regularly
- Eat better foods and cut back on the snacks
Wishing Everyone a Happy and Healthy Start to the New Year!