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New Year Resolution Notepad

Get sober.

If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, you have probably thought about making the above resolution. It’s a new year and you are going to take a fresh start, take control of your life, and stop drinking or using drugs.

If only it were that easy.

One of the reasons that addicts struggle in their quest for sobriety is that they may engage in magical thinking. By adapting magical thinking the individual is able to make their behavior appear logical. Saying that you will get sober may sound good, but without any foundation for this claim. So, instead of saying that you are going to get sober, again, think about the resolutions (that are necessary) to make long-term sobriety a possibility.

Think about your lifestyle. What factors do you think contribute to you using? Resolving to change even one of those factors can help you get sober. For example, let’s say you regularly go to happy hour after work on Friday and that kicks off a weekend of heavy drinking for you. Make a resolution to skip happy hour. Do you have a friend that always seems to encourage you to use drugs or alcohol? Your resolution may be to stop hanging out with that friend. Do you work somewhere like a bar that encourages or enables your addiction? Resolve to look for another job.

Think about accountability. Alcohol and drug abusers tend to blame others when things go wrong. Even if you do not blame someone else for mistakes, chances are that you have excused bad behavior by saying you were drunk or you were high. Resolve to take accountability for your behavior. Resolve to see your doctor and answer questions about your health honestly. People who struggle with addiction are often reluctant to be honest with their healthcare providers, but you are at greater risk for some health problems as an addict and your healthcare provider can only help you manage that increased risk if you are honest about it.

Resolve to forgive yourself for past mistakes. Yes, you can be accountable and still forgive yourself. You do not have a time machine. You cannot undo things from the past. All you can do is change your behavior moving forward and try to make amends for past mistakes.