January has come and gone, but have your 2017 resolutions lasted beyond the one-month mark? This year it was predicted that 41% of Americans would make a New Year’s resolution. Of the people who made resolutions, it is expected that roughly half of them will see their resolution through for six months, and only 9.2% of resolution makers will see it through the entire year.
The beautiful thing about taking the step towards recovery is that a resolution can be made at any time. Perhaps you decided to quit using drugs or alcohol in January, but come February, you relapsed and started using again. This doesn’t mean you are a failure, or that you should give up on your resolution for the rest of the year. Draw that line in the sand and move on.
Here are some tips that will help you stay motivated and accountable for your resolution to live a clean and sober life.
While making grand resolutions look good on paper, it’s important to make sure they are attainable. Think of a resolution as a short-term goal you can build upon.
When starting out, it may seem impossible to stay sober for an entire month, but a day might seem more attainable. Start with that. Soon, that day will become a week, and, eventually, that week will become a month, then a year.
If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take heart and remember that recovery is a process. Like all worthwhile achievements, it will take time and dedication. Also, remember to thank yourself for the progress you made.
Talk About It
Going through the recovery process can be lonely, especially if there are people in your life who do not have the same sober resolution. It’s important to talk about what you’re going through. Reach out and speak with a family member, medical professional, therapist, or a mentor. Seeing you get sober is something they are probably as excited about as you are.
Another good place to discuss your recovery journey is at Narcotics Anonymous and/or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. You’ll be able to hear from others going through similar situations and listen to how they handle the struggles of day-to-day life. NA and AA gatherings are also a great source of accountability for many people working towards and maintaining a life free from addiction.
Focus on Progress
As stated earlier, this is a process that requires time and patience. Sometimes it can be difficult to see all the progress you’ve made, but it’s there. Try keeping a daily journal of your thoughts, feelings, triggers, etc. When you feel like you’ve hit a wall, you can look back through the journal and see how far you have come. The person you are now is not the person you were last week or a month ago. It’s a compounding effect. Small progress made over time becomes large progress as a result.
It’s important to note that perfection is not attainable. There will never be the perfect recovery or perfect sobriety. Keeping the motivation to work towards a sober life is the ultimate perfection, and that is a choice you have already made.
Whether you make your sobriety resolution in January, March, or any other month of the year, remember to start small and take it one day at a time, talk with someone, and focus on your progress rather than dwelling on your frustrations. Additionally, if you find yourself relapsing, it may be time to contact a rehab facility. Skilled professionals who are trained and certified will be able to get you back on the path to living an addiction-free life.