Facing the New Year

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New. The word is alive with possibility. Add it to the word “year,” and it’s nothing short of the opportunity to start fresh, wiping away everything ugly and clearing the path for all things good, joyful, healthy and prosperous.
At least that’s what we want to believe.

But as anyone (read: everyone) who has ever resolved to join a gym and get in shape, lose 10 pounds, eat better, act better, be better at everything knows, resolutions are frequently a recipe for failure. 

Too often, we decide that January 1st is the day we’re going to totally recreate ourselves and our lives. And we do—for about two weeks. Then, life intervenes, we slip back into old habits, and by February 1st, we’re no thinner, not much better, and still eating donuts. Happy New Year. 

Those dealing with the addiction of a loved one may be equally determined that this year is going to be different. And it can be, if resolutions are reasonable and consider the unpredictability of addiction. 

Before making any resolutions about how you’re going to change the addiction in your family, keep one simple thing in mind: the only thing you can change about addiction, unless you yourself are the addict, is your behavior and thoughts towards it.

You cannot change an addict. 

You will never be able to love an addict out of addiction, talk them out of addiction or bribe them out of addiction. You can, however, change your behavior towards the addict and how the addiction impacts your life. 

While you’ll never be able to eliminate the impact of this tragedy completely, you can start to limit the effects of addiction on your everyday life by embracing one simple resolution: The Truth. 

The truth about a family member’s addiction is not pretty.

It means you must accept the fact that the person you loved is not the one standing before you. When drugs or alcohol take control of an individual, it controls them mind, body and soul. By acknowledging that, you will be better able to protect yourself from the side-effects of addiction, including lying, stealing, and manipulation. 

It doesn’t sound like a prescription for a happy New Year, but it can be the first step towards healing. When a family is willing to look at the truth about addiction, it’s often the first step towards recognizing the loved one needs help beyond what the family can give.  

Have courage and look at the truth about addiction this New Year. 

Getting help for yourself and your loved one is the best resolution you can make. 

Mary Fran Bontempo is a 2x TEDx speaker, author and humorist. Visit her at www.maryfranbontepo.com

Her latest book, “The 15 Minute Master—How to Make Everything Better 15 Minutes at a Time,” can be found on Amazon.