I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute – if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities? And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.
~ Craig Ferguson
Many alcoholics and addicts choose to make the New Year the starting point for when they finally seek treatment for their Substance Use Disorder (SUD). There’s just something that seems fitting about leaving old problems – addiction and dysfunction – in the Old Year and starting over with a clean slate.
If you’re ready to get help for your drinking or drugging, here are several reasons why 2018 will be your best year EVER –The Year You Got Clean and Sober.
The New Year = a New YOU
One of the best things about recovery is that you are CHOOSING to be the person you have always wanted to be, rather than staying a slave to your addiction. With sobriety, you get your free will, ambition, and hope back. Reinvent yourself. Better yet, REDISCOVER the best parts of yourself, the wonderful qualities that were hidden by addiction.
You Can Start a New Journey
If you are unhappy with where you are in life, you can change that. Your sober journey starts with one Step at a time. Very soon, you are in a whole new place – emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, and socially. A year from now, you will look back and see how far you have progressed in your recovery.
You Get to Be Present in Your Own Life
How many special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, get-togethers – have you missed because of your addiction? With sobriety, there are no more half-memories or blackouts. You get to live and remember each day. Even better, you get to make positive memories worth having.
Doing Away with Dysfunction
Poor communication, arguments, passive aggression, and manipulation are all characteristics of an unhealthy relationship twisted by problematic drug and alcohol use. The best recovery programs also include couples and family counseling to help you overcome these issues. 12-Step programs such as Al-Anon are also excellent resources that help families in crisis.
You Repair Relationships Damaged by Addiction
Substance abuse eventually isolates you from everyone who really cares about you – spouses and partners, children and family, and your closest friends. However, when you genuinely work at your recovery and sincerely try to make amends, you will often be on the receiving end of a happy surprise – most of your loved ones will gladly welcome you back. Remember, your loved ones WANT to see you successfully sober.
You Find out Who Your REAL Friends Are
You probably know lots of people who will happily party with you – your drugging and drinking buddies. Unfortunately, these are the same “friends” who will undermine your recovery when they continue their own substance abuse and belittle your chances of success. But when you find people who support your sobriety efforts and who understand that your recovery has to come FIRST, then you know that you have someone who truly cares about you.
You Rediscover Trust
Denial, deflection, and deceit fuel addiction. Recovery requires scrupulous honesty in all your affairs. Earning back the trust of people of people you have let down in the past is a major personal achievement. And, because your relationships are now healthier, you don’t have to be afraid to trust others. Mutual trust plays a huge role in any eventual reconciliation.
You Become a Better Employee
Addiction takes a toll in the workplace – absenteeism, decreased productivity, accidents, demotions, suspensions, etc. But when you are no longer being held back by your SUD, your professional life and reputation vastly improves. You can even keep your job while you go to rehab.
And because businesses want healthy and productive workers, most have Employee Assistance Programs that can connect struggling workers to appropriate service providers.
Bad You Get Rid of Excess Baggage
Addiction leads to the heavy burdens of regret, guilt, and shame. And it’s a cycle – you have those negative feelings because of your substance abuse, but then you abuse addictive substances to try and ease those feelings. During recovery, you learn to acknowledge your faults and past actions without letting them define your present or future.
Other Issues Get Addressed
Many people with SUDS also struggle with other co-occurring mental disorders such as depression, PTSD, or anxiety that worsen—and are worsened by—their addiction. When you get the right kind of professional help, BOTH conditions are treated, so that true healing and recovery is achieved.
You Learn How Strong You Truly Are
Part of the recovery process is to reflect and conduct a “fearless moral inventory” on yourself. Some people will only dwell on their shortcomings, but it’s ALSO a wonderful opportunity to make a list of your strengths. Moving forward, you can rely on those strengths to help support your successful return sobriety.
You Regain Self-Respect
Substance abuse warps your self-perception and sense of self-worth. You might even feel that you DESERVE the misery of a substance-driven life. In recovery, you once again learn that you DO have value as a person. What you TRULY deserve is a healthy, happy, and sober life.
Serenity Is What It Is All About
Dissatisfaction and pain are at the heart of substance abuse. You cope with intoxicants because you aren’t happy, but you don’t know what else to do. In recovery, you strive to ACCEPT those things that you cannot change, to CHANGE those things that you can, and most importantly, KNOW the difference between the two. This is serenity.
You Save SO Much Money
Addiction is EXPENSIVE! Just maintaining the addiction can easily cost several hundred dollars a day or more. And that’s not even counting the OTHER expenses associated with addiction—arrests, accidents, fines, lawyer’s fees, etc. When you live a life in recovery, the money you earn belongs to YOU, not your disease.
You Seize the Day
Being addicted to drugs or alcohol usually means missing out on other opportunities – personal, professional, social, and financial. And your quality of life suffers for it. But when your attention isn’t constantly and compulsively focused on that next drink or that next high, you can better take advantage of everything that life offers you.
Life Becomes Predictable – in a GOOD Way
An addicted lifestyle is chaotic and unpredictable. From one day to the next, you may not know where you will be sleeping or how you are going to pay your bills. With recovery, your daily life becomes much more stable.
No More Hangovers
Remember all the times that you woke up in horrible pain because you partied too hard the night before? In recovery, you can say goodbye to next-morning blinding, stay-home-in-bed headaches and nausea.
You Enjoy Better Health and a Longer Life
Chronic substance abuse can shorten your life by over 7 years and contribute to many other health issues – osteoporosis, cancer, brain damage, heart problems, liver disease, etc. During recovery, you put aside dangerous substances and learn to practice other healthy habits. Healing IS possible.
Addiction wreaks havoc with your appearance – poor personal hygiene, “meth mouth”, unhealthy weight loss, bad skin, track marks, etc. But when you stop drinking and using drugs, your complexion clears, you can maintain a healthy weight, your skin color improves, and you start caring about personal hygiene again.
You Can Give Back
The goal of the 12th Step is to “carry this message” of recovery to others who are still struggling with active addiction. While it’s true that your successful example can inspire others, it is also true that helping others will inspire YOU, as well.
It’s More Affordable Than You Think
Because drug rehab can cost tens of thousands of dollars, many substance abusers think they can’t afford to get help. But if you have insurance, federal law requires that they cover treatment. Your out-of-pocket expense could be next to nothing.
The Best Time to Recover Is Always RIGHT NOW
You have said it time and time before – “I’ll make that call tomorrow.” But here’s the thing – during active addiction, a whole year’s worth of always-promised but never-realized “tomorrows” are lost faster than you might guess. If you focus on making the choice to get help TODAY, tomorrow will take care of itself.
Make it Your BEST Year
No matter how far down you have been driven by your disease of addiction, life DOES get better when you seek professional help. If you make the powerful and positive choice to commit to a program of recovery, then 2018 can be YOUR year of personal rebirth and renewal.
Here’s hoping for your HAPPIEST and HEALTHIEST year ever!