With sobriety comes the need to restructure your life. Learning what brings you joy, developing healthy habits and sticking to a routine is just the beginning. Celebrating each milestone along the way additionally supports this new lifestyle of sobriety and recognizes both how far you’ve come and the challenges overcome.
If you or someone you know is journeying through recovery, it’s important to celebrate victories great and small.
Creating a recovery celebration roadmap
The first step in being able to celebrate recovery events is making sure to remember them. It may be marking down on the calendar your six month sober anniversary and planning ahead what you’d like to do for it. Perhaps it was the day you graduated from rehab. Maybe you even want to celebrate a whole quarter of not being late to, or absent from work as a result of addiction.
It doesn’t matter what you want to celebrate so long as you take the time to do so. For smaller milestones, like month to month sobriety milestones, you might do something small for yourself; i.e. treating yourself to lunch one day or buying those shoes you’ve been eyeing. For bigger addiction recovery milestones, you might be more inclined to celebrate even more.
How to celebrate addiction recovery
Of course, you can choose to celebrate sobriety however you see best, but in case you’re not sure what to do, consider a few of these suggestions to make sure your sober anniversary gets the recognition it deserves.
Dining at different places can be a great way to celebrate both big and small steps. Perhaps you make it a tradition to grab a burger at your favorite local place after every weekly recovery meeting. Dining out could be as simple as enjoying ice cream after a full week of therapy, or more fancy like celebrating a sobriety milestone at a nice restaurant.
These can be enjoyable ways to celebrate that don’t involve a lot of planning, time or money. You can invite as many or as few people as you’d like, keep it casual or make it fancy — so long as it reflects who you are and what is important to you.
Another beautiful and unique way to celebrate is by giving back. Many people struggle with finding self-worth and a community while recovering. By celebrating milestones with volunteer work, you can see how your progress is indeed tied to others. This can help you find a sense of direction and purpose.
Maybe at your six or nine month sober anniversary you consider joining a local volunteer group where you can share with younger students the pitfalls of addiction and your success in recovery. Celebrating sobriety by volunteering or speaking to others about addiction and mental health can not only empower you, but it can help prevent others from going through similar struggles.
Sometimes, the best way to celebrate your own victory is to help others realize theirs.
Plan a trip
A change of scenery can do wonders for a person’s mood and outlook, and that’s especially true when it comes to those who are living a sober lifestyle. Maybe you and some friends or family can celebrate a year of sobriety by heading out of town for a few days. Doing so is a great way to see more of the world, mentally de-stress and feel reinvigorated about life and the road that lies ahead.
Short overnight trips with a friend or two are also great ways to celebrate reaching a goal. These are less complicated and expensive than full-blown vacations, and can be an ideal option for smaller milestones.
It’s crucial to celebrate the transition
One of the reasons it’s so vital to celebrate recovery milestones big and small is that you might be experiencing an emptiness in your life where mental illness or substance abuse used to be. For instance, your sobriety might require letting go of old friends, avoiding certain environments you possibly tied your identity to or experiencing a shift in your social status. No matter the gap, it’s one that needs to be replaced with something healthy and supportive.
Despite the milestones you have achieved, maintaining sobriety is a lifelong process and one that requires much mental motivation and drive. For this reason, it’s important to celebrate those milestones you achieve throughout this journey. They’re likely to help you feel supported and encouraged, as well as strengthen you to keep going.