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The Dangers of New Year’s Resolutions

How many times have you vowed to stop drinking in the new year only to disappoint yourself or your loved ones? January seems like the perfect time to start fresh. People have the best intentions to do something that will improve their life and their emotional well-being but do these new years resolutions actually work? Or are we setting ourselves up for failure?

If you’ve tried to stop on your own several times, chances are you won’t be successful unless you get help and the proper support in place to maintain your sobriety. At Bellwood Health Services, our research studies show that 83% of our substance use clients who participate in our comprehensive treatment program and recommended continuing care support, are successful in their recovery.

David Paul, Counsellor from Bellwood Health Services believes new year’s resolutions may seem like a good idea but rarely work out. “An example of a new year’s resolution might be to go to treatment. If you’re not ready for treatment don’t just do it as resolution. This should be a decision that has been well thought out. That being said, when people are being mandated to go to treatment it’s a completely different scenario and those individuals should follow through. The reality is that anytime is a good time for treatment. In some cases it might be safer for them to be in treatment.”

Making promises and not following through may not seem unusual to many. However for addicts, it’s actually a common behaviour as a result of their addictive psyche trying to rationalize why they will stop drinking in the new year and not at that very instant. Lauren Melzack, Clinical Supervisor at Edgewood Treatment Centre explains, “It’s one of the way addicts keep themselves going, making promises to everyone, including themselves, that this time I will do it differently. Of course they never do. So it is a perpetuation of old thinking. ‘I’ll have one last party and then January 1st I will stop’ is insane thinking. For drinking, this is obvious but considering the fact that addicts act out in so many ways making resolutions of any kind can lead to trouble. The fact is that new years is no different than any other time and should indeed be just like any other day.”

Moving Towards A Lifetime of Change

If you’re seriously thinking of starting a treatment program and want to turn your life around, David Paul suggests going to a few meetings first, “12 Step meetings are a great way to start for sober guidance. I also encourage you to talk to your doctor, see a counsellor or therapist to help you understand the benefits of treatment. Be prepared to stick with treatment and an aftercare program. Make sure you are going to treatment for the right reasons. Are you sick and tired of being sick? Do it for you, not for others and not to appease anyone. This is your health. You need to decide what and when you need to get help.” Lauren Melzack agrees 12-step meetings are valuable support for addiction recovery.

Danny, a Bellwood volunteer, shares why making the decision to recover is a lifetime commitment that requires support from others, “My life was a cascade of endless problems and broken promises until I found recovery. It was like someone opened up the basement door and turned on the light to guide me out. I had to climb the stairs by myself. It seemed long and arduous but with encouragement from people at the top of the stairs I stepped into the light. My initial start in recovery was with AA and my understanding grew as I continued to work on myself. Surrounding myself with the support that I need and the willingness to go to any length for my sobriety has changed my life in ways I could never have thought of.”

Admitting you have a problem is an important step to take towards recovery. However, talking to someone about your addiction honestly and openly is just as significant. There are several support options available to individuals, including the Edgewood Health Network. The Edgewood Health Network is comprised of many different centres that offer inpatient and outpatient services in treating addiction and mental health across Canada.

If you or someone you know is contemplating about getting help for an addiction, please contact us to speak to one of our counsellors. We are here and we are ready to help.