With sobriety comes the need to restructure your life. Learning what brings you joy and developing healthy habits are the beginning. Celebrating each milestone in a way that supports a new lifestyle of sobriety can be a good combination of these. If your teenager is heading down the road to recovery, know that there are plenty of ways the both of you can celebrate victories great and small.
Creating a Recovery Celebration Roadmap
The first step in being able to celebrate recovery events is remembering them! As your child begins their journey take note of the little things and celebrate the steps. Perhaps you plan something meaningful for their 6-month sobriety anniversary, or a special dinner for getting their grades up. Larger achievements like several years of sobriety or graduation are all part of the process and deserve their own special moment. Celebrating both the big and small can reinforce the positive steps your child has taken towards sobriety.
Ideas for Recovery Celebrations
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 teen’s favorite local place after every weekly recovery meeting. Dining out could be as simple as grabbing some ice cream after a full week of therapy, or as complicated as 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. No matter if your child is a month, a week, or a half-year sober, it’s vital to enjoy the “small” victories that pave the way to larger ones.
Another way to celebrate is by giving back and finding purpose. Many teens struggle with finding their self-worth and a community while recovering. By celebrating milestones with volunteer work, teens see that their progress is tied to others. This can help give them a sense of direction and purpose. Maybe at their 6 or 9-month sober anniversary you encourage them to join a local volunteer group where they can share with younger students the pitfalls of addiction and their success in recovery. Celebrating sobriety by volunteering or speaking to others about addiction and mental health can not only empower your child but 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 your child 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 destress and feel reinvigorated about life and the road that lies ahead. Short overnight trips with your child are a great way to celebrate reaching a goal that you’ve set together for their recovery, perhaps 20 weekly meetings attended.
It’s Important to Celebrate the Transition
One of the reasons it’s so vital to celebrate recovery milestones big and small is that your child is likely experiencing a hole in their life where mental illness or substance abuse used to be. For instance, their sobriety might require that they purge old friends, avoid certain environments that once brought joy, or experience a shift in their social status. No matter the gap, it’s one that needs to be replaced with something healthy and supportive. Otherwise, there’s a risk of returning to harmful behaviors, people, and environments, which can become triggers.
Despite the milestones your child has achieved, he or she could still struggle to maintain sobriety. It’s important to let your child know you love and support them, even if they experience setbacks along the road to recovery. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of free resources to help. If you have any questions about treatment or need to speak with a counselor about a possible relapse, contact our licensed professionals for help.