By: Michael Murphy, Transformations Alumni Coordinator
Ah yes, “New Year, New Me.” Goes right up there with, “Live, Laugh, Love…” and the million other Bed Bath and Beyond sayings we hear around this time of the year, ad nauseam. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with these statements, hell, my Mother LOVES them. But, the “New Me” one and I got a bone to pick, and I will tell you why.
How many times have you caught yourself saying this? Only to completely give up on it after a very grueling, hard willed effort of one week? Don’t be embarrassed. I am fairly certain it has happened to the majority of our society. Why do we think this is? Why is it so difficult to stick to this resolution that WE put in place for OURSELVES with the sole purpose of bettering oneself? After all, we clearly know it is an area in our lives that needs improvement.
I have a few hunches and these are all on me. So please don’t look into it too much. I think the first is that we already place way too much on ourselves as is. So to add one more thing, one more character flaw, one more burdening responsibility to our day to day, just isn’t reasonable and can actually be pretty detrimental to our Mental Health. Which could have already taken a beating over the course of the past year (or two, amiright?). How often do you find yourself or others taking away something for a resolution? Possibly to lighten a load, or to stop doing something that quite frankly isn’t serving you anymore? Also, unrealistic expectations can fall under this one. And I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell those of you that subscribe to AA/NA that expectations can quickly lead to resentments.
This brings me to my next one. Which again, is my own take on this…is selfishness. Are we setting ourselves up for disaster? How can I still be sociable? Enjoy my life? Still fit in amongst my friends/family/significant other etc.? And after a short lived change we are back to our old ways. Perhaps FOMO is too much to handle for some of us. Resolutions, like most things in life involving change, require sacrifice, and sometimes we are not willing to meet those sacrifices and maintain them.
This will bring me to my third reason. I mean, I could go on and on about this topic, but I made a resolution to myself to shorten my blogs. (BaDumTiss) And this brings me to action. It is SO easy for us to say these things year in and year out, but what good does it do if we don’t apply action to it? Nothing. We are just stuck there, in the same old cycle and no improvement. BUT, if we are like alot of ppl, when asked if we made a New Years Resolution, we can always tell the person asking that we in fact did and are “working on it” with a slight nervous laugh, knowing we sure as spit are not. But, let’s not forget…we have a whole year to improve ourselves! No need to rush into it, right?
Next thing you know, it’s July. And that resolution? Not so much. So, might as well just keep chugging along (Pun kinda intended. Alcoholic humor?) and finish this year out.
If you’re still reading this, and in recovery, like me. Some of what I have been talking about might sound familiar. The idea of maybe removing something negative from your life, as a resolution instead of adding. The selfishness of not continuing on with it. Even though you know it is for your betterment. The fear of missing out. Of losing friendships/relationships, etc. The lack of taking action. The ‘all talk with nothing to show for’ resolution. The excuses made. The sitting around six months later, worse off then when you initially made the resolution that was supposed to help you. Ringing a jinglebell? I know it did for me, when I was thinking this up.
It reminds me an awful lot of how I would approach my drinking every year. Or, how I would choose to NOT approach it, should I say. Obviously, I finally made that decision to cut out the booze and address my mental health after almost two decades of denial. And I wouldn’t change it for the world. One of the biggest things that helps me maintain my sobriety and mental health? Something I learned while in treatment at Transformations and in the AA rooms of South Florida…take it one day at a time. Think about it. If you just choose to handle things in life you want to change, each and every day; it’s alot easier than placing a years worth of burdens on yourself to change going into another year. Helluva lot easier on your anxiety, too.
I will leave you this going into 2022. For those of you fighting the fight, day in and day out, every step of the way, making yourself that better person you knew you could be…give yourself some credit. ALOT of credit, actually. This is NOT easy. And don’t forget that. While most people only want to address and possibly tackle their negative attributes at the end of the year; we are doing it on a daily basis. Some days are going to be tough. Flat out suck. BUT, as far as this alcoholic is concerned, those days are definitely outweighed by the great ones. I wish you all a very happy and safe 2022!! Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in my Covid cave. Whatta way to ring in The New Year. Murphy’s Law, I tell ya.