Reflecting on 2020 brings up many emotions, thoughts and adjectives describing the roller coaster ride it was. Perhaps the corkscrews, loops and plunges led you to make choices to live your best life, driving you to get in shape in your living room, redecorate the guest bedroom or start and finish that project in the kitchen. Perhaps the year wasn’t a positive one, and you found yourself fighting new challenges.
And then 2021 debuted, and the first week had many people thinking they’d like to cancel their 7-day free trial of the new year. Quite a few individuals didn’t even make resolutions for the new year because of the bad taste 2020 left in their mouth.
Well, with each new year, and more immediately with each new day, comes the chance to choose otherwise. We can recognize that 2020 was a heavy year, but it in no way needs to hold the power of setting the tone for this new year. Especially if sobriety was a struggle as a means of coping with quarantine, financial struggles or issues at work or home, now is as good a time as any to start fresh and redefine this year for yourself, no matter what negativity goes on in the world.
Before we get into what it looks like, it’s important to understand what prioritizing sobriety even means. Sobriety is a choice, and unfortunately it can be a challenging (but not impossible!) one. It all begins with the choice to make becoming and remaining sober one’s top goal. This means actively choosing to say no to many things. This could be declining an invitation to go to out with friends on a Friday night; it could be purchasing your other favorite beverages such as soda or sparkling water to have on hand when you just want something to sip on; it could be finding an accountability partner in a friend who you trust to hold you accountable throughout the week.
But sobriety isn’t all about saying no. It’s actually about saying yes to many things which the substance abuse didn’t allow. Sobriety opens the doors to activities, relationships, mental and physical health and perhaps even financial freedom in a way substance abuse never could.
And keep in mind that what helps one person maintain sobriety might be completely different from what helps another. Recovery is not, and never will be, a one size fits all solution. How you prioritize sobriety in your life is up to you.
Sobriety in 2021
There’s an aura of uncertainty hanging around the start of this new year. This lack of control can be frightening, but becoming overwhelmed by the unknown never helped a soul.
What does help? Handling the things you can handle.
When it comes to overcoming a substance use struggle, there are some things which you might consider prioritizing in this year’s journey.
Turn off the news
There’s a lot going on out there in the world which can trigger a wide array of paranoias, fears, anxiety and depression. When it’s not benefitting your mental state and leading to harmful coping mechanisms, being inundated with news is just plain bad. So turn it off. Monitor the entertainment you consume, switch the radio to music or unfollow problematic content on social media. Become more present to your immediate surroundings and control the news in the only way you can – turning it off.
Talk to your people
As restrictions are being lifted, it’s important to rekindle friendships or reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while. Friends are one of the most important support systems when choosing sobriety and can be the encouragement you need when making an important life change. Getting outside with friends for a picnic or hike, organizing a board game night or simply having coffee on the porch one afternoon can have monumental benefits in your journey.
Take care of your body
We’re talking physically and mentally! If the gyms near you are open, hit them up. If weights and treadmills are not your thing, maybe consider taking a yoga or pilates class. Consider looking into a spin studio. Plus, there are thousands of mobile apps and online resources with some killer workout routines, which you can tailor to your personal fitness goals without even walking out the front door.
Try meditation and breathing exercises. These help calm you down naturally, and channel out-of-control thoughts and emotions by helping you focus on only the present moment. By acknowledging the sounds and smells around you, the physical feeling of your chest rising and lowering as you inhale and exhale, you will be able to redirect your thoughts and find peace without a coping mechanism.
No matter where you start – whether you talk to a friend or create a daily reminder – sobriety is well worth the effort. It’s time to relinquish the hold of negativity and start making healthy, important choices for long term health and wellness. If you’re ready to take steps to prioritize your sobriety in 2021, we’re ready to help. Call us at 1-855-363-7325 today, or reach out to learn even more about how our PHP, IOP and Outpatient programs help you take control of life’s challenges.