The Best New Year’s Resolutions for People in Recovery

New Year’s Resolutions in Recovery

While Americans prepare to leave 2020 behind for good, they have also begun to look ahead to 2021. Each year, we celebrate the changing of the calendar with resolutions – ambitious, exciting goals for the year ahead. However, most of us won’t stick with those resolutions for very long; research shows that within six months, 54% of resolvers will have abandoned their dreams of weight loss, exercise and lifestyle change. How can people in recovery set meaningful, achievable New Year’s resolutions? We’ve put together a list of our recommendations for those working 12-Step programs.


Take a Personal Inventory

Step 4 of the 12 Steps includes an important directive: make a searching, fearless moral inventory of ourselves. For those working the Steps, this is often a painful process. Many hesitate to revisit it after they have done it the first time. However, looking inward and analyzing our behavior can provide great insight for the year ahead.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. The best way we can prepare for new, healthy habits is to understand our current choices. Before you set any New Year’s resolutions, we encourage you to take a personal inventory. What have you done this year that you are proud of? Were there any resolutions you made at the start of 2020 that you’d like to revisit in January? Have you identified any areas in which you would like to improve?

By asking yourself these questions, you make room for achievable goals that will integrate well with your current lifestyle.


Get Through the Moment

In 12-Step programs, we often refer to a set of slogans and reactions that can help us to “get through the moment.” If you set just one goal for yourself in sobriety, we hope that it is to lean on these words of wisdom in difficult situations.

  • Easy does it
  • Live and let live
  • First things first
  • Turn it over

These mantras, among countless others, have helped those in AA and NA to avoid relapse and emotionally charged responses in trying times. There’s no doubt that we are living in a difficult period of human history; be sure that you equip yourself with these and other tools for the new year.


Seek Support & Fellowship

Addiction is a disease of isolation. It wears you down and tries to keep you from connecting with others. When you spend a great deal of time alone, it’s easier to rationalize drinking or using again. This is why connection is such an important aspect of recovery.

However, in the time of COVID-19, isolation has become more widespread than ever before. We encourage you to push back on this for your New Year’s resolution. This doesn’t mean being unsafe – presently, Tennessee is the nation’s #1 hotspot for new coronavirus cases, and staying at home could be a matter of life and death. Instead, consider how you can safely connect with others.

Virtual 12-Step meetings, regular phone calls to family, online sober forums, video calls to your friends and check-ins with a sponsor are all possible options for fighting isolation in 2021.


Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight

While this year has been difficult for everyone, people in recovery have had an especially difficult time. Research has identified a bidirectional link between substance use disorders and COVID-19. This means that those with a history of addiction are at a higher risk of a worse coronavirus outcome, and that there has also been a surge of addictive behaviors during this time. People lacking sufficient support and access to treatment may have relapsed during 2020.

We ask you to remember that recovery is about progress, not perfection. If you have relapsed this year, you are not alone. The important thing is to acknowledge what has happened and seek help. If you experience any obstacles in your recovery during the new year, the same holds true – treatment is available. If you stumble or find yourself thinking about drinking or drug use, don’t shame yourself out of getting better. These times are difficult for all of us, and you deserve to recover.


One Day at a Time

The last of our New Year’s resolutions is perhaps the most important. Remember to take 2021 one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed by news stories or exciting plans. Instead, limit your media consumption and break your goals down into manageable pieces. Remain mindful of your mental health and keep your recovery first. By remembering this recovery mantra, you can ensure that you’ll be ready for whatever this year holds.


Tennessee’s Premier Addiction Treatment Center

Cumberland Heights is proud to provide recovery services throughout the state of Tennessee. We provide the complete continuum of care, including medically supervised detoxification, residential rehabilitation, outpatient services and aftercare. To learn more about our unique approach to recovery, please contact us today.