The decision to stop drinking in the new year is a big deal. Most people have a hard time quitting cold turkey, but not to worry—there are many resources you can use to help you stay on track.
Recovery is possible, and it often brings with it new adventures, new friendships and reconciliation with you and the life you may have once lost. However, it is just the beginning and it can help to have an idea of what happens next.
To keep the recovery fire burning, here's a list of things to do to set yourself up for a strong start in recovery.
1. Make an appointment for a chemical use assessment.
When you're first getting sober, the first step in starting a treatment program is a chemical use assessment. The assessment is usually conducted between you and an addiction specialist, and can help give them a snapshot of where you're at in areas ranging from physical and mental health, treatment history and recovery readiness. Once you meet with a counselor, they'll be able to recommend the best treatment program to help kickstart your recovery.
2. Do some research on what treatment centers are nearby.
Find out what treatment centers are in your area. Start researching their programs, what time of day the programs are offered and their treatment philosophy. Make a few calls to learn more about the programs available, the costs associated with treatment, and any steps you need to take to get started. Have a list of questions ready so you feel empowered to find a place that will work best for you and your recovery goals.
3. Go to a community support group meeting.
If you're working on starting a formal treatment program, or if you're looking to supplement the one you've started, going to a community support group meeting is always a good option. It can help you jumpstart your recovery and form valuable community connections that you'll need long after you've completed treatment. It's never too late to get started, and most community support groups are open, free and affirming to anyone looking to recover. Community support groups include AA, NA, Celebrate Recovery, SMART Recovery or online communities such SoberRecovery forums.
4. Tap into your network for support.
In the early days of recovery, any support is good support. If you haven't met a group of sober friends yet, try reaching out to your family or close friends for support – but only if they'll help support you in staying sober. Otherwise, find a mentor, grandparent or someone you look up to. Ask for help staying occupied—or even grab coffee with them for an hour. Ask about their life, ask to tag along to recovery-friendly events, and ask for their accountability in the early days.
5. Stick with it.
The decision to recover doesn’t mean all of the benefits of recovery will set in immediately. Like any lasting change in life, it will take time. If there is a couple weeks between now and your first appointment, do small things every day to keep you focused on your decision to stay sober. One day at a time might seem cliché, but in the earliest days of your journey, it's important to remember that recovery happens by stringing one day, one hour and one moment at a time.
Your decision to get sober is just the beginning, so follow these steps to make sure you get the help you need. The journey ahead of you won't be easy, but it will be rewarding if you work for it. This year, vow to meet new people, learn new skills, and handle life on life's terms—sober.