Many Recovering Addicts Relapse on New Years
New Year’s Eve is an exciting time – the end of one era and the beginning of another. A time for fresh starts and new opportunities to work towards self-betterment. Many traditions revolve around New Year’s Eve such as getting together with friends or family and watching the ball drop, counting down the new year enthusiastically, and writing out a list of personal resolutions, to name a few. However, along with the excitement and anticipation comes an immense amount of pressure.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be better than we were before, and for many of us, this means more than simply striving for slow and steady self-improvement. When it comes to forging a list of resolutions, we often set ourselves up for failure by jotting down a lengthy list of unrealistic personal goals and desires that are essentially out of our control. For example, “Find a boyfriend or a girlfriend who is rich, successful and hilarious,” is something that is pretty much out of our control. If it doesn’t happen for us, we might feel let down and discouraged – but this is partly because our expectations are disproportionate. This is partially why the rates of relapse are so much higher after New Year’s – because we are grappling with the uncomfortable feelings of being let down, and suddenly recognized that the coming year might resemble the last year more than we cared to admit.
Relapses After New Years Are Common
There are several reasons why rates of relapse spike right after New Year’s Eve. These include:
- As previously mentioned, the amount of pressure we put on ourselves to make leaps and bounds in our personal lives in an unreasonably short period.
- The pressure tends to go hand in hand with major events and holidays like New Year’s Eve as far as drinking and recreational drug usage go. From the champagne toast at midnight to self-medicating all of the inner turmoil that went hand-in-hand with 2020, it can be hard to say no if the right tools are not in place.
- The discouragement of last year’s failures. Well, they aren’t failures – but most of us perceive them this way. If we didn’t accomplish all that we wanted to the year before, we tend to get very hard on ourselves and this could lead to self-medication through drinking and drug use.
There are many reasons why someone who is in recovery might try to justify picking up a drink or a drug after New Year’s – but the truth of the matter is, with the right tools in place you can make it through anything, and relapse is not a prerequisite to recovery.
How to Avoid Relapses in the Long-Term
If you are looking to avoid relapse long-term, guess what? Doing so is possible. We have listed several tips to help you stay sober after New Years’ – and beyond.
- Go easy on yourself. You are your own worst critic. Remind yourself daily that you are doing the best you can, and the best you can do is good enough.
- Stick to a highly structured program. Don’t slack when it comes to AA or NA meetings! Don’t slack when it comes to twelve-step work! Hold yourself accountable, and make sure that you have other people to hold you accountable, too.
- Immerse yourself in a 12-step program of your choosing. Going to a meeting everyday and sharing in that meeting is a great way to stay on track.
- Make a date with your therapist. This is a vulnerable time. Seek extra help if you need to – there’s no shame in giving your therapist a call and asking for a little extra guidance or advice.
- Develop some reasonable and attainable resolutions/personal goals. Working towards them is good enough – try not to set a definitive date, because if you don’t meet it, you might be causing yourself unnecessary distress. Remember – go easy on yourself!
Agape Treatment Center – Comprehensive Clinical Care
For more information on our program of addiction treatment, or to stay true to your resolutions and begin your journey of recovery in 2021, reach out to us today. Our team of addiction treatment experts is available around the clock to assist you or a loved one in the journey to lasting recovery.