According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2020 an estimated 21.5 million people in the United States aged 12 or older needed substance abuse treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use disorder. However, only 4.5 million of those individuals received treatment at a specialty facility. This means that many people who struggle with substance abuse may be trying to overcome their addiction on their own, possibly by setting New Year’s resolutions to stop using drugs or alcohol.
Relapse is a common part of the recovery process. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40-60% of people with a substance abuse disorder will relapse at some point. This is not a sign of failure, but rather an indication that addiction is a chronic and often relapsing disease that requires ongoing treatment and support.
It is clear that substance abuse is a significant issue that affects a large number of people and has far-reaching consequences. While setting New Year’s resolutions can be a helpful way to make positive changes, it is important to approach them with caution and to remember that overcoming substance abuse is a process that may require ongoing treatment and support. Here’s why:
- The pressure to succeed can be overwhelming. When we make a resolution, we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to follow through and succeed. This can be especially difficult for someone trying to overcome substance abuse, as it is a challenging and often unpredictable process. The fear of failure and the pressure to succeed can be overwhelming and potentially lead to feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt.
- It can lead to feelings of isolation. When we make a resolution, we often share it with others as a way to hold ourselves accountable. However, for someone struggling with substance abuse, this can lead to feelings of isolation and stigma. They may feel like they are the only ones struggling with this issue, and that they are somehow “less than” or “broken” because they cannot maintain their resolution.
- It can create an “all or nothing” mindset. When we make a resolution to stop using drugs or alcohol, it can be easy to fall into an “all or nothing” mindset. We may feel like we have to be perfect and never slip up, or that one mistake means we have failed. This can lead to feelings of shame and hopelessness and may make it harder to seek help or support when needed.
While New Year’s resolutions can be a helpful way to set goals and make positive changes, it is important to approach them with caution if you are struggling with substance abuse. Instead of making a resolution to completely stop using drugs or alcohol, it may be more helpful to set smaller, more achievable goals.
It is also important to remember that overcoming substance abuse is a process and it is okay to ask for help and support along the way. No Wrong Door for Support and Recovery Inc. supports persons who are transitioning from detention or treatment facilities and will enlist the aid of peer support, pastoral ministries, municipal/community organizations, and other agencies/providers who support and assist persons who suffer from substance use and/or mental health challenges. For more information on locally available resources, contact No Wrong Door at 828.349.3366.