With 2023 approaching, New Year’s Resolutions abound. People across the country and the world make promises of renewal, self-improvement, and growth to themselves. An old custom with similar forms over the years, this is indeed an opportunity to leave the old behind. For those struggling with alcohol addiction, freeing themselves is often a promise made. As pioneers among rehabs in Florida, we at Bright Futures Treatment wholeheartedly agree. It’s not without challenges, however, given the festive timing. Some resolutions don’t tend to last long either. So, if you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) yourself, we’re here to help. We’ll outline just why getting sober is the best New Year’s resolution you can make, for yourself and your loved ones. We’ll explain how resolutions work, the value in getting sober, and how you can see your goals through.
Why do New Year’s Resolutions work?
First, New Year’s resolutions are far from new. They’re in many ways similar to birthday resolutions, and share many basic traits. Still, the psychology of New Year’s resolutions bears exploring, as WebMD explains.
The basic reason why they work is that a new year opens up a new calendar. It serves as a reminder of time, encouraging the individual to engage in introspection. This marker of time kindles aspirations, as the individual reassesses their life and goals.
Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, explains this as follows:
“We tend to set resolutions because the New Year serves as a cyclical marker of time during which we reevaluate and take inventory on our lives. The drive for making resolutions is motivated by this punctuation in time[.]”
When do New Year’s Resolutions fail?
However, this renewed inspiration is sometimes short-lived. You might’ve seen this yourself; a friend may hit the gym, only to stop after a month.
There are many reasons for this, often dependent on the case and resolutions. In the context of drug addiction, for example, it can be due to lacking relapse prevention strategies post-rehabilitation. Most often, however, failed resolutions don’t come true at all.
Sabrina Romanoff continues to explain:
“We often fail in achieving and keeping them because they focus on a specific outcome (e.g., a precise body weight). When focus is placed on a specific outcome, it can be challenging to persevere in your efforts toward it if results are not immediate. Goals take time, and many folks become discouraged and eventually relent before attaining the goal.”
Why getting sober is the best New Year’s Resolution
Now, AUDs are far from uncommon. Caron finds that “more than 6 percent of adults in the U.S. have an alcohol use disorder”. Specifically, that’s “about 1 in 12 men and 1 in 25 women”. Therefore, you should know you’re not alone in your struggles; this is a widespread but curable condition.
As for why it’s so important to break free of AUDs, there are three distinct reasons. Namely, the psychological damage they can cause, the physical health risks, and the risks of acquiring more addictions.
The psychological damage of alcohol addiction
First, AUDs can severely impact an individual’s mental health. Often, substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health disorders can co-occur, where it’s unclear which caused the other. This occurrence is called dual diagnosis.
You may know this from personal experience; alcohol may seem an escape from suffering, but it only makes things worse. Addiction fuels mental health disorders and vice versa, creating a vicious cycle with often dire consequences. Broken family bonds and relationships, shortcomings at work, and even self-harm and suicide.
Unfortunately but expectedly, this is very common; NIDA finds that 37.9% of adults with SUDs also have mental illnesses. In addition, 18.2% of adults with mental illness also have an SUD.
Needless to say, this is a cycle that’s best broken early. Through rehabilitation, you can avoid the added stress that comes with AUD and safeguard your mental health. This is a key reason why getting sober is the best New Year’s resolution you can make.
The physical dangers of alcohol addiction
Second, AUDs come with considerable physical health risks. Their form and severity do differ, of course, and many depend on the duration and severity of the AUD. Ideally, the sooner you see the signs it’s time to get help, the better your chances of avoiding the worst are. Still, they’re all an ever-present risk to protect yourself from.
For reference, MayoClinic lists the following among the physical dangers of AUDs:
- Liver disease. Over time, heavy drinking can cause cirrhosis; irreversible destruction and scarring of liver tissue.
- Digestive problems. Continued inflammation from heavy drinking can cause gastritis, and stomach and esophageal ulcers. In addition, it can can damage your pancreas or lead to pancreatitis.
- Heart problems. As drinking increases blood pressure, it increases the risk of heart failure or stroke. Irregular heartbeats are also not uncommon, and can prove serious.
- Diabetes complications. Particularly dangerous for those with diabetes, alcohol can decrease blood sugar levels and cause hypoglycemia. It can also interfere with medications for diabetes.
- Eye problems. Depriving the body of vitamin B-1, alcohol can weaken or paralyze the eye muscles. This deficiency can also cause such brain changes as dementia.
- Neurological complications. Heavy drinking can also impact the nervous system, causing pain in the limbs and affecting the brain. The latter can include disorientation and short-term memory loss.
- Weakened immune system. Heavy drinking also weakens the immune system, increasing the risk for an array of other conditions.
- Increased risk of cancer. Finally, studies have found links between long-term alcohol use and a higher risk of many cancers. Those include mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon and breast cancers.
As you can see, getting sober is the best New Year’s resolution you can make. By achieving sobriety you will be reducing your risk for serious physical harm, conditions, and illnesses, including the above.
Overlap with other addictions
And third, SUDs unfortunately overlap with each other quite often. As pioneers among treatment providers for crack cocaine rehab Boynton Beach has to offer, we’ve seen this manifold. Often, patients who come to get treatment for one SUD are diagnosed with another. Unfortunately, this is also very common with AUD specifically.
As ResearchGate data finds, SUDs commonly overlap with one another. AUDs are particularly common in this regard, and see combinations with such drugs and substances as:
Combined with the psychological impact of addiction outlined above, you can likely see why this is so. Prolonged use of any substance eventually causes tolerance, which lessens the effects of the substance. Often, an addicted individual will then seek more pleasurable highs to be satisfied.
There are two main ways to achieve this; increasing the dose or substance amount, and combining the substance with another. In the former case, which is common in AUDs, addiction progresses into dependence. In the latter case, drug combinations significantly increase the risk for harm and death.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen the latter often – both with SUDs and AUDs. Our heroin rehab Boynton Beach programs often have to cater to simultaneous addiction to stimulants or depressants, for instance.
This is the final reason why getting sober is the best New Year’s resolution you can make this year. By freeing yourself from alcohol addiction early, you’ll prevent it from progressing into a more severe AUD – or have it open the door to other SUDs.
How you can approach your resolutions to get sober
Now, making resolutions and seeing them through are two different things. As highlighted above, resolutions can fail; long-term goals with no immediate success in sight may discourage some people. In the case of AUDs, socialization, peer pressure, and other personal factors may get in the way too. Finally, quitting any substance is inherently hard and sometimes beyond the individual’s power.
With this in mind, here we may go through 5 brief but substantive tips to help you on your journey. These will be based on “The Twelve Steps” of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), as is fitting, but adjusted for resolutions.
So, let’s begin.
#1 Engage in introspection and accept the impact of alcohol addiction in your life
First, start with some introspection. Given the festive timing, examine your life; your relationships, your performance at work, and so on. Has alcohol impacted your life? Do you remember better times that alcohol may have denied you?
As the Twelve Steps outline, this step is absolutely fundamental. An individual who hasn’t accepted their addiction or understood its impact cannot meaningfully seek help or make resolutions.
#2 Practice self-forgiveness
Such introspection may shock you, however. Many people are overcome with guilt once they realize the extent of their addiction. If this happens to you, it is vital that you practice self-forgiveness.
Remember, getting sober is the best New Year’s resolution you can make if you identify addiction. You do have some responsibility for it, but addiction is powerful and often beyond our full control. AUDs are multifaceted and common, and affinity for addiction can be hereditary. Recognizing this and opening yourself up to starting anew is essential to succeeding.
#3 Avoid harmful triggers
Once you do make your resolution, the first thing you must then do is actively avoid harmful triggers. The holidays present many opportunities for alcohol, from family gatherings to clubbing with friends. And while the former can be harmless, the latter may invite heavy drinking.
Needless to say, giving in at this stage may be the worst thing you can do. A small misstep so early may destroy your confidence and return you to square one. Therefore, try to avoid such gatherings to help get your resolution on the right track.
#4 Take it one step at a time
That doesn’t mean you should immediately aim to get sober overnight, of course. This may be downright impossible, and failing at your exact goal may also discourage you from trying. This is exactly what we’ve seen across all our programs for drug rehab in Boynton Beach, too; one relapse can lock the individual out of trying.
So, unless you’re sure you can, don’t go cold turkey. Instead, take it one step at a time. If you’re drinking five glasses, aim to reduce them to four. If you’re binge drinking, aim to slow down. Getting sober is the best New Year’s resolution you can make, but life-changing goals take time and come in steps.
#5 Seek treatment
Finally, your addiction may simply be too deep to break free from on your own. This is nothing to be ashamed of; addiction is too powerful for most people to escape. If that’s the case for you, seeking alcohol addiction treatment is your best option.
Can treatment help your resolutions come true?
If you’re concerned about whether rehab can truly free you from AUDs, rest assured that it can. Specifically, and in order, consider the rehabilitation process and its individual programs – and how they can help you:
- Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT). The first step for severe cases of addiction, MAT will help you deal with withdrawal symptoms and cravings using FDA-approved medications.
- Inpatient programs. Placing the individual in safe and controlled clinical settings, inpatient rehab Boynton Beach has to offer will place you in 24/7 medical care and supervision.
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs). Programs that focus on group therapy and reintegration, there’s an IOP Boynton Beach providers can tailor to every AUD.
- Aftercare programs. The pillars of relapse prevention and continued support, every addiction needs an aftercare program to ward off relapse and safeguard your newfound freedom.
Of course, this outline doesn’t mean you’ll have to go through each and every program. Every case differs, and your treatment providers should note that and personalize your journey. If you do choose us for this journey, you can rest assured that we will as our mission demands.
Which insurance providers cover alcohol addiction?
All that said, getting sober is the best New Year’s resolution to make, but addiction treatment does come with a cost. Given the specialized care severe cases require, this cot can be hefty and prohibitive.
Thankfully, health insurance can shoulder a significant portion of the burden if not the entire cost. If you’re wondering, “does insurance cover drug rehab?”, the answer is yes.
Here, let us cover the three most common insurance providers we’re asked about:
A: Typically, yes; Humana covers alcohol rehab. The only limitation in flexibility may come if your plan caters to Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs).
A: Yes, Cigna covers drug and alcohol rehab. Exact coverage does vary across plans, but that applies to all insurance providers.
A: Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) covers drug and alcohol rehab. As one of the largest health insurance providers in the country, it does so better than many of its peers.
Health insurance coverage is a complex topic, however, as coverage can depend on an array of factors. Your exact plan, services required, state-side differences, and other factors will inform final coverage. So, if you’d like to know more, you can consult our article above at your leisure.
Getting sober is the best New Year’s Resolution – and Bright Futures Treatment is here to help it come true
In closing, alcohol addiction can have dire consequences. It can impact the individual’s mental and physical health, and open the door to more addictions over time. As with all addictions, treating it early is the safest route; it prevents the worse outcomes and it makes the process easier and more likely to succeed.
The New Year presents an excellent opportunity to do so, as you make your resolution to reclaim your life. If you do seize the opportunity, Bright Futures Treatment is here to accompany you on your journey. If you’re ready, please feel free to contact us today and let your resolution come true.