January 18, 2018
As the calendar turns and we move forward into a new year, people across the country are turning their attention to everything they don’t like about their lives. A few unwanted pounds, financial difficulties, and other unhealthy decisions are often the focus of New Year’s resolutions as a result of a desire for self-improvement and increased quality of life.
But what if, instead of focusing on the negative, we turn our attention to the positive in 2018? In recovery, the more we can increase our enjoyment in life, the stronger we will be without drugs and alcohol.
The good news is that choosing to eschew New Year’s resolutions and instead to live in joy this year is an actionable choice. Here are 10 ways you can actively love your life in recovery and enjoy all you have gained in sobriety as we head into the new year:
- Make a gratitude list. Not sure what it is that is enjoyable in your life? Stop and consider all you have now that you did not have when living in addiction . Do you have a safe place to sleep at night? Are you eating healthier? Do you have fewer colds or infections, more energy, less fear of eviction, job loss, or arrest? Do you have people in your life whom you care about and who care about you? The physical act of writing down all you have to be grateful for can remind you to focus on the positive things in your life.
- Remember something nice that you’ve done for someone else. Did you ever cover for someone at work? Help someone older get something from the top shelf at the grocery store? Give someone a present they really wanted and weren’t expecting? Help out without expecting anything in return? Those little moments in your life where you put someone else first can be moments to return to often as you build your self-confidence and do more things to support the people around you in recovery.
- Seek out things you enjoy. A favorite band, a great cup of coffee or tea, a nap, clothes that make you feel confident and strong, or even video clips or memes online that make you laugh. Make a point of doing the things you enjoy as often as possible. It’s one of the benefits of being in recovery.
- Celebrate with someone else. If someone you know is celebrating a sober birthday, having a baby, getting married, moving, or doing something else that they are really excited about, take time out to celebrate with them and share in the joy.
- Cut short the time spent with negative people. Give yourself permission to politely duck out of conversations that are going nowhere, not answer texts or calls from people who are toxic, and otherwise clear your schedule of meetups with people who do not make you feel great when you are around them. Make room for the amazing people you know and have yet to meet.
- Go for a walk. Changing up your scenery and getting outside – even in this, the coldest month of the year – can help to pull you out of a bad mood, shift your perspective, and give you a little exercise at the same time. Plus, every bit of vitamin D from the sun helps!
- Hug one of your people. A close friend, a niece or nephew, a sibling, a parent, or a new acquaintance who is quickly becoming an important part of your new sober network – people are an important part of your recovery and will play a huge role in your ability to get the most out of life in 2018.
- Get cozy. What makes you feel warm, safe, and protected, both physically and in your recovery? Make yourself comfortable and choose to infuse your life with the things that inspire you most.
- Smile. Even if it is a forced smile, it can help to lower your stress levels and make you feel better about the life you are living – a quick and easy coping method to employ anytime, anywhere.
- Know that this is the best time in your life. With all you have learned in active addiction and in treatment, and all that lies in front of you in terms of opportunity and growth potential, this is an incredible moment in your life. Give yourself permission to focus on the good things you have earned and enjoy all life has to offer in 2018. Make this year your best year yet in recovery.