Tis the season to make New Year’s Resolutions! While these can be fun and flippant promises that you know that you’re going to break, they are also an excellent opportunity to make real change.
If you think of the new year as a clean slate and the opportunity to start again, a clear resolution to stop a damaging behaviour, or limiting belief, or setting a goal to work towards can be very powerful.
The end of the year is a great time to reflect and review how everything has gone and decide to do things differently for the year to come. We’d encourage you to embrace this and take the time to look back on 2023 and think whether your relationship with alcohol, drugs or gambling is healthy.
Reflect on how this behaviour makes you feel and whether you have any sense of shame about your behaviour, before during or after. Ask yourself whether your drinking, drug use or gambling is damaging relationships, or affecting your mental or physical health and wellbeing. Have honest conversations with the people around you and ask them what they think and really listen to their feedback.
If you realize that you are not able to have a healthy, balanced relationship with alcohol, drugs or gambling and that you have lost control, it’s time to stop! You’ve become addicted and this is having a negative impact on your life that will only get worse the more it takes hold.
Use your New Year’s Resolution and the start of a brand-new year to put a stop to this behaviour and break the dangerous cycle of addiction. We know it’s not easy, but can tell you from personal experience that recovery is possible and that your life without drugs, alcohol or gambling will be so much better.
Here are our suggestions on how you can make that New Year’s Resolution really count.
- Write it down
Start with writing down your New Year’s Resolution. You can put it in a diary for the new year, where you can track your progress and thoughts, or in a notebook, or as a note on the fridge, whatever works for you.
As well as the resolution itself, write your WHY – the reasons behind why you are choosing to stop at this time. Committing to paper the things you have done, or the damage being caused by this behaviour, gives you a much bigger and better reason why to stop and gives you something to look back on when it’s tough and you feel like quitting.
- Tell people and make yourself accountable
Before it chimes midnight, tell people your New Year’s Resolutions and what you’re committing to in 2024. This makes you accountable and makes it less easy to give up down the line.
If you want to stop drinking, signing up to Dry January is an excellent first step. There are lots of great resources to help you through the first month of sobriety and as it is a very popular thing to do, the stigma, or embarrassment you may feel admitting you have a problem with alcohol is lessened. There are Dry January support groups on Facebook, where people encourage each other to keep going and offer advice and insights on how they stopped drinking and this can really help you feel connected and not alone.
- Get prepared
Ahead of January 1st you need to prepare yourself for the new chapter of your life without drugs, alcohol or gambling.
Throw away any alcohol or drugs you have in your house. Ensure your house is a safe place and cancel any plans to meet with people who encourage your damaging behaviours.
Stock up on non-alcoholic drinks and food that makes you feel good and look into exercise which can boost endorphins naturally.
Unsubscribe from gambling platforms, or block your account, stop any alerts or emails you receive about tips or sporting events and try to cut yourself off from the temptations that made you want to gamble.
Educate yourself on what to expect when you quit drinking or taking drugs and make sure you have a support system in place. Perhaps have someone come to stay with you for the first few days, to distract you, motivate you and help in case of any medical issues caused by detoxing.
Look for books or programs that can offer practical advice or tools on stopping drinking or using drugs. Sign up for newsletters and join Facebook groups, so you will receive positive messages and you can feel part of a movement or community which rejects alcohol or drugs.
Starting to follow the 12-steps is an incredibly powerful place to begin, which gives you structure, a community, accountability and celebrates every milestone – it really works. Find out about the 12 steps and rehab on our blog, so you can understand how it works before your first meeting.
- Make a plan for how you are going to make these changes stick
Write down your triggers or biggest temptations and think how you can avoid them, or deal with them. Make your plan as practical as possible!
Look for a new activity or hobby which can be an enjoyable activity where you can make friends and do something different which is not related to your addiction. Taking up a new fitness routine, arts and crafts, joining a choir, learning to dance, learning to cook, joining a club, all these things can really enhance your life and offer you a fun outlet to do things with the time when you used to be drinking, taking drugs or gambling.
Talk to a friend and let them know what you are doing and ask if you can call them, or get in touch when things are feeling hard. Arrange regular check-ins with them and positive activities like going for a walk and talk, so you have someone to confide in, who will support you, celebrate your success and keep you going.
- Ask for help
Breaking the cycle of addiction is not easy, but it is possible. Thankfully there is plenty of addiction treatment out there, depending on the level of your addiction and requirements.
You can start by visiting your GP to discuss your issue and they can refer you to therapists and counsellors, or recommend local groups, or even medication to help you.
Alternatively, search for your nearest AA group online and go to a meeting.
There are also online and virtual treatment options for addiction available, which can offer help from the comfort of your own home, without impacting on work and family life. We have developed a four-week online programme delivered by our expert team of qualified psychotherapists and addiction specialists. This is an excellent way for those who are unable to travel or receive treatment for their addictions face-to-face to still get professional help, at a fraction of the cost of a residential programme.
Last but not least, you can check yourself into an inpatient rehabilitation centre. This option is advised for people who are not able to resist temptation in their own homes, or who have been drinking or taking drugs for a long time and need supervision and support to get through their first days and weeks of withdrawal safely.
Our luxury rehab in Spain is a safe place for you to make a lasting change and stop drinking and taking drugs for good. It provides private addiction treatment with bespoke and highly effective programmes with complete discretion guaranteed. We purposefully keep group sizes small, to enable our highly qualified addiction specialists to provide intensive and personalised care and empower and enable you to start living your life with dignity and free from shame.
Make 2024 the best year of your life by leaving the drugs, alcohol and gambling behind and starting the new year with clarity and a commitment to recovery. If you need help, we’re here for you. Get in touch today.