It’s the beginning of 2016, and living a sober, healthier life is at the top of thousands of New Year’s resolutions lists. It’s a good place to begin improving your life—drugs and alcohol have a tendency to complicate life rather than solve your problems. No matter the reason behind your decision to lead a sober life, here are 5 ways to jumpstart your recovery!

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1. Be Honest About Your Motives

Deciding to live sober is always a good decision, but you still need to understand why. If there are deeper causes for your addiction, such as emotional trauma or mental disorders, these things need to be addressed before you can experience true and profound healing. Self-medication is just that—medicating one’s self to avoid unwanted symptoms of life, such as anxiety and depression. These symptoms also often coincide with mental health issues, and if those underlying causes are left unaddressed, the chance of a relapse is exponentially increased.

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2. Do Your Research Before Committing To A Rehab Center

Don’t get me wrong—you should absolutely go to rehab. The devoted teams of compassionate addiction recovery professionals are there for one reason: to help facilitate your all-around healing.

However, knowing what you are signing up for and being able to prepare yourself can help ease the process for everyone. Additionally, researching the rehab centers in your area, or even out of state, can help you find the best care for your personal journey. A personalized approach to recovery provides a more stable basis for the rest of your path to sobriety. Recovering from a substance abuse disorder is never a one-size-fits-all process, so it is important to find what does and does not work for you.

Create Lists!

3. Create Lists

A great way to stay on target with your goals in any aspect of your life is to sit down and record what you want to accomplish. Making lists of your goals makes them more tangible and real—instead of just dreaming of them, turn your wants into short- and long-term goals. By planning out your journey this way, you can keep track of your progress and celebrate your accomplishments, which encourages you to continue on the right path. The goals on your list can be as grand or as ordinary as you want them to be—so long as they motivate you to be the best version of yourself possible.

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4. Be Open About Your Journey

Speaking openly about your quest for sobriety is important to your success for two reasons: it helps you put things in perspective and it keeps you on track. Not only does this help nurture your new, healthier coping and communication skills, it can help strengthen bonds with the people supporting you throughout your recovery. Those loved ones who make up your support system are there to encourage you and motivate you during your low points and help you celebrate your sobriety milestones. Allow them in and see how much better sobriety can be with a bit of company.

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5. Read Success Stories

When it comes to sober living, we often allow doubt and fear to stand in the way. We convince ourselves we simply aren’t strong enough, that sobriety after battling addiction is some one-in-a-million thing. That’s simply not true—thousands of people every day commit to sober living with incredible success. No matter your age or length of substance dependency, so long as you are still breathing, you have the chance to turn everything around. Draw inspiration from those who have walked the sober path before you: some of your favorite musicians, actors, and TV personalities have achieved sobriety after struggling with drugs and alcohol. My personal favorites are Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, and Demi Lovato. Even attending your local NA and AA meetings can expose you to amazing individuals on the path to sobriety who can help guide you through the tough times.

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