With 2019 underway, it’s time to consider what you want out of the upcoming year. If you’ve been struggling with an addiction, now is as good time as any to start your journey to sobriety. The road to recovery is going to be long and arduous, but each step that you take will get you closer to your goal. You have over 300 days to get closer and closer to sobriety. Sure, you’ll probably run into some roadblocks along the way, but they’ll only help you become a stronger and better person. New Years is the perfect time to come up with new resolutions for the upcoming year. A resolution is basically a goal that you set for yourself. It’s a common tradition in America. You can set as many recovery resolutions as you want. The hard part is sticking with your resolutions for the entire year. Having the right type of resolutions can help you overcome a substance abuse problem. You need to clearly define your resolutions and define how you will achieve them. There are many different types of recovery resolutions that you can make to beat any type of addiction. Below, we’ll explore some of the top 8 recovery resolutions others have made for 2019.
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How to Improve Your Chances at Success
Approximately 40% of Americans take part in coming up with at least one New Year resolution each and every year. Some extremely common resolutions include losing weight, having healthier eating habits and spending less money. Resolutions come from a desire of self-improvement. We recognize that we are lacking in some area in our lives, and we try to fix the problem. Although many people start off strong, the motivation and discipline behind sticking with the resolution will usually fizzle by February. Only about 8% of Americans achieve their New Year resolutions. There are many reasons why many people fail at achieving their New Year’s goals. Some key differences separate those who succeed with those who fail. Here are some tips that can help you keep your recovery resolutions:
- Keep it simple. Don’t try to overthink anything. Keep your resolutions simple, and you’ll be more likely to achieve them. If your resolutions are too complex or involve a lot of moving parts, you’ll easily feel overwhelmed.
- Set small, attainable goals that you can achieve throughout the year. A singular, large goal can be quite overwhelming. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Work slowly towards achieving your goal by breaking it down into smaller components. This will help you stay on track.
- Remind yourself of your goals regularly. Right your resolutions down on a sticky note and stick it onto your computer screen or make a vision board. Make sure that you can easily and clearly see your goals every day.
When it comes to dealing with an addiction, one of the keys is to make sure that your resolutions fall in line with your relapse prevention plan. Many resolutions are often things that recovering substance abusers should try to implement in a continuing care plan.
#1. Resolve to Go to At Least One Recovery Meeting Each Week
Almost all recovering alcoholics or drug addicts attend recovery meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These support groups are the main pillars of social and peer support that recovering addicts rely on to get clean. Motivation and encouragement from others can really help recovering substance abusers turn their lives around. They’re more motivated to succeed. Recovery meetings give recovering addicts an opportunity to let everything out. If you’re looking for a key recovery resolution that will help keep you on the straight and narrow, aim to go to at least one recovery meeting each week. One meeting a week is all that it takes to prevent relapses. Studies show that those who go to at least one recovery meeting a week are more likely to abstain from alcohol and drugs than those who don’t go to any meetings at all. Any type of recovery meeting will do the trick. Also, those who go to meetings at a higher frequency are more likely to succeed. Some recovering alcohol and drug abusers go to a meeting a day, especially when they first start out on their journey to recovery.
How to Make the Most Out of Recovery Meetings
Everyone is looking for a secret on how to succeed, but the truth is that there isn’t a magical pill that you can swallow or a magic wand that you can wave around. A huge part of succeeding is merely showing up. You’re already one step ahead of the majority if you just show up to a recovery meeting. You can improve your chances even more by showing up consistently. It’s easy to forgo going to your support group in lieu of going out with friends. Or, you might simply not want to head out due to dreadful rain. You need to push past these negative thoughts and get out the door. “80% of success is just showing up.” ~ Woody Allen The key to success is simple. Show up regularly. With that said, there are other things that you can do to get more out of a recovery meeting, like AA or SMART. These things include:
- Build your own social network. Make friends at recovery meetings. Everyone there has the same goal. As you bond with other people at these groups, you become more motivated to get clean and stay sober.
- Chart your success. Make goals for yourself and keep track of your progress. You can do so in many ways. You can use the tools that are given to you by the support groups, or you can simply keep track of your success by sharing them with others.
- Find a mentor. One of the main reasons why recovery meetings are so successful is that they often come with mentors and sponsors. Having someone show you the ropes can really improve your chances of getting better. Finding a mentor can make a huge difference. This is why many recovering addicts participate in alumni programs.
- Help others get clean. Soon, you’ll have some experience on how to overcome an addiction. By helping others, you’ll really be elevating yourself and honing your recovery skills.
Everyone is still celebrating in the first couple weeks of January. Making it through the holidays sober can be extremely taxing for someone who has depended on substances for some time. Recovery meetings can be very helpful in this regard.
#2. Resolve to Exercise at Least Two to Three Times a Week
There is an intricate link between exercise and addiction recovery. If you were to exercise two to three times a week, you could stabilize and normalize your brain chemistry levels. This makes it not only easier to deal with withdrawal symptoms but also easier to break free from an addiction. So, put on a pair of running shoes and change into your gym attire. Exercising can also improve your mood and make you feel much more motivated and ready to tackle addiction head on. More importantly, it’s also good for your health. So, how much exercise should you do? The more, the better. With that said, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends:
- Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week.
- Working all major muscle groups with strength training at least two times a week. Try to do at least 12 to 15 repetitions per set if possible. Add on weights or resistance bands for that extra push.
You should try to spread your exercises out over the entire week. You don’t have to do it all in one go. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. Consider getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity and 30 minutes of strength training every time you go to the gym. Try to go to the gym at least two to three times a week. Ideally, you should get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Tips and Tricks on How to Stay Motivated for Going to the Gym
Did you know that most people’s New Year resolution is to go to the gym more? This is why there’s a spike in gym membership purchases in December and January. Unfortunately, about 14% of all members will drop out by February. They’ve simply lost interest in going to the gym or given up on their resolution completely. It’s hard to stay on the right track. To make sure that you stick to your resolution, you’re going to have to keep yourself motivated. Many trainers and gym rats can offer numerous suggestions on how to stay motivated. Some of the most effective things that you can do include:
- Having a gym buddy. It’s much easier to go to the gym when you have someone else cheering you on. Reach out to family members and friends to see who may be interested in going to the gym with you. A gym buddy will not only hold you accountable, so you don’t skip too many days, but he or she will also make going to the gym something to look forward to.
- Don’t set overly-ambitious goals. Make sure that you set goals that are feasible. For example, you’re not going to lose 20 pounds overnight. That’s simply not feasible.
- Get rid of as many invisible barriers as possible. If you don’t like going to the gym because it’s cold outside, put on more layers of clothes when you’re at home. The key is to identify what’s stopping you from going to the gym and putting an end to it.
To make sure that your resolution becomes a habit, reward yourself once you reach a goal. This goal may be anything from reaching a certain weight to being able to lift a certain number of weights.
Fun Exercises and Activities to Try
You don’t necessarily have to buy a gym membership in order to stay fit and healthy. There are many other exercises and activities that you can try. For example, you can consider:
- Running, whether it be on a track or simply around the neighborhood
- Biking by yourself or with a biking group
- Yoga, Tai Chi and other exercises that help you stretch and relax
- Hiking on a trail or even off-trail depending on where you live
- Boxing or learning a type of martial art, which can also teach you self-protection skills
There are plenty of exercises and activities that you can try at home. Much like with going to the gym, you’ll be more likely to stay focused if you find yourself a workout buddy and if you set clear exercise goals. Starting off with a strenuous exercise, like boxing, can be fairly off-putting to some people. They may have much better luck if they were to start off with something small, like taking a walk around the block. Even walking your dog more frequently can count as a type of aerobic exercise. It’s not only healthy for you, but also for your furry friend as well!
#3. Resolve to Learn a New Hobby
One of the most difficult things about trying to get sober is finding a hobby for all of the free time that you now have on your hands. Drug addicts and alcoholics often spend all of their time looking for their next fix or getting high. When getting sober, they find that they now have a lot of free time on their hands. With so much free time on your hands, you might find that your mind will wander. You may start to obsess over getting high again. Learning a new hobby will help you. A new, healthy hobby can replace dangerous habits and negative thoughts. Picking up a hobby takes dedication and discipline. A study shows that it takes the average person about 66 days to start to incorporate a new hobby or habit into his or her life for good. If you’re looking for some ideas on what hobbies to pick up, consider the following:
- Volunteer at an animal shelter. Working with animals can improve your mood and keep you from feeling depressed. You’ll feel more prepared to deal with your addiction.
- Learn how to sew or an activity that will benefit your life. Some crucial skills, like sewing or knitting, can really improve your quality of living and help you save money in the long run.
- Read or write. If you’ve always had a knack for reading and writing, you should consider exploring this venue. There are so many different books that can help you escape from your current reality. Reading can really keep your mind off your current situation.
- Learn how to cook. What’s better than learning how to master a new recipe? Many people find cooking to be a very therapeutic hobby.
The bottom line is to that you should try whatever piques your interest.
#4. Resolve to Do Activities that Will Keep You Positive and Happy
A positive mindset and outlook can make a huge difference when it comes to addiction recovery. One of the main habits that can really help recovering addicts get back on the right track is having the right attitude. Many experts claim that happiness leads to success. You heard that right. Just because you’re successful, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be happy. However, happiness will lead to success. If you’re happy and positive, there’s a good chance that you’ll be much more successful when it comes to your own recovery. Happiness is not something that you pursue. In fact, it’s something that you do. Or rather, it’s all the little things that you do. Extensive research in this field have found that people who are happy also tend to:
- Have fewer pains and less inflammation
- Have a lower risk of experiencing strokes and heart attacks
- Are more likely to have a stronger immune system
- Are more likely to develop resilient personalities that can better handle adversity
- Have more friends and a larger social sphere
- Have longer-lasting and more fulfilling relationships, particularly marriages
- Are more successfully financially
- Have a longer lifespan
Being happy will not only help you overcome addiction, but it will also spill over to other areas of your life. It can make you become a healthier and more successful individual.
Things You Can Do to Be Happy
So, how can you be happy? For some people, happiness may not come naturally. This is especially true for someone who has been struggling with addiction. Recent studies have shown that there are little things that you can do throughout the day to help you become more positive and happy. Being happy is not a matter of losing those several pounds or finding that special someone. It’s what you do each and every day. In recent years, there has been a lot of research done in this area. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchorage outlines many different things you can do to become a happier person. They include:
- Write down 3 things that you are grateful for or happy about when you wake up in the morning. Make sure that you choose different things every day. This routine will help you reflect on what you already have. It’ll also make you more effective in the morning.
- Meditate every day. You don’t necessarily need to find a guru. Just relax and watch your breath as you breathe in and out. Meditation can help you train your brain. It will also help you become more self-aware of your feelings and your surroundings.
- Do a random act of kindness every day. Doing something nice for someone else can really help make you a happier person. There are many different things that you can try. For example, you can consider writing an email thanking someone in your life or even buying coffee for the person behind you at the coffee shop.
- Keep a journal of the positive things that have happened to you throughout the day. You can even just write down one positive thing that has happened.
The key is to train your mind into seeing more positives than negatives. It’s that easy.
#5. Resolve to Read More Books Aimed at Personal Growth
Focusing on personal growth can make a huge difference in your recovery process. You need to train your mind to focus on becoming a better person. Picture who you want to be and go after that image. With that said, it’s not that easy to become the person you want to be. You need to first equip yourself with the right tools and knowledge. You can find the knowledge that you need by reading more books. The right books can push you in the right direction. They can also give you some insight on how you can achieve your dreams. There are many books that can help recovering addicts learn more about the recovery process. Some of the best books to read when in recovery include:
- The Couch of Willingness by Michael Pond and Maureen Palmer. Written by recovering alcoholics, this book can help addicts learn more about addiction and how they can manage their symptoms. The books also teach readers how to get and stay sober.
- Recover to Live by Christopher Kennedy Lawford. This book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about substance use disorders (SUDs). The book features a collection of expert opinions.
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. While this book is not necessarily about addiction, it’s a good self-help book for those who are looking to better their lives. Readers learn more about how their actions make a huge difference in the long run, and what they can do to become a better version of themselves.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to which book to read. You can never get too many opinions or read too much about a certain topic. Check out a list of the 8 best recovery books that we recommend here. “The average person reads 20 pages in 30 minutes.” Keep in mind that you also don’t have to read a whole book in one sitting. Your recovery resolution can be simply to read a certain amount of pages a day or to read for a certain length of time.
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#6. Resolve to Keep a Recovery Journal
One of the main recovery tools that experts recommend is keeping a recovery journal. You don’t need to write in a certain style or write about certain things. After all, it’s your journal. You can write whatever you want. Keeping a journal can offer many benefits. It can help reduce the amount of intrusive negative thoughts that you get. It can also improve your working memory and free up space in your brain so that you can focus on other things. Studies show that journaling in recovery can be very beneficial for your mental health. By expressing yourself through writing, you can manage anxiety, lower stress levels and also better cope with depression. All it takes is just several minutes of your day. Most experts recommend spending at least 15 minutes every day on your recovery journal. Some of the things that you should jot down in your recovery journal include:
- Your concerns, fears, and problems. This can help you prioritize them and hone in on the problems that need to be resolved.
- Things that have happened throughout the day and how you felt about it. This can help you maintain daily mindfulness. Being more mindful of your actions can help you make better decisions in your life.
- Identify triggers and learn how to cope with them. You may also pinpoint which coping mechanisms appear to be the most effective.
Once again, you can include anything you want in your recovery journal. This journal can be very helpful during therapy sessions. It can give you a better insight into your progress and on how you feel each day.
#7. Resolve to Get Professional Help
Did you know that only 11% of addicts get any type of addiction treatment? This includes anything from addiction counseling to drug or alcohol detox. Many people put off getting help for different reasons. Some people simply are in denial while others may not have the financial means to get the help that they need. Fortunately, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, private health insurance plans now cover addiction treatment services. You can verify your insurance with us to see what your insurance covers. Start 2019 off with a bang by considering the option of getting professional help. The truth is that you’re less likely to successfully get sober if you try to get clean by yourself. You need professional help. Not only can rehab offer you the support that you need, but it can also help ease withdrawal symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms can actually be quite dangerous. To get the professional help that you need, the only thing you have to do is reach out for help. The rest will follow. You’ll get assessed by addiction experts who will come up with a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs and expectations. With the right professional help, you can beat an addiction in no time.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment
When seeking professional services, you’re likely going to run into the terms inpatient and outpatient. They both refer to a level of care that an alcohol or drug treatment center can provide. An inpatient center requires patients to move into the facility. Patients receive around-the-clock supervision and care. They don’t leave the premises until they’re finished with their treatment. This can take anywhere from 28 to 90 days. This type of treatment is much more intense and is usually reserved for those who are really struggling with their addiction. Outpatient care is much more lax. Patients can come and go as they please. They also commit to varying hours of treatment depending on their situation. This type of treatment is usually reserved for those who have a better handle on their addiction. It’s also usually incorporated into continuing care plan.
#8. Resolve to Become More Organized
Did you know that you have a more difficult time focusing and concentrating if you’re a messy person? When trying to overcome an addiction, one of your main weapons is your mind. You need to sharpen your focus so that you don’t relapse. If you resolve to become more organized, you’ll have a much easier time focusing on your recovery. Once you’re organized and you have a clean surrounding, you’ll also find that your mind will clear up. It’s a strange phenomenon, but it’s true. A clean and organized surrounding can also help you maintain healthy habits that will aid you in recovery. There are many things that you can do to become more organized. They include:
- Get rid of items that trigger you or don’t help you in your recovery. Many Americans hoard items that they simply don’t need. Go through your home and get rid of any items that don’t help you in your recovery or even trigger you when you look at it.
- Create personal space for your recovery. Surprisingly, not many people think about this, but you’ll need personal space to recover. If your home doesn’t already have it, create it.
- Create a cleaning schedule. The little things add up quickly. Create a cleaning schedule, so you won’t miss anything. Tackle a different area of the home or a different cleaning task every day. This will also help make cleaning a less overwhelming chore.
If you can’t deal with everything yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Ask family members and friends to lend a helping hand or ask other how they keep their space clean and decluttered. You can even consider hiring a cleaning service to come by every now and then if you feel overwhelmed.
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The Right Resolutions Will Not Only Help You with Your Recovery, But Will Improve Your Life
New Years is the perfect time to reflect on the past year and to consider what you want from the upcoming one. It’s also a great time to sit down and consider the type of resolutions that you will vow to make. Your resolution will not only help you with your recovery, but it can also help you improve your lifestyle and become the person that you’ve always wanted to be. The key to being successful boils down to having a tangible and feasible resolution and setting mini goals to achieve throughout the year. With a little determination, motivation, discipline, and perseverance, you’ll get to where you want to go. If you’re looking for any additional help, consider contacting us. Here, at Northpoint Recovery, we have all of the tools and resources needed to help you achieve great heights with your recovery. Our goal is to help you achieve lifelong sobriety and to become the best version of yourself!