The New Year Return to Routine!

By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC

The New Year is here!  The holiday chaos is behind us…sort of.  The residual dysregulation of the Holiday vacation is still lingering.  For some, their children have not yet returned to school.  For others, they have been neglecting their workout routine, eating differently, spent too much time on electronics and have not been working.  While these changes have an impact on most individuals, they are especially challenging for those in recovery from Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). 

When getting sober, it is common to talk about the importance of maintaining a balanced behavioral schedule and routine.  Active addiction can often bring with it a loss of structure and containment that can feel unsafe and disorienting.  Therefore, the antithesis of this is to create a sense of routine that can decrease stress and also increase productivity.  

The holiday season may bring a lot of enjoyment and celebration, it can also bring irregularity in terms of schedule, routine, use of electronics, socializing, health and sleep.  These shifts can be hard for those in recovery to cope with given how much effort many have made towards creating a sense of structure.  Here are some suggestions of ways to return to your regular routine:

  • Talk with others to see that you are not alone in this struggle
  • Choose a day or a time during your day to start adhering to a schedule
  • Use a Google calendar, i Calendar or paper calendar to start your own behavioral schedule that includes work, exercise, meetings, socializing and other activities
  • Try to remain positive that this uncomfortable feeling of being off schedule will pass once you get back to your routine
  • Reach out to sober supports 
  • Commit or recommit to some form of addiction or mental health treatment or self help meetings
  • Restart your week any day!
  • Set boundaries with loved ones and peers around your needs following this stressful time
  • Schedule in “recharge” time or time to increase productivity to jump start your New Year
  • Make 1 change per day to avoid getting overwhelmed
  • Ask for support with childcare
  • Expect to feel some type of let down or decompression following the holiday season and know that “this too shall pass”
  • Do an electronic or social media cleanse or set time limits
  • Engage in self-care such as journaling, exercise, meditation, etc.
  • Start to readjust your sleep schedule by setting alarms day and night
  • Sit down and start a new project that you have planned for 2023- just do it!

The In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) model is able to support individuals with Substance Use Disorders in their home environment.  Some people have just gotten sober and realize that they need additional support to get back on track after this chaotic holiday season. For those who have unsuccessfully tried to get sober at home, it can be life changing to have trained professionals who can effectively support them in creating structure and routine in a familiar environment.  

The In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) Institute is offering healthcare professionals an assessment based certificate that enables them to support individuals in the recovery process through this unique and innovative modality.  It’s almost the New Year and it may be time for healthcare professionals to try something different!  This certificate for IHAT providers is available in CT, MA, RI, NH, ME, VA, FL, IN and most recently Kentucky!


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