If you’re wondering why this week’s blog post is not about how to spend New Year’s Eve (NYE) sober or how to survive such a party without relapsing, it’s because you’ve missed out! Check out our two blogs from earlier this month to find our tips and tricks for getting through any occasion without compromising on your sobriety.
This week, however, we dive into the annual frenzy surrounding New Year’s Resolutions. I suspect that due to the nature of 2020, the resolutions for 2021 are going to be particularly prone to failure. Not only are these resolutions notoriously unreliable (according to some estimates around 90% of them fail), but for those with addiction problems they can be outright dangerous. Here are some of the resolutions that are most likely to cause us recovering addicts the most angst.
I am going to get clean this year!
A noble resolution indeed but one laden with numerous problems. Should you relapse, are you going to postpone your sobriety to 2022? If you make it through the year sober, can you use in 2022? In active addiction, I would be salivating at the thought of parading this statement to the world! Why? Because it’s layered with so many opportunities to continue using. If I slip up in March, I have 9 months of using until “I am finally going to get it right.” Since this intention is only for 2021, I can get really intoxicated on NYE as my last hoorah! If one is serious about recovery and wants to give themselves the best possibility of success, start now. Don’t wait until 1 January 2021. You deserve sobriety, and all of the wonderful possibilities it brings, right at this moment. We don’t need events that are significant to the rest of the world to enact significant change in our own lives. We are significant enough. I am not saying that aiming to be clean throughout next year is unattainable or silly, I am saying that a commitment to recovery is a lifelong commitment! With this in mind, some might ask the following question: “A lifelong commitment is so intimidating, why can’t I break it into smaller chunks starting with an annual period?” My response to this question is that if long periods of time are intimidating to you, why start with a commitment period of an entire year?! Why don’t you start with today or tomorrow?
I am going to cut down on…
Whether it’s cutting down on sugar, cigarettes or binge-watching Friends (in my defence, I’ve never claimed to seriously try to cut down on Friends), this resolution is wrought with dangers. Firstly, if you really want to reduce your intake or participation in something, why not quantify that reduction? If you want to fool yourself and others, at least do it with conviction! Repeat after me, “I am not going to watch the entirety of Friends twice in 2021!” Oh wait, that sounds awfully similar to the first resolution. I know that as a recovering addict, making a commitment to cut down on something is short-lived. If only I could’ve just cut-down on my drinking. Again, wanting to eat healthier, stop smoking or have a more productive relationship with entertainment are not problematic goals in and of themselves. Sadly, it just isn’t enough to vehemently claim that we are going to achieve these things, as we so often do every December. If we really want to achieve these things, we need to put in place a proper game plan. If necessary, we need to seek out the help of professionals. Small, consistent efforts over a long period of time will give us better results than a giant impetus in the early part of the year.
While this blog has been light-hearted, I would like to adopt a more serious tone to conclude. I would sincerely like to wish all of you, on behalf of The Journey Team, a peaceful close to a tough year. 2020 has taught us so much about ourselves and others. I know that your commitment to improve, grow and succeed in 2021 is genuine and I know that you can achieve the goals that you have set out. You are deserving of it. Don’t compromise on your dedication to yourself and remain consistent and 2021 will finally be “this year”.