If you know someone in recovery, or if you’ve seen any movie featuring a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, you’re probably familiar with the idea of a “recovery milestone.” A recovery milestone is like a “sobriety anniversary” that renews a recovering addict’s motivation to stay sober. In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), for example, different colored chips are used to commemorate significant milestones, such as one day, one month, or one year of sobriety. For some people, celebrating recovery milestones in the ongoing process of recovery is a positive way for them to hold themselves accountable and reflect on how far they’ve come on the path to sobriety. For others, it’s a validation of how hard they’ve worked to live a sober life.
Ways of Celebrating Recovery Milestones
Whether you’ve been sober for one week, six months, or ten years, celebrating recovery milestones that are relevant and meaningful to you is an important part of the healing process. Marking each milestone helps you gauge your progress in recovery, and celebrate the small victories along the way. Some people choose to acknowledge these milestones privately, either by only reflecting on the recovery process or setting new personal goals to keep themselves motivated. Others invite friends and loved ones to join in on the celebration, by having a picnic or attending a support group meeting. Celebrating recovery milestones acknowledges your personal accomplishments, and it’s also an act of hope, reaffirming the faith you have in yourself to reach the next milestone, and the next, and the next. Following are five sober ways of celebrating recovery milestones:
- Celebrate National Recovery Month in September.
- Participate in a local or national recovery event.
- Treat yourself to a new outfit, a weekend away, a new gadget, or something else that will motivate you to continue on the road to recovery.
- Start a recovery milestone tradition. It can be as small as writing a new entry in your journal, or as large as organizing an annual walk or run with your friends, family, or support group.
- Give back to your community and those who have helped you stay sober by volunteering, becoming a sponsor, or simply sharing your story with others in recovery.
Benefits of Celebrating Recovery Milestones
Some people recovering from alcoholism are reluctant to self-congratulate, even when they’ve reached a significant milestone because they worry they will fail to live up to their own expectations, and the expectations of others. However, celebrating a recovery milestone serves some valuable purposes. Even for addicts who have been sober for years, celebrating these sobriety anniversaries serves as a reminder of who they used to be, how far they’ve come on the road to sobriety, and how easy it is to stumble and fall back into old habits. Especially under circumstances where life becomes stressful or lonely or sad, circling back to your recovery and acknowledging all that you’ve accomplished can be a reminder that you’ve faced bigger challenges in the past and prevailed.
Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for Help
Recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction is a big achievement, one that consists of much smaller, but still significant, accomplishments that deserve recognition. Whatever way you choose to celebrate your recovery milestones, keep in mind that recovery is an ongoing process, and with any significant challenge, like overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there will be bumps in the road along the way. Relapse, or a return to drug or alcohol use, is an unfortunate, but common, part of the recovery process, and while it can be frustrating and disappointing to fall back into old habits when you’ve been sober for a period, relapse isn’t the end of the road. Plenty of people healing after alcohol abuse who relapse still go on to meet their recovery goals. If you or someone you know is in need of alcohol addiction rehabilitation, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to speak to a certified recovery counselor.