Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Get Sober

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Table of Contents

Start Your Resolution With Treatment

When it comes to addiction, it is important to go to treatment to learn ways to prevent relapse. You should always start by seeking treatment because beating an addiction on your own can be very difficult.

In treatment, you have someone there every step of the way of teaching you how to succeed. During this, you will learn addiction recovery coping skills and develop a relapse prevention plan.

 Tackling addiction with professional medical help is more likely to produce the outcome you desire. Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions or concerns about this process.

If your New Year resolves to stop taking drugs, then the first step is the detox process. This is where your body begins to adjust to no longer having the drug in your system.

 It can be a painful process sometimes, especially without medical help. This is why we highly encourage you to seek a treatment center where you can detox under supervision.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, here are some examples of the withdrawal side effects you might endure depending on the drug you were using:

  • Prescription Opioids:
    restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goosebumps, leg movements
  • Prescription Sedatives & Tranquilizers:
    seizures, shakiness, anxiety, agitation, insomnia, overactive reflexes, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, high body temperature with sweating, hallucinations, severe cravings
  • Prescription Stimulants:
    depression, tiredness, sleep problems
  • Steroids:
    mood swings, tiredness, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, lowered sex drive, depression

This is not meant to scare you, rather this is to motivate you to seek treatment. You don’t have to go through the detoxification process alone. There are anti-craving medications to help you in treatment, and professionals will be there to guide you every step of the way.


Aftercare Programs are Essential

Once you have completed your treatment program, your aftercare plans begin. Your treatment center will usually set you up with an aftercare program before discharging you.

 This means recommending you to other local facilities that help patients continue sobriety after treatment. These include counselors, therapists, and group counseling sessions.

Aftercare programs are designed as a way to prevent relapse. They teach relapse prevention coping skills for you to lean on when you are back living your day-to-day life.

Group Counseling is Recommended

Group counseling is a common feature of aftercare because it provides accountability and teaches addiction recovery coping skills. You might meet once a week with a group of people who are recovering from addiction just like you.

 Being surrounded by others who understand your struggles is comforting and motivating. Together all of you get to keep each other positive as you continue your sober journey.

There are many programs like this available that show people the reasons and ways to prevent relapse. Entering into an after-care program from treatment continues to motivate the individual by giving them a community to lean on.

Individual Counseling Works Too

Another form of aftercare program is individual therapy or counseling. This is where you meet one-on-one with a professional who continues to help you develop your relapse prevention plan. You might learn coping skills for stressful or tempting situations.

 You might be involved with behavioral therapy or EMDR. Together you and your counselor will go over what you need to succeed. All of these aftercare programs are crucial to the recovery process and preventing relapse.


Steps You Can Follow to Keep Your Resolution

After treatment, while you are involved in aftercare programs, there are other steps you can be taking to continue your New Year’s resolution. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all option when it comes to recovery. But here are some broadly applicable guidelines.

According to PsychCentral, it is suggested that you:

  • Avoid tempting situations
  • Develop a positive support network
  • Create a healthy schedule
  • Don’t get complacent

Of course, these are all easier said than done. But they are important to keep in mind if you plan to stay clean. The first step, avoiding tempting situations, means you should avoid situations where drugs could come up. You do not need to prove to yourself or others that you can be around a substance and not be tempted.

No matter how far you are on your recovery journey there will always be a temptation. There is no need to invite that risk back into your life. Therefore, try to avoid previous friend groups who still use drugs, as well as environments where you used to use them.

The second step of developing a positive support network hopefully is already in place with your aftercare program. Continue to attend those meetings and build relationships with the individuals in the group. This kind of accountability and support system is highly beneficial to one’s recovery.

You should also attempt to reconnect with old friends and family members you might have hurt during your addiction. Surrounding yourself with positive people who encourage you will be the backbone of your sobriety.

A Healthy Schedule with No Complacency

Creating a healthy schedule means having structure in your life. While in treatment you had a structured lifestyle for some time. Transitioning this kind of structure into your daily life will help you continue the good habits you have put in place. Everyone is different so experiment to find the schedule that works best for you.

Finally, don’t get complacent. You might hit a wall where you no longer find joy in your recovery. Your motivation may dwindle, but you must stick with what is working for you.

 You do not have to stay in treatment or aftercare programs for the rest of your life. However, you should always have some type of system in place that supports the sobriety that you are so proud of.

Remember that you have worked hard to get here, and even after years of sobriety it is still a huge accomplishment. If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your New Year’s resolution call us today.

We can help guide you through this process. No matter how far you have to go, there is always hope as long as you’re committed to taking the next step.

New Year’s Resolutions Can Work

Some people take their New Year’s resolutions seriously while others do not. Interestingly enough, we get our New Year’s resolutions from ancient traditions.

 The Romans would pray to the god Janus and promise better behavior in the year to come. The Babylonians would pledge to return the items they borrowed and pay the debts they owed at the beginning of a new year.

Today, we view New Year’s Eve as a fresh start to make resolutions for self-improvement, whether that means achieving a new goal, working out more, or quitting a bad habit. But are New Year’s resolutions effective at getting sober?

According to one study on Medical News Today, “77% (of people) managed to hold to their pledges for 1 week, but the success rate dropped to 19% over 2 years.

 That means 1 in 5 of those participants achieved their goal. Of the 77% successful resolvers, more than half slipped at least once, and, on average, people slipped 14 times across the 2 years.”

The success rate of these individuals had nothing to do with their age, gender, or the resolution they picked. The major takeaway from the study is that people can succeed in keeping their resolutions, but it takes self-motivation.

Using Stimulus Control Therapy

In that same study, the individuals who used stimulus controls continually succeeded in their resolution throughout all the checkpoints. Stimulus control therapy is when the presence or absence of visual objects changes and influences a person’s behavior.

 Specifically, if you are attempting to stop taking drugs, you might surround yourself with stimulus reminders of why you want to stop using. Pictures of your family, quotes, scriptures or a picture of yourself at your healthiest can all help remind you why you want to stop.

Stimulus control is a good tool to use when starting your New Year’s resolution. A constant reminder can help propel you each day. This could be something you bring up in treatment and ask for advice on.

 Finding out what object could motivate you into staying sober could be another variable in producing a positive outcome. Stimulus control won’t get you there on its own, but it is an early recovery skill worth trying alongside your treatment and other motivators.


Relapse is Not Failure

Finally, if you do relapse, don’t make this a reason to see yourself as a failure. Even though there are ways to prevent relapse, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. If you do relapse, do not give up. You can always turn back around and start over.

You might be feeling shame or begin blaming yourself. This is where you lean back on your support system. They will remind you that you have come so far and you can do it again. A relapse is a single mistake; it doesn’t have to erase your progress. It can even serve as motivation to recommit to your recovery.

Reflect on Your Relapse

Analyzing the relapse is helpful. Determining what caused the relapse can help you prevent it from occurring again. Examine the emotions you were feeling leading up to it.

 Remember the environment you were in. Attempt to pinpoint the trigger. By doing this, you can learn more about yourself and improve your relapse prevention plan.

 Maybe it is time to go back to the basics and review early recovery skills. Whatever it is that you discover, implement it, and know that you will keep improving.

According to A Very Well Mind, “stress is the top cause of relapse. And, many people who struggle with addiction turn to their substance or activity of choice as a maladaptive way of coping with it.” Thus, if you have relapsed it is likely that stress played a part.

 If so, you can pinpoint what caused your stress and either eliminate that situation from your life or prepare a plan for what you’ll do differently next time. Recovery is an ongoing process; relapse is just a bump in the road.


It’s Not Just About Self-Control

It is important to remember that this is about more than self-control. After a certain point, most individuals have lost their sense of control while continually abusing a substance.

 The chemical changes that the brain endures are almost unimaginable. Therefore, is crucial to remember it is not always up to you to heal. Willpower alone won’t account for everything.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “brain studies of people with addiction show physical changes in parts of the brain that are very important for judgment, making decisions, learning and memory, and controlling behavior.”

When to Ask for Help

If using self-control becomes harder and harder, it is a clear sign of addiction. Once the brain changes, it becomes understandable why the individual continues to partake in actions that are harmful to them.

 You might very well know that the drugs or alcohol you are abusing are bad for your body. But you might not know how to control your actions around the substance anymore. Once you accept this fact it could be easier for you to seek professional help.

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