It’s the end of the year, and for recovering addicts, alcoholics, and those suffering from mental health issues, it can be a frightening time. We place on onslaught of expectations on others and ourselves as we seek perfection and immediate change via resolutions and hyped up promised to ourselves. In many ways, this can be a set up for failure, especially for the addict/alcoholic who has to do everythingallatonce. You know, who else wants to join a gym and work out every day for 3 hours with a trainer 7 days a week while also giving up meat and going vegan? What, that’s not reasonable? Sheesh. Can’t we do everything? The honest answer is no, at least not all at once.
Okay, so the New Year metaphorically represents a time of renewal and an opportunity to commit to personal change. Recovery teaches us not to place too much pressure on ourselves as we begin to make change. We are encouraged to take baby steps. In the beginning of the recovery process, the foundation we stand upon is tenuous; working steps, getting a sponsor, being of service is part of our construction process. We are building a foundation one action at a time. Mental health recovery requires us to work hard and consistently to broaden the safe, healing ground on which we stand. Resting on our laurels is simply not an option. Holiday time and end of year shenanigans make recovery work imperative; there is no reprieve.
Before you get overwhelmed with resolutions, how to deal with parties, peer pressures, and goals of perceived perfection: stop. Just stop. This isn’t an opportunity to beat yourself up or wallow in the what-ifs and I-should-haves, nor is it the opportunity to kick your feet up and rest. This is the time to take things one minute at a time.
- Call your sponsor.
- Take your medication—even if you feel better!!
- Surround yourself with friends who are supportive of your new path.
- Make plans that include having safe, sober fun.
- And don’t forget to have a sober dance party.
This time of year presents the perfect time to be of service and to practice self-care. Our mental health depends on it. Embrace your new self. You are beautiful and enough, just as you are.