Currently there are 21 million adults and adolescents in the United States that suffer from a diagnosable drug addiction problem. Less than one in five of that group receives treatment in a given year.
It’s January—a time when many reflect on the past year and make one – or a few – New Year’s resolutions. For some it’s to lose weight, for others it may be to finally get organized and ready for the coming year. Regardless of what your personal vow may be, New Year’s resolutions are about new beginnings.
While it is no secret that addiction recovery is a long and involved process, there is one step that can help begin that path to recovery—the act of letting go.
When you let bad memories and past resentments pile up it can feel like as though you are carrying an armful of bricks with each resentment. While allowing bad memories to accumulate and not dealing with them is negative for everyone, it can be especially harmful for those in recovery, or those looking to achieve addiction recovery. This is because of the physical and emotional consequences of carrying burdens.
- Physical Consequences: When you don’t let go of what is troubling you it can immediately begin to take its toll on your body and can result in loss of sleep and appetite, increased likelihood of getting sick, headaches and migraines, weight loss, and diminished appearance. Additionally not letting go can lead to serious or chronic diseases such as hypertension, stroke, back pain, ulcers, etc.
- Emotional Consequences: Constant worry and insecurity is a huge byproduct of failing to let go. Plaguing thoughts of negative scenarios such as, “what will become of our/my children? How will I ever be able to face our/my friends again?” can cause extreme emotional turmoil; and will further hamper the individual’s fight to recovery.
So how then do we go about making the most of this New Year and staying consistent with letting go and progressing on the path to recovery? Here are some tips:
- Seek proper drug rehab treatment (for those not yet in recovery) and build a strong relapse prevention plan.
- Get out and spend time with family and friends. Being social doesn’t need to involve drugs and alcohol, connecting with those who you care for and who care for you can be a huge asset in recovery
- Start going to meetings or support groups on a regular basis
- Take up a hobby
- Volunteer your time on a monthly or weekly basis
- Create a weekly plan that allows you to get out and enjoy time away from home without leading you back to your old ways
There is no time like the present to embark on a new beginning. Whether it’s just the beginning of your road to recovery, or you are cementing the recovery plan you have in place, remember to let go of the things that will only hold you back. Lifelong recovery is possible!