Making the choice to enter rehab and begin the road to recovery is a major decision that should be acknowledged. The recovery process as a whole can be a stressful time, especially in the beginning. You are essentially re-learning how to live your life, this time free of drugs, alcohol, or other harmful substances.
That’s why it’s important from time to time to step back and acknowledge and appreciate the steps that you have made in bettering yourself and your life. One of the ways you can do this is by celebrating your various sobriety milestones. Some might choose to celebrate with friends, family, or peers in their support group. Others might choose to just take a moment out of their day, acknowledge how far they have come, and continue their day.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate and acknowledge recovery milestones, it’s an important thing to do in the recovery process. It reminds you of all the progress you have made while also reminding yourself where you came from. It’s important to talk about the importance of celebrating and acknowledging these milestones. It is also necessary to discuss some of the key milestones that those who are in recovery typically celebrate.
Why Should I Celebrate Recovery Milestones?
Getting clean and sober is no easy task. If it were, addiction would no longer exist because everyone would simply just go to rehab and be cured right away. By going to rehab and starting your journey to recovery you can choose to take on something that you will have to work on every day for the rest of your life.
So, when major events and milestones come up, you should certainly celebrate them! If someone who works for a company has been there for 10 years, their coworkers might throw them a party to acknowledge all the hard work and dedication they have given over those 10 years. Well, the same types of things should be acknowledged in sobriety as well.
Celebrating milestones, as big or small as they may feel, reminds you and those around you that all that hard work you put in to get clean and remain sober is paying off. The road to recovery is long and not easy. It’s important to “stop and smell the roses” from time to time and remember where you came from and where you are headed.
A great way to do this is to make a list and update it with all the milestones that you want to keep track of. This is especially good when it comes to acknowledging all the “firsts” that come along with sobriety, such as the first time you:
- Get through a workday sober
- Go to a social event and don’t drink
- Go to sleep without the help of anything
- Do to a restaurant and don’t order an alcoholic drink
- Get through a stressful situation without the aid of any alcohol or drug
These events might not seem like a big deal to you, but they are and it’s important to acknowledge and recognize them.
What Are Some of the Key Sobriety Milestones?
One of the more common ways in which people acknowledge and celebrate certain sobriety milestones is through commemorative chips. Chances are, even if you don’t know someone who is sober or haven’t gone through it yourself, you have seen these chips referenced on TV or in movies.
These chips, also known as sobriety coins, are often handed out at AA or other peer support group meetings to commemorate certain points in a person’s sobriety. Some of the key milestones that are commemorated with these coins or chips are:
- 24 hours sober – a white or silver chip
- 30 days sober – a red chip
- 60 days sober – a gold chip
- 90 days sober – a green chip
- 4 months sober – a purple chip
- 5 months sober – a pink chip
- 6 months sober – a dark blue chip
- 7 months sober – a copper chip
- 8 months sober – a red chip
- 9 months sober – a purple chip
- 10 months sober – a gold chip
- 11 months sober – a green chip
- 1 year sober – a bronze chip
After the first year, coins are typically handed out less frequently and usually each year on the year anniversary of sobriety.
How Should I Celebrate These Moments?
While some of these key moments in your sobriety might be celebrated during an AA meeting or in another peer group setting, not every celebration has to be done in a public setting. While it might be fun to share in your joy with others, at the end of the day these sobriety moments are for you and about you.
If you don’t want to post about it on social media or celebrate with a big group that is ok. Some people like doing the big splashy thing, while others might feel more comfortable taking a moment out of their day, checking off the proverbial (or actual) box on their list, and moving on. At the end of the day these moments are about you and to remind yourself how far you have come. When it comes to celebrating these events, it’s important to remember that and acknowledge them in a way YOU want.
What Happens After the First Year?
As the months and years go on, it will slowly become easier and easier to manage your sobriety. Going to bars, restaurants, or being in settings where alcohol is present will seem like less and less of a big deal, and will start to feel normal again. Not needing to drink or use drugs in order to feel like you are fitting in will also start to feel more normal as well. That being said, you will still notice some changes in your life and for the most part, they will all be positive and for the better.
During the first few years of sobriety, you might start to notice that your life is turning back around for the better. You might be succeeding at work again, or you might have gotten a new job finally if you lost your previous one as a result of your addiction. You might also be noticing that your relationships are improving again, especially with any family members or loved ones who you might have had a falling out with as a result of your addiction.
Seeing and acknowledging all the ways in which your sobriety has helped your quality of life is a great way to remind yourself of everything you have accomplished and why you did it. This can be particularly valuable on those hard days when you might have cravings or an urge to have a drink.
By this point, assuming there haven’t been any relapses, chances are your sobriety is just a part of your everyday life. You have repaired damaged relationships and you can pretty much go anywhere and do anything without the urge to drink or use drugs. While it might seem like everything is going fine, it’s also important to not let your guard down. You have to remember that sobriety and recovery are lifelong things and have to be worked on every day.
This 5-9 year period is where you will continue to develop and evolve within your sobriety. At this point, you may decide that you would like to get more involved in helping others who are new in their recovery journey. Sponsoring a new person in recovery can be a great way to give back and help another person as they go about the early stages of their journey through recovery.
Want to Know More About Sobriety Milestones?
Becoming and remaining sober is no easy task. It is a lifelong journey that requires work on a daily basis. Because of the challenges that come along with not just getting sober but staying sober, it is important to celebrate and acknowledge milestones and achievements along the way.
They can be as simple as waking up in the morning and not reaching for the liquor or pill bottle to celebrate yearly anniversaries of your sobriety. Before you can begin to celebrate these milestones though, the first step is to get clean and sober through detox and rehab.
At Free By The Sea, we understand that while getting clean is the first step on the road to recovery it is a major step and a crucial one. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment programs all custom-made for each individual person and their needs.
Here at our Washington State addiction recovery center, we offer various programs and help our clients find treatment resources through referral services. When you contact our rehab facility, you can learn more about:
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Residential treatment program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Outpatient program
For more information about the treatment plans that we offer, or to learn about how we can get you started on your road to recovery, contact us today.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.