For many of us, the beginning of a new year signals the shedding of old habits and the adoption of newer paths for growth. As an alumnus of a substance use program, your new year might look different as you navigate this thing we call “recovery.” It is time to restart and refresh with a new year, new you.
So what is recovery? Recovery is the period of time after a person has completed the initial stages of a substance use program. It includes remission and abstinence from those things that caused addiction but does not completely define what recovery is.
That is because recovery does not mean that you will not face setbacks and hardships. We all have times when we trip a little. During those times we rely more on our trusted peers and mentors to help us get back on the right track.
So, let’s try to find a definition that really works. How about this: recovery is the time period that comes after your treatment program in which you work toward a sober future. It may be rocky, and you might come upon some roadblocks, but your perseverance for sobriety and health will overcome those obstacles.
The New Year and the resolutions you make are a great time to reinforce those goals. Now is the time to make the changes you need to make. A New Year means ridding yourself of those triggers that can bring you down and make you struggle. It is also the time to embrace healthy new strategies that contribute to your success.
Resolutions for the New Year, New You
Setting a resolution for the new year, new you makes you ten times more likely to change a behavior, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Although nearly half of us set resolutions and many of us do not follow through on all of our resolutions, the fact that setting them creates change is encouraging.
When we want to make lasting changes, it is important to remember that these changes happen when we follow the three Rs. These are:
- Reflect on current unhealthy behaviors.
- Replace those behaviors with ones that contribute positively to our health.
- Reinforce positive changes daily.
One resolution those in recovery might want to consider is to focus on self-care in the New Year. Mental health improves when you relax and focus on the enjoyable tasks that make you happy. It is important to take the time for these moments and not feel rushed through life.
The beginning of the new year is also the time when we can easily make plans to take better care of our health. As we all start new health plans or continue with changes to old ones, make sure you know what is available to you in healthcare. Many insurance plans have wellness programs built in to help you live your best life.
January is National Mentoring Month, a time when we look to uplift other people the way we have been uplifted. One great way you can start the new year in recovery is by being a mentor to someone in your alumni program.
Unhappiness in our careers is something we can look at changing as the new year rolls around. Finding a new job or going back to school may improve mental health. If you want to continue your education, there are many grants, scholarships, and fellowships that may be available to you.
Support for Recovery in the New Year
New Year’s resolutions and recovery can sometimes go hand in hand. The celebrations of a new year starting are grounded in the hope that each year will be better than the last. We know that to make things happen, we have to put in the effort.
The four dimensions of recovery are great to keep in mind when crafting resolutions. When you are thinking of positive life changes you can make, think about these:
- Your health: You have already worked hard in a treatment program for your disorder. How can you work this year to improve your health more? You can adopt a healthier diet, exercise more, or even begin yoga and stretching techniques to decrease stress.
- Your home: Having a safe place to rest your head is an important part of a stable life in the new year and in recovery.
- Finding purpose: If you are struggling in your daily life with finding a purpose, think about the positive changes you can make. Switching careers or going back to school may be the way for you to find the fulfillment you need.
- Engaging with your community: Whether you are working with your mentees through the peer program or volunteering at a local soup kitchen, being a part of the community matters for your mental health. Think about ways to get out and engage with others around you. Begin 2023 with a new year, new you attitude.
Keeping the New Year, New You Safe and Sober
To have a healthy, safe, and fun new year we need to look at that first word: healthy. Your health is the most important asset at your disposal and needs to be preserved. Here are a few strategies for keeping your vitality in the coming year.
- Prioritize sleep: Did you know that most Americans do not get the eight hours of sleep recommended daily? Consistency is key. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to optimize your rest cycles.
- Be preventative: As we enter flu season, be in contact with your doctor about ways you can prevent illness. Flu shots are available. Getting your yearly physical can keep your health on track.
Remember, it is a new year, new you. Have fun, stay healthy, and keep the new year safe and sober.
A new year means new possibilities for growth. Even though the change in the calendar year is largely symbolic, we often think of the start of a new year as a chance to right the ship and set new goals to achieve. As you begin this new year in recovery, think about taking the opportunity to set realistic goals for what you can do as you move forward in a sober living journey. You are liberated from the addictions that held you down before. Now is the opportunity to reinvent yourself. If you want to speak to your care team and peers about succeeding in your goals, call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.