Did you know 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only eight percent actually achieve them?1 Most of us have plenty of ways we can improve ourselves or our lifestyles, but whether you choose to make resolutions or not, there’s one very important New Year’s resolution that might just be the only one you need to make in recovery: sticking to your recovery program.
Why Do We Make New Year’s Resolutions?
People have been making New Year’s resolutions for thousands of years, starting with the ancient Babylonians nearly 4,000 years ago.2 While this age-old tradition was originally a way for people to make promises to the gods, today, most people’s New Year’s resolutions revolve around self-improvement.
Most often, new year’s resolutions revolve around weight loss, finances, and self-care. Although these are not bad things, when commitments we’ve made to ourselves fall through, we often revert to old lifestyles and habits that aren’t necessarily good for us. We are quick to abandon our ideas of self-improvement, let ourselves be overwhelmed with guilt, and then give up entirely.
Unfortunately, this cycle of setting a goal, getting sidetracked, and then giving up can become a new normal. In addiction recovery, maintaining a goal of lasting sobriety can often be the difference between life and death, so giving up truly isn’t an option.
Many people choose to make New Year’s resolutions because they want to start over or re-invent some part of their lives. As a sober person in recovery, you’ve already started over after addiction and taken hold of your second chance at life. So what should a New Year’s resolution look like for a person in recovery?
Making New Year’s Resolutions in Recovery
Whether you choose to make New Year’s resolutions or not is completely up to you; there’s no wrong or right decision. (If you do decide to set resolutions, here are some tips on how to make recovery-oriented New Year’s resolutions.) However, an important part of living a life in recovery is living one day at a time, purposefully and intentionally.
The only New Year’s resolution you really need in recovery is to focus on how you’re living today and continue working your recovery program to the best of your ability. By working the 12-steps regularly, you’ve already made a resolution to better your spiritual, emotional, and physical health, all while maintaining your sobriety.
Other Ways to Prioritize Your Sobriety in 2019
If long-lasting recovery is your goal, there are plenty of additional ways to prioritize your sobriety in 2019.
- Regularly attend 12-Step meetings – The value of peer support in recovery is widely accepted and credited for helping individuals improve their overall health and wellness while sustaining their sobriety.3 Maintaining active involvement in a peer recovery program is an excellent way to sustain your sobriety and successfully achieve the resolution of long-term sobriety.
- Enroll in a sober living program – Sober living programs are designed to help sober people transition out of residential treatment and into an independent living environment. High-quality sober living homes are safe, supportive, and provide opportunities to establish a healthy routine in sobriety. They also provide accountability for clients who have recently completed rehab or who struggle with chronic relapse.
- Enroll in IOP – An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) can be very beneficial for people who have mild addictions, have already completed a residential rehab program, or are currently enrolled in a sober living program. IOP is a less structured form of addiction treatment that allows for the flexibility to attend school or maintain employment while completing treatment.
- Get involved in an alumni program – If you’ve already completed residential treatment, getting involved in an alumni program is a great way to stay connected with the recovery community and mentor others who are in the earlier stages of treatment.
Whether you decide to make New Year’s resolutions is up to you, but however you choose to approach the new year in recovery, we hope you have a safe, fun, and sober New Year’s!