19 OCT 2021

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Sobriety Milestones

Recovery is a journey of self-empowerment - a special honor that calls for creative ways to show pride in your benchmark moments and celebrate sobriety.

"Remember: it's ok to look back but don't stare."

Not only is it okay to look back: it's beneficial to celebrate your successes in facing and conquering addiction. Successful recovery involves motivational constructs and social and community resources. Celebrate sobriety with peers and take pride in the motivations that got you where you are.

Here are a few ways you can do that, starting with why you should.

Why Celebrate?

Celebrating your sobriety reminds you where you've been, where you are, and where you're going. It gives you an opportunity to show gratitude for everything and everyone that's helped you -- including yourself. Highlighting profound benchmarks allows you to reflect on your strengths so they may inspire you further. Plus, sharing these moments with others provides inspiration for them.

The reasons for doing it are clear and beneficial, but when is the "right" time?

When to Celebrate

It doesn't matter when you celebrate your journey -- it matters that you do it.

Choose milestones that are significant to you personally. Although many people relate and have experienced what you have, your path is unique. A significant time to celebrate may be the day you started recovery or the day after your last relapse.

Or, you can choose to celebrate when you're really feeling the weight and struggles of sobriety. Community is a key part of maintaining sobriety, so call in your peers to help remind you how much you've accomplished so far.

Many programs recognize the hardships of the first year. They often suggest celebrating these milestones:

  • First 24 hours
  • 30 days
  • 60 days
  • 90 days
  • 6 months
  • 1 year

The first year isn't the end of all challenges, so keep celebrating the rest of your life. Sobriety is the reclaiming of your life.  That's something to celebrate consistently. The key thing to realize is that it doesn't matter when you celebrate because every day is a mini victory contributing to your long-term success.

Ways to Celebrate Sobriety

Just as there's no certain time to do it, there's no certain way to celebrate. You should definitely include others in your commemoration, especially if the idea makes you feel anxious. This could be loved ones, sober peers, or both.

Here are 5 activities for celebrating sobriety with others to get the ball rolling:

  • Eat a delicious meal starting with dessert first
  • Spend time in nature
  • Learn something new, such as a skill or craft
  • Exchange gifts (bonus points if they're handmade)
  • Participate in acts of service, such as a charity walk or feeding the homeless

Whatever it may be, remember that you're still recovering and should avoid places that emphasize substances. You may feel strong and confident in your sobriety, but remember places that have this focus don't align with where you are now.

Also, don't celebrate in a place where you abused substances in the past. They're filled with old memories and potential triggers.  Something as little as seeing your old favorite drink or hanging out in the living room you used to do substances in can set you off your path. You're in a new chapter of your life now and should seek places that reflect that.

Celebrate Yourself

When you celebrate sobriety, it's naturally a time for introspection. Consider taking a moment to look within at how you feel and what you're proud of. One way to do this is to write a letter to yourself at every monumental celebration. Then you can share it at your gathering with peers and tuck it away for future hard times. Regardless of how you go about it, don't undermine your accomplishments. What you're doing is a big deal.

And remember, just because you've come this far doesn't mean you're invincible or don't need anybody else anymore. Embrace your vulnerability -- that's how healing continues.

Reach out if you need help, or if you simply have comments or questions.