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Jumping into the 2021 New YearHave you ever been more excited to shout “HAPPY NEW YEAR” than this year?

2020 has been an absolute disaster, in ways many of us never could have imagined. COVID is still pretty rampant but vaccines are starting to be dispersed. We all know life won’t be very normal right away but at least there is some light at the end of the tunnel!

Those suffering from addiction, depression or other mental illnesses took a hard hit this year and if you made it through clean and sober, that’s wonderful. If you are just coming back, every single one of us addicts and alcoholics understand.

One thing we can all share in common: our recovery life took a hard hit in 2020. As we get clean and sober, we all form our own practices and rituals that work for us and keep us strong and away from relapse. The coronavirus was a massive monkey wrench thrown into all our lives. It’s time to start planning on ways to build our foundation back up.

We always strive for improvement in recovery but this year is especially important!

Take an Honest Inventory of Your Recovery

This is probably very easy for most of us sober folks because we are our worst critics. Take a look at what you felt you struggled with the most this year. Did you isolate too much and not even make many zoom meetings? Did you have your nightly prayer and meditation go wayside? Maybe you just are not happy about how you handled certain situations with friends or family and have some new defects to address.

Whatever the case is, it is very crucial not to be too hard on yourself. This was a brutal year to stay sober during and I highly doubt anyone had a smooth year given all that happened. When I do any type of inventory, the best way for me to do it is to just get it all out on paper.

A great way to go about this is to reach out to a few sober buddies and have them do the same thing, just simply write out areas they think need a lot of work in 2021. There doesn’t have to be any specific format, just get that stuff out of you and into the universe!

Sharing with others who are in the same boat can help give the perspective that you aren’t the worst person in the world like you may tell yourself sometimes! There are so many people who went through the same thing you did in 2020!

Plan, Plan, Plan

Obviously, as soon as the ball drops and it’s 2021, the world isn’t going to be completely liberated from this pandemic. We won’t be able to roam free and act like this is all behind us. It is very likely even post-pandemic, the world will be a different, yet safer place.

That means there is time to get a good game plan set up for when in-person meetings become more available and your options start to open.

Here are some considerations to take:

  • Do I still have a homegroup?
  • When was the last time I sponsored someone?
  • Are there any sober connections I lost touch with once the pandemic started?
  • When will I feel safe to go to in-person meetings regularly? (Some people have already and that’s perfectly fine!)
  • Where am I at with my steps?
  • Do I need to do the steps again?

I know for me personally, this lockdown was so hard on my own recovery life. I am treating next year like I am basically in early recovery again. Making connections again, seeing what meetings I will be into, and going to find new people to add to my sober network.

Finding the Silver Lining

Like we have established, this year has been terrible! For all parties, it has not been easy. There is a major silver lining to those of us that have stayed sober throughout it. You have found out what you are made of and that you are determined to stay sober. Pat yourself on the back.

Every single one of us has had our own ups and downs during this pandemic. We have had the mistakes that can turn into lessons. It adds to our greatest weapon we have in recovery: our story.

That’s right, our experience and history with staying sober is each of our most powerful weapons for helping the people who recently entered recovery fight against addiction.

Ask yourself, what did I learn during this pandemic? Reflect on what you learned from your hardship and how it could possibly help the newcomer you will run into this new year.

We all know what being uncomfortable does for us in recovery: it helps us GROW. You may feel your recovery is weaker as we get closer to the end of a global pandemic and further away from the start. In reality, if you are still here, there is no question you have come out stronger and learned from the pain and misery that may have hit you during this past year.

We all know, however, we cannot stay content on yesterday’s recovery. Now is the time to start thinking of how you are going to reshape your recovery and recharge it where it’s needed.

There’s no telling what the future holds, who could have predicted 2020 was going to be anything like it really was. All that matters is that we endure what life throws at us, do everything we can to survive, and continue on stronger than ever.

Daniel Wittler

Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery from New Jersey. He is also a recovery advocate for Carolina Center for Recovery and absolutely believes that anyone can get and stay sober provided they take action in their own recovery every single day. His writing has been published on The Mindful World, Best Self Magazine, Life as a Human and many ... Read Full Bio »

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