It’s a New Year! What Recovering Addicts Can Do To Enrich Their Lives

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It’s the New Year, and for many of us, this time of the year leaves us feeling restored and motivated. It’s a fresh start and a chance to do things better this time around. As you work toward your New Year’s resolutions, it’s important to make positive changes in your life that will lay the foundation for a healthy recovery and continued improvement.

Let Go of Resentment

Getting rid of resentment isn’t exactly easy, and it’s not something we can just do. It’s a work in progress, so to speak. Resentment is something that stays in our head and affects everything in our lives, from relationships to self confidence. Resentment is toxic; it can negatively impact our personal and emotional growth, and it can make us feel angry and bitter.

If you want to keep your resolutions this year, you need to learn to let go of the resentment you have bottled up inside. A good way to do this is by separating yourself from the people you do resent. Your recovery comes first, and you need to surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you.

Also, letting go of resentment involves looking at situations objectively and being honest about your role in the affair. You can’t blame everything on that other person, and when you realize you are partially to blame as well, you can learn to let go of negative feelings and move forward in your life.

Forgive Others – and Yourself

In addition to letting go of resentful feelings, it’s also important to forgive. Forgiveness is what clears our conscious and allows us to rid our minds and bodies of all negative thoughts and emotions. Forgiveness is a state of mind, and it’s different for everyone. It’s difficult to achieve, but with time, patience and practice, you will get there. When you forgive others, you can move on in your life and relationships, and have a healthy attitude.

Not only do you need to forgive others, but yourself, too. We are not always perfect, and if you did things in your past that you regret, it’s time to forgive yourself. Unfortunately, addiction takes hold of some people and prevents them from thinking clearly or acting rational, and you need to accept that you may not have been in control at the time. You can’t force another person to forgive you, but you can forgive yourself, forgive them and work toward a healthy future so that things eventually come together.

Set Realistic Goals

Sometimes, we expect too much from ourselves following treatment for addiction. The truth is that recovery takes a very, very long time. A lifetime, in fact. You may be recovering from a drug or alcohol dependency, but you are also rebuilding your life. You may be trying to mend a spousal relationship, get shared custody of your children or enter the workforce once again. It’s easy to want it all, but you must take things slow.

Break down your goals into small, manageable steps. This will help you stay on track for the larger goal, and you can experience all the positive emotions that come with fulfilling your smaller goals. This is a far better approach than formulating large, generalized goals, because if you don’t fulfill them, you’ll view yourself as a failure. By meeting small objectives, you can see how it’s continued progression that is most important.

Keep a Journal

During recovery, you may have kept a journal. Whether you find it fun or mundane, it’s a good practice to have. You need to have outlets for letting out your inner struggles and emotions, even if it’s just words or phrases scribbled on a page. Journaling is private and an excellent way to get in touch with the person you really are and want to be.

If you don’t feel comfortable journaling in your home, take a hike and find a quiet place in nature to write. As 2014 continues on, you can look back at the progress you have made throughout the year.

Allow Yourself to Feel Feelings

It’s easy for addicts to make themselves numb. When addiction takes over, it strips the person of their true selves, and numbness is what results over time. But, you are no longer an addict – you are a recovering addict. You need to step up and take responsibility for your actions, and this comes from getting to know YOU again and feeling your inner emotions. It can be scary and unfamiliar at first, but remember that feeling is part of the human experience.

If you feel sad, angry or scared, let these feelings come to the surface. Embrace them. Deal with them. Don’t push them away. By doing this, you’re making yourself psychologically and emotionally strong. And, not all emotions are negative. We have many wonderful feelings, too, and by learning how to embrace all emotions, you can have a richer life.

It’s a New Year. A time for change, a time for resolution. You can do anything you set your mind to, but you must have a strong foundation for continued improvement.