The Holidays, Sobriety and New Year’s…..GOALS!!

Hey there… It’s Luke D… So I’ve been asked to contribute to the TWC blog, and I am grateful to be able to share with all of you on how I am doing on my journey. So, once a week I’ll be posting some of my struggles, insights and yes… even my victories. We all have them and we all need to share them and recognize them.

So now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about this holiday season.

I am guessing that for most of us the holidays bring up a swell of emotions for most people if they are really honest. The big bad media portrays the holiday season as full of happiness, family time, shiny gifts, hot chocolate, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the list goes on. In thinking about my own circumstances, while I love the holiday season, it also brings up a swell of emotions and feelings.

Let’s face it, for most of us when we were using, the holiday season was an excuse to use more, it was full of parties and cheer. I loved this time of year because everyone seemed to want to join in the festivities with me and there was always an excuse to tie one on.  Now that I am sober, I still have parties to go to, but I do it differently. I have choices. I do not have to go to every party I am invited to, I also can get their late and leave early if I feel like it. I have the freedom to make choices today.

Well now that the holidays are FINALLY over,  it’s time to to think about what is a head for the New Year.

But for many people in recovery, this is the year that will define the rest of their lives… It’s time to stop the insane roller coaster ride that they’ve been on. It’s time to set goals… not resolutions! Let’s do ourselves a BIG favor… This year make only one resolution. This year make the resolution to not make a resolution. Resolutions have never worked for me. So this year I am setting specific goals. Goals that are realistic and attainable. Not unrealistic!

So I am calling 2014 the year of my re-birth… Yup that’s right… Here’s to new life. I am thankful for the time I spent at the hospital and at TWC. I am thankful for the time I spent in group therapy trying to figure out who I am, and how to deal with learning about me and surviving me. I will be forever grateful for 2014 and I look forward to a new life in 2015.

So now that 2015 is upon us, what now?

Nothing is more indicative of a fresh start than New Year’s. So for people in recovery, setting the goal to quit drinking, using drugs, and/or engaging in addictive behaviours (gambling, sex, eating, video gaming, shopping, etc.) makes perfect sense. Usually, though, setting goals is not enough. This is true even with non-addicts, many set goals to drop 20 pounds every year but never manage it. Of course, a bit of extra belly fat is not usually as life-threatening as a full-blown addiction. The good news, if you’ve set a goal to stay sober in the New Year, is that there are a few additional goals that you can make that can help you to maintain that big one.

The number one and most important thing to continue doing is…

KEEP GOING TO MEEETINGS! Attending meetings regularly is a great way to meet and interact with others who share your problem and speak your language. Many recovering addicts attend meetings daily. After all, they engaged in their addictive behaviours daily, didn’t they? Typically, people in recovery find that having sober friends to hang out with is a key element of maintaining sobriety over the long-haul

CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE. Active addicts always have a routine or pattern that eventually leads to using. Take a look at your regular day, and figure out where the path veers off toward addiction. At that point, you must do something different. Instead of driving home down the street with all the bars, take a different route. Instead of turning on the TV and eventually smoking pot, go for a walk in a nearby park. It doesn’t really matter what you do that’s different, as long as it breaks the pattern that leads to using.

IMPROVE YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH. Getting sober is not just about stopping with the drinking, using, and other compulsive behaviours. It’s a complete lifestyle change. Healthy eating and regular exercise help you in numerous respects. Most obviously, you feel better, which makes it easier to not “self-medicate.”

TRY NEW THINGS. Taking a cooking class (maybe as part of eating healthier meals), starting a new hobby or resuming an old hobby, joining a social club, and just about any other new activity will put you in contact with lots of new people, some of whom may become friends. These activities also can invigorate an otherwise stalled life.

There are many other things that you can do to help you achieve your goal of staying sober this year, but these are the ones that I am focusing on right now.

So remember, life happens no matter what, and there’s not much any one of us can do about that. That said, life in sobriety is ALWAYS better than life in active addiction. Sure, getting sober and staying sober takes a lot of hard work and effort, but it’s worth it.  So happy GOAL setting.

Thanks for stopping by… Peace… Luke D.

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