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Why Do People with Addiction Struggle with Resolutions?

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For some, New Year’s resolutions come in the form of commitments to lose a few pounds. Others vow to begin a new group activity. In comparison, those trapped in the bondage of addiction for more dire commitments. Many see the coming new year as the hopeful beginning of their sobriety. Pledges to change begin as the clock strikes midnight, yet for countless addicts, such promises seem to make little difference. The next drink or drug is often around the corner, despite the pressing and heartfelt desire to stay sober permanently. To quote the Big Book, “Some will be drunk the day after making their resolutions; most of them within a few weeks” (page 34).

Resolutions are the hallmark of addiction.

Despite grand intentions, the active alcoholic will make continual resolutions to stay sober which they cannot maintain. Those of us in long-term recovery know this all too well. While friends and family members scrape for an understanding of our failing resolve, we secretly join in alongside them. We face confusion at the inability stay sober despite extreme desire. For most of us, this baffling sense of defeat leads to the delusion that we are “bad” people. We are filled with guilt and unending shame. No matter how hard we try, we fall victim to the “insidious insanity” of the first drink, time and time again (page 154).

Most alcoholics begin to believe, at some point or another, that alcohol is their problem.

Intoxication breeds erratic behavior, secretive lives and damaged relationships. Stepping back from the wreckage of yet another binge, we analyze our actions, blame our problems on alcohol, and vow—yes, one more time—never to touch another drop. For others, it may be the promise of abstaining from even one pill, or a single hit. We toss out our empty bottles, vow never to contact our drug dealers again and promise to stay sober. Despite our best attempts, the real addict will use again within a matter of days or weeks. For us, there seems to be no sufficient explanation other than insanity.

Rather than some moral failing, alcoholism is a disease of the body, mind and spirit.

This deadly combination creates a pervasive obsession in the active alcoholic. At Origins, we know that while sprees surely create havoc, they are not the problem in and of itself. The better question to ask is not what happens after we drink, but why we continue to return to the very thing that is destroying our lives. In truth, getting sober is not the problem—it is staying sober that seems impossible.

It is no wonder that New Year’s Day marks yet another attempt at sobriety for those trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction.

Moving out of the holiday, a time which is often joyous and fun-filled for those untouched by addiction, many alcoholics review their experience with solemnity. Lonely occasions stripped of loved ones who can no longer enable the destructive behavior of an alcoholic, chaotic family gatherings made worse by alcoholic insanity—these things are commonplace for many people in active addiction. The New Year brings the promise of fresh hope and a clean slate. Without support and a spiritual program of action, many will watch these dreams quickly fade.

Alcoholism is a treatable illness of the body, mind and spirit.

Without question, the addict or alcoholic can discover a real solution that truly works. Past failures can be left in 2017, with a new way of life visible on the horizon as we launch into 2018. The dream of a sober New Year filled with renewed family ties and warm friendship requires more than simple resolution to quit. Deciding to embark on a transformative journey can bring about a life of sobriety which cannot be gained by resolutions and empty promises alone. As those in recovery know, permanent change is only experienced through courageous action.

No matter how many times one may have returned to active addiction, a rich future can begin to grow amid the rubble of the past.

If you or a loved one is seeking treatment, Origins is here to help. Please contact us at (844) 250-9228.