7 Tips to Stay Committed to Your Recovery in 2024 (and Beyond)

Author and Medical Reviewer
Dr. Jose Toledo

woman staring outside the window holding flowers

An article by Renee W.

My addiction recovery journey began in 2012 when I realized that I might have a problem with alcohol. Indeed, I had a huge problem—much larger than I could ever handle on my own.

Most people don’t start their day with alcohol simply because they are so physically addicted that they cannot function without it. Most people don’t sneak airplane bottles of vodka into their purse and take them everywhere they go. Definitely, most people don’t pass out when they get home from work right before a restless, sweaty, feverish night.

Only alcohol would stop these symptoms, and only alcohol caused them in the first place.

I have been in recovery on and off since 2012. I am currently 4.5 years sober, and this is the longest period I have ever had without alcohol.

My recovery looks different than I ever imagined. I didn’t expect not to think about alcohol every single day, all day. I didn’t expect that the triggers would lessen and sometimes diminish for months on end. I didn’t expect that I would ever feel real peace and that my fear of people would disappear.

I am no saint—let me make that clear. I am a real person in addiction recovery who has all the same struggles as you. Some days, I still struggle getting out of bed.

Some days, I still think thoughts like…

Maybe I didn’t give alcohol a fair chance.

Maybe I should try to moderate drinking rather than abstain completely. Perhaps it will work this time? (Spoiler alert: it won’t.)

Maybe the reason I drank so much was because of the toxic relationship I was in, and now that I’m not in that relationship, I could try again.

Then, I catch myself.

My brain is now trained not to entertain thoughts like this—they are dangerous. They could be fatal.

Lately, something I have been thinking about is “commitment to recovery” and how it has gotten easier as I’ve hit more time milestones.

Or does it get easier?

This year has been my worst year so far in sobriety. Multiple challenging circumstances have occurred—all beyond my control. Some days, I have longed for something to help me “ease the pain.” However, I continue to check off all my recovery boxes:

  • Meetings
  • Prayer/meditation
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Reaching out to others in recovery
  • Regular exercise
  • Enough sleep
  • Good enough nutrition
Calm man meditating in sunny summer day

And here I am, at the end of 2023, writing an article about how to stay committed to your recovery in 2024.

I feel honored right now to reflect on this year and say, through it all, I have stayed sober.

Now, let’s peek ahead to 2024.

You, my reader, have come here for tips to stay committed to recovery. Whether you’re just beginning or have been on this recovery path for a while, staying committed to your sobriety is crucial. So, I will give you my seven best tips to stay committed even when, especially when, motivation wanes.

1.  Realize that you can’t always depend on motivation, but you can depend on your commitment.

Think about what commitment means. When you make a commitment, you take motivation out of the equation. What I mean is that you won’t always feel like honoring your commitment. Some days you will, for sure. You will wake up early, read some recovery literature, and spend some time meditating. You may feel unstoppable.

Then, there will be other days. Days where you can’t figure out why you thought that giving up drugs/alcohol was a good idea. But I need it. How do people get through life without a drink or drug? You may ask. You may even believe these words. 

These are the days where you need more than ever to lock into your commitment. Motivation is low, and you feel yourself slipping. Look at the bigger picture: I am committed to my recovery because now I have a chance at life. My recovery has given me a life I never imagined possible.  

2. Set small, specific goals and not all recovery-related ones either.

OK, so my big goal is to stay sober for the rest of my life. That’s my biggest goal, and on any given day, that seems so… well, big. I rarely think of it this way. 

Yes, I want to stay sober for the rest of my life. But instead of focusing on the bigger picture, I have to take a step back and focus on the small, specific goals for each day. 

My goal each day: Stay sober today. I can do that. I can stay sober just for today. Tomorrow? Well, I don’t want to worry about tomorrow yet. So I don’t.

Setting small goals each day makes recovery so much more manageable. 

Young sporty woman is doing yoga using laptop in the bedroom at home.

Additionally, setting small goals that aren’t all recovery related is another part of this. I want to exercise five days a week for a minimum of 45 minutes each time. I want my exercise to be a blend of strength training, light cardio, and stretching. Woah—that seems too big for me to deal with right now. Instead, I sit down and schedule each of these exercise sessions at the beginning of the week to make it manageable. Then, I don’t even think about it until it’s time to exercise.

3. Pay attention to triggers and make a game plan on how to combat them.

OK, so triggers. What are they? 

Triggers can be anything, really—people, places, emotions, or situations that could lead you to relapse. It has taken me years to really understand my triggers. Sure, there are the obvious ones—being around alcohol. But then there are some other subtle, sneaky ones—a painful emotion that I haven’t dealt with. A resentment I didn’t realize I had until I saw someone that triggered it.

When you understand your triggers, it’s time to make a game plan on how to fight them. This is where healthy coping strategies come in like practicing mindfulness, distracting yourself with a hobby, reaching out to your support system. 

For example, if I am in a situation and I feel triggered, it’s typically a visceral reaction. My heart races, I start to sweat, I feel out of control emotionally. I then take a very deep breath, and pause, and decide what I’m going to do. Sometimes, it’s picking up my phone and calling or texting someone to help me. Other times, it’s removing myself from the situation and taking it from there.

4. Keep your support system very close.

In recovery, you can’t underestimate the power of a support system. It is non-negotiable. You cannot do this alone. That is one part of my recovery that took time to understand and I finally surrendered to the fact that I need people to help me. This concept took time to accept—I am not only a natural introvert, but living in addiction is isolating.

Happy friends sitting on the beach singing and playing guitar during the sunset

Let’s talk about support systems—what do they look like? 

You need as many people as possible on your “team.” These are people who understand and support your recovery. Twelve-step meetings are a good place to find supportive people who know exactly what you’re going through. Anyone who is supportive can be in your support system. Whether it’s family, friends, a support group, or a sponsor, having people provide encouragement, offer guidance, and remind you that you’re not alone is how you will thrive in recovery.

5. Yes, I’m going to say it: self-care.

When I used to think of self-care, I thought bubble baths and scented candles. While bubble baths and scented candles are great, self-care is far more than this. 

Think about self-care as nourishing your body, mind, and soul. At the core, self-care is about treating yourself with kindness and respect—the opposite of how you treated yourself in addiction.

So, everyone is different in what constitutes self-care, but create a system that encompasses body, mind, and soul. For example, physical self-care includes eating nutritious foods, regular exercise, and enough sleep. Emotional self-care includes doing things that nurture your emotional health like mindfulness practices or journaling

Don’t overthink self-care. Just spend time asking yourself, “What is good for me?” and do that.

6.  Track your progress— but don’t get obsessed over numbers.

In recovery, it’s easy to see “how many days/months/years sober” as the progress indicator. However, I have learned to measure growth versus the number of years sober. 

I realized during one of my periods of sobriety back in 2015–2016 that I was still pretty miserable. In hindsight, I was only checking off recovery boxes, and there was no real emotional growth. It wasn’t long before I relapsed after 3.5 years “sober.”

New goals, Start new year, planning and setting goals

Now, I measure growth. Especially if I am having a hard day, I will look back and reflect on my personal growth in recovery. The difference between who I was and who I am today is astounding. That is typically how I keep myself encouraged. I encourage you to track your progress in recovery but look for areas such as:

  • How do I handle stressful situations today compared to when I was in addiction?
  • How are my relationships now compared to then?
  • How do I feel about myself today compared to then?

Those types of questions lead you to see how far you’ve come and will reinforce that you don’t want to give up!

7. Perhaps the hardest one of all—be kind to yourself.

Being kind to myself is one of the hardest parts of my recovery. Sometimes, past failures come sneaking back full force, and I feel all the guilt and shame of living in addiction for so many years. The natural tendency is to berate myself. 

The truth is that living in guilt and shame makes me more likely to relapse

Today, I can acknowledge that I made some terrible mistakes while in addiction, but I can also give myself some grace because that’s not how I am living today.

Recovery is never a linear path. If you stumble, don’t beat yourself up. Practice treating yourself like you would treat a close friend. If a close friend came to you with the same thoughts and feelings you currently have, what would you say to them? Acknowledge your setbacks, learn from them, and keep moving forward. Commit to doing better next time.

As we stride into the new year, I hope these tips help you stay committed to your recovery wherever you are along the path. It takes dedication and a willingness to grow, but recovery is so very worth it.

How can Tikvah Lake Recovery help you?

Choosing recovery is a courageous step—one that transforms lives and gives back lost hope. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with any type of addiction, you do not have to face this alone. Tikvah Lake is a family-run recovery center dedicated to providing personalized support and resources tailored to the unique needs of our clients.

Contact us today to begin your journey of healing and rediscovery of self. Together, we can help you or your loved one find a life filled with strength and freedom from addiction.

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