It’s that time of year again – time to make all kinds of promises to yourself that you only half-believe you’ll keep. Well, here are 10 resolutions every person in recovery should make…and keep.
10. Rid yourself of enemies. Apologize for what you did wrong and forgive those who you feel have wronged you. Basically steps 9 and 10 (don’t worry if you haven’t gotten there yet – but still a good practice to have), this is a great policy to live by. In recovery, we know that resentments are often what “take us back out,” so get rid of resentments by making this one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2014.
9. Rid yourself of “frenemies.” Don’t spend 2014 surrounded by people you secretly despise. Again, holding resentments will only hurt you. Be honest with yourself and with others. Why keep people around if you don’t like them? Seems like torture to me.
8. Stop spreading negative sh*t about others, whether by name or not. This is like taking other people’s inventory and being judgmental. Let it go or be straight forward. Hashing out your personal issues on Facebook in a passive aggressive manner just isn’t a good look, on anyone. And, believe it or not, a lot of people grow resentful of seeing such negative crap, especially if that’s the only thing you have to say about anything or anyone.
7. Stop being so shallow. Vow to stop judging people based on how they look and the clothes they wear. Choose to see everyone for the little boy or little girl they once were and you’ll notice a shift in yourself – you will begin to act out of love and compassion rather than fear, anger, jealousy, and resentment. And this will help you with the next resolution on this list.
6. Stop beating yourself up. In 2014, resolve to be more gentle with yourself. Chances are, you are harder on yourself than you are on others so why not show yourself the same compassion you do for other people. Something to think about: you’re most likely the only one still thinking about that thing that happened that one time back in 2000 while the rest have moved on. So, give yourself a break.
5. Make a Bucket List. And be sure to be crossing stuff off your list. Meaning, don’t just make a list. And make it fun stuff: sky dive, bungee jump, scuba dive, get a(nother) tattoo, travel to New Zealand. Being in recovery doesn’t just mean that you are clean and sober; it means that you get to enjoy life now. Stop making excuses and get out there.
4. Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be something you use daily, but documenting your experiences is very important. You’ll appreciate it later. Your sponsor has probably already suggested this one to you and for good reason. This is a great way to gain personal insight and awareness – which is good for everyone but especially for those of us in recovery so that we can be aware of our feelings and thought patterns. This can help us head off a potential relapse as well as be a measure for personal and emotional growth that we can acknowledge ourselves for. So, if you don’t already keep a journal, make it one of your resolutions for 2014.
3. Allow yourself to feel your feelings. If you feel like crying, either when you’re happy or sad, then cry. Embrace your emotions as they come. For recovering addicts and alcoholics, this can be easier said than done. But it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and to let yourself feel your feelings as they come up, and not just when it’s “appropriate.” For far too long, we had suppressed our feelings and numbed ourselves with drugs and alcohol. Feeling feelings is part of the human experience.
2. Date Yourself. As someone who used to be in active addiction, you likely found ways to avoid being with yourself. Alone. And you may still be in the habit of distracting yourself, although you’re no longer using drugs or alcohol to do so. Make it a point to take yourself out – alone – and treat yourself to an activity you enjoy: going to the movies, the museum, park, getting a bite to eat at your favorite place, having a spa day. Learn to enjoy your own company.
1. Give Back. Whether it’s to pick up a commitment, begin sponsoring, or simply making coffee at your home group meeting, giving back is essential to recovery. It’s the 12th step and, many argue, the most important. There is certainly something to be said for being in service to others. Giving back gets us out of our habit of being selfish and self-serving and bottom line: it’s good for the soul.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.