Milestones are part of life, whether you are observing a graduation, marriage, a birthday or accomplishing a significant goal such as a promotion at work. While you were in active addiction, you probably used drugs and alcohol as an integral part of these celebrations, and now that you’re sober, you may find you don’t know how to commemorate happy events without them. However, making time to congratulate yourself for accomplishments you achieve in sobriety is essential.
With that in mind, here are some reasons to be proud of yourself, as well as suggestions of drug-free ways to pat yourself on the back for all the progress you’ve made.
Why You Should Congratulate Yourself
Don’t be shy about claiming your victories, even the small ones. Even if you’ve been sober for a year or more, celebrating helps you reflect on how far you’ve come. It also reminds you about all the times you prevailed when the odds seemed to be stacked against you.
Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs traditionally use different-colored chips or coins to help recovering addicts track their progress and honor milestones such as number of years in sobriety. These can serve as a motivational tool that discourages you from slipping up and drinking or using “just one more time.” Especially in early recovery, tokens like these provide a concrete reminder that every day you spend sober is a significant accomplishment.
Sober Celebration Ideas
If you’re struggling to come up with ways to congratulate yourself on your sobriety milestones, here are some suggestions you can use to get started.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
If you’ve never heard of a gratitude journal, it’s exactly what it sounds like — a notebook where you write down things you’re grateful for. If you don’t consider yourself a writer, don’t worry. The entries in your journal can stay private if you want them to, and a best practice is to keep them short and sweet. A single sentence can be enough to go on. There are some surprising benefits of this style of journaling, including stress relief and improved sleep quality, and getting in this habit will also help you appreciate the value of things you normally wouldn’t notice.
2. Treat Yourself
It’s OK to reward yourself with small gifts occasionally. Your indulgence might be going out to a gourmet restaurant and ordering a four-course meal, or getting a salon or spa service you’ve been wanting to try for a while. Or, maybe it’s something smaller, such as taking an evening bubble bath or buying yourself a flattering new outfit. It can be whatever you want, as long as it’s something that motivates you to keep making progress.
3. Give Back to the Community
Every success you achieve in sobriety represents an opportunity to acknowledge all the hard work you’ve put in, as well those who have helped you along the way. You can “pay it forward” by volunteering at a local nonprofit or becoming a recovery sponsor for someone who is newly sober. Your volunteerism doesn’t have to be recovery-related, though many recovering addicts find this type of service profoundly rewarding and therapeutic.
Honor Your New Beginning
Life can be unpredictable, and perhaps nobody understands this better than a recovering addict. The low points you have experienced due to your addiction can make the positive moments in life feel even sweeter. Take time to be thankful for what you have, and your sobriety will be better for it.
At Canyon Crossing, women who struggle with the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction can find a place to rediscover their potential and their joy. Our innovative women’s-only treatment facility in Arizona takes a variety of approaches to treating the root causes of addictive behaviors. If you are ready to learn how to manage your addiction, our admissions specialists are waiting to hear from you.