Drug Addiction Recovery should be treated as a separate entity aside from New Years Resolutions
A message from the Cove Center for Recovery Clinical Director
As the passing of another year, many people habitually choose to make New Year’s resolutions like quitting smoking, spending less money or shedding some extra pounds. While there is nothing wrong with this practice; in my opinion it shouldn’t get grouped together with a person’s desire to quit a serious drug addiction or an out of control drinking problem.
Self-improvement is a shared American hobby. It’s why so many of us—some estimates say more than 40% of Americans—make New Year’s resolutions. But for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep them; University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people successfully follow-through on their New Year’s goals.
It is for this very precise reason why we can’t follow the New Year’s resolution model of self-improvement when we are talking about something as serious as alcohol abuse or drug addiction recovery.
I realize that people overcome drug addiction and alcohol abuse out of a purpose-based motivation – in other words they quit when they recognize how their habit interferes with who they are, what they want to be, and where they want to go in life.
Alcohol abuse and drug addiction recovery is as much a matter of encouraging positive involvement with one’s environment as it is of withdrawing oneself from addictive attachments. This can be attained by finding meaning and purpose in life and merging the two into one common goal.
I have seen countless people recover from their addiction by working hard at learning to do something well, something which is important to them. Whether or not they succeed at their goal is immaterial. They will still develop a passion for their new found purpose. This passion will help them find their much needed meaning in life.
By discovering purpose and meaning, a person seeking recovery will inadvertently find a pathway to overcome their addiction.
The role of goals after determining meaning and purpose
Goals play an integral part in the recovery process once an individual discovers their meaning and purpose in their overarching effort to defeat drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse. By simply setting goals will not sufficiently motivate a person attempting recovery to give up an addiction solely because it is bad for you or others want you to stop.
But when a drug addiction or alcohol problem deters a person from accomplishing a goal that they want to attain, they are more apt to give up. It is extremely critical for them to focus on what they want to achieve. Everything else will fall into place if they think about their goal. Giving up their addiction then becomes a necessary step on the road to getting where they want to go.
It would be short-sighted to believe that a person attempting recovery does not still feel cravings and urges. I don’t know anybody who can do that. The long-term strategy to changing one’s emotions is to accept them and don’t let them stop you from what you really value in life.
Your success or failure at attaining your goal is immaterial in your pursuit of a sober life. What is far more important in your life is to look at the larger picture – to strive for purpose and meaning in life.