As you say goodbye to a year for the ages, it is vital to remember what as taken place this year. Not only so that you can never forget, but you can’t move forward unless you assess your past and current situations. This article offers several things to look at as you seek to improve your recovery in 2021.
2020 has been an absolute disaster, in ways many of us never could have imagined. COVID is still pretty rampant but vaccines are starting to be dispersed. We all know life won’t be very normal right away but at least there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
2020 was undoubtedly difficult for all of us. But, for those suffering from addiction, depression, or other mental illness, the past year has cost so much more than just happiness. Suicide rates are on the rise, those in addiction are reporting that their addiction has increased significantly due to such trivial things as having to wear a mask at work (the alcohol on their breath can’t be detected), and let’s face it, Zoom meetings just don’t work as well as the real thing. If you made it through the year sober, congratulations! That is amazing. However, if you relapsed, there is still hope. This is a new year and a chance to start over. I think society can get behind a desire for us all to start over this year.
While we always strive for improvement in recovery, this year, it is especially important to take specific steps toward improving our mental health and recovery. Here are some steps to help you get started.
Take an Honest Inventory of Your Recovery
This can be a difficult task, yet vital. We must know where we succeeded and where we failed if we are to improve. Take a look at what you felt you struggled with the most this year. Did you isolate too much and not even make many zoom meetings? Did your nightly prayer and meditation routine falter? Maybe you just are not happy about how you handled certain situations with friends or family and have some new defects of character you want to address.
Whatever the case is, it is crucial to not be too hard on yourself. This was a difficult year to stay sober during and I highly doubt anyone had a smooth year given all that happened. So grab a pen and paper, or get with your sponsor, and make an inventory. Decide where you need to make amends, but don’t forget those assets as well.
A great way to go about this is to reach out to a few sober friends and have them do the same thing, just simply write out areas they think need a lot of work in 2021. There doesn’t have to be any specific format, just get that stuff out of you and onto paper.
Sharing with others who are in the same boat can help give the perspective that you aren’t the worst person in the world like you may tell yourself at times. There are so many people who went through the same thing you did in 2020!
Plan, Plan, Plan
Next, you need a plan of action. How are you going to do better in 2021?
Here are some considerations to ask yourself:
- Do I still have a homegroup?
- When was the last time I sponsored someone?
- Are there any sober connections I lost touch with once the pandemic started?
- When will I feel safe to go to in-person meetings regularly? (Some people have already and that’s perfectly fine!)
- Where am I at with my steps?
- Do I need to do the steps again?
These lockdowns have been so hard on the recovery community, especially in California. There are so many far-reaching consequences that don’t seem to be considered much by the powers that be. This should further solidify your need to take control of your recovery. You, and you alone, are responsible for you and your recovery. You have to take assessment of where you are at and make a plan on how you are going to improve in 2021.
Finding the Silver Lining
No matter if you were able to stay sober or if you relapsed, you made it through 2020. This is something to celebrate. There are many who are no longer with us due to the virus and its societal consequences. If you are alive and breathing there is still hope.
Everyone has had their own ups and downs during this pandemic. These successes and mistakes both can turn into lessons. If we learn from these lessons then we will be better off.
Ask yourself, what did I learn during this pandemic? Reflect on what you learned from your hardship and how it could possibly help the newcomer you will run into this new year.
Being uncomfortable allows for growth in recovery. You may feel your recovery is weaker as you get closer to the end of a global pandemic and further away from the start. In reality, if you are still here, there is no question you have come out stronger and learned from the pain and misery that may have hit you during this past year.
However, you cannot stay content with yesterday’s recovery. Now is the time to start thinking of how you are going to reshape your recovery and recharge it where it’s needed.
There’s no telling what the future holds, who could have predicted 2020 was going to be anything like it really was. All that matters is that we endure what life throws at us, do everything we can to survive, and continue on stronger than ever.
If you are looking for help in finding a community of like-minded women to help you navigate recovery, please contact us at San Diego Sober Living. We are here to help you succeed in 2021.