It’s that time of year when many people are making vows to lose weight, to stop spending so much money, to work on old projects that haven’t been finished and to treat those that they love a bit better. Phone calls to Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are ringing off the hook and bellies are still full with Christmas cookies, but for the addict- this picture isn’t quite the same.

I spent my Christmases avoiding any food given to me, because if I ate, I couldn’t get as high. On Christmas mornings while my son would open his presents, I would be on my phone frantically calling my drug dealer to come through. Family occasions were awkward- when they did happen, because everyone knew I was strung out. My face was gaunt, my eyes a bit sunken in and of course, I was very skinny.

But, on December 27th, 2014 I decided I wanted to get clean. Many people ask if it’s harder to get clean on the holidays, I would say that there’s not any easy time to get clean, BUT the holidays, like New Year’s, can actually motivate you. I know that it helped me. I spent the rest of Christmas and New Year’s in withdrawals, but come 2015, I was out of that cycle and ready to give my recovery all that I had. A new year, new me- right?

Well, it turns out that I made it. If you are in active addiction and you’re unsure if you should make getting clean your New Year’s Resolution, let me give you a few reasons to help you make your decision.

1.) It’s the season of joy and NOTHING would give your family and your friends more joy than you making the decision to get clean. You probably weren’t able to afford gifts this year (I know I didn’t that year) but the one gift that you CAN give is your recovery. It’s the best gift of all.

2.) There’s a reason that the New Year signifies change – it’s because it’s a NEW year. Just think about this scenario; if you get clean for 2018, you’ll remember your clean date AND you will have an entire year ahead of you without withdrawals, without calling your dealer repeatedly (and he doesn’t call back), without desperately searching for your next bag or pill (every single day), without the sinking depression that comes on the days where everyone’s out of dope and without the plummeting disappointment in yourself on a day-to-day basis. 2018 can be a year with so much more in store for you.

3.) You can avoid jail this year, because if you get clean, you won’t be running around and getting caught by the police with God knows what on you…. yes, no jail. No smelly rooms and greasy shower floors, no slop for food and once a week calls, no withdrawing on a paper thin mat locked inside a cage, NO JAIL. Freedom is a beautiful thing, believe me.

4.) Your kids deserve a parent for 2018. Yes, they deserve YOU, a clean you. Don’t give me that “I’m undeserving of them, they deserve better than me,” crap. I will stop you right there; they deserve a clean you. Believe that all they want is you, not their grandparents, not a foster family, not distant relatives, they want YOU. It’s time you wake up for 2018 and give your kids a normal life. Let them have normal memories like holidays being spent together- not you strung out on the couch in the other room. Give them a parent, even if you have to go away for a bit to treatment- when you come back you won’t be able to contain their joy. Let them breathe and feel secure in 2018.

5.) The truth is, with the way that you are going, you could die this year. Your headstone might read April, January, September, who knows of 2018. This year could be the line in the sand for you. This year could be the year where your dead, cold body ends up in the morgue after your autopsy. This year your family could be picking out your casket and your funeral clothes. This could be the year that everyone finds out you overdosed and didn’t make it. This could be the year your children bury their parent and your parents bury you. Does 2018 look like a fun year for using? The problem is that this is the truth. You really might not make it another year. Bags are cut now and the streets are more foreboding that they’ve ever been.

This can be the year you choose not to die. This can be the year that your body isn’t cut open and your organs weighed for an autopsy. This can be the year that your family doesn’t bury you. This can be the year that you LIVE, truly and fully live.

At the end of the day, you have to make the choice. Make a resolution to live this year, what better resolution could there be?

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