Addiction, Relapse

One Word to Keep You Sober In the New Year


Let me tell you a story…

Once upon a time, in a beautiful land of 182 acres of prairie located just south of the Twin Cities, stood a young man ready to return to his world. After a few months of treatment he was going home to his family, his job, and his restored health.

This man’s name was Mike*. Mike recently finished treatment at Beauterre Recovery Institute for a lifelong struggle with a prescription pill addiction. Mike, finally with the help of the caring staff, holistic approach to care, and time to reflect and refocus his life, was ready.

There was only one challenge, and it wasn’t the pills. It was Mike was returning to life during the week of the New Year. The week of resolutions, diets, and a bombardment of messages to make lists and goals and improve your life.

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The pressure began to overwhelm Mike. The pressure not only to stay sober, but now to join in with the lists and the goals and the resolutions.

But Mike was smarter than the media messages telling him to join in their game.
Mike knew the statistics.

45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions. And 8% are successful in achieving their resolution.”  – Statistic Brain

Instead he lasered in his focus on One.

Making resolutions work involves changing behaviors—and in order to change a behavior, you have to change your thinking (or “rewire” your brain).”  – Psychology Today 

Below are the five ways Mike used One to help him in the new year.

  1. One day at a time.
    You don’t have to be a part of AA to embrace this phrase. One day at a time and one moment at a time are mindful ways of living life and being in the present. And, it also helps so that the future or the past don’t flood or overwhelm your thoughts.
  2. One is a lonely number.
    People need others to help them in recovery and staying connected to people is a crucial part of the journey. After leaving Beauterre, Mike continued in Beauterre’s alumni program and continued his own outpatient work. He found that rigorous honesty in his recovery was much easier when he was in a community with others he trusted.
  3. One pill. One drink. One hit.
    This is where it starts. Where addiction and relapse begin. Removing the phrase from his vocabulary, “Just one pill. Just one drink,” helped Mike not be sucked back into minimizing the power pills had over his life.
  4. One foot in front of the other.
    On difficult days, Mike knew that responsibilities like his job, or picking up his children, or staying true to his word would help him move forward. For Mike, it was simply putting one foot in the front of the other.
  5. You Won!
    It isn’t spelled like, “ONE”, but it is pronounced the same. For Mike, the focus was on restoration with his family. That was his goal.

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The more Mike followed these five rules in the New Year and kept it simple, the more he was the winner.

He was able to live his life with integrity and focus on his positive goals so he could refrain from allowing the addiction to control his life. 

*Name has been changed

*Photos from Unsplash