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Do New Year’s Resolutions Help or Hurt during Recovery?
At this time of year, everyone is vowing to lose weight, be kinder to others, do something better with their lives, or work toward some sort of renewal. For many people, this is a great time to get motivated to start fresh and accomplish those hard to attain goals. For others, it is a reminder of past failures and an overwhelming feeling of disappointment as they try again and again to get sober but aren’t able to accomplish it.
Resolutions Provide Motivation
Do New Year’s resolutions really help, or are they harmful? There are those who have been able to stick with a resolution for an extended period of time and achieve their goals. We all know those who have lost weight and kept it off thanks to a new start after the first of the year. There are those who have put new plans into place to switch careers, make time for meaningful interactions with loved ones, or quit smoking. So for some people, a new year is just the thing they need to turn over a new leaf, set goals, and make a major change in their life. If you are one of those people who just needs a good excuse to get something done, a New Year’s resolution might be just the thing you need.
Resolutions Don’t Always Work
New Year’s Resolutions are not always helpful, however. For many people, a New Year’s resolution is not nearly enough to keep them on task. Workout plans get pushed aside by a busy schedule, grades drop again when things get difficult, it becomes more and more difficult to be nice to others, and the temptation to drink or smoke becomes overwhelming after a while. For these individuals, making a resolution is nothing more than glorified goal setting, but there is nothing preventing them from quitting when life gets busy. In fact, one study from the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people who make resolutions will actually achieve their resolution goals.
The Harmful Side of Resolutions
In fact, resolutions can even be harmful, especially when it comes to a person’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. When someone makes a resolution and then quits it or fails to keep it, they often end up in a worse position than before. Instead of losing weight they gain it. Instead of incorporating kindness and charity into one’s life, the person might get so wrapped up in their own life they devote even less time to helping others. When someone relapses, they might sink even deeper into their addiction.
How You Can Set Goals of Sobriety and Keep Them
New Years’ resolutions can hurt someone during recovery if they aren’t careful. It is more important for a person to take their time and do things right than jump on board a societal trend. Below are some ways you can help achieve your goals of getting and staying sober, whether you call it a New Year’s resolution or just a strong commitment to doing what is best for you and your loved ones.
- Contact a professional. Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction is not easy, and it usually takes the guidance and support of trained professionals. If you want to get sober this year, the first step you should take is to call a treatment facility that can help you. The skilled professionals at a trusted rehab program will know how to help you through detox, provide necessary therapy and training, and help you with a long-term relapse prevention plan. Don’t underestimate the ability of those who know what they are talking about; ask them for help.
- Establish a plan. It’s not enough to just say you are going to stop drinking or using. To succeed, you need a plan. If you’ve followed the step above and found a treatment center, your treatment team will help you come up with a realistic plan for recovery. This will usually entail a certain length of time in residential treatment, followed by outpatient rehab, followed by support group participation and long-term therapy if necessary. Once you have a plan, you will be able to see and assess your progress and this will help you stay motivated and on track.
- Enlist the help of loved ones. If you have friends and family who have encouraged you to get help and who are willing and able to assist in your recovery, accept that help. It is easier to maintain goals if those close to you know about those goals because they can help hold you accountable. Loved ones can participate in family therapy, identify and address ways they have contributed to the addiction, and follow a plan to encourage and help you in your sobriety. Again, use the resources you are given at your treatment center to help mend broken relationships, address past conflicts with loved ones, and establish a plan to move forward with healthy relationships.
If you’ve made resolutions in the past to get sober and have found yourself relapsing, don’t give up on sobriety just yet. With the right kind of help and a plan for success, you can achieve your goals once and for all, no matter what time of year you decide to make the change. Contact a treatment facility today and get started on the new you.