Happy new year! It's 2017 and 2016 is finally behind us. Or is it? Technically, it's only the date on the calendar that changed. We're celebrating going around the sun for another year. The new year is the start of renewed inspiration. Everyone's motivated to swing their life around and start living their dreams. This is great - up until about 20 January where most people lose it again.
I need to tell you something. The calendar flipping over is not going to change your life. A new year is not going to keep you sober. The only thing that can keep you sober is YOU.
This is important. You need to realize this if you want to make 2017 a success. Let's start with a few tips on how to do just that.
#1 Take Responsibility
This is much, much harder than it sounds. It's almost human nature to blame something bad on someone or something else. Late for work? Must have been that stupid car in front of me. No, you should have taken into account that you probably will get traffic on your way to work. Life is what you make of it. We get dealt bad hands; it's unfair, yes. Blaming it on other things won't help you get where you want to be though. Realize that if you want to stay sober and in control, you need to control your life. Don't give it over to a date on a calendar.
#2 Find a support system
I touched on talking with someone in my post about dealing with relapses. This is extremely important and can absolutely be the difference between success and failure. Sure, there are people out there who can do it solo. You're likely not one of them though. Before you classify yourself as one of those people, give a support system a chance. AA or NA meetings are a great resource. While not for everyone, they have a vast amount of knowledge. This is also an easy way to meet potential sponsors! Join an online community. You need to vent and talk to people who know what you've been through and have dealt with what you're dealing with right now.
#3 Be prepared
Do research on whatever your trying to recover from. For example, if you're an alcoholic, do research on alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Know exactly what you should expect your body to do. Don't get caught off guard and relapse - it happens. You also need to figure out what your weaknesses are and what triggers relapses for you.
#4 Document your Journey
Before you start thinking "I don't do diaries", wait! It doesn't have to be a diary. It can be little daily notes. Another great idea is a photo album. Take a photo of yourself every day, week, or whatever interval you prefer. If you have tough days, or even relapses, note them down and keep a record of all of them. Why do all of this? It gives you a routine and gives you something to focus on every day. It helps you stay identify patterns. Finally, looking back and what you've achieved is a great source of motivation.
I hope 2017 is going to be an absolute great year for you. Keep up the good work and stay sober!