Make Recovery Resolutions Count in 2019
Every year, a lot of us tell or hear jokes about those oh-so-elusive New Year’s Resolutions. Whether out loud or in meme form, we will come across jokes about the resolutions we didn’t keep last year, or about the ones were are making this year that we already expect to give up on sooner or later. Some of us will promise to commit to the gym, and only make it to February on the treadmill. Others might promise to spend less time streaming shows. But then again, we are getting new seasons of True Detective, Stranger Things, and Game of Thrones so that is just being unrealistic.
Whatever your goals or predetermined hang-ups may be, there are plenty of resolutions that people in recovery should definitely consider for 2019. Of course, we keep in mind that recovery is often a journey we take one day at a time. However, if you can try to keep these kinds of resolutions one day at a time as well, chances are 2019 will be an amazing year on your path in sobriety.
1. Feel your feelings, and learn from them.
In our active addiction, a lot of effort often goes into suppressing what we feel. A lot of us spend copious amounts of energy trying to numb ourselves to those feelings we don’t think we are equipped to deal with. Sometimes it is pain, but other times it can be anxiety or uncertainty. When using drugs or alcohol we may even try to hinder our ability to feel excited or enthusiastic if we think it will ultimately lead to more suffering. Unhealthy responses to our emotions become second nature. Therefore, it often becomes a primary goal in recovery to develop healthy means to deal with emotions. After all, learning emotional sobriety is a huge part of maintaining long-term recovery.
So this year, one can consider letting themselves feel those feelings. Now, this does not mean that we should let our feelings control our behaviors. We should not always accept our feelings as indisputable truth. We should be able to accept that feelings are not facts. Instead, we can try to experience them without judgment, and then acknowledge the cause and seek a healthy solution whenever possible. Just because a feeling is unpleasant or could even be incorrect doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to let yourself feel it and learn from it.
So in 2019, consider letting yourself feel sad or angry, anxious or happy… and then learn from the experience.
2. Give up on being judgmental.
The side effects of a judgmental society can be seen all over. Our world has become so polarized, whether you look to entertainment, news or politics. Sadly, a lot of the divisiveness stems from a tribal mentality and the idea that those who disagree with us are fundamentally flawed. Far too many of us are committed to wholesale condemnation based on who someone votes for, or their perspective on a particular topic. Without taking the time to know the person, we label them based on a single idea. Additionally, people still judge others by how they look and the clothes they wear. And at a more personal level, we pass judgment on others for the mistakes they make or the choices we don’t agree with.
In both addiction and recovery, we can allow our judgments to hinder our growth. We may hold onto the resentments that keep us sick, or we may lash out in ways that make it harder to have healthy relationships.
2019 would be a good year for most of us to consider giving up on being judgmental. This isn’t to say that we should not use our discretion to situations, but we should do so from a place of compassion and logic. Not only should we consider what is factual and true, but we should also apply our empathy and understanding. Being judgmental, whether due to baseless prejudices or past mistakes, limits our ability to learn and grow together. In recovery, we are often taught not to take other people’s inventory, but to focus on our own. This year, consider working to overcome that judgmental state of mind.
3. Spend more time on self-care
Chances are, you were harder on yourself in 2018 than anyone else. Whether you were in active addiction and struggling to stay above water, or in recovery and struggling to achieve the growth you set out to reach, a lot of us put ourselves through the wringer this year and forgot to love on ourselves a little more. Between the fast-paced workplaces and grueling school schedules, not to mention families and attempts at a social existence, a lot of people are finding themselves under pressure, overworked and out of time to spend on themselves.
When struggling with drugs and alcohol, self-care typically seems like an abstract concept. The most we know how to do to care for ourselves is to use just enough to not be sick. A lot of us struggle to care about much at all in active addiction. However, in 2019 more of us might want to consider how we can make a change to start healing. Maybe for some of us, that self-care starts with caring enough to seek help.
Otherwise, consider spending more time this year on your mental and emotional well-being. Make it a point to spend time doing things that you love. This can also have a significant impact if you make the effort to enjoy your own company. This is something it is easy to forget to do in recovery. However, you may just benefit more from treating yourself to activities you enjoy. Go to the movies, or maybe go out to eat at your favorite place. Put on some music and paint, or maybe take a walk and listen to that book you’ve been saying you want to read forever. Learn to enjoy your own company, and prioritize these moments to take care of yourself.
4. Believe in your ability to become better
You might be rolling your eyes at people who say “2019 is going to be my year”, but is it really that bad to believe in yourself? Maybe this is your year, and you don’t even know it yet. Maybe it could be, but it’s waiting for you to decide that you deserve it. It is easy to be pessimistic and doubt yourself, but this year you can be strong enough to become better. A lot of us are procrastinators, and that is why New Year’s resolutions fall apart so often in the first place. But consider the potential for you to do something this year that takes your life to a place that you’ve been hoping to get to for a long time.
For those who struggle with drugs and/or alcohol, it can feel like it is never going to get better. Many of us reach a point where we can’t see the point in fighting it anymore. In the grips of addiction, self-improvement and reaching new goals can feel like a foreign concept. For thousands of people, 2018 was a year of suffering and heartbreak because of their battles with substance abuse or mental health. But in 2019, there is a chance to heal.
For those in recovery, 2019 can also be a chance to take your life to greater heights. It is important to remain humble and focus on staying sober, but it is also important to strive for growth and development. Don’t become complacent. Every day from here is an opportunity to do more. If you have been waiting to get back into school, or to pursue a dream, consider the fact you made it to another year as an invitation to go for it.
5. Give back
Lastly, but perhaps most important, is to consider giving back as much as you can this year. In 2018, so many have faced tremendous adversities, both in America and all over the world. Countless families were impacted by the devastation of the ongoing opioid crisis. Needless to say, there are so many causes and communities who could benefit from each of us giving our time and our support.
When it comes to recovery, giving back is a primary purpose for many of us. If you have come this far and been given the gift of sobriety, you are in the best position to help others find it. If you are struggling to find your way, giving to others can open the door to a deeper understanding of compassion and self-love.
Giving back is one of the most powerful resources we have. Whether it is committing to service in a recovery fellowship, begin a sponsor or a mentor, or simply taking the time to sit and talk with someone who is struggling. Giving back not only helps others to find hope and inspiration, it’s good for the soul. Not to mention, it just feels good. Additionally, there are plenty of other ways to give. Consider volunteering to support a cause, or donating time or resources to those who desperately need them. This kind of resolution is one that deserves to be kept, and the value you get when you keep it is indescribable.
In 2019, we have another chance to make our world a better place. We can try to let ourselves feel what we need to feel in order to grow. We can stop passing judgment and start taking better care of ourselves. 2019 can be the year that we take steps toward those dreams of being a better person, and each of these allows us an opportunity to give back. You don’t have to do a perfect job of keeping these resolutions every day, but in recovery, these resolutions can make it the best year of your life, one day at a time. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now 1-800-951-6135. We want to help.