Use These Tools to Strengthen Your Resolve in 2020
It’s hard enough to say you’ll stop drinking or using drugs, and even harder to keep that promise year-round. Especially if you’ve tried to quit before, you may dread the thought of going through all the hard work only to let yourself down. Don’t lose hope: Some alcohol and/or drug users relapse more than once before they beat their addiction for good. Whether this is your first attempt to stop using or a vow to yourself that you want to fulfill this time, here are some suggestions to help you continue strong.
1. Don’t Detox Alone
No matter what substance you’re using, if you’ve formed a chemical dependency you will experience a physical reaction when you quit. Despite its wide use, alcohol is one of the most difficult substances to stop using. For some, withdrawal brings medical risks including seizures. For most, it’s extremely uncomfortable—and your racing brain and physical symptoms may make “just one more drink” into an even stronger temptation than it usually is. Even truly mild substances like marijuana can change your brain chemistry, making them difficult to give up.
Don’t let your brain’s dependence on a substance hijack your willpower. You can enlist a friend or loved one to stay with you and stop you from responding to cravings as your body resets itself. Or you can attend a monitored detoxification program for around-the-clock medical care and treatment options that may be able to reduce the discomfort of withdrawal.
2. Remind Yourself Why You’re Committed
When you’re early in recovery, looking too far ahead may be counterproductive. Keeping a promise for a month, let alone a whole year may seem impossible. In these moments, remember: A habit is formed by the behaviors you engage in each day. When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself you want to go the whole day without using, and commit to spending the next 24 hours substance-free. It may help to write the reasons behind your decision and keep the list nearby so you can replenish your motivation when the cravings hit.
You cannot change the past, but you can make each day a good one by sticking to your resolve.
3. Take Care of Yourself
During struggles with substance use, health often falls by the wayside. Taking care of your body and mind can help you feel better without the influence of drugs and give you something to focus on.
If you try to start living like a superstar athlete overnight, you’re likely to burn out—but small changes can stack up to improve your lifestyle and your health. If you don’t know where to start, try:
- Substituting a serving of vegetables or fruit for a “convenience food” like chips or a candy bar in one meal each day
- Walking up the stairs at your apartment and/or workplace instead of taking the elevator
- Taking five minutes before you go to bed to meditate, or just to breathe deeply and reflect on your day
- Starting a journal: You can chronicle your challenges and successes and may develop insights into your past alcohol use
4. Try New Hobbies
If your leisure time used to involve using or spending time with others who liked to use, you may find yourself at a loss for what to do when you’re not at work or asleep. Not only will picking up a hobby give you something fun to do with your time, but it may help you stick with your recovery. Hobbies can be instrumental in rebuilding a sense of meaning and joy outside of alcohol and/or drug use.
It can be hard to decide what your hobby should be if you haven’t had one in a while. If you’re stuck, think about what you like: being active? Learning? Letting your creative side take over? Collecting odd and interesting items? No matter your passion, there’s sure to be a hobby you'll enjoy.
If your first attempt doesn’t work out, don’t fret. Not every activity is fun for every person—and there are still plenty of options for you to try.
5. Seek Professional Support
We applaud anyone who can decide they want to be sober and then start the process by themselves. For most of us—even those who venture out on their own at first—having understanding and supportive professionals to lean on is essential to making it through difficult times.
If you’re looking for a stronger level of support and structure to guide your recovery, Turning Point offers both residential and outpatient treatment programs. We provide assistance to patients from their initial detox to early sobriety to their transition back to normal life.
It’s perfectly natural to struggle as you try to regain your sobriety, but we are here to help you achieve your goals. Reach out to our admissions team by calling (973) 380-0905 to learn about our offerings.