6 New Habits I’m Starting 2019
2018 was a beautiful year for me. Promises were kept, lessons were learned and authentic growth happened. There isn’t much negativity in my reflections—I have no bona fide regrets or heartache. Regardless of the favorable outcome, however, it would be foolish to assume that there is nothing more to discover or re-evaluate. I’ve spent much of the new year planning for 2019, but I also have taken the time to reflect on the habits that weigh me down. These are six ways I hope to finally let them go.
Changing my inner dialogue
The thought of being kind to my body scares the crap out of me. Hating my body and speaking unkindly to it is second nature—like breathing or running late. Anything other than self-loathing seems far-fetched and unobtainable. Yet, this year, I am finally ready to experience what it would feel like to try. I’ve spent much of my life trying to reach an unreasonable level of perfection by abusing myself with hurtful words and bad habits. I am ready to see what happens if I stop. What will happen if I go to the gym because I want to, rather than because I hate the way I look? Can I choose to eat healthy (on my own terms) because of the way nourishment helps me feel on the inside, not because I want to be so skinny it hurts? What would happen if I thank my thighs for allowing me to move, instead of berating them daily?
We are our inner voice, and I want to see what happens when I change my personal dialogue. I wish to discover what my body would offer me if given love rather than hate. If I nurture my body like I do the tiny cactus on my windowsill, will it also bloom? In 2019 I am ready to find out.
Standing up for what I believe in
With sobriety has come clarity that goes beyond my tiny world. In 2018, not a day went by without being confronted by aspects of society that didn’t sadden, anger or scare me. When I was still drinking (5 years ago), I didn’t have a smartphone or much internet access. I had zero opportunities (nor desires) to learn about what was happening around me. I was a recluse living in selfish black-outs. As a sober woman, I’m opening my eyes daily to take in what’s happening all around. This journey of self-discovery has led me to reevaluate my opinions, morals, and beliefs.
In 2018 I learned to vocally stand-up for what I believe in while using social media to preach things like – #LikePrayForParis—but I have not fully stepped out of my own shallow waters. I would tell myself there are better people than me out there to make a difference. I would use justifications such as—I don’t know where to start. I’m not educated enough. I don’t have sufficient resources.
The truth is, I’ve been privileged enough to not have to stand up. I am ready to change that. I’m ready to truly live in my beliefs and fight with my truth towards my hope for our future by doing more than updating my profile pic in solidarity. In 2019, I will speak out when I see injustices. I will seek out information to expand my worldview. I’m ready to seek out ways to support human rights and expand hope, whenever I can.
Moving to “I Can”
“Oh but darling, what if you fly?” Sobriety has made clear is that I can achieve what I put my mind to if I am willing to do the footwork. Time and again I have proven this to myself, and while to some, these victories may seem small, to an alcoholic like me, they’re huge (though still difficult to take credit for). I hope to leave the words “I can’t” in 2018. I want to pursue everything with the belief that I can. I’m ready to say “YES” to life.
Trying is how we end up wherever we should be, even if that destination isn’t where we planned. With every victory I have found in the past five years (both big and small), believing in myself it still feels undeniably uncomfortable. But then again, sometimes abstaining from booze feels uncomfortable— yet here I am, abstaining all the same.
Taking Care of Myself
This might sound simple and possibly maybe immature, but the truth is, this may be the most difficult thing to leave behind. I’ve known for a while that a proper bedtime and routine is the last brick missing for my adult-foundation. I’ve been fighting against utilizing sleep as a form of self-care, but this year I’m going to leave that resistance behind me. As much as I dread it, as much as I may try to convince myself that sleep isn’t something I truly need, I’m going to abandon those lies and crawl to bed without them.
I read a quote the other day that spoke to me—”If you wish to create, you must stop consuming.” For me, 2019 is all about creating. I want to create memories with my boys and secret moments with my husband. I also hope to create stories, kindness, and love. In order to cultivate any creativity, I must stop consuming! I’ve got to put the remote down and pick up my pen, I must stop browsing comments on social media, and start reading unfamiliar words in new books. Another thing I can create if I consume less and cultivate more? My savings account.
Being More Real
Throughout sobriety, I’ve learned that unrealistic expectations about others can lead to resentment. However, putting false expectations on myself is just as unfair, yet it’s still something I practice. In 2019, I will no longer try to be someone I am not. I’m not the mom who replicates recipes from Pinterest. I’m not the wife who will have perfectly cooked food out on the dinner table by the time my man strolls through the door. I can’t cook, I simply cannot do it. Something always goes wrong and nothing ever tastes right. I have this grandiose idea of who I should be, a woman maintaining a spotless home, a peaceful garden and fierce eyeliner.
I’ve realized that when I strive to be these things that I simply am not, I become overly stressed and feel like a failure. In 2019 my garden will stay brown, my menu will remain limited, and my hair will be messy, though I will be less high strung and I receive far less inner beatings. And I will accept that I’m OK with that.
For 2019, I’m setting the intention to grow and seek ways to expand my outlook.
Happy New Year mamas, I hope that 2019 is full of new beginnings and opportunities to amaze yourself—we’ve got this.
Melissa is a fulltime working mama to her two young boys; Watson and Emerson. She is married to a wonderful sober man and they have created a blessed life in Southern California.
Melissa has been sober since 11.6.13 and is active in 12 step fellowships and the online sober community and . She understands there are no sober blueprints, and different things work for different people. Along with addiction, Melissa struggles with mental health issues, addiction to self-harm, and has a habit of self-loathing. Through recovery, she has begun to overcome those obstacles.
She works at a non-profit, men’s recovery home and spends her free time podcasting with her husband and recycling old clothes.