You’ve had enough of your addiction. You’re sick of the consequences. Your mind and body are shattered. Your relationships are strained or broken. You want change and there’s no time like New Year’s Day to make that change, right? Stop! Here’s why we do not recommend making New Year’s resolutions to go sober or drug-free: at least, not the ‘I will be a better person’ kind of resolutions. Instead, read our top 10 anti-resolutions for addiction recovery.
Anti-resolution #1: Start the year by telling yourself you are enough
This is number one for a reason. Even in your addiction, you are enough. Even in the worst consequences of alcoholic drinking or addictive drug use, you are enough. You are. Even with everything that is painful, unmanageable and traumatic in your life, you are still a worthy human being. You are not bad or weak or nasty. You have an illness that requires treatment. Alcohol addiction and drug addiction often take hold in people who don’t feel worthy as they are. We challenge you to end this year and start the next one by telling yourself you are good enough as you are. Let go of all New Year’s resolutions that are based around the premise of becoming a better person.
Anti-resolution #2: It’s okay to admit complete defeat
Typically, New Year’s resolutions are about pursuing goals that you (or others) define as measures of success. If you’re in active addiction, perhaps it would be more freeing to admit that things don’t feel good right now. In fact, they feel bloody awful. Put down the heavy baggage of trying to convince yourself or others that you’re fine.
Anti-resolution #3: Addiction recovery begins with an act of self-care, asking for help
Often, the first step in addiction recovery is to ask for help. This is an expression of desire for change, alongside a very helpful admission of uncertainty about how to achieve that change. If you’re addicted, not knowing how to change is normal. If you’re addicted, it is healthy to admit you don’t know how to get better! It is fine to be completely out of ideas. It is fine to have tried countless methods of trying to control your addiction. Whether this is your first or 1000th time of wanting to stop drinking or taking drugs, addiction recovery is possible. Contact us now to talk in confidence about affordable addiction treatment in London and online.
Anti-resolution #4: Form your team, because addiction recovery is powered by you AND others
Long-term recovery from addiction usually involves a lot of help. Yes, you’ve got to commit and put in the footwork. Of course, you need to show up for yourself. But it’s important to involve other qualified and helpful people around you too. This can include recovery peers, addiction therapists, medical professionals, family and friends, trusted community members, even your employer in some cases. With New Year’s resolutions, too often you’re relying solely on your own ideas and motivational drive, not only to set resolutions in the first place, but also to keep up steam (including when the going gets tough). Instead of kicking yourself into the New Year, why not confide in a trusted professional or relative? Get in touch with Help Me Stop or go to an Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting, to start letting others in.
Anti-resolution #5: Please be realistic about how you’re going to feel
Another reason we really don’t like New Year’s resolutions for addiction recovery is this: there is a loaded expectation that you’re going to feel amazing and revitalised and totally in control, from 1st January onwards. Actually, addiction recovery can be really challenging, particularly in the first days and weeks. This is why intensive treatment for addiction can support you in the early phase of stopping alcohol and/or drugs. Most people drink and use because they can’t handle feelings, people and situations when they DON’T have alcohol or drugs inside them. They drink or use to feel normal, more confident, to forget or change the way they feel. So, in getting sober and drug-free, there’s usually a period of adjustment, where you learn or re-learn how to feel and act in the world. Again, this is all completely normal!
Anti-resolution #6: If you really want to quit alcohol or drugs, hold off on any other major life changes
This might not always be possible (we’ve had clients come to us just before their baby is due, or just after starting a new job, that kind of thing). However, we’d recommend from this point forward that you hold off on any other major changes, such as starting a new relationship, moving house or job or even country, starting a family or a new business etc. Getting sober or free from drugs is a massive and life-changing goal. Don’t set yourself up to fail by taking on other major changes simultaneously.
Anti-resolution #7: Know that addiction recovery will clear the way for many other goals
That relationship we mentioned, that new house or job or baby – whatever it is that you hope for most in your life, whatever your addiction is preventing you from either achieving or enjoying right now, those things will become much more possible once you’ve established your addiction recovery. When you can think clearly, you’ll act in a completely different way.
Anti-resolution #8: Right now, get sober or drug-free for you, and for its own sake
We have to qualify anti-resolution #7 just a bit. First thing’s first, focus on you and your recovery. Many people in long term addiction recovery say that their recovery is their greatest achievement. Give yourself time and space to do this. Do it for you, primarily. Of course, it’s great if loved ones benefit from your recovery. But please remember, this is for you.
Anti-resolution #9: So you’ve decided to get addiction treatment, does one last drink or fix matter?
Whilst we don’t recommend that you have one last session before you begin your addiction treatment, it doesn’t really make much difference to your chances of success. If you’re physically addicted to alcohol or drugs, we can arrange a safe detox. If you’re not physically addicted, then you’ll begin your therapeutic programme with us on the date planned. Sometimes people drink or use after deciding to get treatment but before they start. Like we say, if you need a physical detox, this will be planned so we can help you stop safely. If you’re starting straight away in our intensive treatment programme, we need you to arrive without a drink or drug on the first day. Then, we go from there.
Anti-resolution #10: It’s okay to feel frightened
It’s very common for people to commit to addiction treatment, then feel fear about what life will be like without their addiction. Feeling fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, concern, even terror – these are all very normal feelings to have. If you choose addiction treatment with Help Me Stop, we are here for you in those hours or days between your decision to start treatment and when you arrive on day one. You can call us in office hours to talk about getting through the day, the hour, or the minute you’re in.