Happy 2022: 9 Sobriety Resolutions for Those in Recovery
So many of us start the new year by setting resolutions—and these goals can pertain to anything, depending on what we’ve been tackling lately. Resolutions can be life-changing, or they can be subtle tweaks to our day-to-day lives, like eating less sugar or exercising more often.
For those in recovery from substance dependency, this is a wonderful time to reflect on our journeys. No matter where you are, it’s possible to set your own sobriety resolutions for 2022. These goals can be about either achieving, enhancing or maintaining sobriety.
I’m a huge proponent of setting and working toward ambitious (yet attainable) goals throughout recovery. When you know exactly what you’re working toward, it’s much easier to envision a life without drugs or alcohol.
9 New Year’s Recovery Resolutions
If you’re going to work on setting goals, you should start small and make them achievable. For example, if you decide that your resolution is to “get sober,” it can be incredibly daunting—especially if you don’t have a plan to achieve sobriety. Rather than decide you’d like to get sober, try taking the journey step by step. If you need inspiration, here are some new year’s addiction recovery resolutions for 2022.
Resolution 1: Ask for Help
For many of us, in or out of recovery, it can be difficult to ask others for help—whether the issue we’re dealing with is minor or life-consuming. It’s unfortunate (and really unfounded), but there’s a stigma around turning to other people for support. Unfortunately, however, self-sufficiency is far from the best route you can take much of the time.
First, start by reminding yourself that it’s okay to ask other people for help. And, chances are, you have loved ones who are eager to provide it. Substance dependency is a disease, first and foremost. The brain functions behind addiction are beyond the individual’s control. So, if you’re struggling, there’s no reason to feel ashamed—it can happen to anyone, and it doesn’t reflect poorly on your will to recover.
If you’re struck by the urge to use a substance, don’t hesitate to give your loved one a call. Alternatively, consider contacting an addiction recovery professional, one who can provide insight and direction. Likewise, if you’re feeling down and unmotivated, reach out to one of your recovery friends. It’s only natural that you’ll need help at various points in your journey toward life-long sobriety. So, whether you’re turning to a recovery support group or your loved ones, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I always suggest to people if you’re not sure you have a problem or maybe alcohol or some other substance may be a problem, just stop drinking for 30-60 days and see if your life changes any? Worth a try, right?!!
Resolution 2: Start Celebrating Your Successes while in recovery
One trick to staying motivated in recovery is celebrating your successes—and no, getting sober is far from the only success there is to take pride in. Instead, you should be focusing on the numerous smaller goals you can achieve.
In recovery, every step you take is meaningful. So, every day, resolve to reflect on what you’ve accomplished; what have you achieved, no matter how small, that brings you one step closer to long-term sobriety. Don’t brush aside successes because they seem too small to matter. Every achievement matters and they’re all worthy of acknowledgement and celebration. I tend to be a perfectionist and I am hard on myself. It’s difficult for me to stop and reflect and take time to have a sense of accomplishment even if it may appear small. Every day sober is a mini miracle.
Resolution 3: Find a New (or Old) Hobby
On the surface, this might not seem like a resolution related to addiction and recovery. However, as you begin to navigate a sober lifestyle, it’s highly beneficial to discover new interests and activities to focus on. Without drugs or alcohol in your life, you’ll need to find healthy ways to fill these gaps and keep your attention occupied.
First, consider what you enjoyed doing before your substance dependency took hold. For example, if there’s a hobby that you no longer had the time or energy for during active addiction, try getting back into it—see whether it’s something that you still enjoy.
Even if you didn’t have any hobbies before drugs or alcohol, it’s never too late to get started. First, make a list of any hobbies that you’re interested in giving a shot, and try as many of them as possible. Eventually, you’re bound to find an activity (or activities) that you wholeheartedly enjoy.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few hobby ideas worth experimenting with—painting or drawing, taking cooking classes, learning a musical instrument, visiting museums or art galleries, and bowling.
Also, remember not to focus on whether you’re “good” at something—all that matters is that you enjoy it.
Resolution 4: Attend Recovery Meetings & Grow Your Support System
I can’t stress just how meaningful relationships and human connections are to any recovery journey. If you’re recovering from drug or alcohol dependency, don’t neglect your human-to-human resources. Instead, try putting in the effort to maintain and grow your support system. But, again, this resolution could manifest itself differently depending on who you are and where you are in your recovery.
Maybe you’re attending meetings with a recovery group once per week. In that case, you can resolve to start attending meetings twice every week. Alternatively, if you believe that you aren’t benefiting from your current group, don’t give up—do some research and find new groups to try until you find your fit. Now there are meetings on Zoom or some other platform everywhere and at every time possible, getting to a meeting in London or the West Coast is not all that difficult. In fact it’s become a new phenomena of sorts in the recovery community.
Resolution 5: Maintain a Positive Mindset (But Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Can’t)
During recovery, you’re bound to have some days that are more of a struggle than others. Off days can be overwhelming and lead to a slew of negative feelings, including frustration, negativity, and bitterness.
Whenever possible, find a more positive way to channel your emotions. This could involve repeating a positive motto, listening to an upbeat or happy song, reading a motivational poem, or anything else that lifts your mood.
Still, if you’re unable to push aside these feelings of frustration or negativity, don’t beat yourself up over it—in the end, it will only make the problem worse. Instead, focus on activities or hobbies that you enjoy and reach out to a sponsor or recovery friend, if possible. The negativity you’re feeling is likely to pass, especially if you don’t give it any power or control over your life.
Resolution 6: Spend 10 or 15 Minutes Writing in a Journal, Each Day
It’s extremely beneficial for those in recovery to better understand their emotions. But, of course, one way to work through your emotions and uncover their origin is through counseling or therapy. This isn’t the only way, however.
Whether or not you’re currently in counseling, it’s a good idea to make journaling a habit. Even if you’re only journaling for 10 or 15 minutes every day, this can add up and help you to better understand yourself and your thoughts.
If you’re unsure what to write about, start with whatever comes to mind (even if it seems inconsequential) and expand from there—you’d be surprised where you may end up.
Over time, journaling can help recovering individuals figure out what triggers substance cravings, understand where their emotions are coming from, and uncover which coping techniques work best for them and their particular needs.
Resolution 7: Repair or Strengthen Your Personal Relationships
Addiction hardly ever affects just the person with the dependency. Instead, that individual’s loved ones are going to experience hardship and distress, as well. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for this to result in damaged personal relationships.
Resolve to start repairing the relationships you lost to addiction. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or expect this to be an overnight process—more often than not, it’s going to be gradual.
Start prioritizing quality time spent with your friends or family. Add it to your calendar and avoid shutting your loved ones out. Invite them out to a movie, cook a meal, or even sit at home and play a board game.
Also, make sure that you’re communicating openly and honestly with the people who are important to you. If you’re dealing with guilt or other negative feelings, don’t be afraid to voice this to your loved one—chances are, they’ll appreciate your honesty.
Resolution 8: Ruminate Less and Become Less Critical Over Failures
This is basically the inverse of Resolution 2: Although I’m all for celebrating successes, I don’t believe people should become overly self-critical when they fail. When you’re looking to grow, it’s essential to acknowledge any stumbles. At the same time, keep in mind that these setbacks are bound to happen. Recovery is rarely a linear journey. For the vast majority of us, mistakes will happen.
If you beat yourself up over a misstep and allow yourself to ruminate on it, this isn’t going to help you improve. Instead, consider how you can do better and what actions you can take to prevent your so-called failure from happening again.
What events led to it happening in the first place? Use the situation as a valuable learning experience and a time for self-reflection. There’s no need for judgment. In summary, resolve to stay grounded when you make a mistake in your recovery. Reevaluate your current plans and readjust your coping strategies as needed.
Resolution 9: Perform a Daily Act of Kindness
Active addiction and focusing on the people around you rarely go hand in hand. Substance dependency can quickly consume your life, making it impossible to look outside yourself and positively interact with others.
One part of recovery is relearning how to connect with and lend a hand to those around you. For that reason, you can always resolve to perform one random act of kindness each day.
You don’t need to put any restrictions on the kinds of random acts you can perform—once you make this a routine, you’ll be surprised by just how many ways there are to be kind to others. For example, you could pay for a stranger’s coffee when you stop by the cafe, give an elderly neighbor help carrying heavy groceries into their home, volunteer at a local event, and much more. By performing a daily random act of kindness, it’s possible to strengthen your relationships and build your self-esteem back up in the process.
Start 2022 Off Right by Setting Recovery Resolutions
Whether you’re early in your recovery or you’ve been sober for several years, it’s always possible to start the year off with recovery resolutions. Living a sober life doesn’t need to be a distant possibility. To get there, you should start by setting small, attainable goals and celebrating your achievements. Remember, sobriety is a lifestyle—recovery doesn’t end as soon as you become sober.