New Year’s resolutions are an American ritual, even if most resolutions are never successful. But a resolution to stay sober is nothing to be taken lightly. Many individuals in recovery, and even those not yet in recovery, make resolutions to quit drinking at the beginning of the year. These are serious promises, and with work and a support system they can open the door to a healthier life. There are several keys to increase your chances of keeping a sober lifestyle.
Tell Loved Ones About Your Resolution
The biggest mistake many individuals make when they decide to make a New Year’s sobriety resolution is keeping it secret. The exact opposite is the better way to approach such a significant lifestyle change.
Tell everyone who will listen. Tell your drinking buddies. Tell your family. Tell your co-workers (if appropriate). They will give you informal, or even direct, accountability to help keep you on track and keep your resolution.
Change Your Routines
This may seem obvious, but the chances of staying sober go down dramatically each time you walk into a bar. It has been said that one definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect different results, and this definitely applies to sobriety.
Your best chance to break the cycle of drinking is to change your routines. This could mean driving home from work a different direction so you don’t drive by your favorite liquor store. It might mean watching the ball game at home instead of at a bar. Consider the places you drink and the routines associated with your drinking, and then make conscious choices to change.
Be Patient with Yourself
Alcohol is an addictive substance. You may not have the power to quit cold turkey the first time you try on your own. There is no shame is failing, so long as you learn from your failure. You need to pick yourself up, figure out what triggered the drinking, and determine what you can change to limit the chances of the same thing happening again tomorrow. Recovery is a process, not an event.
Seek Professional Help
If you are struggling with an alcohol problem, it can feel overwhelming. This is especially true on the back end of a failed New Year’s resolution. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.
We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way.