As human beings, we have always celebrated major milestones in our lives. Birthdays, the anniversaries of romantic relationships, achievements at work or school… when something exciting or important happens, we celebrate! We like to acknowledge personal progress in life, and we like to share our growth with those closest to us. Addiction recovery is no different. Sobriety “birthdays” are publically celebrated in many 12 step meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous. These milestones are extremely significant in that they remind you how far you’ve come and they help to inspire others who might just be coming into the rooms, or who don’t have quite as much sober time under their belts.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, there are many celebrated milestones, from one day to 50+ years. Your sobriety birthday is the last day that you used and mind or mood-altering substance. Celebrating such birthdays is a great way to keep yourself accountable while helping others. Those who celebrate their sober anniversaries have lower rates of relapse.
If you are friends with people in recovery (which is often the case if you’re in recovery yourself, or if you have been in the past), then you may be wondering how to congratulate an addict or alcoholic who is celebrating an anniversary. Take a look at the following suggestions, and feel free to call Garden State Treatment Center with any additional questions!
How to Congratulate Addicts on an Anniversary
If your friend is celebrating a recovery milestone, there are several things you can do to help them celebrate. Some ideas include:
- Attend their homegroup meeting, where they will be picking up their “chip” or “coin.” Those who are in Alcoholics Anonymous or any other 12 step meeting will have a homegroup, where they will likely celebrate their anniversary. Anniversary meetings are open to the public, and everyone is welcome to attend!
- Take your friend to dinner.
Make a big deal about the sober anniversary – a lot more work goes into these birthdays then regular birthdays, where all you have to do is continue aging. Take your friend out to dinner or take them to the movies – do something nice, and let them know how proud you are!
- Treat it like any other birthday!
Bake a cake, buy flowers and balloons… treat a sober birthday just like any other birthday! A heartfelt card always adds a nice touch.
- Let them know that their story inspires and encourages others.
Celebrate Your Sobriety Anniversary
Right now, celebrating a full year of addiction recovery might be something you can’t wrap your head around. How can someone string together a full year without ANY mood or mind-altering substances at all?! That’s a whopping 365 days! The truth is, those who have been through a comprehensive and effective program of recovery and have been staying on track with their aftercare program are typically not prone to relapse. They take their recovery one day at a time, and before they know it, they’re celebrating yet another sober milestone.
There are many reasons to celebrate sober birthdays, including staying humble and remembering where you came from, taking the opportunity to thank those who have helped you along the way, and sharing your story of experience, strength and hope with other addicts and alcoholics. If stringing together even a week of sobriety currently seems like an insurmountable task, you are not alone – and we are here to help. At Garden State Treatment Center, we are dedicated to seeing our clients through their first year of recovery and beyond. If you have been struggling with substance dependency and are looking for an effective way out, give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.