7 Ways to Have A Stronger Recovery

In Addiction Recovery by Randy Kassebaum


If you feel that this past year was particularly hard on your recovery, you may want to take some time to investigate what made it challenging, how much you learned, and what can you do to make changes this year. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Give yourself some space, quiet, and time. Block off a half-hour to do nothing but focus on the process of going back over the past year. Turn off your phone, pick up a pen and paper, and reflect.

2. Make a list of the qualities you developed over the last year. While your first inclination may be to focus on all that went wrong, it is important to note that the positive. What are your greatest strengths in recovery? How has your ability to be honest, supportive of others, patient, or calm improved since you stopped using substances?

3. Name one accomplishment in every area of your life. Were you able to find a safe and sober home last year or move out of a home that was toxic? Were you able to make any positive new friendships or end friendships that were not supportive of your recovery? Did you find a job, pay back a debt, or make a budget last year? If you are having a hard time, find an objective person to help you with this, someone who has been there with you throughout your process of recovery, like a therapist or other substance treatment professional.

4. Make a list of your assets. It is a good idea to continually notice all you have going for you in recovery so you can make good use of these things and practice gratitude as well. Do you have a couple of good friends or a strong support system? Do you have an amazing therapist or life coach to assist you?

5. Go over 2023 month by month. Was it challenging to stay sober on New Year’s Day last year? Did you struggle with feelings of loneliness on Valentine’s Day? Did summer barbeques make you want to grab a beer? Did the holidays cause stress that triggered cravings for drugs or alcohol? Jot down the different events or situations that made recovery difficult for you last year.

6. Plan 2024 month by month. Go through the months that are coming and compare what happened last year to what you would like to happen this year. If you found certain holidays challenging, make a different plan this year. Take each challenge you noted and write down how you will approach it differently this year.

7. Enlist help. You may determine that some foundational parts of your life contributed significantly to your difficulties in recovery. If you consider the issue from every angle and come to the conclusion that major change is needed, it can be helpful to reach out for assistance. For example, if you need to change jobs, go back to school, move, or enter a treatment program, connect with professionals who apply to your need and make sure you have emotional support in place to do it safely and effectively.