The path of recovering from addiction is a long one and there are many challenges and obstacles to overcome. As you begin to turn things around, you will be able to celebrate the anniversaries of your decision to get sober.
Even though you might feel alone on this journey, finding and creating healthy relationships is one of many steps to maintaining sobriety. Don’t put yourself in the position of falling into old habits or risk relapsing, instead, structure your life for a more successful recovery. Find a community you can engage with, that will want to commemorate your anniversaries with you. You are not alone in this. We have the tools you need to get to your first sobriety birthday.
You can start reaching sobriety milestones before you know it. Before you can properly celebrate, it’s important to understand what a sobriety birthday is, the initial steps of getting sober, and how you can maintain that sobriety to celebrate it in the future. You can find help today by calling us at 912-214-3867 to begin your path of recovery.
It’s Your Sobriety Birthday
Have you ever wondered what AA birthdays are? They mark the anniversary of a person beginning recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. This meaningful event can be celebrated however is most appropriate, but is commonly the anniversary of the first day without an addictive substance, or of someone’s first AA meeting. The purpose of a sobriety anniversary isn’t necessarily about the celebration but the meaning behind it. A lot of work goes into recovering from addiction and you should be able to enjoy that achievement.
Never forget why this day is so important. This was the first step toward a freer and more stable life. Understandably, it can be an emotional day as well. AA birthdays are often connected with the alcohol and drugs that were given up. Celebrating sobriety with family and friends is the best way to remember why you fought to recover in the first place.
How to celebrate sobriety milestones can vary, but many support groups mark the occasion by giving the recovering addict a bronze coin. You will, hopefully, receive one of these for each of many substance-free years, symbolizing your resilience against addiction. Another way to celebrate a sobriety milestone is to have a gathering with those who have supported you through recovery. Healthy relationships and support groups are there to help keep you on track for a substance-free future, so celebrating sobriety with them helps keep you on track and feeling supported in this journey.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recovery is the “process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” The organization points out four specific needs that people struggling with addiction should hold dearly to really attempt to live their best lives.
- Health – overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.
- Home – having a stable and safe place to live.
- Purpose – conducting meaningful daily activities and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.
- Community – having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
To reach your sobriety birthday, you must use hope as a foundation. Continue fighting to gain better control of your life and make a change for the positive. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that “people with severe and chronic substance use disorders can, with help, overcome their illness and regain health and social function.” The road of recovery isn’t meant for you to walk alone, so it’s essential to move forward with new connections to support groups and healthy relationships.
Two Major Mindsets
There are two major mindsets to hold onto when entering recovery. First is the belief that complete abstinence from all addictive substances is a primary focus of achieving sobriety. Others would approach this belief differently, stating that handling negative feelings and emotions with substances can be fully replaced with living a contributive life. No matter which mindset you choose to believe, both are sufficient ways to start you on the path of recovery.
While attempting to begin recovery, it is important to know what is available beforehand. The NIDA proposes three specific recovery programs to better help people on their path to sobriety.
- Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care – These programs embrace a chronic care management model for severe substance use disorders, which includes longer-term, outpatient care. Some of the long-term assistance includes recovery housing, recovery coaching, and management checkups.
- Recovery Support Services – These services refer to the collection of community services that can provide emotional and practical support for continued remission. Components include mutual aid groups (e.g., 12-step groups), recovery coaching, recovery housing, recovery management (checkups and telephone case monitoring), recovery community centers, and recovery-based education (high schools and colleges).
- Social and Recreational Recovery Infrastructures and Social Media – These programs make it easier for people in recovery to enjoy activities and social interactions that do not involve alcohol or drugs, such as recovery-specific cafes and clubhouses, sports leagues and creative arts programs.
If you have decided that you are ready to get sober, then call us today. Our experts have the tools and resources that can help you start your path to your sobriety birthdays.
Setting Yourself Up For Success
There are a number of ways to maintain sobriety, but Very Well Mind created 12 tips to make it easier. These tips were approved by David Susman, PhD as being an effective way to make it to your sobriety birthday.
The first step to staying sober is to identify personal triggers. Triggers can be people who may be a bad influence, places that make you want to partake in the addiction you overcame, or even situations that make you crave the substance you separated yourself from. Other common triggers that could cause you to relapse are life stresses such as relationship and financial problems.
The second step in maintaining sobriety is recognizing relapse warnings. It can be easy to miss warning signs of relapse, but if noticed you can stop it before it takes hold. Experts have broken down relapse into three stages – emotional, mental, and physical relapse. Warning signs include addictive thinking patterns, seeking situations that involve others using drugs or alcohol, or overall believing the only way to handle an issue is to use again.
Tip three for staying sober is being prepared for PAWS, post-acute withdrawal syndrome. PAWS can last anywhere from a few months to a couple of years since the last time you used it. Some of the symptoms include irritability, sleeping troubles, anxiety, and depression. If severe enough, it is recommended that you seek a medical professional to walk you through PAWS recovery.
The fourth and fifth tips are great together to maintain sobriety. Avoid old habits and form new healthy relationships. To avoid falling back into substance use, avoid locations and people that could be a bad influence on you. It will be hard, especially if some of your closest friends are not sober. Finding friends who are sober can help you keep yourself from relapsing since the influence isn’t there. If finding sober friends proves to be a challenge, support groups are a great place to start to form healthy relationships.
Tips six and seven can go hand in hand just like four and five. Develop a structured schedule and practice healthier living. Don’t just manage your life day by day as this can lead you back into relapse. Structure your day and week, without making too many changes to it. This structure will allow you to stay the course of recovery. Included in this new structure should be healthy habits that can help you avoid relapsing. Make time to exercise as often as possible, eat well-balanced meals, and get ample sleep. These three things are critical to reforming your life. Also, be sure to pick up a recreational hobby. Maintaining sobriety is important but having goals is just as important.
Staying The Course
Rebuilding your financial situation is one of the hardest steps of maintaining sobriety. Once returned to the workforce, it’s important to set up a budget and stick to it. Using step six as a reference, a structured budget will help you recover from a financial downturn that addiction may have put you in. Always keep in mind though, work stress could cause relapse, so don’t overwork yourself.
Bouts of anger are common for those in recovery but using tip nine, it can be a little easier to avoid unchecked anger. Staying cool and collected can be the difference between relapsing and growing away from your addicted past. Talking with a therapist on a regular basis can help with controlling anger.
One of the hardest parts of recovery is looking at your past. Tip 10 and 11 from Very Well Mind approach dealing with past mistakes and finding balance in life. Many of the emotions felt during recovery can cause you to relapse if not engaged properly. Accepting that you made a mistake can help you learn and avoid repeating old patterns. Learning is critical during substance recovery. Alongside dealing with mistakes, finding balance in life will help move you forward. Don’t let new substances or even activities replace the old addictions, instead find a happy middle for interaction in order to not relapse.
Finally, celebrate sobriety. This path of recovery is not easy so when you reach a milestone, celebrate it. Just to clarify though, don’t celebrate by giving back into your addiction. Rather celebrate with things, experiences you can have, and newfound activities. Enjoy this celebration with your newly formed relationships to stay on the path of recovery.
Finally, if you have slipped up, all is not lost. While it seems like the worst thing to happen, it happens to many in recovery. Very Well Mind estimates that nearly 80 percent of people striving for sobriety will relapse at least once. Always bear in mind that as long as you are working for a sober life, you will face challenges, but the end result of sobriety is worth it. Celebrating your sobriety is a good thing. Let us help you achieve this goal. So call us today. We can help you reach this achievement one step at a time.
You Are Not Alone
You will not be alone during recovery. Even the most modest sobriety milestones may seem far away, but with the right friends around you, you will find yourself reaching them. A healthy community of people such as support groups will hold you accountable and ensure you get the most out of life. Following the 12 tips mentioned will help keep you accountable too. As long as you continue to put in the work and stay sober, not only do you get to enjoy a sobriety anniversary, but you get to see your life flourish in a way that you may never have thought possible. Keep that structured life you have set up and don’t falter. It will be harder some days than others, but if you keep to it, keep eating healthy meals, keep staying active, it will get easier with time.
Your sobriety birthday is waiting to be celebrated, so call us at the number below. Let us help you begin your path to recovery.
Written by Tristan Kutzer
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