Sobriety presents many challenges, but the rewards for pushing through them are incredibly rich. Creating a healthy life, renewing relationships with friends and family, becoming more in touch with your emotions, experiencing everyday life free from dependence on drugs or alcohol—these are just a few of the benefits of a sober lifestyle. These achievements are hard-earned, so it is important to commemorate them. Celebrating your sobriety milestones is a wonderful way to honor yourself and the journey you are on.
Why You Should Celebrate Your Sobriety Milestones
Marking milestones as you travel the path of sobriety can have a positive effect on your life. It serves as a reminder that you are doing great things—you may be taking life one day at a time, but the cumulative effect of those sober days is remarkable and should be celebrated.
There are also times when sobriety presents struggles, whether it is a craving for the substance you were addicted to or a crisis that presents emotional, mental or physical challenges. Taking time to recognize a sobriety milestone during these hard moments can help propel you through the problem, and you can come out of it stronger and ready to keep pursuing sobriety with renewed vigor. Plus, celebrating something good that you have achieved brings joy to your life, and it’s the kind of joy that surpasses any high you ever felt.
You’re not the only person who reaps the benefits when you celebrate sobriety milestones. These can be occasions you share with family and friends, which can deepen bonds and create a feeling of gratitude for the place your relationships are at now that you are in recovery from addiction. These milestones can also serve as the inspiration for others who are working on their sobriety. For instance, seeing how you commemorate those moments can encourage members of your support group to keep moving forward towards their own goal, and it’s an example they can draw strength from in their own tough times.
Some Sobriety Milestones to Celebrate
Every day that you live in sobriety is an amazing feat. How do you choose which milestones to observe? That is up to you, but there are certain ones that are a natural fit. The most common one—and perhaps the most important–is the anniversary of your sobriety, whether you consider that to be the day you took your last drink or the day you completed your treatment program for drug addiction. However, there are other milestones you can celebrate at other points in your journey. Some suggestions:
30 days sober: The first month can be an intense transition period marked by many ups and downs. You also are spending many of those first days and weeks establishing your new normal in your daily life. This can require a lot of effort and energy, so celebrating the end of this early period is well earned.
90 days sober: Three months in, you have a stronger foundation in your daily habits. Cravings for drugs and alcohol may crop up, but you are replacing these substances with healthier choices, which can be anything from exercise to a new hobby that fills your free time and sparks passion in your life.
First major holiday sober: When you were living in the grip of addiction, you may have had negative associations with holidays. Perhaps you were estranged from family, or you were on your own and felt isolated, or maybe you can’t even remember past holidays because you were high and that blotted out any possible memories. The first Thanksgiving back at home or a Fourth of July barbecue without alcohol is a big step.
Emotional breakthrough: Often, treating addiction goes hand in hand with treating associated emotional issues, which is why many people work with counselors or therapists as part of their recovery. Overcoming these obstacles that were stumbling blocks to a healthy, sober life—say, for instance, that you repaired a relationship with a family member that had been causing strife—should be celebrated.
Meeting a goal: Goal setting is a valuable tool in sobriety. Having achievable, measurable and realistic targets can be motivating and may be helpful in keeping your focus on meeting those goals instead of falling back into negative habits. The goals should be based on your own unique needs. Perhaps you want to enroll in a college class, start volunteering or make more social connections. Once you’ve met your goal, you can set a new one—but make sure to stop and celebrate your accomplishment first.
How to Celebrate Your Sobriety Milestones
You should be proud of what you have accomplished with each milestone, so make sure the celebration is something that will bring you joy. You could mark the occasion by getting your AA chip and going out to dinner with members of your support group. If you have a family, you can have a party with them. If a festive event isn’t your style, you can treat yourself to a nice purchase or your favorite dessert, donate money to a nonprofit group or spend the day doing something you love, like going to a ball game or the beach. For major milestones, you could even plan an out-of-town getaway.
This is also a good opportunity to take time and reflect on what you have achieved and what you look forward to in the days and weeks to come. If you are particularly grateful for a friend or family member who has helped you in this stage of your sobriety journey, take the time with acknowledging them by getting together for a meal, or writing a letter of thanks. It may also be worthwhile to keep a journal of what it felt like to reach a particular milestone, noting the challenges and the high points you encountered. However you choose to celebrate, you are sure to find the experience meaningful—and you will look forward to making it to your next sobriety milestone.
Addiction is not a choice but getting help is. If you are ready to embark on a sober lifestyle, we are ready to help at Casa Palmera.