If you take the time to create actionable goals for yourself, your New Year’s resolutions can be an important tool in promoting a lasting recovery. Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they are too vague or the person making the resolution hasn’t thought about how to achieve their goal. To set effective goals, the SMART goals framework is well-suited for people in recovery because it provides concrete suggestions for breaking down the vague goal of “sober” into a series of steps that provide a foundation for success.
How good it is to be fully present in this exact moment and remember to remember there is one all-encompassing intelligent power that envelopes and indwells me, now and always. I sense my Higher Power with recognition and appreciation that It is and always has been right here, right there, and everywhere… With deep exhilaration, I look ahead to a fresh clean slate of a new year, a new beginning, and a bubbling sense of pure potentiality. I carry forward with me all that still serves me and others from the previous year, and I gently release and set down that which does not.
During my first year of sobriety, the mere thought of New Year’s Eve had me panicking months in advance (like, September). I couldn’t fathom the idea of spending such a holiday without my two besties: drugs and alcohol… Now, two years later, I find myself less and less preoccupied (read: obsessed) with these two formerly-preferred party favors of mine. I’m by no means cured of my addiction… All I have are my own experiences and ideas to share. In the past 24 months, I’ve actually managed to enjoy several smashingly jocular holidays without the use of drugs or alcohol.
This is a time of year when we all tend to make lists – Christmas lists, New Year’s lists, even lists of lists… Here is a list of All I Want For Christmas right here, right now, and for the New Year too… Well, maybe not all, but a good solid starting point. And you?
It is not the abstaining from alcohol that’s difficult and isolating—it’s the stubborn insistence that you either play along with faux revelry or keep quiet and drink your juice with a smile. It’s a false dichotomy: one that says you must either lie to yourself and others, or be miserable. You are either the whole, happy town of Whoville or the Grinch, determined to abscond with everyone else’s joy. This is why we sober people get quiet in groups of holiday revelers: We can’t quite play along, but we also don’t want to get in the way of your fun.
A lot of people experience the hardest parts of sobriety during the holidays — when family, friends, constant partying around alcohol and substances, and even past traumas from this time of the year — all seem to be in full force. The holidays may be an extremely difficult time, and experiencing them through sobriety (for the first time, or for the thirtieth!) can sometimes feel daunting. Everyone’s journey is different, but I wanted to be able to share some of my coping mechanisms with you in the hopes that it might help. Whether you yourself are sober, or you know someone who is newly sober, I hope you find these tips helpful in your own way. I like to call them my ‘tool kit’ for living.
On airplanes large or small, I go to any lengths for an aisle seat. Probably left over from my drinking days when I was restless, fidgety, and impatient. Not to mention the need for frequent bathroom trips from the steady stream of liquids I consumed. Nor my passive/aggressive emotions toward any seat mates I had to climb over. No room for error in aisle seat attainment…
Strong boundaries are the foundation of my self-care. I began by saying no to a glass of wine, but now I’m able to say no to other uncomfortable holiday activities… When I look at my calendar in December, I often feel like I might hyperventilate. This holiday season, I encourage you to listen to your own little voice. Set boundaries, take care of yourself, and remember… Your sobriety is the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones.