Are New Years resolutions really a good thing? In my opinion, if there is anything in life really worth changing, then waiting till a certain day to make that change seems silly to me. However, if the spirit of the New Year is to create goals and accountability, then I am all for it.
My new years resolution is to quit the gym. I know that sounds really strange but I have gotten way to comfortable with my routine at the gym to the point where I am in the center of my comfort zone circle. Last night I cancelled my gym membership and will be making an effort to to outdoor activities with my dog and use my own body weight for resistance. I'll let you know how it goes.
Here is an outline of what is discussed in today
1) For people thinking of making “stop drinking” a new years resolution:
Resolutions are good and its a great time to start something new. However, alcoholics are experts at making promises (even to ourselves) and then letting ourselves down.
There are thousands of self help books on reaching goals (i.e. tony robbins) but a true alcohol problem requires more than will power and knowledge.
I think we have all made the resolution to stop drinking on new years day - and that is good! But when dealing with addiction, the day doesn’t have much power than the other 364 days a year if we don’t take a few steps to get us on the path to sobriety.
If this is you, I encourage you to save yourself a lot of grief and supplement this resolution with some action such as: attending a meeting (maybe your resolution includes attending at least one meeting a week for a year), telling someone close to you, and maybe even join our private Facebook accountability page and post to the group introducing yourself. Its a lot easier to quit drinking when you are part of a community that cares about you.
2) For people well on their way in sobriety that are making new resolutions:
We are experts at making promises and failing. We are also experts and trying to do things our own way, only to find ourselves humbled as we constantly "bang our head on a wall” hoping the outcome will somehow “be different this time.” I almost want to save myself (and all of you) the agony of defeat by just skipping resolutions this year. However, not trying something is way worse than not trying and failing! What if we tried something and we actually succeeded!
Sobriety can be so fragile in the beginning. Maybe skipping resolutions and just “working your program” is the right move. Without sobriety nothing else in life really matters.
However, if you are at a point in your recovery where your program is working and you still have some energy to spare. Improving other areas of your life can actually strengthen your sobriety.
The key then, is to skip the standard mode of operation (make a big promise and use willpower to try and fulfill it) and instead use some of the tools we have learned in recovery to help turbo charge our progress.
A few ideas:
What tools in your “recovery portfolio” can help you achieve your goals.
Is the resolution necessary and realistic?
Example: quit all sugar vs quit processed sugar. Necessary because regulating or moderating has produced nothing but failure.
Is it measurable:
Lose weight vs, loose 5 lbs every 3 months for a total of 20 pounds in the year.
Can you vision yourself and what it will be like when you achieve the resolution?
How good will you feel! Weight loss and how you will look? Pride from being successful.
What are you doing to hold yourself accountable?
Telling others, scheduled review times, public posting?
Have you laid out the steps necessary to get there?
i.e. learn to fly…. what steps does that take?
This is all good and can really improve our health, happiness and thus sobriety. One thing is for sure, achieving lofty goals were probably not possible when we were drinking! Its okay, its more than okay - its so powerful to do awesome things in sobriety! New years is a good time to expand upon our sobriety by really living. Improving our lives through by achieving resolutions another way we can express gratitude for our sobriety.
This is huge Recovery Elevator. The first Recovery Elevator meetup will be taking place in Seattle on Saturday February 27th, 2016. Details to come. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on this meetup.