One of the things that makes us human is our desire to celebrate milestones. Whether it’s a birthday or a wedding anniversary, years of service with an employer or the anniversary of a significant accomplishment, it is important to recognize the good things about ourselves, the positive impacts that we have on the people around us, and the things we have achieved.
The same applies to addiction treatment and recovery. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of celebrating sobriety milestones. More importantly, we will explore how this can be great for your addiction treatment.
Why Celebrate A Sobriety Milestone?
As accomplishments go, sobriety is a big one. Overcoming an addiction takes a great deal of courage, strength, determination, and hard work. One of the biggest reasons why you should celebrate sobriety is to remind yourself of the courage it took to make the decision to embark on addiction recovery.
There are other benefits to celebrating addiction treatment milestones. It provides an opportunity for you to stop and reflect on how far you have come since you started addiction recovery. Where you may once have been on the brink of financial disaster and surrounded by broken relationships, you might now be established in a regular job, and you may have at least one or two positive relationships to enrich your life.
Sobriety birthdays are also a time to reflect on how you got to where you are now. It is likely that you got some help along the way. Some recovering addicts use their sobriety birthdays to thank their sponsors and the loved ones who supported them. For others, it is an opportunity to provide support to those who are in the early stages of their own journeys.
Perhaps most importantly, you should celebrate your sobriety birthday because you deserve it. You have worked hard on your addiction recovery to get to this point. Therefore, you should reward yourself, bask in the accomplishment, and let this good feeling you have carry you to your next sobriety milestone.
Ways To Celebrate Sobriety Milestones During Recovery
In a society that associates celebrations with alcohol, it can be difficult for recovering addicts to find ways to give their sobriety milestones the attention they deserve. But with some creative thinking, it is possible to come up with some good ways to celebrate these occasions.
Here are a few ideas.
Do something to help your community
For some recovering addicts, sobriety birthdays are a time for self-reflection. They celebrate by helping people – or animals – who need it. This could take many forms: volunteering at a food bank, walking dogs at an animal shelter, or picking up litter at a local park. Those who are musically inclined could give a performance at a senior care facility.
Not only does this form of celebration make the world around you a better place, it increases your own happiness. Several studies show a link between initiating acts of kindness and being happy.
Arrange a picnic with close friends and family members
If the weather is nice, you and the loved ones who have supported you in your journey could head out to a scenic spot for a picnic. Unless you are planning to include a lot of people, you don’t have to plan anything in advance. Just pack up a picnic lunch and go for a drive, enjoying the scenery along the way. You could combine the picnic with activities like hiking, fishing (if you have a permit) or some friendly sports activities.
What makes this a great way of celebrating sobriety is that you can include people of all ages, from babies to great grandparents. It provides a way of connecting with the people you love in a natural setting.
Host a dinner party
If it’s a more lavish celebration you’re after, invite some loved ones over for dinner. If cooking appeals to you, you could serve up your best dishes, but ordering in is also an option. Having dinner at someone’s home – either yours or someone else’s – removes the risk of being tempted to order alcohol at a restaurant.
At the same time, you can still generate a sense of occasion by asking guests to dress up, and by laying out some decorations. For beverages, you could serve sparkling grape juice or come up with your own custom mocktail.
Make a weekend of it
Apart from why you should celebrate sobriety, perhaps you don’t want to celebrate your sobriety milestone with a group of people. Maybe you would rather have a private weekend getaway with a spouse or partner. This is the perfect occasion to dust off your bucket list and start checking off items. Is there some place in the country you’ve always wanted to go to?
If you do go away, choose your destination carefully. Avoid known “party spots”, and instead opt for a location that is quiet and scenic. To make your stay more relaxing, remember to ask the hotel to clear out the minibar before you arrive.
Attend a sports game
While some people relish the idea of celebrating their sobriety milestones, other people find it difficult. These anniversaries can serve as a painful reminder of their days of addiction, especially if they lost something important to them, like a relationship that could not be saved. If you are one of these people, the answer might be some good old-fashioned distraction.
Round up a friend or two – or several – and go to a football or baseball game. For a few hours at least, you can get caught up in the action instead of focusing on unhappy memories. To avoid the temptation of alcohol, attend college games. The athletes display a high level of skill, and many college venues do not allow alcohol.
How To Avoid Relapse During A Sobriety Milestone
Sobriety birthdays are a time for you to feel good about what you have accomplished, but for those who are still hurting, the risk of relapse can be higher. Even though you now know why you should celebrate sobriety milestones, you should remain careful.
There are a few things you can do to make it easier to enjoy your day without thinking about drugs or alcohol:
- Pretend it’s your birthday. Blow out candles on a cake while loved ones sing to you.
- Don’t celebrate alone, especially if this milestone is difficult for you.
- Even if you have no intention on consuming alcohol, avoid venues that focus on alcohol consumption.
- Attend your regular support group meeting and offer words of encouragement to someone who is newer to the recovery process.
Once you have celebrated your first sobriety milestone, don’t stop. Make every anniversary a special occasion. You have earned it, and you should feel proud of what you have accomplished.