7 Tips for Keeping Your 2016 Resolution to Get Sober

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Once January has come and gone, new years’ resolutions can be difficult to follow through on—especially when your resolution is to get sober.

It’s easy to keep putting it off every month until you eventually forget why you wanted to do it in the first place, but don’t lose sight of your goal! No resolution is more important than finding satisfaction and happiness in a drug-free life, and you can absolutely make that happen.

You’ve already recognized that you’ll be healthier and happier without drugs, but where do you go from here? Planning for a sober life can be daunting, but there is always help available to get you on the right track, whether it be from professional therapists, support groups, or your family and friends.

There are also many things you can do yourself to keep you focused on living a drug-free life.

These 7 tips will help you start your journey to recovery and keep your 2016 resolution to get sober.

Tip #1: Define your motivation

Why do you want to get sober? Some people find motivation within themselves. They are tired of living in constant cravings, tired of all the time and effort that the substance consumes, and tired of the suffering that substance abuse causes in their life.

Others may find motivation in the friends, family, and loved ones that surround them. The pain that substance abuse can cause extends beyond you and into the people that love you. It can be difficult to see how your struggle affects those around you, but often an addict’s loved ones suffer as well.

Remember, they feel pain because they care about you and don’t want to see substance abuse take over your life.

Others find motivation simply in the desire to avoid legal consequences. Whatever your reason, identify and define why you want to get sober, and remind yourself of it any time you feel a temptation to use.

Tip #2: Read other people’s success stories

Learning about how someone else found the drive to get and stay sober can be inspiring. You may be surprised to find just how many people are willing to talk about what they went through to find lasting sobriety.

There are many free online forums and websites you can visit to learn from others and be reminded that you are not alone in struggling with substance abuse. You can also share your own story and get support from others by doing so.

Tip #3: Make yourself accountable

In order to stick to your plan to get sober, be sure to find a way to keep yourself accountable for your progress. Friends and family can be a great source of accountability and can be a constant reminder of your end goal.

Keeping a journal can also help you stay on your path to recovery. Write down any time you feel like using and why you feel this way. You may notice some patterns in your life that are challenging your decision to get sober and you’ll be able to address these problems head-on. For example, if you notice that you have the urge to use in a particular place or with a particular person, stop going to that place or spending time with that person.

Most importantly, don’t ignore those moments where you have the urge to use. Write them down, tell someone, and acknowledge these feelings.

Tip #4: Find the best treatment for you

Quitting drugs isn’t something you do alone. Learn about the different treatment options available and decide which one works best for you. Don’t be afraid to call a treatment center and ask about the different options. Ask as many questions as you need to because choosing the right rehab program could be the difference between staying sober and relapsing.

Tip #5: Join a support group

There are countless support groups that exist for almost any addiction, and most of them are free to join. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are a great way to meet others in similar situations to you and help you remain sober after getting treatment for your addiction.

Tip #6: Set yourself attainable goals

Setting yourself some smaller goals might help you reach your main goal of getting and staying sober.

Join your local gym, spend more time with loved ones, or read one book a month—whatever your goals may be, do your best to stick to them! They may help distract you when you’re feeling the urge to use and it’s also encouraging when you can tick these goals off your list.

Tip #7: Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Developing a healthier mind and body will help keep you on track to being sober. Start a food and exercise diary to keep track of your progress—your body will thank you for it!

To maintain a healthy mindset, practice mindfulness for just a few minutes everyday or find another calming activity, like painting or listening to music. Do whatever works for you. Remember to write in your journal and be grateful to yourself for making the decision to get sober and become a healthier version of you.


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Lauren Brande, MA, has dedicated her life to psychological research. She started off her career with a scholarship from the Western Psychological Association for her undergraduate work in perceptual processing. In 2014, she achieved her master of arts in psychology from Boston University, harnessing a particular interest in the effects that drugs and trauma have on the functioning brain.

She believes that all research should be accessible and digestible, and her passion fuels her desire to share important scientific findings to improve rehabilitation.

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