With New Year’s right around the corner, many people begin to plan their New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve been struggling with drinking or drug use, you may decide to make sober living your New Year’s resolution. But, is this really the best idea?
Sarah Allen Benton, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and author of Understanding the High-Functioning Alcoholic: Professional Views and Personal Insights, suggests that individuals who have a legitimate problem with drugs and alcohol might not be able to solve the problem with a simple New Year’s resolution. The idea that one can embark on the complex changes required to live a sober lifestyle based on a simple resolution simplifies the complexity of the recovery process.
Alcoholics and drug users who have a legitimate problem may initially feel worse when they stop using substances. Alcohol and drug use can mask difficult emotions and quitting drinking or using drugs without a clear plan or recovery program to help can be challenging.
To make matters more complicated, a normal drinker who quits alcohol for a New Year’s resolution will likely either feel better or indifferent regarding the drinking. In many cases, a person without alcoholism can return to moderate drinking after a while without major problems.
For individuals with drinking problems, this is not the case. If you find yourself obsessing about quitting, or thinking about drinking all the time after you’ve quit, you may want to consider getting additional help to aid you in the recovery process.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers some helpful worksheets for individuals to complete as they make the decision to quit drinking. Rather than just thinking about quitting as a New Year’s resolution, individuals can better plan for the future and provide themselves with the necessary tools to quit drugs and alcohol for good.
So, how do you know if it’s okay to quit on your own as a New Year’s resolution or whether it’s time to seek professional help? If you’re concerned, it can always be beneficial to have a support team on your side. Yet, if you’ve already set limits in the past and had difficulties sticking to those limits, if you have a family history of alcohol problems, if you’ve experienced difficulties with work or school due to your alcohol or drug use, or if you feel the need to hide your drug or alcohol use, you may benefit from help while trying to quit.
New Year’s is a great time of year for new beginnings and this time of year can spur individuals to make the decision to quit using drugs or alcohol. Even so, it is important to make sure that you give yourself the best chance of quitting and living a sober lifestyle. The Program West Palm Beach offers a range of treatment options, resources, individual and group programs, and 12-step programs to help individuals stay sober. If this is the year that you want to change your life, contact us today.